30 September 2006

Stars over Eternia.

Here is a little image comparison featuring two images from two separate episodes from different series! In the season two He-Man episode "Capture the Comet Keeper" we see Prince Adam and Cringer looking at the Eternian night sky, the mountains in the distance and a lake not too far from the Royal Palace balcony. Many episodes later in the season two She-Ra episode "Shera Makes A Promise" we see a slightly redrawn Prince Adam looking at the Eternian night sky, this time star-filled, with the mountains that were once in the distance now gone, and yet the lake still remains...


(click on the images to see them at full-size)

29 September 2006

Original George Tuska!

Now I am known for purchasing animation art from the He-Man and She-Ra series, but look at what I managed to purchase just the other day! THIRTY pages of original George Tuska artwork from the DC Comics Masters of the Universe mini series. Amazingly I paid very little for all of these pages and the artwork is absolutely beautiful, most of it inked by the legendary Alfredo Alcala. Hopefully I will scan in some panels at some point so you can see just how stunning the original line art looks!


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

28 September 2006

Clawful in pain!

"Dree Elle's Return" is an odd episode. It has its good points, but it also has a lot of very bad points. For me personally the good points are strictly with regards to some of the amazing animation sequences which are predominantly Trollan based! One scene in particular is beautiful to behold as Clawful captures Orko and delves deep within his hat in an attempt to retrieve the Horn of Evil. These four images show some of the extreme points in this one sequence. The image of Clawful screaming is my favorite of the images; the power of his expression is fantastic! It is obvious from this scene that the animator put everything they had into making this some of the finest animation that Filmation had ever produced!


(click on the images to see them at full-size)

27 September 2006

The prettiest thing...

"Hordak's Power Play" is absolutely wrought with some of the worst dialogue in the She-Ra series. Those who suffer the worst, in the most comical way, are the two villagers whom Larg enslaves! The discussion between the two men that takes place is so human, yet so out of place in the She-Ra world. It is odd to hear one of the villagers mention "Saturday", indicating that Etherians presumably use the same dating system as Earth!

For your listening pleasure, The prettiest thing...

26 September 2006

Robert Lamb: Prince Adam and Teela...

I spoke to Robert Lamb about his He-Man season two episode "Into the Abyss"...

"Before I saw the character design of Prince Adam, I imagined him to be of less heroic proportions. For economic reasons Adam and He-Man were designed identical except for clothes, skin and hair color. The bible described Prince Adam as an 18 year old boy to contrast with a mature muscular He-Man. In "Into the Abyss" I wanted to underscore the differences between Adam and He-Man. Teela's the fighter in the Palace, not Adam. In the original concept, Adam still had some growing up to do. I tried to bring that out again. I saw Adam and Teela as lifelong friends, brother and sister. Though close in age, Teela definitely is the dominant personality. On the surface she takes a big sister attitude towards Adam, trying to shape him up for future royal responsibilities. But deep down inside the warrior is great affection. The fondness they have for one another would most certainly blossom into a lifelong commitment under the right circumstances."

25 September 2006

Adora's hand?

In the She-Ra season one episode "Battle For Bright Moon" Adora is taken from the Royal Palace by Hordak, Skeletor and the Evil Warriors. Shortly after Hordak is betrayed by his former pupil Skeletor, Adora feigns passing out whilst held by Beast Man and Tri-Klops. Bear in mind this was Tri-Klops' final animated appearance, but I am sure he will remember his final appearance with happiness; just look at where Adora's left hand is positioned!

24 September 2006

Evil Personified!

As I said before in a previous Blog entry "A Christmas Special" started off superbly, Etherians on Eternia, Orko in danger, He-Man rushing to save the day with She-Ra not far behind. So how did it all go so very wrong? Well there a few minor instances halfway through, but the biggest has to be the worst characters ever to grace our screen; the Manchines! Truly these characters are the very personification of evil! Forget the Spirit of Evil in "Wizard of Stone Mountain" these are the most evil beings in the universe. In a mythos filled with Trollans, Widgets, Twiggets and Bibbets, I feel that the Manchines made those previous characters feel hard-edged! The Manchines were just too silly, and for some reason I feel even more offended when He-Man and She-Ra actually acknowledge them...


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

22 September 2006

The Melog.

Here is a lovely panning shot of the Melog from the episode "Enemy With My Face." An interesting fact that someone once told me when I ran the Episode Review Website was that the word "Melog" is "Golem" spelled backwards! I found that quite interesting, as a Golem is defined as an "Artificial figure constructed to represent a human being and endowed with life." Golems are found in a lot of fantasy literature, most notably in fantasy role-playing games, so it comes as no great surprise that J. Michael Straczynski wrote this episode!


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

21 September 2006

One last Horde Trooper!

Here is another reason I love the work of Tom Tataranowicz! After a transitional scene in the episode "Sweet Bee's Home" we are treated to a fantastic shot that lasts all of one second showing He-Man with the Sword of Power in hand, standing firmly, preparing to take on one last Horde Trooper! It is a superb, spine-tingling image, and one of my favorites from this classic She-Ra season two episode!

20 September 2006

She-Ra leaps!

Here is a great storyboard panel from the She-Ra episode "The Unicorn King" by artist Keith Tucker. In truth the actual artwork of She-Ra acrobatically flipping would have been xeroxed from a book full of stock animation sequences in storyboard form. Keith would have then pasted the image onto his storyboard and drawn around it with the relevant background and laser blasts. Notice that he also drew around She-Ra on some poses to emphasize her movement.


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

19 September 2006

Young couple in love.

Whilst watching "The Time Transformer" from She-Ra's season two the other day I noticed this image showing a few of the villagers of Valley View Castle. What I love about this shot is the young couple in love on the left of the image; the female's slightly coy body language so beautifully drawn. These two characters, especially the female, look like they should be featured heavily in the episode due to their intricate design.


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

18 September 2006

Cute Spritina.

Here I present two panels from the "Return of the Sea Hawk" storyboards by the extremely talented artist Keith Tucker. What I love about these two panels is how beautiful and cute he has drawn Spritina. Although this piece of dialogue was also removed from the episode we do get to see these expressions animated later in the scene.


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

17 September 2006

Robert Lamb: Frustration...

I spoke to Robert Lamb about the problems when writing He-Man...

"Sometimes when I would argue a character point with Arthur Nadel, he would say, "Why are you fighting me on this? You are over-intellectualizing these stories. All five-year old boys want is He-Man beating the bad guys." The condescension was frustrating. Romance was played down; continuity was discouraged; and somehow we still managed to slip some in anyway."

16 September 2006

Hate this part...

Here is an interesting transformation sequence oddity from the season one He-Man episode "The Shaping Staff." As He-Man prepares to point the Sword of Power at Cringer, the cowardly cat decides he has something to say before being struck by the power of Grayskull. Listen to the theme tune music when Cringer begins talking to the audience; just when the most familiar part of the theme tune is about to start, there is a noticeable cut, and the music goes back roughly two seconds! This is obviously edited so that the moment He-Man points the sword at Cringer it coincides with the most familiar part of the theme tune. Usually the director would not bother, but it is an interesting little rarity nonetheless.

For your listening pleasure, The edited theme...

15 September 2006

Welcome to Mondor.

"The Mines of Mondor" confuses me; the planet is called Kyrtis, the mines are situated on the island Mondor, yet in other episodes it is implied that the planet itself is called Mondor?! In any case this panning shot showcases quite possibly the most refreshing episode of She-Ra's season one; here are our heroes on another world, and not a sign of the Whispering Woods or the Fright Zone!


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

14 September 2006

The famous pan of Trolla.

In Robby London's script for "Dawn of Dragoon" he describes Trolla as a "colorful and charming fairy tale world with rolling hills and brightly colored flowers abounding." This panning shot would be the first time we ever saw Orko's home planet of Trolla, and this would become the most familiar image throughout the series. The house on the far right would eventually be used as Montork's house in the season two episode "Trouble in Trolla", though at the time of "Dawn of Dragoon" this was definitely not a thought that entered the artist's head. What I love about Trolla is that, like Eternia, it has many strange plants and structures, and yet somehow makes them even weirder! The most amusing thing about this image are the very questionable phallic-like objects...


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

13 September 2006

New jacket...

One of the greatest cliffhangers is witnessed in the season two He-Man episode "The Shadow of Skeletor" as a Photon Blaster, aimed directly at the ship the heroes are piloting, prepares to fire. And with Teela close by Prince Adam is unable to transform into He-Man! Act two opens up with Teela still innocent to the situation as Adam realizes that he has no choice but to reveal his secret identity! What follows is not only a dramatic and cleverly directed scene, but also an amusing one as Adam assumes his transformation pose and the theme tune music begins to play...

For your listening pleasure, New jacket...

12 September 2006

Robert Lamb: Prince Adam's personality...

I spoke to Robert Lamb about Prince Adam's personality...

"I really wish that Adam, King Randor, and Queen Marlena would have gotten more opportunities to explore their characters, their lives. Adam is sad and sympathetic. He, like every child, wants his parents' (especially his father's) approval. Adam is not Clark Kent. He is not a charade to hide his super-identity. He-Man is a transformed Adam. Superman is Superman even when he wears glasses. In the early scripts and the bible it describes Adam as a bit of a prankster and goof-off. He flirts with the ladies of the court and takes a casual attitude to training. In fact, in the first draft of "Into the Abyss", Adam is flirting with some ladies of the court when Teela finds him. He tells the women he'll see them later sits down next to Cringer under a tree complaining he wants a break."

11 September 2006

Out of breath...

"Sweet Bee's Home" as many will know is my favorite She-Ra episode for many reasons, and this one panning shot of He-Man I believe is one of the smaller reasons. What I love about this image is that throughout the He-Man series and his cameos in the She-Ra series we never genuinely see He-Man tired after fighting the forces of evil. Not only do we get to see him a little out of breath in this scene, but I love the way he leans over, heavily resting on the Sword of Power. The fact that this is a panning shot makes the image look all the better. We have never seen our hero looking so tired, and yet so heroic at the same time! Yet another great piece of storyboarding and directing by Tom Tataranowicz.


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

09 September 2006

The Rose Goddess.

At the very end of the season two He-Man episode "The Bitter Rose" we are introduced to a beautiful-looking female character, the Rose Goddess. This panning shot I have assembled showcases the very innovative character design; take note that her dress appears to be almost root-like, referencing her former identity as the Bitter Rose. Could this character have been a precursor to Perfuma from the She-Ra series? I doubt it, but it is nice to see another female flower-centric character.


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

05 September 2006

Happy Birthday He-Man #1 - Heroes of Eternia.

Yes, on this very day twenty-three years ago He-Man and the Masters of the Universe premiered in the UK before any other country in the world! Little did Filmation or Mattel know at the time that their new cartoon series would influence the lives of millions of young children. For all of us who grew up in the eighties, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was a big part of our childhoods. The characters, settings, and stories will never be forgotten!

To celebrate He-Man's twenty-third birthday I am featuring TWENTY-THREE He-Man entries in one single session! :)

So, let the fun begin...

Here is an image from the pilot episode "Diamond Ray of Disappearance" which really defines two of the characters in the He-Man series, summing up their role in relation to Eternia. Here we see He-Man and Battle Cat almost "keeping watch" over the Royal Palace and Eternia. It is a very atmospheric image using a very familiar panning shot to full effect. What is amusing is that in the actual episode from his vantage point He-Man and Battle Cat both can see Skeletor's Robot Knights have taken control of the Royal Palace. Now we know He-Man has good vision, but look where he is in comparison to the Royal Palace! His vision cannot be that good!


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

Happy Birthday He-Man #2 - Beast Man's Bite!

Celebrating his capture of King Randor in the He-Man season one episode "Prince Adam No More" the evil Beast Man proceeds to eat and drink with Mer-Man. A beautifully expressive piece of animation can be seen in these four images as Beast Man, in one of the most vicious devourings of meat ever created for a cartoon series, bites into the meat bone with fury!



(click on the images to see them at full-size)

Happy Birthday He-Man #3 - Skeletor in detail...

Here is a wonderfully detailed drawing of everyone's favorite Lord of Destruction from the Ladybird book "Castle Grayskull Under Attack!" Artist Robin Davies provides another example of why the Ladybird books were such a privilege to own! I like the fact that we see Skeletor's head and Havoc Staff, but not the rest of his upper body, making this a very striking image. Of course I have many more examples of Robin Davies' work which I will of course be showcasing on this Blog.


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

Happy Birthday He-Man #4 - A hole in the hull.

Here I present four beautiful looking panels from "The Heart of A Giant" storyboards by Tom Sito. The artist not only storyboarded this beautiful and slightly exaggerated collection of panels, but also went on to animate the sequence, too! He-Man's expression in the last panel is somewhat amusing...


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

Happy Birthday He-Man #5 - Shocked villains!

The Trap Jaw and Clawful dynamic was an odd one largely due to their appearance working together in "Dree Elle's Return," and because of Clawful's complete dominance over Trap Jaw. Fortunately for those who are Trap Jaw fans Clawful was played as more of an equal to the other Evil Warriors in all of his subsequent appearances. Here we see one of my favorite expressive shots of the entire series from the episode "The Secret of Grayskull" with both Trap Jaw and Clawful screaming in horror as Castle Grayskull's mysterious statues come to life! And check out the duo's hilarious scream!

For your listening pleasure, the shocked villains!


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

Happy Birthday He-Man #6 - You Clod!

Here are four amazing illustrations from the "Castle of Heroes" storyboard by Tom Sito. Here we see just how much of a cartoonist Tom Sito was with his amazing expressions that he knew would never make it into the actual episode, but that would at least be followed to some degree. Without a doubt Skeletor is the star of these panels!


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

Happy Birthday He-Man #7 - For Eternia!

Issue three of the UK Masters of the Universe comic featured a story titled "Man-At-Arms: Traitor." Here is a pretty cool image of the Heroic Warriors known here as the Masters of the Universe rushing to defend the Royal Palace from Skeletor's latest attack! It is interesting to see He-Man wielding his shield, something he would use very little of as the comic series progressed. If anyone feels like coloring this image I'll send you a big nice scan! :)


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

Happy Birthday He-Man #8 - Down at cam.

Robert Lamb when storyboarding "House of Shokoti" Part 2 storyboarded an animation sequence which went on to become a familiar piece of stock footage. Here we see the original storyboard panels showing He-Man bringing the Sword of Power down towards the camera! Usually storyboards do not show this many images to explain one sequence, but here Robert attempts to explain every frame to the layout artist and animator.


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

Happy Birthday He-Man #9 - The controlling henchmen...

Here are two individual and yet very similar images of two of Skeletor's most trusted Evil Warriors, both performing the same act. In "Song of Celice" Beast Man uses his telepathic abilities to summon a large centipede creature, and in "Double Edged Sword" Mer-Man uses his telepathic abilities to summon a Spidasaur. It is obvious that the layout artist for "Double Edged Sword" reference the image of Beast Man as a guide for the actual animator.


(click on the images to see them at full-size)

Happy Birthday He-Man #10 - Four fingers?

Look at the image below and notice that our favorite Trollan, Orko, has somehow gained an extra finger in the season one episode "Diamond Ray of Disappearance." We can forgive the pilot episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe for making this glaring error, as the show was trying to find its feet. Remember how many times they played the main theme in that episode? Yeah, the show was definitely trying to find its feet!

Happy Birthday He-Man #11 - Batros!

The season two He-Man episode "The Great Books Mystery" is famous for the appearance of the one-shot villain Batros! It is hard not to be immediately drawn to Batros as he shows intelligence and promise within a few seconds of gracing our screens for the very first time. Visually he is very appealing too with his striking resemblance to the Evil Horde characters, his bat symbol looking like an early version of the Horde bat emblem, and his wings, which hang like a short cape reminding us of the cape on the Hordak action figure! Despite Batros' early promise, he loses his shining-star status as soon as Skeletor enters the episode! It is a great shame that Batros never appeared again in the series, because if there was ever a character worthy of a second appearance, it was him!


(click on the images to see them at full-size)

Happy Birthday He-Man #12 - Don Manuel's Act One!

In the opening storyboard page to "The Taking of Grayskull" we see that artist Don Manuel has illustrated a beautiful image of Castle Grayskull with lightning streaking through the sky. The image of He-Man in the heroic pose is something Don Manuel featured on the opening page of all of his He-Man storyboards. He would later feature a heroic pose of She-Ra on all of his She-Ra storyboards...


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

Happy Birthday He-Man #13 - The only way to fly...

Here is a sound file of one of my favorite moments from the season one He-Man episode "Quest for He-man." Not only is the situation amusing with Cringer, Orko and Ram Man drifting through space, but it is hard not to laugh at Ram Man's extremely relaxed attitude during their adventure. An attitude that was epitomized in this one scene...

For your listening pleasure, The only way to fly...

Happy Birthday He-Man #14 - Power of the Iron Master!

Possibly the most memorable image from Ladybird book "The Iron Master" by artist Robin Davies has Skeletor's evil robot holding aloft the Sword of Power! This book is filled with very powerful and striking images, most if not all featuring the Iron Master. Sadly the image that followed this one of the Iron Master would show his demise, melted by the lighting hitting the sword...


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

Happy Birthday He-Man #15 - Bang! Bang!

Can you recall both occasions where Trap Jaw had a BANG! flag shoot out of his Lasatron arm attachment, due to Orko's magic? This gag played out on Trap Jaw seemed like such an obvious one to do, and yet it was never overused! The first image is from "Quest for He-man", and the second, with a slightly burnt and battered Trap Jaw is from "House of Shokoti" Part 1.


(click on the images to see them at full-size)

Happy Birthday He-Man #16 - He never gets tired...

Prince Adam's two identities are clearly separated and he acts them out so perfectly; being the model human being when he is He-Man, and pretending to be a lazy Prince when he is Adam. However in the season two He-Man episode "Into the Abyss" Adam snaps at Teela, patronizingly dismissing her, prompting a beautifully written scene between Adam and Cringer in which we learn that the true Adam is a combination of both He-Man and Prince Adam, a wise human being with his own faults and shortcomings. This scene is fantastic for Adam's character, because it is an opportunity for his inner voice to finally shout, as he discusses himself in the third person, not identifying with either He-Man or Adam...

For your listening pleasure, He never gets tired...

Happy Birthday He-Man #18 - Come on, Adam.

"Things That Go Bump in the Night" is one of the more refreshing and memorable episodes of He-Man's season two. It also features one of the most interesting variations on the transformation sequence when a semi-unconscious Prince Adam, lying on his front with his Sword of Power still sheathed, manages to transform into He-Man. The three images below show Cringer trying to get Prince Adam to call upon the power of Grayskull, followed by Adam struggling to utter the words, and finally the power of Grayskull summoned, prompting the stock footage to start! Interestingly in the script a slightly different scene was planned with Cringer drawing out the Sword of Power and placing it in Adam's hand. This makes the transformation into He-Man slightly more believable, as the final episode indicates that he need never draw the sword in order to transform at all.


(click on the images to see them at full-size)
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