Maesycwmmer cartoonist Josh Hicks is set to take his cast of neurotic pugilists to the next level when Minneapolis-based publisher Graphic Universe releases his comic, Glorious Wrestling Alliance: Ultimate Championship Edition, in October.
Josh Hicks, 30, has been writing, drawing and self-publishing the series for the last few years, selling mainly at art fairs, comic conventions and independent comic stores across Wales and England. Now the series will hit the top rope when the US publisher releases a definitive, full-colour collection of the comic across the world.
Glorious Wrestling Alliance offers readers an inside look at the universe’s least professional wrestling company, featuring the fiercest – and most conflicted – competitors to ever set foot in the ring. Filled with colourful characters, witty dialogue, and endless leg drops, the book is an audacious love letter to the surreal theatre of pro-wrestling that tackles insecurity and anxiety both on and off the mat.
As well as being a gifted cartoonist, Josh also works as a freelance illustrator and animation director. He recently served as co-director on two animated music videos for Foo Fighters – No Son of Mine and Chasing Birds – at Caerphilly-based Bomper Studio.
Josh said the comic had been a labour of love for some time, and so he was excited to see the collection being sold around the world: “I’ve been working on the Glorious Wrestling Alliance comics since about 2016, so it’s surreal and gratifying that Graphic Universe is now bringing them to a wider audience. I remember sketching out the first pages in a tiny back room at home years ago, so it’s pretty amazing to think that people across the globe will soon be able to get their hands on the book.”
“The collection is released in October, but pre-orders have already started and I can’t wait for it to be out in the world. I’m hard at work on my second graphic novel with Graphic Universe, which will be a sci-fi adventure about a giant robot that is also a hotel. Just saying that sentence makes me feel like I’ve found the exact right home for my work.”
The book is already winning critical acclaim, with prolific comic writer Kieron Gillen (The Wicked + The Divine, Young Avengers, Star Wars: Darth Vader) calling it “an epic wrestling match between the lust for life of Scott Pilgrim and the comic self-loathing of BoJack Horseman where we’re all winners.”
All Elite Wrestling and Ring of Honour legend Christopher Daniels also gave the book his seal of approval, saying: “Josh Hicks does a tremendous job satirizing professional wrestling in Glorious Wrestling Alliance.
“Every facet of pro wrestling, from art to ego to commerce, gets a shot at the title with Josh’s witty dialogue and vibrant art.”