First published Feb. 8, 2006, at GJSentinel.com.
Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s … a roasted Kryptonian!
“Nuked Supes” is a 1/4 scale resin bust available from the friendly folks at Mad Dog Resin for $55 plus shipping. It was sculpted by Gabe Perna and inspired by a harrying sequence involving the Man of Steel and a Soviet warhead in Frank Miller’s 1980s epic comic miniseries “Batman: The Dark Knight.” “The Dark Knight” gave comics in general and Batman in particular a major popularity push and helped persuade Warner Bros. to make Michael Keaton’s first Batman movie in the late ’80s. The latest, best Bat-movie, “Batman Begins,” is heavily inspired by Miller’s work.
If you haven’t read “The Dark Knight,” it’s readily available in the graphic novel sections of many bookstores, through various Web sites such as Amazon and even on the shelves at theMesa County Public Library District’s central branch.
As with most garage kits, only a handful of copies of “Nuked Supes” will be made, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. In fact, a companion piece of the Dark Knight called “I Am the Law” came and went within a matter of weeks (I’m one of the lucky folks who got one). What you get when you buy Supes is an unbuilt kit in three pressure-cast pieces; the one pictured was painted by Dan Cope.
I’ve traded a few e-mails with Charlie of Mad Dog Resin; here’s some of what he had to say:
Me: Was “Nuked Supes” your concept or Gabe’s? What attracted you to the subject matter?
Charlie: I have been a fan of Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” since it was published back in the mid-’80s. It really was unlike anything else being published at the time, and as a kid, it got me hooked on comics for years to come.
“Nuked Supes” comes from that book. There is a scene in the book where
Superman diverts a nuclear missile headed for the U.S.A. The bomb goes
off, and Superman gets … well … “Nuked”. The result is what you see, a crispy, zombie-looking Superman.
This was something I had wanted to do for a long time, and I thought
Gabe’s style fit this piece perfectly. There are very few Superman kits out there, and most of them are pretty standard … this was taking the traditional character, and doing something different with it, but still having it based on actual material from the comics.
If you are familiar with the book, there is not a lot of reference
material for this rendition of Superman. Gabe did a great filling in the blanks, and fleshing this one out.
Me: What’s your favorite garage-kit subject matter?
Charlie: You know, I really don’t have one particular favorite subject matter. I’m pretty much all over the board collector. If I see something I like, I buy it. I’m not a huge fan of the classic Universal monsters, so you’ll find few of those in my collection.
I lean toward the comic book characters, modern sci-fi and horror
stuff, but you’ll find a little bit of everything in my collection.
As far as producing garage kits….I’m mainly filling voids in my own
collection. Subjects that I wanted for myself, that no one else had produced.
Me: Have you met any particularly interesting people because of your involvement with garage kits?
Charlie: As a whole, the garage kit community is filled with great people. I’m continually amazed at the talent out there. I got jibes from people sometimes about “playing with monsters” but I don’t think they consider the skill it takes to produce some of these sculptures, and then the time, effort, and talent to bring them alive with paint. They are really little works of art.
I’ve met some great people, and made some good friends, all over the
world through this hobby, I never would have met any of them if I wasn’t involved in garage kits.