By the power of Grayskull, Dark Horse will be producing mini-comics to be included in Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics line of toys. The project complements the Masters of the Universe line (MOTU for short) by continuing the series of mini-comics first introduced in the original, immensely popular He-Man toys of the 1980s. In his most famous incarnation as star of the “Masters of the Universe” cartoon series, He-Man was a Conan-esque hero of a land called Eternia and, in his alter ego of Prince Adam, was well-loved royalty of the same. Adam transformed into He-Man by means of a powerful magic sword, the opposite number of which was held by the demonic Skeletor, He-Man’s arch enemy. Combining the two swords would open the gates of Castle Greyskull, a goal Skeletor would attempt to achieve time and time again. The story presented in the mini-comics packed with the toys, which were produced before the cartoon, present a slightly different continuity, and of course, several follow-up toy lines, comics and animated series expanded the He-Man universe.
Tim Seeley, creator of “Hack/Slash” and recently-anointed “Witchblade” scribe, will write the mini-comics. CBR News caught up with the incredibly busy writer for an exclusive discussion of the project.
Tim, what is your history with “Masters of the Universe” as a fan?
Tim Seeley: I got my first MOTU figure on my sixth birthday. I loved the toy, but it was the accompanying comic book that really blew my young mind — I read it so many times, it fell apart! My parents and grandparents were nice enough to drop their hard-earned money at the local K-Mart over the next few years to keep me surrounded my little plastic dudes. I was hardcore. My brothers and I had all the figures between us, we watched the cartoon. Hell, I won tickets to see a sneak peak of “The Secret of the Sword” animated movie.
I sold all my MOTU toys when I was 13 to get money to hang out at the mall and be awkward with girls. But, by the time I was 19, I was buying MOTU figures at thrift stores and rummage sales. It took me 15 years, but I have the whole line, as a 34 year old nerd. My wife is not impressed. I’m also picking up the MOTU collector series Mattel is releasing.
I understand that these are mini-comics that will be packed in with Mattel’s new line of action figures. Is there anything unexpected or unusual about writing for this format?
You really have to write very economically, and you have to make sure to call out the specific characters and such. It is an ad for toys, after all.
Do you know which toys the comics will be included with?
I’m not sure!
What sort of stories are you writing? Are these origin stories for each character, pieces of a larger story (collect ’em all!) or something else?
These stories are finishing off the never-told story that was to be the new direction of the [original action figure] line, right before it was canceled.
For those who may be less familiar, what was going on in that storyline?
All the figures used to come with comics — those were their own thing, not really linked to the cartoon. Right before they canceled the line, they introduced a storyline called “The Powers of Greyskull.” This story has He-Man going to the past, to “Preternia,” where he encountered a proto-He-Man and would have encountered a whole new set of heroes. But the line disappeared, and we never got those toys. Now, Mattel is picking up those threads and tying the MOTU universe together. That’s the story our mini-comics tell.
So, basically, these mini-comics deal with “The Powers of Grayskull” line, which included some of my favorite figures — King Hsss, Tyrantisaurus Rex and the originally unreleased He-Ro. It ties the toy continuity to the “He-Man” line, also known as Preternia He-Man. It’s a tale hardcore fans have been asking for for years.
This is all part of Mattel’s Collector line, Masters of the Universe Classics. It’s its own thing, sort of “Ultimate” He-Man, blending continuities and cherry picking the best stories and ideas from MOTU history.
Who is the artist for these, or are there several artists?
It’s drawn by Wellinton Alves with covers by Eric Powell! Wellington has a modern look, kind of Top Cow/Dave Finch I guess. It’s not really a style we’ve seen on MOTU before, and I think it’ll please old and new fans.