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)

 

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WINTER SOLDIER

WinterSoldier01 WinterSoldier02 WinterSoldier03 WinterSoldier04 WinterSoldier05WINTER SOLIDER for #Watsoncon. Based on actor Sebastian Stan as he appeared in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, this 1/6th scale mini-bust was sculpted with Sculpey Firm over an aluminum foil and Apoxie armature, set on a wood-block base. Photos by Tony Martins Photography (@TonyM_Photo).

Bucky Barnes (the Winter Soldier) was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

PROFESSOR X AND MAGNETO

X and Magneto 00 X and Magneto 01 X and Magneto 02 X and Magneto 03 X and Magneto Magneto Detail 01 X and Magneto Magneto Detail 02 X and Magneto Magneto Detail 03 X and Magneto X Detail 00 X and Magneto X Detail 01 X and Magneto X Detail 02 X and Magneto X Detail 03

Marvel’s Mutant fremenies mini-busts for my friend Kait’s birthday. These were made with Sculpey Firm and Apoxie over an aluminum armature, finished with black matte spray primer and silver and metallic red leaf.  The X emblem in the stand was hand-carved, stained, and polyurethaned. Each bust is about 3″ high.

Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA (After Kirby)

DSC02997My 3D rendition of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby’s Captain America. This is based on Kirby’s cover for CAPTAIN AMERICA’S BICENTENNIAL BATTLES

DSC02989DSC02999 DSC02993

(He gets a little John Buscema-esque when viewed from the side.)

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DSC02991DSC02990DSC02996This piece is dedicated to my late friend James, Cap’s biggest fan.

Apparently there a new Captain America movie out. I don’t know how it could top Albert Pyun’s masterpiece.

(I’m really looking forward to it! If you enjoyed it, consider making a donation to The Hero Initiative in Jack Kirby or Joe Simon’s name. )

And that was MIGHTY MARVEL MAY!


And that’s it! My top 30 favorite Marvel Comics character in minibust form. So many fun characters had to be left out (Sorry Blade! Sorry Kingpin! Sorry everyone in Power Pack! Punisher- you’re still a Spider-Man villain to me, and I didn’t have room for Norman Osborn, the ne plus ultra of Spidey villains, so you didn’t make the cut).  Marvel has been publishing for more than 70 years, have thousands of characters, and occupied most of my childhood and young adulthood.

For all my love of this vast fictional universe, in this series I’ve tried to pay homage to the creators of these characters. It’s very easy to think of the Marvel Universe as an almost organic whole, and that these stories will be there every month without fail, but without Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Larry Lieber, Don Heck, John Romita, Gene Colan, Steve Gerber, John Byrne, Chris Claremont, and so many more there would be no Marvel Universe. These people gave words and form to the imaginary heroes who have thrilled us. As a kid, I may have wanted to swing across a cityscape like Spider-Man or have the strength of the Thing. But as an adult I wish I could create something to inspire people the way Jack Kirby has.

‘Nuff said.

MIGHTY MARVEL MAY #28: BEN GRIMM/THE THING

The ever-lovin’, blue-eyed idol o’ millions, Benjamin J. Grimm.

Reed Richard, Sue Storm, her brother Johnny, and Ben Grimm launched an experimental rocket into a cosmic ray storm and, crash-landing back on earth, were transformed into the superhuman Fantastic Four.  Reed, Sue, and Johnny gained the power to stretch like elastic, to turn invisible at will, and to become a “Human Torch,” respectively, but Ben… Ben was permanently distorted into a humanoid pile of orange rocks. The Thing.

THE FANTASTIC FOUR #1 (1961)was the beginning of what’s considered the Marvel Age of comics. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s great breakthrough was the concept of superheroes with human vulnerabilities and flaws, who fought and reconciled like a family. In the Marvel Universe there were super-powers, but they came at a cost. Prior to that, superheroes usually had secret identities, mortal alter-egos they could retreat to when their adventures were concluded. The Fantastic Four did not; Ben Grimm couldn’t. 

Always a tough Jewish guy from Brooklyn, Ben was now too tough for the small and fragile world around him. At home only with his surrogate family, Ben channeled his great strength into his adventures with the Fantastic Four. Reed, the greatest scientific mind of his generation, looked for a cure for Ben’s condition, but could never find one. Outwardly Ben put on a brave face, playing the same lovable lout he’d always been, waiting for the moment he can let lose and holler  “IT’S CLOBBERIN’ TIME!”

Hope you’ll pass through this way tomorrow for another installment of MIGHTY MARVEL MAY.

MIGHTY MARVEL MAY #26: PRINCE NAMOR, THE SUB-MARINER

They say we like people for their good qualities and love them for their flaws. There may be no Marvel character who better exemplifies this principle than Namor, the Sub-Mariner. Appearing in the very first Marvel comic, MARVEL COMICS #1, in a story written and drawn by a young Bill Everett. (Namor’s title, the Sub-Mariner, is pronounced mr-nr, as in “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” as opposed to as in submarine.)

From the beginning, Namor was a contradictory, angry mess. The offspring  of a human sailor and an Atlantean mother, Namor was amphibious, with Caucasian skin tones (as opposed to his mother’s blue skin), pointed ears and elven eyebrows. He possessed superhuman strength and endurance, which made sense since he lived deep underwater and wore only tiny swim trunks, but he also had a feature unrelated to his human or Atlantean heritage: tiny wings on his ankles which allowed him to fly. It’s an entirely whimsical, Golden Age idea which makes no logical sense, even in a world where radioactive accidents grant more superpowers than they do cancer. But the strange detail made him master of land, sea, and air.

But there was no place Namor was truly at home. Although a prince by birthright, Atlantis considered him a half-breed, and the surface world wanted no part of him, either. So he was a belligerent brat, attacking Manhattan with tidal waves and monsters from the deep over perceived slights. When the US entered World War II in real life, Namor decided he hated the Axis most of all the airbreathers.

In the 1960s, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby revived the Sub-Mariner, initially as a villain, when the Human Torch found Namor living as an amnesiac vagrant in a flophouse. Although he hadn’t aged, years on dry land had erased his memory, but one good dip in the ocean set him back to his petulant, pompous self.

Constantly vacillating between mankind’s defender and its greatest foe, Namor is somehow nonetheless an engaging character.  Like a beloved drunk who gets violent when he’s had too much, Namor’s friends in the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, the X-Men, all embrace him when he calms back down.

I depicted Namor with gills, which John Byrne introduced in his Namor series of the 1990s. He also eliminated the wings and suggested too long in either environment triggers Namor’s mood swings, which struck me as over-explanation. The Hulk is the repressed, raging id of  a bookworm scientist, unleashed with the force of an atomic bomb. Namor? He’s just moody.

I hope you’ll swing by for tomorrow’s installment of MIGHTY MARVEL MAY!