Book Review: He-Man & The Masters Of The Universe: The Newspaper Comic Strips

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In the 1980s one of the biggest toylines was Masters Of The Universe, a sword-and-sorcery fantasy series with a hint of science fiction with advanced fighting machines and Skeletor’s original origin being a space alien who wanted to open a doorway so his people could conquer Eternia, with himself as ruler. The lore changed over the years with the addition of DC Comics and later the animation studio Filmation, who added a secret identity for the hero, He-Man, and created a lot of what we know about He-Man, his allies, and his enemies. Additionally there were books, some of which came with adapting audio dramas, and of course the minicomics that came with the figures. Most people know about all of these, but did you know there was also a comic strip? I didn’t until a friend of mine bought me this collection for my birthday one year.

The Masters Of The Universe newspaper strips (He-Man added to the name later) was Mattel trying to find a new avenue to promote their toyline. While a pitch strip was created (which included the famed Stan Sakai among them) it was deemed too expensive but a new team would still arrive to bring the comic into existence. Jim Shull wrote the first story, with Chris Weber (edited by his wife, Karen Willson) taking over for the rest of comic’s run. Gerald Forton was the artist and Connie Schurr as colorist were there for the entire run. Despite having an international release the comic has gone largely unknown even within the fandom.

Enter Danielle Gelehrter, who talked Val Staples, head of the fan website He-Man.Org and a fellow collaborator on a Masters Of The Universe art book for Dark Horse Comics, into working on bringing the strips to a full collection. This required the effort of many fans who did know about the comics to find the original strips, translate the ones they could only find in Spanish or Greek (among other languages), create a font based on Forton’s handwriting for consistency, and convert it all to digital. Weber and Willson also helped out with the years they were able to keep on hand, and finally the strips were restored and put into the collection above. I’ve already reviewed the individual stories on my other site but this is a look at the book itself.

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Transformers Dinobots Airraptor (Beast Machines period)

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Now it’s time to get into the few Dinobots I have (from the Beast Machines period) that were originally part of the Beast Wars Neo line. Some of them were altered modes of previous Beast Wars dinosaur modes but there were a few originals and I only picked up a small number of those. Airraptor was based on the Neo figure Archadis. The alternate mode of choice is an archaeopteryx, which is not one of the more well-known dinosaurs but one that was always considered more bird like even when the consensus was still that dinosaurs were reptiles. How do you turn one of these into a robot?

This is also when a few other details were added. As a later Beast Wars toy Archadis and thus Airraptor has a “spark crystal”, which I can’t really show you in these pictures but I’ll show with the next figure. The Dinobot spark crystals replaced the Predacon symbol with an original Dinobots faction symbol, although the Dinobots were referred to as Maximals in the bios and instructions. They never showed up in the television shows but did appear in the convention comics and more recently in the IDW comics where their origins are completely different from the original concept, but that’s another conversation. Let’s take a look at the toy.

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No Report This Week

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I was hoping to continue my Dinobot Transformers this week but other projects and family requirements didn’t allow for that. A new report hopefully next week.

Transformers Report: Dinobots T-Wrecks

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While the Dinobots were a popular team from the original years of the Transformers toyline (referred to by fans as “G1”, short for “Generation One”, as opposed to the later “Generation Two”) they are not the only ones to bear the name. In Beast Wars you had Dinobot, one character, and during the time of Beast Machines another toyline came out called Dinobots. These were also original characters, but using molds from the Beast Wars and Japan-exclusive Beast Wars Neo figures. While not appearing on any of the shows they did appear in convention-exclusive comics, which told of their being formatted into dinosaurs because reasons. Or maybe I’m just forgetting the reason.

The leader of this band of Dinobots was T-Wrecks, a redeco of Beast Wars Megatron’s first dinosaur mode, a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Having never had Megatron’s toy in this mold (although I do have the original alligator and his other dinosaur and dragon forms, I was really looking forward to this version. Was it worth the wait?

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