cover image Luchador


Erin Finnegan. Interlude, $16.99 trade paper (244p) ISBN 978-1-941530-97-9

Finnegan’s glorious coming-of-age story is as much a sweet and touchingly rendered love letter to lucha libre as a romance. Gabriel Romero’s love of the Mexican wrestling circuit began when he was a child in Tucson, Ariz., and it becomes a personal passion when he attends a match in Mexico City and sees an exótico wrestler for the first time, the famous and flamboyant La Rosa. Gabriel, sensing a queer kindred spirit, persuades La Rosa to train him to become a luchador. Gabriel’s struggles to balance wrestling training with college classes and familial obligations provide a poignant tension as he studies the deep roots of lucha libre storytelling, particularly the social movements tied to it. But as Gabriel pursues his career passions, his romantic passions center on El Cadejo, a closeted wrestler who shares Gabriel’s dreams of becoming a superstar. Torn between lucha libre’s traditions and the practicalities of modern spectacle, as well as his desire to be open about his sexuality without trapping himself in the role of a cross-dressing exótico, Gabriel deftly carves a path for himself straight to readers’ hearts. The central relationship is the love between Gabriel and his vocation, and readers will cheer them all the way to their happy ending. (Nov.)