Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Hero Puppets

Here's the cast of puppets (most of them anyway) that I made for my puppet show
 "Heroes Past and Present" that was first performed in 2006.

Many collectors who are into action figure dolls, such as the Mego 8 inch superheroes, are also into customizing dolls. They get the commonly available figures, then remove the outfit and head, make a new outfit, sculpt and paint a new head, and therefore create a completely new character. Often they make characters that they don't have in their collection, or which have yet to be marketed in the Mego 8 inch style. Sometimes the goal is to improve upon the designs of popular character dolls that have already be manufactured. In any case, to do a customized transformation of this type is a talent all it's own.

I've made a few pieces of clothing for my Mego dolls, such as Lizard's jacket (he's one of the Spider-Man villains), but always had trouble fitting the clothes on the dolls just right, so I never got the customizing bug. Instead, as I continued to collect Mego dolls, I started making my own original puppets and puppet costumes and have been doing so since I was about nine years old, back in the early 1980s.

Being a huge fan of the Muppets, I made mostly mouth puppets, up until around 2000 when I designed some original glove puppets of various heroic characters that I call (can you guess?) the Hero Puppets! Below are some of the Hero Puppets, which are all quite doll-like. Each puppet is about 21 inches tall. They are made out of fleece and then I soft-sculpt the features.

Here is Pythor the Barbarian with his mystical Dragon Axe.

Here is the ultimate Canadian superhero, the Canadian Crusader!    


Here's an evil demon that Pythor fights against in "Heroes Past and Present".

Each Hero Puppet character takes about two weeks to make. I'm currently working on a new show about the Canadian Crusader and am creating some new super villains. Some puppeteers don't like to think of their puppets as dolls, but puppets and dolls are certainly from the same family. I have no doubt that in addition to being inspired by the work of my favourite puppeteers, it was my enthusiasm for Mego collecting that lead me toward making the Hero Puppets!

To see more of my puppets visit my puppetry website: http://www.artellepuppets.ca/puppetgallery.php

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