Category Archives: Monster Legacy Exclusives
Creating the demons for I, Frankenstein was a task assigned to the special effects artists of the Make-Up Effects Group. Monster Legacy had the chance — and the honour — to interview Nick Nicolaou, co-founder of the company, again — following our last exclusive — discussing the make-up effects of the film. Read on!
Monster Legacy: Were you familiar with Grevioux’s graphic novel prior to your work on the film?
Nick Nicolaou: I was familiar with the graphic novel, but I was never able to get a copy to read. I knew of the premise and saw quite a bit of the artwork. When the production approached us, the first thing they pointed out was that the graphic novel was the inspiration, but it was just a stepping stone and the film was being developed in a slightly different direction.
Monster Legacy had the pleasure to interview a freelance, overlooked creature designer — Mate Jako!
Monster Legacy: A more personal question first. What inspired you to become a concept artist?
Mate Jako: Well, for a lot of artists you read, their main inspirations are usually comic books, fine art, or cartoons, and they are great, but the main trigger in my life that launched me towards art was monsters. As a child, I loved “scary movies”. I still remember myself watching Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Conan slaying that horrendous-faced wizard — created by Carlo Rambaldi if I’m right — from behind my dad’s armchair for protection. Or no matter how scary the transformations in The Thing were, you could not look away. Monsters are extremely commanding and expressive.
Monster Legacy had the honour to interview a great (and frequently overlooked) contemporary creature designer and concept artist: Mike Corriero. Though not yet involved in the design work for films, Mike is one of the most talented creature designers – balancing realism and aesthetic purposes in his monstrous creations. With a Bachelors Degree in Illustration – Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NYC – taken in May 2003, He has worked for ImagineFX Magazine, as well as the Topps company, Hasbro and Others.
The 2005 Man-Thing film was part of an arrangement Marvel Comics made with Artisan to develop lesser-known characters into motion pictures of their own. Originally intended for a 2004 video release, it was ‘upgraded’ for a theatrical release — only to be put back on the straight to video format by Marvel. Still, the film was theatrically released in a limited number of countries, among which Russia and Spain.
The film featured a mixture of practical and digital effects — with the former parts created by Make-Up Effects Group of Australia. Monster Legacy had the great chance — and honour — to interview Nick Nicolaou, co-founder of the special effects company, who brought the swamp Monster to life.
On the 4th of January, I received a mail from TyRuben Ellingson, the main creature designer for Guillermo del Toro’s Mimic. He showed to me two concept art pieces he had drawn for the project back in 1996; with further correspondence he not only allowed me to publish them here, but also gave me other drawings.
The two pieces below are side view studies, already close to the final incarnation of the ‘Long John’ Mimic design; they show how the creatures’ peculiar ‘mask-claws’ function and how the Mimics’ appearance changes when they are in ‘masked’ and ‘unmasked’ positions. Notice that the ‘mask-claws’ here were successively changed for the adult monsters. The juveniles mantain the earlier design due to the fact that when the decision was made, the practical models for the character were already built and ready for filming.