Tuesday, May 26, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 061 It's good to be the King.. Sometimes

TITLE-It's good to be the King... Sometimes
AUTHOR-Jerry Lawler with Doug Asheville

Growing up in the Deep South,I have been a fan of Jerry The King Lawler since as far back as I can remember. So when I heard he was writing an biography I knew I had to read it. I can't remember why I didn't grab it the day it came out. But IIRC the paperback came out right around my birthday. And the lady I was seeing at the time got it for me as a birthday gift.

Jerry Lawler grew up for most of his life in Tennessee. And from a young age was a fan of the local Memphis wrestling. He would watch the weekly Saturday morning show. And because he had lots of artistic talent,he would draw pictures of the various wrestlers. His father talked him into sending some of them into the studio where the weekly wrestling show was filmed. The next week his art got shown on the show. And a young Lawler got invited to be on the show the next week.

This helped fuel Lawler's passion. He now knew he wanted to be a wrestler.But back then it was hard to get into the wrestling business. It isn't like it is now. Where there are wrestling schools all over. Back then you either had to be related to a wrestler or get lucky and find one that was willing to train you.

Jerry got a job working for a tiny radio station. And a "outlaw" wrestling group,Outlaw groups were groups that ran in the same area as the bigger better known groups,got Jerry to start talking up their shows on his radio show. This caused some of the Memphis wrestlers to come talk to Jerry. And they offered to train him if he would stop promoting the outlaw group.

And from that one of the best known and most loved wrestlers sprung.Within a few years Jerry was the most popular and best known wrestlers in the Memphis circuit.

I really enjoyed all the info Jerry give on his infamous feud with Andy Kaufmann.Back in the early 80s Kaufmann was going around having matches with women. And this morphed into a long lasting feud between Lawler and Kaufmann. And it was so big it was known all over the USA. Hell they even appeared on the old David Letterman show on NBC. Where Kaufmann attacked Lawler. For years now Lawler has said that this attack was not planned out in advance. But since ,with release of the Kaufmann bio pic Man on the moon,Lawler felt it was time to tell the full story.

While the stories about Jerry's early days are very entertaining. To me the best stuff in the book is all his stories from his teen years. Where he is trying everything he can to impress various women. Lawler doesn't hide the fact that he is as he says "addicted to sex". He doesn't smoke,drink or do drugs. "My only addictions are Coca Cola and Sex." And as the wrestling fans reading this know,drug abuse is rampart in the wrestling industry. So Lawler being able to avoid the traps of hard drug abuse is another reason why I have always loved the King.

The last 5th of the book is all about how he met ,as of this writing,his last wife. Stacy Carter aka The Kat,who Lawler met when she was in her late teens. And at first it looked like they were very happy. Then he finds out she wants to leave him.

Now I have heard that part of the divorce settlement between Lawler and Carter was he wasn't suppose to talk about what caused they to get divorced. And since he goes into details about it in this book he supposedly got sued.If all this is true I must assume that if this book ever gets reprinted lots of the last few chapters will be re-written or just removed from the book.

Now with some wrestling books they will appeal to people who are not into wrestling.This isn't one of those. But if you grew up watching Memphis wrestling or have an interest in 70s and 80s Memphis this book will be an enjoyable read.

It's good to be the King....Sometimes gets a 3.11 outta 5.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 060 YEAH!

AUTHOR-Peter Bagge
FORMAT-Trade paperback

I am sure even amongst the hardcore comic geeks reading my blog this comic is almost unknown. Written by Peter Bagge of HATE fame,and with artwork from Gilbert Hernandez of Love and Rockets fame. Yeah! is the story of an all girl rock band. Yeah is made up of three young adults. Who are trying everything they can to become a famous rock band. But there is a twist,on Earth they are unknown. But all through out the universe they are the biggest band ever. Yeah I know it sounds strange. But it works.

This series only lasted 9 issues. Published under DC comics Homage imprint. It started not long after Bagge's underground comic hit Hate had ended. Hate was Bagge's semi autobiographical story of a young man that in 1990 moves from suburban New Jersey to Seattle. Right before the grunge explosion happens. The series while one of my favorite comics,was not a book you would let anyone under the age of say 15 read. And Gilbert Hernandez was known for his work on another underground comic fave,Love and Rockets. Which like Hate was not an all ages comic. So when word got out that two legends of the 80s/90s underground comic scene were teaming up I was excited. Then when I found out they were doing an all ages comics I was intrigued. But I think cause of the two creators reputations is why this series was a huge bomb. Talking to various comic shop owners,most of them either ordered one copy each month of Yeah if they even  ordered a copy. The shop I went to only ordered 3 of each issue. One for me,one for the owner and one to put on the shelf. He ordered one copy of any all ages comic. Because he wanted to make sure if any kids came into the shop he has comics for them.

It is hard for me to objectively critique this series.It is in my top 5 non-superhero comics.And I am a huge fan of Peter Bagge. So I am going to instead review this trade. I got a few complaints. First off the series was in color. But this trade is b/w. And I know I say all the time that b/w reprints of color comics doesn't bother me. With this series it does. The color really made the artwork stand out. So being in B/w it feels a little flat. My other issue is that starting with the 2 or 3rd issue of the series there was a letters page. Where each letter that got printed was answered by Crusty,who is YEAH! manager. So unlike lots of letters pages the ones in YEAH! were actually part of the story. Yeah I know I am just nitpicking. But my love of this series is huge. And I think that in the future it has a chance of becoming a huge hit.

YEAH! gets a 4.50 outta 5.