Issue 1 Features a Variant Cover by Khary Randolph,
The Artist of Excellence and Sirens of the City
(November 17, 2022) The Undertaker. Danhausen. El Santo. Every wrestler needs a good gimmick: a colorful in-ring persona that dazzles the crowd. Then there’s wrestling champ Shane Bryant. Shane’s a “nice guy” who floats through life with no repercussions and a forgettable gimmick. But Shane’s been keeping a life-changing secret: he has super strength. And when he loses control of that strength, punching his fist straight through his opponent’s brain—in front of 2.4 million horrified viewers—everything changes. Now Shane needs a new gimmick—and a new life.
Welcome to THE GIMMICK, a Coen Brothers–style dark comedy from AHOY Comics, writer Joanne Starer (Sirens of the City; Away From Here), artist Elena Gogou (Quests Aside), colorist Andy Troy, letterer Rob Steen, and editor Tom Peyer. THE GIMMICK features covers by Eisner Award-winning The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl artist Erica Henderson, and issue 1 features a variant cover by Excellence artist Khary Randolph.
In the series, the now fugitive Shane Bryant flees to Tijuana, where he begins a career as a masked wrestler. But Shane’s life has too many loose ends to make a clean escape possible. His manipulative mother, his ex-girlfriend, his child, the friends he left behind, and the daughter of the man he killed all want a piece of him….
Joanne Starer has written the acclaimed comics Sirens of the City (illustrated by artist Khary Randolph) and A Way From Here (illustrated by Gabo), both of which are available via the Glass Eye Studio Substack. Joanne also once owned a women’s wrestling promotion out of Pennsylvania and championed equality in the field.
“THE GIMMICK is born from the wild, incredible, and sometimes terrible experiences I had in the world of pro-wrestling,” said Starer. “I’ve seen it from many angles: as an in-ring performer, a promoter, and a wrestler’s girlfriend. I’ve got stories, y’all.”
Elena Gogou is a freelance comic artist and illustrator living in Patras, Greece, who made her US-comics debut with Vault’s Quests Aside, written by Brian Schirmer. She holds a very cool degree in Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics that she never uses but likes to mention.
“THE GIMMICK gives every appearance of being about wrestling, but at its core it’s about people—like the ones you know, only larger and stranger and less predictable,” said THE GIMMICK editor and AHOY Comics Editor-in-Chief Tom Peyer. “And character is where Elena’s art shines, a perfect fit for a quirky tale of misfits thrown together and cast apart.”
“The Gimmick combines three of my favourite elements in a story, comedy, violence and character drama,” said Gogou. “Shane is the human equivalent of a dumpster fire, going from one messy situation to the next in the most ridiculous ways. He makes a man’s head explode in the first pages of the first issue, goes on the run with his mentor, falls in love. It is an outrageous, fun and messy ride and I was immediately sold when I was approached about working on the book. The way Joanne has tackled this story perfectly encapsulates the over-the-top essence of wrestling, but remains grounded by its characters, who are distinctively flawed and human. I’m really excited for people to read what we’ve created!”
The debut issue of THE GIMMICK will be released on March 8, 2023.