By Nick Perkins, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@WesternRebel)
PAGE ONE- THREE PANELS (Story by Nick Perkins)
We begin our story with a little boy sitting in front of a 90’s-era television set. On the TV, we see two hulking men, fighting each other to the death. Wrestling fans will recognize the two fighters as The Undertaker and Max Moon. On the floor, next to the little boy (who may or may not be wearing a Power Rangers or Masters of the Universe T-shirt), is a myriad of WWF action figures and comic books, strewn about in a way that only makes sense to an eight-year-old.
Close-up of the boy. He is wearing big, Ralphie-From-A-Christmas-Story glasses and he is holding a He-Man action figure and a Hulk Hogan action figure, presumably just before or right after a hard-fought match between the two. There is a huge smile on his face. He is a boy enchanted.
Shot of the boy’s bedroom door. Perhaps there is an Ultimate Warrior or Green Power Ranger poster taped to it.
- MOM (OFF): Landon, honey it’s time for school.
PAGE 2- FOUR PANELS
Close-up shots of a bus taking the boy to school.
Wide shot of the boy, Landon, sitting towards the back of a bus, reading a Batman comic book. While everyone else around him is yelling, playing and laughing, Landon is lost in another world. He is no longer a little boy riding the struggle bus to another day of monotony at school; he’s Batman, taking down The Joker one more time, while an adoring public looks on.
PAGE THREE- TWO PANELS
The boy is sitting in class. As the teacher lectures, an unsuspecting eye might believe the boy is studying. His history book is standing straight up on his desk, shielding the boy from his teacher’s line of vision.
1. TEACHER (OFF): And that is the story of the Civil War, boys and girls. Just remember, those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
2. TEACHER (OFF): Landon, are you paying attention?
POV from Landon’s perspective. As it turns out, he was not studying. He was using his history book to conceal what he was actually doing- making up his own comic book on a stack of loose-leaf papers.
3. LANDON: Yeah, Mrs. B. People who don’t study make history. Or something.
PAGE FOUR- THREE PANELS
The teacher, Mrs. B, walks towards Landon, while lecturing him in front of the class.
1. MRS. B.: Not quite, Landon. If you were paying attention, you would know that I said those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. You have got to stop daydreaming and focus on what’s important.
MRS. B picks up Landon’s history book and sees what he is actually working on.
2. MRS. B: But how can you do that when you’re too busy playing make-believe?
Wide-shot of Mrs. B lecturing Landon in front of the class, as he looks on, mortified, embarrassed and pissed off.
3. MRS. B.: This is history class, Landon. We are in school. You know, the place you go to that helps prepare you for the rest of your life? You need to pay attention. You’re not going to be spending your life watching professional wrestling and writing comic books all day, you know.
Except, that’s exactly what he did. Landon Pitts, one of the many talented writers associated with the new WWE: FOREVER comic book from BOOM! Studios, knew what he wanted to be ever since he was a little boy.
“My mom will tell you stories where I was basically 5 or 6, taking notebook paper, folding it in half, stapling it and drawing a comic of whatever,” Pits said, laughing.
“I can’t tell you the characters’ names, they were probably something stupid,” he laughed. “But I would give them to my neighbors or I would give them to my mom and I would say ‘Here, this is what I want to do.’”
“And I did,” he continued.
As Lan thinks back on his childhood, he can’t remember a time when comics and professional wrestling weren’t a part of his life.
“I always hear about people taking a break from wrestling or taking a break from comics,” he said. “That’s weird to me because both of those things were an ever-presence in my life.”
As the son of a bestselling, Christian-Fiction novelist, Lan was no stranger to reading or writing. His house was always full of books by Stephen King, Robert Jordan, Tolkien and more. Reading was an escape for Pitts, as was professional wrestling. Both were outlets for Pitts to disengage from the world around him, and to get lost in the stories being told to him.
But then, a funny thing happened. After a while, Pitts was no longer content merely reading or watching the stories in front of him. It wasn’t long before he wanted to make stories of his own. It started with “booking matches” for his action figures but even that wasn’t enough, so he started writing his own comic books.
“There’s always been a need or desire to create,” Pitts remembered. “If I could just manifest something and put it out in the world, even if it was just for me, it was awesome. It’d be great if people liked it too, but [writing stories] was mostly for me. That’s just kind of been my mentality my whole life.”
It is that mentality that has led Pitts into the world of freelance writing. Since 2008, Pitts has been a featured writer on the comic book website, Newsarama. He has also worked for Adult Swim, Image Comics, Top Cow and more. His work has been featured in a variety of mediums and he has slowly but surely made a name for himself in the world of comic books.
Which is why it should come as no surprise that, when WWE announced it was getting into the comic book business, Pitts immediately took notice.
He heard through the grapevine that WWE was collaborating with BOOM! Studios to produce a series of wrestling-based comics and, when he found out, it was like all the years of his childhood flashed before his eyes. Some people want to be astronauts when they grow up. Others want to be the President. Lan Pitts only wanted to tell stories and now was his chance to combine his love of storytelling with his love of the grappling arts.
Luckily for Pitts, one of his closest friends was an editor for Lion Forge Comics, one of the studios behind the WWE books, so Lan did something that he suggests nobody ever do if they want to make it in the comic book industry. He walked up to her and said “Hey, you should let me pitch you an idea.”
In most circles, this is one of the unwritten rules of getting your work noticed. But for Lan, it worked. He knew what he wanted to do. His entire life had seemingly led up to this opportunity, and he was not going to let it pass.
According to Pitts, he “went up to Jasmine Amiri in New York and said ‘you should let me pitch for you’ and she said ‘sure, that sounds great!’ and I went, ‘Fuck.’”
How did it happen that quickly? Why did she agree? Is this even real life? Those were all questions that flooded Lan’s mind. Then, he remembered all those stories he wrote as a kid. He remembered all the hard work he put in during the previous years. He remembered the little boy, sitting in front of the television, losing himself in the world of professional wrestling.
After mentally high-fiving his younger self, Pitts did the only other thing he could think of.
He got to work.
“In October of 2016, I asked [Jasmine] to let me pitch for her and she said ‘okay, get back to me at the end of the month,’” Pitts remembered. “I finalized my script at the end of November and didn’t hear anything back until January. And then they were like ‘Hey, this is official. Here’s your contract.’”
And with that, Landon Pitts was official. Throughout his tenure with BOOM!, Pitts has written stories about many of his childhood heroes. He wrote an origin story for The Undertaker. He wrote about Ric Flair, post-1992 Royal Rumble. He got to create a story based on the Randy Savage VS Ricky Steamboat match from WrestleMania 3. He did all of that and more, simply because he had a dream and worked to achieve it.
In the most recent issue of BOOM! Studios’ ‘WWE: Forever,’ Pitts wrote a story focusing on a rivalry between Razor Ramon and Ted Dibiase, in a tale of ‘New Money VS Old Money.’ It could have been a storyline straight out of WWF Superstars from 1993, but readers will get to see how it all plays out when WWE: Forever #1 hits shelves on January 30th, 2019 (coincidentally enough, this day has been dubbed ‘New Comic Book Day’).
WWE: Forever is an anthology book featuring some of the best up-and-coming writers and artists in the comic industry. The artist for Pitts’ story is Carlos Magno and he brings to life these characters in a way that has never been seen before. The two make for an excellent team…kinda like wrestling and comic books.
Make no mistake though, two wrestlers fighting in a jewelry store is not the only story that Pitts can tell. He is also currently working on a project called Beast Heart Strikers which, in his words, is “basically Monsters Inc. meets Ghostbusters.”
In addition to BHS, Pitts also hopes to write a Masters of the Universe arc one day. So far, his track record of achieving his dreams is pretty good, so it’s a safe bet to believe he’ll one day get to write about He-Man and Skeletor.
That’s just another dream on a long list of them. It was a list started way back when Landon was a little boy, watching wrestling and playing with action figures. Since those days, Pitts has accomplished a lot, but he is still not satisfied. Even after somehow combining his two biggest passions, even after having being featured in Comic Cons and C2E2 events, even after going to WrestleMania and meeting Shinsuke Nakamura, it’s still not enough.
Just like merely watching wrestling wasn’t enough or reading comic books enough when he was a kid, remaining where he’s at right now is not enough. Lan Pitts has made a lot of friends, both in the wrestling business and the comic book business. He has become good friends with writers like Tom King and he has worked with Eisner-winning artists. Through it all, he has remained true to himself and he continues to let his geek flag fly. But he will never remain complacent. He will never be satisfied. He will never stop doing the work.
“I don’t like the idea of ideas,” Pitts laughed. “People will come up with ideas and that’s fine. But it’s just an idea. It’s not tangible. Show someone you can do the work. Show that you can do structure. Show that you can do character work. Show that you know how to do an actual proper script.”
All great advice, but the one piece of advice that Pitts advocates is this.
“Find something that inspires you and go with that, but don’t make it for other people. Make something for yourself and if other people like it, that’s extra. But don’t use it as a sign of validation.”
Somehow, Lan Pitts has made a career out doing the things he loved. He has lived many of his dreams and will continue to think of new ones. He’ll continue to write comic books and, most importantly, he will be a fan of WWE, forever.
WWE, Forever: #1 is on sale now! For more information, or to purchase a copy, visithttp://www.boom-studios.com/
Follow Lan Pitts on Twitter: @pittsed_off
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom with Jason Powell and his guest Rich Bocchini (f/k/a Rich Brennan) discussing Saturday’s MLW SuperFight, working for Michael Cole in WWE, his trial by fire in NXT, and much more.