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Mon, Apr 08


@ 12:00 AM

I’ve been a fan of Jamie Follis (aka “Sillof”) for a few years now. He’s an “action figure customizer” the way Van Gogh was a “painter.” He partially inspired my character in Young Adult. I sent links from his site to Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody, wondering if this was an aspect we could add to my character. It struck me as tragic and optimistic than a character as physically broken as Matt Freehauf would have, as a hobby, the customizing of action figures. A better set of legs here, a stronger torso there. Why can’t God do that for him?

And it’s a little ironic that his greatest collections of customized sets are his Star Wars re-imaginings. With George Lucas customizing and tinkering with his own perfect creation relentlessly, it warms my heart to see someone run with the idea into truly bizarre and beautiful realms.

Not that Sillof only does Star Wars mods. He’s also done a Gaslight Justice League, a Victorian Avengers (which Marvel made him remove – pity, his Iron Man, with furnace chest and angelic, steam-pipe shoulder exhausts, was steampunk heaven) plus re-imaginings of Dune and Hellboy characters.

But the Star Wars collections. Wow. To date, he’s re-imagined Star Wars as steam punk:

…Republic serial, samurai film, Roman epic, American western, Arthurian saga, 90’s cyberpunk film, WWII action flick and, best of all, a b&w film noir:

So it’s with a bittersweet tinge in my voice that I present his latest collection of figures. I commissioned this latest set:

It’s the Star Wars universe as interpreted by Russ Meyer. Busty, pneumatic amazons in all of the male roles, with one Li’l Abner-stlye lunkhead in the Princess Leia role. Cars and liquor and 60’s-style garage rock. And, except for a couple of names and character ideas (I came up with “Darla Vade” and insisted she be modeled after the immortal Tura Satana) Sillof came up with the whole story, and all of the other characters. A film buff as well as a craftsman, this man.

What’s bittersweet about the whole thing is, Roger Ebert never got to see these. I turned him on to Sillof’s site last year. He especially loved the Noir Wars figures.

And I sent him the title logo of this set as a tease just a few months ago. As someone who’d worked with Russ Meyer (Ebert was going to write the collaboration between Meyer and the fucking Sex Pistols, fer chrissakes) he was more than intrigued. But I never rush an artist, whether they’re going a poster or album cover or especially something like this.

So this set’s for you, Roger. More evidence, from just one of probably a hundred thousand bored suburban kids you led out of the bland cineplexes and into rep theatres and obscure video stores and adventurous film festivals. There was a network of parallels, connections and coincidences in that movie universe you kept in your head. I’d like to think this interpretation of a tiny sliver of it would make you smile. Or at least grip your heart, like a velvet glove cast in iron.

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