The Comics & Wrestling Connection

Although they might seem worlds apart, the colorful worlds of comics and pro wrestling have more in common than you think. Wrestling has invaded comics with tie-ins featuring real-life wrestling characters, wrestling showing up in comics, and even some wrestlers writing comics. In the squared circle of the wrestling ring, we’ve seen WWE commission comics for their magazines, wrestlers reading comics in their spare time, comics editors going to work for WWE, and rumors that a comic artist even helped out in the design for the famous wrestler the Undertaker.

Think about it – if comics, especially super-heroic comics, are modern myths told of heroes and villains, is pro wrestling any different? Here’s a couple examples of what the two industries have in common:

1. Good Versus Evil: Both superhero comics and pro wrestling have their roots in a black-and-white portrayal of characters pitted against each other: the epic hero versus the dastardly villain. And while characters are more apt to switch sides in a wrestling ring than a comic book, Magneto and Lex Luthor have both showed a good – or shall I say, less evil – side than they’re known for.

2. Costumes: Both super-heroes and wrestlers have a unique wardrobe to choose from, from capes to tights and ornate accoutrements such as belts, crowns and weapons. In most cases a super-hero’s outfit would fit right in with the world of comics – in fact, in the late 80s the wrestling organization WCW used a yellow-and-purple version of the Spider-Man costume for a character known as, get this, Arachne-man.

3. The Weekly Fix: Both super-hero comics and pro-wrestling rely on an intensive schedule to appease their fans. For wrestling, it’s weekly installments of all-new antics in a series of shows.. and for comics, it’s the monthly comic series which could even propogate to multiple series going on simultaneously.

4. Conventions: Although known as comic conventions, practically every comic convention from Portland to Puerto Rico has at least one comics personality in attendance.

5. Theatrics: No, we’re not talking Broadway-style threatre.. we’re talking over-the-top performances, exaggerating stereotypes into possibly comedic yet catchy iterations.


  1. Cool beans.

  2. This article makes me sad. I hate wrestling.

  3. haha yeah totally. and don’t forget the soap opera factor…

  4. I’ve always thought of the closest thing to what a superhero does physically in real life would be a wrestler, in particular one like Shawn Michaels or AJ Styles who have to be strong enough to throw people around yet agile enough to do a missile dropkick on a guy.

  5. I love the The Macho Man Randy Savage was in the first Spiderman movie. ” Yeah, I got you for 3 whoooole minutes!”

  6. rey mysterio wears comic themed ring attire occasionally. ive seen him wear a spider-man, daredevil, the phantom and the flash costumes. there pretty cool actually

  7. And don’t forget the over-the-top, nitpicky fans that give the rest of us a bad name.  And it’s worth mentioning that a ton of pro wrestlers are big comic fans.  CM Punk and Christopher Daniels spring to mind.  Before turning heel, Punk would yell “It’s clobberin’ time” before going to the ring.  Now he just checks his imaginary watch. 

  8. I’m shocked we don’t see the two collaborate more so today. I mean there is a WWE comic out right now…..which was surprisingly selling well for a while. (But like the Gears of War comic it dropped pretty quickly)

    This is a pretty good article Chris on the subject. Although one thing I don’t think comics ever had was a major superhero being labeled a Necrophiliac by his peers. Well at least Garth Ennis hasn’t figured it out yet… 

  9. I’ve been waiting for someone to write a article like this. As a die hard pro wrestling fan, I’ve been saying this for a long time.

    Hulk Hogan was Superman esque back in the mid to late  80’s. A hero to the world, and no one could stop him.

  10. I’m an unabashed wrestling fan (Chris knows this), as anyone who follows me on Twitter on a Monday night will tell you (@incogvito, ahem). I can’t understand why folks who are comic fans that don’t like wrestling hate on the folks that do. Our group (comic fans) is so small, I don’t understand the need to segment it more than it already is.

  11. I want to emphasize how big the heroes vs. villains thing is. IT’S HUGE. the two couldn’t be more alike in that regard. I may think of other things, but a newer one would be the way the WWE is now referring to their fanbase as the “WWE Universe”. it’s not completely analogous, but I have felt it is at least in awareness of the “Marvel Universe” and “DC Universe”.

  12. I haven’t kept up with wresting since the glory days of WCW and WWF competing for Monday night supremacy (circa 2000), but I remember a Wizard writer once mentioned that wrestling and comics are both “guys in tights whompin’ on each other.” Makes a lot of sense to me.

    Man, it was awesome when Sting would silently repel down from the rafters and wipe out the NWO with a baseball bat! Like Batman, but with make up!

  13. Interesting article.  Who has more fans, pro wrestling or comic books?   They both seem like similar niche forms of entertainment with loyal fanbases.  Just wondering.  

  14. @wayne2001bc  Wrestling has more fans.

  15. I wrote about this briefly in the Events Podcast comments section!!! Yes!

    Another example of how they are similar… weekly fix with real change only truly coming through events.  Final Crisis = Wrestlemania.  Civil War = SummerSlam. Secret Invasion = Any of this shitty PPV events.

  16. Oh and retconning!  WWE does that shit all the time.  Kane’s undertakers brother, oh no he isn’t he was lied to as a child.  He is scarred, no he wasn’t he healed a long time ago.  Anyway, I agree with this whole heartedly.

  17. Didn’t WWF have to get permission from Marvel to use the name Hulk?
  18. @wayne2001bc  Wrestling wins that competition and I don’t think it’s even close 

  19. Another aspect where they’re similar is how they push new stars, or in the case of comics newer or lesser-tiered characters into bigger roles. 

    Marvel, for example, has pushed Luke Cage and Bucky Barnes into higher profile successful roles.
    WWE has successfully pushed up John Cena and Randy Orton into higher profile roles.

    DC has tried to push Kyle Rayner, Wally West, Jaime Reyes, and Jason Rusch and when they weren’t as “successful” as upper management would like, had Hal Jordan, Barry West, and Ronnie Raymond come back.
    In the case of TNA wrestling, when trying to push newer guys like AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, and Samoa Joe and when they weren’t as “successful” as upper management would like, brought in older stars like Kurt Angle, RVD, Hulk Hogan, Jeff Hardy, etc. to take the reigns. 

  20. An interesting point would easily be the idealized body images.

  21. Is there anybody who reads comics and has not also followed wrestling?

  22. I’m not usually a nitpicker like this but does it not seem like maybe our intrepid young writer here use the word comics when he meant to use wrestling?

    in most cases a super-hero’s outfit would fit right in with the world of comics

    Although known as comic conventions, practically every comic convention from Portland to Puerto Rico has at least one comics personality in attendance.

    just a little jarring to read and follow the thought.

    That said I grew up on wrestling, and still watch from time to time, but it gets old quick mostly because these over the top ideas have fallen to the way side and everything is shades of gray.

  23. Chaos! Comics had the most entertaining WWF comics back in the 90’s