07 June 2011

Skeletor is thrown!

Please do not be confused. Let me explain why you are looking at two different illustrations of the same scene, of the same story, by the same artist! When sales of the Masters of the Universe books were at their peak in 1985 Ladybird decided to release a large one-off Masters of the Universe annual. The annual featured all news stories with illustrations from Robin Davies, the regular Ladybird book artist, amongst others. One of these stories was titled "Dragon from the Lost Valley". In this story an earthquake across Eternia releases a large stegosaurus from the Lost Valley, deep in the heart of the Mystic Mountains. The heroes have to lead the stegosaurus back to its home, as Skeletor attempts to capture the creature.

In 1986 Ladybird decided to release another of their regular and smaller Masters of the Universe books, titled, "He-Man and the Lost Dragon". In this story the Evil Horde destroy a section of the Mystic Mountains releasing a large stegosaurus from the Lost Valley! The heroes have to lead the stegosaurus back to its home as both Hordak and Skeletor attempt to capture the creature!

It is no real surprise that Ladybird decided to reuse the original story, as it was rather unique. What makes this interesting is that Robin Davies was asked to illustrate the book, having already illustrated the original story for the annual! Due to the success of the cartoon Ladybird asked Robin to illustrate the book in a style closer to the Filmation series, so you can see that Skeletor in the second illustration looks a lot closer to the cartoon model that the original illustration!

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


Kevin Martinell said...

The color and use of light/shadows for the stegosaurus' tail is impressive ... Looks so lifelike! I like how, in the first illustration, we can just see both the eyes and guns from the Roton, while the rest of it looks like it's vanishing into fog. :) Thanks for reading and God Bless! ~"KevyGuy" :)

Mosquitor said...

I much prefer Robin Davies' own, original way of drawing Skeletor... the detail in which he drew his skull was great.

Fabian said...

I have to say that I like the cartoon inspired art more than the original. It looks more dynamic and seems to work better for the story.

Chris (He-Fan) said...

That's very interesting - now that you mention this, a lot of the artwork in the later Ladybird books resembles the Filmation style more closely than the earlier books! :)

It's also fair to say that some of the storylines resemble the cartoon more closely as well - if you read some of the early books, particularly "A Trap For He-Man", they have a much more "early MOTU" vibe about them! :)

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