Gurral The Smasher – Champion of the Arena

Richard Mullenhour is an 80’s kid who programs robots for a living and writes kaiju comics for the love of it. He is the writer of Gurral the Smasher.

Synopsis: Gurral the Smasher is a burly gladiator kaiju. He was born soft and weak, and was relegated to the mines until he proved his genetic potential by eating and digesting impervium, the hardest crystal in the known universe. His body changed drastically, transforming him in a month from pudgy weakling kaiju into muscular armored kaiju.

He was drafted to the Arena, and became champion of the Arena. The Arena Lords, his designers and creators, began to test his strength, his endurance, and especially his patience.

Did you go to school for either art or writing? If so, what school?

What is the main genre of your comic? What appeals to you about that genre?
Kaiju. In a world where limits are imposed upon nearly every piece of your life, seeing a protagonist who can breach any barrier gives one a different state of mind where one can envision surpassing his current self and growing beyond any expectations.

What was your inspiration for the story?
Conan the Barbarian, Godzilla, The Incredible Hulk.

Do you have any favorite artists or writers who influenced your style?
E E Knight was amazing at creating a world where the beast became the lovable protagonist. I’m sure that some of my work is derivative of that not through intent, but through inspiration.

How long does it take you to complete one page?
Note that I’m not the artist. It takes me up to a week to write the next page of the story, and it may be revisited for adjustment or complete deletion several times before making it to the artist, Frost Llamzon.

What is your process like for creating comic pages from start to finish? What tools do you use?
Detailed “verbal storyboards” are created with initial concepts, followed by a read-through looking for errors. I then tend to leave the story alone for a few days to let my mind clear, and then read through again, which almost unerringly leads to a few pages changing form to help express situations better. Finally the storyboards are sent to my artist, where we discuss and sketch unique creatures and characters. That’s where Frost’s talents become evident, as he converts my descriptions into detailed sketches, and after approval into inked, colored, and shaded marvels.

Is your comic a finished work? If not, how long do you think you think it’s going to be when it’s complete? Is there a definitive ending or will you just keep going for as long as possible?
The comic is unfinished. The next issue will come out in May if nothing untoward happens. I plan for there to be 3 more issues in this particular series, but have intentions of a second “season” with old and new characters, along with a new main antagonist.

How long did it take you to plan the comic before even beginning to physically create it?
The comic was begun after a couple years of “fanfics” I had been writing which amounted to basically “versus” battles with hints of backstory built in. After several of those made it to online comic format, I realized that there was a larger story to tell, and began progressing the world and the characters towards an endpoint.

What was the biggest hurdle you faced during the course of making of your comic? If you could go back in time to the point where you just started making it and give yourself a pep talk, what would you say?
The biggest hurdle is money. My comics are a passion project, and I don’t want to charge for viewing them. I would like to build a fanbase, and then merchandise in order to start covering the costs of the art. Until then, each new comic is paid for entirely by me.

What is your favorite part about working on your comic?
I enjoy the ventilation of inspiration that it allows.

What is the most difficult part about working on your comic? How do you overcome it?
Writer’s block. It held this issue back by several months as I struggled to sort out how an issue properly ties into the next and the previous.

Do you have a favorite character to write for? If so, why? Tell us more about them!
I enjoy writing the interactions between Tanner and Gurral. The Broments are fun.

Which character gives you the most difficulty to write for?
Writing for the “unnamed military and government” people is my most difficult, as I don’t know that many people who are that reserved and cold.

Where can we find you?

Anything else you want the people to know about yourself or your comic?
We will continue to create these comics at this rate, and hope you enjoy them. Share the website with a friend, and you’ll have made a friend of me.