30 January 2011

Into the caverns...

The 1985 UK Masters of the Universe annual featured a lot of watercolor-based artwork. In this illustration we see just how effective the style can be when trying to create an atmosphere. Here He-Man and Teela are entering the caverns of Point Dread! The story is incredibly descriptive of Point Dread, giving it a great deal more depth than the playset...


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

29 January 2011

Mer-Man points...

Here is an illustration from the Masters of the Universe Ladybird book "Castle Grayskull Under Attack!" I was always a fan of Robin Davies' small character artwork in these books. Dare I say, as detailed as they are, there is something oddly cute about both Skeletor and Mer-Man in this image!


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

28 January 2011

Beast Man's allies.

The Masters of the Universe Ladybird books were interesting for numerous reasons; one of which being the idea that both Beast Man and Mer-Man had their own groups of warriors. In "The Iron Master" we see that Beast Man has his own band of beastly warriors, known as the Beast-People. They, much like Beast Man, are defeated quite easily by He-Man. This is the same story in which Beast Man burns his hand upon touching the Sword of Power; a plot device that meant the Evil Warriors could never hold He-Man's sword, resulting in the creation of the Iron Master!


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

26 January 2011

Skull path.

Here is a fantastic panning shot from the She-Ra season one episode "Enemy With My Face" of Skull Path, an incredibly remote location on Etheria. These detailed atmospheric environments were sadly not developed enough during the She-Ra series, which tended to focus on the more familiar locations. Filmation background artists were often at their best designing backgrounds that were comprised of skeletal structures. And yes, that is Loo-Kee on the left hand side...


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24 January 2011

Orko's comic strip #22

Almost every issue of the UK Masters of the Universe comic featured an Orko comic strip on the inside front cover. As this Blog continues I will try and feature all of them for your amusement. Here I present the "Orko the Magician" comic strip from issue twenty-two. In this story we see Orko create a monstrous lizard, and understandably flee from his creation! That said, whatever happened to the creature?


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

23 January 2011

Skeletor has the power!

Here is a memorable image from the He-Man season one episode "Evil-Lyn's Plot" of Skeletor holding the Sword of Power in exactly the same way He-Man does during the transformation sequence. I do not think for one second that the storyboard artist and director tried to disguise the fact that the same basic animation was used. I would like to think that it was an intentional choice to give the scene a little more impact. Interestingly, moments before, Skeletor actually declares, "Now I have the power!" If only he had been in this pose at the same time...


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

22 January 2011

A brief review #002 - "The Shaping Staff"

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 "The Shaping Staff"...

The first act of this episode features some truly wonderful storytelling and direction. The mystery that surrounds Magestra upon her arrival at the Royal Palace is accompanied by some incredibly haunting music. All of the scenes at the palace are memorable, with each one bringing a new dimension to the story. However, after He-Man is turned into a golden statue, the episode begins to falter; what started out as a great story with the possibility of becoming a classic, descends into an almost desperate series of events. Skeletor's creation and usage of Faker is laughable, and even though his battle with He-Man is entertaining, sadly the episode never truly recovers. 6/10

Now, may I ask; what is YOUR rating?

21 January 2011

Adam waves on waves...

"Skeletor's Ice Attack" features some lovely illustrations by Robin Davies. Although the book does not feature his best Masters of the Universe work, there are some good pieces throughout. Here we see a very joyful Prince Adam waving to the crowds that have gathered to watch the royal family depart on their trip to the Golden Isles. Bear in mind the ship see here, with its wonderfully royal design, is merely a hover-barge, transporting them to their luxury mode of transport, the Sea Eagle!


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

19 January 2011

Iron Master into action.

It has been a while since I last featured an illustration from the memorable Masters of the Universe Ladybird book "The Iron Master" illustrated by Robin Davies. I love the pose of the Iron Master as he storms out of Skeletor's lair, and I love the way in which Skeletor is kindly directing him! The thing that always surprises me about this image is the size of Skeletor in comparison with the Iron Master, as I expected the Iron Master from his first appearance in the book to be about ten times the height of Skeletor! Regardless, this is still one of the best Masters of the Universe books to have ever been published.


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

18 January 2011

Some stock should not be reused!

Everyone knows that Filmation were both famous and infamous for their stock animation systems. More than often it would work in a positive way for the production by creating a style that was rarely if ever broken during the episode. However, it could also work to the detriment of the episode. In production order "The Cosmic Comet" was the first episode of the series, and "Diamond Ray of Disappearance" was the fourth. Somewhat astoundingly they both contain the same piece of animation featuring He-Man defeating Beast Man in battle outside of Castle Grayskull! The first three images are from "The Cosmic Comet", and the second three are from "Diamond Ray of Disappearance". Tut-tut, Filmation...



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

17 January 2011

Bright Moon battles on...

Here is a panning shot from the season two She-Ra episode "Return Of The General" in which we see the warriors of Bright Moon preparing for an attack by the Evil Horde. This panning shot also features the rarely seen guards that serve Queen Angella. These characters tended to vary in design throughout the series, and were never really all that noteworthy in their appearances. Whilst these characters have an interesting look about them, it is not in-keeping with the majesty of Bright Moon itself.


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

16 January 2011

The problem with xerox...

Here is an interesting image from the season one He-Man episode "The Time Corridor". Filmation were known for their xerox techniques, in which they would resize the same piece of artwork via a xerox machine, in order to create the illusion that things were going away from the camera frame by frame. On this occasion the camera trucks in towards the characters as they arrive in Eternia's past. Now, the first thing to note is that He-Man, Man-At-Arms and Orko are based on their model sheets; hence why Man-At-Arms is holding his rarely seen mace. However, we can see that because xerox machines cannot always pick up every piece of line art the characters lines are broken, especially on Man-At-Arms' armor. Also, notice that Battle Cat is actually in front of Man-At-Arms; yet at that size he is tiny by comparison!


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

15 January 2011

He-Man swings sword.

Here is a superb illustration from the 1987 UK Masters of the Universe annual. This was the annual where the artists began following the style of the cartoon and adhering to many model sheets, whilst replicating numerous model sheet poses. Here you can see that while the illustration pays close attention to the cartoon, there is a wonderful level of detail that Filmation never pursued on the physical form! I do so love the energy and power in this illustration...


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

14 January 2011

Garth (as an insect) model sheet.

Even though "Eye of the Beholder" is one of my least favorite episodes, I cannot argue with the fact that the episode has some interesting visuals, especially when it comes to character designs. Here I present a model sheet of Garth, who would undergo a transformation, which would contradict the underlying message of the episode itself!


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

11 January 2011

A long way down!

Here is an illustration by Robin Davies from the one-shot Ladybird Masters of the Universe annual; specifically from the story "Dragon from the Lost Valley". I love the angle on this illustration, creating a good sense of depth, especially with the small pieces of rock falling towards the waters far below. This illustration would actually be redrawn by Robin Davies, in a style closer to the Filmation series, for the Ladybird book "He-Man and the Lost Dragon". Notice that He-Man does look oddly calm...


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

10 January 2011

Happy Mutants!

Here are some amusing images from The New Adventures of He-Man episode "The Guns of Nordor". When it appears for a while that Slushhead has destroyed the heroes as they fly through space, the Mutants celebrate. This leads to us seeing some out of character moments for the group of villains that often cannot stand the sight of one another. In the first two images we see Slushhead and Skeletor surprisingly high-fiving, as B.H. and Staghorn join in the celebrations. For Skeletor this is very out of character! In the third image we can see Slushhead humorously holding B.H.'s chin as he speaks to him. And finally in the fourth image we see a happy Slushhead with an equally happy Skeletor behind him!



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

07 January 2011

A brief review #001 - "The Cosmic Comet"

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 "The Cosmic Comet"...

For all its shortcomings this episode spotlights evil at its best; Skeletor basks in the glow of being purely evil, as he is given a way to truly threaten Castle Grayskull. Both Evil-Lyn and Beast Man are given a chance to shine, too. With this in mind, the heroes become somewhat redundant after a while. The story involving their attempt to stop Skeletor is average at best, and they appear to be just going through the motions. While there is certainly room for improvement, the story is entertaining throughout. With the main elements combined; the Cosmic Comet, the Evil Warriors, and a serious threat against Castle Grayskull, the episode is surprisingly above average. 6/10

Now, may I ask; what is YOUR rating?

05 January 2011

The size of the sword!

In this scene from "Book Burning" we see the character of Cory attempting to free Adora from her handcuffs with her very own Sword of Protection. However, the first thing that will immediately grab the attention of any casual viewer is the size of the sword! Bear in mind that Adora sheathes this very sword on her back. There is no way Adora could hide this sword! I blame the layout artists at Filmation for this one. Then again, this scene would have been approved all the way to the top, too...


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

04 January 2011

The Story of Modulok #2

Here are pages four to six of Modulok's origin story, as featured in issue sixty-four of the UK Masters of the Universe comic. It is nice to see Prisonstar appear in a canon once again; something which I do wish had been used in the cartoon series...


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

03 January 2011

Is that a Hover Robot?

In the She-Ra season one episode "Small Problems" we are treated to one of the oddest appearances in the series. One of Skeletor's Hover Robots appears on Etheria, manufactured by the Evil Horde! Now those with a keen sense of vision will have noticed many moons ago that the head of a Horde Trooper is basically that of a Hover Robot. So it could be argued that a Hover Robot on Etheria is not really all that much of a surprise!


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

02 January 2011

The Story of Modulok #1

Issue sixty-four of the UK Masters of the Universe comic features the origin story for Modulok, which differs vastly from the He-Man episode "Mistaken Identity" which also details his origin. The surprising thing is that Modulok's original name in this story, Galen Nycoff, is very similar to the episode's script which named him Galen Nycroft. As the cartoon had already aired years prior, it is obvious that the writer of this story looked to the cartoon for some inspiration. I actually really like the design of Galen in this story...


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

01 January 2011

This is YEAR SIX! :)

Welcome to YEAR SIX of The He-Man and She-Ra Blog! When I first started this Blog I had no idea it would continue for this long. I knew I could write about He-Man and She-Ra until the end of time itself, but a Blog requires a great deal of maintenance. Granted there were a couple of years when I had to focus on other projects and the Blog was not updated much, but last year proved that the Blog can update on a regular basis, thanks to automatic updates written well in advance! The beautiful thing about being a fan of He-Man and She-Ra is that just when you think you know everything, something new comes along; often from the past! Trust me; there are some amazing updates on the way...
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