Scott Lost is a bit of glutton for punishment.
Luckily, he’s a talented one.
The California-based retired pro wrestler-turned comic creator left one notoriously difficult business, full of colourful, hero-like characters, for another that is precisely the same.
It should come as no surprise, however, as right from an early age, the 35-year-old was a fan of both wrestling and comics.
“Around nine, I was drawing and I was watching wrestling,” Lost said over the phone, just days before the latest Kickstarter campaign to fund his latest comic concludes.
Back then, comics was his vocation-to-be of choice.
“I was pretty much training myself to become a professional comic book artist,” Lost said. “I was making myself stay indoors until I’d finish one page of art in the summer. It was disciplining myself.”
In those days, legendary comic artists and writers were changing the industry.
“I first started noticing Arthur Adams,” Lost said when asked who influence him early in his life of reading comics. “When I became a teenager, it became Jim Lee and the Image guys, Todd McFarlane and Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri, but mainly Art Adams and Jim Lee and Jay Scott Campbell, Humberto Ramos and Travis Charest.”
And while he was immersing himself in the likes of Spider-Man, Spawn and X-Men, Lost never took his eye off of wrestling, where a Canadian star grabbed his attention.
“Bret Hart,” Lost said of his favourite wrestler. “I’ve always been a huge Bret Hart fan, even when he was a tag-team wrestler. He was always my favourite guy. I thought he was one of the best. He was a heavy influence on my wrestling when I first started. I was trying everything I could to do things like him.”
By the time Lost reached his teenage years, professional wrestling’s lure got stronger.
“When I became a teenager, (D-Generation X) and (New World Order) were huge,” he said, citing their influence in drawing him to the world of pro wrestling.
After becoming friends with another aspiring pro wrestler, Lost soon found himself training to become a pro wrestler, his comic dreams on hold — for the time being.
Lost would break in with California-based Ultimate Pro Wrestling, his home state and the place he would spend much of his decade-long run as a wrestler.
“It’s a difficult business to break into, as is comics,” Lost said of wrestling. “Unfortunately, I’ve chosen careers that require a lot of work to be successful. I don’t mind hard work.”
During his time in the squared circle, Lost would find success in and around California and would also wrestle on the East Coast, in Japan and in Europe. He would also help found Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, a promotion famous for being run by the wrestlers themselves.
After nearly 10 years, a lot of travel, sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears, Lost was at a crossroad. His wrestling dream had been fulfilled, to a degree, but his comic dreams remained on hold.
Citing 10 years in the physical world of wrestling, and financial reasons, Lost hung up his boots.
“It was a physical, but more of a financial decision. I was eight and a half years into my career and I kind of fell out of love with pro wrestling,” he recalled.
After making the decision to call it a career, the results were liberating, Lost said.
“I just changed the way I looked at it,” he said. “Every night, I was trying to have the best match on the card. And after I decided to hang it up, I was like ‘I’m not going to do that any, I’m just going to have a really fun match. I’m just going to do a match that’s going to be fun for me to do, and fun for people to watch.’ And I think that was probably the strongest year of my career.”
After climbing out of the squared circle, Lost set out to scratch his other lifelong itch, to create a comic.
Five issues and successful Kickstarter campaigns later and Lost continues to overcome every obstacle he faces.
His comic, The 2nd Shift, follows the lives of eclectic, everyday people with super powers. All have day jobs, but their second jobs, or second shift if you will, sees them fighting crime. It also pays homage to those who came before him, Lost says.
“It’s essentially a love letter to the nineties,” he said. “All the stuff that was positive about that, I put in my book. Anything that I was into in my childhood, I tried to put it into the book. I think a lot of people can feel that when they actually read the book.
“It’s a lot of character development, but you still get the super hero-ing, you get wife problems and relatable stuff. My characters have day jobs, day jobs you and I would have. It’s the balance between your normal job and being special.”
After previous Kickstarter campaigns helped Lost create and bring his vision to life, he decided to be a bit more ambitious this time around, for the fifth issue.
“I’ve used Kickstarter twice before and I had great success. So this one I really amped up my goal,” he said, adding that there are more levels of incentives for donors this time around. “Normally my goal would be somewhere around $1,500, which would print one book and pay my colourist,” he said. The current campaign, which seeks $5,700 in donations, sits around the $4,000 mark with under a week to go.
“It’s quite a bit more than I’m used to going for, so I found it to be a bit of a struggle.”
Fundraising angst aside, Lost is absolutely stoked to get the next issue, which will also be available in trade paperback thanks to the funding, out.
“I’m really excited. This is the last issue to the first story arc. As soon as we get this funded, then we’re going to put the trade paperback out as well and that we’re going to actually try to get to publishers to see if they’re willing to take a look at The 2nd Shift. That way, I could stop doing the crowd funding and go through a publisher and get the books distributed on a national level.”
Looking back, it isn’t lost on Lost that he’s spent almost his entire life chasing his dreams, in industries that have so many parallels.
“I definitely take the path of most resistance,” Lost chuckled. “I’m constantly picking things that are just tough to accomplish. I don’t mind putting the work in. If I’m not working, I feel like I’m cheating myself and I’m cheating the people. When I was wrestling, I was always trying to have the best match on the card. I was constantly looking for ways to improve my wrestling. And for my art, I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my art.”
While there are definite parallels, Lost said, wrestling and comics also have vast differences.
“When I was wrestling, I was able to go out there three times a week and give fans a new story each time I wrestled,” he said. “For comics, it’s a lot more difficult because it’s very much time consuming. Each page usually takes me anywhere from eight to 12 hours to accomplish. I’m really putting a lot of time into my book.”
Lost has also been the benefactor of a lot of support, both in wrestling and comics.
“A lot of Kickstarter support is from my wrestling fans,” he said. “I have fans from my comic book work follow me on Twitter and Facebook, so they support as well, but a large majority of supporters are fans from wrestling. I can’t thank them enough for sticking with me between both careers. They stuck around and I really appreciate that.”
To donate to Lost’s comic campaign, go to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1835538384/the-2nd-shift-2015