SPACE SAMURAI FANG

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SPACE SAMURAI FANG (Supēsu Bushi Fang) aka ROCKET WOLF FANG (aka Roketto Ōkami Fang) is a character I made up when I was a little kid. I wrote a lengthy origin story on the Harvard mainframe (where my mom worked), which garnered me a fan letter. He’s the last survivor of an alien race, whose been recruited by the emperor who killed his people. (I think the plan was that Fang would eventually get revenge: I’ve always been about the long-unfolding plots, I guess.)

This 1/6th scale mini-bust was sculpted with Sculpey Firm, Super Sculpt, and Apoxie, and painted with acrylic paints.

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Here’s a teenage drawing of the character, then a sketch from memory from a week or so ago that lead to the sculpture:

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THE SHADOW

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Created in 1930 as a disembodied narrator for radio crime dramas, the Shadow eventually gained a persona, backstory, and has had many bloody adventures on radio (voiced by a young Orson Welles, among others), pulp magazines (mostly written by magician-turned-author Walter B. Gibson under the pen-name Maxwell Grant), comic books, and film (a 1994 feature starring Alec Baldwin). Having learned to “cloud men’s minds” in the Far East, Lamont Cranston (a.k.a. Kent Allard) returns to his native New York City and wages a brutal war on crime, aided by agents from many different fields of expertise. His famous catchphrase “who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” was often accompanied, on radio, by his chilling, humorless laughter.

The Shadow was a precursor to Batman, and a huge influence on Batman’s creators Bill Finger and Bob Kane. Batman spent his first year occasionally toting a gun and dispatching criminals as ruthlessly as the Shadow did.

This 1/6th scale mini-bust was sculpted with Sculpey Firm, Super Sculpt, and Apoxie, and painted with acrylics and cel vinyl.

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John Henry Irons, STEEL

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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.

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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.

THE METABARON

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CHICKEN FOR DINNER (Cowboys and Dinosaurs)

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In the Old West, two desperadoes took refuge in a hidden California valley. One shot a “funny-lookin’ chicken” and roasted it for their dinner.

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His compatriot was sick with a bad cold and had no appetite for the weird meat.

Little did the bad men know some very hungry chickens were already hunting them…

 

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Inspired by Ray Harryhausen’s VALLEY OF THE GWANGI (which I’ve still never seen all the way through), my own take on two great icons of the American West, Cowboys and Dinosaurs.

This diorama is 2 1/2′ X 2 1/2′ across. The cowboys, dog, horses and dinosaurs were all made from Super Sculpey over an aluminum armatures. Lots of research went into cowboy gear, animal anatomy, paleontology (particularly the work of Gregory S. Paul), and the Navajo blanket worn by the sick cowboy, only to ignore all of it where it’d make for better drama.

This is an older piece I never photographed before. It was built to be viewed in person, in the dark, and I hope it translates into photos. Thanks to Sean Downey for his assistance in preparing this piece to shoot.

Wesley Dodds, THE SANDMAN

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Created in 1939 (one month after Superman first appeared) by writer Gardner Fox and and artist Bert Christman, Wesley Dodds was a somnambulist-turned-superhero who wore an eerie gas mask and used a sleep-inducing gas gun, a kind of nonlethal variation on the Shadow. Inspired by the success of Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN series (Gaiman’s Sandman being inspired by the earlier iteration) Wesley Dodds was revived in 1993 by writers Matt Wagner and Steven T. Seagle and artist Guy Davis in Vertigo’s SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATER, a moody crime comic set in the late ’30s.

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SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATER artist Guy David depicted the Sandman’s alter ego Wesley Dodds and his girlfriend and confidant Dian Belmont as a rumpled, bookish, roly-poly couple, unusual for mainstream comics. I was inspired by Davis’ interpretation of the Sandman, as well as the rotund, overcoat-wearing protagonist of a Moebius story, To See Naples.

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This piece was sculpted with a gray mix of Super-Sculpey and Sculpey III over an aluminum armature, molded in Smooth-On Oomoo 30, cast in Smooth-Cast 300, primed and painted with acrylic paints and accented with chalk and pastels. The finished piece stands about 7″ high.