There’s a wonderful correlation between wrestling and comics, with both featuring valiant heroes and over the top villains and this is especially so in the world of small press. One of our favourites who really manage to capture that dynamic is James Lawrence’s Legend of La Mariposa and he is back with a collection of new knockout adventures in The Climb and Other Stories.
Publisher: James Lawrence
Writer: James Lawrence
Artist: James Lawrence
Price: Coming to Kickstarter on June 1st
La Mariposa’s first complete adventure, The Demon Gauntlet was a well deserved entrant in our best of 2019 list, and creator James Lawrence has brought his plucky heroine back with a new collection, made up of stories he released as one-shots to sell at conventions (along with some other rarities). While this is an amazing chance for long time fans like us to collect everything in one place, it’s also a great chance for new fans to sample of this brilliant world – and if you don’t want to leap in with both feet after reading this, then you’re truly missing out!
For those who need a quick catch up, our adventure sees trainee luchadore (aka masked Mexican wrestler) La Mariposa attempt to get into super group the Sons of Justice by collecting 6 demonic masks (which are a bit like infinity stones or horcruxes). While the Demon Gauntlet followed this story, Climb And Other Stories is a nice distraction that run alongside the main book and includes an attempt to get a rare birds egg, a battle with a mysterious creature that is bothering some goats and an unsuccessful attempt to win a chilli making contest, amongst others.
We said all this in the previous reviews, but it still stands here: James has created a truly wonderful character and world in La Mariposa. It’s packed full of character, humour and personality and if you love series like Dungeon Fun or Jamie Smart’s work in The Phoenix, then this is the book for you. It takes the best elements of wrestling and superheroes and wraps them up in this perfect package and sprinkles it with a liberal dose of daft humour. It also has the zany action of a Nickleodeon animation, and we could definitely seeing it work as a Saturday morning cartoon – especially with each of these stories being self contained little vignettes that feel like one off episodes.
Every page feels packed with details and subtle little sight gags or visual tricks to really make the story zip along. Whether it is the fight sequences which blend wrestling moves and superhero fisticuffs to create some really great set pieces. Or the wonderful characters like Doris the demonic goat or the Gruesome Grappler who feels like a brilliant Scooby Doo villain combined with an EC comics horror character. This new edition also see some of the stories coloured for the first time. And while we loved the small press feel of the original black and white comics, the vibrant characters are much better in colour – especially in the Climb where the bird’s blue and purple colour scheme leaps out from every panel!
Mariposa is also a really positive and inspiring lead character who attempts to solve her challenges through smarts and as well as brawn, and she is the ultimate plucky underdog. Yet she is also given enough credibility to be a really relatable and supportable hero. Especially when the villains she is up against are so gloriously OTT!
You also don’t have to be a huge wrestling fan to love these stories (although there are plenty of little Easter eggs hidden in there if you are a grapple fan), it is more like a superhero book than a wrestling story, but with the pace of a Saturday morning cartoon and as such manages to capture that pure unadulterated fun that all ages comics are all about!