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Nathan Bitner and the Fearless Photog.

Discussion in 'Big Brother Strikes Back' started by B'omarr, May 29, 2003.

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  1. B'omarr Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2000
    star 6
    I came across this story yesterday, and I thought I would share. Doing some detective work, several people have traced the history of a man known as Nathan Bitner. What follows is a story of ambition, action figures, and debt.

    Back in 1985 or so, Mattel was riding a wave of success due to their He-man and the Masters of the Universe toy line. Mattel decided to run a contest, in which children from all over could submit their very own Masters of the Universe character designs. The winner of the contest would actually have his figure produced in the toyline.

    This was a promotion that few kids could pass up. Even yours truely sent in a submission: a character named "Earthquake" who had a sledgehammer for a hand, and when he slammed his sledge-hand on the ground, tremors would ensue. He also had an eyepatch. It wasn't a terribly creative entry, conisdering there was already a figure out with similar qualities, namely the elephantitis suffering Fisto (he had a giant fist).

    Well, the winner of this contest was a young man named Nathan Bitner. He lived outside of Chicago and his hobbies included solving puzzles. His winning entry was a hero called the Fearless Photog, a man with a camera for a head who would drain villians powers by taking their pictures.

    Alas, Mattel never made a Fearless Photog figure. Possibly due to the Masters of the Universe line declining, possibly due to saftey standards, or unrealistic sculpting. Either way, young Nathan Bitners plight has become the stuff of legend in the action figure world.

    Nathan didn't go home empty handed though, far from it. He received a trip to California, and a $100,000 scholarship to college. Obviously, Mattel bought off Nathan Bitner with the promise of education, but depriving the world of the Fearless Photog.

    But the story doesn't end there. Nathan Bitner turned up about 7 years later posting on several newsgroups, most notably newsgroups discussing suicide. Nathan had several posts about overdosing on medicinal products like Nyquil in attempts to kill himself. Around this time, he was also credited in a PC game, Minotaur: The Labyrinths of Crete manual.

    In the late 90s, Bitner worked for the software games manufacturer, Bungie, the company responsible for the hugely popular game Halo. He is rumored to be the creator of the AI character 'Cortana' in Halo. In 1999, Bitner apparantly left the Bungie company to start his own company called Island 4. He felt he was under apprecited at Bungie, and his talents would be best used if he were to strike out on his own. He caused quite a stir at Bungie, as his first ideas treaded on copyright enfringements of Bungie's. He wanted to use a character much like Cortana in his own software.

    However, from the posts of a coworker and friend of Bitners at the time, Tim Wilk, Nathan was very very deep into credit card debt. Because of his bad credit, Bitner was unable to get the finances he needed to get his company, Island 4, off the ground. When pressed on how he had amounted such a large amount of debt, Bitner confided that a large sum of his money had been spent on a call girl who went by the name of Gemnini.

    Nathan and Gemnini had been living together for in the area around Raleigh, North Carolina. Apparantly there was a falling out, and Bitner ended up without any money and without a place to live. His friend at the time, Tim, found him a place to stay near his own house. However, Bitner couldn't afford electricity or gas, so he lived in the dark, in the cold.

    Around this time, Bitner apparantly had a relapse of his earlier depression, and was placed in a mental hospital for some time, in an attempt to keep him from killing himself.

    Upon release, Nathan joined the army, presumbably to leave his troubles and his debt behind. He was part of the recent operations in Iraq as a Health Care Specialist, possibly using his psychology degree he obta
  2. JediPrincessKas Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2002
    star 5
    Hm... That was a lovely tale, John. If only his little action figure had been produced, the kids on his block would have thought he was cool, and then his whole life would have been different.

    Mattel should be ashamed.
  3. NarundiJedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2001
    star 6
    I agree. He'd probably agree too, that if that figure had just come into being then things would be much better. :)

    For me, things would be much better if I had those Roos sneakers with the zipper pockets when I was a kid. . . :(

    Jae Angel
  4. B'omarr Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2000
    star 6
    If this isn't a TV movie of the week, I don't know what is. Nathan Bitner makes Leif Garrett's life look charmed.

    Mattel re-launched the Masters of the Universe line in 2002, so maybe, just maybe, they could still make a Photog.

    As an added treat, here's an image of a custom Photog someone made:

    Photog 2k3
  5. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    He should be American and sue Mattel. It won't make him any more happy, though :(
  6. B'omarr Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2000
    star 6
    There is a big discussion over this tale at the x-entertainment blog right now. Several people involved with Nathan Bitner have posted over there. Notably, there was a Nathan Bitner who lives in southern Illinois who is an amatuer wrestler named "El Diablo" who posted; Tim Wilk, a former co-worker and ebittered friend of Bitner's posted, and even one of the runners-up of Mattel's competition posted!
  7. Katya Jade Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2002
    star 7
    Good grief. That is sad. Poor guy. :(
  8. TheEmperorsHand Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2000
    star 5
    Aw, that is a rather sad story. But thanks for sharing, John, it was interesting. :) Hope this means the guy's doing better now!
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