Interview > Sculptor Jean St. Jean

Even if you’re only a casual action figure collector, chances are you’ve heard of Jean St. Jean – and you’ve almost certainly seen (and probably own) his work. His career has spanned many companies and toy lines, among them Diamond Select’s Stargate, Battlestar Galactica, The Munsters and Universal Monsters, and Marvel Select toy lines; Mezco’s mega-scale Thundercats figures; and DC Collectible’s World of Warcraft. He’s also an all-around cool guy. –PG

Jean St. Jean

Real Name: Jean St. Jean
Specialty: Sculptor / Musician
Base of Operations: Northern New Jersey
Website: http://blackplague1348.deviantart.com/
History: Jean St. Jean is a musician turned sculptor, who began his career in a small upstate NY toy sculpting studio doing mostly preschool toys and dolls. Five years later he joined McFarlane where he spent almost 7 years helping them develop their hyper realistic style, the last 4 years as Sculpting Supervisor. In 2004, he left McFarlane to start his own company, Jean St. Jean Studios offering sculpting, painting and prototyping services working on such licenses as Diamonds Select’s Stargate SG-1, SG Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica lines, Mezco’s Cinema of Fear, DC Direct’s World of Warcraft and Ame-Comi and Amoktime’s Killer Klowns and Day of the Dead lines. His current projects have been the Lion-o and Mumm-Ra for Mezco’s Mega scale Thundercats line, the Munsters 7” Select line and various Universal monsters for DST including the Metaluna Mutant and Phantom of the Opera as well as contributions to the Marvel Select figure series. He has sculpted more than 30 mini-busts for DC Direct including Heroes of the DCU, Blackest Night and various movie properties.

Poe Ghostal: The new Marvel Select Venom looks fantastic. What was the process for sculpting this figure? What was your inspiration for the sculpt, and how do you approach Marvel Select sculpting in general? For example, do you tend to skew toward the work of a particular artist, or do you try to create a blend of elements, or come up with your own design?

Jean St. Jean: As with all of my DST projects they usually evolve out of extended conversations with Chuck Terceira (DSTChuck on his Art Asylum blog). In the case of Venom, he’s been requested for so long we wanted to do something special and get slightly outside of the usual MS formula and create a Venom with multiple custom options rather than one version with a base. As with all of the Select projects I’ve done, I picked up a bunch of the collected story lines and graphic novels and re- familiarized my self with his history to find what I thought were the coolest incarnations of the Eddie Brock Venom. First of I wanted a totally badass terrifying Venom with tons of teeth and a nasty tongue and a transforming Eddie Brock. So the “Lethal Protector “ storyline inspired me for those two heads and a huge pair of nasty claws. Then there’s been a lot of requests for the crazy multi-armed multi-headed version from the “Madness” story line, and I came up with a pretty interesting way to create that Venom. Last but not least I wanted to do an old school Todd McFarlane Venom with a big grin! The trick was all these permutations had to work on the same body; all the heads are interchangeable and there are multiple hand options.

In terms of Marvel Select in general I try to find the best elements of the character, such as the Marvel Select comic version Hawkeye (Disney exclusive DST Avengers), Nightcrawler, or Anti-Venom. Diamond expects me to bring my interpretation and vibe to the Marvel line, so I essentially get to do exactly what think should be done with the sculpt and paint work. They are the one company that actually utilizes me as an art director/ project manager and sculptor, so I particularly value my years of collaboration with them. Continue reading “Interview > Sculptor Jean St. Jean”

Odds ‘n Ends > New Review Archive, Reviewing Samples Update

  • I should be able to announce the winner of the Diamond Select Spider-Man contest very soon…just waiting on FOTD to pick the winner. I will say these Mad Libs contests take forever to cut-and-paste…gotta figure out a mail merge or something.
  • I’ve finally updated the Review Archive into the searchable, versatile format I’ve always wanted. It’s completely comprehensive, covering ten years’ worth of my reviews across numerous websites (the current total is 327 reviews, incidentally, with an additional nineteen guest reviews here on PGPoA). Give it a test drive, try out the search function, let me know what you think! And of course, let me know if you find any problems or omissions. Thanks to NoisyDvL5 of IAT for the recommendation of the WP-Table Reloaded plugin.
  • The “Reviewing Samples” series has proven to be more popular than I expected. There are a few more posts coming, including one where I round up reader responses (although we’ve already received a lot of those in the comments on the actual posts).
  • Pixel Dan has been posting video reviews of all of Mattel’s SDCC exclusives. You can find them all at his website, but for the lazy, here’s Dana as Zuul, DKR MM Bruce Wayne to Batman, and good ol’ Vykron.

Enter for a Chance to Win Diamond Select’s Spider-Man & Lizard, Courtesy of FigureoftheDay.com!

In honor of the imminent release of Marvel’s new Amazing Spider-Man film, PGPoA and FigureoftheDay.com are offering a set of both Spider-Man and his latest cinematic nemesis, the Lizard. These fully-articulated figures were designed and produced by Diamond Select Toys! Continue reading “Enter for a Chance to Win Diamond Select’s Spider-Man & Lizard, Courtesy of FigureoftheDay.com!”

Avengers: Hulk vs. Hulk

So, like most of you I saw The Avengers this weekend. It was a very entertaining film, and a lesson for Michael Bay on how to make a blockbuster movie that’s fun and not a three-hour cinematic waterboarding.

Anyway, I came away loving the film’s take on the Hulk, which made me wonder which action figure to get. Since I don’t collect the 3.75″  or 12″ scales, I have two options: the Marvel Select Hulk, and the upcoming Walmart-exclusive 6″ Hasbro Hulk.

Marvel Select HulkHasbro Hulk

They both have their merits. The Marvel Select figure is larger, has more detail, and will doubtless be easier to obtain. On the other hand, the Hasbro Hulk (which is in 6″ scale, so I believe it stands around 7″-8″) is more articulated and cheaper – if I can find it.

How popular is the Marvel Select stuff among you Marvel collectors? Articulation-wise they’ve been moving closer and closer to Hasbro, but they still put greater emphasis on the sculpting.

Which Hulk will you get?