GLOW vs The Star Primas by Tini Howard and Hana Templer

April 25, 2022

Authentic to both the TV show and the business, this is a welcome spinoff for the cancelled show.

Based on (and licensed from) the Netflix show rather than the original promotion, this graphic novel appears to be set during season 3 when the GLOW girls were in residence in Las Vegas. The story involves them taking a booking for a wrestling convention in California and a series of interpromotional bouts with a “real” female wrestling promotion.

As well as consistently being true to the established characters, the story is surprisingly “insider” by addressing the concerns and beliefs of the GLOW and Star Prima characters: respectively that they will face physical abuse from their more “sportslike” counterparts and that their hard work to build credibility will be undermined by a group who are performers first and athletes second.

It’s an effective twist on the stereotypical graphic novel clashes between two groups of characters. As is often the case with “real” pro wrestling, the rivalry is neither the all-out physical conflict presented to the audience, nor the completely fictional story more cynical viewers might assume, but a grey area in between.

The artwork is of an appropriate visual style given the original setting, though not all of the characters are instantly recognisable as their TV counterparts. The story keeps focused on a few main characters, though some amusing asides explain why some are in low-key mode.

This book brings together initial four-volume run, though not a one-off special from the same series. There’s also a second four-part series (GLOW vs The Babyface) written by AJ Mendez (aka AJ Lee) available as a trade paperback, which I look forward to checking out.

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