Now that She-Ra season four is finished, it’s time to muse on Disney+’s The Mandalorian. WRONG!!! Crank up “Pygmalism,” because this week features a custom of Gotham’s Professor Pyg! (For the intersection of Star Wars & swine, see my Gamorrean gourd.) Diamond Select Toys’ series ended well before getting to him, so I took matters into my own trotters. I brazenly stole this recipe from terd123.
I got a NECA ultimate Leatherface from China via eBay for half off MSRP, so that balances out me overplaying for the Joker’s noggin. After boiling the head, I pulled off the mask & hair. Thanks for molding them separately, NECA! Now Leatherface looks ready to pitch Quizno’s like a rather good spongemonkey!
The downside to this construction is there’s no full human head beneath. While I didn’t need to worry about recreating the countenance of Michael Cerveris aside from his chinny-chin-chin, I had to build up a cranium before I could put a hog mask around it. I originally planned on using the alternate noggin but discovered its eyes were sculpted comically close together beneath the rubber. This one has a more expressive mouth as well.
His mask began as a Safari Ltd. boar. I decapitated it & sliced off the jaw with a hand saw. The inside of the pig head was gutted with a motorized grinder & further hollowed out with a motorized sander. Additional delicate surgery was done with X-Acto knives. The eyes were drilled out then sliced larger to accommodate the human eyes.
Getting the mask lined up over the eyes was a tricky business. The snout is a bit longer than I would’ve liked, so it unfortunately obscures his jaw from most angles. I wish the neck had a better range of motion to counteract this. Upright ears were bent into position. Straps were made from clear rubber bands.
At first I thought Lazlo Valentin’s shirt was a dark mauve. Reference photos show it looking gray or brown. Television is making me colorblind. After much trial & error, I settled on an antique mauve & burnt umber combo. I did not attempt to erase the sculpted shirt stripes. If DST had made Hugo Strange in his lab attire, I probably could’ve used that for his definitely white Chef Louis cosplay during “The Meat Pie Tango!”
After slicing off the bracelet, Pyg’s gloves were cut from bag of taco pads & slathered in glue & spackle. They picked the ugliest color possible. They’re either skin-colored latex or clear latex that lets too much fleshtone show through. I’m perfectly fine with a guy wearing a flayed pig’s face, but those grody gloves squick me out. In contrast, I was relieved to rediscover he wears white shoes because there’s too much black in my Gotham collection.
Leatherface’s necktie was snipped off & reformatted into an oversized bowtie. Everything about this custom is out of proportion anyway. Some reference photos make it look drab, but I prefer painting colors that pop.
The inclusion on an apron was a big selling point. Upon studying reference photos. I learned that Professor Pygmalion’s apron is reinforced with straps to evoke a combat vest. The new straps were made of French Historex tape, which isn’t actually adhesive, from a vintage military model kit. The handy-dandy knife pouches were crafted from cardboard & glue so he can tote his accessories around. The towel was cut from a napkin. The blood spatter really ties the figure together. I curled the belt ties in the back to resemble a literal pig tail as on the show. (Why do pigtails come in pairs on haircuts unlike ponytails?)
Leatherface’s bladed weapons look dainty in his hands. (The cat inexplicably tried to nom his knife.) So two larger cleavers were made from wood & plastic. Oddly his open hand has a tighter grip, so I had to construct differently shaped handles for each. I made him a nice kitchen knife from the same. Then I realized he didn’t use that variety on the show. It feels like he should’ve though. He didn’t use a chainsaw either, but I’ll let him keep it for brain surgery until Funko makes a Negaduck to give it to. (So probably never, given their penchant for abandoning toylines after two series.)
Gotham already had villains use surgery in The Dollmaker, mind control in Mad Hatter, & both with Hugo Strange. Therefore I wasn’t too bothered they went off script with his modus operandi. Luckily they kept his penchant for musical numbers & cast a Broadway star of Sweeney Todd. He may be the most Hannibal-ish foe on the show, although it’s unclear whether he’s one of the city’s numerous cannibals or just an enabler. (Having Gotham City be a supervillain factory years in advance actually makes Batman more responsible.) Although seemingly a vigilante in the Balloonman vein, it turned out they were using him for the best adaptation of The Long Halloween because nobody saw it coming. (It’s a more shocking twist than denying the new recurring guest star is playing the latest villain even if the name of his alter ego has been altered.) We all trusted in the sincerity of Professor Pyg only to discover he’s the reddest of herrings! He’s a much better baddie than Holiday.
Although he was ostensibly slaughtered by Sofia Falcone, it’s been established that point blank headshots have a lower fatality rate than usual in this city. Having titanium plates in his skull could’ve saved his life. I fully expected he’d return if the series wasn’t cancelled a season later. Rising from coma could’ve been the perfect impetus for transforming Lazlo from a contract killer pretending to be a deranged serial killer to a genuine one. (With all the effort he put into the role, however, there’s a question of him protesting his sanity too much ala Hamlet. Once you start making people pies you have to register as a supervillain.) Then he could fool around with Dollotrons & the Circus of Strange (because Grant Morrison created him as a Dick Grayson foe) whilst self-medicating with various illicit psychotropic drugs. Or they could’ve revealed he was just impersonating the real Professor Pyg, but that’d be a loss of hypothetical Cerveris performances. You may think this is a moot point, but just you wait until they do a revival like Fuller House! By that time Camren Bicondova would be the right age to reprise Catwoman.
The Arkham Knight version & its action figure disappointed me because Pyg’s mask was too small. Beware The Batman made his head even dinkier! (His adaptation debut in Batman: The Brave & the Bold got it right.) Although I would’ve been happy if he wore a cartoony rubber mask (The series gave them to the Balloonman & a henchman of the Scarecrow’s dad.), having him wear a real pig’s face works for me. It’s grisly but not in a way that undermines a core component like scarring up the Joker. Rather than being a tedious edgelord, it actually contrasts with how genial he is (as far as mass murderers go). Texas Chainsaw Massacre was probably an influence on this adaptation, although Motel Hell, Saw, Tag: The Chasing World, & “Le Cochon Danseur” beat it to the live action pig head party. Maybe Lazlo will pop up on Batwoman next?
Despite ending up quite off-model, this custom feels very on brand to me. One of my grandfathers was a butcher & the other was a surgeon, so perhaps I’m genetically predisposed to prefer Professor Pyg? I empathize with his perfectionism. (Ironically his TV mask is asymmetrical.) Aside from Iron Man, how come only supervillains are memorable for their creative endeavors? Now that this is done, I’d still like a comic book version.