30 October 2013

Bow applauded.

For some reason I like this illustration from the story "The Lost River", which was featured in the rarely-seen four story She-Ra Ladybird compilation book, in which we see Bow practicing his archery, applauded by a mysterious figure. There is something about Glenn Steward's simplistic line art that really compliments his rendered backgrounds so incredibly well. I should mention that Bow's cape in this piece of artwork, and others in this book, is illustrated too long...


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

28 October 2013

The power of the sword!

This action-packed illustration was seen alongside the story "The Lost River", which was featured in the rarely-seen four story She-Ra Ladybird compilation book. There is no real deep or meaningful explanation behind this illustration aside which shows She-Ra destroying a large rock pile! I love the way this piece is colored with the light source creating lovely highlights on She-Ra, and the way in which both the blast of power and the explosion are illustrated is pretty impressive.


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

26 October 2013

GIANT Picture Book (Heroic Warriors) illustration #34

Golden Book published a great deal of Masters of the Universe material during the eighties. Two of the most notable and yet rarely seen books are the Giant Picture Books; oversized quality publications printed on thick quality paper featuring artwork by Fred Carrillo. One book focused on the Heroic Warriors, whilst the other focused on the Evil Warriors. Here I present, from the Heroic Warriors book, the two pages focusing on King Randor and Queen Marlena. Here we see a fantastic illustration heavily showcasing the regalness found in the Royal Palace. I love the moment shared by King Randor and Queen Marlena in this piece, as well as both Prince Adam and Teela sporting alternative costumes for what appears to be a very royal occasion! We should ask, who is Man-At-Arms flirting with?


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

25 October 2013

A brief review #043 - "The Mystery of Man-E-Faces"

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 "The Mystery of Man-E-Faces"...

One of the things this episode does really well is frame the origin story within an appropriate context. It is slightly hard to believe that Man-At-Arms was not around during the events of the flashback, but the story works well nonetheless. While the exploration of Man-E-Faces' character could have run deeper, he is well-rounded enough; scripted to be a tortured soul, while those around him fail to understand. There is some really nice, unique directing during this episode. The attack on Castle Grayskull at the end comes across as a bit of an afterthought. Ultimately Paul Dini writes an episode that is a thoroughly entertaining origin story for a character that gets little screen time. 6/10

Now, may I ask; what is YOUR rating?

24 October 2013

He-Man and his allies.

Don Manuel once more demonstrates why his storyboards packed such detail and power in these panels from the season two He-Man episode "Disappearing Dragons". Here we see He-Man, Buzz-Off, and Mekaneck confronting the Evil Warriors, posing all the way! Interestingly, we see Manuel reference his storyboards "House of Shokoti" Part 1 for the shot, specifically for the pose of He-Man.


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

23 October 2013

GIANT Picture Book (Heroic Warriors) illustration #33

Golden Book published a great deal of Masters of the Universe material during the eighties. Two of the most notable and yet rarely seen books are the Giant Picture Books; oversized quality publications printed on thick quality paper featuring artwork by Fred Carrillo. One book focused on the Heroic Warriors, whilst the other focused on the Evil Warriors. Here I present, from the Heroic Warriors book, the second of the two black and white illustrations focusing on Battle Cat, resized for you to enjoy! I love this action-packed piece which appears to show Battle Cat defeating both Beast Man and Mer-Man at the same time. This is the second time Beast Man has appeared in this book, and the second time he is being thrown through the air!


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

22 October 2013

Trap Jaw leaps!

In his storyboards for the season one He-Man episode "Golden Disks of Knowledge", artist Warren Greenwood illustrated a fight pitting He-Man and Battle Cat against Beast Man, Evil-Lyn, and Trap Jaw. As you will recall in the episode the fight is over before it has begun. However, Warren's original plan was for the fight to last for at least a minute creating new fight sequences based on existing stock fight animation. The entire sequence would have been one of He-Man's most physical confrontations in the series. Here we see a few panels showing Trap Jaw leaping at He-Man; one of many shots that wound up being deleted...


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

19 October 2013

Farewell, Lou Scheimer.

When I heard that Lou Scheimer had passed away, I cried. Those that had been around him in the last few years knew that he was of ill health. That said, due to the incredible aura he had around him, I was sure that he was going to outlive all of us. He continuously struck me as someone that was immortal. However, Lou Scheimer would tell you himself that he was just a man. This tall gentleman, that almost always sported a suit, shaped generation after generation of children through his animated shows at Filmation Studios. Though in spite of all that he accomplished in the world of animation, he was quite possibly one of the most humble human beings I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

I first met Lou in 2001 at Lou Scheimer Productions, thanks to my friend Lee Clevenger, who himself had been visiting the studio for years. Though it was an incredibly brief meeting, myself and Zadoc Angell were genuinely speechless. Here we were in the presence of Lou Scheimer! I remember Zadoc and I conversing about our brief encounter with Lou in the days that followed.

The next time I met Lou was at the San Diego Comic Con in 2005. This time, myself and my fellow He-Man and She-Ra fans had the honor of enjoying this man's company over the course of a few days, as we all celebrated the launch of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe on DVD. Amazingly, when I walked up to Lou and began speaking to him he remembered me from 2001. "Hey, British guy. I remember you!", said the man in those King Randor-esque tones. I was kind of surprised that he would remember me. However, Lou's ability to remember people was one of his many amazing traits. The next time I met Lou was at the 2006 San Diego Comic Con. This time we were celebrating the launch of She-Ra, Princess of Power on DVD. Again, Lou was in attendance, and as enjoyable as ever to be around. Fellow fan Jon Kallis and I would laugh when Lou would remember us. "It's that guy again!", he would say, pointing at Jon. "British guy!", he would say to me, before I had a chance to open my mouth.

During those two conventions two things were very apparent. Firstly, BCI's release of all those Filmation shows was a beautiful way to publicly celebrate and recognize everything that Lou had accomplished with Filmation. I believe that Lou was genuinely surprised that his shows had such an incredibly profound affect on people. Secondly, when people met Lou Scheimer it was not only a wonderful experience for them, but for Lou also. He was touched by each and every story he heard from the fans.

The last time I met Lou was very special to me. In 2008 Andy Mangels asked me to contribute to The Real Ghostbusters DVD boxset. I hurriedly flew over to Los Angeles and contributed to the filming of the documentaries that were to appear on the set. At the time Andy had recently began work on the book Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation. Knowing I was a Filmation fan (having worked with me on the He-Man and She-Ra DVDs) Andy decided to pay Lou a visit. I not only got to meet Lou once more, but I was also invited into his beautiful house, and even sat in his office chair, surrounded by his Filmation-based memories! Once again, Lou remembered me, and was wonderfully accommodating; showing me around his house, showing me artwork that he had illustrated outside of Filmation. We had lunch in one of his favorite restaurants, and he genuinely wanted to find out what I had been up to since we last met. Weeks later I remember kicking myself at not having my photo taken at lunch with Lou. And then I realized. This wasn't a photo opportunity. This was lunch with a friend.

At the time I read of Lou Scheimer's passing I was going through a box full of He-Man and She-Ra animation art that had arrived earlier in the day. I was posting images on Facebook, celebrating and sharing that wonderful Filmation style that we all know and love. And then, whilst writing this, it dawned on me. Without Lou Scheimer, without Filmation, without him having produced the He-Man and She-Ra animated series and hired all those talented individuals, it's highly doubtful that any of us would still be talking about the worlds of Eternia and Etheria.

I am devastated at the passing of Lou Scheimer, but I can't help but smile knowing that he leaves behind a phenomenal legacy. A legacy that will continue to be celebrated!

Rest in peace, Lou Scheimer.

18 October 2013

"She-Ra The Bad" #2

For your entertainment I present the story "She-Ra The Bad" as featured in issue three of the UK Princess of Power comic. In this story, in an effort to get the rebels to turn on one another, Hordak orders that Shadow Weaver cast a spell of illusion over Catra, making it appear as if she is She-Ra! In the guise of She-Ra, Catra begins to upset She-Ra's closest allies by insulting and bullying them, creating a great upheaval. Here are the remaining three pages of this story...


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

14 October 2013

Sito's Crackers!

Storyboard artist Tom Sito clearly enjoyed his time storyboarding on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, as he would often included extra gags and details that were not present in the episode. One has only to search my Blog for mentions of Tom Sito to see just how much this one individual put into his boards. Here is a cute introduction to act two of "The Greatest Show on Eternia" featuring his version of Crackers, appearing in all three of the introductory panels, which most artists would leave blank!


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

13 October 2013

GIANT Picture Book (Heroic Warriors) illustration #32

Golden Book published a great deal of Masters of the Universe material during the eighties. Two of the most notable and yet rarely seen books are the Giant Picture Books; oversized quality publications printed on thick quality paper featuring artwork by Fred Carrillo. One book focused on the Heroic Warriors, whilst the other focused on the Evil Warriors. Here I present, from the Heroic Warriors book, the first of the two black and white illustrations focusing on Battle Cat, resized for you to enjoy! It is always interesting to see Battle Cat engaged in battle with Panthor, as it never really happened enough in any of the canons. I like the fact that Battle Cat's eyes suggest he is somewhat surprised that he managed to pin Panthor!


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

11 October 2013

"She-Ra The Bad" #1

For your entertainment I present the story "She-Ra The Bad" as featured in issue three of the UK Princess of Power comic. In this story, in an effort to get the rebels to turn on one another, Hordak orders that Shadow Weaver cast a spell of illusion over Catra, making it appear as if she is She-Ra! In the guise of She-Ra, Catra begins to upset She-Ra's closest allies by insulting and bullying them, creating a great upheaval. Here are the first three pages of this story...


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

10 October 2013

Trap Jaw xeroxes to cam.

Here are a couple of panels from one of my favorite slapstick moments from the season one He-Man episode "The Region of Ice". These panels illustrated by Rich Chidlaw show the fantastically comedic moment when Trap Jaw is thrown at Skeletor and Beast Man, who are unable to step aside as they are stood on ice. I love Trap Jaw's expression in the first panel as well as the contorted bodies of both Skeletor and Beast Man as they slide on the ice. It is a shame that the expression of Trap Jaw did not translate to the actual episode. Fortunately, the animators still made this scene one of the most hilarious moments in the series!


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

08 October 2013

Clawful runs!

The season one He-Man episode "Dree Elle's Return" has quite a few moments of stupendous animation. This is largely in part thanks to artist Byron Vaughans whose storyboards for this episode are amazingly expressive and for want of a better word "cartoony". In this one panel featuring Clawful you can see that Byron was clearly more suited to illustrating traditional cartoons, rather than the action-based cartoons of the eighties! I hope to feature more of Byron's boards, because they are simply beautiful!


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

07 October 2013

GIANT Picture Book (Heroic Warriors) illustration #31

Golden Book published a great deal of Masters of the Universe material during the eighties. Two of the most notable and yet rarely seen books are the Giant Picture Books; oversized quality publications printed on thick quality paper featuring artwork by Fred Carrillo. One book focused on the Heroic Warriors, whilst the other focused on the Evil Warriors. Here I present, from the Heroic Warriors book, the two pages focusing on Battle Cat. While this is a lovely illustration, and as much as I love Fred Carrillo's style, in both his Golden Book artwork and his Filmation layout artwork he always tended to draw Battle Cat a lot smaller than he should have! However, given how much the man contributed to the legacy of Masters of the Universe, I think he can be forgiven!


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

06 October 2013

The Sea Hawk's biggest theft!

The Sea Hawk was known during the course of the She-Ra animated series as a pirate that would find it hard to curb his former thieving ways. However, I tend to think some of his biggest thefts were the moments when stock animation for He-Man was repurposed for the Sea Hawk! Numerous leaps, landings, and sword swings employed by the Sea Hawk had all previously been animated for He-Man himself. At the end of the day, the fact that Filmation reused these stock sequences made perfect sense, as Sea Hawk shared the same physicality as He-Man. The most notable reuse of animation in my eyes was when the Sea Hawk posed like Prince Adam, which was itself repurposed for He-Man. Just to further reiterate the point, here is a shot of He-Man from the season one He-Man episode "Quest for He-man" and a shot of the Sea Hawk from the season one She-Ra episode "Return of the Sea Hawk".


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

05 October 2013

The celebration comes to an end...

With 17,755 words and 225 images unleashed upon the world over the course of the last 30 days I can now officially declare that the 30 YEARS of Filmation's HE-MAN celebration has come to and end. I very much hope you enjoyed what I had to say, and let's face it, there was an awful lot! I also hope you enjoyed my choices for the 30 GREATEST MOMENTS of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Even when I look back at this list I think of other moments that I would love to have included; the dramatic moment when Prince Adam reaches for the Sword of Power in front of Teela from "The Shadow of Skeletor"; Evil-Lyn's seductive exchange with He-Man from "No Job too Small"; Granamyr's beautifully-scripted speech about war from "Battle of the Dragons"; the list goes on. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is filled with so many wonderful moments that it is often hard to choose.


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

Now, if any of you are up for the challenge, I would be very interested to hear what YOUR 30 GREATEST MOMENTS of the series are! I know that's a lot to ask, but it would be nice to see some differing opinions. I'm sick and tired of reading my own! Even if you feel that I missed out on one scene, please let me know.

Remember, I don't accept anonymously posted comments, so be sure to have a username!

Finally, here is an easy-to-access numbered links list to the 30 GREATEST MOMENTS:

#30 - #29 - #28 - #27 - #26
#25 - #24 - #23 - #22 - #21
#20 - #19 - #18 - #17 - #16
#15 - #14 - #13 - #12 - #11
#10 - #09 - #08 - #07 - #06
#05 - #04 - #03 - #02 - #01

04 October 2013

30 YEARS - Top 30 GREATEST MOMENTS #1

On the 5th of September 1983 the animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe received its WORLD premiere in the UK! To celebrate 30 YEARS since this historic day I am counting down (on a daily basis) what I believe to be the 30 GREATEST MOMENTS of the Filmation series.

GREATEST MOMENT #1
Teela's mother is revealed to be the Sorceress.
"Teela's Quest"



Teela, wishing to know about her parents, speaks to her adopted father Man-At-Arms. Knowing that her mother is still alive, Teela tells Orko that she will ask the Oracle of the Crystal Sea who her mother is, and promptly leaves for the Crystal Sea, home territory of Mer-Man. After fighting a group of Shadow Beasts Teela finds the Oracle's cave. Just as the Oracle reaches the conclusion of the story Mer-Man appears and captures Teela. He-Man and Battle Cat soon arrive to save Teela, but they are too late, as Mer-Man uses the Crimson Pearl to summon Bakkull. During the battle Zoar swoops down and steals the Crimson Pearl from Mer-Man, resulting in Bakkull turning against him. He-Man rescues Mer-Man, and then manages to push down the ice structure on which Bakkull stands, burying the beast in an avalanche. With the forces of evil defeated, Teela returns to the Oracle...

Teela approaches the Oracle once more, asking, "Oh, Oracle, finish your tale. Tell me of my mother." The Oracle once again appears within the crystal and explains that twenty years ago, having driven off Mer-Man and his allies, the young Man-At-Arms made his way to Zoar the falcon's nest. The Oracle continues, "Inside the nest was a baby girl. It was the Sorceress' young daughter. With the passing of her husband, she had brought the child to the mountain to raise her in peace." In the crystal the Oracle reveals images of Man-At-Arms now cradling the young child, continuing to explain, "But after Mer-Man's attack, the falcon knew that without a real home, the baby would never be truly safe. The young warrior's heart went out to the child, and he promised to care for her all his days." A wide-eyed Teela is stunned as the Oracle reveals, "You are that child, Teela..." Without hesitation Teela replies, "That means my mother is..." Teela's words are cut off as another voice enters the cavern, "The Sorceress of Grayskull." Teela walks up the Sorceress, "Mother?" The Sorceress nods, "Yes, you are my own daughter. And someday you will take my place as the mystic guardian of Grayskull." The Sorceress solemnly explains to her daughter, "But for now, you have other deeds to do, and until that time when your special destiny calls, you must forget what you have learned today." And with that statement, the Sorceress gently touches the forehead of Teela, who instantly forgets everything. As Teela stands with her eyes now closed, as if at peace, the Sorceress with a heavy heart explains, "She will only remember that her mother was a woman who loved her very much."

The most memorable moment in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is one of the most celebrated. No doubt many readers of this blog would've predicated this moment as being my choice for first place, but that is simply a testament to the scene and the episode itself, both of which effortlessly transcend the series they were written for. The relationship between the Sorceress and her daughter Teela is what makes the story absolutely unforgettable; their meeting proving to be one the most dramatically beautiful scenes in the series. The idea that Teela and the Sorceress are connected was established in the some of the earliest written material for Masters of the Universe. In the fantastic DC-produced minicomics it was revealed that Teela was a clone of the Sorceress. Whilst that particular idea works perfectly within the context of the canon (and ties nicely into the design of the Teela action figure), Filmation decided to have the Sorceress revealed to be Teela's mother in their canon. Thus when Teela finally comes face to face with her mother, the end result is an incredibly heartbreaking story of love and sacrifice. When the Sorceress removes the memory of the most important day of Teela's life, we know that it must have been a horribly difficult act for the Sorceress to perform. After all, in revealing herself to Teela, she must have briefly wondered what kind of life they could've shared together as mother and daughter. When a tear rolls down the cheek of the Sorceress we realize for the first time the unbelievable sacrifices she has made in her role as the guardian of Castle Grayskull. She has given up her family, her daughter, and, as is revealed in "Origin of the Sorceress", we learn that she has had to give up her life as a mortal human being. The Sorceress loves her daughter passionately, but cannot tell her the truth, while Teela wanders desperately, living in mystery, wondering why she has no memory of her mother. The scene is beautifully executed by those involved. Linda Gary's performance as both Teela and the Sorceress is fantastic, once more showcasing how talented she was. The Sorceress' dialogue is laced with both strength and sadness, an incredibly tough ask for any voice actor or actress. Marsh Lamore directs the scene in a rather straightforward manner, wonderfully letting the dialogue dominate the scene, with a few close-ups utilized to beautiful effect. Paul Dini may have long since denounced his work on this series, but "Teela's Quest" is a timeless jewel. Even though a few episodes have proven themselves better than this one, there is no doubt that this heartbreaking story is the one episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe that everyone remembers. This scene, above all others, will live in our hearts when the series has long since faded from our minds.

03 October 2013

30 YEARS - Top 30 GREATEST MOMENTS #2

On the 5th of September 1983 the animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe received its WORLD premiere in the UK! To celebrate 30 YEARS since this historic day I am counting down (on a daily basis) what I believe to be the 30 GREATEST MOMENTS of the Filmation series.

GREATEST MOMENT #2
He-Man relinquishes the power of Grayskull and the Sword of Power.
"The Problem With Power"



At Snake Mountain, Skeletor explains to General Tataran that he wants to use his physical lack of heart to his advantage; declaring that He-Man will undo himself. A while later at the Royal Palace, Man-At-Arms reports to King Randor and Queen Marlena that Skeletor has been sighted in the small village of Zak, a location in the Crystal Sea. Arriving at the village He-Man, Man-At-Arms and Orko realize that Skeletor is constructing a huge poorly built dimensional gate. He-Man confronts Skeletor, but the villain taunts him, leading him in a chase around the dimensional gate. Frustrated, He-Man punches the structure to get at Skeletor. When the structure falls the debris lands on General Tataran, disguised as a villager, and protected by a force field. Convinced he has killed a man, He-Man leaves the village, and heads for Castle Grayskull...

As night falls on Castle Grayskull, atop one of the turrets, the most powerful man in the universe solemnly looks out over the landscape of Eternia. As the wind gently blows through the night sky, He-Man quietly muses to himself, "Today I broke a promise..." He pauses briefly before continuing, "...and proved myself unworthy of the great power that was given me." He-Man unsheathes the Sword of Power, and looks at it for a moment. Wracked with guilt He-Man declares, "And if I am unworthy -- I can no longer permit myself to be He-Man." With a heavy heart He-Man holds aloft the Sword of Power and commands, "Let the power return!" The lightning and the power of Grayskull is drawn back into the sword, and with that He-Man is transformed into Prince Adam. He lowers the sword and holds it momentarily in front of him, contemplating his actions. With a sudden final gesture he lets go of the sword, and it falls into the abyss that surrounds Castle Grayskull. As Prince Adam watches the sword disappear into the darkness, thunder and lightning dramatically fill the abyss. A hand appears on Adam's shoulder and he turns to see his mentor, Man-At-Arms. With a saddened, but silent Sorceress now present, Man-At-Arms quietly informs Adam that he has brought the Wind Raider, and that they should go home. Adam takes one final look into the abyss, before walking away; leaving Eternia without its champion.

This scene is so wonderfully perfect and so powerful that it is, at times, frustratingly hard to describe and give praise to. No other scene in the series has all the components come together so beautifully. Tom Tataranowicz's initial idea, Bob Forward's dialogue, the artists emotion-filled drawings and backgrounds, Gwen Wetzler's fantastic direction, and John Erwin's voice acting. The structure of this memorable moment is incredibly well thought out. We have He-Man at Castle Grayskull, the source of his powers, staring out across the very landscape he was chosen to protect. Visually the animation on this scene is first class. In order to create the mood for the scene He-Man's hair smoothly blows in the wind; his face is wonderfully expressive; and the moon adds depth by producing the shadows necessary to emphasize the drama of the scene. Even when He-Man is looking at the Sword of Power, his expression shows us that he realizes that this will be the last time. By far the most powerful expression of the scene is the sheer pain etched on the face of Prince Adam as he watches the Sword of Power descend into the abyss, because he knows that by surrendering his powers he has given up a part of himself. When Man-At-Arms shows up at the end of the scene, the compassion in his voice reminds us of their friendship, and the important role that he has played in Adam's life over the years. Even though the two men do not discuss the situation, their reliance on each in this crisis is obvious. The silent appearance from the Sorceress is unexpected and incredibly powerful. Her head is lowered, as if witnessing a funeral. And in truth, she is. The funeral is for He-Man. He-Man is dead. The sheer implication at the end of the episode's first act is breathtaking. This scene represents He-Man's greatest moment, the moment when the most powerful man in the universe questions himself. With the death of the villager He-Man's morals are challenged in the greatest of ways. Believing he has taken a life, the only ethical choice in his mind is to surrender the power of Grayskull. "The Problem With Power", particularly through this scene, confirms He-Man's character, his belief system, and his integrity. It is the undeniable goodness in his heart that makes He-Man the hero of Eternia. His actions validate the character, keeping him righteous and wise, but also making him fallible and human. We see the exterior, the interior, the thoughts, the feelings, the anger, the joy, the heroics, the personas, the morals, the mistakes, and the inner soul of He-Man. No other episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe comes even close to the emotional and dramatic power of this installment.

02 October 2013

30 YEARS - Top 30 GREATEST MOMENTS #3

On the 5th of September 1983 the animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe received its WORLD premiere in the UK! To celebrate 30 YEARS since this historic day I am counting down (on a daily basis) what I believe to be the 30 GREATEST MOMENTS of the Filmation series.

GREATEST MOMENT #3
Whilst in the abyss, Teela witnesses the power of Grayskull!
"Into the Abyss"



In an effort to encourage Prince Adam to train, Teela decides to combine work with fun and take him on a picnic, prompting him into a game of hide and seek. Teela gives Prince Adam a homing device so that if he gets lost, she can track him with her device. During the game, Teela finds a creature she names Pooki that follows her to Castle Grayskull. Pooki wonders close to the edge of the abyss, and when Teela picks him up, the ground crumbles and she falls into the abyss, knocking herself unconscious during the fall. Prince Adam returns to the Royal Palace, unable to locate Teela. Teela awakens to find that she has landed on a ledge deep within the abyss. Prince Adam, Man-At-Arms, and Orko manage to locate Teela thanks to the homing device, and when they realize she has fallen into the abyss. As Orko unsuccessfully attempts to save Teela, Prince Adam realizes that they must climb down into the abyss...

Prince Adam, under the gaze of Eternia's two moons, reaches for the Sword of Power, and raises it aloft. Deep down in the abyss, stood on a bony pedestal, Teela notices that the abyss appears to be stirring, rumbling with a strange sense of activity, "That's strange. I wonder what..." Far above, Prince Adam, stood by the edge of the abyss, calls upon the power of Castle Grayskull, and lightning explodes from the sword. A wide-eyed Teela looks on as large white hot bolts of magical energy dangerously descend past her, and into the nothingness below. As the last of the energy descends into the abyss, Teela is clearly perplexed as to what she has just witnessed. For a second or two the abyss falls eerily silent. Then, without warning, Teela once again hears the abyss stir, and an increasing threatening rumbling sound is all that can be heard. Peering over the edge of the bony pedestal Teela sees an incredibly bright wall of light slowly rising from out of the darkness below. To protect themselves from the blinding light, Teela and Pooki close their eyes, as the wall of light is revealed to be large white hot bolts of magical energy now ascending the abyss! Back above ground Prince Adam is bathed in the power of Castle Grayskull and transformed into He-Man, "I have the power!"

In an episode that relies solely on character development, the action sequences are thankfully few and far between. Although we are aware that Prince Adam must transform into He-Man in order to save Teela, none of us are prepared for the moment that the Sword of Power is raised to the heavens. The moment we see Prince Adam dramatically stood in front of the Eternian moons we know that something special is about to happen. More so because Adam does not utter a single word. Earlier in the episode He-Man states that the abyss is the source of Castle Grayskull's power. Thus when the abyss begins to react to Prince Adam's unsheathing of the sword, we realize we are about to witness something special. The idea that the mysterious abyss reacts to the transformation sequence is a genius piece of writing on the part of Robert Lamb. And the visuals in which we see the Sword of Power send surges of energy into the abyss, with it responding in an eruption of power is absolutely spine-tingling! It makes one fully realize the grand powers of He-Man and Castle Grayskull. With regards to Teela's part in the scene, the fact that Adam's transformation into He-Man practically occurs in front of her eyes is just a wonderfully beautiful concept. And the visuals in which we see the tiny figure of Teela surrounded by the power of Grayskull is an awesome sight to behold. Over the course of the series, as beautiful as it is, the transformation sequence would often be taken for granted. This scene reminds us how miraculous He-Man's powers are and how brilliant the transformation sequence is. No scene would ever again give us such an appreciation for the magic of Castle Grayskull! Particular mention has to go to Bob Forward who storyboarded this episode. He took it upon himself to make the opening scene of the transformation sequence incredibly memorable. It was clear that he understood the grandeur that the script required and deserved. Steve Clark's direction cuts no corners either, delivering a plethora of complicated special effects in order to show the connection between the transformation and the abyss. In his storyboards Bob Forward requested that everyone involved should "go all out on this one", implying he knew that if done right, this could be a very special scene indeed. Fortunately, everyone did go all out, and created one of the most memorable scenes in the history of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

01 October 2013

30 YEARS - Top 30 GREATEST MOMENTS #4

On the 5th of September 1983 the animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe received its WORLD premiere in the UK! To celebrate 30 YEARS since this historic day I am counting down (on a daily basis) what I believe to be the 30 GREATEST MOMENTS of the Filmation series.

GREATEST MOMENT #4
He-Man carries Teela off into the sunset.
"The Problem With Power"



At Snake Mountain Skeletor explains to General Tataran that he wants to use his physical lack of heart to his advantage. In the village of Zak, He-Man confronts Skeletor, but the villain taunts him, leading him in a chase around a poorly-constructed dimensional gate. Frustrated, He-Man punches the structure to get at Skeletor. When the rocks fall, they land on a villager, who is Tataran in disguise. Hearing no heartbeat, and convinced he has killed a man, He-Man transforms back into Prince Adam, and throws the Sword of Power into the abyss. Skeletor rebuilds the gateway and uses it to bring the Goblin army to Eternia. Without He-Man's presence, Teela volunteers to take a Mesotronic bomb in an attempt to destroy the dimensional gate. Learning of Skeletor's duplicity, Prince Adam finds the Sword of Power in the abyss and once more transforms into He-Man. Meanwhile, Teela confronts Skeletor with the Mesotronic bomb; the Goblins flee, but Skeletor stuns her. As He-Man arrives they realize the Mesotronic bomb's timer has started. Skeletor escapes the explosion, but He-Man and Teela are caught in the rubble. He-Man emerges and finds Teela seemingly lifeless...

He-Man picks up Teela's body, believing that he has been unable to save her. Lowering his head in sadness he quietly utters, "Oh no, Teela..." Teela stirs, commenting that she must've bumped her head, falling into unconsciousness. He-Man questions, "Teela, you're all right?" Teela, still in He-Man's arms playfully replies, "Why, He-Man, I didn't know you cared." He-Man exudes a sigh of relief, "I was worried." Teela chuckles to herself adding, "I'm fine. Let's go home." He-Man begins to carry Teela away from the rubble. Teela attempts to bring something to He-Man's attention, "Um, He-Man." "Yes, Teela", the most powerful man in the universe replies. Teela gently informs He-Man, "You can put me down now." He-Man responds, "If you don't feel up to walking, I could carry you back. It's no trouble." Teela assures, "He-Man, I'm fine. Trust me." As He-Man continues to carry Teela into the sunset he finds humor in her comment and replies, "I trust you, but to be on the safe side, maybe I should carry you part of the way." Teela wryly questions, "What good would carrying me part of the way do?" As He-Man walks towards the beautiful sunset with Teela still in his arms he attempts to answer, "I don't know. I just thought..." And with that, the pair disappear over the rise.

Throughout He-Man and the Masters of the Universe there was always the underlying sub-plot that both He-Man and Teela had feelings for one another. However, only a few episodes would briefly tackle the subject. Aside from Paul Dini explicitly having the characters state that they mean a great deal to one another in "Pawns of the Game Master", it was often simply hinted that a mutual attraction was present. These two characters clearly cared for one another, so as an audience we were all patiently waiting for the payoff. Thankfully, Bob Forward decided to end "The Problem With Power", an episode of incredibly tense drama, with a scene that rewarded us for having previously gone through a whirlwind of emotions. And it is a scene that the audience had all been crying out for since the two characters first appeared on screen together in "Diamond Ray of Disappearance". Bob Forward laces the final scene of the episode with such beautifully natural dialogue that it appears almost effortless for John Erwin as He-Man and Linda Gary as Teela to deliver. The two voice actors are clearly enjoying the exchange between the two characters, with the tone of affection sounding wonderfully real. Visually, the scene is perfect, with lovely expressions on the faces of both He-Man and Teela, and the backgrounds painted with such depth, that they compliment the romantic atmosphere. Very rarely did we ever get to see a sunset on Eternia. But in this scene it could not be more appropriate. There is no doubt that Teela is an incredibly strong-willed female lead character. However, we are happy to see her swept up into the arms of the most powerful man in the universe. The script does not allow her to be the recently-saved damsel in distress, even in this scene, as she continually questions He-Man's reasons for carrying her. Overall this scene is a lovely moment in which the two characters are clearly enjoying one another's company. Yes, the hero carrying the heroine into the sunset is somewhat of a cliché, but it is one that we celebrate!

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