Wigan Warriors stars feature in Keith Mason's rugby league comic

Move over Ironman! There is a new comic hero in town – and he’s a rugby league star.

John Bateman as a comic hero
John Bateman as a comic hero

Former player Keith Mason has recently launched a new comic, Rugby Blood.

As well as a fictional lead character – a rugby league player who doubles as a secret agent – it features current Super League and NRL players including Warriors’ John Bateman, Zak Hardaker and Oliver Gildart.

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Mason, whose son is in the Wigan youth system, said: “Rugby Blood was initially an idea for a film, and I still think there’s potential to make it into an anime and possibly a movie.

Keith Mason with Rugby Blood

“There’s never really been a comic book in rugby league before – certainly not like this – and the art work is phenomenal.

“I reached out to the players and 99.9 per cent said I could use their likeness and their names, and so far the reception has been really good.”

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The comic is available online on a monthly subscription basis, costing from £9.99 for the basic package – which gives users five art pages a month – up to £65 for the platinum package, which includes branded clothing and collectable trading cards. See the website hereMason played for Wakefield, Melbourne, St Helens, Huddersfield and Castleford during his 14-year career. While at the Giants, he crossed paths with Hollywood legend Mickey Rourke in London which later led to a part in movie, Skin Traffik.

“The acting side gave me a vision for after rugby,” said the 39-year-old, who went on to feature in TV shows including Peaky Blinders, Bulletproof and Cold Feet.

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A sample of the artwork, courtesy of Keith Mason

He produced and stars in upcoming movie Imperative, a crime thriller which will premier this autumn.

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And while the Yorkshireman never played for Wigan during his long career he has ties to the club – his son Lukas, 15, is a back-rower in the club’s scholarship programme.

“He’s a credit to himself,” said Mason.

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“He had a few clubs interested in him but he really wanted to go to Wigan, we drive over for training and they’ve been great with him.”