Comics Features

INTERVIEW: Nathanael Hopkins-Smith – Creator of Wrestlers In Space

Wrestlers. Space. Wrestlers In Space. Naturally, that seems like a great fit. We talk to Nathanael Hopkins-Smith, creator of the series of the same name (Kickstarter here), to find out more.

APTHYC: So, why did you decide to put out Wrestlers In Space?

Hopkins-Smith: It dawned on me that the concept of Wrestlers In Space has unlimited possibilities.

Sharing similarities with Star Trek, the story is set in the confines of a space ship, the characters can travel through time, explore other planets etc..

What sets Wrestlers In Space apart is that our characters aren’t as “cluey” as the members of the enterprise, and have no experience in space travel whatsoever, making it a fun and entertaining experience.

APTHYC: Will this be an ongoing series?

Hopkins-Smith: Yes, I have plenty of stories to tell with these characters. Currently I am self-publishing, which limits the issues from being released quickly, However my intention is for Wrestlers In Space to be an ongoing series.

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APTHYC: Will the stories be arcs or self-contained?

Hopkins-Smith: A mixture. The first issue is one main story that has two parts, and a small six-page story that will continue over four issues.

APTHYC: Do you love wrestling?

Hopkins-Smith: I grew up watching WWF on TV when I was a kid. I always thought it was interesting how it was like a soap opera in between the fights with the trash talk and girlfriend swapping. It was entertaining on multiple levels.

What I really love is Mexican Wrestling or “Lucha Libre”. It has such a rich history behind it, with the added bonus of masks; it’s perfect for the comic medium.

APTHYC: Do you have any experience of wrestling yourself?

Hopkins-Smith: Not so much “wrestling”. I’ve studied boxing and a little Wing Chung. My older brother has studied many different martial arts and taught me a few things here and there.

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APTHYC: The Kickstarter videos and images have a retro sci-fi feel, is that what you’re aiming for with the series?

Hopkins-Smith: Yeah, I was going for an 80s style intro. I grew up watching Ninja Turtles and He-Man, and I thought it would be fun to go with that nostalgic feel for the video. A bit of a throw back to yesteryear. Think of Wrestlers In Space as that 80’s franchise that never happened but you wanted so badly for it to be.

APTHYC: And you have animators from Ren & Stimpy onboard?

Hopkins-Smith: Sarah Harkey was trained under John Kricfalusi, the creator of Ren & Stimpy. Harkey was commissioned to do a six-page mini story for the first issue.

Once completed, she advised me to get in contact with Jim Smith. Smith was one of the original artists on Ren & Stimpy, and even came up with the theme song for the show on his guitar. I was fortunate enough for Jim Smith to do some interior cover/pin up for the Wrestlers In Space.

APTHYC: Can you talk about the rest of the creative team?

Hopkins-Smith:  Sure, the main artist is Francesco Chiappara, who’s a fantastic up-and-coming comic artist from Italy. He previously worked on a prequel comic to The Groods, and his creator owned the series, 666 il male dentro.

Dean Rankine is a local Australian artist and is continuing on from Sarah Harkey’s six-page mini-story for #2. He’s known for his outrageous creator-owned series Itty Bitty Bunnies as well as working on The Simpsons comics.

Randy Bishop did the cover for the book. He’s an artist from U.S.A who worked on The Thrilling Adventure Hour graphic novel, and has a new animation coming out called Monomyth.

Simon A Wright is our Colourist, and Nic J Shaw is our letterer.

We also have loads of guest artists doing pin ups: Mark Bode, Craig Bryun, Bernie Gonzalez, Michelle Linder, Daniel Jacob, Nath Wayne & Gemma McCulloch.

It’s been so exciting getting all these talented people involved with the book, since it allows our project to offer different styles and backgrounds.

APTHYC: Will we be seeing anymore of your homeless vigilante character “The Vagabond” from your other series of the same name?

Hopkins-Smith: Yeah, once we’ve reached completion with the Wrestlers In Space campaign and distribution of the book, we will commence work on The Vagabond #4.

Looking forward to Wrestlers in Space? Tell us your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Davidde Gelmini