Friday, January 14, 2011

Kelly Freas Sulu Portrait

For the last five blog entries we have been looking at the Kelly Freas paintings from the "Officers Of The Bridge," as the set was called when it was first premiered in the 1976 New York Star Trek convention booklet. Today we turn the corridor corner and encounter the shirtless sword-and-pec flexing Sulu, and I've gotta say that Kelly outdid himself on this one.
(Click on images to enlarge.)

"Shatner, beware my steel! And check out my abs, your flabby middle cannot compare!"

Looking closer at the face below, highlighting that familiar Takei smile, we see that Kelly simply nails the features on this characterization, and for that reason I have to put this portrait near the top when it comes to accurately capturing the features.

From the swashbuckling sash, which reminds one of the mirror universe (although that was a much deadlier Sulu), to the fencing rapier, Freas seems as though he had fun doing this one, showing Sulu practicing one of his hobbies that makes it more memorable than a pose at his usual station on the bridge. I confess that I would rather have seen Uhura's washboard abs than his... I'm sure, however, that Sulu's fans were thrilled.

This oiled-down and sweaty image brought to you by ""SULU Pour Homme," the cologne for men! Oh-h-h-h, m-y-y-y!

Below we see a publicity still that features Sulu in a similar pose. But for that one scene early in the series ("The Naked Time"), Sulu might never have broken out of the background to become an interesting character. Resisiting the natural impulse to have Sulu stereotypically emulate a samurai, the writer gave him depth and uniqueness by instead having fencing as a hobby, and secretly fancying himself one of the Three Musketeers.


Bonus: As with the other entries, I am pairing the paintings of the characters with the salute to the actor that brought them to life, from the Star Trek 20th Anniversary issue of Starlog, Issue #112, which came out in October of 1986.

And here we see a photo of George, (from the magazine salute) probably one he had taken himself near the time of the 4th movie, that seems to be directly inspired by the Freas painting.

"Give me a ship of my own or suffer the point of my sword!"

Next: From Russia with love!


Rob Bignell said...

Just caught a "Six Million Dollar Man" episode from 1974 a few days ago, and I've got to say that the hair style matches perfect with the Freas painting.

pat said...

This one I've never seen!!
And it's beautiful, perfect likeness and unique take on the character, again Kelly's adding a little bit more hair makes it different.
That photo from starlog's salute is great too, he was in great shape by then too!

Rob Bignell said...

I don't think my comment made much sense because I left out a couple of words. Would you mind reposting it? My apologies!

Just caught a "Six Million Dollar Man" episode from 1974 starring George Takei, and I've got to say that the hair style matches perfect with the Freas painting.

Frederick said...

Another bit of proof that Kelly was incorporating the appearance of the stars from ten years after the original series began.

KY Warrior Librarian said...

Love this portrait. It really capture's Sulu's personality and physicality (and his beautiful smile).