Comic Book Review

Jim Cornette Presents: Behind the Curtain – Real Pro Wrestling Stories

 

Jim Cornette Presents: Behind the Curtain – Real Pro Wrestling Stories

Story by: Jim Cornette

Written by: Brandon Easton

Art by: Denis Medri

IDW Publishing

2019

Pro-Wrestling’s secrets and greatest moments are immortalized in this graphic novel from legendary wrestling personality Jim Cornette. A true-story style anthology, these insider tales will show the lengths that wrestlers went to uphold “kayfabe” (the old carny term for the presentation of legitimate conflict), as well as the noteworthy cultural, racial, and economic effects these events and characters had on society. This is the graphic novel that old school wrestling fans have been waiting their entire lives for: a no-holds-barred representation of the moments that wrestling insiders couldn’t talk about for years.

“Jim Cornette Presents: Behind the Curtain – Real Pro Wrestling Stories” is a series of behind the scene stories from wrestling history told by Jim Cornette in comic book form. I have been a massive pro wrestling fan for as long as I can remember, so when I picked this up, I knew I was in for an awesome ride. This highly informative and fascinating look back at some of the most important moments in wrestling that occurred outside the ring runs eighty pages and features nine stories featuring the likes of legendary wrestlers Jerry “The King” Lawler, The Junkyard Dog, Dr. Jerry Graham, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and more.

The book begins with a brief overview of the history of pro wrestling from its early days in the late 1800s up until the 1990s with a focus on the importance of kayfabe. Kayfabe is a catch all term for the inside world of the wrestling industry and the act of keeping that world hidden from anyone outside of the business. Wrestlers would protect knowledge of certain aspects of their sport such as that the matches were predetermined, that the wrestler were playing characters, and that the blood feuds between rivals were scripted, even at the risk of their own well-being. While the behind the scenes world of wrestling could be cut throat and brutal, kayfabe was something everyone in this sport of kings could respect and count on from every one of their peers to follow.

The stories ranged from funny to sad to inspiring. As someone who has studied the history of pro wrestling, this comic featured both stories that I knew much about and stories that I had never heard, such as how Sputnik Monroe’s actions in the late 1950s and 60s ended Jim Crow persecution in Memphis sports for both fans and wrestlers alike. This was my favorite story in the book and gave me a whole new respect for a wrestler I originally knew little about. The biggest surprise in the book was in the story of the infamous Montreal Screwjob in 1997 in which Jim reveals the true identity of the person who gave Vince McMahon the idea to screw Bret Hart, an action that lead to the ultimate death of kayfabe itself. Another interesting aspect of this story was how a similar, much earlier screwjob that also occurred in Montreal would play a role in history repeating itself.

Throughout the comic were clippings of newspaper articles about the stories and pictures taken by Jim himself of the wrestlers featured. This was a wonderful addition that added to the historical aspect of the book. The back of the book contains an excellent glossary of pro wrestling terms that will have you talking like a real insider in no time. The storytelling style of Jim Cornette, adapted brilliantly by writer Brandon Easton, worked incredibly well for this book. It was like I was hearing these tales straight out of Jim’s mouth. The artwork by Denis Medri was also exceptionally done. Medri’s depictions of the wrestlers captured their larger than life personalities while still keeping the stories grounded in reality.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to any fan of pro wrestling. Whether you have been watching wrestling for years or just getting into it, this is a must have for your collection.

 

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Jim Cornette Presents: Behind the Curtain – Real Pro Wrestling Stories

A must have for any pro wrestling fan's collection.

9.3
Art:
9
Direction:
9
Story:
10

Nicholas grew up reading J.R.R. Tolkien's books, watching Disney and Studio Ghibli films, and reading Marvel comics and Japanese manga. The superb storylines and characters ignited his passion for writing. He graduated from Full Sail University in 2015 with a BFA in Creative Writing for Entertainment. During his writing career thus far, Nicholas has had numerous short stories and articles published in an array of literary magazines and websites.

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