Sniper Spotlight with Chris Jericho and David Shapiro from Semkhor NFT Studio

Credit: the Painmaker Project

Chris Jericho has had quite the career and, from the looks of things, he’s not anywhere near finished. An acclaimed wrestler, actor, musician, author, and podcaster — Jericho is a multi-faceted performer with millions of fans around the world.

In 2017, named Jericho one of the top five most charismatic WWE performers of all time. But long before that he was wrestling and developing a new character in Japan. That character, Painmaker, is now taking on a new life of its own.

In collaboration with David Shapiro and Semkhor NFT Studio, the Painmaker is making its debut as a dynamic NFT comic book with physical and digital properties. Last week, we were lucky enough to catch up with Chris and David to discuss the new project and their hopes for the future of the Painmaker.

The following interview has been edited for concision and clarity.

One of the things that interests me most about this project is the character Painmaker. How did you go about creating him, and how do you see the character now?

(Chris Jericho)

I started this character when I was wrestling in Japan. I was doing a bunch of stuff at the Tokyo Dome, and I was working as Chris Jericho. But the Japanese culture is different, and I wanted something a little bit more unhinged — a little more violent.

I started to envision what a serial killer would look like if he was a pro wrestler. What would that entail? I threw together a couple of ideas, some haphazard makeup, the top hat, the spiky jacket, and I just thought, “I really like this alter ego idea.”

It was very successful in Japan. I used it a couple times in the States, but I started thinking that I wanted to do more with this character. I wanted to present not Chris Jericho as the Painmaker, but the Painmaker as an entity himself.

At the time, I remember there was another Spiderman reboot or something along those lines, maybe another Superman or Batman. And I was like, “How many times are we going to see movies about the same characters?” And, if you’re a Marvel person, they’re now getting into Doctor Strange, Blue Beetle, Wasp Woman, and all these other low-level characters.

They need something new, and I thought somebody’s got to create a cool, new kind of superhero/antihero. And why can’t that person be me? Why don’t I take the Painmaker into this fantasy universe where he’s now an intergalactic bounty hunter who’s looking to capture intergalactic serial killers? But the Painmaker is a reformed serial killer who still at times has the need to kill innocent people. So, there’s a bit of an antihero behind it as well.

Why did you decide to bring the Painmaker into the Web3 space?

Right now, I’m looking at a gold record on the wall for ‘Judas’ for my band Fozzy. Gold records are different than they used to be. You get a gold record from streaming now, whereas before people would actually buy the record. It’s the same for a lot of things, like movies. We watch them on streaming rather than having the physical DVD copy that we used to get.

So, what’s the best way to do a new comic book? You could do a physical comic, and we are doing that, but there needs to be something bigger than that behind it.

That’s why I thought NFTs were perfect. I was trying to think of a way to break into the NFT market, and I had worked with David and Semkhor Studios on ‘Kilroy Was Here,’ the Kevin Smith movie that was released as an NFT. I just thought this is a cool, interesting way to move forward with this, and I had already done a couple NFTs that were very successful using Painmaker clips.

I thought about what we could do with a graphic novel and a comic book in NFT form. It could basically become a living and breathing thing, where you can have moving backgrounds, or someone shoots a gun and you see the bullet, or animated werewolves attacking from another planet, whatever.

So NFTs fit this forward-thinking concept for me, and I’ve always been that way. It’s like the Wayne Gretzky quote, “Skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.” Because if you do the latter, you’ll always be a little bit behind. So, I thought this is a great way to start making some moves in the comic world by doing them via NFTs and utilizing all the technology that’s available in the space.

Is there anything that you’re most excited about with this project?

I like the concept of creation. I love creating new forms of entertainment. I love doing things that are off the beaten path. I love doing things where a lot of people say to you, “That won’t work.” It’s kind of been the story of my whole career. “.You’ll never be a wrestler. You’ll never be in a band. You’ll never do your own Podcasts — everyone has a podcast.” And you just start realizing, who gives a s**t what everybody says? You just do it your own way — and I thought this is a great way to go.

And once again, somebody’s going to have to create a new superhero. Somebody must, so let’s do something that to me is a really cool concept that I had already done in real life. But in this comic, it’s not Chris Jericho as the Painmaker. It’s a separate energy because it’s got nothing to do with Chris Jericho. But it’s cool for me to be involved with this because I created this character, and I lived the character.

I’m the first Painmaker cosplayer, shall we say. There’s a lot of people who have dressed up as this character at wrestling shows, and once the comic starts becoming more of a hit and starts spreading, it’s a very easy costume to do.

If you were a serial killer and wanted to put makeup on, it wouldn’t be some intricate Kiss type of thing where it’s all nice. It’d be kind of messed up. And I think that’s cool. A few times in the past, there’s been professional makeup artists that ask if they can do my makeup, and I refuse because it’s not supposed to be professional. It’s supposed to be unhinged, messy, and sloppy, and I think people respond to that and like the fact that anybody can dress up as the Painmaker.

How do you see the character of the Painmaker evolving with time? Also, I’m curious if you envision a movie in the future?

The end game is to do a movie. That was always the idea, and the comic book is a good way to get the character out into the pop culture zeitgeist. One thing I really like is that you can start this character off in a batshit crazy way, and the sky’s the limit. He could be visiting a planet full of vampires or killer clowns, or a planet full of giants or scorpion centaurs.

Whatever we want to do with it is possible. But then you also have the flaw of the Painmaker — a guy who still has these urges to kill innocent people. So, what happens if the Painmaker falls in love, and then becomes obsessed with the concept of killing this person that he’s in love with and he can’t help himself, it’s just an urge inside of him that has to be satiated? There are a lot of emotional elements that could go into it, as well as the epic battles you can have with all these other crazy serial killers from different planets.

And that’s the beauty of this character. It’s very open-ended. But having said all that, the end game is to do a feature film with the Painmaker as the main protagonist.

The open-ended nature of it makes it seem like Web3 is an ideal space to introduce this character.

Web3 is interesting because people in the community know how vibrant the space is. But for people who don’t understand the NFT community, they think, “What is this? You’re not even getting anything real, and why don’t you just copy and paste it?”

It may be that they don’t understand yet, but give it another couple of years and I think everybody’s going to understand exactly what we’re doing with NFTs and how beneficial and forward-thinking this technology is. And once we get enough of a community built, we could potentially release the movie as an NFT. We’ve seen it happen before with Kevin Smith, so we know it can work.

It’s just the beginning as far as a popular form of technology. I always like to get involved earlier than later and ride the crest of the wave. That’s why I think it’s the perfect time for Painmaker to make his debut and start penetrating the comic book and the NFT communities because it’s ripe for the picking right now.

Thanks Chris.

This question is for David. Tell me a little bit about your company and how the project got started.

(David Shapiro. Semkor NFT Studio)

I met Chris when he got a role in Kevin Smith’s movie ‘Kilroy was Here.’ I was the executive producer and met Chris and his management team then. We wanted to find a project to do together, and at that point, NFTs were very hot.

We had a basic idea to make playing cards based on his characters. And then we decided, why don’t we take the Painmaker character and create a full-blown graphic novel about it? And we spent that year and a half focusing on our technology to create this online comic book experience, and to make it seamless so that you could purchase an NFT with fiat or crypto.

The NFT would unlock the world and users could contribute story ideas and have the frames animated, and have the comic react differently depending on what kind of NFT they held. The vision was to make sort of a lo-fi metaverse, as opposed to spending millions of dollars. I’m a huge fan of the graphic novel and a big collector of them. And we wanted to do something that was very legitimate and not about Chris the wrestler, but about this character.

My studio (Semkhor) wrote this with Chris, and we wanted to make it both physical and digital. We also wanted to spend some real time with the artwork. When you go online, some of the frames start to become animated. And in the future, NFT holders will be able to join together to create more animations in the frames or even a little animated series on the frames.

What’s the creative team like behind the graphic novel?

Chris and I are writing this on our own, and my studio is substantial. Not only do I have a studio, but I also have a curriculum that teaches people how to do visual effects. So, Semkhor NFT Studio did all the art, animation, and all the programming. We’re a cutting-edge production house, too. We executive produced and edited ‘Kilroy Was Here’ and ‘Acting: The First Six Lessons’ with Beau and Jeff Bridges called

Each project I do, I try to do something unique because they’re small projects. And what’s nice about small projects is that you get to work closely with the creator because they’re usually quite passionate about it.

What is the drop date? And how many NFT are available with this drop?

The single comic is available right now — the first issue. And there are 386 beautiful covers that are randomly offered. You don’t know what you’re getting, and there are different levels of rarity and each one gives you access to the full comic, plus the game with three free plays every so often.

There’s a second drop coming very soon that consists of 5,000 unique NFTs for $54 each, and there are various ways to get that price lowered. This will give you access to the entire series as it comes online. Each of the NFTs are 1:1 and come with their own animation.

Rarity Sniper Discount:

Semkhor NFT Studio is offering a special discount for Rarity Sniper fans. Visit and type in “Rarity” at check out to receive a 25% discount on the next Painmaker NFT mint.

More about Semkhor NFT Studio:

Semkhor is an NFT studio that began developing on the internet before there was a graphical browser. Over the years, it’s developed a deep understanding of the possibilities of the web. The studio handpicks artists and brands and aids them in projecting their goals and vision into the Cryptoverse. With extensive expertise in modern content production and visual effects, Semkhor helps creators craft digital art that takes advantage of Web3 technologies and NFTs as they evolve as a new art form.

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