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
Beneath the silent rust-red surface of a once green planet, no longer hospitable to life, through adaptability and creative biology, the brave inhabitants of Mars survive. Traveling aboard their Flying Saucers, Men of Mars have gathered out of this world technology from every corner of the Cosmos. From Planet Earth, they have acquired a science known as “Bio-Tek”, equipping their military with living weaponry, derived from Earth’s Biology. Their naming system, too, is based on Earth-like Alphabets. Thus, every member of the Martian Armada, depending on his rank and station, has a name ranging from Alpha to Zed. From Alpha One, the Supreme Commander, to the most lowly Zed Eye Warrior, each has both a letter and a number for his name. Martians are so cute and tiny! It’s obvious that they are friendly! Few of us would ever pause to wonder why their planet derives its name, from an ancient God of War.
Whenever the subject of additional OSM comes up, someone, including the Four Horsemen, inevitably mentions those little figures with an eyeball, instead if a head, that I included [and rejected] in my original sketches 45 years ago. They seemed simplistic, to me, even then, and always reminded me of one of my Mother’s favorite sayings: “Your eyes are bigger than your tummy!”
Now, I saw a way to incorporate them into the Alpha line, not as a new character, but rather as an accessory. Being the same size and shape as Alpha 7’s helmet, they were halfway there already. With a lens in the front and a pupil to peek out of, they could actually be interesting.
Then add a creepy optic nerve that connects the helmet to his back, and it’s getting better all the time. I visualized a Martian vehicle resembling a robotic face on rickety tripod legs, not unlike what H.G. Wells described, piloted by two Zed Eye Warriors, looking out its windshield, side by side.
On the other hand, what are human eyeballs doing on the planet Mars, anyway? The answer came to me today, while writing the little tale, above. Making sense of the illogical is often how a story line is born.
But an eyeball, and a cute clip-on cape, does not solve the problem of limited play value. At this tiny size, Alpha’s joints had to be few. This was a fact that played on my mind, in trying to expand the line. What could one do to generate play in a figure this minute?
Enter, Matt Doughty, GLYOS Master to the rescue! Right about this time, actually, it was the last day of 2010, the afternoon of New Year’s Eve. I noticed a photo of Transparent Xodiac equipped with Matt’s new Glyos Axis joints, posted on his Blog. It was like I was looking at GAMMA X, to be. It always seemed
Matt’s creativity is exceeded only by his generosity. Thus, after a marathon phone conversation that lasted late into the night, the first night of this New Year, he sent me the small sketch, included here.
One can easily recognize his style. It pictures one of his highly abstract creations with its helmet split across the middle, horizontally … BINGO! Forget the helmet!, I said. Why not cut the top right off his head? The results of this meeting of minds can be seen below. Suddenly, this tiny fellow takes on the potential of becoming a whole play system on his own.
strange to me that we were never introduced, even if only by email, so I took it upon myself to send him one myself, something I had vowed to do before the year was over, and now there remained less than a day. The rest is history!