Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ultimate Warrior's Crazy Comic Book!

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Vince McMahon and the (then) World Wrestling Federation have had a long history of trying to branch out the company into things other than wrestling. We have seen everything from bodybuilding leagues, restaurants, TV shows, movies, football leagues, and even one ill-fated attempt at crossing over into the comic book industry. Today we are going to focus on the WWF's attempt at creating a brand of comic book characters, in particular one based around The Ultimate Warrior.

On the surface a line of WWF Comic Books is actually not the craziest thing they could have attempted. It makes far more sense to take these already over the top characters and make them even more insane in a comic book, than say attempting to stick them into feature length films. So the guys at Chaos Comics were contacted and soon enough we had special edition comic books featuring the likes of Mankind, The Undertaker, and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

I cannot really speak for the quality of the Chaos Comics as other than a free preview of them I got a long time ago, I never actually read any of them. While I am sure they were never anything spectacular, they at least had to be readable and enjoyable to a couple of kids as they lasted until about 2000 or 2001.

The complete opposite end of the spectrum is the Ultimate Warrior's self titled comic book "Warrior". This book is hands down the strangest thing I have ever read and I read Ted Kaczynski's "Unabomber Manifesto" once. Part of what makes this comic so strange is the fact that it was wrote by none other than the Ultimate Warrior himself.  I don't even know if a normal human brain is capable of understanding the things that Warrior outputs. Take a look at this old Warrior wrestling promo, this guy is certifiably nuts and someone let him write this book.



I have read this comic numerous times and while there are indeed many letters that string together to form words and words that form sentences none of them ever really seem to fit together or make any kind of sense. I don't know what Warriors self titled comic book is about. I don't know what happens or what was supposed to happen. Honestly I don't think anybody other than the Ultimate Warrior understands this comic book. That my friends is what makes it so great, its like watching a train wreck in slow motion.  Prepare yourself for the most fascinating and confusing journey you have ever been on. Get read for... Warrior!


Before we get to the comic itself I feel like there is something that I have to point out before we go any further. The man behind the face paint and bizarre (yet awesome) wrestling promos is a man named Jim Hellwig or at least there was... at one point. You see Jim Hellwig legally changed his name to Warrior.

I bring this up for two reasons, for starters it goes a long way into showing just how out-there this guy really is. Secondly, it explains why I have to keep constantly referring to him by his "ring name" of Warrior throughout this article. I would like to call him Jim Hellwig, author as I don't really believe he sat around in full on face paint and ring tights penning this comic book but... well I guess you never know with Warrior. He very well may have and just blamed it on the cosmos or something. Let's move on with the book shall we.

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The book starts with a massive page of nothing but text explaining the term "Destrucity". I've tried to understand this oddball concept before and umm... I still don't know what it is. Allow the Warrior to explain it for you: "In its design, Destrucity represents a constellation existing in the heavens which symbolizes the "Eight Disciplines" by which Warriors chose to live their lives. Brought to existence by the destinies of those willing to die for their Beliefs, brought to exist as a place where people live by Belief in the evolution of their Higher Selves -- constantly evolving toward a completion of their chosen destiny -- all with strength in the denial of "System Beliefs" -- the very Beliefs that amplify differences in and create rights, wrongs, judgements, and opinions in people, places, and things."

So we have Destrucity, which is a umm... a thing that is prevalent throughout this comic book. After all these years I still really do not know just what the hell Warrior is talking about but it does sort of add to the mystique that is Warrior. You have ten different people read that same paragraph and all ten of them will likely draw different conclusions as to what it means.  Remember this term, Destrucity, as we will be coming back to it a little bit later on. And now that we know everything we need to know about Warrior and Destrucity it is time to begin the comic book!

Graphically the book does not look half bad. The artists who worked on it did a pretty good job of making it look and feel like a real comic book. As you will soon see the layouts on all the pages are constantly changing  and usually pretty visually pleasing to look it. As a matter of fact, I even kind of like the setup. Opening with what looks to be a meteor crash on some strange planet only to revel that it is actually Warrior (who is very Thor like in appearance, albeit it naked) who has fallen from the heavens.

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Clearly someone tried to make this book visually pleasing and at some point there probably was a far more interesting story in place. I really do believe that under proper supervision that Warrior could have made for an interesting short lived comic book series.

Treat him sort of like Thor by making him some type of strange god like figure, combined with the face paint and super strength sort of like the Incredible Hulk. I would buy into that for a period of time. However, this book was wrote by the Ultimate Warrior so we will get none of that. Instead we get bits of dialog like this: "The womb of evolution... explosive in its deliverance... a destiny's labor... conception of a higher self's birthright."

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Wait? What was that again? I thought we were looking at pages of Warrior falling asteroid style down from the heavens. What does a womb of evolution have to do with anything? "As quickly as a wound opens, it begins to heal... blood seeping from it hardened... exposed within self... pure in its distinction." You know what on second thought, I am not so sure I want to hear any more about this evolutionary womb and its opening and errr hardening places.

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The next page continues the trend of being visually pleasing and interesting to look at but lord almighty the text that accompanies each image doesn't have a single thing to do with any of it. Just looking at the photos you can tell that Warrior woke up and passed out (apparently long enough for the seasons to change?) which... alright whatever that shouldn't be to hard to convey with a small text box. Apparently, it is. Warrior chose to fill this space with the following: "The strength of ones beliefs cannot be subject to the cruelties brought on by the change of seasons..." From here a near naked Warrior decides to trudge off into distance taking himself towards "that which he is set to destroy"

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Naked Warrior runs (or 'jack a track' as the book describes the process of running) through what appear to be a desert, mountain top, jungle, swamp, and grassy field all the while spewing complete lines of nonsense until he reaches a lake and suddenly spots something off in the distance.

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Why it is the Warrior Signal! Just like the Bat Signal that Commissioner Gordon uses when he needs to get ahold of Batman. I wonder what this Warrior Signal could mean. Have we finally reached some semblance of a plot?

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Ahhhh, no actually. Warrior just takes this opportunity to remind us all of Destrucity. You know, the thing that not a single person other than Warrior understands. Looking at the image above never has a single word  followed by a question mark ever looked more appropriate than it does right now. Destrucity? Yea... I don't know what it is either.

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Continuing on with the trend of being as confusing as possible some strange combination of Destruncity and "liquid memories" leads Warrior to see the spirit of his father rise from a lake. Well at least now we might finally be getting someplace. Right?

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Wrong. Warriors lake-father proceeds to simultaneously bore and confuse the reader by saying things such as this: "... from a time and place not yet complete in its memory. As it has been in many lifetimes... shall it be now. Your conception challenged in the living of your life as a warrior. Balanced in the definition of disciplines... destruncity. I come only as a vision wise in and of knowledge... sorrowfull I cannot express my emotion." Those holding out hope that we would get a coherent plot should probably stop. If you cannot tell by now not a goddamn thing in this book makes any sense. Not a lick of it. Proof is by what happens next.

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After seeing some sort of strange lake spirit vision of his father Warrior decides to dive head first into the water...

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...only to jump right-the-fuck-back-out and proclaim that "THE STUDENT IS READY..." You know for some strange reason I am sort of starting to like this comic book. Not in the traditional way but in the "so bad its kind of good" way that I find enjoyment out of b-grade horror films. Warrior's comic is so awful and so confusing that you just sort of sit back in astonishment that someone thought this up.

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Not being one to kid around, immediately after Warrior proclamations that he is ready the very next page has him beating up a bunch of unnamed demon guys in hooded robes, who up until this point have not even been mentioned in the book. Ehhh what the hell why not. I'm surprised it took them this long to get Warrior fighting things. If I would have wrote it I would have made him a combination of Thor and the Incredible Hulk and had Warrior smashing shit from page one. Then again I also would not have let Warrior anyplace near the books story.

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Warrior continues to decimate these unnamed bad guys, who sort of look like a less interesting version of Mum-Ra from the Thundercats cartoon combined with the Ewoks from Star Wars. If this comic book has anything positive going for it, definitely has to be these couple of pages right here. For starters they lack all of Warrior's over-inflated bits of dialog and instead feature little tidbits that read somewhat like an actual comic book. "A warrior placed within battle becomes forcefully fierce. Concrete in connection Precision in decision. Devastating in destruction"  Its no Frank Miller dialog or anything but it gets the job done and I actually understand what it is saying. Even though I have no idea who or better yet why Warrior is fighting these people, this is by far the highlight of the book.

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The next page proves my earlier theory that originally Warrior was originally supposed to be a Thor inspired character in this book. Just glancing at the illustrations and forgoing the fact that Warrior is still naked you do have to admit that the general design of the character does resemble the Norse God of Thunder quite a bit. "... created for reaction. Relief within the violence. Tranquility in the sacrifices that surrender for him. Intuition always a priority. At times his only ally. Always a truth within it." Well you know what that sort of makes sense in a really strange sort of Warrior way.

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For those wondering what has been going on during these last two or three pages. Well... nothing really. Hes just been continuing to beat up the nameless Ewok / Mum-Ra guys until we reach a point where Warrior shouts at all of us to feel his power...

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...and then apparently explodes into a pit of lava. You know I could not make this stuff up even if I tried. Why would he explode into a lava pit? Because this book was wrote by the Ultimate Warrior! "Reason Enough" indeed.

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On the next page Warrior emerges from said lava pit, still naked as ever, though apparently we are supposed to believe that during this moment is when Warrior transformed into the super hero he was destined to be. Astute readers will notice he the gold trimmed boots and gloves along with the red mask and tassels that now complete Warriors hero look. As a matter of fact they dedicate a full page to it next.

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I sort of like what they did with his costume. The wildly flowing tassels sort of have a Spawn like look to them. His trademark face-paint translates almost perfectly to a comic book hero and the logos on his boots are pretty neat as well. I like his jacked up Thor / Hulk look too. But with all of that said, I don't understand why they continually chose to make Warrior appear naked. I mean seriously, he is wearing very little clothing and unless you look really hard at the photo, its tough to even see that he is wearing gold trimmed gloves and boots. They probably should have given him dark purple boots and gloves, along with some sort of colored tights. And for all we know they very well may have tried but Warrior just insisted that his comic book character appeared naked at all times. Don't question the logic of the Warrior.

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The story on the other hand decides to give us a plot twist, because if there is one thing this book needs at this point it is more of those. So we suddenly cut from our first full look of costumed Warrior to a modern day skyscraper and the inside of a hospital. "A synchronous moment... held close yet so far away." As a man wrapped in heavy bandages lays on.

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The man is obviously meant to be the Warrior and it is at this point that we the reader are to understand that all the crazy shit we have read up until this point actually didn't happen and was just some sort of dream that Warrior was having while in a coma or whatever.

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The final page of the book has this guy "in and of another moment" telling us all to "believe this" and on that cliffhanger we have reached the end of the first issue of the Warrior comic book. And you know what something strange happened about half way through writing this article. I had previously though this had been one of the worst comic books I have ever read. By all rights it is a completely incoherent piece of shit excuse for a comic book... but I am somehow sort of interested in seeing what happens next. It literally took me forcing myself to sit down and read this book line by line and write what basically amounts to my own synopsis of its events. But I do kind of like this thing.

This series only lasted for four issues and one very strange Christmas edition and I somehow doubt that any of these Warrior books have very many people collecting them. No guarantees that I will be able to track down all five (including the special edition book) but I will see what I can do. Hopefully we get to continue on with this strange story sometime here in the near future. In the mean time I can think of no better way to end this post than with some Warrior words of wisdom!

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"The world is full of those who do not wish to believe and label such thought nonsense. For them, there are always will be the 'system' to do their thinking. Therefore, the 'system' creates their 'thoughts'. These individuals deny the voice of their Higher Self and follow whatever is popular opinion at any given time. It's an energy giving and draining existence that eventually leaves one without the strength to resist" Well said Ultimate Warrior, whatever it is you are talking about. Destrucity.

3 comments:

  1. ‎"naked he shall be, power from which to show destruction and parts unknown". this book brings new meaning to that warrior quote

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  2. An explanation of "Destrucity" from the Warrior's site:

    Destrucity is a concept that came to me as I was developing Warrior as a comic book project. Each comic book project has their own universe, so to speak. A self-contained Universe where the story unfolds and the comic book characters do their business of existing. I called the graphically created Warrior comic character’s Universe “Destrucity”, i.e, The Creation of a truce between Destiny and Reality. It grew from this: The comic book project being a destined (I believed) fictional creation spun from the real-life Ultimate Warrior sports entertainer. It was my neologistic melding of the two Universes I would be operating in as, both, the eponymous creator of the comic book project and as the performer of the Ultimate Warrior, who had for many years already up to that point, being from a place called “Parts Unknown”, spoken some wild and vividly imaginative thoughts; Destrucity being another imaginative creative thought. This was one of my ways of cultivating promotional intrigue for the comic book project.

    In the midst of thinking it through for its specific storytelling definition there, i.e., Destrucity as a comic book Universe, I realized it was -- in its approach -- a true-to-life methodology I was practicing in my own life. A way of balancing day-to-day existence (Reality) with what one can wonder or believe about existence beyond this world (Destiny) or, more specifically, how or whether that existence beyond, if it were to exist, plays any role in our lives here on Earth, as so many people, consciously or subconsciously, do believe.

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    Replies
    1. In the words of Lewis Lovhaug, "Suck it Descartes! The Ultimate Warrior has the only philosophical knowledge WE need!"

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