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)

 

Advertisements

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.

CAPTAINFREEDOM

“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).

BATMAN

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.

THETICK

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.

BATGIRL OF BURNSIDE Redux

Batgirl of Burnside 01 Batgirl of Burnside 02Batgirl of Burnside 03Batgirl of Burnside 04Batgirl of Burnside Detail 01Batgirl of Burnside Detail 02Batgirl of Burnside 05

Although I’d posted some pics of this Batgirl before, Tony Martins (@TonyM_Photo) took these much-improved photos. This 1/6th scale figure was sculpted with a mixture of  Sculpey Firm and Apoxie over an aluminum foil armature, primed, and painted with acrylic paints and Cel-Vinyl.

I based this pose on the cover of her first appearance in Detective Comics #359, as drawn by Carmine Infantino, with additional design input by John Vukelic. This was done for the 6th Annual Hub Comics DARK KNIGHT ON A DARK NIGHT Batman art show.

Batgirl was created by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino, and redesigned by Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr  (and you can see where Babs Tarr autographed it under the Batgirl logo in that last picture!).

John Henry Irons, STEEL

STEEL 01 STEEL 02 STEEL 03 STEEL 04

From a recent photoshoot with Tony Martins (@TonyM_Photo), this is Steel. This 1/9th scale figure was sculpted with a mixture of Super Sculpey  over an aluminum foil  armature, primed and painted with acrylic paints.

When Superman was (briefly) killed by the monster Doomsday back in 1993, construction worker John Henry Irons was trapped by falling debris from the battle. When he finally pulled himself free, he declared “Gotta stop Doomsday!” as though he had to continue the fallen Superman’s never-ending battle.

Steel Arises

Art by Jon Bogdanove, words by Louise Simonson, from The Adventures of Superman #500 (June 1993).

In subsequent comics, Steel built a suit of powered armor with which gives him superhuman strength and the power of flight, and is probably best known for the movie in which he was played by Shaquille O’Neal.

But I liked Steel best in that first appearance, where he looked for all the world like an amalgamation of two American myths, John Henry and Superman.

Steel was created by Louise Simonson and Jon Bogdanove.