Who is The Sucklord? He's a Boba Fett-masked supercriminal whose passion for creating bootleg action figures has penetrated the rarefied world of high art. io9 hit up his recent gallery opening in NYC and learned of all things Suckadelic.
Yesterday marked the opening of "You're An Asshole For Buying This — The Suckadelic Art Toy Universe," a retrospective of The Sucklord's toy-making acumen at the Boo-Hooray Gallery in Chelsea. The show is a detailed look at the career of The Sucklord, whose bootleg action figures command high prices in toy collecting circles.
The Sucklord (née Morgan Phillips) was ex communicado, but his arch-nemesis Vectar the Intolerable (who possesses many, many, many an uncanny mannerism of The Sucklord) was happy to fill in.
What is the origin of The Sucklord?
It all started with a CD called Star Wars Breakbeats, which was an attempt to remix and recontextualize the essence of the original Star Wars and the original trilogy with hip-hop and electronic music. From that was born The Sucklord, who was called The Super Genius at the time, which is basically a Boba Fett hip-hop character, who's been a public representative for the idea. The basic idea was mixing Star Wars with hip-hop — all the other elements, the toy and supervillain shit, grew out of that as the project evolved.
The idea was to get sued by George Lucas, and as that process was going on, hopefully they would realize, "This is brilliant!" and hire Super Genius. But that never manifested and this thing took on a legend of its own and evolve into the toy franchise and videos. The Super Genius was jaded by the whole thing — he wanted to be hired by George Lucas and accepted by the vinyl toy world, and he wasn't, so he became a supervillain. He used to want to use these things to help people, but he became cynical. He started doing this for himself rather than the sake of Star Wars. He became The Sucklord, and any time someone came into The Sucklord's life that had any personality, [he or she] got masked, a character, and a toy.
Now we're making movies called Toy Lords of Chinatown [Ed. Note — That's Vectar in the purple mask], which is about the adventures of these characters making bootleg toys, fighting over turf, and full-out culturejacking each other. The first episode is out now, and the next episode should drop February 2011.
Tell us about the show that's going on in New York.
The Suckadelic Universe, as a toy brand, has been going on from 2005-2008 with these ongoing releases of random bootleg resin figures based on whatever the fuck The Sucklord imagined or his friends like Mary Paper$ and Spooky Booty. Then Christie's auction house became interested. The guy that worked there Simeon Lipman (a.k.a. "Ira Tyrannusberg") put some of these designer toys up for auction.
Then Johan Kugelberg, who runs the Boo-Hooray Gallery, is friends with Simeon and just through gladhanding and dick-sucking and self-interest and self-motivated, we made the connection. Johan likes to say "fuck you" to people and there's a big "fuck you" element to the show. This show represents all the Suckadelic shit and all the juvenilia from The Super Genius and even stuff prior to that, when he was in college. This is probably 15 years worth of work.
Not a peep out of George Lucas all these years?
The Sucklord did get a mention on the Star Wars blog and was mentioned in their custom toy shows, but as far as legal action, not a peep. The Sucklord has pretty much given up being hired by George Lucas. That dream died a long time ago. The new dream is to become George Lucas and to create a ghetto Star Wars, to follow the characters and merchandise and everything that goes along with it. We're going to continue to walk the fine line between doing this high-end shit, with big prices on bullshit, and trying to keep it accessible to regular people.
Some people seem pretty jaded with Lucas these days. Are you sensing an easy coup here?
Listen, The Sucklord's not mad at George Lucas. Obviously, he owes his fucking whole career to him. But the model you can apply to any creative endeavor. I'm trying to create what he did in a more street-legal way, a more hip-hop fashion. The Sucklord doesn't want to be that guy in the tower; we're all from New York, we're all a bunch of weird nerdy scifi b-boys. It's about refining the model though — creating an interesting world full of compelling characters and merchandising the fuck out of it forever.
Given that The Sucklord is a man of the people, what is his message to the masses?
Buy this shit, motherfuckers! You need this stuff! You need to have this because it is going to compel you whatever it is you're going to do in the world. The Sucklord's just a loser from New York with a few talents and a little support, and if you've got a good idea and discipline and are willing to suffer for it, you can do your thing. But until you get your thing together, buy his thing.
"You're An Asshole For Buying This — The Suckadelic Art Toy Universe" runs at the Boo-Hooray Gallery (521 West 23rd Street in New York City) everyday from 11 AM - 6 PM. More information can be found here. Top photo is GRAFF-ATT by The Sucklord. Middle photos courtesy of Garrett MacAllen. Special thanks to Jeff Newelt.