If you had to guess the latest venture of Cowboy James Storm — the veteran beer-guzzling grappler whose catchphrase has long been “Sorry About Your Damn Luck” — would you say he’s:
A. Entered a 12-step program?
B. Reformed Beer Money with former tag team partner Robert Roode?
C. Written a children’s book?
If the headline of this review didn’t already give it away, the correct answer is C. Storm’s book Cowboy James Storm: Make Your Own Luck! A Make Your Own Story Book is out now from SevenHorns Publishing. And, if you have a kid who digs pro wrestling, there’ll probably be nothing to be sorry about concerning your d#*@ luck here. (This is a children’s book, after all.)
Storm is the babyface western hero in Make Your Own Luck written by himself and Mark Poulton (a comic book writer who’s worked for such brands as DC and Image Comics), illustrated by Poulton and D.M. Eason. According to his author’s bio, the title of the book was inspired by advice a young Storm received from his mother, “work hard and make your own luck.”
Instead of competing for singles, tag team or beer drinking championships, Storm must thwart the dastardly Masked Outlaw, a grubby, beer-bellied heel who looks like he might have hung out with Col. Buck Robley back in the day. The Outlaw calls on the nefarious Parts Unknown Gang to do his bidding.
A cool feature of the book is its “Make Your Own Story” format. This feature allows kids to decide the outcome of situations, which leads to different endings based on the actions of the characters. My eight-year-old son, who isn’t big into pro wrestling (at least not yet, but there’s still hope), especially enjoyed this feature. For parents who enjoy storytime, the format extends your typically succinct children’s book by several pages. It doesn’t bog down the proceedings, but does require some additional page-flipping. The book’s comical, brightly-colored illustrations are full-page size and the verbiage is brief. Young readers should be able to follow along on their own.
With COVID-19 putting a chokehold on much of the live wrestling world, children’s books are providing a new merchandise outlet for wrestlers, like Storm, who can lend their image to outside projects. Storm’s first foray into the genre comes at time when everyone from John Cena to Madison Rayne is releasing one. Fortunately, there should be plenty of animated action for the kids here, as well as enough ring references to keep wrestling fan parents entertained. Of course, there’s no off-color language or actual beer drinking involved. Instead, Storm prefers to guzzle Last Call’s world-famous brand of root beer. When bested by his foes, he tastes the bitter flavors of defeat and/or cactus juice.
Will the Cowboy whup The Masked Outlaw and Corncob Corbin (he’s a literal corncob) to save the town of Last Call?
Will the Parts Unknown Gang get away with the town saloon’s supply of root beer?
Will this be the first book you read to your kids where a wrestler superkicks a ninja monkey?
Well, pardner, you’ll just have to mosey on over to your digital device or turn the pages to find out.