Review: Undertaker

Image result for undertaker graphic novelSo, I have a confession to make, I’ve watched professional wrestling for most of my life.  The untimely deaths of Owen Hart and Eddie Guerrero and the horror around the murder/suicide involving Chris Benoit forced me to stop watching wrestling but my enthusiasm for sports entertainment has not dimmed and occasionally I go back and watch old matches or “cheat” and tune in to see what is going on in the industry.  I’ve watched all of it; ECW, WWE, WCW, TNA, UPW, New Japan, Nueva Generacion.  Each of them had stars, names I’m sure many of you would be familiar with.  However, I would wager that most people, whether they are fans of wrestling or not, are familiar with The Undertaker.  (He has a monster truck named after him after all)

This graphic novel is a fictional history of the wrestling career of Mark Calaway aka The Undertaker.  His most memorable matches and the story lines which made them are all chronicled here.  The book presents them as a biography of Calaway, starting with his childhood and following his life through his retirement from the WWE and professional wrestling.  The book begins with Mark and his brother Kane working their family mortuary before disappearing into the hills to fish together.  True to the WWE story line, Undertaker’s home is burnt down and he believes that his entire family has been killed in the blaze.  Now orphaned, Undertaker is adopted by Paul Bearer (Bill Moody).  Undertaker begins working for him and as Paul falls on hard times financially he manipulates Mark into fighting.  Naturally he takes a shine to it and his numerous victories bring him to the attention of WWE’s Ted DiBiase, The Million Dollar Man.  Mark Callaway is dubbed the Undertaker and, as in real life, makes his WWE debut in Survivor Series.    What follows as they say is history.  The book faithfully depicts such classic matches as his Hell In The Cell match against Mankind (Mick Foley), his “loser retires” match against Shawn Michaels, his feud with Kane after his betrayal at the hands of Paul Bearer and his final match in the WWE against Roman Reigns.

I have to commend the creative team behind this book.  They have faithfully researched all of Undertaker’s matches and the attendant story line’s and piece them together into a compelling whole.  The likenesses of each wrestler are faithfully recreated and they manage to work real life events like the death of Bill Moody (Paul Bearer) into the story as part of the fictional Undertaker’s life.  Additionally, the creative team have included the covers from various WWE magazines which cover the years of Undertaker’s career.  These covers showcase his various matches, story lines and looks as his career progressed.  I had the honor of first meeting Undertaker on a red-eye flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles in the early nineties.  I was half asleep and this giant man sat next to me.  We got to talking and it took me a moment to realize that the person I was talking to was The Undertaker.  Mark Calaway, the man, is one of  the nicest people I’ve ever met and this book is a fitting tribute to the man and his career as the WWE legend, Undertaker.

Writing – 4.5 of 5 Stars
Illustration – 4 of 5 Stars

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Writer – Chad Dundas
Illustration – Rodrigo Lorenzo, Wesllei Manoel