Earlier this year, UMU’s Steven spoke with Jean St. Jean in regards to Creatureplica action figures. Jean St. Jean is the sculptor/designer behind Diamond Select Toys‘ Universal Monsters line of collectibles.
This past March, UMU’s Joe and I had the opportunity to attend C2E2, Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo. While at the show, we had the opportunity to speak with one of our favorite sculptors, Jean St. Jean. Best known for his work on Diamond Select Toys’ Universal Monsters line of action figures, he’s also brought his talents to Creatureplica – a company known for their highly stylized and detailed creature action figures featuring werewolves and wendigos.
Steven Biscotti: Hi Jean, I’m Steven. We’re here at C2E2, at the Creatureplica booth; we know you from your work at Diamond Select and we’re always excited about all the products that have your name on it.
Jean St. Jean: Alright cool.
SB: What’s really cool is seeing these line of action figures here. They kind of represent the horror, Universal classic monsters motif and I just wanted to get your idea and approach behind the line.
JSJ: We wanted to do a cryptozoology line, first and foremost that would be able to interact scale wise with six and seven inch figure lines. You know, I’ve done all the ‘Universal’ stuff for Diamond and this stuff kind of falls within that line and it’ll also interact with the ‘Van Helsing’ figures and things like that. We started out with a Sasquatch and Yeti which are staples of cryptozoology lore and I’ve been into that particular mythology for a long time; since I was a kid basically. So when my partners came along to back the whole thing, they all wanted to do it and because I had a foreknowledge of this stuff they allowed me to just run with it and design it in a way that I felt was appropriate. They’re highly detailed [and] some have more articulation than others. They’re more aesthetically balanced than articulation wise, which we’re still kind of playing around with just what that balance of articulation to style is going to be along the way, but the other two figures are variations of werewolves. The Horror Hound is actually the mascot for Horror Hound magazine; those guys are friends of ours so we did that figure in conjunction with them and we actually have a zombie exclusive of that being sold this week at Horror Hound in Cincinnati. The other ones a Rougarou, which is basically classic werewolf mythology; kind of a ‘Howling’ style werewolf. The difference between a rougarou and a classic werewolf is the way the lycanthropy disease is transmitted is through the curse of a witch, rather than a bite or a scratch, which is kind of the classic way it’s transmitted. That’s kind of the basics of the line. I was actually going to be working here at the convention on parts of wave 2, but UPS kind of screwed up two days in a row and my stuff is not showing up, but we’re going to be doing a Wendigo from Native American mythology and some Alien Grey variations.
SB: Now we see that these are all readily available…
SB: And we could get them through creatureplica.com?
JSJ: Right. Creatureplica.com, BigBadToyStore has them; I think Entertainment Earth still has them. You could get them through your comic store through Diamond Comics, and there’s a lot of other retailers online if you look around. More and more people are picking up on them and they’re just starting to pop up in more comic stores too. For the most part, they are mostly available online but like anything else, if people want to be able to get them at their comic stores, then let your comic stores know and as they see a rise in interest in them, they’ll probably stock more of them.
SB: Is there any particular figure that you’re most proud of? Maybe one you had the most fun designing?
JSJ: My favorite of the line is the Yeti because I’ve always enjoyed Tibetan mythology surrounding it. That’s the one where I went furthest away from witness reports because the Sasquatch one is based off of witness reports I took myself and from different things I’ve read and sort of speculative biology in terms of what a bipedal crypto of that sort might look like. The Yeti reports in mythology and in anything that’s halfway current, they tend to look a little more like a sasquatch as they tend to have more of an ape-like morphology in the feet, split off, bifurcated large toe, but we wanted him to represent more of what the pop-culture look is because if you did a Yeti that kind of looked like more of an orangutan style (supposedly what they look like), no one would really understand that that’s what it’s supposed to be. We kind of went more with the bumble look, you know? [laughs] Giant and white, mouthful of teeth.
SB: It looks great and, again, for somebody that likes creatures and likes the monsters, it’s definitely a unique and inspired take on them.
SB: They really compliment the Universal Monsters that Diamond Select has put out. Going into wave 2 could you talk about any of the other characters we could expect to see?
JSJ: Wave 2 is going to have a Wendigo which is kind of a more supernatural creature. Basically from what I’ve read, it’s kind of a wind spirit that gets into people and causes them to become cannibalistic. So basically this is like a human that’s been transplanted and transformed into this gigantic and cannibalistic monster. They tend to look along the lines of almost a cross between a giant, monstrous stag and a person, and maybe a little werewolf thrown in there. That’s one of the characters I’m working on and I’m also working on the Alien Greys – there will be a variety of those guys. And two more characters that we haven’t announced yet. At this point I’m working on sculpting waves two and three so probably within the next month or two we’ll show wave two and then maybe by the fall we’ll start teasing wave three.
SB: Well Jean, thank you so much for talking about Creatureplica and it was a pleasure speaking with you.
For more on Jean St. Jean and Creatureplica, check out the links below! Also be sure to check out our interview with Jean St. Jean on Alternative Mindz as well.
True dedication to native folklore, witness reports and historical record is the basis for the genesis of Creatureplica and the creation of our sculptural depictions. Our initial wave is in scale with 6” and 7” action figure lines, fully articulated with environmental bases. Creatureplica is allowing me to approach this line with a level of attention to detail, sculptural refinement and authenticity that hasn’t been given to the topic before. With that said, you’re going to be seeing things that aren’t going to look like the typical versions of cryptids that are generally thrown out there by typical toy manufacturers.
Until now, serious crypto toy lines were as rare as the creatures themselves. Prepare to enter the primordial woods and frozen wastes of the world and explore it’s darkest corners. There are things undescribed by science on the fringes, stomping through the forest, chittering in the shadows. Join us in our quest. And Beware.
– Jean St. Jean
(Steven Biscotti – @reggiemantleIII)