A Comic Biography of Nikolai Volkov

It says something about the theater of professional wrestling that I did not know that Nikolai Volkov was not Russian.



Volkoff was born Josip Hrvoje Peruzović (October 14, 1947 – July 29, 2018). He was born in Croatia, and from childhood, envisioned an escape to the West.  The first issue of this new comic biography traces some family pre-history and a childhood designed to prepare body and mind to flee to the West.

Issue Two of this new comic biography, more info here, traces his arrival in Calgary and his first career as as Bepo of the Mongols tag team.  It also traces his desire to go solo and premiere competition against Bruno Sammartino.


Issue three, the final issue of this series by John Crowther, carries the story forward through his turn from “Communism” as a gimmick and joining the rank of “face” wrestlers.  It then skips the late period of his career, jumping to the induction into the Hall of Fame.

The biography is an example of old-fashioned “hagiography,” an uncomplicated way of depicting a biography in a largely celebratory mode.  The best example, in my world, were the “Lives of the Saints” books I read as a Catholic kid — stories washed of any narrative complexity or internal conflict within the Saint figures.

But they are fun and worth a look [esp. as a textbook in a class on Wrestling taught to high school or college kids].  They map enough history to make the story accessible and meaningful to youngsters.

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