Man-Size (man_size) wrote,

Designing "Of Monsters and Men" for SyFy's WAREHOUSE 13

23D Films hired me to do lead character design, lead props, and two comic book covers for, "Of Monsters and Men," a 10-part motion comics web-series for SyFy's WAREHOUSE 13, which debuted online for free, recently, and will be added to the season 3 DVD of WH13 [including, I believe, a secret, 11th episode]. I suppose having won an Emmy award for doing character designs and key frame art for the title sequence of HBO's "Bored To Death" had something to do with being considered for the job but the WH13 gig was more elaborate and intensive than any design work I'd ever done before. I got studio-mate, James Smith [creator of GANG OF FOOLS: ], hired as secondary character designer and props/background artist and he did a great job. I want to thank 23D Films producer, James Fino, head WH13 writer, Ben Raab, and acknowledge the superior design genius of the late, great Alex Toth, for making my work easy and fun.

Here is a bunch of the designs and covers I did for WH13's "Of Monsters and Men," including some of the rejected ones. Enjoy!

PITCH ART: I was asked to do a quick drawing to score the gig. I'd heard of WAREHOUSE 13 and liked the premise but never watched it. Remember the end of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK when they put the ark in a huge warehouse full of artifacts? Imagine a show that explores the artifacts on those shelves and the craziness that ensues and you'll get a good idea of what WH13 is about. So, 23D Films sent me some reference and I investigated the show online and discovered that Saul Rubinek, one of my favorite character actors [remember how great he was as the arrogant movie producer in the movie, TRUE ROMANCE?] was the star of the show. The spec art of "Artie and Claudia" officially scored me the gig and then I drew a quick sketch of "Pete."

Soon after, I was sent the script and made hip to the story which was a spirited tale about the WH13 gang coming into possession of Fredric Wertham's personal comic collection that lead to his writing the now infamous book, SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT, which deemed certain comic books delinquent for children readers [specifically, horror, war, fantasy and crime], and sparked the reactionary crusade to censor comics with the invention of The Comics Code Authority, which effectively put EC Comics out of business and homogenized genre comic books for years until the industry finally abandoned the code, over 50-years later [see: ]. In the first webisode of "Of Monsters and Men," some of the WH13 gang are literally sucked [seduced?] via Wertham's spinner rack into one of the EC Comics-inspired horror comics, THE CITY OF GHOULS, and they become reluctant, two-dimensional comic book characters who have to figure out a way to return back to three-dimensional reality while facing the dangers and conflicts of the city of ghouls. A great idea.

UGGO: The major monster in the story is named UGGO, and my first attempt at drawing him was rejected. He looked too much like THE HULK. Not scary enough. The writer's direction was to make UGGO look more like SWAMP THING, and I made several attempts until we settled on the final design.

MONSTERS/ELDERS: There were going to be a bunch more monsters in the story and my first attempt was your classic EC Comics zombie [this was before I designed UGGO] and that design got rejected until I designed UGGO and we decided the rest of the monsters would look like less formidable versions of UGGO. There were also a few Monster Elders that needed to be created and I designed two of them.

ARTIE / CLAUDIA / PETE: Likeness is not my forte but I did the best I could to capture versions of the lead actors and make comic book characters out of them.

MERCER: Mercer was an important character to the story [I'd like to see him pop in the regular WH13 series!] and he was designed to be your classic war veteran/anti-hero. A SGT. ROCK-type gone bad. The perfect ruse.

PROPS: There were going to be a bunch of props used in the story and I decided to draw some of them, including WH13's perennial, TESLA and FARNSWORTH devices.

COVERS: creating the covers to THE CITY OF GHOULS and WAREHOUSE 13, was probably my favorite part of the job because it meant I got to pay homage to EC Comics and they bookended "Of Monsters and Men" beautifully. 23D Films did a brilliant job of distressing and aging the cover for THE CITY OF GHOULS.

[notice how I digitally warped the figures from the original drawing]

To watch the entire WAREHOUSE 13: "Of Monsters and Men" web-series, click on the links below.

Part 1 -
Part 2 -
Part 3 -
Part 4 -
Part 5 -
Part 6 -
Part 7 -
Part 8 -
Part 9 -
Part 10 -

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