In Review: Glorious Wrestling Alliance – Grappling Road by Josh Hicks

Glorious Wrestling Alliance - Grappling Road by Josh Hicks

Created by Josh Hicks

The Story: The Wrestling foundation is gathered to listen to an announcement of Ricky Lovett Jr, the CEO of the Glorious Wrestling Foundation. He is telling them that they are going old school, mostly as a cost cutting exercise, and will be travelling around in a bus for a month to each grappling venue.

So all the wrestlers get on the train like good employees. Gravy Train (who is described on the Wrestling Card as ‘Oddly Shaped’ and is in fact the shape of a large cup filled with actual gravy that looks like a cut price Juggernaut from the X-Men) is excited about the prospect of travelling around with his fellow wrestlers on this rackety bus. Great Carp is not so sure.

‘Let’s paint this town brown’ – Gravy Train.

As expected, the road is not an easy one and the slightly captive competitors begin to rub up wrong against each other. Great Carp can’t seem to get any piece and Death Machine is finding that his autobiographical poetry is putting the odd beak out of joint. But money is becoming an issue for Ricky Lovett Jr and the takings aren’t up to scratch, not by a long way.

Glorious Wrestling Alliance - Grappling Road by Josh Hicks

There is also a character with a big secret…….

Will the tour make money? Will they all kill each other? How will Death Machione’s Poetry Slam go?

Read it and find out.

Glorious Wrestling Alliance - Grappling Road by Josh Hicks

The Review: Now, before I begin I should point out that this is the sequel to Glorious Wrestling Alliance and that some of the pages have appeared previously in The Atomic Elbow 10 and Dirty Rotten Comics 11.

Now, I read, reviewed and enjoyed the first issue a while ago and got to interview Josh for a recent podcast (Awesome Comics Pod episode 152). The creator comes over simultaneously as a funny guy with a sharply ironic sense of humour and also a fan of wrestling. This comic is both of these things and more. He takes the iconography of this sport/ pastime and tangles it up in a weirdly wonderful world. For example, ‘Great Carp’ actually appears to be a fishman. He is also a fishman who speaks on occasion in grand and impact filled flowery prose.

‘But mark my words: This road is paved with crushed souls. We are all doomed.’

Josh fills each page of his comic with bundles of detail. The art is done in a clean dark blue and white style and you are never at a loss to know who is who and what is what. The character designs on their own would have a reader chuckling. Along with this he throws in little flourishes like a Top Trumps style card that shows the morale of each of the wrestlers.

He also shows us panels of ‘The Juggernaut’ aka the wrestlers bus as if it was a Thunderbirds craft from an old British annual. This schematic contains arrows indicating different sections of the craft saying things like:

‘Crew Trailer – Compliant with most human rights standards’

The narrative is run like a diary/documentary. Different sections/ chapters have titles like “Day 13 – 302 Hours of Road – Bison General Gymnasium” or “Day 28 – 665 Hours of Road – Azteca Premium Motel”. The characters have a tinge of a manga turn to their appearances but not heavy handed and you can see the UK indie comics scene influences in the line work too.

I’ve never watched any wrestling and I loved every second of this self-published comic!

Glorious Wrestling Alliance - Grappling Road by Josh Hicks

I’m glad to report that I enjoyed this even more than the first issue. It is sparky and fast paced. The dialogue is funny and bounces around the cast with a little wink at the reader.  Issue 3 is almost upon us and I highly recommend catching up with the first two if you haven’t seen them yet.

Josh is back at the East London Comics Art Festival this year hopefully and I’ll be looking to see what else he has for sale.

• You can find out more at www.joshhicks.co.uk or follow this fellow on Twitter @AJoshHicks

Many thanks for reading.

Listen to my interview with Josh Hicks on the Awesome Comics Podcast right here

Antony Esmond

Antony Esmond is a comic reviewer and writer - his hips don't lie.



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