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.


Mini-Comic Report: He-Man & The Insect People

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This wasn’t what I was planning to do but the intended project fell through. So here’s a repost of a mini-comic review I did this week over at the other site.

After the Filmation series became a way of selling kids on the Masters Of The Universe figures, Mattel parted ways with DC and started their own comic. In a previous installment I looked at the tail-end of that run. Tonight we look at the first…that I saw anyway. He-Man And The Insect People isn’t the first mini-comic appearance of Prince Adam. That would be an adaptation of the episode “Dragon’s Gift”, the beginning (I think) of Michael Halperin’s run on the mini-comics. The comic we’re looking at tonight is the first comic I picked up from his run.

Even though Halperin’s first comic was an actual adaptation of the episode (and some of the character designs and story elements reflect this), there are a few changes…although that’s all on the artist’s side, since I don’t think he watched the show.

Masters Of The Universe He-Man and the Insect People

Is Mekaneck doing the He-Man pose?

Masters Of The Universe Series 3 #4

Mattel (1983)

“He-Man And The Insect People”
WRITER: Michael Halperin
ARTIST: Alfredo Alcala
PACKAGED WITH: Battle Armor He-Man, Beast Man, Buzz-Off, Mekaneck and Prince Adam. I probably got mine with Prince Adam since I didn’t have any of the other figures.


Mini-Comic Report: He-Man Vs. Ram-Man


There’s a reason why He-Man Meets Ram-Man is one of my two favorite Masters of the Universe mini-comics and it’s all personal. Oh, the story is good ,but there’s a more personal connection to this one and the one that came with Man-E-Faces. I received both figures, and naturally the comics that came with them, from my grandparents the same Christmas that my grandmother was in the hospital. Now she lived through a few more Christmases but in some way they help connect me to her.

As for the story itself, I seem to recall the events actually showed up later in the show but I don’t remember the episode and all attempts to find it met with a dead end so maybe I dreamed it. And before anyone asks, yes I know “The Dragon’s Gift” was adapted into the mini-comics but that’s not what I’m thinking of. I think Ram-Man was telling the story to someone as an example or parable or something.

Like the other images, this comes from Because my copy is VERY well-read.

Like the other images, this comes from Because my copy is VERY well-read.

Masters Of The Universe: “He-Man Meets Ram-Man”

DC Comics/Mattel (1982)

WRITER: Gary Cohn
PENCILER: Mark Texeri
INKER: Tod Smith
COLORIST: Anthony Tolin
no credits given for letter or editor