29 March 2014

FILMATION ART: Missing Ax log.

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! Here I present a piece of original background artwork from the She-Ra episode "The Missing Ax". Those that know me will know I that I have a strong dislike for this episode of She-Ra in which the entire plot revolves around a missing ax, which technically was never missing. However, when I saw this background on sale I had to purchase it. The detail and composition of this piece is very impressive, with a wonderful use of color throughout. In typical Filmation fashion we see the tree painted in a unique color scheme, with numerous hues and highlights adorning it, helping to create a wonderful texture. I also enjoy owning this piece as it is from a pivotal moment of an episode I dislike!


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

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

26 March 2014

She-Ra Viewmaster #20

For your entertainment, over the course of the next month or so, I will present the rarely seen She-Ra Viewmaster reels. You will notice that even though this story attempts to tell a new story, there are numerous elements borrowed from the season one episode "Beast Island".

Text accompanying this image: The rescuers discover Angella.


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

24 March 2014

The Mutants strike!

Another beautifully-rendered Bruce Timm panel from "The Revenge of Skeletor!", a minicomic from The New Adventures of He-Man toyline! In these four action-packed, Jack Kirby-esque panels, we see Skeletor in the Terrorclaw, Flogg, Optikk, and Slushhead attacking the denizens of Primus without mercy. It should also be noted that each attack cleverly showcases each toy's primary action feature!


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

21 March 2014

Kazam transformation!

I remember as a kid absolutely loving this transformation sequence from the Masters of the Universe minicomic "Slave City!" I felt that this was one of the first times that the minicomics acknowledged the style of the cartoon, with the first panel being a clear homage, albeit reversed, to the transformation sequence from the Filmation show. Behind the scenes Mattel had dictated that the minicomics should reflect the style of the cartoon, given that the animated series was generating huge revenue for the toy company! One has only to look at the way in which the Sword of Power is illustrated to realize that the minicomics were now taking a different direction visually. That said, in later years I would come to miss the intricately-detailed style of the DC-produced minicomics.


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

19 March 2014

She-Ra Viewmaster #19

For your entertainment, over the course of the next month or so, I will present the rarely seen She-Ra Viewmaster reels. You will notice that even though this story attempts to tell a new story, there are numerous elements borrowed from the season one episode "Beast Island".

Text accompanying this image: Without her mask, the cat disappears.


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

17 March 2014

A brief review #048 - "Return of Evil"

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 "Return of Evil"...

What starts off as an episode with a great deal of promise, soon descends into bad character writing and poor staging. The mystery and threat that Aremesh presents is lost within seconds of his arrival. His design looks out of place in the series; as if he is a leftover from Filmation's Groovie Goolies. The regular cast are given some truly awful dialogue, and the ease of which the Evil Warriors enter and exit the Royal Palace soon becomes tiresome. The episode's most exciting scene, where it appears for one brief second that we are going to learn more about Orko, only helps to confuse us more. Sadly one of the series' most promising episodes miserably fails to deliver. 4/10

Now, may I ask; what is YOUR rating?

16 March 2014

Orko frozen.

In these hilariously-illustrated panels by Steve Hickner, from the He-Man episode "Return of the Gryphon", we see Orko trying to aid Man-At-Arms in the repairing of a freeze ray device. I particularly like the second panel with the pair shocked at what they know is about to happen! From looking at the many storyboards I own, Hickner clearly enjoyed illustrating Orko, as he always seemed to give the character a great deal of life. Something that was sadly not translated to the screen in his storyboards.


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

15 March 2014

She-Ra Viewmaster #18

For your entertainment, over the course of the next month or so, I will present the rarely seen She-Ra Viewmaster reels. You will notice that even though this story attempts to tell a new story, there are numerous elements borrowed from the season one episode "Beast Island".

Text accompanying this image: She-Ra holds up a mirror.


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

13 March 2014

The ultimate confusion!

The Masters of the Universe minicomic "The Ultimate Battleground!" introduced us to the Three Towers, more commonly known as the Eternia playset. However, while the concept made for a truly spectacular toy, the playset was awkwardly shoehorned in to many a canon. The minicomic managed to create some interesting, rather atmospheric stories around it. Sadly, this illustration at the very end of the minicomic made little to no sense. Here we see the Three Towers in all their glory, bookended by both Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain. I have no problem with it being in the vicinity of either location. However, I do have a problem with Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain appearing to be a short distance from one another! On the plus side, this piece is illustrated by Bruce Timm, so that should make us smile!


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

12 March 2014

The Evil Warriors attack!

Although we had to wait seven minicomics for it to happen, finally seeing Skeletor's Evil Warriors assembled for the first time in the Masters of the Universe minicomic "The Tale of Teela!" was well worth the wait! Before this highly memorable story, Mark Texeira had illustrated Beast Man, Trap Jaw, and Tri-Klops in separate minicomics, with only a few scenes featuring two of them together. However, this minicomic was the first time we see all there together, and best of all, Mer-Man makes his first appearance in the DC-produced minicomics! This illustration with the Evil Warriors launching themselves at Teela is a fantastic piece, and showcases why Texeira was chosen to illustrate these comic book-influenced minicomics!


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

11 March 2014

She-Ra Viewmaster #17

For your entertainment, over the course of the next month or so, I will present the rarely seen She-Ra Viewmaster reels. You will notice that even though this story attempts to tell a new story, there are numerous elements borrowed from the season one episode "Beast Island".

Text accompanying this image: "For the honor of Greyskull..."


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

10 March 2014

"Cat's Cradle"

As He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was developed into a series, the staff writers at Filmation came up with a wealth of proposed story premises. Numerous episodes were never developed beyond the early stages. Showcased below is one of those abandoned episodes, alongside a title card that I have created to show what might have been. Please note that in some of these synopses Orko is still referred to as Gorpo, Evil-Lyn as Desira, and the Evil Warriors as the Masters of the Universe. The Sorceress does not appear to have been fully developed at this point either; with many references instead to the Spirit of Grayskull. Also, Stratos is a villain; much like he was in the early Mattel material. All of the original spellings (Tee-La, Beastman, etc.) are also retained for authenticity.

The unofficial cartoon guide to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe features many more abandoned episodes!

"Cat's Cradle"
Cringer accidentally stumbles into one of Grayskull's Space Corridors and lands in the fortress of Beastman. To rescue his cat, He-Man must penetrate the mighty structure which is guarded by terrifying beasts of all descriptions.


* Legally I should say that J. Brynne Stephens did NOT write this episode. This is merely an example of how the episode title card might have looked.

08 March 2014

Timm's Skeletor in close-up.

Here is another illustration from "The Revenge of Skeletor!", a minicomic from The New Adventures of He-Man toyline! I love the sheer level of detail that the Bruce Timm puts into this piece, making Skeletor look incredibly imposing. This piece is another example of how Timm was influenced by the legenday Jack Kirby. And the coloring on this piece compliments Timm's line art perfectly, emphasizing every crack and crevice upon Skeletor's face.


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

07 March 2014

She-Ra Viewmaster #16

For your entertainment, over the course of the next month or so, I will present the rarely seen She-Ra Viewmaster reels. You will notice that even though this story attempts to tell a new story, there are numerous elements borrowed from the season one episode "Beast Island".

Text accompanying this image: Bow helps Glimmer.


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

05 March 2014

"Nightmares!" #3

Here I present an interesting story from issue sixteen of the UK Masters of the Universe Adventure magazine. "Nightmares!" is an interesting story in which Prince Adam finds himself the victim of terrifying dreams. The initial nightmare that featuers Skeletor and his Evil Warriors has a shockingly dramatic end from which Prince Adam awakens! The problem with this story is that it feels like it could have been much longer. The nightmare situation seems to be resolved very quickly, as if the writer ran out of room in which to tell the story! Here are the final three pages of this story...


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

04 March 2014

Fight me, villain!

Masters of the Universe minicomic artist Mark Texeira clearly enjoyed illustrating scenes of battle, as he always illustrated them with a level of great energy. Also, you'll notice that in a lot of his minicomics he would illustrate two characters dueling utilizing a landscape panel, as is the case with this wonderful piece from "The Tale of Teela!" As the Goddess and Teela duel in the background, we have a wonderful image of Skeletor with his glowing sword and energy shield defending himself against Man-At-Arms' brutal attack.


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

03 March 2014

She-Ra Viewmaster #15

For your entertainment, over the course of the next month or so, I will present the rarely seen She-Ra Viewmaster reels. You will notice that even though this story attempts to tell a new story, there are numerous elements borrowed from the season one episode "Beast Island".

Text accompanying this image: Glimmer is stunned by Catra's magic.


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

02 March 2014

"Nightmares!" #2

Here I present an interesting story from issue sixteen of the UK Masters of the Universe Adventure magazine. "Nightmares!" is an interesting story in which Prince Adam finds himself the victim of terrifying dreams. The initial nightmare that featuers Skeletor and his Evil Warriors has a shockingly dramatic end from which Prince Adam awakens! The problem with this story is that it feels like it could have been much longer. The nightmare situation seems to be resolved very quickly, as if the writer ran out of room in which to tell the story! Here are pages five to eight...


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

01 March 2014

FILMATION ART: Jaws of Darkness staircase.

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! Here I present a piece of original background artwork from the She-Ra episode "The Stone in the Sword". This piece showcases the staircase that leads from the Crystal Castle, through the Jaws of Darkness, all the way down to the Etherian underworld. While the line art on this background is not as detailed as what we have come to expect of Filmation backgrounds, the use of a solitary light source in this piece more than makes up for that fact. At the top of the staircase the light source highlights the texture on the wall on both sides, until the twisting staircase prevents the light source from reaching any further. Another reason to own this background is that it is from an incredibly memorable episode. Plus, this scene featured the comical sight of Adora and Kowl using a shield to descend a flight of stairs!


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

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

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