Saturday, October 19, 2013

New York Comic Con 2013: The Outer Space Men

One of the most interesting and unexpected booths at NYCC was for The Outer Space Men. The booth was part history, part sales, and all enthusiasm. It was staffed by Gary Schaeffer (a superfan who affectionately calls himself "The Money") and none other than Mel Birnkrant, the creator of the original toy line.
The sale case
The first series of the line was released by Colorforms in 1968. Featuring seven bendable intergalactic characters, they were meant to complement (and compete against) Mattel's popular bendable astronaut figure Major Matt Mason.
The Colorforms line was popular, selling hundreds of thousands of units. Immediately, a second series was designed and prepared for launch. However, it wasn't produced, due to a confluence of factors including shipping delays and, ultimately, widespread disappointment at the fact that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin found nothing but dust and rocks when landing on the moon in July, 1969.
The early 70s was not a good time for space toys in the USA, but I find it very interesting that on the other side of the world. the boom was far from over. The legendary Japanese toy company Takara went on to produce smash hits like Henshin Cyborg and the Microman line, both extremely creative series of toys. A number of Microman toys were later licensed to Mego in 1976, becoming the Micronauts. Then of course Star Wars came out in 1977 and space became hot again!
 More after the jump:

The sale case at NYCC featured all kinds of Outer Space Men treasures, from loose to carded figures to colorforms and more.

In 2010, the toy team The Four Horsemen got together and put out their own licensed version of the toys - pictured above. The figures employ the Glyos system of parts, making heads, hands, and other pieces not only interchangeable with other figures in The Outer Space Men line, but also with other toys using Glyos parts. The figures are well known to indie toy collectors and create a bridge spanning more than 40 years between the original and new lines.

 The items in the following case were for display only:
This case features an incredible collection of Outer Space Men artifacts, including prototypes, test shots, and other rarities that make the display nothing short of a museum exhibit.

Check out the Pez dispensers!

Another display case


In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the line. This glossy graphic novel, which is based on the toys, was sold at the booth and is available for purchase (along with other awesome stuff) on the official Outer Space Men website.
Poster given away at the booth
They were also giving away this poster, which I was happy to get signed by Mr. Birnkrant. 
Here's Mel Birnkrant himself, next to a cardboard figure of one of his characters.
To read much more about The Outer Space Men and check out tons of pics and other info, click here to head to their site.

Stay tuned for an interview I filmed at the booth with Mel Birnkrant. Coming soon...

1 comment:

boo velvet said...

Astonishing! Such an impressive exhibit... Thanks for bringing it to my home, Andy.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...