Mel Birnkrant's “Annotated Archives”
THE BOARDS - SERIES II
Copyright Acknowledgment: All images of THE OUTER SPACE MEN , THE WORLD OF THE FUTURE and other Products and Images, created by Mel Birnkrant, are Copyright (c) MEL BIRNKRANT
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The second series was a whole different process from the first. When I was trying to discover who the first series Space Men were, and where they came from, I asked them, and they told me. I did the first series with little confidence and let chance dictate the outcome. But the second time around I had confidence where none had been before. So, rather than asking, I dared to tell them who they were. And so it was, there was a reason for each of the second series. The designs and the ideas, like myself, were bolder than before;
Commander Comet was something between a Greek God and an Angel, [no relation to the one in Barbarella, which came out after Commander Comet was born], and so he needed an opposite. Who else, but a Devil? From where else, but the depths of Hades, otherwise known as the "Hollow Earth"? Hollow Earth was a little known theory, intended to explain the origin of Flying Saucers. In first year art school I painted Mephistopheles for a costume design assignment, now he returned again, as one hell of a handsome devil, with a touch of Michelangelo's Moses in his face, later to be named Mystron.
I looked at the list of planets and realized that there was one that I had missed, Mercury. So I offered up an answer to how life could exist, on a planet so close to the sun. No, I had never been there myself, but somehow I knew that on Inferno's planet, the mighty Volcan Peoples live - beings of living fire that burn eternally, protected by suits of thermal alloy, lest the freezing cold of outer space should snuff them out! SNUFF THEM OUT! Don't you love it? And yet, beneath the humorously inappropriate cliché, there lies the terrible threat of a life, so fragile, that a puff of cold air could extinguish it. This was poignant stuff!
I felt that Colossus Rex needed someone his own size [and price] either to "pick on" or to keep him company, and thus, I paralleled him with Cyclops, who was inspired by a giant from, either Harryhausen, or Jack the Giant Killer, I can't remember which. He had lots of armor and lots of stuff, and because he had only one eye in his head, I gave him two others to hold in his hands. "The All Seeing Eye". That was right out of my, all time, favorite film "The Thief of Bagdad" with Sabu.