I’ve read and reviewed every WWE comic book under the sun. From WWF Battlemania to World Championship Wrestling to the Chaos Comics stuff to WWE Heroes. As it is, the only thing I haven’t talked about yet is the 2-issue Undertaker/Rey Mysterio team-up sequel to WWE Heroes because I’ve been waiting for the seemingly canceled follow-up where John Cena is a gladiator trapped in the past. Yes, I just typed that.
Anyway, I figured I had seen it all. I had seen the worst that World Wrestling Entertainment’s checkered past could show me. Then one day, a guy by the name of Tato changed all of that. He had some old WWF Magazine issues and had been looking through them for laugh fodder. He ended up striking oil when he got to early 1997.
Now, first let’s take a quick look at what WWF was like during that time. They were setting up for Wrestlemania 13, the Wrestlemania with the worst PPV ratings in the company’s history. Shawn Michaels was so much of a backstage dick that rather than lose the title against Bret Hart, he milked an injury, claimed to have “lost his smile” and put us in a situation where Sycho Sid was the champ set to defend the belt against the Undertaker. Also, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin had been gaining a lot of momentum as a popular antagonist, constantly badgering honorable good guy Bret “The Hitman” Hart. Wrestlemania 13 would be the show to switch Austin into the company’s most popular good guy.
Of course, the company couldn’t know that Austin would catch on so strongly and help bring forth a new, lucrative era to the WWF. As it was, they were moving closer and closer to bankruptcy at the hands of World Championship Wrestling and their hit storyline with the New World Order. WWF was desperate and desperation can lead to some really unfortunate ideas.
In some issues of WWF Magazine, they’d show an ad for… something. Here are the two released.
Yep. They’re coming. I don’t know what they are, but they seem to have distracted Mankind from his psychedelic surroundings and what appears to be a melting ice cream bar in his hand. It looks like Steve Austin’s on Mars and while he has no trouble breathing, he’s bundling up due to lack of shirt. The more I look at the second one, the more I’m focused on whatever that is behind Austin. Is it a drill? A monster? A tree of some sort?
Of course, you can always tell quality when they use three exclamation points. That’s pretty freaking loud.
Who is coming? Who better than KROZOR?! Once you’ve gotten over the art of the above images, you might be wondering what the hell a Krozor is. Look no further than this snippet of an essay former WWE employee Kevin Kelly wrote up about WWE focusing on young viewers.
As bizarre as the concept of wrestling targeting kids, it’s been tried before. After the New Generation nearly bankrupted the company and then turned into the Attitude Era, the company tried to go back and target kids again. It was a laughable disaster. To anyone inside the Walls of Titan reading this, go to someone who’s been with the company more that ten years and ask if they remember “Krozor”? Let’s take you back to early 1997 and the Company Meeting held at a non-distinguished hotel in downtown Stamford, which is the worst town I have ever been in.
Jim Cornette and I sat in the back of the room as some old guy, who was an outsider hired for large coin, got up and began a video presentation. The audio on the tape was unmistakable. It was the theme from 2001-A Space Odyssey. Yes, Ric Flair’s theme! And right as WCW was stomping us in the ratings! So, of course, Corney and me both let out a “Whoooo!” at the right point of the song. 400 people in a room and two assholes gotta ruin it! Goddamn that was funny!
Jimmy and I are practically pissing our pants we are laughing so hard as the preview of “Krozor” rolls along. Apparently the Undertaker is going to be in space and fight monsters or some nonsense in this comic book. There was more but it’s hard to focus on the screen when you are crying from laughter. The preview ends… stunned silence followed by polite applause. It was awkward, like if your babysitter asked you and your wife to review her newest porn movie. You feel obligated to like it but it was wrong on so many levels.
Wow. Okay, let’s dive into this.
Outside of those ads, Krozor only appears in the pages of the April 1997 issue of WWF Magazine, focused on what has to already be an out-of-date double main event. Unless you think Shawn Michaels making a non-wrestling appearance at the show warrants him being on the Wrestlemania 13 promo stuff as a dead Jedi. As promised (again with the triple exclamation points), we get the Krozor prologue as part of the package.
In case you’re wondering, Krozor is written by Neville M. Meyer and illustrated by Wayne J. Meyer. Presumably after some kind of tragedy shattered all of Wayne’s fingers and made him go blind while Neville got off with mere brain damage.
Sycho Sid decks a blurry red… thing as a dancing Eraserhead made out of psychedelic aquarium gravel looks on. Meanwhile, an enemy from Turok 64 runs to the bathroom. Somehow it’s mostly the WWF logo being left unedited in the corner – making it more obvious that they just Photoshopped a paused screenshot – that makes this look low rent to me.
Also, it doesn’t make any sense. Evolution is backwards and the world is coming to an end, and yet they can morph into whatever they need to in order to survive. They must have been pretty godly when time began.
Oh, man. I think that this is where all the bad people at DeviantArt go when they die. If you look past Undertaker and Austin having red eyes either because they’re demonically badass or because someone took their picture with a bad camera, you might notice that the creatures from the previous image are all there in the exact same poses. Also copied and pasted is Steve Austin from that earlier advertisement, only they’ve darkened him a bit along with the eye coloring.
It’s time! It’s time! It’s MARTY FELDMAN TIME!
A disheveled Vader staring at the camera in the foreground with an empty gym in the background is pretty much how I imagine his vacation slides to be like. Elsewhere, a cardboard cutout of Shawn Michaels, known for his impressive upper body bulkiness, towers over either Sycho Sid or a time-displaced John Heidenreich. Either way, he’s holding the weights weird and has a nasty booger.
Glad we have a referee and an audience there to watch the wrestlers work out. No way is that just a screenshot of Yokozuna giving Vader a Rock Bottom that they sketched over with tracing paper and some colored pencils. Not really sure what’s going on with the mat. I should be making some kind of joke here, but I really can’t make heads or tails of it. I’m in a trance. What is that black smudge clusterfuck supposed to represent? Impact? Shadows stained in blood? The ring not being fully put together? I have no idea.
I also can’t tell why Sid is so distressed. Is it because Goldust appears to have gained another hundred pounds in the thigh area or is it because he’s somehow transformed into Ric Flair circa 2011? Of course, the best part of this page is Undertaker hiding in the background, suffering from an overdose of Spidey Sense while watching this match in the style of an angry peeping tom.
Yes, that’s the same Undertaker sketch from the cover. He always liked to stand around and stare at people in disgust to stop them from leering at Sunny when she’s working out.
Not to be outdone by Undertaker’s art being reused and skewed in the window, Steve Austin pops in just because.
Definitely sure you just described Big Daddy V.
Will it expand forever like Einstein’s nose or will it contract upon itself like Einstein’s chin?
That first panel is obviously taken from the time Albert Einstein appeared out of a Vietnam swamp in the dead of night so he could kill Colonel Kurtz.
You just asked two completely different questions in one sentence, guy. Now enough with the science crap. I want some bad drawings of Henry O. Godwinn and Marc Mero and I want them now!
Straight from getting his collagen implants put in, a very handsome Vince McMahon walks in with a gesture to assure everyone that it is most certainly Vader Time. Looking closely, I begin to notice how Vince’s head and shirt are sketched, but the rest of his body is CGI. It’s more apparent in his hands. What a bizarre art choice.
It continues into the next image. Hold onto your hats because this ride is about to get extra bumpy.
HAHAHAHA! HOLY SHIT! Andrew W.K. is tripping balls!
I’ve given a lot of shit to the art style (which reminds me, his turtleneck has disappeared), but let’s step back for a second and look at the story we’ve been given over the last several pages. Undertaker is watching an overly sweaty psychopath throw around a homosexual predator clown when all of the sudden, he gets messages from outer space lightning bolted into his skull. His reaction is to quietly walk through a gym and casually stare out the window as a disgruntled loner decides to silently hang out next to him. Then their boss walks in, happy as can be and asks what’s up.
“I’M HEARING VOICES FROM ANOTHER REALITY! THAT’S WHAT’S UP!”
It’s like he’s been waiting patiently for Vince to show up so his explosive mental cracking holds more weight.
Yes, Sunny. That’s very nice. Now go back to Skip’s dressing room. We’ll call when we need you.
Vince keeps his composure, still enjoying his new lip gloss. Undertaker looks like something out of Timeslaughter in that first panel. Then rather than draw or color in his hair in that close-up, muddy CGI is decided to be the better artistic choice. You know how you describe this comic to someone who’s never heard of it? Tell them, “Undertaker’s bangs have lens flare.”
The artist also can’t keep it straight what color Undertaker’s eyes are. Perhaps they’re mood-based.
Ignoring Austin’s need for Just For Men and his chewing tobacco habit, that’s actually the closest thing we’ve gotten to a competent line of dialogue. Congratulations. It doesn’t stop Austin’s inclusion from seeming random and awkward, but congratulations nonetheless.
Undertaker is being taken over by the Venom symbiote… at a laser light show. Three great tastes that taste like sewage together.
Finally, we have this shilling for a comic that would never exist. They’re so good at copying and pasting their images that they even use it as a selling point. That said, I would wear the hell out of that Krozor shirt. I feel that if Krozer was released to the public, the Krozer t-shirt fad would have completely overshadowed the urban Looney Tunes t-shirt fad we got instead.
For the last several years, ever since I started blogging, there’s always been this one comic book I’ve been putting off reviewing. It’s Justice League International Annual #5, an Elseworlds story where the lack of Superman having a role in society has caused the Justice League to be much like the X-Men, with Bruce Wayne and his cronies trying to hunt down and kill every single metahuman. The reason I keep this story in mind is because ever since I’ve read it so long ago, I’ve believed it to be the worst comic I have ever come across. Even though it had art that’s arguably worse than what we’ve just witnessed, I can no longer regard it as the worst comic. Krozor is.
Of all the bad comics I’ve read over the years – and believe me, there’s been many – I can’t think of anything that lacks the slightest redeemable quality like this one does. Even with all the other wrestling comics, I can get what they were going for. I can see why someone would have enjoyed the Undertaker’s late-90′s comic. I myself got a kick out of WWE Heroes for how over-the-top it was. This one is just as out there, but it lacks the enjoyment. It feels more, I don’t know, unsavory. The art is atrocious and lazy, what little writing that exists is laughable and I can’t see how it appeals to anyone. Except maybe the guys who made it, who proudly place it on their outdated online resume.
I do have a little bonus for you guys. On the subject of comics that never got a chance to exist in relation to WWF/WWE and its magazines, this is as good a reason as any to show off the uncolored pages of Hardys in Space. Put together by comic superstar John Byrne, these one-page adventures were meant to be used for the launch of WWE Kids a couple years ago. That actually sounds like a good idea to me. I come across the magazine at work every now and then and it’s a really cute and funny little publication that I would have loved when I was growing up. A comic about Jeff and Matt having cosmic adventures is really fitting.
Two were in the process of being made, but they weren’t used for one reason or another. It’s probably for the better, considering the messes the Hardy Boyz have become. Over the last several years, the real-life stories of Jeff and Matt have gone from laughable, to genuinely sad and all the way back to laughable.
They went too fast? Well, as long as they aren’t going too far.
I’d like to believe that Hardys in Space is really how the two see themselves in real life whenever they’re crashing cars while hopped up on whatever drugs they found in Jeff’s couch cushions. I mean, that middle panel was word-for-word Jeff’s reaction when Gregory Helms suggested he get a clean needle before doing their Tuesday heroin session.
Much like any WWE invasion storyline, the good guys end up looking far too powerful far too early and the invaders look like jokes.
Why is Jeff in his underwear? Being the last installment of Hardys in Space, it ends on a downer cliffhanger. Note that the winner takes Earth. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d feel a lot safer having Adam Warlock and Goro win control of our planet than Matt and Jeff. With those two behind the wheel, the planet would crash into the sun within hours.
Once again, thanks to Tato for introducing me to the wild world of Kozor. May your dreams be as incoherent and badly drawn as mine, my friends.