Independently Well Done highlights completed and/or noteworthy story-arcs published by indie and small press creators.
Written By: Jarrett Williams
Art By: Jarrett Williams
Published: Feb 2012 – June 2016, by Oni Press
Entertainment is a wild beast and as it is, nearly every form of entertainment has its pocket audience. A group of people who are dedicated to that particular form of sensory input. It’s fascinating to me, the idea of entertainment, mostly because of how universal it is, but also because of the amalgam of forms it takes on. One such form that captivated me in my younger years was professional wrestling. All the people are like cartoon characters (or at least they were). Everything they do is dialed up to max. There’s non-stop confrontation and conflict, drama, rivalries, team-ups, championship matches, heck professional wrestling has nearly everything people love. Now, imagine all of that packed into a comic wherein everything is even more exaggerated and that’s exactly what you have in Jarrett Williams’ Super Pro K.O., and let me say, this series is fan-freaking-tastic.
There’s so much greatness in this series I’m honestly struggling to figure out where to start. The art…amazing. The writing…superb. Heck, I normally wait until the end of the post to encourage people to go check it out, but this series is so much fun that I’m literally telling you to go read it right now. That’s right, I received so much enjoyment from this series that I’m telling you to stop reading this post, and go read Super Pro K.O.
Why are you still reading this…did you read Super Pro K.O.? Because if you haven’t your life is actually missing a gem of joy. I mean, what’s not to love about this book? What, you don’t like wrestling? Well guess what, I haven’t watched wrestling in over twenty-five years. I couldn’t name two professional wrestlers that are currently doing their thing. What I can do is tell you that this series is so much fun it doesn’t matter if you like professional wrestling or not. Heck, I gave this to my wife after I binge read the first volume, and when she looked at me like, “You want me to read a comic about wrestling?” I simply stated, “You’re welcome,” and guess what…she loved it and I don’t think she’s ever watched wrestling in her life.
Yet, if you don’t believe me, that this book is pure fun and joy in the form of a graphic novel, I guess I’ll go into more detail, but only because I want to talk more about Super Pro K.O.
First off, lets do the typical stuff when discussing a comic and start with the premise. SPKO (I’m abbreviating the name from here on out) follows a young man named Joe Samiano who’s recently joined the pro wrestling circuit known as…you guessed it…the Super Pro K.O. League. An interesting off-shoot here is that in this comic there’s also a competing wrestling league, but they’re definitely second rate compared to the SPKO. Anyway, our boy Joe Samiano doesn’t start off as we would think, with dreams and aspirations of being the next great champion. In fact, we start off by learning Joe is an exceptional athlete, and has recently been accepted into a rather illustrious sports school called Intendo University. Yet, shortly after this quick intro, we learn that Joe has abandoned school and has, in fact, become a professional wrestler.
Over the course of SPKO Volume One we watch as Joe navigates his newly chosen profession, and in that, we’re given some of the most fun and entertaining pages you can read. This comic takes the goofy nature of pro wrestling and not only owns it but uses it to develop depth, world building, and highly interesting character development alongside a plot point that is a driving force.
After reading SPKO Vol One, I seriously pondered why we don’t see more wrestling comics being published. It’s like these two forms of entertainment were made for each other. Comics are all about creative characters in wild situations…oh wait…so is wrestling. In fact, the beauty of seeing pro wrestling in comic form is just how crazy you can get with their “signature moves,” and the crazy idiosyncrasies of each wrestler. There’s no limit to the wild things you can do in the ring, and skies the limit when it comes to character development. Heck, there’s a guy who literally says nothing in this story, his name is Other, and he’s absolutely fantastic.
Now, you might be asking yourself, what about the art and storytelling? Well, both are top-notch in my opinion. Williams is both writer and artist of this series and its like both these skills have been honed to compliment each other. Jarrett Williams is both the perfect writer and artist for this series, and as a reader you can feel the cohesion he brings to both aspects of comic storytelling. Everything is extremely well paced, his action sequences are superbly delivered, and the art and paneling of each page leads you to the next. Heck, it nearly propels you through each book. As for the main character, it was only a few pages before I genuinely cared about our boy Joe Samiano. I wanted to know what happened to his sports career, while simultaneously, I was really excited to see what he was going to do within the SPKO.
It’s at this point when I would normally get into more detail about how well crafted this story is, and how the art truly delivers an impact on the story and characters, but the truth is, I want you to experience this for yourself. This series is page after wonderful page of fun. It was like reading a Saturday morning cartoon. It recreated that feeling of childhood for me as I read, as though I was watching a cartoon play out on the pages. There’s a sense of wonder and innocence with this story, but that isn’t to say it’s childish. This book can easily be put into the hands of anyone desiring a fun comic with depth and intrigue, which by the way aren’t easy to combine, but Williams does it perfectly.
As for me, I binged all three volumes, back to back, and I’m eagerly awaiting the next volume. In the mean time, I’m going to be putting together a three part series on each volume and how it builds the world up using a foundation of professional wrestling. If anything, that impressed me the most. Williams actually builds an entire world for his characters using the vessel of SPKO, and by doing so it breathes life into the story. Yet, that’s for another post, as for this post, if you haven’t stopped reading yet, and you still haven’t purchased AT LEAST the first volume…do better for yourself. You like to be happy right? You like fun? Well…do you? Yeah? Good, you know what to do…
Here’s a hint: go read Super Pro K.O.