29 June 2012

Coloring book #11 - A jealous beauty.

During the eighties there were many Masters of the Universe coloring books, all of which featured a variety of artwork, with varying degrees of quality. Some artists put in a great level of detail, other artists simply copied model sheets, and some artists were just plain questionable. There were a batch of illustrations by one particular unnamed artist that I have a great affection for, mainly because the style is close to the cartoon, but bold enough to be identifiable as the artist's own! These images also showcased some pretty impressive scenes that I personally wish could have been seen in the Filmation series. In this illustration we see one of the old unused story points of the Masters of the Universe canon, in which Evil-Lyn is jealous of the love He-Man and Teela have for one another. I like the way Evil-Lyn is waving her arms in both frustration and anger. Actually, it is possible to make this scene work in the context of the animated series. Evil-Lyn could be angry that instead of capturing Teela, Faker, the robotic double of He-Man, has fallen in love with her!


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

28 June 2012

Skeletor's flowers.

Here is an interesting illustration of Skeletor from the 1987 UK Masters of the Universe annual. This annual was the first to heavily acknowledge the Filmation series, with its, at times, ridiculous use of Filmation model sheet poses. Interestingly, in this illustration, the artist has decided to give Skeletor a cape. And whilst that is not a bad idea, I think it is fair to say that the cape is a little on the short side. The cape is actually the same length as the one sported by She-Ra!


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

27 June 2012

She-Ra script: "The Sea Hawk" #5

For your entertainment I present to you the script for the season one She-Ra episode "The Sea Hawk" written by Larry DiTillio. This episode would mark the debut of the Sea Hawk, a character that would go on to become one of the most memorable guest stars in the series, as well as being more importantly the love interest of Adora! Here are pages twenty-four to twenty-nine of the script.



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

24 June 2012

Masters of the Universe Classics comic #1

Yesterday the first new Masters of the Universe comic published by DC Comics went on sale digitally. This is not the first issue of the forthcoming six-part miniseries, but rather a prequel series, each issue focusing on a different character. The story of this first issue titled "The Lost Knight" revolves around the new Masters of the Universe Classics action figure Sir Laser-Lot, created by comic book writer Geoff Johns when he was seven years old.

Many, understandably, were a little put off by the fact that the first official Masters of the Universe story in nearly ten years was going to revolve around an action figure that was less-than-warmly received, has yet to be released, and has been created by someone that only seemed to have a passing interest in the brand! However, I was looking forward to learning more about this character who, dare I say, I had begrudgingly grown to accept in the toyline.

There is absolutely no doubt that writer Geoff Johns and artist Howard Porter are talented individuals, both having achieved continual success in the comic book industry. Thus imagine my disappointment when I read the comic and felt as if it had been both written and illustrated in the nineties!

Granted, Geoff Johns does not have many pages in which to develop the backstory for Sir Laser-Lot, but what we do get is a lot of comic book posturing and violence that seems incredibly outdated. Image Comics were infamous in the nineties for characters that were cold, aloof, and bloodthirsty. I do not have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is this outdated character stereotype being used in a Masters of the Universe comic in 2012!

I will admit that I have never been Howard Porter's greatest fan, but anyone can see that the guy has a style that appeals to a vast section of the comic book marketplace. That said, this is clearly not his best work. My reaction when I first saw the interior pages was that it looked rushed! Throughout the issue poses look unnatural and stiff, most notably the children seem to change height from panel to panel. And the action between Sir Laser-Lot and the Beastmen is bland. The first blow that Sir Laser-Lot strikes is illustrated with such little force, that it appears that he is merely showing his club to one of the oncoming Beastmen.

The final page in which we see some familiar faces is just odd. I have no problem with the redesigns of the Evil Warriors themselves, but the way in which the redesigns are illustrated in this one splash page is questionable. Skeletor is absolutely huge, and appears to be almost twice the width as those around him. Trap Jaw and Beast Man seem to be crouching, yet their respective body postures do not imply that they are. And Tri-Klops looks a little lost.

On the plus side, alongside the striking cover, the colors by Carrie Strachan are beautiful and create a wonderful sense of mood throughout the story, especially when we see Sir Laser-Lot's lair.

This is not a great start for the new Masters of the Universe canon, but still, it is a new Masters of the Universe, and we should be happy with that. Right?

I'm still going to tell people to buy this comic book. Regardless of my personal opinion you should all judge for yourself and, more importantly, continue to support the brand!


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

23 June 2012

Coloring book #10 - Stratos versus Beast Man.

During the eighties there were many Masters of the Universe coloring books, all of which featured a variety of artwork, with varying degrees of quality. Some artists put in a great level of detail, other artists simply copied model sheets, and some artists were just plain questionable. There were a batch of illustrations by one particular unnamed artist that I have a great affection for, mainly because the style is close to the cartoon, but bold enough to be identifiable as the artist's own! These images also showcased some pretty impressive scenes that I personally wish could have been seen in the Filmation series. In this illustration we see Stratos overpowering Beast Man and binding the villain up in what appear to be vines of some sort. Again, as with many of these illustrations, I love the poses of the characters, the boldness of the line art, and just the situation in general!


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

22 June 2012

A brief review #027 - "Orko's Favorite Uncle"

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 "Orko's Favorite Uncle"...

The first act of this episode is one of the most entertaining of the series. The storm is directed with such fury that we physically feel Tauron's threat, and the scene with the heroes trapped in the cavern with the Manticore is staged and directed perfectly. What this episode does incredibly well, is take a very small cast of characters and tell a story that is both entertaining and character-driven. Even though the second act is slightly weaker then the first, a majority of the character-writing occurs in the second act, with Orko and Montork scripted to perfection. The end of this episode revels in an act of love conquering the forces of evil; and on this occasion it works. 7/10

Now, may I ask; what is YOUR rating?

21 June 2012

She-Ra script: "The Sea Hawk" #4

For your entertainment I present to you the script for the season one She-Ra episode "The Sea Hawk" written by Larry DiTillio. This episode would mark the debut of the Sea Hawk, a character that would go on to become one of the most memorable guest stars in the series, as well as being more importantly the love interest of Adora! Here are pages eighteen to twenty-three of the script.



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

20 June 2012

Trap Jaw kills!

In this panel from issue one (volume two) of the Masters of the Universe comic from MVCreations we see Trap Jaw effortlessly kill one of the palace guard warriors! Having spent a lifetime watching Filmation's He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series I find it hard to digest panels such as this. In the comic there was an understandable attempt to make the content somewhat darker than the cartoon by Mike Young Productions. However, in the show, I never really got the impression that Trap Jaw was a killer. That said, even if he was, the cartoon could never show such an act...


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

18 June 2012

Coloring book #9 - Trap Jaw is high!

During the eighties there were many Masters of the Universe coloring books, all of which featured a variety of artwork, with varying degrees of quality. Some artists put in a great level of detail, other artists simply copied model sheets, and some artists were just plain questionable. There were a batch of illustrations by one particular unnamed artist that I have a great affection for, mainly because the style is close to the cartoon, but bold enough to be identifiable as the artist's own! These images also showcased some pretty impressive scenes that I personally wish could have been seen in the Filmation series. In this illustration, which just happens to be one of my all-time favorites, we see Trap Jaw on higher ground in front of Castle Grayskull attacking He-Man! There are many things I love about this piece, one of them being He-Man's dramatic pose. Also, even though the Sword of Power is illustrated way off-model, I love the boldness of it! This image would later be referenced on the cover of issue eleven of the UK Masters of the Universe Adventure magazine replacing Trap Jaw with Webstor!


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

16 June 2012

FILMATION ART: The remains of Spydra's castle.

For the last sixteen years I have collected He-Man and She-Ra animation artwork. As a result I have amassed a pretty large collection! Even though I have scanned in storyboards and random cels for this Blog I have yet to feature any of the original production backgrounds I own. Today, I change that! Here I present a piece of original background artwork from the He-Man episode "The Return of Orko's Uncle" showing the remains of Spydra's castle; Orko having destroyed it in a fit of excitement. One of the things I love about this piece, aside from all the detail on the ground are the beautifully illustrated mountains in the distance; something that is prominent in many a Filmation background.


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

And here is how the background was used in the episode...

15 June 2012

She-Ra script: "The Sea Hawk" #3

For your entertainment I present to you the script for the season one She-Ra episode "The Sea Hawk" written by Larry DiTillio. This episode would mark the debut of the Sea Hawk, a character that would go on to become one of the most memorable guest stars in the series, as well as being more importantly the love interest of Adora! Here are pages twelve to seventeen of the script.



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

14 June 2012

Attack the demon!

Here is another fantastic action-packed illustration from the Masters of the Universe minicomic "The Ordeal of Man-E-Faces!" by Mark Texeira. As I have said before, I was never really a fan of these early minicomcis as a child, but I always loved this illustration of He-Man fighting the large blue winged demon! I have to chuckle at the demon's comment as he is comments that both He-Man and Teela are "great fighters" in the midst of battle. This panel becomes even stronger for featuring Skeletor and the Goddess dueling in the background!


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

13 June 2012

Coloring book #8 - Fighting Faker!

During the eighties there were many Masters of the Universe coloring books, all of which featured a variety of artwork, with varying degrees of quality. Some artists put in a great level of detail, other artists simply copied model sheets, and some artists were just plain questionable. There were a batch of illustrations by one particular unnamed artist that I have a great affection for, mainly because the style is close to the cartoon, but bold enough to be identifiable as the artist's own! These images also showcased some pretty impressive scenes that I personally wish could have been seen in the Filmation series. In this illustration we see that He-Man has defeated Faker, which is a shame, as we never got to see Faker actually holding his own against He-Man. It is interesting to see that here Faker is wielding a mace instead of a sword. Also, if you were to interpret this piece in another way it looks like a lightning bolt has struck Faker's mace, causing him to reel back in pain, and more than likely fuse his internal robotics!


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

12 June 2012

Skeletor's evil look!

Here are four fantastic images of Skeletor from the fifth episode of The New Adventures of He-Man series "The Ultimate Challenge". This episode was one of the best-looking of the series with not only beautiful animation throughout, but also fantastic mood-setting backgrounds. These four images are just a few examples of the way Skeletor's expressions are animated in this episode.



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

11 June 2012

She-Ra script: "The Sea Hawk" #2

For your entertainment I present to you the script for the season one She-Ra episode "The Sea Hawk" written by Larry DiTillio. This episode would mark the debut of the Sea Hawk, a character that would go on to become one of the most memorable guest stars in the series, as well as being more importantly the love interest of Adora! Here are pages six to eleven of the script.



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

10 June 2012

There is no victim!

"The Ordeal of Man-E-Faces!" is one of the most visually rewarding of the early Masters of the Universe minicomics. When I was a child I never truly appreciated the beauty of Mark Texeira's artwork, mainly due to the fact that I was a huge fan of the Filmation cartoon. That said, I always loved this illustration of the large blue winged demon looming over He-Man. Mark Texeira was always an expert as using black shadows in his artwork, and in this piece the demon is given numerous areas of black, giving the character great depth and mass!


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

08 June 2012

Coloring book #7 - Faker serves Skeletor...

During the eighties there were many Masters of the Universe coloring books, all of which featured a variety of artwork, with varying degrees of quality. Some artists put in a great level of detail, other artists simply copied model sheets, and some artists were just plain questionable. There were a batch of illustrations by one particular unnamed artist that I have a great affection for, mainly because the style is close to the cartoon, but bold enough to be identifiable as the artist's own! These images also showcased some pretty impressive scenes that I personally wish could have been seen in the Filmation series. In this fantastic illustration we see Skeletor dramatically standing over Faker, in what I would be willing to suggest is the moment that the evil duplicate of He-Man was created. I love the mood of this piece. This scene would have looked magnificent in the animated series, instead of the two second origin Faker received in "The Shaping Staff".


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

07 June 2012

Firing the Catscope!

The rarely-seen four story She-Ra Ladybird compilation book was interesting in that aside from including two new stories, it included two previously published stories in "Catra's Ice Palace" and "She-Ra and the Golden Goose", renamed "The Golden Goose" for this publication. The most striking thing about "Catra's Ice Palace" is that due to the size of this compilation book being a different format, the illustrations that accompanied the story were completely redrawn. Previously the story had been illustrated by Geoff Senior, but this time Glenn Steward illustrated it, to tie into the fact that the other three stories in the compilation were illustrated by him! As I featured in a previous post, high atop the Fright Zone, in her own personal tower, Catra has the Catscope; a ridiculously large telescope that she uses to spy upon her enemies. However, in this story she realizes that she can use the Catscope to channel the heat from the sun to melt the snow, thereby upsetting the fun had by others.


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

06 June 2012

She-Ra script: "The Sea Hawk" #1

For your entertainment I present to you the script for the season one She-Ra episode "The Sea Hawk" written by Larry DiTillio. This episode would mark the debut of the Sea Hawk, a character that would go on to become one of the most memorable guest stars in the series, as well as being more importantly the love interest of Adora! Here is the cover page, followed by the first five pages of the script.



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

04 June 2012

Lazy transformation.

This panel from the Masters of the Universe minicomic "He-Man and the Insect People" features what I like to call the "lazy transformation". Instead of raising the Sword of Power aloft, Prince Adam stands like a statue and merely calls upon the power of Castle Grayskull. That said, the overall illustration by the late great Alfredo Alcala is superb, as is much of the artwork in this particular minicomic!


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

03 June 2012

Coloring book #6 - Skeletor makes his move.

During the eighties there were many Masters of the Universe coloring books, all of which featured a variety of artwork, with varying degrees of quality. Some artists put in a great level of detail, other artists simply copied model sheets, and some artists were just plain questionable. There were a batch of illustrations by one particular unnamed artist that I have a great affection for, mainly because the style is close to the cartoon, but bold enough to be identifiable as the artist's own! These images also showcased some pretty impressive scenes that I personally wish could have been seen in the Filmation series. In this illustration we see Skeletor with what appears to be his own collection of Masters of the Universe figures! Skeletor's pose is illustrated beautifully, with the villain leaning over the questionably-rendered Castle Grayskull. I should point out that this is the first of two occasions in this batch of illustrations where Battle Cat is illustrated to the point where he looks like a dog, due to the artist illustrating ears on his helmet! Battle Dog?!


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