24 April 2014

A brief review #049 - "Return of the Gryphon"

As many of you will know, in 2010 I published The unofficial cartoon guide to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. At 300+ pages the book features 700+ pieces of trivia, 460+ deleted scenes, 360+ examples of animation reuse, 380+ quotes, 50+ abandoned episodes, and a LOT more! It is the book that NO fan of the Filmation series can live without! BUY IT NOW!

As an incentive, here is my brief review and rating (as they appear in the book) for "Return of the Gryphon"...

What this episode does better than any other episode in the series is present life at the Royal Palace from a fresh perspective. The story of Thad is an interesting one, and numerous times during the episode it is easy to associate with him; especially his frustration at not being noticed. However, Thad is not the only star of the episode. The Gryphon is one of the series' best monsters, is able to carry many a scene; in part due to the beautiful animation utilized. There are numerous moments of really good character animation throughout the episode, combined with small moments of good character writing. David Wise crafts an episode in which the heroes are not the stars, and succeeds. 6/10

Now, may I ask; what is YOUR rating?

20 April 2014

Angry Frosta #2

The season two She-Ra episode "Sweet Bee's Home" featured a great deal of fantastic character animation, largely in part thanks to director Tom Tataranowicz. This resulted in not only beautiful-looking cels, but also beautiful-looking layout artwork. Here is the second of three comical illustrations featuring an angry-looking Frosta, this time looking back at He-Man in disgust, as he swoons over Sweet Bee. Fortunately, with this piece, the animator stuck to the layout artwork perfectly and transferred this beautifully rendered stare into the episode.


(click on the image to see it at full-size)

16 April 2014

Wide-eyed Trap Jaw.

This storyboard illustration by Steve Hickner of Trap Jaw and Beast Man from the season one He-Man episode "Return of the Gryphon" is rather cute! In this panel we see Beast Man holding the jewel, later revealed to be an egg, from the shrine of the Gryphon. Trap Jaw's reaction is highly amusing with him performing a wide-eyed take! Sadly, this comedy take would not be transferred to the actual episode produced.


(click on the image to see it at full-size)

12 April 2014

The Tower's power!

Here is an absolutely breathtaking illustration of Skeletor by Bruce Timm from the Masters of the Universe minicomic "The Ultimate Battleground!" Timm had a talent for making Skeletor look incredibly powerful and imposing. Once more the colorist of this minicomic heavily compliments Timm's line art.


(click on the image to see it at full-size)

07 April 2014

Fighting the Kobolds.

"Slave City!" will always go down as one of the most action-packed Masters of the Universe minicomics produced for the toyline. These panels, illustrated by Larry Houston, really show the ferocity in which both He-Man and Battle Cat race into battle, displaying absolutely no mercy against the unique-looking Kobold warriors! The tiny figures and landscape of the first panel create a wonderful sense of exposition, whilst the final panel would not look out of place in a Marvel comic book from the eighties!


(click on the image to see it at full-size)

05 April 2014

She-Ra Viewmaster #21

For your entertainment, over the course of the next month or so, I will present the rarely seen She-Ra Viewmaster reels. You will notice that even though this story attempts to tell a new story, there are numerous elements borrowed from the season one episode "Beast Island".

Text accompanying this image: "She-Ra tricked Catra and saved us."


(click on the image to see it at full-size)

02 April 2014

"Tee-La's Trap"

As He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was developed into a series, the staff writers at Filmation came up with a wealth of proposed story premises. Numerous episodes were never developed beyond the early stages. Showcased below is one of those abandoned episodes, alongside a title card that I have created to show what might have been. Please note that in some of these synopses Orko is still referred to as Gorpo, Evil-Lyn as Desira, and the Evil Warriors as the Masters of the Universe. The Sorceress does not appear to have been fully developed at this point either; with many references instead to the Spirit of Grayskull. Also, Stratos is a villain; much like he was in the early Mattel material. All of the original spellings (Tee-La, Beastman, etc.) are also retained for authenticity.

The unofficial cartoon guide to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe features many more abandoned episodes!

"Tee-La's Trap"
Impatient for promotion, Tee-La decides to impress her father, Man-At-Arms, by capturing Skeletor singlehandedly. Instead, she is captured herself and held prisoner in a domed underwater city. He-Man must free her.


* Legally I should say that Janis Diamond did NOT write this episode. This is merely an example of how the episode title card might have looked.

29 March 2014

FILMATION ART: Missing Ax log.

For the last sixteen years I have collected He-Man and She-Ra animation artwork. As a result I have amassed a pretty large collection! Here I present a piece of original background artwork from the She-Ra episode "The Missing Ax". Those that know me will know I that I have a strong dislike for this episode of She-Ra in which the entire plot revolves around a missing ax, which technically was never missing. However, when I saw this background on sale I had to purchase it. The detail and composition of this piece is very impressive, with a wonderful use of color throughout. In typical Filmation fashion we see the tree painted in a unique color scheme, with numerous hues and highlights adorning it, helping to create a wonderful texture. I also enjoy owning this piece as it is from a pivotal moment of an episode I dislike!


(click on the image to see it at full-size)

And here is how the background was used in the episode...

26 March 2014

She-Ra Viewmaster #20

For your entertainment, over the course of the next month or so, I will present the rarely seen She-Ra Viewmaster reels. You will notice that even though this story attempts to tell a new story, there are numerous elements borrowed from the season one episode "Beast Island".

Text accompanying this image: The rescuers discover Angella.


(click on the image to see it at full-size)

24 March 2014

The Mutants strike!

Another beautifully-rendered Bruce Timm panel from "The Revenge of Skeletor!", a minicomic from The New Adventures of He-Man toyline! In these four action-packed, Jack Kirby-esque panels, we see Skeletor in the Terrorclaw, Flogg, Optikk, and Slushhead attacking the denizens of Primus without mercy. It should also be noted that each attack cleverly showcases each toy's primary action feature!


(click on the image to see it at full-size)
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