GLORIOUS WRESTLING ALLIANCE ULTIMATE CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION GNGRAPHIC UNIVERSE
While Josh Hicks’ absurdist pro-wrestling saga has had a pre-2021 life as a black & white small press comic and subsequent crowdfunded collection, its release this year in an expanded, now-in-colour format by a major book publisher means I have every excuse to include it in a best of 2021 list. This wonderful gem of a book really deserves all the eyes it can get, and those who may be wrestling-averse shouldn’t let that deter them from trying one of the most fun books on our lists this year. In a series of vignettes that build to a rousing climax, we meet the members of the Glorious Wrestling Alliance, a struggling franchise headlined by its fish-headed champion Great Carp, whose growing dissatisfaction with his lot threatens the GWA’s very existence. There’s also Miranda Fury, who disguises herself in order to have the women’s league taken seriously, Gravy Train, who wants to change his gimmick even though he’s literally a living gravy boat, and Death Machine, who just wants to have his poetry taken seriously. It’s a funny, occasionally genuinely moving book which has plenty of easter eggs for wrestling fans, and gives both insight into and a critique of the pro-wrestling industry. Lots of Scott Pilgrim comparisons get thrown around about this book, and while it’s a very different tale, it’s very easy to see why.