Join Us / Login

How To Make An Apocalypse

Lydia Roberts L. K. Roberts
Contributor
August 13th, 2015

I am a proud Blerd who lives in the Pacific Northwest home. My dad had an interest in comic books and instilled a passion for them in me. After decades of being a Marvel Fanatic, I got sucked into the DC whirlpool that was The New 52 launch. Currently, I am moving more into various independent and non-mainstream titles. I am a proud supporter of local artists, comic book creators, and comic book businesses. My two goals as a writer for ComiConverse are 1) to highlight new, little-known, and/or diverse titles, artists and writers, and work that is coming out of the smaller publication houses and 2) to address issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation in comics and the industry.

How To Make An Apocalypse
Exclusives
64 Comments

A few weeks ago, Entertainment Weekly provided our first long-awaited look at some of the characters who will take center-stage in X-Men: Apocalypse; the latest installment in the 20th Century Fox multi-movie franchise. The result was a firestorm of discontent from Marvel fandom that centered mainly on the depiction of En Sabah Nur – Apocalypse himself. As a recovering Marvel addict, I admit that I briefly fell off the wagon, I eagerly devoured the article about the upcoming film. It wasn’t until after reading every last word that I finally gave my attention to the pictures.

As I noted on Twitter, Olivia Munn is a convincing representation of Psylocke. Alexandra Shipp is a lovely young woman who fits well as a younger version of Halle Berry’s Storm. When it comes to the infamous villain of the film though, Oscar Isaac’s heavily made-up appearance was a disappointment to many.

The film character’s starting point bore little resemblance to the original comic character, but there is little doubt that the Apocalypse we will see on the big screen will be further enhanced through the use of special effects.

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

But could Marvel have gone about constructing their title character differently?

In his ComiConverse article, How the Cinema Makeup School Won Comic-Con, Louis Waldron made reference to the Apocalypse design that CMS unveiled at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), which was much closer to what fans imagined: gray skin, blue lips, and a bald-ish head on a looming, muscular, evil being that exuded an inhuman detachment.

mad acpocalypse

“Apocalypse” by Cinema Makeup School, SDCC 2014
Portrayed by Mick Ignis
Makeup Sculpted by Lee Joyner
Applied and Painted by Rob Seal (assisted by Alanna Suen)
Body Suit/Armor by Walter Welsh, Kelton Ching, Courtney Vanderpool, and Bailey DeLong

I contacted the Cinema Makeup School and got input from CMS staffers Lee Joyner (who designed the CMS Apocalypse) and Mick Ignis (who portrayed the character at SDCC 2014) to get their opinions on the set photos and to find out more about the work that went into their own creation.

LKR: The Apocalypse on which students, alumni and staff of CMS collaborated sent fanboys and fangirls into a frenzy of excitement at Comic-Con 2014.  Had the school been approached by Marvel to create that version for the event?

CMS: We (CMS students, alumni, and staff who worked on the character) had no contact with Marvel while creating Apocalypse. That being said, we would love to collaborate with them in the future. A large portion of our students and staff are huge Marvel fans and, being a makeup school, we like to take every opportunity to bring these comic book characters to life.

Story continues below

LKR: What was the source material that you used to generate such a spot-on rendering of the iconic villain?

CMS: We actually referenced the collectible seen below for a majority of the process.

comicapoc

LKR: Mick, how long and how many people did it take to transform you into Apocalypse?

MI: Usually around three hours, with applications getting quicker each time the artist applied it. Normally we have one artist doing the main application while another artist assists.

LKR: How long did it take for CMS to plan and develop the design and what did that entail?

CMS: The whole process started many months before SDCC with life casting, sculpting and lab work. To create the entire character, including costume, took eight people working on several different parts of the process. We often bring in alumni of the school to work on these projects, as students can often be busy working on pieces for class.

Apocalypse had a team of CMS artists who oversaw the design process and applied the makeup at the convention. Behind the scenes at the school, we had additional team members working to help with the labor-intensive process of creating the custom prosthetic effects and costumes.

apocalypse_ teamLee Joyner, our Director of Admissions, sculpted and designed the head and was in charge of the general look and theme. Walter Welsh and Kelton Ching made the body suit, with refurbishment and adjustment by Courtney Vanderpool and Bailey DeLong.  Walter Welsh and Kelton Ching did application for SDCC and during WonderCon. Rob Seal and Alanna Suen applied the prosthetics.

LKR: What is CMS’s approach when you are recreating a well-known character with an existing mythology and backstory?

Story continues below

CMS: The approach is to keep as much of the original design as possible.  Lee sits down and decides which version of the character he wants to do, then chooses his team based on submissions of past work from various graduates of CMS who are interested. Then he meets with them over many evenings to go over what their thoughts are for their portions of the creation and a timeline is created. A strict budgeting of material is adhered to for all projects. We work with a rather modest budget and we feel it’s very important that the graduates use none of their own funds.

LKR: Do you think that it is essential to stay true to the known version, or do you tend to put your own spin on a character?

CMS: There can be individual changes made based on the artist, but we always try to stick with canon as we’re doing this for fans. They have specific knowledge, and we don’t want to let them down. The source material is the most important influence.

LKR: Mick, at SDCC, how did fans react to you as the iconic villain?

MI: The fan reaction was and continues to be overwhelming, especially with its rise in internet popularity since the FOX reveal. When we do these demonstrations, we’re not just creating something for people to take a picture with. We want to create a real, interactive experience with these characters and the fans. We wanted the audience to feel like they were actually meeting Apocalypse. For me, this is live theater. I don’t break character until the makeup is completely removed, and I could tell that the convention attendees appreciated that. The expressions on everyone’s faces as they saw this 7′ mutant marching down the halls was priceless. We often say that these pieces are done ‘By Fans, For Fans’, so it’s important to us that our audience is happy and (especially after our last few events) we exceed expectations.

LKR: What is the hardest part about playing a character that has been around for so long and has an established (and vocal) fan-base?

MI: Being a hardcore Marvel fan my entire life, I found that the legacy and reference material for this character made him easier to portray, or, at the very least, they gave me plenty to work with. I wanted to pay homage the all of the Apocalypse stories and interpretations done over the years while still adding my own spin to the character. I went back to the comic books, the cartoons… even the video games! I spent months working on the proper voice for Apocalypse, and the monologue I performed throughout the event is partially original and partially patched together from iconic quotes from the 90’s X-Men Animated Series (which fans caught on to). While we all want to add as much of our own creativity and personal style to the characters we’re bringing to life, it’s important to remember how much these characters mean to the fans who have followed them for decades. There’s pressure there to get it all right, but it’s also a huge honor to add to that legacy.

LKR: Did CMS have any input in connection with how Apocalypse will appear in X-Men: Apocalypse?

CMS: We had absolutely NO input!  We’re just fans of the comic books, and hope that we can maybe influence public opinion that might, in some small way, help steer the decision makers.

LKR: Do you think that special effects will be used to enhance the character in post-production?

CMS: Yes, but who knows how much or in what direction. It depends on what the fan reaction is, and if they feel (at the studio) they have to make a correction in order to boost ticket sales.  If you look at what Marvel did with Vision (in Age of Ultron), his facial appliances were almost completely digitally done but from prosthetics created to achieve the look. This gives the CGI department something to work from.

LKR: One of the main complaints from fans has been the altered color scheme.  Do you have any theories regarding the purple visage (as it appeared inside the magazine)?

CMS: It’s actually more bluish, and truer to the comic than the purple color. Apocalypse normally has grey skin, but blue is acceptable if it’s a cool grey with blue tones.  The designers for the production are constrained on these high-budget films, with producers, directors, art directors and others adding their personal opinions.  They conduct private opinion polls and input from sources that don’t have a personal connection with the original subject, in this case Apocalypse.  It’s a shame, but that’s the nature of the beast.

FOX is not Marvel, who has Kevin Feige, or even Warner Bros. and DC with Zack Snyder, so they don’t have a strong guiding hand keeping the look and feel of the stories consistent with the source material.  We never blame the makeup artists or designers, as they create technically beautiful work, as they have with Apocalypse, but they have to traverse the stifling wringer of production bureaucracy to stay as true as possible to their own artistic integrity while satisfying all of their bosses. Unless the heads of production are strong leaders in keeping true to the subject material, it will indeed stray and falter.  The new Fantastic Four movie is a great example, with their Doctor Doom character looking less like the classic Doom than any of the previous iterations from the comic.

LKR: Mick, what do you think personally of the interpretation of Apocalypse as he will appear in X-Men: Apocalypse? (Note: Mick’s reply represents his opinion and not the opinion of CMS as an institution.)

MI: There was obviously a great deal of creative liberties taken with the FOX Apocalypse design. Honestly, while I was a big fan of First Class and Days of Future Past, I am a little disappointed that this version of Apocalypse strays so far from the source material (though I think Oscar Isaacs is a phenomenal actor). I would never guess that Apocalypse was who the character was supposed to be if you had only shown me a picture. I think the MCU films have proven that you can make slight modifications to a design without losing the character. (I thought Age of Ultron’s Vision was a perfect example of that.) Then again, the films not out yet, and there are rumors that Apocalypse will “evolve”.

Perhaps we’ll all be surprised.

I hope so.

We hope so, too. Don’t we fans?

If you want to see more of the work that CMS did for this year’s SDCC, such as Thanos from the Marvel comic books, Diablo from the Diablo III video game, characters from the Star Wars universe and more, check out our slide-show How The Cinema Makeup School Won Comic-Con” or the Cinema Makeup School website. Also, CMS has several demos and characters in the works for Son of Monsterpalooza in September, the International Makeup Artist Trade Show in January and Wondercon in March. Check out their Facebook page for more.

************************************

A big thank you to Ben Malenka, Lee Joyner, and Mick Ignis for their time and assistance with this piece and for the CMS photos.

As always, let me know what you think. Does it matter if a character depiction matches the cannon or goes in another direction entirely?

You can find me on Twitter (@Lyderary), leave a message here, or drop a line on the ComiConverse Facebook page!

 

L. K. Roberts is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow her on Twitter: @Lyderary

(Visited 1,310 times, 1 visits today)

64 Comments

  1. WRIGHTWORD says:

    The CMS folks are right I suspect: Marvel would have done better. This Apocalypse design just screams Fox. The biggest issue is the lack of the lines on the face leading to the darker lips which give Apocalypse that inhuman skull appearance. Those lines alone would have made their version look so much closer to the comic books version.

  2. Lydia says:

    Absolutely! I’m interested to see what he looks like “post-production,” but I hate that more wasn’t done to make him similar from the start. Using CGI for things that aren’t fully necessary seems wasteful and does not enhance the experience for the fans.

  3. I just want to tell you that I am just very new to weblog and certainly liked your blog. Probably I’m want to bookmark your blog post . You certainly have perfect well written articles. Appreciate it for revealing your website page.

  4. I simply want to say I am all new to blogs and absolutely loved you’re blog site. Probably I’m going to bookmark your blog post . You really have exceptional articles and reviews. Cheers for sharing with us your webpage.

  5. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

  6. Game says:

    I like the valuable info you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly. I’m quite certain I will learn many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

  7. Technology says:

    Great ¡V I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your website. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs as well as related information ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, website theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Excellent task..

  8. You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for the subject matter and found most guys will approve with your website.

  9. Automotive says:

    There is obviously a bundle to realize about this. I suppose you made various good points in features also.

  10. Sports says:

    You completed a few nice points there. I did a search on the issue and found the majority of people will go along with with your blog.

  11. Legal says:

    It¡¦s really a great and helpful piece of information. I am satisfied that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Someone necessarily help to make severely posts I would state. That is the very first time I frequented your website page and to this point? I amazed with the research you made to create this particular post incredible. Excellent task!

  13. Pets says:

    Excellent blog here! Also your website loads up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  14. Thanks , I’ve just been searching for info about this topic for a long time and yours is the greatest I’ve came upon so far. But, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you positive about the source?

  15. Terrific paintings! This is the type of info that are supposed to be shared around the web. Disgrace on the search engines for now not positioning this put up higher! Come on over and seek advice from my website . Thank you =)

  16. Thank you for sharing excellent informations. Your website is so cool. I am impressed by the details that you¡¦ve on this site. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for more articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched everywhere and just could not come across. What a perfect web site.

  17. Since the admin of this site is working, no doubt very rapidly it will be famous, due to its quality contents.

  18. Business says:

    you are in point of fact a just right webmaster. The site loading speed is incredible. It kind of feels that you are doing any unique trick. Moreover, The contents are masterwork. you’ve performed a fantastic process in this matter!

  19. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been conducting a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me breakfast because I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to discuss this topic here on your web site.

  20. You are my inspiration, I possess few web logs and occasionally run out from post :). “Truth springs from argument amongst friends.” by David Hume.

  21. Law & Legal says:

    Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your site is very cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have on this blog. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for extra articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found simply the info I already searched everywhere and simply couldn’t come across. What a perfect web-site.

  22. Education says:

    I do trust all of the ideas you have introduced in your post. They are really convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are very quick for newbies. May just you please lengthen them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  23. Automotive says:

    Merely a smiling visitant here to share the love (:, btw great design and style .

  24. divorcemind says:

    Divorcemind.com is a online divorce resource for divorce attorney, attornies and lawyers. You will find the best divorce information online. Divorce Mind will make your divorce or separation a quick, convenient and private.

  25. divorce says:

    Divorcemind.com is a online divorce resource for divorce attorney, attornies and lawyers. You will find the best divorce information online. Divorce Mind will make your divorce or separation a quick, convenient and private.

  26. Family says:

    Thanks for sharing superb informations. Your web-site is very cool. I’m impressed by the details that you’ve on this blog. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for more articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found just the info I already searched all over the place and simply could not come across. What a great web-site.

  27. imsc seo says:

    IMSC SEO is a Singapore SEO Company. They provide comprehensive Singapore SEO services to help SG businesses to gain traffic from search engine. Their SEO agency has many years of experiences working with overseas companies on more competitive grounds. They are the best seo company in Singapore you can find. Their SEO expert and consultant understand exactly what search engine optimization your company need to gain search engine traffic.

  28. Emery EPS says:

    Emeryeps is a SEO(Search Engine optimzation) and Internet Marketing company. They help businesses to get traffic from various search engine and online community. They have seo experts and consultants with many years of SEO Experiences. No matter where your business is located, EmeryEPS.com can help your business to secure your highly convertible leads online.

  29. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

  30. First off I want to say great blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing. I have had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out. I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Many thanks!

  31. IMSC SEO is a Singapore SEO Company. They provide comprehensive Singapore SEO services to help SG businesses to gain traffic from search engine. Their SEO agency has many years of experiences working with overseas companies on more competitive grounds. They are the best seo company in Singapore you can find. Their SEO expert and consultant understand exactly what search engine optimization your company need to gain search engine traffic.

  32. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  33. The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

  34. My Blog URL says:

    It happens to be right opportunity to put together some schemes for the longer term. I have read through this post and if I should, I want to propose you couple of enlightening recommendation.

  35. weblink says:

    It really is mostly unthinkable to see well-advised men or women on this matter, however you appear like you fully understand what exactly you’re talking about! Appreciation

  36. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I will certainly comeback.

  37. Good write-up, I¡¦m normal visitor of one¡¦s site, maintain up the nice operate, and It is going to be a regular visitor for a lengthy time.

  38. Definitely believe that which you said. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the internet the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people think about worries that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  39. I really desire to inform you that I am new to blog posting and genuinely admired your site. Very likely I am prone to save your blog post . You seriously have amazing article information. Get Pleasure From it for discussing with us all of your internet site article

  40. click site says:

    I was very happy to discover this web site. I wanted to thank you for your time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely liked every bit of it and i also have you book-marked to see new stuff in your web site.

  41. Absolute informative knowledge that you have remarked, say thanks a lot for setting up.

  42. It¡¦s actually a nice and useful piece of info. I am glad that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  43. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  44. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays..

  45. Wow! This could be one particular of the most helpful blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Great. I’m also a specialist in this topic so I can understand your hard work.

  46. Nice blog here! Also your web site loads up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  47. Technology says:

    Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future. Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  48. hi!,I love your writing very a lot! share we communicate extra about your article on AOL? I require an expert in this house to resolve my problem. May be that’s you! Having a look ahead to look you.

  49. Business says:

    Thank you for any other magnificent post. Where else could anybody get that type of information in such a perfect approach of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m at the look for such information.

  50. Business says:

    Hi there, I discovered your blog by the use of Google while searching for a comparable matter, your website came up, it seems great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  51. Thank you so much for providing individuals with such a breathtaking possiblity to discover important secrets from this web site. It is always very pleasant and as well , jam-packed with a lot of fun for me personally and my office acquaintances to visit your blog at the very least three times every week to read the fresh things you have got. And definitely, I’m always happy with all the fantastic opinions served by you. Selected 2 ideas in this posting are really the very best we’ve ever had.

  52. I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my difficulty. You’re amazing! Thanks!

  53. Automotive says:

    Good website! I really love how it is easy on my eyes and the data are well written. I’m wondering how I could be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your feed which must do the trick! Have a nice day!

  54. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I’ve really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

  55. I am writing to make you understand what a cool discovery my wife’s daughter obtained using your webblog. She mastered plenty of issues, most notably how it is like to have a great teaching nature to make most people with no trouble know certain complex matters. You undoubtedly exceeded people’s desires. Many thanks for showing these good, trustworthy, informative and in addition fun guidance on your topic to Lizeth.

  56. Business says:

    Excellent blog here! Also your site loads up fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  57. Finance says:

    I happen to be commenting to make you know of the fantastic experience my daughter found checking your web site. She came to understand some pieces, most notably what it’s like to have an awesome giving heart to make the rest very easily have an understanding of specified advanced matters. You undoubtedly did more than visitors’ expectations. Many thanks for producing those essential, safe, edifying and also easy guidance on the topic to Julie.

  58. Education says:

    Well I sincerely liked reading it. This information offered by you is very practical for good planning.

  59. Finance says:

    I have not checked in here for a while because I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I guess I will add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

  60. Technology says:

    I have to point out my gratitude for your generosity giving support to folks who have the need for assistance with this important content. Your special dedication to getting the solution across had become definitely invaluable and have usually encouraged associates just like me to attain their pursuits. This important tutorial entails a whole lot a person like me and extremely more to my office colleagues. Many thanks; from all of us.

  61. I wish to show my admiration for your generosity giving support to persons who absolutely need guidance on in this issue. Your very own dedication to passing the solution all over had been pretty invaluable and have continuously enabled others just like me to reach their desired goals. This informative suggestions denotes much to me and somewhat more to my fellow workers. Thank you; from each one of us.

  62. Good web site! I truly love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I’m wondering how I could be notified when a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your feed which must do the trick! Have a nice day!

ComiConverse with us...

Yes No