Q&A With Wrestling Mishmash Creator Alex Bennett

wrestling-characters

Wrestling Mishmash is an incredible illustration by Alex Bennett. It contains over 530 moments and 700 characters from the history of modern wrestling.

I had the pleasure of asking Alex about the creation process of his illustration, pro-wrestling, comics, and much more. Check it out!

– You can get the Wrestling Mishmash poster here!

– Be sure to follow Alex on twitter here.

I can’t even imagine where you’d even start with such a big project like Wrestling Mishmash. The work involved must have been immense. On Kickstarter I think you said that you worked on the illustration for around 1600 hours.
What inspired you to take on such a mammoth undertaking?

Well, I honestly don’t know! I have been an illustrator for nearly 10 years & wanted to create work that grabs people’s attention. I was always a fan of the ‘Where’s Wally’ books & felt that I could create something similar based on subjects (football & wrestling) that I am a fan of.

Can you explain your process for the illustration. What kinds of different stages were involved from start to finish?

Every character is pencil drawn. I then colour and enhance it in Photoshop. I work on a sheet of characters about 4 or 5 at a time with the aim of finishing each set in an evening.

On top of being such a big and time-consuming project, I believe you and your wife had a son while you were working on it (congratulations!). Was there any time during the creation process where you just wanted to pack it in and move on in your life? Or could you always see the light at the end of the tunnel?

Absolutely! Having a young son certainly added to the length of time this took to complete. As well as my other work, I would often spend most evenings staying up to 3 in the morning working on Wrestling Mishmash!

How much research into wrestling’s history did you need to do? Or do you just have a really good memory?

I knew about many of the incidents but I would often ask people on Twitter what they thought should be included. The response was great, varied & often caused me to watch many videos on You Tube which were previously unknown to me!

There are an incredible amount of wrestlers in the illustration. Not just mainstream, but also some notable indie talents like England’s own Zack Sabre Jr., and Chikara fan favourites The Colony and Dasher Hatfield. Did you receive any suggestions for wrestlers to be included whom you hadn’t even heard of before? Any obscure names?

There are probably 150 wrestlers in there that I had no idea who they were before I started. An honourable mention must go to ‘Milwaukee Mauler’, an indy wrestler who I included due to the fact that he was such a great help in naming wrestlers who I wasn’t sure were.

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– A mix of classic moments,  mainstream and indie stars. 

Were there any wrestlers whom you didn’t want to include, or were unsure of including? For example, a guy like Chris Benoit, who has more or less been erased from wrestling history.

As far as I was concerned Chris Benoit & Blue Blazer had to go in. My intention is never to offend anyone, however I can understand if some people object to their inclusion despite them being a part of wrestling history.

Of course, it would be impossible to include every wrestler and every moment from modern wrestling history, but have you gotten any complaints from people saying that “you left out so and so” or “how could you forget…?” I did notice a couple of modern Japanese stars such as Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada weren’t included in the list of names on the Kickstarter page (not that I’m complaining). Though you did include Danshoku Dino, which is amazing and hilarious.

The subject matter is endless as you say. Maybe I’ll do a second Wrestling Mishmash someday!

One of the first things that came to mind when I saw the illustration was “Where’s Wally.” (Or Waldo, depending where you’re from) It is in a way a giant Where’s Wally for wrestling fans.
Were you a fan of the “Where’s Wally” books when you were growing up?

As I said above, yes I was. I’d like to think these are slightly different as I am working from a specific subject matter where as Martin Handford’s brilliant creations have much more of a ‘slapstick’ feel about it.

After drawing pretty much all of them, what are some of your favourite moments in modern wrestling history?

The moments I like are the ones only a few will remember and have to look up. My personal favourite is Ultimate Warrior being cursed by Papa Shango. I remember watching that as a 10 year-old and being absolutely captivated!

Your illustration covered a fairly long timeline of modern wrestling history. Do you have a favourite era of wrestling?

The Attitude Era, like 90% of wrestling fans.

Which wrestling promotions do you currently follow?

WWE. I’d like to see more British wrestling if it was available.

You brought the project to Kickstarter where it reached over double the goal that you set. Were you surprised by the support you received for Wrestling Mishmash? Or were you confident all along that you were on to something good?

You can never tell with Kickstarter but I was quietly confident due to the initial reaction it had on Twitter & Facebook.

I really like the inclusion of word balloons and sound effects. It gives the work a real comic strip feel (well, that and the artwork). Are you also a comic book guy on top of football and wrestling?

I used to be heavily into comic books. I started on the Beano & Dandy and worked my way onto Judge Dredd & the American comic Spawn. Those days are over now though!

Do you have any more Mishmashes in the works for the future? I wouldn’t be adverse to a History of Comic Book Characters Mishmash.

I am currently working on ‘Rugby Mishmash’ which will coincide with the start of the World Cup next year.

I considered doing a Music Mishmash but seeing as each one takes me a year to complete that will have to wait!

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