Pro-Wrestler Superheroes in The Gimmick by Joanne Starer & Elena Gogou

The Gimmick is a new comic book series about super-powers and pro-wrestling launching from Joanne Starer and Elena Gogou from Ahoy Comics in March 2023, featuring covers by Erica Henderson. But the first issue features a variant cover by Khary Randolph, appearing here for the first time.



Joanne Starer once owned a women's wrestling promotion out of Pennsylvania and championed equality in the field. "THE GIMMICK is born from the wild, incredible, and sometimes terrible experiences I had in the world of pro-wrestling," said Starer. "I've seen it from many angles: as an in-ring performer, a promoter, and a wrestler's girlfriend. I've got stories, y'all." "The Gimmick combines three of my favourite elements in a story, comedy, violence and character drama," said Gogou. "Shane is the human equivalent of a dumpster fire, going from one messy situation to the next in the most ridiculous ways. He makes a man's head explode in the first pages of the first issue, goes on the run with his mentor, falls in love. It is an outrageous, fun and messy ride and I was immediately sold when I was approached about working on the book. The way Joanne has tackled this story perfectly encapsulates the over-the-top essence of wrestling, but remains grounded by its characters, who are distinctively flawed and human. I'm really excited for people to read what we've created!"

The Undertaker. Danhausen. El Santo. Every wrestler needs a good gimmick: a colorful in-ring persona that dazzles the crowd. Then there's wrestling champ Shane Bryant. Shane's a "nice guy" who floats through life with no repercussions and a forgettable gimmick. But Shane's been keeping a life-changing secret: he has super strength. And when he loses control of that strength, punching his fist straight through his opponent's brain—in front of 2.4 million horrified viewers—everything changes. Now Shane needs a new gimmick—and a new life.

Welcome to THE GIMMICK, a Coen Brothers–style dark comedy from AHOY Comics, writer Joanne Starer (Sirens of the City; Away From Here), artist Elena Gogou (Quests Aside), colorist Andy Troy, letterer Rob Steen, and editor Tom Peyer. THE GIMMICK features covers by Eisner Award-winning The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl artist Erica Henderson, and issue 1 features a variant cover by Excellence artist Khary Randolph.

In the series, the now fugitive Shane Bryant flees to Tijuana, where he begins a career as a masked wrestler. But Shane's life has too many loose ends to make a clean escape possible. His manipulative mother, his ex-girlfriend, his child, the friends he left behind, and the daughter of the man he killed all want a piece of him….

And they are also pushing quotes from friendly comic creators in an attempt to help increase orders from comic book shops…

  • "THE GIMMICK is anything but a gimmick. This book is the real deal, full of humor, heart and indelible characters who feel perfectly realized right out of the gate. It's so good it makes me mad! I'm so mad." — Chip Zdarsky
  • "Back-breaking laughs and shin-cracking action…plus a lot of heart. The Gimmick has it all!" —Patton Oswalt
  • "THE GIMMICK delivers like a flying elbow to the brain. Elena Gogou has drawn a beautifully illustrated book and Joanne Starer takes us deep inside the dark side of wrestling. Together they deliver one of the freshest books of the year. If you love adventure featuring wrestling, manslaughter, redemption, betrayal, and over the top chaos, THE GIMMICK is custom made for you." —Jimmy Palmiotti
  • "THE GIMMICK is a very pleasant surprise. I never figured I'd get drawn into a story about wrestling but here I am, totally interested in a story about wrestling… and super powers. Joanne Starer pulls from her extensive knowledge and years of experience in and around wrestling communities to create a vibrant, wholly believable world of unique characters in extraordinary and very messed up situations. The art by Elena Gogou is dynamic and engaging, her energy keeps everything moving along at a solid pace. I got to the end of the first issue and found myself not just wanting to know what happens next, but to learn more about the world their characters are entering into. It's not often you get teased like this and damnit, yes, I'd like some more. Good job, you got me." — Pia Guerra
  • "You need to be living THE GIMMICK! Here's a raw exploration of the wrestling business's underbelly that's one part LUCHA UNDERGROUND and one part A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE. Go behind the curtain and see what happens when superstars meet superpowers!"— Steve Orlando
  • "Starer's unique voice is exactly what we all need right now."— Joe Casey
  • "Joanne Starer's sharp wit and modern takes on classic material and genres never fail to refresh and delight." —Ian Boothby

The Gimmick #1 will be published by Ahoy Comics on the 8th of March, 2023.

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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