Now, with the “Animobiles” sold, additional Drawings were required, to “flesh out” the concept. After 15 years of art directing, my drawing skills, if ever I had any, were more rusty than trusty as evidenced, to my embarrassment, by the first eight drawings. Now, I tried a little harder. By the time you get to the bottom of this page, I think you’ll agree, a marked improvement has taken place along the way.
Meanwhile, Andy and I worked on the story. We chose to write it, not as a narrative, but rather as a “Glossary”. Some of the entries were kinda funny. Maybe, I should say kinda ‘punny’. Our propensity for profoundly corny puns and convoluted clichés was on display. Some of the best and worst excerpts from the Glossary are attached above the appropriate drawings on this page and the previous one.
“MAX ACTION” The resourceful leader of all the Road Tamers. Through the miracle of his Telepathic Helmet he can communicate with his ANIMAX, the mighty "Jungle Max", as they leap ahead of the pack to track the vicious Carnivaurs. Max Action’s weapon is “THE LION LASER”. It shoots a deadly laser beam that ‘roars’ right through the thickest metal.
“TARMAC” Tarmac is the only Road Tamer able to rein in the mighty Power Horse and keep him racing down the blacktop at winning speed in any weather. His missile launching weapon, “THE POWER PULVERIZER” can be hand-held or mounted on the engine block of Power Horse. In that mode its actions can be controlled telepathically through Tarmac’s helmet.
“TIGER TRAKKER” Like his ANIMAX Turbo Tiger, Tiger Trakker is fast on his feet and quick to leap to the defense of any of his fellow Road Tamers in trouble. His weapon “THE BENGAL LASER BLASTER” is a rapid fire laser gun that fires stinging pellets of laser light whenever Carnivaurs of Motor Mutants encroach on ANIMAX territory.
“RHINOX” Hot headed and a little impatient, Rhinox frequently charges into action without first thinking of the RAMifications. His weapon is the “RHINO BAZOOKA BLASTER” a bombastic bazooka that shoots great balls of fire.
“GROSS OUT” The is most slovenly of all the Motor Mutants. His bad temper is matched only by his bad manners and bad breath. Gross Out has a mechanical arm that is a combination double hook grabber and flame thrower. It replaces his old arm, which his Carnivaur the Road Hog bit off in a fit of hunger. Gross Out’s favorite weapon is “THE GAS BLASTER”. It sits on his head and shoulders, expelling intense blasts of methane gas that once ignited, instantly incinerates everything in its path.
“GREASE MONKEY” Even the Dreadful Dragster respects this Hell’s Angel Motor Mutant. This punky monkey’s paw-grenades, hurled by his powerful baboon arms, can keep anybody at arms length. He loves to “monkey around” with motors and is always ‘soupin’ up his Dreadful Dragster, which he keeps spanking clean. Grease Monkey’s grease gun, “THE PETROL PUMPER” fires a slippery stream of grease that is sure to make even the most roadworthy ANIMAX spin out of control. Then for double-barreled devastation, a second barrel fires bolts of lightening to ignite the grease.
“TORRENDUS” It takes a macho matador to handle a mad Bullverizer, and this muscle bound Motor Mutant with three mighty forearms and a power grabber is just the monster for the job. And he don’t take no ‘Bull’ from anyobody! His heavy duty smashing device, “THE BONE CRUSHER” is made of fossilized bone and heavy metal.
“X-TINCTOR” Leader of the Motor Mutants, X-Tinctor is the living embodiment of evil. He’ll stop at nothing to conquer the ANIMAX Kingdom and devour the human race. His deadly weapon, “THE AWESOME EXTERMINATOR” embodies all the destructive force of the Obliterator, itself, but can be removed from the vehicle for easy portability. This four-barreled blaster unleashes all the evil forces of nature.
“JUNKYARD” When it comes to looks, this Motor Mutant is what you call a “dog”, and a mean one too! Always on the look out for spare parts, he loves to scavenge around, and sniff out trouble in Dump City. Hapless ANIMAX jump a mile when JunkYard zaps them with his “JUMP GUN”. It fires jumper cables that that clamp onto their tailpipe and electrifies them with a jolt of power. His battery pack is ever ready. And his victims usually “Die Hard".
MOUSE OVER image
“KING KAB” Through rain and shine, good times and bad, King Kab just keeps on ‘truckin’. Where does he park? ... Anywhere he wants! King Kab is a carrier transport, a repair wrecker and a towing ‘muscle’ truck.
“HUMONGOUS HAULER” A giant rescue transport, the Humongous Hauler is a powerful muscle truck that is used primarily to carry disabled ANIMAX
“T-WREX” T-Rex is one nasty, heavy hauling brute, the biggest meanest monster on the road. His mission and obsession is to run down, capture, and transport unwary ANIMAX. No guarantee he’ll bring em back alive.
“RAT TRAP” Rat Trap haunts and hunts the stinking streets of Dump City, trapping rats, Earth’s only un-endangered species. He tosses them to his carnivorous Carnivaur T-Wrex for snacks. Nothing makes him happier than capturing ANIMAX and Road Tamers; then poking fun at them with a big stick, through the bony ribs of T-Wrex’s cage.
“TAIL-GATOR” Look out behind you! It’s Tail-Gator! Any distance is too close for comfort when this Motor Mutant is on your tail! Hell send you straight to hell in an alligator handbag. His ‘snappy’ weapon is called the “BUMPER BITER” Beware its powerful jaws of steel!
“TYRO THE TYRANNICAL” This Motor Mutant is a throwback to a Prehistoric era. He was freed from suspended animation, when the earth ceased its rotation and the polar ice caps melted. His weapon is “THE RED HOT POKER”. With just one touch its glowing tip can transform “The Great Frozen Waste” to water .
“BLOW OUT” Blow Out is an over inflated walking collection of retired tires, brought to life through the science of ReinCARnation. He loves to prey on ANIMAX ‘blowing out” their tires at top speed with his deadly weapon, “THE TIRE EXTINGUISHER”, which is a combination crossbow and spear gun that fires razor sharp barbed arrows.
Copyright Acknowledgment: All images of ANAMAX and other Products and Images created by Mel Birnkrant, are Copyright (c) BIRNKRANT KISCOM/ The OBB
Last, but not least, is “BLOW OUT” He was inspired by one of my all-time favorite advertising Icons, “Bibendum”, the “Michelin Tire Man”. “Bib”, who in his early un-cute incarnation, was litterly a stack of tires, holds an honored place in both my heart and in my collection. The Art and Imagery of Comic Characters rarely gets better than this stunning tire pump/sculpture that was once a common sight in petrol stations throughout France in the first half of the Twentieth Century.
Here too is a rare and charming little film that chronicles Bib’s birth and creation. His subsequent inflation, flight, and fall to Earth again, ironically parallels Marvel’s later interpretation of “Blow Out” in issue two of “ANIMAX”.
Marvel really liked this guy. They no sooner got the drawing than they dedicated a whole book to “Blow Out” and starred him on the cover . Like everything that Marvel did, they remained unerringly faithful to the character. Their first and best of several versions of the cover is at the bottom of this page.