The Gimmick: No Holds Barred

Jan 20, 2023 - 04:30 PM

For Immediate Release:

THE GIMMICK by Writer Joanne Starer and Artist Elena Gogou is a No-Holds-Barred Dark Comedy About Superpowers and Pro-Wrestling

Featuring Covers by Erica Henderson, the Eisner Award-Winning of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

Issue 1 Features a Variant Cover by Khary Randolph, artist of Excellence and Sirens of the City

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.


Advance Praise:

“THE GIMMICK is anything but a gimmick. This book is the real deal, full of humor, heart and indelible characters who feel perfectly realized right out of the gate. It’s so good it makes me mad! I’m so mad.”—Chip Zdarsky, writer of Daredevil

“Back-breaking laughs and shin-cracking action…plus a lot of heart. The Gimmick has it all!” —Patton Oswalt, writer of Minor Threats

“THE GIMMICK delivers like a flying elbow to the brain. Elena Gogou has drawn a beautifully illustrated book and Joanne Starer takes us deep inside the dark side of wrestling. Together they deliver one of the freshest books of the year. If you love adventure featuring wrestling, manslaughter, redemption, betrayal, and over the top chaos, THE GIMMICK is custom made for you.” —Jimmy Palmiotti, writer of Harley Quinn

THE GIMMICK is a very pleasant surprise. I never figured I’d get drawn into a story about wrestling but here I am, totally interested in a story about wrestling… and super powers. Joanne Starer pulls from her extensive knowledge and years of experience in and around wrestling communities to create a vibrant, wholly believable world of unique characters in extraordinary and very messed up situations. The art by Elena Gogou is dynamic and engaging, her energy keeps everything moving along at a solid pace. I got to the end of the first issue and found myself not just wanting to know what happens next, but to learn more about the world their characters are entering into. It’s not often you get teased like this and damnit, yes, I’d like some more. Good job, you got me.” —Pia Guerra, artist of Y: THE LAST MAN  

“You need to be living THE GIMMICK! Here's a raw exploration of the wrestling business's underbelly that's one part LUCHA UNDERGROUND and one part A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE.  Go behind the curtain and see what happens when superstars meet superpowers!”— Eisner, Ringo, and GLAAD Nominated Writer of batman, Steve Orlando

“Starer's unique voice is exactly what we all need right now.” —Joe Casey, co-creator of Ben 10 and Big Hero 6

“Joanne Starer’s sharp wit and modern takes on classic material and genres never fail to refresh and delight.” —Ian Boothby, MAD Magazine cartoonist and Eisner-winning writer for The Simpsons Comics and The New Yorker.


THE GIMMICK will be published monthly by AHOY Comics. Issue 1 drops on March 5, 2023.

For additional information and interview requests, contact:

David Hyde                                                      Hanna Bahedry

Superfan Promotions Founder                           Superfan Promotions Publicity Coordinator       


About AHOY Comics

AHOY Comics debuted in the fall of 2018 with the bold promise for readers to expect more from its line of comic book magazines, featuring comic book stories, poetry, prose fiction, and cartoons. The independent, Syracuse-based company is the brainchild of publisher Hart Seely, an award-winning reporter whose humor and satire has appeared in The New York Times and on National Public Radio. AHOY’s editor-in-chief Tom Peyer is committed to publishing comics with a (dark) sense of humor with titles like the religious satires SECOND COMING and HIGH HEAVEN, the superhero parodies THE WRONG EARTH and HASHTAG: DANGER, the sci-fi spoof CAPTAIN GINGER, the time travel tales PLANET OF THE NERDS and BRONZE AGE BOOGIE, and the humor/horror anthology series EDGAR ALLAN POE’S SNIFTER OF BLOOD.


About the creators

Joanne Starer has written for Archie Comics, King Features, and Image Comics.Notably, she once owned a women’s wrestling promotion out of Pennsylvania and championed equality in the field. She lives in New York.

Artist Elena Gogou is a freelance comic artist and illustrator living in Patras, Greece. She holds a very cool degree in Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics that she never uses but likes to mention.

Colorist Andy Troy has colored for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, AHOY Comics, and others, working on Spawn, Batman, and Captain America, and such projects as SECOND COMING and THE WRONG EARTH.  He lives in Huntsville, AL.

Letterer Rob Steen illustrated the Flanimals series of books written by Ricky Gervais. He drew and wrote his latest book, Pods.  He previously played guitar in the bands Presence and Babacar. He lives in Red Hook, NY.

Cover artist Erica Henderson is a two-time Eisner Award-winner, known for her comics work on Marvel Comics’ The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and Archie Comics’ Jughead, and for her animation work on Venture Bros. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

THE GIMMICK #1’s variant cover artist Khary Randolph has drawn for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Netflix, Coca-Cola, Sony, and Black Mask Studios. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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