Page 1 of 1

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:54 am
by TheButcher
From Home Media Magazine:
He-Man’ Turning 30

John Latchem wrote:Classic Media and Mill Creek Entertainment are preparing special DVD sets to commemorate the 30th anniversary of “Masters of the Universe” in 2012 as part of a larger campaign to celebrate the brand, which is based on a Mattel toy line.

A special complete-series release of iconic 1980s cartoon series “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” is slated for fall 2012 and will include special bonus material and other content developed with collectors in mind.

The celebration also includes an array of “Masters of the Universe” merchandise, including clothing, costumes, jewelry and more.

In addition, Mattel will release updated versions of the classic “He-Man” action figures throughout 2012 only at The 2012 annual subscription for the toys goes on sale the week of San Diego Comic-Con International, starting July 22.

Re: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:24 am
by TheButcher
From Comics Alliance:
Mattel Unveils New 'Masters of the Universe' 30th Anniversary Art
Caleb Goellner wrote:Mattel's released new Masters of the Universe art depicting He-Man, Skeletor, Beast Man, Man-At-Arms, Battlecat and more in a contemporary style befitting the franchise's 30th anniversary. Illustrated by Alvin Lee, who worked with Mattel Staff Product Designers Gabriel De La Torre and Raymond Makowski, the new art kind of blends the classic MoTU style with the 2002 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe animated series and of of course the fan-driven Masters of the Universe Classics toy line by the Four Horsemen and sold through MattyCollector.

From MattyCollector:
MOTU Fans,

The holidays are just about here, so we thought we'd give you a little present… here's your first official look at the all-new artwork for the Masters of the Universe® 30th Anniversary celebration!

Gabriel De La Torre, Staff Product Designer from Mattel Entertainment Design, told us, "This ‘alt’ style to the Classic brand was created as a visual way to re-imagine the vast characters and worlds of Masters of the Universe® with a contemporary edge. This dynamic artwork will be used across multiple categories in consumer products and beyond, celebrating our Masters of the Universe 30th Anniversary program launching in 2012."

Creating a new look for an iconic brand like MOTU while still retaining the integrity of its original style was no simple task. Gabe and his team searched for an artist who not only had the style they envisioned, but also a love for MOTU. "We landed on a well-known talent named Alvin Lee, whose work can be seen in a variety of brands and also many popular video games. With the finished product, his passion for the characters and the brand really shined through. Raymond Makowski (Staff Product Designer) and I worked with Alvin Lee to create a dynamic collection of poses and battle scenes that not only pushed the designs of the characters, but also captured the essence of the Masters of the Universe® feel--heroic, perilous and empowering." Gabe said.

Look for the new art to appear on toy packaging starting in Q1, and on licensed goods from shirts to lunchboxes throughout 2012. We'll have more updates at New York Toy Fair in February, but in the meantime, click here to feast your eyes on images of favorites including Skeletor® and Beast Man®!


The art's set to pop up on licensed products beginning in the new year and continuing through 2012.

Re: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:29 am
by TheButcher
Mattel Celebrates Masters Turning 30
Jeff Cope wrote:Mattel and Classic Media have launched a consumer products program to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Masters of the Universe franchise. The program includes apparel from Changes, costumes from Disguise and a special 30th anniversary edition DVD box set from Mill Creek Entertainment.

The Masters of the Universe Classics toy line featuring updated sculpts of vintage Mattel toys will be available next year only on

Changes will develop t-shirts, sweatshirts, thermals, track jackets and fashion tops for men, women and juniors. The Company will also launch an accessory line that includes wristbands, belts and belt buckles, key chains, costume jewelry and more.

In addition, Disguise is launching a line of Halloween costumes and accessories, including Skeletor, He-Man and She-Ra adult costumes available this fall.

Classic Media will introduce a new comprehensive Masters of the Universe style guide featuring retro artwork, all-new modern artist renderings, as well as a special 30th Anniversary logo. The style guide will be available this summer.

Classic Media and Mill Creek Entertainment together will also release the complete series of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe in a special 30th Anniversary Edition DVD set. The collection will hit stores next fall.

“Masters of the Universe is an iconic franchise with a legacy that’s deeply rooted in fantastical storytelling which translates naturally to play experiences and products kids of all ages love,” says Michael Riley, vice president of franchise development at Mattel. “In 2012 the property celebrates its milestone 30th Anniversary allowing us to create a robust synergistic program that offers something for all fans.”

“We’re very excited to be working with the team at Mattel to celebrate this iconic franchise’s 30th Anniversary,” says Nicole Blake, executive vice president of global marketing & consumer products at Classic Media. “This is the perfect opportunity to re-engage fans with the original series and to introduce Masters of the Universe to the next generation.”

via License! magazine

Re: He-Man and Jack Kirby

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:29 am
by TheButcher
From CBR:
When Words Collide: Tom Scioli Part 1 - He-Men and New Gods

Timothy Callahan wrote:Tom Scioli is slated to have a big 2012. With the last two issues of his and Joe Casey's "GODLAND" slated to hit the stands later this year, and with a collected edition of the Scioi-written-and-drawn "American Barbarian" coming out from AdHouse sometime in the next few months, Tom is poised to blast comic shops with his explosive imagery and Kirby-esque designs.

I wanted to find out, from Tom, what was going into his 2012 work, and we'll get to those kinds of questions and answers next week. First, we talked about the comics that inspired him, and took a close look at one particularly influential Jack Kirby issue that still resonates today.

Tim Callahan: Okay Tom, we're going to talk about Jack Kirby soon enough, but let's not start there. Let's start with something formative outside of Kirby. Tell me about a comic or two that had an impact from you at a young age. What were some of your keystone comics?

Tom Scioli: "The Vengeance of Skeletor" and "King of Castle Greyskull," both minicomics packaged with He-Man figures, with beautiful art by Alfredo Alcala. "Vengeance of Skeletor" was the more evocative of the two, with a really scary/psychedelic jungle and a sea monster in a bottomless lake. The imagery of "King of Castle Greyskull" didn't stick with me as much, but it was probably the more influential of the two, just in that I'd re-enact variations on its story when I'd play with my toys.

I remember those comics! I don't have mine any more, but that was one of my early exposures to comics, now that you mention it. Certainly my first exposure to Alfredo Alcala. I remember buying the follow-up miniseries from DC, along with the "DC Comics Presents" team-up between He-Man and Superman, but those weren't as good as the minicomics packaged with the toys, from what I recall. And since, in my childhood head, the Masters of the Universe saga was kind of like a high-fantasy/supernatural Conan epic (though I wouldn't have known Conan yet), I was hugely disappointed when the Filmation cartoon came out, with Orko hamming it up. Orko was not in the Alcala comics, for sure.

Did those Masters of the Universe comics lead into other comics for you? Or were they kind of isolated examples from that time in your life? Let me know the journey from those minicomics to your commitment to comics as an art form.

I wonder if there are a lot of people our age who had that identical experience. I loved the fantasy of those early minicomics. I didn't like when they moved into a more comic-book direction, with ones like "The Ordeal of Man-E-Faces." When the Filmation cartoon came out, I hated it. I watched every episode, but I hated it. He-Man got domesticated. He was an enigmatic wanderer of the plains before. Now he had a mom and dad and a secret identity and comic relief. Beast Man and Skeletor were scary, in the cartoon they were buffoonish. I've later found out that those early minicomics were great because there wasn't a mythology set up yet. The writers could just do whatever they wanted. Once they set about deliberately crafting a bible that's when all those trite pre-fabricated elements started coming in.

Those were my earliest exposure to comics, and they were ones that stuck with me. I'd buy A "Star Wars" comic here and there, or Superman. But it was out of a fandom to "Star Wars" or Superman, not to comics. I didn't have an older sibling or a parent who was into comics and gave me their old collection. Comics were something other kids were into, but not me. It wasn't until the late 80s, the post-Dark Knight period when comic stores started showing up, that I started checking out this thing called comics. That's where I got my first Kirby comics. I wanted to check out "old" comics and the two Kirby comics I grabbed looked suitably old.

If there's a thread from those He-Man minicomics to my comics career, it's a path of following the things that hit those same notes. It started out as more of a genre thing than a comics thing. It went like this: "Star Wars" -- Thundarr -- He-Man -- Thor -- Dune -- Nexus -- Seven Samurai -- Ronin -- New Gods -- making my own comics. That's my personal chronology. For me, Kirby's "Thor" is linked to the 80s, "New Gods" is the 90s, because that's how I encountered them.

When you took those early-for-you trips into your first direct market stores, what made you want to even seek out older comics instead of the shiny new ones on the shelf? Was it a function of the type of stories you visited -- I know in my case, the store I used to frequent was a used book store loaded with piles of old magazines and comics, so the older stuff was emphasized -- or was it just some historical interest on your part, or what?

I really don't know. There were pricey Marvel Masterworks volumes with their devotional book design. There was the idea that old comics were valuable. There was a mystique surrounding old comics. Another comic that was formative for me was "Superman from the Thirties to the Seventies." It was the only comic you could get out of the library, so I checked it out over and over. Talking about it now, it seems like the pull of old comics would be really strong. That would be the most obvious thing that comics stores had to offer that 7-11 didn't.

Of course I bought my share of new comics, too. The "new" comics I was drawn to, as it turned out, were also old comics. "Classic X-Men," which reprinted the Claremont-Cockrum-Byrne years was one of my favorite comics. I had no idea that these were old stories. Also "Marvel Tales," which was the Spider-Man reprint book, was another favorite, which was reprinting Claremont/Byrne Spider-Man stories at the time I was buying it.

From what I've seen of your online presence, you are somewhat of a comics historian, or at least you have a strong interest in the aesthetic history of the medium, specifically around superhero comics. Is that a fair observation to make? And now that you're looking back on some of those stories that were formative influences on you, what do you think of them, from an aesthetic history perspective? Is there stuff that you wish you had seen earlier? Stuff you didn't like then, but really appreciate now, or vice-versa?

Definitely. Everybody I know who makes comics seems to be very well-educated in the history of the comics traditions they are working in.

Sometimes I wish I would've read more Kirby as a kid, but I think I was better off that I didn't get to read most of it until I was older. I think I needed Kirby more in adulthood than I did in childhood.

The stuff I liked as a kid for the most part holds up, but that's probably because it helped form the baseline of my likes and dislikes. I recently read a bunch of those He-Man minicomics, and the Alcala ones are still the gold standard. The Bruce Timm ones are pretty neat, too. I liked Ditko's Spider-Man a lot, and I still do. I think I only had a couple of Ditko reprints, but I wish I'd had more. I think they felt contemporary because the 60s Spider-Man cartoon was still in regular rotation at the time. That's what Spider-man looked like. It didn't feel like something from another era. A kid in the early eighties consumed a lot of sixties and seventies culture. The Beverly Hillbillies, H.R. Pufnstuff, The Brady Bunch -- these were part of the eternal present.

I didn't like the Spider-man comics that were new at the time I was reading them. It was the post-Watchmen era, and Spider-Man was too dark for me. It was the era of "Kraven's Last Hunt." People talk about how great that comic is, but I don't know that I'll ever be able to see it that way because it wasn't what my 10-year-old self was looking for from a Spider-Man comic.

The Claremont/Cockrum/Byrne X-Men are still an enjoyable read and are nice-looking comics. I read a lot of Batman comics leading up to the Michael Keaton movie. I bought "Death in the Family" as it came out. For all their grimness, those comics were too sedate, too tame. I would've liked a little more silver age bombast, but I wouldn't have known to call it that. I still really like Jim Aparo's Batman art from that era.

I guess something I really liked back then was the switch from newsprint, to the heavier white paper, with the higher resolution, more saturated color printing. I hated the feel of newsprint and welcomed the change. Now I feel the opposite way. Newsprint comics seem to have a more pleasing, more unified aesthetic.

I didn't even realize Bruce Timm worked on any Masters of the Universe comics. Which ones did he do? What were they about?

He drew "King of the Snake Men." It reads really well and has a few signature Timm-isms. "Grizzlor, the Legend Comes Alive" is not quite as good, but still pretty lively. Then there were a couple that he just inked, which were pretty good: "Escape from the Slime Pit" and "The Powers of Grayskull."

I guess we should probably just move beyond listing which comics we liked and didn't like, growing up -- for the record, I thought the cover to "Elektra: Assassin" #1 was so silly I refused to buy it when it came out, and I thought Kirby was pretty terrible because all I knew him from back then were the covers to the "Super Powers" comics -- and really get into what's important: namely, Jack Kirby's best work. I'm certainly partial to 1970s Kirby, and though I appreciate his work in the early Silver Age, it's "New Gods" and "O.M.A.C." and "Kamandi" and even "The Eternals" and "Devil Dinosaur" that really get me excited about his comics. Those comics, in fading newsprint or in glossy hardcover collections, are still the things that I look to when I need to recharge and remind myself why comics are such an amazingly powerful visual form.

Because you're an artist, and an aesthetic historian, and a Kirby man to the core, it might be beneficial for us to focus our Kirby discussion a bit by talking about a single story or a single issue and really go through it and talk about Kirby's work through that lens. What do you say? What's a Kirby comic that you'd like to really hone in on? What's the good stuff in that comic?

It would be issue #7 of "New Gods," entitled "The Pact." That's the comic that really hit me hard and made Kirby jump to number one for me. It was "Star Wars" and He-Man and Thundarr and Dark Knight Returns and Hellboy all rolled into one, but 100 times better.

Just reading that opening caption on page 1, it feels like the bible, it feels like the opening crawl of "Star Wars." I'll never know what it's like reading the New Gods without knowing "Star Wars." When I read it, it feels like "Star Wars," but that's because I've seen "Star Wars," so I know how to assemble these words and images in my head. What did readers in the 70s think when these books came out? Did it make any sense to them? Is that why the books weren't a massive hit, because you had to watch a movie that didn't exist yet in order to fully appreciate them?

I love how Kirby uses two exclamation marks for every sentence, until he needs to up the ante and go with three exclamation marks for emphasis!!!

I understand the "Star Wars" connection, because the mythology has a similarity and, of course, I also don't know what it's like to read this stuff without having "Star Wars" in mind and yet...this doesn't feel much like the aesthetics of "Star Wars." This feels muscular, even on the opening, tranquil page in a way "Star Wars" doesn't. "Star Wars" feels like Alex Raymond to me, with its thin heroes and their swashbuckling ways. This opening page of "The Pact," and the scene that follows, feels like a rhino in a china shop. Kirby is bursting at the seams. The panels can barely contain his bulky forms and energetic lines.

There is a precursor to this early-New Genesis stuff -- at least in terms of its setting -- in the "Tales of Asgard" work Kirby did in the back of "Thor." But this is a level up from that, right? It's got an intensity that even those mythic stories didn't have.

I've read so many Kirby comics, the exclamation points are invisible to me. I grew up with the Odyssey 2, not the Atari. I don't know if you've read any of the instruction booklets from it, but it's all exclamation points.

It gets more Star Warsy as it goes on. Funny you should mention Raymond, because to me this is Kirby doing full-on Raymond. Look at that first year of "Flash Gordon." Before the art got too pretty. "New Gods" is Kirby going back to his Raymond roots. Steppenwolf's design is Prince Barin. Heggra is Darkseid's mother. I wouldn't be surprised if Ming were his father. The Royer inking throws you off the Raymond trail, but look at the pencils. Kirby's pencil lines look like Raymond's brushstrokes.

Also, "Star Wars" was pre-steroid era moviemaking. You couldn't find an actor who was built like a Kirby character. If it came out in the mid-80s the characters would've probably been played by more Kirby-esque actors.

I'd read enough Thor comics that I got that Balduur and the unnamed Sorceress could be Balder and Karnilla. Although I pictured them as the stone-like megagods that Metron ran into in the opening pages of "New Gods" #5. I wasn't certain of the Thor connection, although it seems like the consensus is that's what Kirby intended. The references to the "Old Gods" in this issue sound mysterious, Lovecraftian.

There's swashbuckling here, but it's Vietnam-era anti-war swashbuckling.

This portrayal of Darkseid is an interesting one, because he looks just like full-fledged, ominously evil, nearly omnipotent Darkseid, but he doesn't seem to have a lot of power here, in these early days. He appears first with a robotic hand -- a "Killing Glove" built by his pal DeSaad, and his uncle Steppenwolf gives him grief about his "bizarre companions. Darkseid still has the arrogance we know and love, but this is the eager, ambitious young Darkseid, who later talks about how he's into new technology and he has the foresight to see where the culture is heading.

"We must seek NEW roads to tread!!" he declares to his uncle.

Meanwhile, in that earlier scene, Kirby throws in that tiny character bit where a steward, ON THE FIELD OF BATTLE, is refilling Steppenwolf's horn flask while the uncle gives Darkseid grief.

It's not all wall-to-wall bombast, which is what many readers seem to forget.

Re: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:43 pm
by TheButcher
From MTV:
EXCLUSIVE! DC Comics Launches Brand New 'He-Man and the Masters of The Universe' Comic From Writer James Robinson
Alex Zalben wrote:Get ready, He-Man fans: DC Comics is getting ready to launch a brand new take on the Masters of the Universe this July, in a six issue comic book series written by James Robinson, with pencils by Phillip Tan and inks from Ruy Jose. And that's not the end of the surprises... As the series starts, the evil Skeletor has already won!

That's right: the skull faced arch-enemy of He-Man has figured out a way to rewrite the reality of Eternia, casting himself as the ruler of Castle Grayskull, and our heroes - including He-Man - as regular peasants with no memory of their previous life. And while simple woodsman Adam may dream of wielding a massive sword, and fighting in battles, he thinks they're just dreams. That is, until a mysterious sorceress approaches him, and sends him on an epic journey to save all of Eternia.

To find out more, we chatted with Robinson about where the series is going, if this is just the tip of the iceberg for the Masters of the Universe, and whether a certain fan favorite (well, us favorite) will return:

MTV Geek: Why Masters of The Universe? I think most people nowadays know it from a somewhat cheesy cartoon, and a somewhat cheesier movie - what draws you to the property? Is it a chance to really go back and reinvent from an almost blank slate, in a way?

James Robinson: I agree to some people Masters of the Universe is considered a cheesy cartoon. However, I know for a fact that a certain generation of people, who grew up at the right time, hold genuine affection for Masters of the Universe. The challenge is to write something that raises the standard for the series, with a cool, modern story that nevertheless honors the fans of the animated series and toy line.

Geek: How much reinvention versus continuation are we going to see in the book? It seems, like a lot of these '80s properties, your approach is a way of honoring the old fans, while allowing an easy access point for new ones.

JR: As I say, that's the challenge. Let's just say I've come up with a series concept that introduces the line of characters to new readers in what I hope is a fresh, dynamic and compelling way while honoring what the series has been prior.

Geek: Let's talk about the characters... What's going on with Adam? He's in a pretty interesting place when this all starts.

JR: Adam is in a place where he really has to reconnect with what it means to be a Master of the Universe. It's his odyssey, much like the Greek myth in fact, that is the backbone of this series.

Geek: Skeletor walks the line between terrifying, and very, very silly... What are you going for here? What's his motivation, and how will he play throughout the series?

JR: He's terrifying. Period. The silly era is done and gone. Phillip and I are taking great pains to make Skeletor, who is after all a barbarian warrior with a skull face, into a horrifying and worthy foe for He-Man. As to motivation, much like before he wants it all. Eternia. Castle Greyskull. Adam's head on a plate. Everything. He's just going to be much more ruthless in how he goes about getting it.

Geek: There's also a "mysterious sorceress" who kicks off the proceedings. Is she someone we've met before? What game is she playing? Oh, and she's She-Ra, right? Right???

JR: Not She-Ra I'm afraid. Although the sorceress is very important to Adam's odyssey taking shape.

Geek: This is a bit of personal question, but are we going to see Orko in this series? I don't want to brag, but I won a costume contest dressed as him when I was seven.

JR: Congratulations! Yes, there is a possibility you'll see Orko by the end of the series.

Geek: What other characters are we going to see popping up? And was there anyone you weren't able to fit in?

JR: Yeah, Orko until you mentioned him. Apart from that, no, I'm going to try and get every character in, if only in our epic climax.

Geek: You have Philip Tan on pencils, and he's clearly been doing some fabulous fantasy work on Hawkman - if you've seen any of it yet, what's his work like here? What does he bring to the project?

JR: Truthfully, I haven't seen the work yet, however based in Philip's work on Batman & Robin, Green Lantern and Hawkman, he'll brings a darkness and mood, coupled with a dynamic storytelling that will definitely add a unique quality to this Masters of the Universe relaunch.

Geek: This may be a little too literal, but I've always wondered why they were called "Masters of the UNIVERSE," when they only hung out on Eternia - are we going to see any exploration of places beyond Eternia in this series, or more of a fleshing out of that side of the concept?

JR: A little too literal? Boy that's an understatement. Seriously though, that's a good question and one that deserves it's own arc. However that isn't this arc, which is more concerned with reintroducing the Masters of the Universe and the world of Eternia to a new generation.

Geek: ...And this may be above your pay-grade, but I imagine these comics are somewhat a testing ground for the franchise, to see if it can be reinvented for TV, action figures, movies, etc... Has that been part of the discussion at all? And when you've been writing this, has your eye turned to that side of the business at all?

JR: Honestly I don't know. Mattel has been very supportive to my ideas, I do know that. I'm sure as a company they've got their eye on all their franchises for the best way to make the most of them. I know I would.

Geek: Just to wrap up, between finally revealing the life of The Shade on an epic, globe-trotting journey, creating a whole new world with Earth Two, and reinventing Masters of the Universe, are you going to want to write a nice, small character piece after this is all done? Or do you have even bigger plans?

JR: No, my plans are a couple of more character based ideas, although even those have some pretty epic brush strokes. Oh and I'm working on a novel, that I'm very happy with so far and will have done by the end of the year. Thanks for asking.
HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE #1 hits comic book stands from DC Comics in July!

Re: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:06 am
by TheButcher
From CBR November 19, 2009:
Comic Book Legends Revealed #234
Brian Cronin wrote:COMIC LEGEND: Zodac in the Masters of the Universe was meant to be connected to Metron of the Fourth World.

STATUS: Basically False, With Some Truthiness to it

Reader Squashua has been wondering for a long time about a possible link between Zodac of the Masters of the Universe and Metron of the New Gods.

Squashua asked awhile back…
Did the DC Comics writers intend there to be a connection between New God character “Metron” and Master of the Universe character “Zodac, the Cosmic Enforcer”?

The classic Zodac toy was a dude with red space armor and a laser pistol. Originally billed as an Evil warrior, the accompanying EARLY literature had him as more of a neutral keeper of balance, which was what followed ever since.

When he was presented in both the toy-included comic books (apparently all written by DC before Mattel took over) and the short-lived DC Comic series/insert (prior to Marvel’s Epic-line MotU series), if I recall correctly, Zodac flew around in a chair (much like Metron) and did cosmic “stuff”. The Zodac toy did not come with this chair, but if you look at the chair in the manner in which it was drawn, it is identical to the throne that comes with the original Castle Greyskull playset. There was no reason for him to use the chair, but when you go think about it, Zodac of the DC Comics issue(s) is pretty much intended to be Metron.

Well, just the other week, Sean T. Collins at CBR’s own Robot 6 blog was discussing Masters of the Universe, and Squashua showed up in the comments and so did Paul Kupperberg!

Squashua presented the question and Paul answered it as follows:
DC signed the rights to MOTU before the toys were released. They had virtually no back story set up besides a very basic good guys vs. bad guys idea. A rep from Mattel came to DC and editor Dave Manak and I spent an afternoon on the floor of DC’s conference room playing with the prototypes of the figures and accessories and making shit up as we went along. I took a few notes, talked out a few very basic ideas with Dave and the rep and then went home and started writing. Zodac and the flying chair were part of the presentation, so I went with that–don’t recall for certain if the Metron parallel was brought up at the time, but with fan-boy-me in the room, I’d find it tough to believe I wouldn’t have at least mentioned it. They might have gotten rid of the flying chair (or switched it to a spot in the Castle) because of the similarity by the time the toys came out but after I’d written the comic.

A big fan of the Fourth World material, but I don’t think I ever wrote any of it, certainly not around that time…unless I’ve got a major brain fart going. My first connection with any of the Kirbyverse was when I tied TAKION into The Force, but that wasn’t until 1996.

I’m told — and I don’t know because I never watched the cartoon (being, y’know, in my 20s when it came out) — that a lot of the back story was based on the DC comic, so I guess I’m to blame, but I doubt I would’ve had Zodac in a flying chair if it hadn’t been part of that original presentation.

So it sounds like basically a no on the connection.

Thanks to Paul Kupperberg for the information, thanks to Sean for the blog entry that got this one resolved and thanks to Squashua for the stick-to-it-ness to finally get a reply to the query!! Good job!

From Robot 6 November 9, 2009:
Geoff Johns wants the Power of Grayskull
Geoff Johns and I have something in common: We both want Geoff Johns to write a He-Man comic.

In an interview at writer Poe Ghostal’s toy and action figure news blog, the Blackest Night, Green Lantern, and Superman: Secret Origin writer says that He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is the only toy property he’d like to take a shot at writing. Now, normally this kind of offhand blue-sky wish-list comment wouldn’t merit a post, but I really love He-Man and Johns has written some of my favorite superhero comics of the past several years — and dammit, I’ve got a bully pulpit and I intend to use it.

Oh yeah, Johns discusses various other toy-related topics with Ghostal, including his childhood favorites and the highlights of his current collection. Unsurprisingly, Lantern Corps figures from DC Direct and Mattel fare pretty well, with Johns citing the action-figure version of his Blue Lantern character Saint Walker as his fave.

But seriously — Geoff Johns on He-Man! Start your letter-writing campaign to DC and Mattel in the comments.

Poe Ghostal’s Points Of Articulation November 9, 2009
5 Questions With > Geoff Johns
5.) Is there any toy property you’d love to have a crack at writing a comic book for?

He-Man. That’s about the only one.

Re: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:54 pm
by TheButcher
From He-Man.Org:
The Original He-Man Mini-Comics
The first 11 minicomics that were produced (1982-83) were made by DC Comics, who later produced a 5-issue comic series. All other minicomics, from 1984 and on, were produced solely by Mattel (and, quite frankly, somewhat lacked the quality of the first ones). However, Mattel did have their moments, especially towards the end, with issues such as "The Ultimate Battleground!" and "The Powers of Grayskull: The Legend Begins!"

It might be noted that some of the giants of the industry were involved in these. The DC minicomics were drawn by Mark Texiera, who has gone on to draw such books as "Ghost Rider," "Sabretooth," and other assorted things. "Snake Attack," "Grizzlor: The Legend Comes Alive," "King of the Snake Men," "The Search for Keldor," and "The Ultimate Battleground" were drawn by Bruce Timm. If you don't know the name, he's one of the main people responsible for the now-concluded New Batman/Superman Adventures show on the WB network.

Re: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:08 pm
by TheButcher
From CA:

New 'Masters of the Universe' Miniseries Coming From DC in July

Caleb Goellner wrote:DC Comics will tap into the power of Grayskull this July with a new, six-issue Masters of the Universe series from writer James Robinson (Starman, The Shade), artist Phillip Tan (The Savage Hawkman) and inker Ruy Jose. The hook? He-Man and company have been transformed into peasants with no memory of their previous adventures and the former Prince Adam will have to venture out on an odyssey to reclaim his He-Man destiny and face a much more threatening and ruthless Skeletor. MTV Geek broke the news in an interview with Robinson, who in addition to establishing Adam and Skeletor's motivations in the miniseries, confirmed that Orko will show up at some point in the story.

Masters of the Universe has a long history in comics, beginning with the minicomics packed with the original MoTU toys from 1982-1987, which featured work by creators like Bruce Timm and Stan Sakai. From there the license has manifested with comic series from DC circa 1982 (including a crossover with Superman), a few series from Image in the early 2000's, some stuff from Crossgen around 2004 and most recently Dark Horse Comics, which partnered with Mattel to create a new series of minicomics for its MoTU Classics toys. So, in a sense, this series marks a kind of return to DC for He-Man and company.

Re: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:15 am
by TheButcher

Re: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:08 am
by TheButcher

Re: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:46 pm
by SilentBobX
Now that looks like some fantastic artwork there. Plus, he's got his axe again? Very cool indeed.


Re: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:36 pm
by TheButcher

Re: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:36 pm
by TheButcher

The Battle For He-Man

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:11 pm
by TheButcher
Mattel Wins 'He-Man' Ownership Lawsuit
Donald Glut, the author of early "Masters of the Universe" comic books, strikes out in an attempt to claim rights to the franchise.
Eriq Gardner wrote:As Sony Pictures advances toward a reboot of Masters of the Universe, licensor Mattel has won a significant legal victory that likely clears rights issues on the He-Man franchise.

Last June, Mattel filed a lawsuit against writer Donald Glut, who in 1981 wrote four mini-comics, "He-Man and the Power Sword," "The Vengeance of Skeletor," "Battle in the Clouds" and "King of Castle Grayskull." In the 1980s, Glut was an important writer in the children's show scene and did work for such shows as Transformers and Spider-Man.

Mattel went to court against Glut because the writer had come forward to assert that he created the Masters of the Universe characters and was entitled to copyright ownership. In reaction, the toy company contended that his contributions fell under the work-for-hire doctrine and that he waited way too long to assert his claim to rights.

Both sides brought summary judgment motions, and last week after an oral hearing, U.S. District Judge Manuel Real declared Mattel the victor.

Masters of the Universe focuses on the conflict between the protagonist He-Man and the villain Skeletor on the planet of Eternia. It was one of the most popular children's TV shows in the 1980s. A 1987 film version and a 2002 reboot from the Cartoon Network weren't nearly as successful. Sony and Escape Artists are now working on a new film and are reported to be on the verge of picking a director.

But as the new film is being developed, out came Glut, a former freelancer for Western Publishing Company, who according to Mattel, was hired in 1981 to write a "backstory" for the characters in what was then the company's new boys' brand. Three decades later, the nature of Glut's working relationship became the focus of the lawsuit.

Glut argued that Mattel couldn't produce the specific work-for-hire agreement that would make the toy company the statutory author of the work. Glut contended that he instead licensed He-Man to Mattel and that such a license was subject to termination in 2016.

In response, Mattel put forward other agreements to support the proposition that the parties had understood that Masters of the Universe was a work-for-hire. The plaintiff pointed to statements that Glut had made over the years confirming as much. And if there was any confusion, Mattel added, Glut had a legal obligation to come forward much sooner with an objection.

"If one were to write a law school hypothetical to teach when it is appropriate to apply the equitable doctrine of laches, one might borrow from the story of Defendant Donald F. Glut," said Mattel in its summary judgment motion. "Defendant's story provides a textbook example of a party who unreasonably delayed in asserting copyright ownership in a written work to the extreme prejudice of the ostensible copyright holder, Plaintiff Mattel Inc."

Glut's attorneys argued that his delay wasn't unreasonable because he asserted his claim fell within the statutory termination period provided for in the Copyright Act.

But Mattel's lawyers including Larry Iser at Kinsella Weitzman were able to rebut this by framing the dispute as one over ownership. If Glut's comics were created as a work-for-hire, Mattel said, Glut never owned the copyright, could never have licensed it and therefore couldn't have terminated it. Given Mattel's exploitation of the brand over the years, Glut could have filed a lawsuit earlier.

A full written order hasn't been issued yet, but at the oral hearing, the judge agreed with Mattel's arguments over laches and also pointed to the evidence supporting Glut's work as being commissioned by Mattel as a work-for-hire.

Re: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:12 am
by TheButcher
E-mail interviews with Donald F. Glut, writer of the original four Masters of the Universe mini-comics
(conducted by Matt Jozwiak on December 14-16, 2001)
Matt Jozwiak wrote:Matt Jozwiak:
First off, I feel silly because I mis-spoke myself about having the four mini-comics. I currently only have two of the four. (I'm searching for the others.) But my understanding is that "He-Man and the Power Sword" details how He-Man left his jungle tribe to fight evil abroad.

Donald F. Glut:

I think I have some extra copies of three of the books "He-Man and the Power Sword" (basically the origin story wherein He-Man leaves home), "Battle in the Clouds" and "Master of Castle Grayskull” (which I'm willing to sell, if you're interested.) By the way, at least one of the titles was kind of my in jokes. "Battle in the Clouds" was the title of a very old silent science-fiction movie I had in my film collection.

My primary question is: How close to the original concept of He-Man were your stories? Did you invent the background of He-Man, or were the tales written to accommodate someone else's preconceptions?


Originally, when I came onto the project, there were no stories at all. Not all the characters and places were yet named and not all of the characters had been invented. All that existed then were some prototype toys and some general ideas of who and what they were and what they could do.

I'd been writing comic-book and filler text stories for Western Publishing Company (a.k.a. Whitman, Gold Key Comics and Golden Press). Western then had an account with the Mattel toy company. One day my editor at Western, Del Connell, told me that Mattel was coming out with a new line of toys called Masters of the Universe and needed someone to write four booklets that would be included with the toys. The lead character was to be named He-Man (which I thought was just ludicrous) and others were named Man-at-Arms and Beastman. (I seem to remember coming up myself with the name for the then unnamed Merman.) At the time, none of these characters had origins or backgrounds and even their powers were not really defined. It was my job, working for relatively little pay and with no "piece of the action," something I'll never do again and refused to do when Mattel subsequently wanted me to do the same for their failed Wheeled Warriors project to come up with all of that. Mattel then only had the prototypes of the toys, Polaroid photos of which were given to me for reference.

The stories had to be of a precise length, with a certain number of lines per page and characters per line. The artwork on each page was to show a different scene. I was told what the toys could do and have their literary counterparts do them as much as possible in each story. Other than that, I was pretty much on my own.

I came up with the name of Eternia. Since this was a kind of "eternal" realm, it just seemed natural and logical. The name just popped into my head without a lot of thought.

The Power Sword was a sort of homage to the various "Power Stone" stories in the 1940s Superman comic books.

There's a somewhat interesting story behind the name Grayskull. In the Polaroid's, at least, the prototype of the castle looked gray, not its true green. At the time I was married to a girl named Linda whose maiden name was Gray. As I was not going to get any byline credit for writing these stories, I thought I'd put in some in joke references that friends of mine in the know might spot. Hence, the castle became Castle Grayskull. (Ironically, Linda and I split up between my writing of these stories and the actual release of the toy for which she was named.)

When I turned in my first batch of stories I included a female character, which, at first, upset the powers-that-be at both Mattel and Western, because there were no women in this particular toy line! After my explaining that a female was needed to make the stories work, they finally decided to go ahead with a lady character, one whose original mold (like He-Man's) could be re-done for yet more characters. When I needed to name her, I half-jokingly suggested "She-Man." (Ooh, never joke like that when the people you are working for take their characters seriously! I won't give details, but I had a similar experience at Hanna-Barbera when, asked by a story editor to suggest a name for Scooby-Doo's new little relative, I proposed Doggy Doo.) Then I remembered an early 1950s TV show I liked as a kid called Smilin' Ed's Gang. Old Smilin Ed sometimes told stories, acted out in little films that he ran, about a Sabu-like East Indian boy named Gunga Ram. Gunga rode through the jungle on his "great bull elephant Teela". For some reason that name just popped into my brain as I was thinking of that female character, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I've always assumed that everyone involved in the start of the toy line agreed with the origins detailed in the first four mini-comics. But in later years, especially with the advent of the television cartoon, they started to change things around. (There was never a Prince Adam in the originals, since He-Man came from the jungle, right?)


I didn't watch the cartoon show and had no interest in the movie, so I didn't really know or care what they did with my original concepts, especially since I wasn't getting any royalties on toys or other items (e.g., the View-Master adaptations) based on my concepts. Remember that my work was simply done as a "work for hire." I did it fast and turned it in. Not much thought or time went into any of it. When my part was over I moved on to other projects not related to Masters of the Universe.

Naturally, I feel the first four mini-comics are "canon material". It's the following ones that are confusing, though the comics introducing Ram Man, Tri-Klops, and others are still of a similar class. Aside from the official company viewpoint, do those next few mini-comics (before Prince Adam and company) also fit in with what you envisioned Eternia to be?


The first four were "canon". Thanks, I'm flattered. But I never read or even saw the booklets done after the ones I did, so I have no comment on this or their characters. My idea of Eternia, a name I invented, by the way, was simply a timeless realm in some unspecified place in the universe, where both magic and science were the order of the day.

Matt Jozwiak:
On a slightly different note: Do you know who did the magnificent box art for the Masters of the Universe vehicles and playsets? I wonder if the company saved the originals. Those would make a wonderful book.

Donald F. Glut:

Sorry, I don't have the foggiest idea.

I'd like you to describe how you envisioned the characters and places, personalities, histories, races, occupations, whatever you dreamt up to fill in the blanks so you could write stories. Please include as many details as possible, however insignificant.


It's hard to remember much of this, as it was long ago and so quickly executed. Basically, I was given Polaroid photos of the prototype toys. I'd written lots of sword and sorcery and heroic adventure type stories by this time and so it was relatively easy to come up with the personalities. He-Man, for instance, was your typical "noble savage stereotype" a kind of combination Tarzan and Conan. I just used the same standards and principles I'd applied to earlier stories to "Master of the Universe". And the plots were similar, too. Most such plots involve a villain who needs "something" (a magic jewel, a secret formula, etc.) to achieve a goal (conquer the world, achieve immortality, etc.) and a brave hero who fights to prevent the villain from accomplishing this. You simply "fill in the blanks," changing the particulars from story to story.

You wrote that Castle Grayskull was "built by unknown hands before the Great Wars". Please elaborate on whatever history you may have invented for Eternia. For example, how did the monstrous people (like Beastman and Mer Man) end up on Eternia? Were they native species, mutants, or dimension wanderers like Skeletor?


I don't think I ever took it that far or thought about it that much. I simply put as much work into the stories as they were paying me to do. If something didn't concern Mattel or Western (e.g., the background of Beastman) I didn't let it bother me. Stating that the castle was "built by unknown hands before the Great War, and not having to explain whose hands or what that war was all about, was an easy way out for me. I have know idea who built the castle or fought in that war!

As to what species (or better, subspecies) these characters were, I never thought about that, either. Remember that the primary intent was to sell neat-looking toys. What really mattered to Mattel is that 1. the toys looked good, 2. that the characters looked different, but 3. they could be made reusing the same prototype molds. Therefore, He-Man and Beastman, though different, could be sculpted over the same original bodies.

What about vehicles like the Battle Ram and Wind Raider? Any history or special abilities for those? And of course Castle Grayskull, if you haven't already discussed that, I suppose that's the big one.


I was not asked to come up with specs or backgrounds on the hardware so I didn't, I just used them in the stories to promote product. In the case of Castle Grayskull, they told me what the various gadgets of the toy could do and asked me to work them into the stories.

Matt Jozwiak:
According to all you've told me, there's very little beyond the self-explanatory references in the mini-comics. So, since I can't think of any more questions, do you have anything you'd like to mention about your work on Masters of the Universe? Character information, funny stories, similar work on different toy lines?

Donald F. Glut:

You pretty much summed up everything, I think. The only other toy line I worked on was, again for Mattel, the ill-conceived "Wheeled Warriors," which I knew from the start would flop. The whole idea made no sense to me and the only conclusion either Mattel or Western had that I had to work on was that in the end, somehow, everything was "all right again." There was also more censorship on this series. For example, I couldn't have an explicitly aggressive action of the characters against one another. One character could lunge "toward" another but not "at" another; real subtle differences that drove me crazy. I told Mattel and Western that, unlike my "Masters" stint, I would not make up any characters, any character names, any names of places, etc., only write stories in which to put characters and locations that were supplied to me. I didn't want to get into the same situation as on "Masters," where I was literally "creating" things that became toys, cartoon shows, movies, etc., but for which I got no future rewards, only my flat-rate "work for hire fees. This, of course, did not set well with the folks at Mattel and I was afraid for a while that it would cost me the gig.

I'm not proud of the "Wheeled Warriors" books I did for Mattel and had no fun writing them. Like the "Masters" booklets, they required a finite number of pages, lines per page and maximum characters per line. And like the older series, they were simply done to sell the toys. At least I was able to write the stories fast.

My work on "Masters of the Universe" taught me one basic lesson: Don't create anything original, especially concepts that someone else will make millions of dollars from, unless you have a percentage of the profits or part ownership. It's a lesson I've managed to stick to since my days with He-Man and the gang.

Hey, I've got an idea (or maybe I'm getting carried away). If you had to speculate on how you would have continued the story of the Masters of the Universe, how do you think it would have gone? (You, apparently, aren't restricted by knowledge of the later mini-comics.) What further details would you have added to the environment and characters, if you had continued?

I hate to be a "wet blanket," but I never had any idea of where my versions of the characters would have gone or what they would have done beyond my little booklet stories. Again, remember that this was just a job, one of many I have done and continue to do, and I saw no reason to use up any additional brain power unless I was getting paid for it.

Know anything about Robert E. Howard, the original creator of Conan?


I know a little about REH. I did, for a while, write a number of the Kull and Solomon Kanes stories, plus a few "Tales of the Hyborian Age," for Marvel Comics back in the 1970s. And, around the same time, I created and wrote "Dagar the Invincible" for Western (Gold Key/Whitman Comics). Now there's a whole new interview!

Re: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:17 am
by TheButcher
MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE Writer Shares Origin Of Eternia & Castle Grayskull
SHADOWLAND MAGAZINE: When Mattel initially hired you to write the original four Masters of the Universe mini-comics how much of the story and characters had already been fleshed out? Did Mattel already have a structured outline, an early concept to expand upon, or was much of the story left to your imagination?

I wasn't hired by Mattel per se, but by Western Publishing Company. Western, at the time, was publishing a lot of licensed books, comics, etc. owned by various movie, TV and toy companies. My main editor at Western offered me the gig. He showed me a set of about a half dozen Polaroid photos from Mattel, showing prototypes of various characters and also the castle, most of which were, at the time, unnamed. I recall He-Man and Man-at-Arms - and possibly Beast Man already having names, but not much else. Mattel sent notes to Western describing what the toys did. But the names of the other characters, the universe they existed in, their origins and powers, etc. were pretty much left up to me. And I was instructed to include in the stories how the toys and their accessories (like swords) functioned.

SM: Were you responsible for coming up with the names of Eternia, Castle Grayskull, and He-Man's Power Sword?

Yes, all three. The name Eternia was inspired by the title of the movie Fantasia To my thinking it seemed to fit because the mixing of the primitive and futuristic - swords and fantastic vehicles, for example -suggested to me an "eternal" or timeless universe. Castle Grayskull I named after my then-wife's maiden name, Gray. I named the Power Sword after the Power Stone, a recurring plot device from some of the earliest Superman comic-book stories.

Re: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:26 pm
by TheButcher

Re: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2014 7:47 pm
by TheButcher
Mattel to Create Original Entertainment Through Playground Productions Banner (EXCLUSIVE)
New in-house studio will manage the creation of entertainment based on Mattel's toy brands including Hot Wheels, He-Man, Max Steel, Monster High and Barbie


Re: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2015 8:01 am
by TheButcher
He-Man Will Have a Major Presence at MondoCon This Weekend
Luke Brown wrote:This weekend will see the second annual MondoCon take place in Austin, TX, and with that comes the debut of amazing exclusive vinyl soundtracks, prints, screenings, posters and teases from Mondo about its plans for the coming year and beyond. While there will be a heavy leaning towards film at MondoCon, there will be a smattering of comic and cartoon-related goodness on display, too. Jock will have his own panel, the 1989 Batman will get a special showing, and for the first time, Mondo's upcoming 1/6 scale He-Man figures will be on full display.

The He-Man figure announcement came at San Diego Comic-Con, but the showing of any assets was very hush-hush, meaning this weekend's event will be the first time the general public will have a chance to peek at the prototypes for He-Man and Skeletor in their new forms. In advance of their debut, Mondo teased the a bit of the preliminary design sketches to give fans an idea of what to expect from their particular take on the '80s cartoon characters.