Mel Birnkrant's “Annotated Archives”
“SPACE WARRIORS”
                The year was 1977, eight years after the Outer Space Men died.  The fickle public, who had lost all interest in matters extraterrestrial the day after the first  moon landing, were back in love with Space again . Their passion was rekindled by the meteoric rise of a blazingly successful movie,“Star Wars” that burst into our theatres, and set a million screens and hearts afire.

               Kenner had the Star Wars license, and, as usual, they were playing dirty.  Even though there was no conflict between a Colorforms "Stick-on" and anything in their line, Kenner used their clout to prevent Colorforms, or any other manufacturer, from getting the license too.  Their rationale was that if a kid went into a toy store intending to buy a Star Wars item, they didn’t want him get away cheap by purchasing a Colorforms set.  He’d have to buy a Kenner toy instead

               In 1969 I had sunk all the royalties I had earned  form The Outer Space Men into the worlds biggest “fixer upper”, thinking the OSM would continue to sell and there would be lots more.  The money and my luck ran out the very day that we walked through the door.  So being stuck with the ultimate white elephant,  60 miles from New York City, I stuck with Colorforms

               Over the next eight years I contributed more and more variations and innovations  to the Colorforms line.  Because they were based on the basic Stick-on formula my royalty rate was considerably trimmed down. But I kept thinking up more variations and piling on one after another.  It was almost comical; eventually, I was earning a royalty from virtually every major item in the line.  And although I was getting  a tiny slice of nearly every pie, I  was still hungry for more.
So when Kenner got Star Wars and Colorforms did not, I said , Lets cook up our own!  I threw the whole thing together in less than a week. The entire operation was somewhat tongue in cheek.  Hoping to generate a few extra pie crumbs ,  I  also whipped up four jigsaw puzzles.
              The toughest part was deciding on a name that would imply “Star Wars” without incurring legal action.  Our favorite was “Star Warriors”.  But that would get us sued for sure.  So after much debate we went with “Space Warriors” instead.  It had the SW combination and the word War....s was hidden there too.
               More than just a Star Wars knock off, I saw this as an opportunity for the never before seen Second Series of Outer Space men to have their moment in the sun.  As there was no way I was going to open one of my carded sets of figures, Colorforms sent me another one. I carefully removed them from their cards and set then up to photograph the cover.  To round out the cast of characters , I added the figures from Series One .

              The background was just a magic marker “comp”, shaded with colored pencils.  I didn’t even hire an artist to turn it into “finished art”.  The plastic play pieces were traced from my original first sketches done in 1967 with a few quick spaceships tucked in to fill the spaces.               
              The Space Warriors Adventure Set appeared in Colorform’s 1978 line and actually did quite well.  It introduced a new generation to the Outer Space Men.  It also created the Illusion That there was actually a Series Two.  I wish that that were true.


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
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