WWE Superstar A.J. Styles will make his comic book writing debut in the WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Special, an oversized special issue that draws on the rich and varied history of the WWE to celebrate all manner of major moments and untold stories from the company’s long run. Styles, whose real name is Allen Neal Jones, will be joined by co-writer Michael Kingston (Headlocked), in recounting the tale of his first WWE appearance.
"I've performed in arenas all over the world, but the most special debut was in front of the WWE Universe at Royal Rumble,” Jones said in a press release.
Jones’ claim isn’t hyperbole. He had a long career before landing at the WWE in 2016. The wrestler took the title of WWE Champion the same year. Prior to signing with the WWE, Jones performed in Ring of Honor, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling, among others.
Kingston teamed up with Jones previously to work on Headlocked, a comic series about professional wrestling developed by Visionary Comics Studio. The issue Headlocked: Work of Art featured a cover painted by semi-retired professional wrestler Jerry Lawler.
“A.J. and I are friends and we have similar creative mindsets, so working with him is a breeze,” Kingston said. “We collaborated on a story for Headlocked that was a lot of fun, so when the opportunity to work together again arose, it was really a no-brainer.”
WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Special will also include untold stories from WWE history, like Ric Flair winning his first Royal Rumble, and a staggering comeback by Shawn Michaels. The cover for the issue will be illustrated by Xermánico (Injustice: Gods Among Us), with a variant cover by Juan Doe (American Monster, John Carter: The End). The special issue will be published by BOOM! Studios.
“The WWE Specials provide an all-star team of creators the opportunity to explore WWE’s greatest moments, and WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Special will take things to a phenomenal level with the addition of a story written by A.J. Styles,” Chris Rosa, associate editor at BOOM! Studios said. BOOM! first partnered with the WWE in 2016 for the WWE: Then. Now. Forever. Special. Since then, the company has become the WWE’s primary comics publishing partner.
WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Special will be available for purchase at comic book stores in January 2018. Digital copies will be available from comiXology, iBooks, Google Play and the BOOM! Studios app.