Forgotten Projects Friday: PROFESSOR PORTMANTEAU

Professor P Cover Mockup 01 Dr. P Test 03 (detail)

Sometimes I’ll put a lot of work into something that, for one reason or another, I don’t end up finishing. I wish my work-to-completion ratio was better, but most of the time the work is instructive in some way.

PROFESSOR PORTMANTEAU was to be a sci-fi novella illustrated with sculptural illustration, kind of like a stop-motion animated feature without the animation. For various reasons, I decided not to finish this book, but wrote the story and created the main cast, which can be seen in black and white here (the final book was to be in full color). I sculpted a removable “hero” head for each character, cast it, and would make alterations to each cast piece to reflect their expression in each scene. I’d make alterations to their bodies and sculpt new pieces for each shot as needed.

Characters here include Professor Portmanteau, the current incarnation of the smartest person in the universe, her monkey assistant (who acted as her living backup memory, but could never remember his own name), the nerdy Dr. Guero, snippy Dr. Stadtic (who wore van de Graaff generator hairsticks), the grumpy Dr. Tyke, kindly old Dr. Silverspout, the Celebrity (an elongated, alien Tom Jones type), and Professor Hermetic, a previous incarnation of the professor (who’s designed to look like a Jack Kirby/Go Nagai mashup). At the end you’ll see a mockup of what the pages might have looked like and some sample text.

While I’m a little sad I put the brakes on this one, I’m pleased with the work I did and learned a lot from it.

Monkey revised Dr._Portmanteau_sketch_01 IMG_0901 Stadtic WIP07 Stadtic WIP10 Stadtic WIP12 Tyke 01 Tyke CU IMG_0933 SilverspoutWIP01 Celeb03 Dr. Hermetic color test Portmanteau Page Mockup 01 & 02 (low)


Housecleaning Finds…

Cleaning house I found some old action figures I’d customized as a kid. Customizing action figures eventually lead to sculpting. These were off-the-shelf, cheap action figures (I remember doing a lot with .88 cent pegwarmer Killer Kanes from Buck Rogers) sculpted over in plasticine, lightly coated in Elmer’s Glue, and then sometimes painted over, usually with Testor’s acrylics.


“Original*” character Captain Freedom action figure. I think that’s a Hannibal from the A-Team (soft, rubbery plastic) head and a GI Joe body. I seem to recall using substandard plasticine for some of the trim (you can see it’s “bled” on the eagle on his belt and F on his forehead).


1989’s Batman has seen better days. A GI Joe Outback action figure provides his relatively unadorned torso, but I can’t recall what the rest was. I cut up a Naugahyde carseat at the Nantucket junkyard for his cape.


As has the nigh-invulnerable Tick (whose antennae were painted pull-chain segments). I forget what the figure underneath is, but it scaled to be approximately 7′ to a GI Joe or Star Wars action figures’ 6′.

*Knowingly appropriated.