By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
The Suckmom lives in a second-floor West 11th walk-up, where she has resided for 39 years, since the Suckbaby was three. It's a mid-September Sunday afternoon, a football game is muted on a big-screen television that had previously been tuned to Fox News. ("I'm a right-wing lunatic," she announced earlier over the phone.) The walls are aggressively bedecked with thumbtacked paintings and travel mementos, nearly every inch covered. If Jean Stapleton had been a West Village divorcee, she might have been something like the delightfully eccentric Suckmom, whose real name is Rosie.
With the exception of that five-year art-school stint, Morgan lived here until 2006. His childhood bedroom houses "every toy that his mother ever bought him," Suckmom says, narrating the apartment tour in the third person. The space is now used for storage, but relics of his fantasy life remain: Above where he slept, there's a Disney mirror adorned with Pinocchio characters and a sticker of rapper Lil' Kim with her legs spread. VHS tapes overwhelm a floor-to-ceiling bookcase; facing outward are early episodes of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon Josie and the Pussycats. Tucked away among the boxes, one of which is labeled "GI JOE," is a Pac-Man board game and a dented Boba Fett helmet.
There's a wooden loft built into the room, which still bears ancient Star Wars stickers. It was too hot to sit up there, Rosie says, so Morgan put his mattress on the floor. "I couldn't believe that girls would actually sleep with him in here," his mother guffaws. "He lived in that pit until he was how old?" Thirty-six. "Thirty-six going on 12!" She shrugs. "It wasn't his fault. Rents are high, and he had his standards."
She moves to the living room. "Morgan's secretly a good guy," she says from the couch, where she will later announce that her adult son frequently used to masturbate. "Doesn't he try to be evil? Gimme a break."
Morgan William Phillips was born March 27, 1969. His father, an Englishman named Frank, loved sports cars, so his parents chose the child's first name in tribute to the long-nosed, two-seater British classic. (If he'd been a girl, he would've been named Portia, after a Porsche.) As Rosie tells it, the Sucklord was very determined to exist. "I gave my husband one shot at it," Rosie remembers fondly. "I didn't want to have a child—I am a child!" (They have since divorced; all along, Rosie knew she preferred women partners.) At the time, the married couple lived in a Christopher Street studio. She denied the pregnancy for four months, insisting that she had a cold and put on weight. "Nobody knew how long I'd been pregnant because I'd lied for so long," she says. In the delivery room, she refused to push more than once. Still, "the baby popped out like toast. Literally. Like, boing!" She laughs. "If we'd only held a toy out, he would have come out by himself."
Morgan's Star Wars fixation began when he was a boy, and Rosie was willing to indulge. He first saw the film with his father; the kid loved it so much, his mother escorted him back to see Star Wars in the theater 54 times. ("It was more like 25," Morgan corrects later.) George Lucas's creations even informed his idea of Christmas: His version of a yuletide scene, as he drew in markers on a plate Rosie still has on display, was two TIE Fighters shooting down a Christmas tree, the attack so powerful the ornaments flew off like deflated balloons. When The Empire Strikes Back came out in 1980, Rosie took her son and his classmates to the school-day premiere. When the movie was over, she instructed all the kids to crouch down on the floor—"being the sneaky mother that I am," she ducked, too—and they saw the film a second time.
The Sucklord origin story, at least the one Morgan tells, dates back to 1979. Elementary-school Morgan took a bar of soap, pressed in the figure of Greedo, the bounty hounter Han Solo blasts dead in the classic Star Wars Cantina scene, and then sharply poured in melted crayon wax to make a crude casting. Morgan's mom disputes this account. "He'd make toys out of shit!" she declares. "I kept him clean, but the minute it was there, Morgan was trying to make something out of it." Rosie has told this story to an interviewer before; her son was understandably mortified. "You heard it from me: The great Sucklord started making things from shit!"
The BROOKLYN BLOGGER behind ToyGrudge agrees. Last month, regarding Sucklords Super 'Lac Suckcar, a Fisher-Price Little People knockoff of a toy pimp in a plastic tail-finned Cadillac, the self-described designer/developer who goes by Frost posted, "This is an absolute and complete piece of shit," and added, "Next time I want a designer toy, I'll go shopping in my baby cousin's room. Or maybe some baby's diaper." The set's price tag was $125. "FUCK MAN! $125 for this? Really? Are you serious?"
All together now: You're an asshole for buying this. "On the surface, I have a very hostile attitude towards people who buy this shit," the Sucklord admits, gluing on a lizard leg in his studio. "I don't understand why you'd be so stupid as to pay $200 for this set. And I make fun of people for doing that. But! I really fucking appreciate it. I don't understand because I would never do it. I would never buy any of this shit. But other people buy it obsessively. And I feel like I have an obligation to keep them entertained."