Did you happen to catch any of those pics of the He-Man statue at Sideshow Collectibles booth at 2015’s San Diego Comic Con? How about the Heath Ledger Joker statue? Or that awesomely feral looking Wolverine statue? If you caught any of those (and a few others that were on display) you’d be admiring the work of sculptor Matthew J Black. I caught up with Matt and asked him a few questions about his work that Sideshow Collectibles had on display at SDCC.
Your friendly neighborhood jman: Matthew, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. I’d like to start off with San Diego Comic Con. Tell me a little bit about the work you’ve done for Sideshow’s Court of the Dead line. You designed and sculpted Oglavaeil the Executioner. What is the story behind the character? According to the site, the statue is fairly massive: over 2 feet in height, weighing 20 pounds. What’s it like seeing a design come to life like that?
Matt Black: Oh, Oglavaeil! Yeah he was a tough one. This piece was a real collaboration between me and Tom Gilliland. We had some AMAZING concepts from Amilcar Fong as a starting point, but much of the creation was kinda thought up on the fly. Tom had a great description of the character, that combined with the other worldly art of Amilcar helped shape him as a being.
Many of the elements had not been spelled out, such as his legs, or different arm arrangements. We knew he would be in an executioner’s role, so the blade had to be a focal point. A great deal of time was put into the deco, and theme of his instruments.
We played around a lot with a variety of arm, and leg styles, as well as masks, and head shapes before we found what we liked. His canine companion was another element that just happened to develop organically. Tom had the idea to make a companion for him, but didn’t really hold me too much to any specific channels. I really had a fun time working out the look of this beast. I really drew heavily from the drawings of Stephen Gammel, the illustrator of the “more scary stories to tell in the dark” book series. I loved how in one of the drawings there is a “dog” with a human hand. So that’s where that came from.
Tom was in my office many times a week, sometimes multiple times a day, working with me to add or subtract elements till we had what you see.
The very best part of being a part of a process like this, I seeing it on display, and getting the reactions of the public. I’m very pleased with how he came out.
jman: You also worked on the Marvel Wolverine Premium Format Figure. It’s a great statue. He’s done in his classic yellow and brown costume. Both the masked and unmasked versions give the impression that Logan is pretty feral. What was the inspiration behind the statue?
MB: HA! This is another one of those pieces that started out VERY loose. I always wanted to sculpt Wolverine, so when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped on it. I worked really closely with Sideshow’s art director Dave Igo to really bring this one to life. There must have been about 6 poses and around 5 base ideas for this one at one point. For me, it’s always more fun to be a part of the design process for my projects rather than have a finished design land on my desk. So working with the design team to sculpturally flesh our as many possibilities before nailing one down is always exciting.