Fools Paradise’s I won’t be a Robot, Lee

Prepare yourself to see the likeness of a founding member of The Avengers as you’ve never seen him before. Whether you know Iron Man from his 55-year-long history in comic books or his more recent decade of Marvel Cinematic Universe appearances, the below-pictured I Won’t Be A Robot, Lee sculptural set is a beautiful parody from the mind of Fools Paradise‘s Alan Ng.
And as we’ve discussed artist Alan Ng and his creations at length previously, let’s just quickly recap his career before examining this newest work by him. Having started out as a founding member of the four-person, Hong Kong-based Boredomsqueezer collective, Ng struck out on his own after several years and introduced his Fools Paradise concept.
Initially issuing realistic interpretations of patients from his fictional mental hospital through the Handmade12 line, these shifted into fantastical depictions of those characters, renditions of them as the animal hybrids that they imagine themselves to be. And this direction ultimately led into Ng’s newest works, which are mainly tongue-in-cheek pop art jests using those same characters, like how the I Won’t Be A Robot, Lee set employs Ng’s Lowfool, a massive and muscular man with a military-themed obsession.
But, as I already mentioned, this I Won’t Be A Robot, Lee rendition has Lowfool take on the likeness of Marvel Comics‘ Iron Man. Now, for those that don’t know, Iron Man is the superhero alias of wealthy businessman, playboy, and inventor Tony Stark. First appearing in March of 1963’s Tales of Suspense #39, his powered armor’s initial depiction was one of a clunky, gray suit. But, by the end of that year, it would be replaced by the more popularly known, streamlined red-and-yellow version that Ng’s rendition utilizes.

My Impressions of I Won’t Be A Robot, Lee

A beautiful merging of Iron Man’s aesthetic with Ng’s creation, the opened faceplate area reveals the mustachioed appearance employed on recent Lowfool depictions alongside hints of Tony Stark’s trimmed goatee that was made famous in the film versions by Robert Downey Jr. And the more traditional circular chest adornment of the superhero is replaced with a star-shaped one, recalling Lowfool’s military-themed leanings.
Only partially attired in the armor, the crisply sculpted and sharply detailed aspects are coated with a shimmering metallic paint that really accentuates their mechanical feel. With a burst of energy beginning to emanate from the hand repulsor on his outstretched arm, one can’t dismiss how the other shoulder slumps down or how Lowfool’s head rests in resignation upon his other hand. And the reason for this appearance is the accompanying character, a cartoonish depiction of Stan Lee.
For those that don’t know Lee, he was called the “Mastermind of the Marvel Universe” by NPR. Not only the comic book writer that co-created Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Iron Man, and many more iconic characters, Lee has also been Marvel Comics’ editor-in-chief, publisher, chairman emeritus, and almost even a mascot for the company. Heck, when he pursued legal actions against Marvel in 2002 over some owed monies, The Comics Journal compared it to Colonel Sanders suing Kentucky Fried Chicken. And maybe that’s why Ng’s rendition of Lee is roasting a whole chicken, one which is being heated by Lowfool’s reluctant repulsor beam.
I Won’t Be A Robot, Lee is a title of defiance, a statement from Lowfool that he won’t merely be used by Lee. And yet, ultimately, that’s exactly what this truly impressive diorama reveals: a man who, against his will, is doing exactly what he’s been ordered to do.
This set was first publicly displayed in prototype form at May 2017’s Thailand Toy Expo, and was one of several new works from Fools Paradise to be revealed there. Issued this past June as a preorder-only limited production, the edition size was a maximum of 398 sets worldwide and they are no longer available directly from the artist.

Editions in the I won’t be a… series [show]

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