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Ballad of Narayama

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Comic-Con 2014: A Giant Creature Named Bodock

One of the most impressive things I saw at last year's San Diego Comic-Con was a giant robot that trudged past me much faster than I could catch on camera, catching me totally by surprise. The crowd parted and he was there and suddenly he was gone. That's the one that got away. This year, I was able to meet the 2014 project by the same company: his name is Bodock.

For such a large fellow, Bodock is a subtle soft-sell advertisement for Legacy Effects, Stratasys, and the Stan Winston School. You might not know who Stan Winston was but he won four Academy Awards for FX. You've probably seen his work in "Aliens," "Predator" (1 or 2), "Jurassic Park" (1-3), the Terminator series, the Iron Man series and ""Avatar". Winston died in 2008 from multiple myeloma, but his legacy lives on with the Stan Winston School which offers online training in the art of monster making and in the company Legacy Effects.

Legacy Effects is a character creation studio owned by John Rosengrant, Shane P. Mahan, J. Alan Scott and Lindsay Macgowan, all of whom worked under Winston. Bodock required about 7,500 hours over six weeks at the Legacy Effects facility. The 13-foot, 6-inch tall creature is 9-feet, 9-inches wide, 13-feet, six-inches deep and weighs a hefty 2,000 pounds. He's partially created using 3D printing solutions from Stratasys, a global provider of 3D printing and additive manufacturing solution international company.

Bodock seems like a gentle giant. I first saw him Thursday night from the trolley as I traveled to a video game party. He looked eery in the dark, but in the light of day, he seemed friendly enough that children eagerly posed with him. According to his handling team, where and when he would appear was often learned only an hour in advance. So it may come down to scheduling and good luck to catch a glimpse of him. That's contrary to the meticulously planned and high profile product placement that now characterizes SDCC. But if you're almost 14-feet all, you don't need to have a lot of PR to impress.

For those who miss him or aren't at San Diego Comic-Con, you can check out the WIRED and Condé Nast Enterprise's new digital season of "How to Build a Giant Creature" on The Scene. In its second season, "How to Build a Giant Creature" takes the viewer from concept to completion.

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