Sideshow unveiled a huge selection of new collectibles at San Diego Comic Con this year. From posable 1:6 scale figures, to life-size statues and everything in between – Sideshow’s enormous booth had over 250 never-before-seen new products on display.
One standout was a 1:4 scale statue (which Sideshow refers to as a Premium Format Figure) of the God of Thunder himself. Appropriately titled Thor: Breaker of Brimstone, this new statue depicts the son of Asgard bringing the thunder down on a mighty foe, while swinging two freaking hammers like a dual-wielding badass!
We caught up with Sideshow Art Director David Igo, Project Manager Jon Rasmussen, and Artist/Sculptor Daniel Bel to talk about the origins of this bold new interpretation of Thor…
Before getting to the interview, here’s a cool video on the figure.
Collider: Tell us about the inception of the Breaker of Brimstone project. What made you choose this interpretation of the God of Thunder?
DAVID IGO: It honestly came up very organically. We knew we wanted a new 1:4 scale Thor, and we knew we wanted to bring this specific look to him, but at that stage, the pose, base design, etc., were still very much up in the air.
Daniel pitched the idea for this full-on dynamic pose that really got us all totally excited, and Jon had the idea for a base design where Thor could be leaping over Surtur. We loved the idea of something more fire-related for the base, as it felt totally fresh for the character in statue form.
From the outset, did you know Daniel was the artist you wanted to sculpt this piece?
IGO: Yeah! We had a Thor on our radar, and we asked Daniel if he’d be interested, and I think he screamed just a little bit… either that, or his all caps-lock, “YES!!!” response felt like an IRL scream to me!
Daniel, what was your first impression of the project?
DANIEL BEL: I remember that when I saw the initial concept, which was a classic version of the God of Thunder inspired by the artwork of the incredible Esad Ribic, I immediately fell in love with the project.
I always wanted to sculpt Thor, so I asked the team if I could suggest my own version of the character. The guys said yes, and I was given a lot of freedom to create a dynamic, powerful, and badass statue! Since the very beginning, I have felt very confident about this project, especially because I knew I had the help of the best team to bring this idea to life.
What was your inspiration for this piece?
IGO: We definitely wanted to do a take inspired by Esad Ribic’s incredible artwork, and as a creature-lover I kept thinking how awesome our own take on Surtur would be – we were definitely channelling tons of fantasy stuff for that guy!
JON RASMUSSEN: For me, it was a heady combination of Walt Simonson, Esad Ribic, Amon Amarth, Manowar, and Dungeon & Dragons!
BEL: I always get inspiration from multiple sources. In this case, the initial design inspiration came from Esad Ribic’s artwork, but we really wanted to challenge ourselves with anatomy, pose, and the whole composition. I used a lot of references from different artists around the world: painters, designers, and sculptors of course. Sometimes inspiration doesn’t come from a particular place, it seems to appear almost magically, so you have to be aware when it comes!
Many fans will see a familiar face forming the base of the statue. I’m sure people will recognize Surtur from Thor: Ragnarok, but he was also a classic comic book nemesis, correct?
RASMUSSEN: That’s correct. Surtur is one of Thor’s classic nemeses and one of many grounded in Norse mythology. “The Surtur Saga” was major comic story arc in the mid 80s with a multi-year build up and a great payoff. That is my personal favorite Thor era, with our hero based out of Asgard and dealing with the world serpent, ice giants, and demons.
IGO: Jon killed it, couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s inspired by the comic book character for sure, but we put our own twist on his look. Our Surtur is less of a human face with demon horns, and way more creature-like.
Tell us about Thor dual-wielding hammers like a badass!
RASMUSSEN: If you think about the power of Mjolnir alone, you realize this weapon’s capabilities are so epic it’s almost absurd. We all know that it helps Thor to fly, it can be called to his hand, and of course channel lightning. But don’t forget that it makes forcefields, tracks people, create antimatter particles, or has absorbed Null bombs that had enough energy to destroy a galaxy… now Thor is showing up with two of these bad boys!
IGO: What Jon said! I totally forgot he even wielded two of them in the comics at one point, but Jon didn’t- haha!
Talk us through the design and sculpting process. How did you bring this concept to life in 3D?
BEL: I started the initial sketches by playing with simple forms. In fact, it took me some time to give shape to what I really wanted. After many tries, I finally had the idea of a Thor in an ‘in-between’ moment of a fight scene, a kind of mini-diorama in which one can appreciate the interaction of the two characters.
So, as soon as I had the OK for this idea, I polished it a little bit more and used this sketch as a concept to pitch to Marvel and the team. Once we got the green light, I started working on it and thanks to the feedback, ideas, and suggestions from the team, I managed to make it a reality.
You’ve brought your distinctive style to several new superhero statues for Sideshow (Captain America, Daredevil, and now Thor). All of them have very interesting and new armor/costume designs. They are obviously inspired by their classic outfits, but they are also quite unique. Is costume design a particular interest or passion of yours?
BEL: Yes, for sure. This is one of the parts of the creative process that I enjoy the most. Our main goal here was to base our design on the classic costume but at the same time give it some special features in order to make it feel unique. As a result, if you take a look at the character from a distance you will still recognize him from the comics, but if you look at it closely you will discover many small details, textures, fabric types, and other stuff that make it quite singular.
When compared with his fellow Avengers, Thor is quite literally a God- how did you incorporate that strength into your sculpture and the pose?
BEL: Basically through the gesture of his body. I chose a very dynamic pose because I was sure that that would help me to highlight his strength and power. So, I used anatomy as the main feature to achieve that: with big contracted muscles, contorted body posture, an expression of real anger on his face… I even used the wind blowing his clothes and hair to give the feeling of movement.
Tell us your favorite part of this statue.
BEL: Definitely the whole musculature because I’m an anatomy lover. But in particular, I enjoyed having the chance to make a version of Thor with bare arms, showing the tension of the muscles, and the hands grabbing those hammers with strength and determination – ready to smash his opponent!
RASMUSSEN: For me, it’s the rage in Thor’s expression. Thor is normally portrayed way more stoic. If he is this expressive, then he is on edge of Warrior’s Madness mode!
IGO: All I hear is kick-ass heavy metal music that makes me headbang with a smile on my face! This piece is pure dynamic insanity. I love how the whole thing came together!
Check out a ton of images of the figure below and you can purchase it at Sideshow here.