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
Cthulhu has, popped up again, as he is likely to do, wherever three or more trunks or tentacles get together. When I first encountered Cthulhu it was 1969, in the wake of the Outer Space Men. Back then, he was still an obscure entity, known to just a select few, who had, like me, discovered the works of H.P. Lovecraft.
For all his profuse use of adjectives, Lovecraft failed to describe Cthulhu well. The name alone defied pronunciation, by design. Only an alien mouth and mind could articulate such sounds. The best I could be bothered to do was “Choo-loo”. I still mispronounce it that way today. And as for his appearance: it was one of those descriptions that Lovecraft copped out on, proclaiming him to be, essentially, too horrible for words to describe! Coming from H.P with his mind boggling vocabulary that is more than slightly funny. Bummer! And so, I put him into the back recesses of my mind, and for years, the “Call of Cthulhu” was one I failed to heed.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, perhaps because of an endless string of lousy movies, loosely based on Lovecraft’s stories, all of which gave new meaning to the expression: “It wasn’t like the book!”, Lovecraft, and Cthulhu too, grew in popularity. As one artist after another interpreted Cthulhu’s appearance he acquired a familiar “look”, one, of which, until just recently, I remained unaware.
Nonetheless, it appears I had, unknowingly, been creating little Cthulhus of my own, for years! Beginning here: Working on a concept, based on action aquarium decorations, called, “It’s Alive”, I needed to whip out several creepy creatures, hopefully, in record time. So, I did it “live”, doodling directly in Super Sculpy, without preliminary sketches. Little did I realize, at the time, that one of these was Cthulhu. He must have been hiding deep inside the subliminal recesses of my pre-primordial mind.
“A few years later, in a concept called “INVASION EARTH", "Chulhu” appeared, once again, in a rather roundabout way, as a sort of crawling brain, ridden by a familiar “Gray”.
Meanwhile, Galoob had a franchise that went on for years, called “Micro Machines”. Kiscom and I tried every which way to get a piece of that pie. We eventually succeeded with a tie-in to "National Geographic". Several series were produced, based on dinosaurs and scientific exploration, etc. There were some rather elaborate “Play Sets too.
Trying for a second slice of the same pie, I threw together the concept below. It only took a couple days. Gary Niles, the man in charge of Galoob at the time, didn’t like it. So that was that! He wanted Micro Machines to remain realistic. Because of our involvement with Galoob, and the Micro Machine franchise, there was no place else that we could show it. So, “Monstro-City” was simply set aside, another concept that never lived before it died! Wastebasket, Open Wide!
I stumbled across this quickly comped-up presentation just the other day, and was not surprised to discover that Cthulhu had stuck his face into this too. Ironically, if only he were a better sculpture, this little monster would be exactly the right size to sit on Astro Nautilus’s shoulders.
So, here we go again! Cthulhu, sooner or later, you're gonna meet the Outer Space Men!
A recent search on Google enlightened me! It seems that tentacles where your nose should be, usually three and sometimes more, is all it takes to turn you into Cthulhu! But, if nozzles, protruding from your schnozzle, alone, don’t do it for you, Bat Wings on your back help too! So, Mystron, with your Glyos bat wings, if Astro Nautilus gets a head like Cthulhu, OSM fans will be out to get you!
How could that be, anyway? I'll explain! As all readers of Lovecraft know, this planet was once inhabited, eons ago, by beings of an Ancient Race of Fabled Creatures, stemming from a time before all other Earthly life forms, from dinosaur to man, evolved into existence. These elusive entities are still whispered about today, among those in the know. They are referred to as the “Elder Gods”. Cthulhu was one of those!
As is the case with many legendary life forms, traces of their existence remain. Some survive as entire beings, merely hibernating, beneath the earth in secret places, waiting to wake up one day. Others are alive and well, although existing only in the form of free flowing DNA.
Many centuries ago, the Men of Neptune, while exploring Earth’s great Oceans, journeyed to a terrible place, deep in the murkiest depths of The Deep Blue Sea, a place so deep that Deep Blue turns to Inky Blackness there, and only a thin layer of remaining rock separates the combined weight of Seven Seas from the World of Hollow Earth below. If that fragile barrier should ever fracture, the full force of all Earth’s water will meet the core of molten lava, and, like a giant pressure cooker, the entire planet will EXPLODE!
And so, it came to be that, in this epicenter of impending annihilation, DNA remnants of the Elder Gods remained, and certain members of the Neptune landing party assimilated the DNA of Cthulhu, through a process known as inhalation. And they began to change…… Behold the terrible transformation!
The concept didn’t go anywhere, but, nonetheless, I did have fun, especially, making this Video, which was shot “live” in front of the TV. The spooky music was live too, played on a portable record player placed in close proximity. It must have been hilarious to see, as I had to lift the cover on the beaker, start the air pump to activate the creature, and simultaneously drop the needle into the correct groove on the LP, all in sync with the movie.