The following is an interview with comic book writers Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin on the release of their new comic book series, Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Kuehnel and Entin about the inspiration behind the intergalactic series, their shared creative process, other exciting projects in the works, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the release of your intergalactic wrestling comic book, Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the series’ premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin: The series starts when flamboyant heel “Rock ‘n Roll” Rory Landell makes an idle boast on pay-per-view, proclaiming himself “Galactic Champion of the Universe.” Fifteen years later—via the magic of satellite—this “idle boast” sparks an interplanetary conflict and suddenly the fate of the whole world rests on the shoulders of Rory, now 40-something and completely washed-up. The story was inspired by a shared childhood love of wrestling. There’s seven years between us, so our reference points are slightly different. Ed has an affinity for the Pacific Northwest Wrestling shows of the late ’70s and early ’80s, whereas Matt grew up during the Hogan-era boom of the mid-to-late ’80s and avidly tracked the Monday Night Wars of the ’90s.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in co-writing the series, and what have been some of your creative influences? Likewise, what can you tell us about your work with the artist and colorist of the series?
Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin: It’s been a lengthy, on-and-off, almost decade-long process. The inspiration came from re-watching a lot of old wrestling shows, combing through yellowed back-issues of Pro Wrestling Illustrated, and reading a giant stack of wrestler autobiographies. The latter was probably the most important, as we wanted our portrayal of the industry – and the people that work in it – to be realistic, helping ground what’s otherwise a pretty bonkers concept.
For the art we chose Dan Schkade who is an amazing illustrator who had already done a lot of work for folks like Dynamite, Valiant, and others. He’s received a lot of praise for his character designs on the book and rightly so. He has an amazing talent for knowing what to draw and more importantly, what NOT to draw.
For something like pro wrestling which relies on larger-than-life spectacle to keep us entertained, we knew the book had to be in color and for that we chose Marissa Louise. Her work is breathtaking—her choice of colors in the desert scenes alone are worth the price of admission.
Rounding out the art team are the folks at A Larger World Studios. We learned firsthand that it’s true what they say—professional lettering makes a huge difference.
This was our first comic, so it was great to be in the care of such talented, hardworking, and sociable artists that took our script and made into a beautiful-looking book.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from your work?
Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin: We hope they laugh, and also we hope they come away with a new respect for pro wrestling as an art. Some of these people are putting their bodies on the line three hundred nights a year, just for our entertainment. Wrestling may be choreographed, but it’s not fake.
BD: How many issues of the series do you have planned to create?
Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin: We’ve currently planned a six-issue run for this specific arc—we’ll do others if this first one finds an audience.
BD: If given the opportunity to expand your series into other entertainment mediums, in what format do you hope to see it adapted?
Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin: We plan to do a film based on the current story arc. We also have a pitch for an ongoing animated series that would take place on Planet Wrestletopia itself, prior to the events taking place in the comic.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin: Right now, we’re busy writing the remainder of the series, but we do have plenty of other ideas we plan to get out there after IFPW.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia?