The Suckadelic Era

The designer-toy world's biggest jerkbag thinks you're an asshole for reading this story.

Also, to pay rent. For example, today, he's assembling his most recent bootleg series, which he expects to reaffirm his "nerd bona fides." There's Ass-Master, a shirtless red warrior with a Stormtrooper head and a Viking helmet. There's Necromancer, a dead-whisperer inspired by Lord of the Rings antagonist Sauron, whom Morgan used to dress up as when he performed as a nerdcore hypeman for Hobbit-rapping duo Lord of the Rhymes. ("There're some people who look at this and think I'm some kind of hipster," scoffs the Sucklord. "I'm a real nerdy guy at the heart of it.") There's Grim-Fail, a green lizard-man whose anatomy is "an orgy of B-list figures from the '70s and '80s": His body is stolen from a Dragon Riders of the Styx figure ("another sort of shitty, sort of rip-off D&D line"), his arms from a Mego Green Goblin figure (the Sucklord has a Green Goblin tattoo on his left arm), his head comes from a Flash Gordon toy, and his hat was pilfered from a Buck Rogers guard. "Most people looking at that aren't gonna know that," he admits. "But the people who do know are gonna shit their pants."

The trio is limited to 50 copies; he will sell them for $200 a bundle. It's absurd to think that the pile of tiny limbs spread out on newspapers potentially represents $10,000. The Sucklord knows this is ridiculous; he can't believe it either. That's why he sells broken toys. Like Rejects, figures thrown together from random toy body parts lying around this room. On September 1, 2011, the highest of eight eBay bidders paid $103.50 for his trash. "The bubble is purposefully dented on the top and the card is miscut," read the seller's description. "Sucklord wanted these to look crappy and did a good job of it too." Meanwhile, Attackers of the Missing Stuff, an Indiana Jones satire with a Boba Fett helmet, limited to 10, is currently for sale online with the asking price of $665.99. And then there’s Lou C. Furr the Pimp, a terribly crappy resin figure made by someone named Ed Haskel and qualified on eBay as "not sucklord." That sold for $11.50.

"I always knew that out of all the people making designer toys, Morgan was going to come out of this the most famous," says Kelemer, who has the biggest collection of Sucklord stuff in existence. "Aside from KAWS"—a commercial artist who’s collaborated with everyone from Kanye West to Kiehl's and is coincidentally a guest Work of Art judge this season—"and other artists I could count on one hand, to have a toy that came out for $30 that's now selling between $500 and $1,200? I have not seen anything else like that."

The Sucklord holds court at Chinatown’s Nom Wah Tea Parlor with Suckadelic supervillain MARY PAPER$.
Dustin Fenstermacher
The Sucklord holds court at Chinatown’s Nom Wah Tea Parlor with Suckadelic supervillain MARY PAPER$.
The Sucklord in his Chrystie Street Sucklab. Yes, the robot behind him is holding a bong.
Dustin Fenstermacher
The Sucklord in his Chrystie Street Sucklab. Yes, the robot behind him is holding a bong.

The Sucklord even has a parodist, the Schmucklord. (The Schmucklord's mission statement: "My clever plan is to make crap instead of good stuff but pretend like I done it on purpose! Clever.") Instead of getting defensive, the Sucklord reached out, asking the joker to scribble on trading cards that would become limited-edition. "I absorbed him," says the Sucklord. "Free labor."

Sucklord's most vocal hater, ToyGrudge's Frost (both his blogger pseudonym and his gamer tag), is excited for Work of Art's new season. "The guy is not an artist and maybe this series will help to show some of that," he types over e-mail. "All I can hope for is that this is the beginning of the end."

This is very unlikely. On Season Two's trailer, which hit the Internet in late August, the first thing you see, after the obligatory Brooklyn Bridge scene-setter, is the Sucklord punching a drywall sheet in army-fatigue cargo pants and a red hoodie. He appears in the minute-long trailer seven times, more than nearly any other contestant—or even Sarah Jessica Parker. "Confidence is very attractive in a man," confides 24-year-old castmate Lola, whom he had photographed topless except for suspenders. "Or a Sucklord." Soon we see him yelling, presumably at the judges, "I don't really give a [bleep]! I think this thing has balls."

Dismiss the Sucklord however you like—asshole, jerkbag, hack, huckster, genius, artist, provocateur, con man—he said it all first. The objects he makes are just tokens of such popular-American self-delusions and fictions. "Somehow I'm 42 years old, and I'm still living in a kid's fantasy," Sucklord says. "I'm able to make a living—sort of—not living in reality. The fact that you go to one of my things, and everybody's wearing masks, being cartoon versions of themselves. And it's almost real enough? It's like, we'll be sitting in a Chinese restaurant, eating with our masks on, acting like it's normal. And the fact that's my job? That's what this is really about: that I've sort of been able to project my fantasy world into reality and make it my reality. That's what the product really is. These things are really the merchandise that go along with the idea, the idea of living in a fucking comic book. Making your life into a comic book. Or making your life into fucking Star Wars. It's like, all these other drudges that go to work in an office and then buy Stormtrooper figures at Toys ‘R’ Us? God bless them. But fuck that. Why should I do that when I can be that?"

cdodero@villagevoice.com | @camilledodero

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6 comments
Josiepussycat
Josiepussycat

I will never come to this site again because of your shitty intrusive pop ups that cover the content. Fuck you and die.

Cool_Raoul
Cool_Raoul

I like the way KAWS is referred to as a commercial artist and some other guy is identified as a graphic designer or a poster artist.

Usually those cats don't go around fixating on labels but their fans want to anoint them as "artists". The same fans who might criticise people who look only at "fine art" and ignore, say, toys, yet would never look at a painting made pre-1900. Fucking children.

I very much like the phrase "toy community".

It reminds me of something an artist once said, "When the sweepers have done the sweeping they had to do and the toys are home in their beds, sleeping, I can take my time and be creative."

Marco Silva
Marco Silva

IMO this piece should set the standard for artist interviews.

The writer did their homework, rifled through morgan's bedroom, and even visited the suck mama! We get a much richer idea of the Sucklord thx to Camille's digging.

more features like this on the toy community please!

AngryBroomstick
AngryBroomstick

haven't you heard of the wonders of a pop-up ad BLOCKER?

 
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