Thursday, August 7, 2014

Of Professional Wrestling and Graphic Novels: A Conversation with Box Brown, Author of the New Graphic Novel 'Andre the Giant: Life and Legend'

Politics is professional wrestling. Professional wrestling is politics. Professional wrestling is part of global popular culture. Thus, it touches--and reflects--many different aspects of our shared culture and individual lives.

In this new episode of the podcast series here on We Are Respectable Negroes, I had a great time talking with graphic novelist, entrepreneur, artist, and author Box Brown about his new work Andre the Giant: Life and Legend.

It is rare to have the opportunity to talk with someone who has melded together a love and interest of comic books and professional wrestling. It is even more rare to chat with someone who was able to take their creative impulses, and then find a way to make a living doing what they love.

I so enjoy doing the podcast series here on WARN because I get to talk to smart and interesting people, while also learning something new, and then using that platform to share said information with the listeners and friends of We Are Respectable Negroes.

Box Brown is a great guest and conversation partner. In this podcast, we talk about professional wrestling, the art and business of moving from enjoying comic books and graphic novels to then creating them for a living, do some fantasy "smart mark" booking around the WWE's extremely divisive John Cena, reflect on the end of kayfabe and the end of Undertaker's streak, and discuss the future of graphic novels and comic books in the digital age.

Two smart marks have fun and share a common hobby and set of interests in this new episode of the podcast series here on We Are Respectable Negroes. I learned a great deal, while also enjoying the dialogue. I do think that you will too.

Hosted by Kiwi6 file hosting.

00:33 Introduction
03:30 How did you decide to write your first graphic novel? Was it an epiphany? A surprise? A calling?
06:46 What is your process like? How do you find inspiration?
12:38 Learning to get work done as a writer and creative worker
17:30 "Breaking into" the comic book business. Telling your own story and developing a narrative
19:17 What was the turning point in your life when you felt like comic books and graphic novels could be a viable career?
22:01 What do you do if you have the story and the idea but do not have an artist?
28:37 How and when did you decide to write a graphic novel about Andre the Giant? When did you fall in love with professional wrestling?
30:00 Kayfabe and rag sheets
34:53 Fun memories of professional wrestling. What is you favorite match, promo, or moment?
43:47 Getting the magic and surprise of wrestling back. How to book John Cena? Turning him heel?
48:54 Watching shoot interviews, researching the Andre book, and Ric Flair's anxiety disorder
54:00 A Golden Age, old school moment. The surprise of Undertaker losing at Wrestlemania and the end of "The Streak"
63:00 The research process for Andre the Giant: Life and Legend
67:00 Writing about Andre the Giant's legendary match with Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania
73:54 The future of comics in the digital age, independents, and the future
78:00 Becoming successful as an independent comic book creator, networking, and social media
79:37 Future projects from Box Brown
82:36 Outro, talking about other connections between professional wrestling and comic books, previewing the next podcast episode


Kyle Younger said...

After watching the Justin Amash victory speech and the crowd respond like they were cheering on the old Hulkster, I too am now convinced that politics is professional wrestling. We even have a scriptwriting team of the five conservative judges in the Supreme Court...I think it would be great if politicians gave themselves wrestling names... Chris "The Big Bossman" Christie, Harry

"Hornswoggle" Reid, John "Mr. Ass" Boehner, and of course The Basham Brothers (Obama & Holder).

chauncey devega said...

If politicians were honest enough to break kayfabe it would do us all a great service. Jesse Ventura's explanation of the whole show is my favorite.

OldPolarBear said...

Breaking kayfabe ... if I understand the term correctly, it would be something like a "gaffe." The columnist Michael Kinsley once defined the term gaffe as a politician suddenly and unintentionally blurting out the truth.

chauncey devega said...

In a certain era of wrestling breaking kayfabe would be quite literally a gaffe. The term is a carnie phrase that basically means staying in character, pretending everything is real, etc.