Michel Mulipola – self-taught comic artist, wrestler and gamer
Mark Twain once said, find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Self-taught comic artist Michel Mulipola is a true example of this – he has combined his love of drawing, gaming and pro-wrestling, and turned them into a thriving career.
Michel has been drawing for as long as he can remember, and as a young boy he recalls being in awe of the bold superhero characters he stumbled across in his uncle’s comic collection. His talent as an illustrator has attracted global recognition, with his images portrayed in comic and story books, trading cards, and posters worldwide. His most recognised illustrations have featured in BOOM! Studios’ line of WWE comics, various anthologies and US comic books.
As a die-hard fan of wrestling in the 1980’s, Michel has fulfilled another childhood dream by becoming a professional wrestler. During his prime, he was named NZ Heavyweight Professional Wrestling Champion, with his proudest moment winning the NZ Tag Team Champions alongside one of his greatest heroes and wrestling royalty, King Haaku (Tonga Fifita).
Growing up with a proud Samoan heritage, Michel admits there weren’t any Pasifika comic artists to look up to, so he worked hard to create his own path as a leader in the genre. He credits his strong mother for supporting all his interests, and he hopes to encourage other Pasifika youngsters to follow their dreams. To help highlight his culture, he was recently part of a new comic series, O Le Aiga Sāmoa, which was released during Samoan Language Week.
Video games are another one of his passions, and his skills on the controller led him to become one of the country’s best players of the popular game Tekken. He challenges opponents from all around the globe, and is ranked among the top 12% in the world.
In his drive to help children discover their full potential, Michel also volunteers as an ambassador for Duffy Books and promotes their message that It’s Cool to Read and Cool to Achieve. He enjoys sharing his story across New Zealand to inspire the next generation of young go-getters.
Michel says, “Sometimes kids just need reassurance that it’s okay to try something different. My mother was a bit of a rebel, she gave me all the space and freedom I needed. She never restricted me, so I grew up believing there were no limits to anything I wanted to achieve – which definitely worked in my favour. There is no magic pill, just self-belief, perseverance and a lot of hard work. Of course, it may come with failure, but you learn and you grow from it.”
You can find Michel at Arkham City Comics, located at 2\885 Manukau Rd, Royal Oak, on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. His catalogue of works is available to view and purchase on site. Or go to bloodysamoan.com.