Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Inspired by the Comicon Game Artisans Challenge, I decided to do a re-design of the venom infested Patricia Roberston from the 2003-2004 Venom run.I have a soft spot in my heart for the story from the short run by Daniel Way. It exposed me to several of my favorite artists, Francisco Herrera, Paco Medina, and Skottie Young and was a bold in it's adaptation of the the plot of The Thing as well as various b-movie monster tropes. It also offered something very really seen in comics. A female protagonist who is forced into her role through sheer survival. I suppose it resonated so well with me since it came out at the time I was knee deep in my love for the Alien Franchise and Robertson reminded me quite a lot of Ripley. A simple person thrust into a fantastical situation ripe with corporate conspiracy, bio-weapons, and a whole lot of bodies left in the events wake.
One of the things that frustrates me a Venom fan is the nature of the visual treatment of females who have bonded with Symbiotes. Usually they are huge chested freaks with the bald venom face and tongues that for whatever reason always seem to be wrapped around their breasts.
In the original run, Robertson is not bonded with the original venom symbiote, but rather a clone created from it's tongue which was infused with a genome that when bonded with the original would allow it to create a offspring (something that had been denied the organism, during the run of Paul Jenkins on Spectacular Spider-Man in 2003 which explained the more tragic origins and Science behind the Symbiotes) and thus the creature moved from host to host draining it of bodily fluids. When bonded to average humans, the character was indistinguishable from the original Venom, but would take on other characteristics when bonded to non-humans (cockroaches,birds dogs and of course Wolverine). Ultimately the creature bonded to Patricia out of necessitate and through technology she was able to control it. Having been quite emotionally scarred going through the whole ordeal up to that point. Patrica vowed to take destroy the original venom to prevent the thousands of lives it's spawn would unleash should her clone successfully join with the original. However, this lead to the characters, Patricia and Eddie when fighting to being all to similar save for slight color differences. I always thought it would have been great for Patricia, while in complete control, to enforce her own image upon the venom character and perhaps giving us a truly interesting she-venom as opposed to the fetish figure from previous incarnations since she was a more down to earth character. So this was something I sought to achieve. A character that was ultimately more human than beastial most of the time, as Patrica had little desire to be so. However, in moments where the symbiotes nature would shine such as combat, her face would distort more into the tongued visage we are used to seeing.
Ironically, Venom is a character that is usually tackled by 3D artists in the entertainment industry. I think that this is largely in part due the fact that the character is heavily muscled like the hulk so he offers for an extreme anatomy challenge but lacks the challenging characteristics that completely human characters offer. For example hair, ears, noses, and defined eye sockets to name a few. So how one would create a more human character posed an interesting challenge. Venom is also chosen for his unique proportions. Every venom is different but rarely is he perfectly proportioned. I wanted to create portions that were feminine but not over sexualized, while still making her strength visible through large clawed hands and tendrils in the forearms to act like thousands of muscles. These would also be similar to the patterns I would try to create in her hair element. This was an attempt at character as well as homage to the artists of the venom run who tried to make this clone visually distinctive with a more fluid or tendril nature. I assume this was in an effort to reference The Thing, as I mentioned which offered inspiration for the story as well a part of the more sketchy style of Francisco Herrera.
I wanted her to have some kind of hair element since it's what i wanted to practice as well as from the character perspective she had to become bald for the device to allow her to control the symbiote could be installed. It would make sense that giving the shape changing nature of the symbiote she might want to conform the creature to mimic the hair she had to lose in a desperate attempt to save he identity. This would also explain as to why she wants a more human face most of the time. Then I though it might be interesting if the hair was a metaphor for the contained symbiote separate from the character yet at the same time integrated in a very intimate way. It then gave an opportunity for the teeth and tendrils to come out of the hair line as if the creature is literally biting into her head and holding on to her while adding asymmetry to the design.
I also wanted to design the spider element to mimic female clothing and form. Coming across the breast and emphasizing the hip. Many interesting takes on the spider symbols of venom and Spiderman have surface these days and I took some inspiration from them as well as my review of my fashion history classes in college. Above you can see some of my designs. I tried to take inspiration from dresses to try and make the symbol more like Patricia's attempt at clothing while possessed without having to be like the newer female symbiote character Mania which has punk rock clothes formed from the creature. As a regular person and not a super hero (Which for some reason have a traditional penchant for ineffective costuming) she might try to create some kind of support. This then taking on more of a role as she would not be the DD cup of most other symbiote characters. All around her character would be a little more modest, this especially so since before becoming She-Venom she was a solider in the US Military.
I look forward to taking the sculpt into a more detailed pass. This is more of a block out and an exploration of elements. Just wanted to share some of the Design behind it all.