05 October 2012

Star Comics cereal:geek article #2

As many of you will know I continue to self-publish cereal:geek magazine; the one-hundred page glossy magazine dedicated to the cartoons of the eighties. I have incredibly talented individuals write articles for the magazine. However, when I required an article covering the Masters of the Universe comic book published by Marvel's Star Comics imprint I knew I had to write this article myself, given that I have such strong views on this series! As I have rarely covered the Star Comics series on this Blog I thought it would be good to showcase the article I wrote for the magazine across a group of posts.

So here I present the second part of the article...

The first issue starts off fairly predictably with Skeletor at Snake Mountain plotting to conquer Eternia; this is how a He-Man comic should start. However, after a scene at the Royal Palace featuring the heroes, it soon becomes apparent that we aren't going to receive any mind-blowing stories. Skeletor's first momentous evil plan of the series is to use his Terror Claws to dig (yes, dig) into Castle Grayskull. So in the first issue we have Skeletor on his hands and knees burrowing like a woodland creature! It is a very bizarre sight. The Evil Horde appear and the stage is set for this comic series; He-Man versus Skeletor versus Hordak. The three-way tussle always worked quite well in other canons produced...

Unfortunately many of the stories in the first eight issues are run of the mill at best, with little story to speak of; feeling more like a bunch of scenes strung together with some new toys thrown in to please Mattel. The cartoon series is often unfairly criticized as a lengthy toy advert, but when looking back at the one-hundred and thirty episodes you will see very few new toys make appearances; the writers often relying on an original cast of six or seven at most. This is also because Filmation had an incredibly unique deal where they could pick and choose what toys they would "advertise" in the animated series, and Mattel had no choice but to agree.

It is possible that Star Comics' agreement with Mattel wasn't as lenient. In the interview with Marvel Age Ralph Macchio explained that each story had to be approved by Mattel before it could be published. To me, that sounds like a pretty harsh deal, though nowadays it is sadly commonplace.


To be continued...


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

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1 comment:

Kevin Martinell said...

Interesting how Mattel did business between Filmation and Star Comics. It would have been hilarious to see an episode in the cartoon where Skeletor was actually "on his hands and knees burrowing like a woodland creature" to get something that he wanted! :)

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