Fourth in the Revamp series we come to Demeking from Demeking: The Sea Monster. The Demeking suit is pretty damn flawless as far as suitmation goes so I had to think about how I would approach this revamp carefully. I tend to like to go very literally when I revamp existing characters so I started referencing snails, sea slugs and nudibranchs given the monster's obvious snail inspired design. Then as with my Giant Claw I studied the film for clues as how to further define my approach.
The subtitle Sea Monster is a bit of a misnomer. While it is true the creature in the film is in the water it actually hails from space. On top of that the protagonist of the film keeps having dreams warning him that Demeking is coming. This struck me as very Lovecraftian. SO while my beast's body was defined by terrestrial mollusks I decided his shell would resemble the impossibly angled architecture of the temples of the Great Old Ones such as Cthulhu. The structure is covered with arcane runes from the Mythos. To this end I envisioned Demeking's as being a combination of protection/home for the monster but it also serves as a church/housing for his elite minions. His invading army travels with him (and within him) as he journey's across space to invade hapless worlds.
Demeking's design is so perfect and simple I knew this time I would be forced to deviate a great deal from his film look to add anything new. Wanting to keep the monster dark as in the film but not black I went with snail coloring. The limbs were inspired by the beautiful blue ocean slug, a rather angelic looking creature. The tail came from studies of nudibrachs with their forest of fleshy spikes coming off their bodies. I couldnt resist adding slime propulsion for a bit of a gross out factor even though the film kaiju walks about on sturdy legs.
Its a strange kaiju film for giving us such a cool monster that never actually reaches Earth. He is revealed in a dream sequence which gives us a 5 minute rampage warning us of the approaching monster's intentions for humanity but thats it. Were a sequal to ever be made I would hope that the giant monster carnage would truly begin in earnest and not as the form of cryptic dreams.
Drawn in Illustrator, colored in Photoshop, drawn with a bamboo fun (6x9 inch).
Now we come to Toho's Gorosaurus. Gorosaurus while not a headliner himself has co-stared with both Godzilla and King Kong. He is unique among the many kaiju for being almost singularly unremarkable save for his size. Gorosaurus is not a mutant, atomic creation, space monster, hybrid or diety. He is simply a humble theropod dinosaur of enormous size. Having no super powers per say Gorosaurs attacks with a leaping two footed kick and it was these elements that informed my design decisions on this beast.
As he was strictly a dino I went with the traditional theropod build. Studying his defining features and traits I was struck by his triangular head and I knew this was a feature I had to maintain to honor the original. I chose to reference both the velociraptor and the carcharodontosaurus as both presented me with options for flat, wedge shaped heads. Keeping raptors in mind and given his style of attack I gave the dino overly muscular legs with great sickle killing claws on each foot. The head is large in proportion to the body like that of the original giving him a fearsome bite as in close quater combat as his small arms are only good for clinging to a foe so he can deliver scything kicks. Additionally the head skull is fortified with thick bone for head bashing (a tactic used by crocodiles and the t-rex in Jurrassic Park) The tail is long for superior balance and heavy enough to land clubbing blows. The body is somewhat bulky in an homage to the Vastosaurus Rexes of King Kong which were heavier than the JP t-rex but showed great agility. This extra mass would help my version absorb the punishment the superior kaiju could dish out. I never like segmented tails on a creature with no other segmented areas. There just doesnt seem to be a reason for it physiologically. To make this make since for me I provided Gorosaurus with plated armor traveling along his dorsal plane. This was further enhanced with scale patterns referenced from 1998's Zilla (a beast who was more akin to Gorosaurus than Godzilla). Lastly decided not to use the conventional dorsal spines Gorosaurus normally has but instead went with the large, flexible spines of the iguana to give him a more interesting silhouette.
Here then is a kaiju who lacks the raw power of a Godzilla but still has the weapons, robust physical power and toughness of body to be a worthy foe in his own right. One last interesting point is the color scheme. While Gorosaurus's look has changed little over the years apparently the painting of the suit is inconsistant. Ive noticed that other artists depict him as green, blue or purple. I ended up choosing purple with the yellow belly and blush on the throat as it was an appealing color combination.
From the Gamera series we have the MOST iconic of all his foes, the mighty knife faced Guiron. Guiron is an alien monster whose main attribute is this his head is a machette hard enough to crack Gamera's shell. He can also leap farther and higher than any kaiju I know and has telekinetic shuriken lodged in his blade/snout.
Ok taking all this into account I started be checking out animals with powerful necks. Charging animals like bulls, buffalo and rhino were my first subjects of research (hence the pawing at the ground pre charge pose). Then I took a look at the Reek from Star Wars and the Kothoga from The Relic. To support that huge horn/blade my design had to have a very powerful neck, this neck needed to deliver powerful axe blows and head thrashes. Equally important was a heavily muscled and powerful body to balance the weight on the kaiju's front end. So I made this my thickest kaiju yet. His legs are also powerful but stumpy which actually fits in well with the original's context.
Since Guiron is a quadreped but like all good kaiju can stand when needed I blunted the end of his tail and make it rigid and muscular to act as a third limb for standing kinda like a kangaroo uses. In the film his shuriken are hidden beneath a membrane that just disappears when they are in use. I decided to implement a short of shuriken shooter nasal passage like structure on the blade. Guiron has one of the most durpy faces in all kaijudom with his super sleepy eyes. Couldnt have that. I went with something that gives him a more applicable field of vision and eyes inspired by my gecko turned sideways. I gave him huge rancor-like nostrils to drive his metabolic needs as such a powerhouse. Plus he can do some cool angry bull snorts now. Since the blade is part of his head I set his enormous fangs right into his armored skull instead of gums. Everything about this guy was built to say power...like a bulldog version of a kaiju. And since Im tired of scales I went with a thick elephantine hide.
Whew, this one was rough! When will I learn not to go overboard with detail? Why did I just start inking on a thumbnail? The time I could have saved!!! Oh well it was interesting to let this one form very organically from only the most basic of sketches but that also made for many alterations and changes as I worked in my "inks" in illustrator and even after that I ended up making many corrections when I switched over to photoshop for the coloring process. But what the hell, sometimes you have to experiment. Now on to the process of building this guy.
Firstly research is the conerstone of my revamps. I study many images of things I wish to reference and study the subect via stills, film and available written info. Ive long considered Megalon a cyborg like Gigan given his oddly mechanical appendages but in truth he is a god. The Godzilla movies have hosted at least 4 kaiju that are considered gods and though I like to reference plausible living creatures supernatural beings get to break the laws of physics. Even so I do try to ground them in reality where I can.
Now initially my Megalon was a cyborg until my research proved him a god. This changed my whole approach, Megalon became a biomechanical monster instead of a cybernetic one. The first thing that came to my mind when blending monsters and tech was the Guyver series. I dug out my old manga and considered how biotech weaponry would work on Megalon, that decided it was time to study some creatures that would inform my design.
Megalon looks like a cross between a cockroach and a rhinoceros beetle, so those were the fist things studied. Ive seen too many artists however depict him as both a beetle and a biped and I wanted to do something very original. At the risk of alienating his fans I decided early on my version would have mantis style arms for a much better attack and digging profile that the movie monster. The legs were the tricky bit but I finally figured that I wanted two legs but they would end with four feet. This gives him a both bipedal and spider-like stance at the stance at the same time for increased mobility and agility. Wondering why Megalon even needed a tail (in the films it is never shown to have any purpose or function) I decided to weaponize it in the form of a prehensile stinger tail. Now he would have more guarding his back than just a hard shell. As a bonus because of his leg structure it could also be used to attack foes in front of him. Now seeing as how this is Megalon I couldnt resist changing my stinger into another drill!
All that done further reference was sought out which included bugs from Starship Troopers and District 9. Both were good for certain design ideas and color applications. I reviewed the biomechanical suits of the Engineers from Prometheus as well as both live action film and manga versions of the Guyver and zoanoids. This reminded me to add some drippy stuff on my organic weapons and like the Guyver, Megalon has a number of medallions embedded in his alien flesh to serve as power conduits. The inside of his mouth glows with the napalms spheres waiting to be released and his face mandibles ended up being inspired by Optimus Prime of all things. His horn still throws lightning, I just felt showing that was overkill and would be distracting from the other goodies included. So there you have it, a Megalon who is no longer clumsy or stupid but fast and lethal. Id always hoped he would appear in more films, despite the goofiness of the film he was a pretty unique monster for that era.
Gorgo, one of the more compelling kaiju movies to come from the British side of the genre and believe it or not a film I only saw late last year (though Ive known about it since I was a kid). So reflecting on the idea of the movie, and the sorts of creatures involved I figured out my direction for this creature early on. Gorgo and kin are marine reptiles that spend the majority of their lives at sea, as they are shown to make landfall in only rare occurrences in the film. From that idea I postulated that they may be akin to sea turtles and ironically parts Gorgo's scale patterns match both alligators and sea turtles.
Im beginning to feel like I use gators too much when doing the aquatic reptiles but it fit too well in this case for me not to once again. The eyes on the kaiju jut way up high on the skull reminding me of crocodilians instantly so I drew a very blunted gator head for my version. As in the film the back is covered with semi irregular scutes and a gatorized tail flows from the body.
One of Gorgo's most striking features are its enormous paws. Compared to other kaiju the monster has some big ass hands. I decided to turn these into almost flipper like appendages. Gorgo never appeared to have much dexterity so it made sense to me. Similarly I adapted his feet equally to the task of swimming by making them very large and webbed.
The theropod stance comes from the idea this is pretty ideal for swimming (as the monster is already almost horizontal) and would transition easily between land and sea. The whole tall stance rarely works for me where kaiju are concerned and this made much more sense biomechanically. I know a lot of peeps like to "raptorize" kaiju in their redesigns but I do it for reasons other than the aesthetic.
Lastly the coloring. Gorgo is hard to pin down, seen mostly in the dark and with the typical lets paint all reptiles green poster art I was at a loss to determine what colors to use. I decided to do something very marine and color Gorgo like a great white shark. Perfect oceanic predatory camo! Then I found this image wich seemed to indicate that my intuition on this idea may have been right the whole time: [link] Seems pretty close to me.
While this may not be my most startling Revamp like fellow British beastie The Giant Behemoth, this redesign feels very plausible and Im pretty happy with that!
This is something Ive been planning on doing for maybe 10 years or more but I never liked any of my designs. The idea was to do my own take on the monsters of the Godzillaverse and other film kaiju. Just about the time I thought I might start doing it I was beat to the punch by the amazing Matt Frank and his incredible Godzilla Neo series, and if you havent seen it you should! So not wanting to feel like some sort of copy cat I postponed my new series until now. With Godzilla Neo apparently long finished I feel the time is right to reveal my vision of various kaiju.
My goal is to create monsters with some basis in reality where my designs are concerned. So for my first effort I chose a Toho monster that Ive never really liked...Gabara. Created in a time when Godzilla was a children's hero and not a horrifying monster Gabara sufferd from a deliberately goofy design (google it..ugh!). How to take such an uncool monster and make him cool and still reflect his origin? Gabara looks like a cat/frog with a long neck and supposedly based on a Japanese Oni (ogre). It was the neck that decided me on using a polar bar for the basic body shape and keeping elements of cat, reptile and oni in my design. While my Gabara can stan ad fight he runs more like a bear or an ape now giving him far more agility that his clumsy inspiration. I now imagine him galloping along at high speed to make sudden leaping attacks so he can ho his electric claws into Godzilla! A much more worthy foe than before.
So I hope you all enjoy my transformation of a ridiculous rubber suit into a truly fearsome and lethal kaiju, the only kind of enemies the King of Monsters deserves to have.
Gabara is the property of Toho Co Ltd.
PS: As a point of interest this is the first serious drawing Ive done from start to finish solely in my computer. The penciling was roughed out in photoshop, I inked it in illustrator and then colored it in photoshop. Im pretty pleased with the results.
Ah The Giant Claw, the worst of all kaiju. Such a horrible monster it desperately needed a revamp. The monster (a bird from outer space with an antimatter force field as big as a flying battleship) looked like a cross between a giant turkey, vulture and pinata. So with the them of alien bird in mind I angled for something more Gigeresque here, since Giger will always be definitively alien for me. I couldnt seem to get away from feathers though without my designs straying to far from the original and would in fact have ended up looking like a Banshee from Avatar. So I went with the California condor for inspiration as well as prehistoric terror birds (nasty predatory ground birds up to 9 feet tall). Google The Giant Claw and I think you'l see I did this more justice than it ever deserved.
I think Ive been working on this for 3 days non stop now, all that Alien style detail takes a LOT of time to draw. This piece was also done completely digitally in the same process as Gabara: PS pencils, AI inks, PS colors. Done in something like 24 hours over 3 days...yeah Im slow.
This one was done at the request of and I hope he likes it cause like my Megalon and Anguirus this one leaves a lot of the original film monster behind for some new ideas conceptually. First off, this was a real battle getting this one started. When I start these only a few require mumerous sketching and re-sketching to get the design going. How the hell do you redesign Rodan without A. Making him look exactly like film Rodan. B. Makin him look like a giant pterodactyl or C. Making hm look like something Matt Frank (and other artists) has already done? Originality can be a daunting thing to pursue but I was determined to do something with this kaiju no one else had done before (and I did a google search to make sure). So at the risk of alienating all Rodan fans across the work I tapped into modern paleontology and present you with Feathered Rodan!!!! The inspiration came from realizing the Showa Rodan's head in fact looks very bird-like and he's got these weird bits of his wings that look like leathery feathers, so I ran with the idea.
Scientist have been pushing the idea of feathers on dinosaurs a lot in recent years and Ive noticed that a lot of artists have adopted this idea. I decided that in this instance I would too. Now to be honest the classic Rodan is my favorite look. He's huge and powerful and can still F'ing fly! Fire Rodan is rather wimpy in comparison but skews more like an actual flying dino, Rodan Final Wars is a solid combo of both looking more like Classic but with Fire's color scheme. I ended up using elements from all three for my design plus referring to the pterodactyl as well.
I wanted a design that would be powerful in the air and on land in battle but something that looked like it might actually fly as well. I studied the build of various pterodactyls and found their bodies to be too weak for combat of the kaiju sort but I recalled how effective these things were in JP 3 vs Dr Grant and Co, pecking and stabbing with there nearly all beak heads. I decided to keep that idea and gave my Rodan a large head in relation to his body with a vicious beak to match. I also gave him an enormous chest to power his wings in flight and battle (wing bashes are no joke...ever been attacked by a swan?). He also has very robust legs and claws like those of an eagle with the killing claw being the one on the back toe. Its the one in raptor birds that does the killing, being driven into the victim like a knife. Like Showa Rodan he has huge and muscular arms as well lending him a sense of strength and power. All four of these limbs will also allow him to move in a dragon style stance with similar speed, agility and power for ground combat. A stance I prefer to the penguin waddle Rodan sometimes executes.
Rodan has always had ventral plates of body armor (good defense for ground combat) so I kept this element and also spines on his front. I got to thinking about how this should work and decided that his spines are modified feathers without fletching, in effect becoming quills like those of a porcupine. Anyone getting inside Rodan's reach is in for one hell of a painful hug! Not to mention the pecking, biting and clawing! His wing claws/hands are structured like a spinosaurus with the outter most claw being the largest and most powerful. Lastly I wanted to color him like Showa Rodan but gave his plumage the Fire Rodan treatment. Top is all off with and eagle's eye and a violet tongue just because and there you have my take on Rodan.
Done for both June's KMAC and as tribute to my late hero Ray Harryhausen I give you my rendition of Talos from Jason and the Argonaughts. Talos is a gigantic bronze statue created by Hephaestus with his cyclopes to as a gift to Minos. It would defend Crete and Europa from pirates and invaders. In the film it is depicted as a nearly naked warrior with a sword and frankly against sailors thats all it needed to be. But I decided to update it a bit decided that it might be used to battle against gods, titans and monsters as well as men if need be. To facilitate that I added armor and a shield to the great statue. Since Talos is depicted as being filled with molten metal as its life blood I decided to show this in his open mouth and eyes and thought it would be a neat addition if the fires within him could be used to super heat his sword to make the weapon even more deadly. I imagine that he might even vomit this molten metal upon his foes in limited quantities (as too much would lead to its demise). His shield bears the mark of his maker the god Hephaestus. Perhaps the most fun part of this one was the chance to render the patina that discolors bronze statues left to the elements.
Godzilla, thats what we Americans will call it as there is no appropriate term for the leviathan in the English language. The Japanese named it Gojira after some dragon of legend. But having the word God in its name seems fitting for surely this beast is the king of all monsters. Nothing could be more fearsome in all of history than this behemoth that man in his unbridled arrogance and quest for power has birthed. The ancient past has collided with the atomic age to produce a child of both worlds more terrible than anything either era could have ever conceived of. We can only pray that the terrible weapon created by Dr. Daisuke Serizawa will prevail, if not may God in heaven have mercy on us all.
Ok this is not a hoax (this time), its what youve all been waiting for...my Godzilla, or at least my Godzilla 1954. Why specifically 1954? Because Im going to do at least one more Godzilla but I wanted to tackle the orginial idea first. My take on Godzilla was inspired by watching the documentary on my Anniversary Edition Gojira dvd of the making of the suit. Many of you might note Godzilla has a very unusual scale pattern, hard, rough and spike like. Very little in the animal kingdom resembles it. This pattern (dubbed the aligator Godzilla of the 3 designs submitted) was reflective of the idea that Godzilla was mutated and suffering extreme pain. I instantly latched on to that idea!
Godzilla is dying, Godzilla is burning, Godzilla knows only pain...but Godzilla cannot die. My Godzilla is a form of amphibious dinosaur mutated heavily by an atomic test, sounds familiar so far right? Well my Godzilla's body wasnt born to process radiation. Godzilla physiology adapted imperfectly to its new biological process. Godzilla is burning up from the inside out! His body has mutated horribly as it tries to cope with the radiation. His spine is largely fused as large dorsal plate grew from the spinal processes to help vent the nuclear energies in his body. His skin is constantly burning away and rapidly regenerating stronger and stronger scale formations to combat this. Radiation poisoning has made him blind and his mismatched feet give him an awkwardly lumbering gate. He can vent radiation as gas or when enraged by something like power lines a sort of controlled explosion that looks and acts like a heat beam. Godzilla is highly radioactive and produces vast amounts of heat. He burns whatever he walks upon, melting the streets into slaggy footprints, and those in combat with him risk contamination at all times. Many projectiles explode before they can actually reach his resilient hide or even his open wounds. Godzilla is a walking fallout and explosion in one horrific bundle.
A few extra notes. The mutation aspect was inspired by the excellent monster design of the Gwoemul from The Host. Carefully observing Godzilla's traits in Gojira decided many other features to explain the monster's slow gait and stance and motivations. Then I applied the effects both real and assumed of radiation poisoning and having nuclear fission for a heart in a body that was never meant to handle such. Lastly the green glow instead of the traditional blue is because I always liked the soft green glow of those old iridium clocks from my childhood. Its a good color for radiation.
So there you have it, my blind, enraged, mutated, atomic monster love letter to the greatest of all kaiju ever!