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The CHIKARA Comic-to-DVD Cover Gallery

May 31st, 2009 Posted by Gavok

For the past couple years, I’d take a second every once and a while to talk about CHIKARA, an indy wrestling organization based out of Philadelphia. Founded by wrestler and head trainer Mike Quackenbush, it’s a school that turned into its own federation. With seven years under its belt, it’s grown to have its own cult following and for good reason.

I regularly bring guests to their shows, tending to take those along who know little or nothing to do with wrestling. They always have a blast. Where else can you see a mute sea monster in a muscle suit team up with a amateur wrestling Rocky Balboa against two clown-like figures dressed up like ice cream people? And not only that, but the wrestling is actually GOOD! It’s routinely funny and the storytelling is top notch.

Back when I first got into it, I did a post about how a bunch of the DVD covers are homages to notable comic book covers. As time went on, the article became a bit popular, but I lost track after a while and kept putting off an update. Now, I think it’s time not to pick up from after I left off, but to redo it from beginning to end. Here we go!

Kids Eat Free On Tuesday & Pick Up Or Delivery
Based on: Flash #123
Features: Mike Quackenbush… and Mike Quackenbush

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CHIKARA Cover: Tim Donst is Pretty Good at What He Does, Bub

November 21st, 2007 Posted by Gavok

This past weekend was the 2007 season finale for CHIKARA. The third and final show ended very badly, when young wrestler Lince Dorado landed wrong during a Shooting Star Senton (if you have any idea what that move means, you can see how it can go very wrong) and caused a major scare. He was taken to the back with the wrestlers, Lince’s family and the fans in fear of his fate. Thankfully, he’s relatively okay, but it could have been a lot worse. The main event of Chris Hero vs. Claudio Castagnoli was cancelled. Despite the year-long build-up, I don’t think anyone objected, considering the circumstances.

I wasn’t at that show, but I did make the one on Saturday. Fantastic stuff, including a main event that gave me some of the biggest laughs I’ve had all year. Being behind on my DVD’s for shows I didn’t have a chance to go to, I shelled out more money than I should have and bought a handful. More specifically, I got myself a copy of Bruised.

Based on Incredible Hulk #181, the battle of the doofy-looking Wolverine and Hulk is replaced with Tim Donst going up against Eddie Kingston. For some reason, they changed the background color and it looks more like a box of Wheaties.

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Wrestlecomics Interview: “Lightning” Mike Quackenbush cuts a promo on Gavok

July 11th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

hermanos is off covering that E3 thing for that magazine he does, so that leaves me to hold up the fort. It’s all right because I have quite the treat. Regular readers know that I’ve been talking about the pro wrestling federation CHIKARA to the point of annoyance in the last few months. And with good reason!

Moving to the next step of fandom, I’ve secured an interview with “Lightning” Mike Quackenbush himself. Quackenbush, nicknamed “The Master of a Thousand Holds” (though to be fair, I’m sure he’s probably sorta kinda good at eight or nine more), is a 16-year veteran of the ring and is the man who co-founded CHIKARA back in 2002. He’s a wrestler, a trainer to wrestling hopefuls, occasional commentator, writer, and possibly the next surprise identity of Ronin. He’s also one of the best performers I’ve ever had the honor of watching wrestle.


A rare image of Mike Quackenbush that doesn’t involve him shoving someone’s left knee into their right ear.

Not to mention that he’s a major comic fan. So this is, you know, still on-topic for the site.

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I know what CHIKARA is and you certainly know what CHIKARA is, but let’s play it safe and say that whoever’s reading this doesn’t know. Can you give us a little description of what it’s about and what sets it apart from all the rest?

- CHIKARA is a group of pro-wrestlers/luchadores/ninjas/ would-be-super-heroes that get together and enact the age-old struggle of “good vs. evil” within the context of a wrestling universe that permits elements of science-fiction and fantasy beyond what is currently considered “acceptable” or “mainstream” by wrestling fans at large. I hope, when the final word on CHIKARA is written, that our effect on the wrestling performance genre will be akin to the effect Monty Python had on British comedy, or Jack Kirby had on comics.


Quack as part of Eddie Kingston’s Cibernetico team, based on the first issue of Justice League International

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Forget the Zombie Covers. It’s CHIKARA Time

May 8th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

Time for something a little different. A few weeks ago, I talked about the World Championship Wrestling comic, discussing a horrifying clash between comics and wrestling. Of course, I’m not done. I have to cover WWF Battlemania, after all. Plus I have a guest article on the way covering a comic that’s very concept causes my brain to explode.

Mixing comics and wrestling isn’t always a bad thing, though. I’d like to talk to you about CHIKARA, an independent wrestling federation that lives out of Pennsylvania. I had heard of it a while ago, but only recently have I given it a look. A couple weeks ago, I was invited to tag along to their show Rey De Voladores and I was basically blown away. It’s got everything I want in wrestling. The wrestling talent is there, giving us innovative and exciting match-ups. It’s got enough story to get by without making it more important than the actual matches. Even when the match is lopsided and the winner is blatant, they don’t make it a one-sided match that lasts two minutes. The match-ups aren’t entirely stuck on good vs. evil. Two heels can fight without having to worry about the crowd not knowing who to cheer for. Two tag partners can compete against each other without some forced storyline about them breaking up.

Most importantly is the fun factor. A lot of these guys are just weird. There’s a guy named the Hydra, who wears a monster mask, but is so skinny that he has to draw a six-pack onto himself with a sharpie in a desperate attempt to make himself seem menacing. There’s Chuck Taylor, once a smiling good guy, now driven mad by success and ego as he physically threatens children and the elderly on a regular basis. He also has a random love for dolphins and has the theme from Pete and Pete as his entrance music. There’s Player Uno, the 8-Bit Luchador, who usually wears tights that resemble overalls, as well as a lucha mask and a cap. During some matches, he’ll even kick a turtle shell into his opponents.

Others I’ll get to later.

The point of this article is the DVDs. Since CHIKARA doesn’t have a TV deal, they mostly get by with their DVD sales. This is actually what got my initial attention, as many of the DVD covers are based on classic comic book covers. The homage covers are done by Marco de Alfonso (possibly spelled wrong) and he does an amazing job.

Let’s have a look.

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