Look! It’s Spymo’s ALIEN-MAN. The most amazing action figure ever; and everyone who is interested in toys should own one!
Everything here looks relatively familiar. The Kenner like package design boasts the placement of the product number ‘No. 0001’ and ‘Ages 4 and up’ badged on the upper corners. There’s also the attraction that this action figure features the likness of Bolaji Badejo, the 7ft 2in tall Nigerian actor inside the Alien suit from 1979’s ALIEN on both the front and back sides of the packaging. While the package design makes him look like he’s been shot by a Dalek from an old 1980s episode of Doctor Who, the Spymo figure also boasts a glow in the dark feature! There’s way too many reasons here for me to want one. I must add it to my collection.
Let’s not be too hasty on this wonderful yet deeply suspect action figure. Clearly, this isn’t a legitimately licenced item. What is it, then? Is it a weird Mexican knock off? A Japanese bootleg? Maybe, it’s some kind of garage item..? So, what exactly is Spymo’s ALIEN-MAN and where can I get one?
The enticing ‘WTF’ element is a major factor here and sadly it all turns out to be too good to be true. I did some investigating and it’s unfortunate Spymo’s website is no longer live. Nonetheless, the information provided in this article indicated ‘Spymo’ was an art project by Solar Design in the UK, designing comedic mock ups of figures that really should have seen development and released – if only for the wrong reasons.
Further research and question asking on Facebook filled in the remaining information. The creator of ALIEN-MAN is a fellow by the name of Xevi ‘Spymo’ Soler. It’s his nickname that appears on the package of these items.
To create this prize Piece of Strange, Xevi used a rare 1997 Tsukuda Hobby ALIENS PVC keychain for the head. This is mated to a glow in the dark version of a decapitated 4 inch tall Skeleton Man figure. The glow in the dark version of Skeleton Man used in this item is one of 5 figures found in the Scooby Doo Ultimate Baddies Set box. ALIEN-MAN’s backing card is of course custom made.
ALIEN-MAN was one of several unique items made by Spymo but never intended for retail. They served as art object parodies, mimicking the slightly off kilter and barely legitimate copyright material frequently associated with bootlegs and unlicenced products imported from foreign countries. Other figures were created by Spymo, too. Of particular note is the Cosmic Moron – ‘FULLY POSEABLE, HEAVILY INTOXICATED NUISANCE OF THE SPACEWAYS’ action figure. That tagline alone is laugh out loud perfection.
It turns out the Cosmic Moron is a customised 5 inch 1999 Dapol Dr. Who Melkur action figure resprayed with a silver coat. Xevi is definitely in possession of a wicked sense of humor and his description of this item as “Another classic piece of bullshit from the stable of backward minds” only serves as an assertion in this regard. Thank you James Gibson for identifying the base figure used on this outlandish thing.
The Horselover Fat (Philip K. Dick) action figure is no less wild. How wild..? Read VALIS and find out! Nonetheless, these genuinely amazing pieces of weirdness should have seen production. I guess in some alternate universe, you can buy these things from Toys R Us with relative ease. Unfortunately, I don’t live in that universe.
These items are unique custom parodies, art projects as such, rather than weird mass produced bootleg items from a nefarious foreign manufacturer expecting to turn a sly dollar – and ALIEN-MAN is counted among them. Knowing this is the case, it does diminish the awesome ‘WTF?’ power that lies behind these amazing pieces knowing they are unique custom items and never mass produced to be available on store shelving.
On the other hand, it does leave the door wide open for other possibilities. Wouldn’t it be great if one of today’s more adventurous toy manufacturers were to pick up where these wonderful concept figures left off and created genuine mass market versions of these things? Who knows..? Stranger things have happened. (Pun intended.)
ALIEN-MAN would be the ideal tribute figure to honor the dubious reputation of dodgy bootlegs everywhere. Let’s keep the love alive for the weird and the wonderful elements of toy collecting as much as we do for all things safe and familiar.
I would pre-order an ALIEN-MAN action figure right now, if I could. Maybe 2.