Part of the thrill of blogging, reading comics, and attending various conventions is that I get the opportunity to discover new and original work. Not too often do I have the pleasure to come across a concept that’s not only fresh and exciting, but also appealing to more than just the stereotypical comic book mainstream themes. This was one of the first digital comics I’ve read, and also the very first wrestling comic – that’s right, a wrestling comic! Introducing to you – BAMN comics!
BAMN comics is coming up on it’s two year anniversary, and to celebrate it’s anniversary, writer, Troy-Jeffrey Allen, and artist, Jay Payne, are welcoming Matt Rawson to create a 12-part story arc featuring one of the characters. The weekly comic releases a new part every Wednesday, and starting May 7th, readers get a closer look at Rob the Viking.
The comics center around Bamn, a “washed up wrestler”, and his interaction with the teenagers that in addition to wanting to become pro-wrestlers, have to defend themselves against a group of bullies. They learn techniques like how to fall from Bamn, and use them to rise above those who try to push them down. It’s an underdog story at it’s finest, and from various angles it gives readers a look not only into the characters’ point of view, but a ton of fun original cosplay ideas as well!
I had the opportunity to ask a few questions to get to know the creators, and learn more about the comic. Check out their answers:
Comics and Cashmere (CC): Fantastic comic! How did the concept for the comic originate?
Bamn Comics (BC): Thanks! We actually came up with Bamn back in 2008. Artist Jay Payne and I both worked at our local comic shop store back then. Jay was constantly sketching art and we always kind of would get into these discussions/arguments about comics, wrestling, movies, etc. Despite our endless back and forths, at the heart of these clashes was the fact that we largely liked the same stuff. That kind of opened things up for us to share some of ideas we had individually for comics, movies, and so on. Jay showed me this really rough sketch of this wrestling character he called “Bamn.” He had a baseball bat then and was like a teenager, but it was enough of a nugget for me to push for us to collaborate. I started pushing the idea of making Bamn a sort of vagrant who helped a bunch of school kids fend off their neighborhood bullies. It just kind of snowballed from there. We conceptualized the rest of the cast from some of Jay’s other art and went from arguing about the details of other people’s stories to arguing about the details of our own.
CC: Was it a tough decision to create a digital comic verses a paperback comic?
BC: We actually spent some time trying to do it as a physical comic. We realized that the audience we wanted was already online and we needed to go to them instead hoping they come to us at a convention.Wrestling fans flocked to the Internet early on, and they’ve created so many online communities over the years that it was imperative that we meet them halfway. The interest in the comic since then has grown. You see the analytics, you see the folks visiting per day, and you know you’re progressing. Beats schlepping from con to con 6 times a year hoping someone buys a copy.
CC: The main theme of the comic is overcoming a bullying situation, do you have any experience with that?
BC: Of course. I think it happens to everyone eventually. That’s kind of the point of the series. At some point, the person over you is going to try and exert their authority. Whether it’s your boss or some jerk in your neighborhood or some jerk in The White House — people try to make themselves feel better by attempting to make the other person feel less. My hope is that someone will feel a bit of reassurance by the fact that they aren’t alone. Bullying happens to us all in various forms. It’s important to not let someone control you like that — shove that opposition out of your way. It’s the most important life lesson anyone can learn, as far as I’m concerned.
CC: Have comics and characters always been a part of your life?
BC: Absolutely. I was just talking to Matt Rawson — our guest artist — about how I have kicked every vice I’ve come across cold turkey, but comics are my real addiction. I always come back to them. Even as a film nerd, I find that I get tired of movies. I really can’t say that with comics. There are just so many options and they work so well in making you emotionally invest in what happens next to a character. I’ve long considered comics the best of both worlds in regards to medium. You have the visual aspect with a comic, you of course read them in addition to the imagery, you have the interactive bits where you can turn the page…and create the sounds in your head! On a very basic level, that’s everything you get from TV, games, and novels wrapped up into one. All those things have certain things they do better of course, but comics has a little bit of each.
CC: Focusing on the new story arc, what can we expect to see from Rob the Viking?
BC: This is the turning point for a lot of the characters you’ve gotten to meet in Bamn. Especially the teenagers who have been getting bullied. Rob’s change in attitude during the 12 part “Campaign of Courage” is us showing the readers why it is important to not let the bullies win. You do yourself a serious disservice when you do, and Rob is the cipher for all that. He is also the main one we use to change all the other kids’ minds. Some of them have been hesitant in standing up for themselves because all they’ve known is abuse and fear. Rob will be the one to show them that fear can turn into action. Fear can be a good motivator.
CC: If you could have been tutored by a famous wrestler when you were in school, who would you choose and why?
BC: Ha! Oh, that’s a good one. Well, my immediate thought was Bret “The Hitman” Hart. His methodical style of wrestling was amazing. Probably the closest I’d get to being the most proficient human being I could be.
CC: And finally, where can we see the comic going in the future? Any big plans we should look out for?
BC: Expect the mystery behind what happen to Bamn to be revealed after Rob’s adventure. We’ve been trying to build up to how his story ties into the theme, and that moment is going to happen soon. Also expect to see the cast get bigger once we leave Haytts High School. This particular story is just one of many love letters to pro wrestling that we plan to sign.
There you have it! If you’re not already hooked, you should definitely check out their comic! It’s an easy and enjoyable read, and I can’t wait to see what Rob the Viking is all about! Take a look and wait for the next installment in Rob’s story arc this week!