This is the first doll I ever made that still exists. It was in the summer of 1981, when I was about thirteen. In grade school my friends and I played elaborate games in which each of us was some kind of misfit superhero. I had several superpowered alter-egos: there was Electralad, and some guy whose name I don't remember who possessed the ability to throw things with uncanny accuracy, and Superklutz. He came from another planet, like Superman, but was an incredibly wealthy bachelor whose parents were dead, like Batman. He managed to do good things for people despite being completely inept. He could fly, but had great difficulty landing.

Sadly, I no longer have any of the Superklutz comic strips that I drew in grade school, or any of that other stuff. But the first few dolls I ever made were all characters from the sweeping Superklutz saga.

The face is needle modelled from a stuffed nylon stocking: a technique I learned about from one of my mom's magazines. The body is the uniform: a simple T of cloth with unfinished edges. The hands were carved out of foam rubber, which I learned about from a book about Jim Henson's Muppets. What they don't mention in the books is that foam rubber is chemically very volatile, and deteriorates rapidly when exposed to air. Superklutz's hands only lasted a few years before they crumbled to dust.

Photo by Roy L. Hale