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...


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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"...


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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!


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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...


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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.


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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!


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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!


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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)

27 November 2011

Trap-Jaw explodes!

Here is a fantastic illustration from the Masters of the Universe minicomic "The Menace of Trap Jaw!" Mark Texeira's illustrative work on these minicomics was always of a high standard, and we can see here his expert use of blacks across the front of Trap Jaw to make the explosion stand out more against the figure in the foreground. The explosion itself is drawn with incredible fury, and the striking lines all around the image just add to the impact of this one panel!


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

26 November 2011

Who is Bow talking to?

In the She-Ra Ladybird book "She-Ra and the surprise party" Terry Gabbey's detailed illustration reveals an interesting collection of characters that we have never seen before! Although most are seen from the back it is always nice to see an artist's take on characters outside of the main cast. What I want to know though, is who Bow is talking to? "A white-haired female" is not a sufficient answer!


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

25 November 2011

A brief review #018 - "Creatures From The Tar Swamp"

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 "Creatures From The Tar Swamp"...

The plot for this episode is relatively simple, but the character writing throughout the script, whilst not spectacular, is above average. Orko is written in this episode more appropriately than many other appearances in the series. During the course of the story we see him learn a hard lesson, and we can almost feel his frustration and pain. Not only are we treated to Orko's origin story, but we also get a fantastic character in Lady Edwina. She steals each and every scene she is in thanks to her wonderful look and Linda Gary's great voice acting. The pacing of this story slows down during the middle of the episode, but it is not enough to spoil an entertaining episode. 7/10

Now, may I ask; what is YOUR rating?

23 November 2011

Imp's first appearance...

One of the things I tend to forget about the She-Ra series is the way in which the writers originally presented the character relationship between Hordak and Imp; specifically in the episodes "She-Ra Unchained", which was Imp's debut, and "The Red Knight". Both of these episodes feature Hordak clearly treating Imp as if he would any other Evil Horde character in the series. It is strange to watch Hordak admonish Imp and call him names. Thankfully this did not last! As I have expressed before, Don Heckman had the unique ability to write Imp perfectly, and was the one writer to really focus on the character relationship between he and Hordak. When Hordak expresses that Imp is the only one that he can trust in the episode "Friends Are Where You Find Them", Don Heckman proved that you can have a genuine friendship without possible betrayal between villains!


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22 November 2011

Sad Skeletor...

Don Manuel was known for his incredibly detailed storyboards throughout his time at Filmation, most notably on He-Man and She-Ra. Very rarely would he put over expressive comedy into his boards. However, in this panel from "Horde Prime Takes A Holiday" we see Skeletor's despondent face illustrated with a great deal of comedic value!


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20 November 2011

How tall is Ram Man?

In this storyboard panel from the season one He-Man episode "Colossor Awakes" we can see that the artist has paid little attention to the character model sheets. Ram Man is considerably shorter than Stratos in the show, but in this illustration Ram Man is as tall, if not taller, than Stratos! If you look at Orko in the panel, even he looks a little confused as to the size of Ram Man!


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

19 November 2011

Trap Jaw the sailor!

As you should all know by now, Trap Jaw is by far my favorite villain from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. The character was made all the more cooler when Robert Lamb had the character disguise himself as a sailor in "The Ancient Mirror of Avathar". Now, we all know that its a terrible disguise, and yet it fools Prince Adam; I guess in the same way that no one can notice the similarities between Prince Adam and He-Man! What I love about Trap Jaw's disguise is the design and color scheme. In some bizarre twist the disguise suits Trap Jaw incredibly well; the villain could genuinely sport this look throughout the series!


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18 November 2011

"Hide and Sneak"

Here is an amusing one page story from issue thirty-seven of the UK Masters of the Universe comic. Here we see Grizzlor and Mantenna playing a friendly game of hide and seek. If this were an episode of the Filmation series the moral of the story would be, "Never play hide and seek with Grizzlor."


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17 November 2011

Furious Skeletor!

I have often championed the work of storyboard artist Tom Sito. Amusingly he had the task of storyboarding "The Greatest Show on Eternia"; the episode that many consider to be the worst! Unsurprisingly, due to his talents, the storyboards for this episode are nothing short of spectacular! If you go back and check out my Blog posts for Tom's storyboards for the season one episode "Castle of Heroes" you can see how much fun he had drawing Skeletor; and it appears he had an equal amount of fun drawing the villain in this episode, if this drawing is anything to go by!


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

16 November 2011

Hordak activates the freeze ray...

Don Manuel is one of my favorite storyboard artists from the days of He-Man and She-Ra. His boards are always incredibly detailed, yet easy to understand. In this storyboard panel from the She-Ra episode "Horde Prime Takes A Holiday" we see his design for the giant freeze cannon that adorns Horde Prime's flagship, the Velvet Glove. I love the fact that he sets up the camera pan to reveal just how large this cannon is in comparison to the tiny characters of Hordak, Mantenna and Multi-Bot who stand to the left of the panel. Fortunately, the freeze cannon in the final episode, having gone through the layout department and background design, retains its awesomeness!


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

15 November 2011

Caught by Dragoon!

Here is a dramatic and striking storyboard panel by Steve Hickner from season one He-Man episode "Dawn of Dragoon". I love the fact that both Orko and Dree Elle are dwarfed by Dragoon who looms over them from the edge of the rock face! When this episode was translated to screen, even though Dragoon was redesigned, the director managed to make this shot look equally as dramatic...


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

14 November 2011

"The Secret of The Sword" adaptation #10

Riding high on the success of their numerous Masters of the Universe and Princess of Power books, Ladybird decided to turn the animated He-Man and She-Ra feature, "The Secret of The Sword", into a book! The book was filled with actual stills from the movie and is very nicely presented throughout. Here are the remaining four pages of the adaptation...


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

11 November 2011

Throwing the blade.

Here is a great action-packed shot from "The Iron Master" illustrated by Robin Davies. As a kid I always liked this illustration; especially the way in which the Sword of Power is about to be caught by He-Man. Also note the beautiful star-filled sky covered by the harsh storm clouds; this is foreshadowing for a forthcoming plot device...


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10 November 2011

Strongarm was Chopper?! #2

Here is yet another storyboard panel showcasing how artist Don Manuel illustrated Strongarm in place of Jitsu for the season one He-Man episode "The Dragon Invasion". It is amusing to see dialogue and scenes that would end up as Jitsu's given to Strongarm. I personally would have liked to have seen Strongarm make at least one more appearance in the series...


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09 November 2011

"The Secret of The Sword" adaptation #9

Riding high on the success of their numerous Masters of the Universe and Princess of Power books, Ladybird decided to turn the animated He-Man and She-Ra feature, "The Secret of The Sword", into a book! The book was filled with actual stills from the movie and is very nicely presented throughout. Here are pages forty-one to forty-five of the adaptation...


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