TAMPA – Chris Jericho is the self-proclaimed renaissance man of professional wrestling.
The Tampa resident whose real name is Chris Irvine lives up to the hype.
In addition to performing for All Elite Wrestling, Jericho is the frontman of Gold Record Fozzy, three New York Times best-selling author, actor, film producer, game show host, podcaster, and philanthropist.
On Saturday, the eight-time world wrestling champion will add a comic book writer to that resume when he releases his “The Painmaker” graphic novel series at a launch event at Clearwater’s Emerald City Comics at 11 a.m.
“We expect ‘The Painmaker’ graphic novel to launch for most of this year,” Jericho said via email. “I’m thrilled to see this day come.”
Those who attend can pre-order the first of four issues in the series’ initial story and meet Jericho.
Orders “should ship soon after Jericho appears,” the Emerald City Comics website says.
“The Painmaker” is based on Jericho’s darker wrestling alter ego of the same name.
“The concept is what a serial killer would look like if he was a professional wrestler,” said David Shapiro, head of Semkhor Productions, which is partnering with Jericho on the venture. “Now, using the medium of the graphic novel, we explore the origins of how he obtained his powers and the paths he must choose. The story is set in an occult techno landscape where he has adversaries only he must fight as he embarks on a path of redemption or more power.
Fans will have the opportunity to influence the story.
Each first physical issue comes with a digital collectible – one of 380 variations of the edition’s cover. The collectible grants access to an online version of the graphic novel which contains already animated panels and more to come. It also unlocks online contests, starting with a war game with digital playing cards inspired by “The Painmaker”.
Then, in a few months, Shapiro said, they’ll release a “premium” version of the first issue, which will include a metallic cover and one of 8,888 unique digital collectibles.
These collectibles will provide access to a forum where fans can share character and plot ideas with Jericho and Semkhor Productions.
“We can build the explorable universe based on these ideas,” Shapiro said. “The great thing about graphic novels is how they create these larger worlds. We’ve created a new approach that’s truly evolutionary and unlocks the potential of the graphic novel.
If you are going to
Meet Chris Jericho and pre-order one of his “The Painmaker” graphic novel series.
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Or: Emerald City Comics, 4902 113th Ave. N, Clearwater
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
Tickets: Ticket packages range from $40 to pre-order the graphic novel without meeting Jericho to $320 for a collectible package and VIP access to Jericho. For ticket details, visit emeraldcitycomics.com.