MARVEL BOY Mini-Bust

The Marvel Boy is an older sculpture in honor of today’s release of YOUNG AVENGERS by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (whose two PHONOGRAM miniseries I would highly recommend). Originating in the Marvel Miniseries by Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones, Marvel Boy was really Noh-Varr, a misanthropic, teenage alien, angry at the world and ready to conquer it for our own good. He’s mellowed some, but we’ll see how much of his old brand of “Zen Facism” will appear in this new series.

This piece was also designed by my friend Dann Lundie, who shared my love of the series (Dann also designed the Robin Node and Shaun of the Dead sculptures). He provided the sketches below:

I’m not sure why I didn’t incorporate either of Dann’s neat designs for the base. Hm.

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12 DAYS OF THE BATMAN! DAY 2: TWO-FACE

TwoFace07

For the second day of 12 Days of the Batman, who else but Two-Face?

A gangster threw acid in the face of crusading district attorney Harvey Dent, horribly scarring his left side. This fractured the psyche of the already-troubled Dent (who was called Harvey Kent in his first appearance). As Two-Face he committed crimes when he flipped his double-headed dollar coin, also scarred on one side, and it landed bad-side-up. Batman is haunted by his inability to save the man who was once his friend.

My version of Two-Face is informed by his portrayal on BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, where he not only looked great, but was voiced perfectly by actor Richard Moll. In reality, Moll stands an imposing 6’8″ and sounds like it. As a result, I picture Two-Face big- Frankensteinian– bigger and stronger than Batman himself. I also wanted his unscarred half to look dead-eyed and vacant, no longer a participant in his own actions.

My friend PJ Shapiro wrote a song about Two-Face which reference BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, Grant Morrison and Dave McKean’s ARKHAM ASYLUM: A SERIOUS HOUSE ON A SERIOUS EARTH, and still manages to work in the phrase “Manichean lapdog.” It’s called E. Pluribus H. Dent. Listen to it here.

Two-Face was also created by Bob Kane and an uncredited Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson in 1942’s DETECTIVE COMICS #66

The curious should return tomorrow for the third installment of 12 Days of the Batman!

Xorn Mask Replica (X-Men)

This life-sized replica of the mask worn by X-Man Xorn was a Secret Santa gift for an X-Men fan. To keep it under the $20 price-cap on this gift exchange, this mask was made entirely from things I already had around the house, primarily modeling clay and found objects, cast in cheap, brush-on liquid latex meant for securing carpeting to the floor, and cast in left0ver Smooth-On resin.

MIGHTY MARVEL MAY #13: BEAST

Hank McCoy ought to be the poster child for mutants. As created by stalwarts Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in  X-MEN #1 in 1963, Beast was a hirsute, agile man, with oversize hands and feet, but recognizably human. His brutish exterior  was at odds with his eloquent, erudite manner and genius intellect. Seeking the genetic cause of human mutation, Beast transformed himself into a blue-furred, apelike creature (courtesy of writer Gerry Conway and artist Tom Sutton. He also got a great Gil Kane cover out of it!). He could no longer hide his mutation from the world.

More gray than blue on this great Gil Kane cover. And more people need to work “lo” into sentences.

Far from withdrawing from society, Hank became a celebrated member of the  Avengers and continued his work as a scientist. He was a quirky, verbose, well-adjusted guy. Years passed and Hank mutated once again. This time the mutagen was writer Grant Morrison’s mind.

Morrison and artist Frank Quitely redesigned the X-Men for the 21st Century beginning with NEW X-MEN #114. “Increased sunspot activity” was blamed for secondary mutations around the world, and Beast was now a blue-furred, catlike humanoid who felt “like a Hindu sex god.”  While rebuffing an ex-girlfriend, he also alluded to being gay, a revelation which was hastily retracted by Hank himself a few issues later (I’ve always suspected the change was mandated by Marvel’s management, who realized Beast action figures were sold at Walmarts around the country and feared a conservative backlash). Hank’s shifting orientation was not as controversial as his shifting appearance. Although many embraced his leonine look, which he has to this day, others wished for a return to his earlier, more apelike appearance.

I like both looks. My guess is that Quitely was inspired by Jean Cocteau’s Beast in La Belle et la Bête. I went with this version because I haven’t seen it represented in 3D as often.

With luck, you’ll be back for another edition of MIGHTY MARVEL MAY tomorrow!

MIGHTY MARVEL MAY #12: EMMA FROST/ THE WHITE QUEEN

Jean Grey: What makes you such a bitch, Emma?

Emma Frost: Breeding, darling. Top class breeding.


Introduced my Chris Claremont and John Byrne in X-MEN #129 during the Dark Phoenix Saga, Emma Frost was not only a headmistress of a school rivaling Xavier’s School for (Mutant) Gifted Youngster, but as the telepathic White Queen of the Hellfire Club as well.  The Hellfire Club and its members were largely inspired by the “Touch of Brimstone” episode of THE AVENGERS (the British, Steed-and-Emma-Peel AVENGERS this time), and is herself  partially drawn from Diana Rigg’s portrayal of Mrs. Emma Peel.

Although originally part of a mutant cabal determined to rule the world, Emma has always been a wild card; a villain motivated by love for other mutants, and later a superhero motivated by self-interest.  Her allegiances shifted, but she has never been easily labeled hero or villain. Unlike Rogue, who began as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants before reforming, Emma’s road to heroism is nowhere near as  smooth, nor would it be surprising if she changed again. Currently she is involved with the straight-laced Cyclops, leader of the X-Men, a weakness that seems to appall her as much as it does many fans.

Writer Grant Morrison did some of my favorite work with Emma (although he gave her a secondary mutation, the ability to transform into a humanoid diamond, which I think dilutes her some). From her Wikipedia entry:

…in 2001 Frost appeared in New X-Men as a teacher for the mutant population …Using Frost as a character was suggested to writer Grant Morrison on his website by a fan.

That fan was my friend Ken Kneisel, to whom this sculpture is dedicated.

Certain as the sun, there will be a new MIGHTY MARVEL MAY installment tomorrow, so please come back.

MIGHTY MARVEL MAY #6: QUENTIN QUIRE/ KID OMEGA

“You’ve always encouraged us to dream…I just wondered what would happen if one of us had a dream you didn’t like?” Malcontent student Quentin Quire asked this of Professor Charles Xavier. Quire was a mutant in a school for mutants, a place where he could be trained, accepted and even embraced by his culture, but this was not for him. He organized the Omega Gang and staged a riot at Xavier’s, putting Xavier’s dream of a peaceful mutant haven to the test.

Created by writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely in NEW X-MEN #134 in 2003, Quire was a smart little thug who couched teenage self-interest in lofty idealism and violence. He was also a compelling character, one you could simultaneously secretly root for and be glad when he was given his comeuppance.  X-Men comics are  an ideal metaphor for (among other things) adolescence, and Quire was an ideal teenage hero/villain, fighting for an agenda he didn’t necessarily believe in, hoping someone in authority would stop him, with a vague understanding that he might destroy himself in the process.

Quire’s story began and ended beautifully in the pages of NEW X-MEN, a rarity in superhero comics. But of course no comic company ever lets any story finish, so Quire has returned, but to me he’s not the same character anymore.

There’s also a rumor circulating that Morrison pulled and interesting trick with Quire. In his creator-owned series THE INVISIBLES, Morrison introduced a malevolent, dwarfish, masked psychic named Mister Quimper. At Marvel, he introduced the malcontent Quire. In DC’s ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, a benevolent but somehow sinister character named Mr. Quintum was an ally to the man of steel. One theory is that each of these characters are the same person, beginning with the unformed and angry Quimper and ending with the kindly-but-suspicious Quintum. If so, Quire represents the angry adolescent, forever at war with the world and who he’ll become.

Today’s minibust is dedicated to my friend Youri, who understands why “Magneto was right.”

You’ll want to keep your eye out for tomorrow’s MIGHTY MARVEL MAY character!