30 September 2010

Memories #9 - Chewed up!

In an effort to make a note of all my He-Man and She-Ra childhood memories I've decided that every once in a while I will make reference to them here! There is no particular order to these; just amusing little anecdotes from years gone by.

In my youth I had one particular video tape that had a bunch of He-Man episodes I had recorded during their first run. Well, one afternoon I taped "Things That Go Bump in the Night"; it was the last thing that I ever recorded on that tape. Shortly after recording the episode I went to watch it, but my Ferguson VCR decided to chew up the tape! My father and I took it to Must-A-Vision, the local video store, and they stated that not only was the video tape beyond repair, but so too was the VCR! I never forgave the Ferguson company...


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29 September 2010

A pretty low move.

Here is an interesting panel from issue seventy-one of the UK Masters of the Universe comic. Throughout his time in a variety of canons He-Man pretty much always fought fairly. This is the only time I can think of where we see him perform a pretty low move in combat; throwing dirt into Hordak's face! There is something oddly comical about it, too. He-Man is the most powerful man in the universe, and yet the only weapon he can muster is some dirt!


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28 September 2010

Memories #8 - Danavas is Fisto?

In an effort to make a note of all my He-Man and She-Ra childhood memories I've decided that every once in a while I will make reference to them here! There is no particular order to these; just amusing little anecdotes from years gone by.

I remember as a kid going around my friend Wayne Mullen's house after school one night. That evening He-Man was on television; specifically the season one episode "Valley of Power". I recall getting into a silly argument with his two brothers Danny and Lee, as they believed that Danavas, the villain of the episode, was actually the then-newly released action figure Fisto! My argument was, "Where's his giant hand?!" Of course, eventually Fisto would make an appearance in the series...


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24 September 2010

A change in the transformation #1

I am always fascinated by the fact that the Adora to She-Ra transformation sequence was altered after the first five episodes. Surprisingly, it is something that not too many people have noticed over the years. In these two images below you can see that the first image from "She-Ra Unchained" features Adora stood at Castle Grayskull without the jaw-bridge. In the second image from "Duel at Devlan" you can see that the jaw-bridge is now firmly in place. What amazes me is that by deciding to insert the jaw-bridge into the transformation they would have had to re-animate this entire complicated sequence of special effects-laded animation!


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23 September 2010

Memories #7 - I need that VHS tape!

In an effort to make a note of all my He-Man and She-Ra childhood memories I've decided that every once in a while I will make reference to them here! There is no particular order to these; just amusing little anecdotes from years gone by.

As I had only taped a few episodes of He-Man upon their initial airing there were many episodes that I had seen once. Also, bear in mind that in the UK the series only ever aired twice on terrestrial television! Our local video store Must-A-Vision had a video cassette of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. On the video were the episodes "Like Father, Like Daughter", "Creatures From The Tar Swamp", and "Dawn of Dragoon". This video cassette was one of the first released and as a result was incredibly rare. I rented out that tape from the store too many times to recall over the years. Of course eventually I would manage to record the episodes from the television from their second airing, so there was no longer a need to rent out the tape. That said, in the late nineties Must-A-Vision was selling a great deal of their stock. I ventured into the shop, saw that the He-Man video cassette was for sale and purchased it without a moment's hesitation!


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22 September 2010

Outlandish costumes means importance!

This is the opening panel from issue sixty-nine of the UK Masters of the Universe comic. If these gentlemen were dressed any differently we would not give them a second look. The costumes these characters sport signify an importance of some level. I certainly sat up and took notice! Whatever the case, their costumes are clearly designed and made by the finest and most creative of Eternian tailors...


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21 September 2010

Memories #6 - He-Mustache?!

In an effort to make a note of all my He-Man and She-Ra childhood memories I've decided that every once in a while I will make reference to them here! There is no particular order to these; just amusing little anecdotes from years gone by.

It is funny that out of all the He-Man-related dreams I had as a kid the one that firmly sticks in my mind is the one that featured He-Man as a general with a mustache! To this day I can still recall the image; it was the action figure of He-Man with a dainty black mustache, and the background behind him was the style of painting as seen on the Castle Grayskull box artwork. I live in the hope that one day we see He-Man with a mustache just so I can make some sense of that dream...


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20 September 2010

Evil leaves Eternia...

In the first episode of The New Adventures of He-Man, "A New Beginning", we are treated to a vision of what Eternia looks like without the presence of Skeletor. While we are shown random shots of murky-looking Eternian locations transforming into bright and flowery locations, the most striking moment occurs when we see Snake Mountain and its surrounding land covered in lush greenery! I think the people working on this show neglected to remember all the remaining Evil Warriors on Eternia, because there were quite a few! However, I do appreciate that they attempted to tie up the Filmation series, primarily with this image.


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18 September 2010

Memories #5 - He-Man's now a woman?!

In an effort to make a note of all my He-Man and She-Ra childhood memories I've decided that every once in a while I will make reference to them here! There is no particular order to these; just amusing little anecdotes from years gone by.

In the UK the debut of the She-Ra series was not the big deal it was made to be in the United States. "The Secret of The Sword" came out after the series had debuted, which was kind of confusing; especially as we never had the first five episodes that comprised the animated movie shown on our screens! The first time I distinctly remember seeing She-Ra was a trailer on ITV. I recall seeing the transformation sequence of Adora standing at Castle Grayskull being transformed into She-Ra. My first reaction was, "They've turned He-Man into a woman?!" For a number of days I was confused until the show finally aired! And just so you all know, the first episode to air in the UK was "Duel at Devlan".


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17 September 2010

Everything is ready!

Rarely did the UK Masters of the Universe comic explicitly acknowledge the animated series, but in this panel from issue fifty-three, we can see that the artist has illustrated Skeletor's throne, as seen in the Filmation cartoon series. Not only is it nice to see the cartoon acknowledged, but this panel is pretty impressive-looking, too. I like the way in which Skeletor is leaning forward with one hand outstretched and his Havoc Staff in his other hand.


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15 September 2010

Memories #4 - Queen Marlena figure?

In an effort to make a note of all my He-Man and She-Ra childhood memories I've decided that every once in a while I will make reference to them here! There is no particular order to these; just amusing little anecdotes from years gone by.

I remember being in school one day in 1984 and we were lining up to go into class. Back then the Masters of the Universe toy craze was ridiculous; it was all the kids talked about! One kid in the line was remarking to the others that he owned a Queen Marlena action figure. All the other kids called him a liar, but part of me wanted to believe him. They never made a Queen Marlena figure, but as we know, King Randor would appear, much to the surprise many of us...


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14 September 2010

The Royal Palace once more...

In the first episode of The New Adventures of He-Man, "A New Beginning", we see the Eternian Royal Palace in all its glory. It is clear that the artists looked to the Filmation show for inspiration, at least with the initial entrance. However, here the Royal Palace does not look that inviting, and is somewhat grim in its appearance. Much like the homage to Filmation's Snake Mountain in the same episode, this could be any old background. That said, it is nice that they decided to pay homage to the original series.


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13 September 2010

Memories #3 - Key-Man?!

In an effort to make a note of all my He-Man and She-Ra childhood memories I've decided that every once in a while I will make reference to them here! There is no particular order to these; just amusing little anecdotes from years gone by.

When I was a child I had to have my tonsils taken out; I believe it was 1984. As a gift for "being so good" my parents bought me the UK Masters of the Universe annual; the first one released with all the prototype images within. There was a kid in my ward who stated unequivocally that He-Man was actually called "Key-Man"! This kid was not playing about; this was his genuine belief. I wonder at what point in his youth did he realize the mistake. Anyway, the sad ending to this story is that I took a Man-At-Arms action figure into the hospital with me, to keep me safe; sadly I forgot about him and left him behind!


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12 September 2010

Skeletor's muscles!

Here are an amusing couple of images from the She-Ra season one episode "Of Shadows and Skulls". The first image is very much in-keeping with Filmation's style of animation. However, when Skeletor frees himself it becomes all-too apparent that the animator is having a field day drawing Skeletor. Not only do we get incredible definition rendering on Skeletor, making him look super-buff, but we also see his belly button! It also appears that Skeletor has chest muscles where most men do not! For some reason this just makes me chuckle every time...


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11 September 2010

Memories #2 - Moss Man leapt over a fence!

In an effort to make a note of all my He-Man and She-Ra childhood memories I've decided that every once in a while I will make reference to them here! There is no particular order to these; just amusing little anecdotes from years gone by.

I was the first kid in my class to have a Moss Man action figure, and yes, he still smelt of luscious pine. One lunch time we were playing with Moss Man in the school's playing fields, specifically near the trees and shrubbery, because, of course, Moss Man could naturally camouflage himself amongst all that greenery! At one point my "friend" decided to see how high he could throw Moss Man. Unfortunately he threw Moss Man up in the air at an angle. Subsequently my new action figure ended up going over a fence and into the garden of one of the houses that backed onto the school. I sadly never saw Moss Man again...


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10 September 2010

Skeletor's human guards.

One of the oddities seen during the first episode of The New Adventures of He-Man, "A New Beginning", is that Skeletor's throne room within Snake Mountain is guarded by two human guards. During the course of the Filmation series we saw Skeletor flanked by random villains, but none were ever this human or subservient. Also note that they have very strict uniforms bearing a skull-like emblem.


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09 September 2010

Memories #1 - Road Ripper?

In an effort to make a note of all my He-Man and She-Ra childhood memories I've decided that every once in a while I will make reference to them here! There is no particular order to these; just amusing little anecdotes from years gone by.

On the backs of the Masters of the Universe minicomics they would list all the action figures at the bottom in bold, with a star next to some to indicate they would be "coming soon". I distinctly remember looking at the names and being incredibly puzzled by the name Road Ripper. I actually thought it was an action figure! I remember trying to figure out what kind of character Road Ripper would be. A few months later I would discover that it was a garish green vehicle with a rip cord...


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05 September 2010

TWENTY-SEVEN years ago at 4.20pm...

It's hard to believe, but at 4.20pm today on the 5th September 1983, some TWENTY-SEVEN years ago, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe had its WORLD premiere in the UK! Oddly the series wouldn't premiere in the USA until September 26th. The first episode aired was naturally the pilot episode "Diamond Ray of Disappearance". In celebration of that day I thought it would be cool to not only show off some very interesting storyboard pages from the episode, but also a bunch of deleted scenes, and random pieces of information about the episode from my recently published He-Man and the Masters of the Universe book!

Firstly, I present the first twelve pages of Robby London's draft script. You will notice that the Diamond Ray of Disappearance is merely called the "Diamond of Disappearance" throughout. No mention of the word "ray", even in the title! Also, in these pages you will discover where Prince Adam lost King Randor's Zoom Chariot! Oh, and Orko is still Gorpo at this point in production...




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Next are some storyboards, illustrated by the fantastic Bob Kline. You will notice the numerous additional scenes during the fight between He-Man and Trap Jaw. And check out the incredibly cool rendering on the art during the brief fight between He-Man and the rock beast.



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Here are some interesting pieces of trivia that you may or may not know.

* In one of Robby London's earliest drafts the Diamond Ray of Disappearance was called the Lost Stone of Souls.

* In this script the Evil Warriors are referred to as the "Masters", harkening back to the early notion that the villains were the "Masters of the Universe"; a phrase that pops up in the original pilot introduction, and the episodes "Like Father, Like Daughter" and "Colossor Awakes".

* At some point the original master of this episode was damaged. Subsequently all video and DVD releases throughout the last few years are missing the scene in which a vase falls on Orko's head, deflecting the Diamond Ray's blast, enabling him to escape.

* When He-Man first enters Castle Grayskull he stands silently before the Window of Spirits. If you listen carefully you can hear him say in reference to the Sorceress, "Maybe we can reach her in the Window of Spirits!" The line is present in the storyboard, but the volume of the vocal track is too quiet.

* This episode is one of three that was used in the direct-to-video movie, "The Greatest Adventures Of All", which it should be noted was shown as a premiere at the Mann's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles.

And finally I present two images of Trap Jaw deleted from the episode which were to take place during his fight with He-Man. The first image which shows him frowning is an animation cel with matching background that I proudly own. The second illustration I took the original line art, colored it, and positioned it over a sky background so you can see how the shot would've looked in the episode.


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I hope you enjoyed this little tribute to the episode that started it all!

04 September 2010

Snake Moutain once more...

In the first episode of The New Adventures of He-Man, "A New Beginning", we see Snake Mountain in all its glory. It is clear that the artists looked to the Filmation show for inspiration. However, the magic and overpowering sense of evil that was evident in the Filmation show is not apparent here. This could be any old background. That said, it is nice that they decided to pay homage to the original series.


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03 September 2010

That's not Cringer...

We see a glaring error in issue fifty-three of the UK Masters of the Universe comic. The text in the box that accompanies this panel states that Cringer alongside Orko will act as rearguard, and yet we clearly see Battle Cat in the illustration. No doubt that the reason for this error was the fact that these UK comics, at least from issue fifty onwards, were translated from a foreign source. This is why the dialogue in these issues can seem rather stilted at times...


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02 September 2010

See how they run...

In the episode "Return Of The General", as the Evil Horde abandon their latest attack, we see a panning shot showing the relation of Bright Moon to the Whispering Woods. Oddly, even though we are used to seeing Bright Moon surrounded by dense forestry, here the artists have made the surrounding land mass look somewhat barren. And yes, Glimmer is flying. This was one of those episodes where they decided she could fly...


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01 September 2010

Skeletor's army.

Issue fifty-three of the UK Masters of the Universe comic features this incredible illustration showing Skeletor leading his Evil Warriors, the Evil Horde, and the Snake Men into battle. Not only is this a heavily detailed and great-looking illustration, but the colors in the foreground, especially on the land, really do stand out and create a great sense of depth! It should be worth noting that the text that accompanies this illustration is descriptive, too. I love the idea that the "plains of Eternia shudder"...


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