Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Legend of Ricky Thunder

Some people find they have gifts. Some go their whole lives looking for greatness. Ricky Thunder is a lucky and special kind of fellow, because has gifts and greatness in spades. He finds early in life that he is great at knocking people out, so he grows out his hair and becomes a professional wrestler with a devastating finishing move:

He gets a little full of himself, and he also seems a bit shaky on the concept that wrestling matches are scripted and that he does not have to actually whale on his opponents. As a result, his friends do not much care for him:

One night as he is out walking after getting yelled at for taking kayfabe too seriously, Ricky runs afoul of an alien ship. They threaten to take over or blow up the planet when they realize Ricky is the world champion:

So he ends up fighting a savage, brutal alien with Earth's fate in the balance (a la the famous Marvel Two-in-One Annual #7). He finds it is very difficult to defeat a foe who is not only strong and skilled but also not required to lose in the end, and he loses hope at one point, which leads to an intervention.

Things take a turn for the better when he is visited by the League of Badasses, comprised of Theodore Roosevelt, Ben Franklin, and Chuck Norris. The trio inspire Ricky to get his act together, and I will not totally spoil things, but things end up all right.

As I hope you can tell from the brief excerpts, this book is funny, thrilling, and just about the most awesome thing I have read in the past month. The art is simple and expressive. The dialogue is sometimes profane but full of hilarious phrases and interesting situations. This book was a surreal tale told in an incredibly entertaining manner. In case you don't want to just take my word for it, Robot 6's Caleb Goellner also liked it and called it "fun and funny wrasslin’ action that anybody can feel good getting bodyslammed by."

I got this book at HeroesCon, and it was funded through a Kickstarter campaign. I have read it a few times now, as well as a bunch of mini-comics from its author, Kyle Starks. He has a bevy of free comics on his website, including the also super-fun Adventure Wizard and the somewhat philosophic Punch Captain. You can learn more about his work and his inspirations for Ricky Thunder in this War Rocket Ajax podcast. Also, Starks got a great write-up in USA Today.

The whole story is available for free here in webcomic form. I bought it from the author at the convention, and I think he is a super friendly and talented man. I don't see links for buying a hard copy, but I am sure if you contact him directly he'd be glad to sell you one.

The Legend of Ricky Thunder brought me a lot of joy. It is a great book to share with others, even if they are not pro-wrestling fans, and I hope that you check it out.

Totally cool postcard I bought from the author, Kyle Starks!

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