The Washington Times - April 29, 2008, 02:21PM

Sideshow Collectibles pays homage to Marvel’s famed superhero icon Captain America with a Premium Format, ¼ scale statue ($249, limited to 1,100 pieces). Mixing the mediums of polystone and fabric,  the hand-painted gem is a museum quality work of art and makes a perfect addition to any high-end comics collector’s display room.

Two members of Sideshow Collectibles’ design team — Creative Director Tom Gilliland and Production Manager Scott Klauder — explained some of the processes and decisions that go into creating a statue of this quality.


How many folks were involved in the design process of Captain America and who were they?
Our creative director, Tom Gilliland, led the charge on designing the Captain America figure. Sideshow has an amazing team of artists, and for Captain America, the whole team was needed to realize this figure. Martin Canale leads a team called The Gore Group, a collection of talented sculptors, illustrators, and painters based in Argentina. Tom and Martin worked together to design the heroic pose for Cap, then got to work on the sculpture. The figure is actually a composite of cast polystone pieces and real fabric, and Martin’s wife, Marissa, helped to tailor the fabric elements. Once the sculpture was completed, the team at Sideshow in Thousand Oaks, CA., got to work, molding, casting, and painting the piece. All in all, over 15 people had a part to play in the creation of Captain America.

How much time does it take to get to a prototype of the final Cap product?
It takes roughly six months from start to finish. After each stage of development, like the design illustration or first sculpture, the piece is submitted to the studio for approval and direction. Changes are made along the way to improve, and hopefully perfect, the piece.

What research went into creating the Captain America piece?
We looked across the entire span of Captain America’s 65+ year existence. With the Premium Format figure line, we do our best to create very realistic interpretation of the characters. So, to get to that realism, we looked to the more recent depictions from artists such as John Cassaday and Steve Epting. Their interpretations really helped us to realize the character’s appearance, as John and Steve’s attention to detail goes right down to the seam lines on the costume, and the individual scales in his chest armor.

There is a special version of the figure that was available exclusively from Sideshow, where the collector can switch out the head, shield, and the robot head on the ground for an alternate version of Captain America – his WWII version. We went straight to the Jack Kirby and Joe Simon’s illustration of Cap punching out Hitler from the cover of Captain America Comics #1 published in 1941. That’s just the perfect representation of Cap, throwing himself into battle and punching out the one guy who, at the time, represented all things evil.

What part of the statue’s final look are they most proud of in terms of either sculpting or design choices?
The pose really captures Captain America’s heroism and makes a fine tribute to the character. It’s a stoic, stalwart sort of pose, with Cap victorious over his foes (as witnessed by the Ultron head beneath his boot).

Who hand paints the pieces and what quality control is in place to keep the final shipped product consistent?
The original paint was done by Heath Hammond and Anthony Mestas, and in production, that paint design was reproduced in China. There’s a very stringent quality control process that features several levels of approval, all designed to be sure that the finished piece matches the original prototype as closely as possible.

Are any of the designers avid comic book readers and, if so, what do they think of Marvel’s decision to kill Captain America?
Our production manager, Scott Klauder, is a huge comic fan. Captain America is one of his favorite characters, proven by the custom Captain America t-shirt that he had made around the time that Cap died in the comics.

Mr. Klauder added in a separate interview, “He’ll be back. Death and rebirth of heroes are powerful literary tools. When you have a character that is such an integral part of a universe, such as Cap, it’s only natural that you focus on him a lot. In doing this, you have to explore every angle and possibility to make for good reading, and also to help the character go evolve and grow. Right now, they’re exploring the ramifications of removing such a key character from that universe. In the comics, the process in which Cap became the superhero he is was entitled Project: Rebirth, so, I think it is safe to say that it’s just a matter of time before they explore his resurrection.

— Joseph Szadkowski