Mel Birnkrant's “Annotated Archives”
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
Well folks, here I am again, many years after this website was created, at the fragile age of eighty, inserting yet another page, a late addition to this official firsthand story of the creation of the Outer Space Men. I recently stumbled across a long-lost photostat that constitutes the only record I ever had of the weapons that I designed, after the fact, to accompany the first seven OSM. Nothing about these drawings is extraordinary, but, in spite of that, they awakened dormant memories that might, perhaps, amuse the fans of Outer Space Men.
They led me to recall the fact that in 1968 these weapons were an afterthought. Although, weapons were an integral part of the design for Series Two, they had not become a part of Series One, until the figures were well underway. The actual bendable figures were far along on the road to happening, when I added them. Flipping back a page, will indicate that the original boards, portraying the first seven figures did not address weapons seriously. Months had passed with the figures already in the Orient, before the thought of adding weapons even occurred to me.
Furthermore, as my hand written notes indicate, even at this late date, none of the OSM had yet acquired names. The quick descriptions I relied upon to differentiate them in the following drawings strike me as funny, today. Alpha Seven was simply referred to as, “the Smallest Figure.” Orbitron was called “The Brain Creature.” Commander Comet was known as “The Bird Man.” And talk about bringing these awesome extraterrestrial deities down to Earth, Electron + was named, “The Man with Box on Chest.” They get worse! Xodiac was called, “Pointed Face Man.” And Colossus rex was simply “The Gill Man.” I think I’ve heard the Creature from the Black Lagoon called that. Last but, not least, Astro Nautilus was referred to, unimaginatively, as Octopus Man. It’s clear that these names, most pedestrian, were sorely in need of a mega dose of Imagination, which they did get, eventually.
ALPHA SEVEN THE MAN FROM MARS
ELECTRON + THE MAN FROM PLUTO
COMMANDER COMET THE MAN FROM VENUS
Commander Comet originally had a sort of crescent shaped boomerang. This was eliminated.
XODIAC THE MAN FROM SATURN
ORBITRON THE MAN FROM URANUS
ASTRO NAUTILUS THE MAN FROM NEPTUNE
COLOSSUS REX THE MAN FROM JUPITER
I also note that Matt Mason gets a mention, regarding the spikes on the weapons that enable the figures to hold them securely. The discovery of these rather primitive drawings serves to remind me that the entire effort to create the Outer Space Men was quite pedestrian and naive. They came about in an age of innocence, when the vast panorama of Outer Space remained a relatively blank slate. So little had preceded The Outer Space Men that even for an Earthbound mortal, like yours truly, the task of creating them was easy.
Isn’t it ironic that Wikipedia didn’t find this Outer Space Men Achieve worthy of being added to their badly written and undocumented offering, coarsely chronicling my most memorable creation, The Outer Space Men! They decided, after much discussion, that I didn’t know enough to qualify as an authority. An expert on the Outer Space Men? No, not me! Nonetheless, the official story will hopefully endure here, at least, until one of my surviving heirs fail to maintain the modest $10. monthly fee.
Now, If you’ll forgive me for this interruption, we can continue the story of The Outer Space Men.