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
HOW TO GET AHEAD
OK, moving right ahead… Its time to face Reality, both good and bad. The "good Reality" is the fact that the Four Horsemen are determined to recreate the original 13 Outer Space Men, and to do that to the fullest of their impressive ability, without compromise! And, as you can see, (I feel sure you will agree) they are Succeeding admirably! This a Challenge and a Labor of Love for them, Thank Goodness! It would have to be, for clearly, they are not making meaningful money on the project; nor is that their major motive.
To quote Eric, “A big part of our motivation is make sure that we at least get to the original 13 characters and hopefully beyond. Making a profit would be nice, but even more importantly we want to make enough so that we can put it back into the line.”
Meanwhile, the Four Horsemen have several ideas for affordable variations that could raise some revenues towards that goal, and keep their fans, you guys, happy, at the same time. The "not so good Realiy" for me, is the fact that the drawings I have been doing, up till now, are both too subtle in design, and too complex and expensive to be on the menu, at this time. Only “Ohpromatem”, will survive.
So here is my Assignment, if I wish to undertake it, just as Eric stated it: “New heads: There would be a new head for each of the eight characters. Each figure would be an existing body with a new head and a new paint job. The paint would be in the same spots as the originals so that we could use the same paint masks. Here the combination of new paint with a new head would create a big impact. The heads would have to be one piece, and we would like them to fit in the existing helmets, but we'd be open to something different if made good sense. (We just hate not to use the helmets since they are so cool!) New stories and names are an option, but that may be something that is supported more online than on the packaging. The Ohpromatem design could work here if the only new part was the head. The more different the head- the more exciting and worth buying these will be for the fans.”
Let’s GO! I’ll take you with me on this journey through the first four of eight heads. First Stop: a new head for Metamorpho! Yes “OHPROMATEM” will suffice. His transparent purple cape will go. The Fact is, I didn’t really like it a lot in the first place. I put it in there merely as a means to distinguish him from his twin brother if he ended up as one of those candy-colored variations. I think the simple Negative reversal, black for white and visa versa, is more pure and honest, anyway. So Ohpromatem, survives without compromise. The news gets even better! When I asked about the choice of heads, this is what Eric said: “I'm with you on using the Ohpromatem- I thinks it's the best solution. As far as the heads go- I'm still not sure. You have drawn up so many cool options already, but maybe we will even do two versions. I'll put some thought into this one.”
Eric will probably not be too happy that I disclosed that statement. But what the heck! It’s a nice thought, anyway. And even if it doesn’t happen, it shows his heart’s in the right place!
And here's a double dose of a dozen potential head ideas on display. God, how I love those simple transformations! The timing has been offset, on purpose, so no two combinations will be the same. Even in this complex world of computer agitation, where everything is alive and flashing, I could stare, all day, at this exercise in simple Magic, watching how gently the faces change, melting one into another with a subtle touch of accidental animation.
Next on the agenda is “INFERNO”, The Flame Man of Mercury”. I sort of feel like Flames have become a sore point, and burnt themselves out with the Four Horsemen, particularly my burning desire to get Orange fire! But, nonetheless, I'm determined to finally acquire ORANGE flames! When I inquired about the flames on his back, ( i.e. With a new head would they remain the same?) it was even suggested that they could be dispensed with if I like... and not replaced! No Way! Raging Inferno, Roaring Inferno, Blazing Inferno, Vulcano, the Fire King! One way or another, the flames will stay! And they will turn ORANGE at last, by the way!
So, here I am, offering two solutions: The first one being: instead of a new head, a new helmet that would successfully transform Inferno into “Vulcano The Fire King”. The flames would, of course, be transparent ORANGE, as would those on his head and back! And his regal attire would be Bright Gold from head to toe!
The second variation, represents a whole new Character, with a new name: “QUICK SILVER", "The MOLTEN Man of MERCURY". His head would be made up of Molten Mercury, the brightest silver paint available, bursting into Flames, of guess what color! His face would appear to be newly formed and ever changing, emerging from a slippery puddle of liquid mercury, balanced precariously where his neck should be. His head, itself, would be on fire. And his bright orange eyes, unpainted, would glow with blazing firelight, illuminated from behind. His entire attire, apart from the fire, would be bright silver, as if his body were entirely made of "Heavy Metal", which is yet another name for Mercury. In other words, a play on words becomes the essence of a brand new character.
On both of these variations, and another yet in the future, I would like to see the entire figure molded of transparent fire, with only the body color painted. The joints and the flames on this feet and gloves, would all remain unpainted, and thus look like the were illuminated, with fire burning deep inside.
Ok, It’s Xodiac time. For all you who are disappointed by my astro-Logical conventional thinking, up till now, I hope that you are sitting down. The Horsemen say you want EXTREME, and Matt suggests that I should try to "Think Outside the Box". I never could grasp what that means, but I'll try! Actually, outside the box is where I thought I've been, since birth, and hope to stay, untill I die. Nonetheless, here's my first attempt at a new head for Xodiac, still somewhat conventional, I guess. Because he has no mouth to speak of, I gave him one! A mouth with a slight overbite. Here are two variations on that theme, "MEGABYTE" and "GIGABYTE" a couple of guys from Saturn!
With that out of the way, we come to leap of the Imagination that I would characterize as “TURN ABOUT IS FAIR PLAY”! It starts by reversing Xodiac’s helmet, turning it around. From there I'll show you how it’s done, well, how I do it anyway. I’m still embarrassed by my draftsmanship, which is far from what it was in its heyday. The process consists of, essentially, three sketches. If this was intended to be a finished illustration, there would, no doubt, be several more.
Because these characters have to be "real", and work in the real world of the Outer Space Men that the Four Horsemen created, using the "cool" existing helmet, I started with a photograph, posed for the occasion, and printed it out on my computer. In this case, it was all important to get a photo of the actual helmet, rotated and positioned accurately in place. Over this, I laid a blank sheet of tracing paper, and roughed out the First Overlay. This was pretty easy, as I had been thinking about this character, and what he would look like, for several days. Well, for several years, actually. I think recycling is fair play, especially, when the original source was of my own creation that never saw the light of day.
If you move your mouse over the drawing, you’ll see the Second Overlay. It clarifies the first sketch slightly. The photograph I used in the beginning is now hidden from view by a sheet of paper placed between the layers.
Last of all, the Final Drawing, slightly belabored, and on better paper. I don’t quite know who this guy is yet. With the third eye theme he might follow in the “Oraculous” tradition, i.e, his third eye sees the future. He could have eyes in the back of his head as well, hindsight, looking back upon the past. For now, that remains to be seen. Meanwhile, I hope you like this guy as much as I do. Is he, or is he not,“Extreme”?
Now get your square pants on! We’re going to the bottom of the sea. The first simple head for Astro Nautilus is right out of a book of Oceanography, straightforward and realistic, a basic Nautilus. I find it amazing that such incredible creatures exist, and are, in fact, quite commonplace just beneath the surface of Planet Earth’s Great Oceans. We could call this guy, “AQUA NAUTILUS”
INFERNO The Flame Man of MercuryTM
He’s about as extreme as I can get, with just one head to work with. The Four Horsemen might say, Extremely hard to mold and model! If they choose it, and they use it, maybe they will have to simplify it? Oh, by the way, don't let the many hoses fool you. I don't regard this guy as Cthulhu, who raised his ugly head, of late, and is still waiting in the wings.
The second head raises a more complex issue. I asked Eric about it specifically. If a new head was just a single new sculpture, and a single new mold, would that still fill the bill, even if it required three existing GLYOS tentacle tips to plug into it? Or would that head need to have three scrawny little teeny tentacles permanently attached to it already? Wouldn’t that be a twist of irony in this curious endeavor that once aimed to explore the farthest reaches of the GLYOS Galaxy! GLYOS, GLYOS, everywhere, and not a tentacle to spare!
Eric answered me: “As far as your question about the Astro Nautilus head- I'm not really sure what we can do there. It's something that we would have to work out with the factory. I could see it being a problem, but you never know. My request would be that you design a head that is a simpler one piece head, but also send us your more complex version, and we can look into it. If it doesn't work then we would just go with the one piece design.”
Fair enough! I'll just draw the Glyos version; anyone can imagine it truncated. And with just one more tentacle to spare, as they come in sets of four, maybe, we could even add extenders and plug another in his back. Everyone likes tentacles! That adds up to eight in all. And this guy could be called, “OCTO-NAUTILUS”. "Mouse Over" to see it both ways.
Now, lets take a trip on the Cthulhu Choo Choo. Irregardless of whether or not you like the destination, you might find the trip amusing. So, “ALL ABOARD! LET’S GO!”
MOUSE OVER TO DISPLAY OVERLAY
So given Ohpromatem is a “given”, lets get him out of the way, right at the beginning. Here he is, Ohpromatem, as you will get him, Pure and Simple, without cape.
MOUSE OVER FOR NOTES
MOUSE OVER TO ILLUMINATE
Meanwhile, here I am, staring at the head above. It’s love! I can’t take my eyes off it. I should be moving forward to Astro Nautilus variations. But, having just dug out my box of ancient Magic Markers to color in the Quick Silver’s fire, and discovering that after ten years in hibernation, they still had some juice in them, I can’t resist the temptation to color in the head in question. In this case, a little bit of color magic is all part of the character’s conception.
This entails some color trickery that has always fascinated me, the ability to mix and transform color through transparency. To work, the colors must all be in harmony, one step away on the color wheel. If the colors are right, the results are Magic; if wrong, the effect is deadly. For instance, Pink and Yellow mix Red-orange, Pink and Blue make Purple, but Pink and Green make something nasty. So, to create an effect that is pleasing, the colors must be chosen carefully. The magical magenta helmet, below, turns the blue to purple, and the orange eyes become red. A blue helmet, on the other hand, would have merely intensified the blue, and the orange eyes would be dead.
MOUSE OVER FOR 8 TENTACLE VERSION