Wrestler com­bines sport with art

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE - KYMBERLEE FER­NAN­DES

See­ing his dream project come to fruition has been noth­ing short of ex­cit­ing for South Auckland artist Michel Mulipola.

The Ma¯ngere il­lus­tra­tor and wrestler has just com­pleted his first comic book with WWE (World Wrestling En­ter­tain­ment) and BOOM! Stu­dios. He has worked on a comic book, WWE #13, which por­trays the life of pro­fes­sional wrestler Samoa Joe. A world­wide re­lease is ex­pected this week.

‘‘I’ve worked with Samoa Joe on a comic be­fore, that’s how I got the gig. I’ve drawn the comic for Samoa Joe, writ­ten by Samoa Joe for WWE,’’ Mulipola said.

‘‘It’s a be­hind the scenes story about how Samoa Joe found his way into WWE.

‘‘I get to draw Samoa Joe beat­ing up Bray Wy­att, Chris Jeri­cho, Brock Les­nar, Seth Rollins and Ro­man Reigns, which is kind of cool for this Samoan artist.’’

Be­ing able to draw the wrestlers that he watches on TV was a lot of fun for him.

‘‘I had a blast work­ing on this stuff. I feel like this is some of my best work to date be­cause I was en­joy­ing ev­ery panel and ev­ery wrestler I got to il­lus­trate.’’

As a big fan of comics and wrestling, this was his dream project and it had led on to more work.

‘‘I’ve just fin­ished an­other story for the WWE Wrestle­Ma­nia spe­cial. That was a lot of fun too. I got to draw John Cena and The Rock,’’ Mulipola said.

‘‘It’s a crazy kind of world I’ve found my­self in and I wouldn’t change it for any­thing else.’’

His other work in­cludes the graphic novel series Head­locked. For an up­com­ing graphic novel, he has il­lus­trated a story writ­ten by re­tired pro­fes­sional wrestler Ric Flair who wres­tled in New Zealand for a few years.

Mulipola con­sid­ers him­self ‘‘for­tu­nate’’ to be do­ing what he al­ways wanted to do as a child.

Now, he vis­its schools around South Auckland in­spir­ing chil­dren to dream big.

‘‘Hope­fully, I can in­spire kids to fol­low not only what I do, but fol­low their own dreams ... just show­ing them what’s pos­si­ble.’’

The WWE #13 can be bought on­line at blood­ysamoan.com.

Mulipola will also be fight­ing in an Im­pact Pro Wrestling event at Pa­p­a­toe­toe on Jan­uary 27.

Michel Mulipola is a Ma¯ngere il­lus­tra­tor and wrestler who is hav­ing a ‘’blast’'.

PHOTO: KYMBERLEE FER­NAN­DES/STUFF

An im­age from a comic book about Samoa Joe drawn by Michel Mulipola, which will be re­leased this week.

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