COMMANDER COMETTM The Man from VENUS
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
From Olympus, largest of the great cloud cities of Venus, the mighty cloud ship Cumulus sets forth. Like a fiery comet, it blazes through the blackness of outer space, towards our Earth. Its captain, COMMANDER COMET, is a direct descendant of the mighty Zeus, leader of the first Venusian expedition to Earth, which landed near the Grecian Isles 3,000 years ago. COMMANDER COMET’s present mission is one of routine Earth surveillance, and once within the atmosphere of Earth, his ship will join the fleet of Venusian craft that float, like clouds, above out planet, night and day, watching undetected over our World.
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Every set of Action Figures, even the first one, needs a Hero. In as much as none of the Outer Space men were conventionally Human, and Matt Mason was not “officially” a member of the family, Commander Comet had to play the role. This required stereotypical good looks, especially in 1968. Although, lavender hair was, perhaps, pushing the envelope, he, nonetheless, needed to resemble Apollo, Siegfried, Tarzan, and years ahead of his time, He-man. My original prototype, shown on the package looked OK, but the actual bendable production models failed dismally. His face became a chubby lump, plagued by inconsistency; each one to roll off the production line shrank and distorted differently.
Early on in the current project, I sent the Four Horsemen a rather beat-up set of the original OSM. So what do you expect? Mint on the cards? Have you seen what they’re going for on eBay, these days? Actually, I sent 6 of the 7, as they had an Astro Nautilus, already.
Not only are the Four Horsemen far too busy to communicate, they also like to surprise their fans, including me. So, when they unveiled a brand new, fully painted, Mystron and Commander Comet at SDCC 2010, with a little sign beside them that read, “approval pending”, I had no idea they had even been working on them. Surprise! And they had, apparently, used the distorted toy I sent them as a guide.
Thus, while the Four Horsemen were in California, being showered with accolades from their adoring fans, I was busy taking lots of photos, of the sort I would have sent them, ahead of time, if I known that they were working on these guys. I also did drawings like the one above, and put together the Photoshopped collage that you see below, digitally transplanting Commander Comet’s old 1967 head onto his newly cloned 2010 body. Ah, would that I could do the same with mine!
Alas, when the Four Horsemen rode back into town triumphantly, my pack of photographs, drawings, and a laundry list of corrections, was there to meet them. It was about as welcome as a shower of ice water. Worse still, my awkward use of the English language was interpreted as insulting. Moi?. The Four Horsemen let out a howl, and nearly threw in the towel.
Well, time, great sculpting, and a saber tongue, well sheaved, can cure all ills, they say. Since then, we’ve come a long, long way. And, as the photos below testify, so has Commander Comet!
You’d think I would be overjoyed with what you see. Most people would be. Well, I was, essentially, but there were still a few things that bothered me. There was something strange about his hair around the ears, of which he hadn't any, and the placement of those shoulder tubes would prevent fitting on a helmet. I also worked myself into a flap over his wings. So I reluctantly sent more overlays, and slowly, over the 8 months that followed, all the changes I requested were made.
Meanwhile, like a determined dog, tugging on a slipper, I never gave up bugging and begging our sculpting masters to groom Commander Comet’s wings. Like Pavlov’s pup, the mere sight of the Raven’s fabulous feathers made my mouth water. Finally, last week, after months of whining, an email arrived, assuring me that pampering Commander Comet’s wings had been on the menu, all along, and they would be working on them any day. A short time later, these photographs arrived…. Heavenly! Wings of desire! The great wing flap is over! Commander Comet will have the Wings of an Angel! From here on out, it’s all clear sailing. Furthermore, a little tweet has told me that Commander Comet’s Alpha Wave might, indeed, arrive at the next SDCC, gliding in on a wing and a prayer.
My final requests were made just the other day, subtle though they might be. Moving your mouse over the head on the upper right, below, which I retouched with Photoshop, will show you what I mean. Neck a little wider, shoulders and nostrils equalized, etc. Am I being picky? Maybe. Weather or not they make these changes, its approved, anyway. No one would ever notice them but me.
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The Photographs below, were shot at the Toypocalypse show. They actually predate the photos above. For some reason that defies reason, his once big chest emblem has shrunk. The good news is its BIG again, as seen above. The better news is, this time it’s a GLYOS Plug! You can Click on the two upper photos, below, to go to their original source. Scroll down for the latest Horsemen Update.
"Going kind of backwards, here's the first figure from wave 3 - Commander Comet."
"As noted in the image, Commander Comet's chest emblem will be a separate, removable part from the upper torso. As with Electron+, you've probably noticed that Commander Comet's missing a few parts. His hands and feet are shared parts with characters from waves 1 & 2, and those parts have already been tooled. When completed, Commander Comet will have 21 parts altogether."
Commander Comet was, by far, the hardest OSM to do. But I’m pleased to say, and hope the Four Horsemen agree, he turned out to be the best one, in the end. Nonetheless, there were perilous moments, along the way, when the end seemed prematurely near.
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The FINAL PRODUCTION FIGURE. Close-up photograph by Matt Doughty.