I had the chance to speak to PWG co-founder Scott Lost recently about his new comic book, 2nd Shift, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and his decision to retire from wrestling. Lost also opened up about the possibility of returning to wrestling, and who he's been talking to about it.
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Tell us a bit about your comic book, 2ND Shift.
"It's about four young heroes learning how to balance 9 to 5 jobs while being superheroes in their spare time. The thing that I find most special about the book is the character interaction and the character development. You spend a lot of time watching them deal with the aspects of their lives like working their 9 to 5 and going straight into crime fighting. They're not superhero type jobs, they're normal mundane jobs like offices or Sea World, or college students. One guy works at a comic book store. So normal jobs, as opposed to people like Spider-Man or Superman who are photographers and reporters. Their powers are kind of secondary to that."
You have a Kickstarter going on now with some cool packages involved, too.
"For $100, you can be in the background of at least one panel, but sometimes it works out to where you're in the background of two panels. For $250 you get a speaking role in that issue, maybe one or two lines. For $500 you can be a part of a full storyline. Even if it were a one-shot, we'd bring you over to another one, just to get you in two issues."
You walked away from wrestling in 2010 to pursue your comic book dream, what other projects have you been involved with?
"I do the artwork for 2nd Shift and I created it, but I have a writer. I also do pinup work for Headlocked, Mike Kingston's comic book."
What could you tell non-comic book fans about 2nd Shift that may interest them?
"That's what I think is special about the book. The youngest character, he's obsessed with pro wrestling. He does pro wrestling moves and cuts promos while he's fighting. He does an Ultimate Warrior-like promo in the first issue. It's like when you're a kid and you're in the living room wrestling and doing the color commentary. That's what he does. Not all the time, obviously. When he feels like he's firmly in control, there will be a big boot, gorilla press, leg drop. He does a giant swing in one issue. I think there's a crossover between comics and pro wrestling. He's just a young, lighthearted, lovable guy. Then there are the relationships. His sister is on the team, so he has to deal with her looking over his shoulder and being overbearing. If you're an older sibling, you watch her deal with her younger brother and him doing stupid stuff.
"There's different stuff. One of the characters works at Fish World, and he has enough responsibilities over there, but doesn't get paid well and he's the leader of the team. He's always second guessing himself, which is problematic in the field when you have people's lives in your hands and the safety of others at stake. You need to be sure and focused of what you're doing."
What kind of crossover support have you seen thus far from wrestling fans?
"When I do my Kickstarters, I make a conscious effort to contact my fans. I don't like to send bulk messages. I'll do that sometimes on Twitter and Instagram, but I like to contact the ones that have stuck with me after all this time to tell them what's going on. A lot of them do support and tell me that they don't read comic books but they want to support me. That's really special to me. "
What made you decide to walk away from wrestling to pursue this?
"It was just my time. I was turning 30, and I promised my family I would stop at 30. I'm a man of my word, so I stepped away. At the same time it's sad, because I lost that passion, but I found it again after I stopped. That last year was a blast, but I'd already made that commitment to walk away. I've always wanted to draw comics since I was a kid. I took a hiatus from that to do pro wrestling, so it's what I was always meant to do."
Do you see yourself getting back into the ring?
"I was talking to Scorpio Sky last week, and I was telling him I'd like to roll around and train to see if I still 'got it.' He told me to let him know and we'd work out and do a practice match. I went to PWG 10 and saw the talent that was on the shows now and thought I'd picked a pretty good time to stop. The talent on these shows is amazing. Me stopping at 30, I thought I was good then, and the talent has just increased since then."
Are you still involved with PWG now?
"Not really. I'm still friends with a couple of the guys like Joey Ryan and Excalibur. Once in a while we'll catch a game and a beer. That's really the extent of my involvement in PWG. When one of the founders leaves, we're not like asking for our stake in the company. It's just like, you guys have it from here."
You may want to ask for your stake soon, it's getting big. Did you all see it getting as big as it is now?
"I thought it would get big, but I didn't think it would get this big. I just started watching WWE again, I wasn't interested for a while. I see it now with a lot of stuff going in the right direction. It actually feels more like a PWG-type show. John Cena's having these crazy matches with Seth Rollins where there's these kickouts and secondary finishes. It's cool to see WWE recognizing what independent wrestling has to offer, but no, I didn't see it getting this big. Even though I'm not involved, I'm still very proud. That will never go away."
Now you have people like Sogia Vergara taking selfies in the front row. It's become a cool thing. It's really developed.
When you all booked lesser known indy guys, like a Mike Bailey, what's that process like?
"That's something that every indy promoter does. You evaluate talent, see footage, you hear about guys. Ricochet was a guy I was always pushing for, and he was a guy that started to get brought in more once I was gone, but I was pushing for him for years. Wrestlers watch wrestling, and you go 'I'd like to wrestle that guy,' or 'I think the crowd would like this guy.' So you show whoever's booking, send him some links, whatever. That's how people get brought in. Our shows used to be all local guys. I went to PWG 10 and I think I saw maybe 2 local guys. It's kind of sad in that sense. It's become an all-star show, but it's still great."
Do you ever see PWG doing PPV or TV?
"Last time I was involved, I would have said that was highly unlikely, but that was five years ago. Things have changed, though. Last time I hung out with Excalibur, we didn't really talk about it. Now that I'm getting more in touch with the scene, I may pick his brain a bit. PWG 5-7 years ago should have been traveling. There should have been shows all around the state. Now, I think PPV would be an amazing thing. It's all up to how much time and dedication the guys can put into it."
What are your goals for the 2nd Shift?
"I really want to go to a major publisher. At Image comics, publishers get to retain their rights, and something I'm interested in. I created these characters when I was in 7th grade, so I think it'd be weird if another company said they owned them. I'm biased, but I'm not the one writing these, but I think the book is so good. We plot together about what I want to happen, and what they're coming up with is so good. People say it's a brand new book, but if feels like the characters have been around forever. That's cool to me. I think if people give it a try, they'll dig the book."
Tell us where people can find the Kickstarter and follow you on social media.