30 December 2011

Fading out...

The Masters of the Universe minicomic "Enter: Buzz-Saw Hordak!" was one of the few appearances made by Mosquitor, one of the last action figures released in the toyline. It must have been hard to script a character into a book aimed at kids that sucked blood; with the blood intake visible inside his chest! The minicomic handled his power in a way that was kid-friendly. In these panels by Bruce Timm we see that as Mosquitor drains an individual's "life force", they begin to fade from sight. As much fun as the toy is, I think, in context with the comic, this works better than merely "sucking blood"...


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

29 December 2011

Running transformation.

In these three panels from the Masters of the Universe minicomic "The Battle of Roboto" we see something unique. Instead of Prince Adam merely standing with his Sword of Power raised transforming into He-Man, here we see him run towards us commanding the power of Castle Grayskull as he does. It is an incredibly original take on something we have seen numerous times before...


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

25 December 2011

It's that time of year again...

Merry Christmas, one and all! Once again I find it appropriate on this day to showcase another Christmas-themed illustration featuring He-Man and She-Ra; this time issue nine of the UK She-Ra comic is showcased in all its ridiculous glory! And, is it me, or are both Skeletor and Hordak illustrated to have a slight smile on their respective faces? I already had enough of Skeletor smiling from "A Christmas Special"...


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

22 December 2011

Snake Mountain is introduced...

Here is the first storyboard page for the He-Man season one episode "Diamond Ray of Disappearance". Numerous storyboard artists worked on this episode; these fantastic panels being the work of Bob Kline, easily one of the best artists that Filmation ever employed! As this episode is technically the pilot episode, these two panning shots introduce Snake Mountain for the first time; in all its eerie glory! Bob Kline's use of cross-hatching on the second panning shot is impressive to say the least!


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

21 December 2011

Victory pose!

This illustration by Robin Davies appears on the final page of the Ladybird book "The Iron Master". Whilst He-Man holding aloft the Sword of Power is nothing original, the colors and boldness of this illustration are very strong. I like the fact that we can see the remains of the Iron Master, and the molten rock, at He-Man's feet. A very victorious illustration!


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

19 December 2011

Roboto saves the day!

The Masters of the Universe minicomic "The Battle of Roboto" was unsurprisingly packaged with the Roboto action figure. This comic takes a very different route from the character's origin in the cartoon; Man-At-Arms being the one that creates Roboto in this story. The heart being the key to Roboto's goodness is a rather ridiculous plot device, but in a strange way it actually works. Interestingly, the action figure came with no heart, even though the minicomic focuses on that aspect of his character throughout. Also, note the color scheme of Roboto in these panels; he is colored very different when compared to the action figure and cartoon model.


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

17 December 2011

A brief review #020 - "Dawn of Dragoon"

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 "Dawn of Dragoon"...

Instead of treating the Orko like a mischievous child, or using him as comic relief, Robby London gives Orko a three-dimensional personality and a history that makes us sit up and take notice. The character interaction between he and Dree Elle is, at times, beautifully scripted, and we get a sense that these two cartoon characters actually do love one another. The sub-plot with Prince Adam unable to transform into He-Man is paced incredibly well with the resolution being a one of the most memorable moments of the series. Of course one of the series' best scenes occurs when Orko and Dree Elle reveal their faces to one another. Orko's homeworld was revisited numerous times during the series, but no other episode did it as perfectly as this. 8/10

Now, may I ask; what is YOUR rating?

16 December 2011

Crashing through crystal!

Here is a beautiful illustration from the 1985 UK Masters of the Universe annual. This annual featured a consistent style of illustration where watercolors were clearly the order of the day. This powerful image shows He-Man, having just appeared on the scene, smashing through a crystal cage that had imprisoned his alter-ego for a time. Although not obvious in this illustration, this annual featured a lot of illustrations that had He-Man with very long hair; when compared to his Filmation hairstyle anyway...


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

15 December 2011

"Gwildor's Gamble!" #5

"Gwildor's Gamble!" from issue seventeen of the UK Masters of the Universe Adventure magazine is interesting in that it takes a movie character in Gwildor, and places him firmly in the comic continuity, which some would say is prior to the movie. This story revolves around the power of the Cosmic Key, and dare I say, would have made for a really good minicomic story to accompany the Gwildor action figure! It is odd how this story appears to at first center around Gwildor saving the day, but suddenly switches to Orko as the hero!


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

14 December 2011

A visitor...

Once again, Bruce Timm shows why he was one of the best artists to have worked on the Masters of the Universe minicomics. In this panel from "The Terror Claws Strike!" we see Skeletor appear within Spikor's lair. This one single panel shows a fantastic use of blacks to create one of the eeriest and most menacing illustrations of Skeletor that we have ever seen. The pose itself, with the arms folded, also creates a sense of great power.


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

11 December 2011

"Gwildor's Gamble!" #4

"Gwildor's Gamble!" from issue seventeen of the UK Masters of the Universe Adventure magazine is interesting in that it takes a movie character in Gwildor, and places him firmly in the comic continuity, which some would say is prior to the movie. This story revolves around the power of the Cosmic Key, and dare I say, would have made for a really good minicomic story to accompany the Gwildor action figure! It is amusing how Gwildor's contribution to the story ends here, with him failing to save the day!


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

09 December 2011

Sole source of income.

Robert Lamb came up with numerous story ideas during his time working on She-Ra. One of many which unfortunately never saw the light of day was an untitled story that would've seen She-Ra attempt to pursuade an island kingdom not to give any further aid to the Evil Horde. Read for yourself!


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

06 December 2011

"Gwildor's Gamble!" #3

"Gwildor's Gamble!" from issue seventeen of the UK Masters of the Universe Adventure magazine is interesting in that it takes a movie character in Gwildor, and places him firmly in the comic continuity, which some would say is prior to the movie. This story revolves around the power of the Cosmic Key, and dare I say, would have made for a really good minicomic story to accompany the Gwildor action figure! The third panel on page eleven is beautifully colored to create an amazing sense of depth...


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

05 December 2011

A brief review #019 - "Quest for He-man"

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 "Quest for He-man"...

An episode that features such ludicrous colorful characters, combined with a plot detailing the slow decay of a planet sounds like an odd mix. Yet, this episode somehow manages to make it work. Paul Dini, who often delights in character-driven episodes, delivers one that feels like a traditional Saturday morning cartoon. Surprisingly the story of He-Man suffering from amnesia and meeting the strange inhabitants of Trannis becomes the sub-plot. This is because the moment Cringer, Orko, and Ram Man enter the Time Corridor we realize that it is they who are the stars of this episode. Their endearing misadventures make us warm greatly to this crazy-looking episode. 7/10

Now, may I ask; what is YOUR rating?

04 December 2011

"Gwildor's Gamble!" #2

"Gwildor's Gamble!" from issue seventeen of the UK Masters of the Universe Adventure magazine is interesting in that it takes a movie character in Gwildor, and places him firmly in the comic continuity, which some would say is prior to the movie. This story revolves around the power of the Cosmic Key, and dare I say, would have made for a really good minicomic story to accompany the Gwildor action figure! The numerous panels in which we see He-Man, Teela, and Gwildor travelling through time are wonderfully illustrated!


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

03 December 2011

Robin Davies transforms!

This fantastic illustration by Robin Davies from the Ladybird book "Skeletor's Ice Attack!" was used as a promotional illustration when Ladybird would advertise their books in magazines. And rightly so! I remember being at school when one kid, who had just managed to acquire this book, came racing over to us. We all stood in the hall, instead of going into class, looking wide-eyed at this awesome piece of artwork! The definition of He-Man's physique looks impressive, but the power of Castle Grayskull that surrounds him steals the show!


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

01 December 2011

"Gwildor's Gamble!" #1

"Gwildor's Gamble!" from issue seventeen of the UK Masters of the Universe Adventure magazine is interesting in that it takes a movie character in Gwildor, and places him firmly in the comic continuity, which some would say is prior to the movie. This story revolves around the power of the Cosmic Key, and dare I say, would have made for a really good minicomic story to accompany the Gwildor action figure! I like the way in which the heroes casually ignore Orko's warnings in order to listen to more of Gwildor's stories. I think they have their priorities mixed up...


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