Two weeks ago, the Four Horsemen announced that they’d resurrected The Outer Space Men. We weren’t familiar with the property, so we did a little digging to learn about the original line that same weekend. We still wanted to know more, so we went to the source. The Four Horsemen graciously agreed to take some time out of their hectic schedule to sit down with IAT and answer a few questions about how the new line came to be and what their plans are for the future of The Outer Space Men.
Judging from the press release, you four seem to be big fans of the original Outer Space Men. Did any of you have the Outer Space Men toys as kids?
CORNBOY: I had a couple of the figures when I was a kid, and Eric had the Colorforms playset. The original Outer Space Men were released before I was into action figures – I was a toddler – so by the time I found my Xodiac and Orbitron figures at two different times at two different garage sales, the series had been and gone, and I had no idea what they were or even that they both belonged in the same line! All I knew was that they were cool, and a couple of my favorite early action figures.
ERIC: The Outer Space Men were released before I was even born, but I was made aware of them later on when I got a Colorforms playset. I used to play with the OSM Colorforms playset a lot, but even more than that, I would stare at the awesome looking characters on the box cover thinking about how awesome it would be if these guys were actually action figures. Little did I know that they were also action figures, and the figures on the Colorforms playset box cover were actually prototypes of those figures.
What was the genesis of this collaboration? We have three big names in the toy community coming together to make this happen. How did everything fall into place?
CORNBOY: We’ve been really good friends with Matt Doughty, owner of Onell Design, for a few years now, and we really love his innovative Glyos figures. We’ve talked for a couple of years now about finding a way to collaborate on something, but there just never seemed to be enough time, and the right opportunity hadn’t yet presented itself.
JIM: We’d been discussing for quite a while how we’d like to get the opportunity to re-do and re-release the OSM in some form, but the timing and collector climate never seemed to be quite right.
CHRIS: The opportunity to take the scale, style and playability of the Glyos system and combine that with the cool quirkiness and distinct look of the OSM seemed to be the perfect method to re-introduce the Outer Space Men to today’s market.
ERIC: We contacted Eric Hayes, who is the writer on the first (and hopefully future) Outer Space Men graphic novel, and he put us in touch with Mel Birnkrant – the creator and owner of the Outer Space Men. We discussed with both Mel and Matt Doughty about the possibilities of re-introducing the Outer Space Men action figures and incorporating the Glyos build system, and things just kind of fell into place.
What can we expect to see for the packaging? Some of the press release photos look like they could be used for a retro card back design. Can we expect something like the wave one designs or will the packaging go in a different direction?
ERIC: We don’t want to say too much about the packaging just yet, other than to say that those “environment” photos were taken for more than just a press release. Like the Glyos stuff that Matt’s releasing, there will be ultra limited production runs and colorways of the characters, and when we do those, the packaging will probably be a little less elaborate than the regular releases.
If each of you had to pick one of the characters you’re most excited to update, which ones would you pick?
ERIC: For me it was definitely Astro-Nautilus. He was always the most fascinating to me as a kid, and I still think it is one of the most unique designs in the line. Since we have already sculpted him, though, the next one I’m really looking forward to is the Cyclops!
CORNBOY: Easily Cyclops! He’s one of the characters from the second “World of Tomorrow” wave that was never released, and he’s a big, hulking monster! The massive powerhouses always seem to be my favorite characters.
CHRIS: Commander Comet – The Man from Venus. The sleek elegance of that character just speaks to me. He’s like a futuristic cherub or a Cupid from outer space. A gold suit of armor with wings and feathers all over it? I’m there!
JIM: Alpha 7. He’s like your classic gray alien (even though this one’s not gray). Even though that type of alien is always portrayed as being small and thin, there’s something that always seemed so sinister and dangerous about them.
We know it’s a little early, but is this line viewed as a strictly homage line, limited to the thirteen original designs, or is there a possibility of expansion either through redecos or new characters down the road?
CORNBOY: Our hopes are that this line can continue indefinitely. We’d love to have the opportunity to not only do the original thirteen characters, but also to expand into some of Mel Birnkrant’s other un-used designs and work with him to create new Outer Space Men characters! We’d love to do “army builder” versions of the thirteen main characters as well.
ERIC: If this release of the Outer Space Men is as popular as we hope, we’d love to get the chance to produce a six inch scaled, fully articulated run of these guys as well. Only time, popularity and sales will let us know if this is possible.