Damn you Johnny Rivers....This is what immediately popped into my head when checking out press releases in my email this morning:
And yes....as this popped on, one of my students who is studying for finals asked if that was "Secret Asian Man" playing from my laptop....so this like "hold me closer, Tony Danza" is still alive in the youth today. But I digress....
For nearly all of my life, I've had some sort of mystical obsession with professional wrestling, and I think part of it is being named after my grandfather (aka Pap). Pap's real name is Lester Rhodes, and as he was working in the steel industry in Pennsylvania, he was given the nickname Dusty (after Dusty Rhodes, the American Dream), this stuck so well, that in all of my travels to visit my grandparents and other family in PA, I can count the number of times I heard someone call Pap by his birth name on one hand with fingers left over. (I digress again). So, this modern renaissance of both wrestling themed comic books or quasi-biographical or absurd titles where a famous wrestler is the main character has my inner child excited. Which brings us to:
Code Name: Ric Flair (Scout Comics)
By: James Haick, Rafael Loureiro, Renato Pacheo, Yen Nitrov & DC Hopkins
Anticipated Release: April 2023
First, I'll admit, this preview is a little challenging for me to write, given recent sexual harassment allegations coming to light vs. Mr. Flehr after a 2021 episode of "Dark Side of the Ring." Even though he has both denied the allegations and the WWE settled a suit outside of the courtroom, my presumption is still to default to the victims. If this book were a straight-up biography and/or pure glorification of Ric Flair as a man, I probably would not be writing this review...I will still feel a little uneasy after publishing it, but viewing this through the lens of Flair as a fictional character will uncloud some of my bias against Mr. Flair and his problematic past.
According the press release from Scout Comics, here's the Premise:
"RIC FLAIR, the Rolex wearing, diamond ring wearing, wheelin' dealin', limousine ridin' jet flyin' son of a gun who is regarded by many as the greatest professional wrestler of all time, finally has his own comic series!
This brand-new original comic details his fact-or-fiction forays as an international superspy in the 1980s and 1990s. The series purports that Flair, who did in fact travel around the world for wrestling matches, was also a secret agent for the US government, using his persona as the ultimate wrestling heel as the perfect cover.
The first issue/mission "MAGIC EIGHTBALL" takes place in the late 1980's."
While the premise to me is quite intriguing, I'm excited to see how Haick (The Mall, Solar Flare, Third Wave 99) handles the character especially since they are teaming up with Louriero again (The Mall, Unikorn). The Mall is hands down one of my favorite Scout releases ever, and I'm excited to see part of the creative team reunited again on a new property!
In terms of the lens of "Nature Boy as a character" here is how the release summarizes the death of Fliehr and the birth of Flair: "Richard Fliehr, a mild-mannered professional wrestler, almost dies in a small twin engine plane on the way to a regional wrestling match. The doctors not only save his life – they rebuild him better than before. Treatment makes him stronger than ever and Fliehr is reborn as Ric Flair aka The Nature Boy, who must now use his wrestling persona as cover while he works to save the world as a secret agent."
Ethical issues with Flair aside, I'm excited to see what the creative team does with one of the most well known Professional Wrestling talents in the history of sports entertainment, and you know I'll probably follow up with this story as more details are given in the future!
What do you think about this title, let me know in the comments down below!!!!!