If you watch lucha libre or Lucha Underground — or are one of the new fans discovering it on Netflix — one of your favorite wrestlers is probably Pentagon Jr., aka Pentagon Dark, aka Penta El 0M, the pissed-off ninja skeleton who breaks arms for his dark master and doesn’t even respect his own mother.
Penta has been in comic books before, but we’re excited to break the news that he’ll be helping to write one. No, seriously.
The bad-ass bone breaker is the latest talent announced as part of Michael Kingston’s wonderful Headlocked series, and will be featured in the latest edition, The Hard Way, currently cannonballing toward its fundraising goal on Kickstarter. The “gritty coming-of-age wrestling drama” already features a cover by Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler as well as original, exclusive stories from Mick Foley, Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes, ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair and, perhaps most importantly, a pin-up by TUGBOAT. Seriously hope he just drew a tugboat.
But yeah, Kingston has either made the brilliant decision to get one of the coolest wrestlers on the planet involved in the project to push it past its goal, or he’s accidentally set himself up for a trip to the hospital. We asked him about it, and here’s what he had to say. Please send flowers to the Kingston estate.
With Spandex: How the hell did you get Pentagon to work on the book, what’s he doing for you, and is it about how he wants to break all of your bones?
Michael Kingston: There’s a bunch of different reasons why I recruit the people that I do for Headlocked. If I think someone has amazing stories to tell (ie: Flair, Foley) or they’re big comic fans (Cody, RVD, Hurricane) or super creative (Kenny Omega, AJ Styles). In the case of Penta 0M, I’m just a really big fan. I’ve been lucky in that a lot of wrestlers have actually asked me to work on the book but in this case, I approached him. It’s never really a hard sell because all of these guys are storytellers at heart, so it’s just another place to practice the craft.
As far as what we’re doing, we’re going to be co-writing a comic book story together set in the world of Headlocked. It’s not a story about Penta 0M … it’s a story by him about characters in the Headlocked universe. Headlocked is the story of one character’s journey, so we use the stories by the wrestlers to flesh out other parts of the universe so we can eventually steer Mike Hartmann into those corners. Penta 0M is the first luchador we’ve had contribute a story, so I’m excited to stick my toe into that part of the world. Hopefully if there’s any bone breaking, we keep it on the page.
Every time you put out a new volume, it seems like the names get a little bigger and the fundraising gets a little easier. What do you attribute that to?
First and foremost, I think we’ve developed a quality product. Since we don’t distribute my books through comic stores, we use Kickstarter essentially as a pre-order…and the Kickstarter variant is the version that has all of the wrestler content. So we get a lot of return business that way.
And the whole point behind creating Headlocked was that for the longest time, comics wasn’t doing wrestling the right way. Everyone has seen the years and years of awful licensed wrestling comics and (as Colt Cabana dubbed it) sad wrestler alley at comic cons. We’ve actively tried to do something different with that. We’ve made a wrestling comic that is respectful of the craft of wrestling and we’ve tried to create a much more positive experience for wrestling fans at comic cons by bringing bigger names and creating a space where wrestling fans feel welcomed.
As far as the relationships with the boys, it’s been a slow process of earning respect. The guys that love comics (Lawler, Hurricane, RVD, Daniels, Kazarian, Joe) were early ambassadors of the book and that got a lot of people to stop and take notice. A lot of other guys see me on the road every weekend and know I’m living the same grind they are. I think that’s what impressed The Young Bucks enough to contribute. Ultimately, I think most people realize just how much Headlocked is a passion project for everyone involved … and when you’re doing things for the right reasons and you do business the right way, people tend to support you.
Good luck with your bones.
Michael Kingston is one of the best dudes you can know, and he’s making waves in the comic and wrestling industries his way, which is cool as hell. If I were a better writer, I’d say he’s doing it the Hard Way.
If you’re interested in buying a comic book partially written by a goddamn KARATE SKELETON, make sure to head over to their fundraiser page and grab yourself a copy of the book. You won’t regret it. If you don’t buy one, good luck reading any other books without the use of your arms.