MYSTRONTM The Man From HOLLOW EARTH
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
Often men exploring the deepest caves and caverns of the Earth have disappeared, never to be seen again. But freezing Arctic temperatures and Magnetic Force Shields have successfully prevented mankind from discovering the really major entrances to Hollow Earth, the giant doorways located directly at the North and South Poles. It is through these giant openings that MYSTRON and the Men of Hollow Earth guide their winged ships, whose flapping stirs up vast Arctic winds that engulf our world, as they struggle to leave the heavy atmosphere of Earth and reach the smooth ether on which they glide to distant stars.
MOUSE OVER TO SEE OVERLAY
That drawing was a sort of turning point for me. For one thing, I was catching on to Glyos, and thus, it was an all out overwrought plea to make the three buttons on his chest removable. What better way to plead that case than tentacles? Tentacles can be dramatic, and, along with all the Glyos fans, I was falling in love with them. I had never seen any of Matt's toys in person, or held one in my hand. Nonetheless, I was having a good time, playing with them in my head. And I also enjoyed watching the imaginative ways the collectors I met on the Internet played with them, as well. Furthermore, after not touching a pencil for well over 10 years, sculpting dolls did not require drawing, I was having fun, learning to draw again.
This time, I sent no overlays, just the drawing above and the composite photo below. It shows the Four Horsemen's first attempt, the SDCC Mystron, on the left, side by side with the 1968 prototype, on the right. I also sent photos of the prototype, shot from every angle, wishing I had done so, from the get-go.
Summer passed, and autumn followed. Finally in the bleak December, the Horsemen took a second shot at Mystron. As you can see, below, the improvement was dramatic. Iíd call it a Bullseye! They redid the head, perhaps from scratch, and the result was a near perfect match! And Yes! They widened the chest and gave us the three Glyos plugs! Bravo! And so, without further ado, Mystron was a GO!
While working on the drawings, I found myself weighing the pros and cons of a dilemma. Did the New Outer Space Men really have to be faithful recreations of the originals, or could they be improved upon, to become what they might have been if the technology, and 40 more years of subsequent toy experience had been available to me, back then.
I was surprised to discover that, when it came to the OSM, the Four Horsemen were, in some respects, more conservative than me. As a marketing decision, they were consciously attempting to be faithful to a look that they called ďretroĒ. This manifested itself in the packaging, which I was eager to update. I plead that case visually and, I thought, convincingly, to the best of my ability, but I failed to win them over.
So, when I was doing Mystron doodles in my little drawing pad, I didnít think I stood a snowballís chance in Hell of getting rid of a proposed Elizabethan girdle made of vinyl, and getting him a TAIL instead. But, what the heck, I drew one in, (badly) anyway. I even added a sketch, demonstrating how the resulting GLYOS tail-hole, and the lower half of an extra figure could combine to create a centaur. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather (from Commander Cometís wings), when I discovered, to my amazement, they gave him a tail, after all. Hooray! I was happy, even though my feeble attempt to finagle some extra Horsemen detail, in the form of a Batman belt buckle, didnít make the grade.
So the photos that you see, below, of Mystron at the Toypocalypse Show, convey an accurate impression of what the final version will be. Just imagine an orange helmet and the vision will be complete. The colors look different in every photo. The bottom one looks best to me. But Mystrons true colors will remain a mystery, until we meet him in person, in the painted version. Who knows when that will be? Perhaps under the Christmas tree. Wow! Looks like things are moving right along! Scroll down!
"Last, we have the second member of wave 3 - Mystron."
"You can't see it in the image shown here, but Mystron will have a Glyos type connector hole on the back of his crotch part so his tail can be plugged in. The front, center chest disc will be a separate, removable part from the upper torso, but we had to leave the two outer chest discs attached because of tooling costs. Missing from this image are the already tooled arms, hands and lower legs which are shared with characters from waves 1 & 2. Once he's complete, Mystron will have 22 parts total.
The Four Horsemenís Mystron surprise struck me as considerably better than Commander Comet, but also not quite right. It was, nonetheless, commendable, considering they were working from almost next to nothing, just a couple of photos on my website. One of which was of the badly distorted pre-production prototype that never saw the light of day. And the other was my original epoxy model, shown only from the shoulders up. Iím convinced that they would have nailed Mystron the first time around, if only they had access to the many photos that I now shot and sent to them, after the fact, while they were still in California. Along with the photos, I also sent the drawing below.
MOUSE OVER TO SEE BACK OF CARD
The FINAL PRODUCTION FIGURE. Close-up photograph by Matt Doughty.