First Comics News: As a fan when did you first notice wrestling?
Daniel Barnes: The big WWF boom hit the UK in 89/90, but the first PPV I remember seeing was Wrestlemania VI, Hogan v Warrior main event… Safe to say I was hooked.
1st: When did you decide you wanted to be a wrestler?
Daniel: Probably 10 seconds after Wrestlemania VI finished ha ha
But seriously one man inspired me and that was Bret “Hitman” Hart, first time I saw him I thought he was the coolest person ever. His match with Mr Perfect at Summerslam 91 really made me want to be a wrestler, it’s still my favourite match.
1st: How did your friends and family react when you told them you wanted to be a wrestler?
Daniel: Probably thought it was just another fad of mine. But I want to live my life with no regrets so I try all the things that I want to try.
1st: How did you find a wrestling school?
Daniel: The Internet! When I first discovered the Internet back in 2001 on my Sega Dreamcast. Found that there was actually schools out there where you learn to become a wrestler! Only a few back then though, went to a local on called Kstar.
1st: I heard you were injured in the school?
Daniel: I just jolted my back taking a move in a trainee match, there was miscommunication between the other wrestler and myself and as I tried to get out the move he delivered it. Just part and parcel of the game. I went on to trap a nerve in my back in 2005 which kept me away from the ring for a few years.
1st: What made you go back to the school?
Daniel: I suppose it was my passion for wrestling at the time and wanting to achieve a goal of becoming a pro wrestler. Plus Goonies never say die, and I’m a Goonies, so had to go back.
1st: Then you went on to train with Lance Storm?
Daniel: Yep. October 2005. Only for a couple of weeks though as I didn’t have the finances and couldn’t get any more time off from my job back home.
1st: What was it like at the Storm Academy?
Daniel: Great. Lance is a great guy and a great trainer, anybody wanting to get into wrestling should go to his academy. Also met some nice people there, Carlo Cannon was a trainee there too at the time and he was a guy who I struck up a good relationship within the ring, we had good chemistry together, he’s gone on to have a successful career in his homeland of Australia.
1st: Where did The Metro-Sexual gimmick come from?
Daniel: I was tired of always playing a generic baby face. I kept being told I was too pretty to be a heel (not my words, honest ha ha) and people wouldn’t buy it. But, I was allowed to give it a go, and it worked and people did buy it. As a face I felt like I was just Dan Barnes but as “The Metrosexual” I was a character and my confidence grew with that character. The gimmick itself was an amalgamation of Rick Martel and early Shawn Michaels.
1st: What was your first match like?
Daniel: Actually really good! It all ran smoothly, probably down to the guy I was working with called Sal Americana. Another guy I had great in-ring chemistry with. (He beat me with the Bulldog/Bret Summerslam 92 finish)
1st: What countries have you wrestled in?
Daniel: Just the UK.
1st: What brought you to comics?
Daniel: I was never a big comic book collector as a kid, it wasn’t until I got myself a job that I really got into the world of comics and then it was graphic novels, it’s always been graphic novels with me as I can’t wait and I have to have the whole story there for me delve into.
First graphic novel I purchased was Batman: The Movies (still have it)
1st: Is there a similarity in telling a story in comics and telling a story in the ring?
Daniel: Absolutely! I have actually said that to people on the past, really glad you picked up on that. For me it has totally helped me with writing stories, I was never great at English at school, and never ever thought I’d write and create anything, but after wrestling it did really help me to tell a story. In the ring I liked to use psychology, and for instant say I was working the leg, is only do moves that affected the weakened leg, I use that in my writing, putting myself in the characters head and thinking “he wouldn’t do that because that doesn’t make sense” Because why give the guy a shoulder Breaker if he’s hurt his ankle.
(Just read that back, hope that makes sense ha ha)
1st: Why don’t you use the name and fame of the Metrosexual Danny Devine on your comics?
Daniel: He is. He will be in Blood Stained Canvas, a pro wrestling comic I’ve been working on for a while.
1st: Why the name Dead Bride Comics?
Daniel: My old “company” was Tree Frog Comics with Aidan Mountford, and when we went our separate ways I wanted a fresh start, toyed with a few names but like anything good it’s already gone ha ha, but I settled on Dead Bride Comics as I was always fascinated with the Day of Dead. The lady on the logo is Vera (don’t ask me why) and I wanted her to look like a 50’s pin up so my good friend Paul “PJ” Johnson drew up a great image of her on a rocket, looks awesome.
1st: You started with Starlex, what is Starlex about?
Daniel: Starlex is about a girl called Alexis Starling, who acquires superhuman powers when she is hit by a shooting star and absorbs it’s power, then has the ability to create shields, blasts from stardust and also gives her the ability of levitation and flight. It’s about a normal girl really and how she juggles normal things in her life while being a super hero.
1st: Who is working with you on Starlex?
Daniel: Currently on issue 2 and the artist is Ben Eargle.
1st: Next up is Vatican: Angel of Justice, what is that about?
Daniel: It’s about a man called Thomas Gabriel, who returns to the decaying, crime ridden place known as Studd City. He fled the city as a child, escaping from his abusive father, He travels for several years looking for his place in the world, living with a group of Shaolin monks in China and learning the ways of the Shaolin before… Hang on I’m not going to give too much of his backstory away 😉 lets just say he returns as a priest to try to make a difference in the community but at night he uses his new found skills to do what the authorities can’t and bring the criminal scum to justice as Vatican! (Will be out this year with art from Lee Ciasullo)
1st: Does he wear a blindfold or a domino mask?
Daniel: Originally it was a domino, then when I was working on it with the first artist he suggested a blindfold look, but I was never 100% set on it so when I rebooted the idea I put h back in the domino. But there will be a reference to the blindfold in the comics somewhere down the line.
1st: You also have a wrestling related comics Blood Stained Canvas, does that focus on the characters in wrestling or actual wrestling matches?
Daniel: It’s about the characters, it’s about the matches and it’s about the politics. A lot of behind the curtain stuff, that’s what the story is really about the life of a wrestler. A friend of mine (when he read the script) said “it’s like Watchmen meets The Wrestler”
1st: So the Dead Bride checklist is…
12 Swords of the Zodiac
Blood Stained Canvas
Hope: The Origins
Maple Falls Massacure
Revenge is Geek
Time Warp Heroes
Vatican: Angel of Justice
World War Hell
1st: Where are each of these series in production?
Daniel: Some of them are only concepts or scripts at the moment. Obviously I’m a one man team and finances are tight so it’s hard for me to do all the projects, I’d love to be saying they’re all coming out soon but unfortunately not all are yet, but the ones that are on their way are…
Vatican “Angel of Justice” Issue 1. Lee is working hard on the artwork and as soon as he sends me a page I colour it, currently we’ve got 12 pages but issue 1 is going be about 40 pages (Bumper Edition)
Starlex: Issue 2 I’ve coloured all the pages I’ve had from Ben, just waiting for the next batch.
Monster Home: Issue 2 Stefano Cardoselli is on the art for this one and we’re halfway through.
HOPE: Origins is a team of heroes put together by Vatican, it’s a comic of one page origin stories for each character. Art was by Dody Eka and is currently being inked by Lewis Tillett, and I’m colouring it, so it’s at various stages.
Arctic Owl is at “drawing up character stage” with some great art from Darren McCay on the characters.
Blood Stained Canvas is at early stages too drawing up concepts and characters and art is going to be by Lewis Tillett.
Maple Falls & Jagged Edge are with Martin Parkes, which is also at a very early stage.
1st: Which titles and issues are available today?
Daniel: Titles available are Starlex issue 1 (which was actually originally released in 2010)
Monster Home issue 1 and Revenge is Geek
1st: How does a fan find and buy them?
Daniel: We have a store on Sellfy.com where you can buy the comics digitally. https://sellfy.com/DeadBrideComics
1st: Where can fans find you in 2015?
Thanks for the interview and kudos on do your research, especially on the wrestling, it was a nice trip down memory lane for me.