So this is the result of the Secret Personal Project that I have been kind of alluding to, a victim of The Joker dead in the alley. A forced smile from the Joker Venom that entered her system and a rather happy Mr. Punch sprung from her stomach. The photo set, which is growing as I edit them, can be found right here. With a little luck (and money), this will be part one of something bigger, but I’m getting ahead of myself and should probably start at the beginning.
It all started, funnily enough, with the Arkham City “Riddler” trailer being released last month which led to a discussion with my friend Liam Leadbetter on how he was portrayed. I’ll be honest, while I do feel that the comparisons of Riddler and The Jigsaw Killer from the Saw series is a fair one, I was glad to see the Batman villain imagined as the way I always imagined him: as a super-intelligent serial killer obsessed with riddles and his own inflated ego. It was a far cry from the spandex green suit and the rather lighthearted view of him that I’ve normally seen of the character.
The conversation then progressed in to the methods of some of the more popular Batman villains, which led me to think more on the damage they leave behind. For a brief moment I imagined what it must be like to be a part of the Gotham Police Department and dealing with the bodies left behind by these twisted villains. What happens when the body has been found and Batman has either left or is on his way there, with the villain long gone? What happens when all that’s left is the victim, killed because they got in the way, or a message needed to be left or, even worse, was just killed for fun? And I’m not talking about the more famous victims, Jason Todd or Barbara Gordon where you get repeats of their attacks over and over. I’m talking about the security guard that Poison Ivy had to seduce to get in to the lab. I’m talking about the fast food manager that messed up the Joker’s order. I’m talking about the guy who the Riddler just had to use as writing paper for a riddle. The victims that are grouped in under the phrase “the people they’ve killed”, who have no name and are barely given a second thought.
And that’s where this came from.
A victim of the Joker’s was my choice for this mainly out of preference. He’s always been such an interesting villain to me. Within 12 hours of coming up with the concept, make up artist Blake Evernden, who I met on the set of SCARS, had agreed to help out and was already coming up with ideas on how to pull off the deadly smile from the joker Venom. And college friend and Sound Editor Andrea Cyr, bless her, had offered to be a model without knowing what the idea was. Thankfully she didn’t back off when I told her about it.
What followed was a series of rescheduling, picking up prop ingredients, getting location permission, multiple viewings of Batman: Under The Red Hood (The Joker parts so I could feel a bit mad) and, like any good artist has, multiple panic attacks.
But despite the rain, the shoot went incredibly. Through the use of silicone, Blake managed to make a freaky, twisted and terrifying smile out of Andrea’s beautiful face. In the end I was incredibly pleased with how it all looked and amazed that for the first time in a while, I managed to pull a vision in my head right out in to the real world.
So the question for me right now is where to take it. I could be happy with just this one set on the Joker’s victim but…well…I already have some ideas on other villains like Riddler, Poison Ivy, Clayface and Scarecrow and I kind of want to make a series out of this and maybe, just maybe, put on an exhibition in a comic shop or something. I’ll need to look in to getting permission from DC Comics, I’m thinking. My view on it is that if I’m wondering whether or not I need permission, I probably do. So we’ll see where that goes. Perhaps a Kickstarter can get set up so I’ll be able to afford props and makeup and other stuff.
We’ll see! But that’s what’s been going on with me for the last little while!