30 September 2007

Decorated Palace Guard.

The Masters of the Universe Ladybird book "He-Man meets the Beast" features some beautiful artwork by Robin Davies. This illustration showcases an interesting looking member of the Royal Guard. He is obviously based upon the Filmation design, but we can see that he appears to be of higher rank, as he sports a cape, carries a sword, and has the image of an eagle spread across the breastplate of his armor! Without a doubt this is an interesting take on a generic character design...


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29 September 2007

Bat Snake!

Remember at the end of "House of Shokoti" Part 2 when Ram Man mentioned the "Snake thingie" that they had encountered in the pyramid? Well even though the lengthy action scene was storyboarded and later removed from production Filmation had actually finalized the design of the Bat Snake! And here I present the character model for the creature that attacked He-Man, Battle Cat and Ram Man, but who was subsequently left on the cutting room floor...


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23 September 2007

cereal:geek issue two OUT NOW! :)

Yes, as unbelievable as this may sound issue two of cereal:geek is actually available to purchase. More importantly it is filled with lots of exclusive new He-Man and She-Ra artwork and articles. Go to the website and read all about it! :)

www.cerealgeek.com

The Sand Demons?

As you can see in this image, the original design of the Sand Demons from the He-Man season one episode "Temple of The Sun" was very different to what appeared in the final episode. As with most model redesigns the creatures that appeared in the actual episode looked much better than this design. The Sand Demons became a familiar sight during the He-Man series, so it is hard to see how this original odd-looking threat could have been taken seriously...


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22 September 2007

Castaspella is evil?

"She-Ra and the Golden Goose" is one of the Ladybird books that treated Catra and her associates as jealous untrustworthy companions to Adora and her friends. Thankfully this theme would only feature in a few books! Oddly in this particular book Castaspella is portrayed as having strong alliances with Catra and Entrapta, and yet the toy line had already established that she was one of the forces for good...


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20 September 2007

Tri-Klops is relentless!

Here is something that we unfortunately never saw in the Filmation cartoon, Tri-Klops overpowering He-Man to the ground with his swordsmanship! Yes, there was one scene where He-Man and Tri-Klops appeared evenly matched in "Diamond Ray of Disappearance", but that was just four seconds of footage! The original idea of Tri-Klops, as evident in the early minicomics, is that he was a skilled swordsman and warrior that could not be bested by many...


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16 September 2007

Original Davy Jones!

In the script for the She-Ra episode "Anchors Aloft" Part 2 there is a suggested character model for Davy Jones. This was more than likely illustrated by this script's writer and Filmation storyboard artist Bob Forward. The illustration was sketched on the very page and scene where Davy Jones first appeared to ensure that the storyboard and layout departments could see the initial design...


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15 September 2007

Dashing wildly.

Even though the later She-Ra minicomics had the talented Jim Mitchell illustrating them, the quality of the final production was never quite the same as the earlier minicomics. Even so here is a nice illustration from the minicomic "Across the Crystal Light Barrier" that perfectly summarizes the style found in these later minicomics...


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12 September 2007

Clawdeen dozing...

One thing I do like about Glenn Steward's style in the "She-Ra and the Golden Goose" Ladybird book is that Clawdeen is illustrated perfectly! The large glamorous cat does not look ridiculous like the toy, or too aggressive like the Filmation version, retaining a cunning look throughout the book. If I had one criticism of Robin Davies' artwork on She-Ra, it would be that his Clawdeen never looked quite right...


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11 September 2007

Leena redesigned...

Here is an interesting look at the character of Leena from the She-Ra season one episode "Just Like Me". This redesign occurred very late during the production of the episode, and it is obvious that this was done so to make her character design slightly tougher and less girly. Even her pose is tough!


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10 September 2007

Gommoroth, Frod and Kristan...

In the season one She-Ra episode "The Red Knight" there are three competitors alongside Bow and the Red Knight during the competition who are never named, but achieve a plentiful amount of screen time. In the script however they are named and described as Gommoroth, leader of the Mountain Kingdom, Frod, a primitive caveman, and Kristan, an ice-blue warrior from Frosta's empire. Although there was no ice blue warrior in the final production, it is very easy to pair up the name with the character...


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07 September 2007

MORE eBay madness! :)

Yes, once again I'm selling now-unwanted parts of my DVD, book and comic collection; all in superb condition (of course) - There are a lot of Filmation-related items for sale, plus a few He-Man and She-Ra items, too (with more to come) - Plus if you follow this link you'll see there's more to Busta Toons than just He-Man and She-Ra! :)

Busta Toons is selling stuff!

05 September 2007

Happy Birthday He-Man #1 - Sword held aloft...

Yes, on this very day twenty-four 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-fourth birthday I am featuring TWENTY-FOUR He-Man entries in one single session! :)

So, let the fun begin...

Here is a fantastic Robin Davies illustration from the Ladybird book "He-Man and the Lost Dragon". What I love about this image is that it has a great Filmation-feel to it, and it makes me wish that the directors at Filmation had used this angle for an alternate transformation sequence!


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Happy Birthday He-Man #2 - The setting suns...

In the storyboard panel from "The Problem With Power" we can see that the original shot of He-Man looking out over Eternia's landscape atop the turret of Castle Grayskull was much different to what was seen in the final episode. Tom Tataranowicz's original vision for this shot called for a close, but low angled view of over Eternia. If you read the directions you will see that Tom Tataranowicz wanted the scene to take place as the Eternian suns were setting...


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Happy Birthday He-Man #3 - Comic influences...

This storyboard page from the season on He-Man episode "The Taking of Grayskull" by Don Manuel is very interesting. On this page Don Manuel instructs in some depth what the world inside the white hole should look like. What makes this page so special is that Don Manuel refers the background designers to make the world look like it has been illustrated by Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko and Barry Windsor Smith, all of whom were comic book artists that pushed the boundaries and came up with wondrous landscapes and worlds in their comics. One artist whom I think Don should have mentioned was Steve Ditko, as his style in the world of comics was quite possibly the most appropriate for the designing of a strange dimension...


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Happy Birthday He-Man #4 - Sand Demon?

As you can see in this image, the original design of the Sand Demon from the He-Man season one episode "House of Shokoti" Part 1 was very different to what appeared in the final episode. As with most model redesigns the creature that appeared in the actual episode looked more appropriate within the desert setting.


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Happy Birthday He-Man #5 - He-Man in disguise.

In the minicomic "The Powers of Grayskull: The Legend Begins!" we are treated to many mysterious things, all pointing towards Mattel's attempt to revitalize the Masters of the Universe toyline. One of my favorite things in this minicomic occurs when He-Man has to wear a disguise in order to battle the villains of Eternia's past! He-Man's disguise in this illustration would have made a pretty interesting action figure...


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Happy Birthday He-Man #6 - Adam's jacket.

In some of the UK Masters of the Universe annuals the artists would illustrate Prince Adam with very different designs to that of his Filmation appearance. Many of these interpretations would be based on the design that appeared in the DC comic "From Eternia With Death!" In this illustration from the 1986 annual Prince Adam is sporting a green jacket with yellow trim, and yes, Teela is now a blonde, but that has been seen before. It would have been interesting to see this color scheme on the character. And maybe that is something I will do...


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Happy Birthday He-Man #7 - Skelcons and Stratos...

Here is a fabulous two page illustration by Robin Davies taken from the Masters of the Universe Ladybird book "Wings of Doom". This is a good image for showcasing Skeletor's Skelcon warriors that only ever appeared in these books. The reason for Skeletor's lair being that maroon color? It is the interior of the toy version of Snake Mountain which was Skeletor's base of operations in this book...


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Happy Birthday He-Man #8 - Rarely seen Adam...

Here is an interesting frame of animation from the season one episode "Masks of Power" in which we see a rarely seen stock piece of animation featuring Prince Adam. This stock pose upshot was frequently used for He-Man, but only once for Adam in the entire series...


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Happy Birthday He-Man #9 - Masters' unstoppable army!

Here's another little fact that I wrote for the BCI He-Man and the Masters of the Universe DVDs. In the season one He-Man episode "Like Father, Like Daughter" He-Man and Battle Cat are confronted by a large group of Serpentoids, prompting our hero to remark, "So this is the Masters' unstoppable army". What people may not know is that He-Man is referring to the Evil Warriors themselves who were originally going to be called the "Masters of the universe."


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Happy Birthday He-Man #10 - Beast Man hates getting wet!

This memorable illustration from the Masters of the Universe Ladybird book "A Trap For He-Man" shows that Beast Man is not a fan of water! I was always a fan of Robin Davies as a child because he would treat us to fantastic dramatic angles of our favorite characters that we would not necessarily see in the animated series. Yes, the style is somewhat straightforward in this illustration, but there is no denying that this is a powerful image!


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Happy Birthday He-Man #11 - Iron versus stone!

As a child this was one of my favorite illustrations from the Ladybird book "The Iron Master". I love the level of detail showing Ram Man, Stratos and Teela firing their weapons at the Iron Master who is bearing down on Castle Grayskull, and the resulting explosions look extremely cool, too! Looking at this image, the Iron Master would have made an extremely cool character in the Filmation cartoon...


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Happy Birthday He-Man #12 - Go home.

In this removed scene from the He-Man season two episode "Battlecat" storyboard artist Hal Sutherland illustrated a shot where Cringer began pawing at Prince Adam, as he attempts to watch Teela throw her spear. Eventually Teela leaves Adam to look after Cringer, and subsequently the Sorceress appears to the pair seconds later. Even though the illustration is very rough Hal Sutherland still manages to make the baby Cringer look cute...


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Happy Birthday He-Man #13 - Edwina and Gorpo?

In the season one He-Man episode "Creatures From The Tar Swamp" Lady Edwina comically calls Orko "Gorpo" in one of her name-forgetting moments. Of course Gorpo was Orko's original name in the Series Bible, a name that was changed at the eleventh hour of production...

Happy Birthday He-Man #14 - Dramatic battle!

There are certain panels in the DC Masters of the Universe minicomics that were simply breathtaking, thanks largely to the artistic talent of Mark Texeira! The second of these two panels is so powerful, showing He-Man and Skeletor clashing swords while the evil demons surge all them. The conclusion to this minicomic was one of the most powerful and atmospheric of the series with He-Man using all of his strength to stop Skeletor...


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Happy Birthday He-Man #15 - Skeletor in the dark.

Here is another beautiful illustration by Robin Davies from the Ladybird book "He-Man meets the Beast". I like the way Skeletor is slightly tilting his head to see what lay ahead of him in the darkness. Amusingly there are three sets of eyes watching him, four if you include Evil-Lyn!


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Happy Birthday He-Man #16 - Odd-looking heroes!

Here is an odd piece of artwork from the 1986 UK Masters of the Universe Annual featuring the Heroic Warriors. Although this style of illustration has been featured in the annuals before on this occasion the characters look odd. Man-At-Arms looks noticeably younger, as does Ram Man, who also appears to have been keeping trim, and finally Teela's head looks way too small for her body! Man-E-Faces and Stratos are the only two that appear to be normal. Though I use the term 'normal' very loosely...


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Happy Birthday He-Man #17 - Skeletor always has an answer!

In this amusing panel from "The Treachery of Modulok!" minicomic we see that Skeletor always has an answer, even at the most desperate of times! As the two forms of Modulok approach Skeletor he remarks that he will have twice the pleasure in destroying them! It should also be noted that throughout this minicomic Modulok is of small stature for some unknown reason...


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Happy Birthday He-Man #18 - For me!

Here are two fantastic panels by Bruce Timm for the minicomic "Snake Attack!" The shadows in the first panel are truly amazing and explain to some extent why Tung Lashor mistakes Skeletor for King Hiss. The interesting thing about this minicomic is that Bruce Timm illustrates Skeletor with the gauntlets around his wrist and forearm. This minicomic was easily Bruce Timm's most Jack Kirby-inspired work...


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Happy Birthday He-Man #19 - Relaxed Teela.

Here is a very cool-looking illustration by Robin Davies from the Ladybird book "He-Man and the Lost Dragon". Like many of the Ladybird books Castle Grayskull was seen as a base of operations for the Heroic Warriors, hence why all fours warriors meet there. I like the way Stratos is casually leaning against the window ledge, but full points go to Robin Davies for illustrating quite possibly the most relaxed Teela ever seen! Also note that He-Man has clearly been based on his model sheet in this illustration...


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Happy Birthday He-Man #20 - Zodac the Evil Warrior!

"He-Man and the Asteroid of Doom" features a very rare Ladybird book appearance by Zodac, who as we know in every Masters of the Universe canon behaved slightly differently. In the Ladybird books he remained true to his action figure and was an Evil Warrior. In the illustration below we can see Skeletor ordering him about much like one of his typical henchmen. I do wonder what it would have been like had Zodac appeared in the Filmation cartoon as an Evil Warrior...


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Happy Birthday He-Man #21 - Stanlan captured!

In an effort to create more drama and tension in "House of Shokoti" Part 2, storyboard artist Robert Lamb illustrated a low angle panning shot of Stanlan being pulled inside the pyramid by the tentacles. Fortunately the director agreed with this storyboard pan, and the shot made it through to the final episode with no changes!


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Happy Birthday He-Man #22 - Skeletor's wedding!

Here is an interesting illustration from one of the early Masters of the Universe coloring books. When the concept of He-Man first came out there were many interpretations of the characters, and one theme that occasionally reared its head was Skeletor's desire to marry Teela! Fortunately this would be abandoned by many other canons, but it is interesting to think what it would have been like had they made an episode that featured Skeletor attempting to make Teela his bride! Also notice that in this illustration Battle Cat has no armor for some reason...


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Happy Birthday He-Man #23 - Winged rarity.

Here is an interesting illustration from the Ladybird book "Castle Grayskull Under attack!" As I have explained before in a previous Blog entry the little green men working in Man-At-Arms' laboratory are his servants, the Nerlins. Even though I am still not comfortable with Man-At-Arms having servants this image showcases and extremely cool looking ship! It never appeared in any other Ladybird book, and this would be the only time it was ever shown. Also worth noting in this image is the little robot...


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Happy Birthday He-Man #24 - Follow my lead...

In the Masters of the Universe minicomic "The Menace of Trap Jaw!" we see an event that was always talked about in the earliest canons but rarely ever seen. When He-Man and Skeletor cannot stop the Castle Grayskull-powered Trap Jaw the pair decide to join their two halves of the sword, creating the Power Sword! As I have said before the two halves of the sword was the one thing that I wish had appeared in the Filmation series. In any case these panels show more beautiful illustrations by Mark Texeira...


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04 September 2007

24 years ago TOMORROW...

Yes, it's that time of year again...

On the 5th September 1983 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe debuted in the UK before any other country in the world! During the early production of the animated series the title of the show was slightly different. The original title was going to be He-Man AND Masters of the Universe, as you can see below from the cover of the Series Guide. I am thankful that they made the change as it does not flow as well as the finalized title...

Tomorrow is going to be a BIG day for this Blog...


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03 September 2007

Play It Again, Willawind?

The episode "Play It Again, Bow" was originally titled "Play It Again, Willawind" early in the development of the She-Ra series. Willawind was a character designed for the series and made an appearance in the Series Bible, but ultimately never made it past this phase. A lot of his character traits were given to Bow just before the series went into full-blown production...


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02 September 2007

Blinded by the light...

Here is a perfect example from the Ladybird book "Shadow Weaver's Magic Mirror" of how artist Robin Davies could do so much with a few simple lines! This illustration is not particularly detailed, but his use of color and contrast is beautiful, and another example of why I think he was one of the great He-Man and She-Ra artists.


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