Frankenstein’s Monster

Frankenstein's Monster 01Frankenstein's Monster 02Frankenstein's Monster 03 Frankenstein's Monster 04 Frankenstein's Monster 05Frankenstein's Monster legs detail Frankenstein's Monster 06 Frankenstein's Monster 07 Frankenstein's Monster arm detail Frankenstein's Monster baseFrankenstein's Monster face 03 Frankenstein's Monster faceFrankenstein's Monster feet detailFrankenstein's Monster foot detail

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips.

Based on Mary Shelley’s description of the literate, bilingual, articulate monster of her novel, Sean Downey and I designed this piece which I sculpted. It took us a while to finalize this design, which we wanted to be true to Shelley’s description above, but also possess some visual appeal.

The black lips we decided to make a kind of blue-black, like the lips and tongues of bears or Chow Chow dogs, and we extrapolated that his nipples (which, shockingly, Shelly failed to describe) would be, too. Scarring isn’t described in the book, but we utilized the popular idea of the monster being composed of the parts of dead humans as well as animals, which was suggested, hence scars. The scars we did were mostly cosmetic with not a lot of thought given to how they’d actually work (Sean added circular, almost branding-like scars on the shoulders).

We wanted our take on the monster to have a youthful quality, despite looking like he’d racked up a lot of mileage, so we gave him slightly oversized eyes and fine features, including too-small ears and nose set too-high on his head.

His eyes, described as “watery […]that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set” are alternately described as yellow, which seemed contradictory. We decided to make the corneas an unnatural yellow and keep the whites of the eyes white.

The monster is depicted here after having been rejected by Frankenstein and living in the woods for a while.

The sculpture was made with a mixture of Sculpey III, Sculpey Firm, and Apoxie over an aluminum armature. The original was molded in Smooth-On PMC (forgot which number) mold rubber and cast in Smooth-Cast 300, primed, painted with acrylics, and given a loincloth and crepe hair, set with clear fabric glue.

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Work-in-Progress

I’m working on an ongoing project with Sean Downey, and here is some of the what we’re working on.

Sean posed for reference photos, which I digitally painted over (those are really his clothes, though. He’s a fashion plate).

Quick and dirty, but it gets the idea across.

Sean built a couch and we put a sculpted figure on it. We built a room and put in a test window, and took test snapshots with a digital camera.

Still more work to do, but I’m encouraged by the test shots.

Just don’t look below his knees.

Frankenstein vs. Der Golem

This older piece was recently included in the “We Love Monsters” show at the Andromeda Gallery in Allston, MA. The titanic battle you never thought you’d see!

Frankenstein’s Monster has been re-imagined as a creation of Nazi science. He’s heavily influenced by the waterlogged Nazi zombies of the 70s B-movie SHOCK WAVES.

With Der Golem I kind of had a top-heavy, Mike Mignola monster in mind. I probably should have pushed him further in that direction.

At a loss for how he might be dressed, Golem is wearing purple, Jack-Kirbyesque trunks, much like the Marvel monsters of the early 60s.

I’m not sure how this fight turns out, but both monsters traditionally turn against their masters.

This is the first, and so far only, entry in the Monsters Series.

New Monster Work-in-Progress

I got some work done this weekend!

This piece is about 10″ high, a mixture of Super Sculpey, Sculpey III, and Sculpey Firm over and aluminum and brass armature, based on a design by Sean Downey. The mixture of Super Sculpey and Sculpey firm give me a texture I prefer to work with, particularly in the hot weather when polymer clay gets a little gummier.

Another Unnamed Monster Attempt

Sometimes you need to get something  wrong to figure out what you want.

It’s not that I don’t like how this piece came out, but it represents my first thoughts on how the character should look and after a while, I realized this wasn’t quite right. Sometimes I’ll get a hit with my first attempt at designing something. More often, when the rubber meets the road, I figure out where I need to make adjustments.

Overall, I’m pleased with the thick, excessive features, contrasting the almost glamour-makeup look of the blue-black lips (modeled on Chow Chow and bear tongues), the overly wide mouth (stitched at the sides; he likes to talk, this guy) and dark eye-sockets. The flowing hair and wide sideburns make him look like a Gothic hero who’s been left to over-ripen and maybe even spoil. But this is a runner-up, not the character I’m looking for.

Every wrong turn brings me somewhere, even if it’s not where I thought I was going.

MIGHTY MARVEL MAY #24: THE HULK

Doc Bruce Banner,
Belted by gamma rays,
Turned into the Hulk…

Stan Lee has said that the Hulk, co-created with artist Jack Kirby, is based on Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde, the good man who becomes a monster, and also on Boris Karloff’s version of Frankenstein’s monster, the misbegotten, persecuted creature. Those influences are fairly evident. What is absent from all but the original versions of the Hulk are his Cold War origins. Doctor Bruce Banner was a meek, bookish man who used his genius to build weapons of mass destruction and, caught in the blast of one of his bombs, became one himself.

The Hulk is Banner’s alter-ego. When angered, Banner becomes a seven-foot, thousand-pound, musclebound, lime-green, simple-minded version of himself (in most versions: he originally changed at nightfall, was gray-skinned, and merely terse, not simple). As he grows angrier, he gets stronger,often proclaiming “Hulk is strongest one there is!” After the anger has faded, he reverts back to a scrawny Bruce Banner by the side of the road somewhere, his clothes in tatters, barely able to remember what he’s done.

In the 1980s, writer/artist Barry Windsor-Smith proposed a story which would reveal that Bruce Banner had been physically abused as a child. The revelation would suggest that the Hulk was not merely Banner’s repressed anger, but a physical manifestation of the anger of an abused child, to some degree explicating the Hulk’s childlike demeanor. Marvel ran a version of  the story, but without Windsor-Smith (and interesting account of the behind-the-scenes story of how Marvel passed and then ended up using the story anyway can be found here).

The Hulk’s adventures both permit us to worry for Dr. Banner, the victim of violence who perpetuates violence without meaning to, and vicariously enjoy the demolition when he transforms and bellows “HULK SMASH!”

I hope you’ll return for tomorrow’s installment of MIGHTY MARVEL MAY even if tomorrow’s installment isn’t very nice.

Nameless Monster Work-In-Progress

Another work-in-progress for an (exciting!) ongoing project (that I can’t talk about yet). This Super Sculpey/Sculpey Firm piece will be cast and then reproduced in a number of different materials, such as epoxy resin, sculptor’s wax, and pudding (maybe). Final version will have long hair which may be rooted, like a doll’s hair.

This piece is about an inch and a half, working at a 1:12th scale.

Also included is an illustrated diagram of the headsculpt which will be used to make changes I need to make and to resculpt the head at different scales if necessary.

Once again, if you have any comments or, even better, questions, please post them. I love to talk process, but don’t know if it’s of interest to anyone else.