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The Outer Space Men:
More with Mel Birnkrant…

IAT: Kinda the same question, but on the collecting side of things. While you’ve been engaging the fans, you’ve also been speaking with fellow collectors online. What’s that been like for you?

MB: I’ve thought a lot about collecting, and believed I knew most of what there was to know about it. But entering the world of Action Figure Collectors has proved to be enlightening and exciting. Observing the Fans of the 4 Horsemen has been a Revelation. It taught me that collecting, as I saw it develop over the years, has undergone yet another change.

Every Human Being on Planet Earth is a collector. Each of us stepped into this world, eager to collect. And we began our First Collection, not long after we were born. No matter what our place of origin, in the beginning we all collected the same thing: WORDS! We started collecting words as soon as we began to talk. And each of our collections has continued to grow throughout our lifetime. Like any major collection, it grew very fast at first, but as our collections became more advanced, new words, rare words, words we had never heard before, became harder to find, harder to add to the collection.

And we store our collection of words in our heads. I sometimes wonder how they are organized in there. I can’t quite visualize it, but I have tried. The arrangement must be quite efficient, for most of the time, I know exactly where each word I want is kept, ready to use at a split-second’s notice. Sometimes, I will misplace a word, and I must dig around to find it, not always with success. I thought I knew where I had put it. In fact, the last time I detected it, it was right on the tip of my tongue. The person, who had the world’s biggest collection of words might well have been Noah Webster. He displayed the words in his collection rather unimaginatively, neatly lined up in alphabetical order, on shelves of equal size, in something called a Dictionary.

Others display their collection of words in more creative ways, arranging them in infinitely unique combinations. Their displays can move, inspire, enlighten, entertain and delight. They can make the viewer see things that they have never noticed, and think thoughts that they have never thought before. William Shakespeare is a good example of someone who displayed his collection well. He illustrates that how a collection is displayed counts! The commonest words can appear beautiful when well displayed. And, by the same token, a poor arrangement can make even the rarest and most beautiful words seem dull.

I always found it fascinating to note the curious speech patterns of our former president. As he brought out the biggest and best words in his collection, some of which had, obviously, been broken, and amateurishly restored, he seemed to savor each word slowly, carefully pronouncing it, and enjoying every syllable, as if he was discovering it for the first time. Would that I could recapture the joy that I once felt, the first time I beheld my favorite toys, and relive that, all too fleeting, feeling of initial excitement and delight, each time I look at them again.

Now, thanks to my new found friends at the Fantastic Forum, that theory has been amended and extended. They have introduced me to some aspects of collecting I never thought about before. One is “Articulation”. It seems that Words, and Action Figures too, should, both, be well “articulated”. Another one is “Play”. Action figure collectors actually “play” with the toys in their collection. Some, it seems, can’t wait to get their hands on the OSM, to customize them, fix them up, take them apart, mix them up, and, thanks to the Glyos System, put them back together agai in combinations hitherto unknown to man.

I’ve often “played” with Words before and must admit,I find it Fun. And some folks have said I am “articulate”. But, I never, never… well, hardly ever, “Played” with the toys in my collection. Maybe, when my regular edition OSM arrive, I’ll give it a try.

IAT: Last time, we closed with your hopes for the future of the Outer Space Men. We went to re-ask that question, but in a different way. Where would you like to see the OSM go? Where would you take them if you could?

MB: Every young toy inventor, who manages to place a toy in play, inevitably becomes intoxicated, drunk on dreams, fantasizing all the amazing places to which their humble offering could lead. The sky’s the limit! To the Moon and Beyond. Then there is this thing called Reality that, sooner or later, raises its ugly head. And by the cold light of the following day, or, maybe a year later, one wakes up to discover that their item, and the dreams that it ignited, are dead. Well, if you will, just for a moment, permit an old man to dream again. I’ll tell you where, in the Best of All “Pose-able” Worlds, I would take the Outer Space Men.

How BIG could The Outer Space Men be? HUGE, to put it modestly. But before we venture out beyond our Galaxy, there are Worlds of Wonder to be discovered right here at “Home”. Each planet in our Solar System could be a Toy Line of its own:

Inferno is just one of many Mercurial Warriors, ablaze with flames of every color, like fireworks, or those chemical soaked logs at Christmas time. And we learn that the molten Planet Mercury is alive with a fiery multitude of Flaming Creatures, of every inconceivable design.

Amid the lofty Cloud Cities of Venus, we find that Commander Comet commands a vast regiment of Winged Warriors, Majestic Men, and Angelic Women who soar above a Celestial Paradise, populated by a citizenry, resembling the Gods, Goddesses, and Monstrous Anomalies of Planet Earth’s Ancient Mythology.

Meanwhile, on Mother Earth: some of you are wondering if we might discover an alluring team of Titan Asstronauts, who conceal their heavenly bodies beneath the bulky pressure suits required to perform extra-vehicular activities, in the vast vacuum of Outer Space? Maybe! Just wait and see….

But, rest assured, below the surface of our planet, deep in the depths of Hollow Earth, we will meet Mystron’s Mighty Minions, Ghouls, Gargoyles and every sort of Demon Warrior; among them, Eyeless Entities, born in darkness, who hunger for the light of day and you, and Nameless Nocturnal Creatures that, bat-like, pour forth from secret fissures, to circle above our sleeping planet, silently sailing on the Winds of Darkness, seeking prey.

High in the Midnight Sky, we enter the elusive Kingdom of the Northern Lights, to encounter Equinox, legendary Keeper of the Light, and his Legions of Light Infantry, Luminescent Warriors, who glow eternally, with the passion of Saint Elmo’s Fire, longing to bask forever in the radiant beauty of Aurora Borealis, the Princess of the Night.

And so it goes, one world after another, the 13 Outer Space Men that we know already merely scratch the surface. If Fate is kind and Luck permitting, we will travel with Gamma X, through the 4th Dimension, a Nightmare World of Alien Geometry, where everything and everybody is taken apart and put together, Glyos-like, in a most unearthly way.

Then dive beneath the Seas of Neptune, to discover that Astro Nautilus is the most “normal” looking of his brothers, and tentacles are only the beginning. But, hush, a moment, and listen well! Is that the seductive sound of Sirens singing? Let us flee, before we fall under their spell.

And so, we shall continue, farther still, out past our own familiar Planets to others, yet to be discovered. Imagine one, similar to Earth in history and appearance, on which, dinosaurs never became extinct, but instead, evolved into intelligent beings, who now set out to explore and conquer Intergalactic Space.

Onward we travel, and onward thorough the Universe, amid the familiar Constellations, once thought friendly, Taurus, Leo, Cancer the Crab, and the mighty Bears, Ursa Major and his Minor brother, to rediscover the Awesome Creatures, from whence these star groups got their names, eons before all life on Earth began.

The Impossibilities are infinite as we voyage out among the farthest Galaxies, across vast distances, expanding faster than the speed of light, to the very Edge of Infinity, where, driven on by curiosity, we dive head-first into the very Birthplace of the Universe, the bottomless depths of the ultimate Black Hole. What Wonders will we encounter there? Only the Four Horsemen know.

How does our journey end? Perhaps, the Cataclysmic Chaos carries us through Time and Space, and spits us out in a different place, back Home again. Sitting in front of our computer, nothing’s changed! Everything is exactly as it was before!

Or is it? What’s that knocking at the door?

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