Lady Death, Art Asylum and Diamond Select Toys have a long history, with a decade of collaboration in the rearview and a slew of great collectibles to show for it. With the arrival of the latest piece, a sensual rendering of Lady Death in in DST’s 9-inch Femme Fatales PVC statue line, we thought it was time to call up Lady Death’s creator, Brian Pulido, and the sculptor of the piece, Steve Kiwus, to talk about what went into the sculpt, as well as show off some behind-the-scenes images. Read on!
AA: Steve, had you sculpted Lady Death before? Were you familiar with the character?
Steve Kiwus, sculptor: I hadn’t sculpted her before, but I did know the character from the comic book. I actually bought most of the early issues.
AA: Brian, what do you think about Steve’s first take on your character?
Brian Pulido, creator: I believe Steve caught the emotion of the moment, Lady Death peering at a rose, contemplating something we will never know.
AA: Brian, what can you tell us about the main piece of art that inspired this statue, with the rose?
Pulido: The image was rendered by Ivan Reis, based on a design of mine. Lady Death is a brutal warrior, so it’s rare to see her so tranquil. The image was done during a storyline where Lady Death was brought to life by Death to teach her humility.
AA: Steve, the Lady Death sculpt ended up being a hybrid of three pieces of artwork — can you talk about the hybridization process?
Kiwus: It’s not unusual on projects. Sometimes I’ll be given a specific piece of character art to sculpt, and in doing research I’ll find some more interesting details and I’ll talk the client into a collage. Other times the client sends me several pieces of art, saying “Head from column A, legs from column B, arms from column C.” In the case of Lady Death, I recall it being the latter.
AA: It looks like your initial pass at the sculpt was going to be a much more realistic take, while the final pass is slightly exaggerated, and shows a lot more personality. Do you find a sculpt is more successful when you push certain details of the sculpt to bring out the aspects you want to emphasize?
Kiwus: I call it “comic-book-real.” I’ve only done a couple of sculptures in my decades of doing this that ended up being photo-realistic. It’s hard to do at the scale I work. And it’s even harder to reproduce in production, with the limitations of tooling and plastics. To compensate I try to find a couple details that the character would have if she was a real person and add them to the figure. On the other hand, when it comes to posing, I like to give bends to limbs that might be a bit painful in real life. This is what brings the comic book dynamism to the figure.
AA: Brian, you have a long relationship with DST and Art Asylum — the Dark Alliance line of figures came out ten years ago. What keeps you coming back?
Pulido: DST is a very structured and organized company. It’s actually quite easy to work with Chuck Terceira and Jason Whitney — we agree on a pose/image and it’s off to the races!
AA: Aside from this piece, what is your favorite Lady Death toy/statue you’ve done with them?
Pulido: I’m quite fond of several items, but if I had to choose one, I love the Evil Ernie bust, sculpted by Rudy Garcia. It is simply perfection!
AA: Steve, you’ve sculpted a lot of beautiful comic book women in your long career — is there one you’ve always wanted to sculpt but never had the opportunity?
Kiwus: The list is too long to write. Right now I’m working on a sculpt of Salma Hayek doing her snake dance in “From Dusk Til Dawn” just for fun — which means I’ll never finish it. But I’d like to see someone like Vampirella done as a Femme Fatale.
AA: Brian, are there other characters from Lady Death’s world you’d like to see in the Femme Fatales series?
Pulido: The terrific thing about Lady Death is that there are so many chapters of her “un-Life” to explore. While characters like Wargoth, Satasha or Death Queen would be fun to see in 3D, I believe we still have many more Lady Death statues that fans would love to see. Next up, I’d like to see a Lady Death warrior pose, with a Halloween theme!