One of the coolest sets of action figures to hit toy stores in the 1960s was Colorform’s Outer Space Men. This badass set of extraterrestrial beings was designed by toy inventor Mel Birnkrant and produced in 1968. Interestingly, these figures were also known as the Colorform Aliens, a label not afforded them by Mr. Birnkrant. The name “Aliens” developed because not many people had seen them in their “Outer Space Men” packaging.
The Outer Space Men ranged in size from 3 1/2 to 7 inches high. They were bendable at the joints with a metal wire encased in painted soft vinyl bodies. The Outer Space Men were nearly identical in construction to Mattel’s Major Matt Mason action figures. One of Mr. Birnkrant’s original ideas was to see The Outer Space Men used along with Major Matt Mason and company. Awesome!
What a visionary. I can see it now:
…Maj. Mason and Lt. Jeff Long witness a commotion in the shallow crater below. Civilian astronaut Doug Davis is under attack by Colossus Rex, the Man from Jupiter! From the other side of the crater, Sgt. Storm rushes to the aid of Davis. Atop the crater’s rim behind Storm, Electron+, the Man from Pluto raises his arm and points an empty hand at the unsuspecting astronaut.
The speaker crackles to life inside Sgt. Storm’s helmet. It’s Mason. “Behind you, Sgt!”
Sgt. Storm dives to the ground, twists around and skids on his back while pointing his weapon, two-handed, at Electron+. “Today’s not your day, Pluto-man!”
Distracted by the cloud of dust from Sgt. Storm’s reverse slide, Colossus Rex turns and drops Davis’ limp body at the base of the crater. As Mason and Long rush headlong toward Colossus, Commander Comet, the Man from Venus swoops downward on wings of white!
Lt. Long glances up, his eyes locked on Comet’s. “Great,” Long wonders. “Is this friend or foe?”
The super cool Outer Space Men were each designed to represent an extraterrestrial being from the planets in our Solar System, and various places in our galaxy. Each character came complete with a weapon. Several included a helmet or other accessory constructed of hard-cast polystyrene of various colors. Here’s a list of the originals, taken from Wikipedia:
Alpha 7, the Man from Mars: A diminutive alien molded in lime green with green skin, a bald, green head with antennae and a metallic blue space suit with a green-tinted (removable) helmet.
Astro-Nautilus, the Man from Neptune: alien molded in purple with a large, octopoid head, four poseable tentacles and a metallic gold space suit.
Commander Comet, the Man from Venus: The most human-looking alien, molded in pink with large, (removable) angellic wings, a pink-tinted, (removable) helmet, and a metallic gold space suit.
Colossus Rex, the Man from Jupiter: The largest and fiercest-looking alien, molded in lime green and resembling The Creature From The Black Lagoon, wearing only dark purple shorts over a huge, muscular body.
Electron+, the Man from Pluto: A bald, robotic-looking alien molded in gray, entirely painted silver with a clear, (removable) space helmet. Note: Electron+’s space suit design was later used as the space suit worn by Dr. Evil in the film Austin Powers: the Spy Who Shagged Me
Orbitron, the Man from Uranus: The tallest alien, molded in pink with the least amount of paint, was an alien with a large, exposed brain, a beak-like mouth, long, gangly limbs and pincers in place of hands. Note: Orbitron was designed to resemble the Metaluna Mutant from the 1955 movie This Island Earth.
Xodiac, the Man from Saturn: molded in deep red, with a red bald head, pointed ears and chin, a blue metallic space suit with a (removable) pink-tinted helmet and “Saturn” emblem on chest.
But hey! These awesome, gruesome, radical, far out action figures are no longer just a blast from the past! Thanks to Mr. Birnkrant and Wall Street specialist Gary Schaeffer, a company called The Outer Space Men, LLC, was formed in 2008. This company and its founders have revived the ‘OSM’ brand with release of a graphic novel, and a number of related products, including a new series of action figures.
A HUGE hit at the New York Comic-Con, new sets of new Outer Space Men are now available. There’s so much more to be said, heard and seen about The Outer Space Men. We can’t do them justice here. Check out the links below for a TON more pictures, interviews, an Outer Space Men store and more. Learn more exciting facts about the past and present of these great action figures!
- The Official Site of The Outer Space Men
- Mel Birnkrant’s The Outer Space Men Annotated Archive site
- They’re Back! The Outer Space Men Return. Information and new drawings by the creator of The Outer Space Men himself
With regard to The Outer Space Men depicted on BLiPPEE –
© Mel Birnkrant and Gary Schaeffer. All Rights Reserved. All audio visual and textual content on this site (including names, characters, images, trademarks and logos) are protected by trademark rights, copyrights and other rights owned by Mel Birnkrant and Gary Schaeffer or by Mel Birnkrant’s and Gary Schaeffer’s licensors, licensees, suppliers and accounts.