Heroic Warriors

Savage He-Man: Most mysterious man in the universe! (1983)

Anyone who has been collecting Masters of the Universe long enough has heard about the mysterious brown-haired He-Man figure that goes for so much money on eBay. He is often (and erroneously) called Wonder Bread He-Man, based on a long-running fan theory that he was sold as part of a promotion that Wonder Bread was running with Mattel. The promotion was actually for a series of He-Man trading cards featuring artwork by Errol McCarthy.

The figure itself is a He-Man figure with brown hair, a brown loin cloth, a black belt and black boots. He seems to have come with a random assortment of one or two of the maroon weapons that came with the special edition of Man-E-Faces (which in turn were refreshes of the accessories for Castle Grayskull). Sometimes he is sold with a black version of Zodac’s armor that was released in the 1984 Weapons Pak, however the Zodac armor doesn’t seem to have originally shipped out with this figure.

Image: Darren Fowler
Image source: Heritage Auctions
Image source: Heritage Auctions
Image source: Heritage Auctions
Image source: eBay
Image source: eBay

The most intriguing find so far comes from David and Darren Fowler, who first bought the figure about 17 years ago. Theirs is the only example known to date to come bagged with weapons and a buy three, get one free offer from Mattel. According to the offer, the purchases had to have been made between January 2, 1982 and June 30, 1983, and submitted proofs of purchase postmarked by July 15 1983. In the terms set out in the coupon, Mattel would send one random toy from the selected category (Barbie, Dazzle, Monchhichi, or Masters of the Universe). Those dates, plus the inclusion of the maroon Man-E-Weapons, makes me think this figure might have been released in 1983, even if it was actually manufactured earlier (it has a date stamp of 1981, like other first wave figures released in 1982).

The figure also has two manufacturing details that seem characteristic of figures that came out either late in 1982 or early in 1983. The first is his belly button, which is perfectly formed. Early 1982 He-Man figures had irregular-looking belly buttons, and starting sometime in 1983 they started doing away with the belly button altogether, so this version looks like those He-Man figures released in the middle, where the belly button was normalized. He-Man figures from that era also started having boots that were dipped in paint rather than sprayed, so the paint comes up all the way to the top of his boots, with no overspray. Savage He-Man has the “dipped” boots. For further reading on that topic, see this article.

Image: Darren Fowler
Image: Darren Fowler
Image: Darren Fowler
Image: Darren Fowler

To me this seems like the most plausible source for the mysterious Savage He-Man. However, the offer doesn’t specify what figure will be given, and there is no known packaging associated with it, so we really can’t be certain.

Other possible theories as to how it was sold include a Nestle Quick/Masters of the Universe promotion, a Jell-O/Masters of the Universe Promotion, and a promotion at the Children’s Palace. So far none of these has been confirmed – all we have so far is speculation.

Perhaps a more interesting question is why the figure was produced in the first place. Why would Mattel have produced a brown-haired He-Man with darker-colored boots and loin cloth? As you can imagine there are many theories. The most popular and persistent theory to date has probably been the notion that He-Man was originally Conan the Barbarian, and he was given a different paint job at the last minute so Mattel could reuse him for He-Man. And indeed, Conan Properties International (CPI) thought the same thing, and sued Mattel over it in 1984. CPI lost that case, partly because they were laying claim to some generic attributes that could also apply to a dozen different heroes in the sword and sorcery genre.

But more than that, the timeline just doesn’t support the notion that He-Man was a repainted Conan figure.  On April 24, 1981, there was an internal memo within Mattel urging negotiation for the Conan license. By May 5 a draft licensing agreement was secured, and by July 21 the agreement was finalized. From July 23 to September 21, 1981, Tony Guerrero worked on sculpting toys for the CPI license.  However, in January of 1982, Mattel, realizing that the movie was going to the opposite of kid-friendly, requested the termination of the CPI license agreement, and by April 14, 1982 the termination was finalized.

Long before Conan was even a twinkle in Mattel’s eye, work was underway on the He-Man project. Ultimately He-Man originated decades earlier in Mark Taylor‘s childhood drawings, but the character started to see serious development at Mattel by late November of 1980. Furthermore, almost every single character for the first wave of Masters of the Universe had been designed before Mattel entered into its agreement with CPI. (Of course, He-Man was certainly influenced by Conan – there is no question about that.)

Mark Taylor’s He-Man B-sheet design, dated April 6, 1982. Published by Super7 and The Power and the Honor Foundation.

However, that does not rule out the possibility that Savage He-Man was an attempt to reuse the original He-Man mold to make Conan toys. Mattel would do that whenever possible to save tooling dollars (as they did when they reused previous Big Jim and Tarzan molds to make Battle Cat, Panthor, Zoar and Screeech). And, as Savage He-Man’s colors do seem to roughly match Conan’s, this seems like a fairly plausible theory on the surface.

Update: however, court filings indicate that Mattel’s actual plan was to sculpt a new head and reuse the taller Big Jim bodies for the Conan line (thanks to jzguitars for the tip):

CPI and Mattel consummated their deal on July 31. In the meantime, Mattel’s employees had continued work on a Conan doll. Mattel’s marketing department decided early in June that Mattel should attach the Conan heads to the torsos of Mattel’s “Big Jim,” a doll with less exaggerated muscles, and a body closer to that of the average weightlifter (though not, apparently, to that of Arnold Schwarzenegger, see Affidavit of Mimi Shapiro ¶¶ 7-9 (May 19, 1988)). Memorandum from Joe Morrison to Mark Ellis (June 3, 1981). Guerrero then worked on the Conan doll from July 23, 1981, to September 21.

Conan Properties, Inc. v. Mattel, Inc., 712 F. Supp. 353 | Casetext Search + Citator

Some people are of the opinion that the figure itself is a hoax. I don’t think that’s plausible. While fakes do exist, authentic versions of this figure have the look of a mass-produced toy. The loin cloth is molded (not painted) in a shade of brown plastic that doesn’t exist in any other Masters of the Universe figure. Most of them seem to have some fairly unique mold artifacts in that area as well (shared by some versions of Prince Adam). And finally, the figure has shown up in large figure lots where the seller doesn’t seem to be aware that the figure has any special value.

Skepticism is understandable. After all, Mattel has not found any records of this figure or its promotion, and no former employees to date seem to remember it (including Martin Arriola). Still, the physical evidence alone strongly suggests this is an authentic Mattel figure.

Authentic Savage He-Man figures seem to generally have the following characteristics in common (images courtesy of Arkangel):

Another theory is that Savage He-Man was just a way of getting rid of some extra test run He-Man figures that were produced in alternate colors.. And to be sure, there is a test shot example out there that is reminiscent of the Savage He-Man, although his loin cloth is molded in black rather than brown. However, test shot examples from the factory are generally produced in very small numbers, certainly not enough to account for the number of Savage He-Man figures we find in the vintage toy market.

Image courtesy of Mern-Ra

A similar theory holds that this was perhaps an alternate color scheme for He-Man that Mattel was toying with but ultimately rejected. That’s certainly possible, although that color scheme doesn’t match either of the B-sheet designs that were done for He-Man, and it doesn’t match the colors on any of the known prototypes, or at least not the prototypes that would have been anywhere close to toy production.

Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation
Early He-Man sculpture by Tony Guerrero. Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation
Image source: He-Man.us

Yet another theory is that Savage He-Man may have something to do with Buzz-Off. As I’ve discussed in an earlier article, Buzz-Off’s prototype actually had a brown-haired He-Man head, with a bee mask that would go over it. Of course the mock-up also had Zodac arms and legs, so this is by no means a slam dunk. For more on that, see this video by Alternative Mindz.

Image Source: The Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog

One of my favorite theories, advanced by mozartpc27, is that Savage He-Man was actually an early version of Prince Adam, made before Filmation finalized the purple, white and pink look. Despite being released in 1984, the trademark claim for Prince Adam was filed May 23, 1983, earlier than any other third wave figure. In fact, the claim was filed the same month as Faker.

Perhaps Adam was meant to be a late 1983 figure with brown hair, but development on the look of Prince Adam for the Filmation cartoon caused Mattel to scrap their plans, leaving them with a number of brown-haired Prince Adams to deal with. There are even early versions of Prince Adam with the same mold artifacts as Savage He-Man (hat tip to Tokyonever):

Image source: Calendor

However, it should be noted that the earliest pre-Filmation comic book depiction of Prince Adam gives him brownish-tan boots (subsequent versions had blue and yellow boots or red boots), and blond hair. So if this was Prince Adam, it was a somewhat novel color scheme.

At the end of the day, we really don’t know which of these theories is right, or even if any of them are right. And, frustratingly, we may never know the truth.

If you’re interested in reading more about the topic, there is an epic, 2600-post thread spanning 14 years on the He-Man.org forums. Give it a read if you’ve got ten hours to spare.

Update: An intriguing video recently surfaced, shared by Hong Kong Kilnt. It’s a claymation sequence from a movie featuring Masters of the Universe characters, including what appears to be Savage He-Man.

You can watch the full movie here (thanks to Dušan Mitrović for the link).

Update: I also thought I should share some childhood photos by Chris Douglas that show Savage He-Man sitting in Night Stalker:

Update 2: Manic Man (from the comments below) mentions that in the Japanese versions of Mattel’s Dino-Riders toyline, blue-eyed and blond-haired figures were often repainted with darker hair and eyes. So it’s also possible that Savage He-Man was recolored for the Asian market. Perhaps Mattel did a test run of He-Man in these alternate colors before abandoning the idea. It seems as reasonable a theory as any.

Further reading: http://blog.timlybarger.com/2012/11/wonder-bread-he-man-savage.html

Update 3 (11/11/2020):

Former Masters of the Universe Classics brand manager Scott Neitlich adds some additional evidence from Mattel archives, indicating that Savage He-Man (or Special Edition He-Man, as it’s described in letters) did indeed come out in 1983, was offered through a buy-3-get-one-free offer, and that the coloring was intended to make the figure special, so kids didn’t get an exact duplicate of a figure they already had. In retrospect this seems like the simplest possible explanation.

The letters referenced in Scott’s video (copied from the video):

Some additional buy 3 get one free offer advertisements from Dinosaur Dracula:

And here is an advertisement for the actual Meijer Thrifty Acres promotion referenced in the correspondence about Savage He-Man/Special Edition He-Man. Special thanks to Tallstar for finding this.

Update 4 (11/25/2023): After a careful search, I would also like to note that 04/14/1983 is the date of the first “Buy 3 Get 1 Free” offer newspaper ad. Interestingly, the first Faker newspaper ad came out 04/17/1983, meaning that Faker and Savage He-Man came out at about the same time.

Update 5 (05/09/2024): another fascinating find has surfaced. Rick Hale, in the Facebook group He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Collectors Group, shared the following:

“Hey folks. So my mom was cleaning out her garage and found a sealed brown envelope with a 1983 timestamp. She opened it and found a He Man inside. I was majorly into He Man in the early 80s and remember standing in front of the tv when the show would come on and stripping down to my white t-shirt to call on the power of Castle Greyskull! Anyways, this thing is still sealed and this is the original mailer. I’ve blocked out mom’s address (and it’s now with me in KY anyway). I looked this up on eBay and apparently it’s rare and carries a significant price tag. I’m curious for feedback on what this could be worth? Still sealed, original mailer. Thanks!”

So here we have what appears to be Savage He-Man, not only sealed in his baggie, but still containing the original brown mailer envelope from Mattel, sent out July 12, 1983, right in the correct time frame for the figure. Thanks to Rick for allowing me to share his images here!

Want to support the blog? Consider becoming a Patreon supporter. You’ll also gain access to exclusive content and early access to articles and videos. Thank you!

55 thoughts on “Savage He-Man: Most mysterious man in the universe! (1983)

      1. Eh? It’s wasn’t meant to be He-Man. It’s a prototype figure for Bug-Off and He-Man head was only a temporary placeholder.

        1. I know. Was just saying it would have been a different take with him having a human head and I agreed that it would be neat to have a custom figure of it…

  1. Another great and awesome read!!! I had always heard the Conan story but I think now I like the Prince Adam theory the most. Especially if it was like the comic you talked about a couple months ago about He-Man being from a savage tribe and gaining the power of Greyskull…sorry to paraphrase.

    1. Thanks Targo! I favor the Prince Adam theory too, but honestly, I have no idea what the real answer is. Maybe someday we’ll find someone who worked at Mattel who remembers this.

  2. I’m never convinced on the Prince Adam idea.. they were far enough along to have a production run but changed there minds.. the lack of the plug is very interesting.. It’s not a Test shot as.. well, if you know about Test shots, the lack of plug make sense but that’s about it. production paint etc is just stupid. also they don’t make that many..

    Personally, I would forget the buy 3 voucher as probably not original with it BUT suggest the idea they aren’t American. Okay, I know they aren’t made in America but Knock-off. Mexcio or Argentina. Both have a history of figures which are just little plastic bags with a cardboard tag. the Lack of the plug, slightly debatable quality control, mold damage (though such damage does, as you point out, happen as the range goes on (Heavy use/reuse of a mold always leads to damage)).

    of course, being such a widely discussed issue, not too much more can probably be added.. though at the same time, a lot of issues became confused with ‘mis-remembered’ facts from childhood (over 30 years ago) and people that don’t quite know how things work adding ideas (though i’m not the biggest expert in the world, I know enough to say it’s not a test shot, and find it odd that soo many were made (which hints at production run) of something which had not been finished to a set degree.. you don’t make a production run of a few hundred for a figure which you haven’t agreed the colours for. there should be at least a hand painted mock up before. Also, come on.. Mattel isn’t known for wasting money on these things..

  3. I kind of hope that the mystery is never resolved. The answer can only serve to disappoint.

    Who built Castle Grayskull? Oh, King Grayskull did. Boo.

    Who is the Unnamed One? Oh, it’s an edgy goth Orko. Boo.

    What does Horde Prime really look like? Oh, it’s just another Hordak but red. Boo.

    Let some mysteries stay mysteries!

    1. I do like mysteries to stay mysterious when it comes to story telling. But I’d be excited to learn the real story about this figure. At best we seem to be able to rule some theories out, but never actually confirm the most plausible theories

  4. When I was a kid me and my brother had gotten these mail figures with proof of purchase it was completely random on what one you got I got the maneweaponds and my brother got the He-Man. The figure came in a package no box you open them up and there were in just a plain clear bag. The He-Man only had the ax and sword no armor. From my research these figures were from the run of trial figures during or just before the lawsuit with Conan was settled they knew they couldn’t sell these figures so then came the wonderbread promotions. I believe the wonderbread was separate but could have been joint but I was kid all I remember was the proof of purchase we mailed away for them. Wonderbread was for the cards but that was long ago

    1. okay.. sorry but.. no.. your research might have said about the Conan issue but.. no.. you do know that you are basically saying, Mattel, after they got the rights to the Conan film, decided to change He-man to have Brown hair (unlike Conan’s Black hair) and that hair colour was a major legal problem due to a law suit with the then license holders of Conan.. the earlier more ‘Conan’ version (as they call it) had a completely different head with a molded helmet (something which Conan.. erm.. didn’t wear in any story that I remember, and not much in the related comics/toys/films etc).. plus, as pointed out, there is the mold degrading on the figure. that means the mold had been used a number of times and was starting to ware.. ALL Molds do this. If you do your own home resin casting, this will happen after a short amount. If you use the big time Steel molds, this will happen later but with the amount of figures being produced, probably a few years into the range it’ll start to appear. By the time Prince Adam was made as a figure, the mold was starting to degrade. Mattel would have the option to either make a new mold (steel molds aren’t cheap but pretty much the best for such cases) or try to repair the mold. repairing is not nice really.

      Since mattel loved being pretty cheap in it’s re-use of parts, the probably made a few copies of some of the molds in sets, so they had a number of arms, a number of legs etc. but due to how production works, they probably had a he-man set which had all the parts, a man-at-arms set which had a second copy of the molds of any shared parts etc. He-man was pretty much kept in production for every year they range was going. as Noted, the mold damage level is the same as for the Prince Adam run, but which appears fixed for later runs (i’ll need some really great images of various he-man figures to see when the damage was fixed or replaced, or what extra mold damage was done).

      This damage does give the rough time the mold was from. it was clearly AFTER He-man started production. which was after any major fuss with Conan. So the law suit period is completely out.. plus, you think ‘giving them away’ as a promotion (which is more high profile as that is the point of promotions) would be okay when they thought they legally couldn’t sell them? ehuh..

      again, you say what you remember from being a kid.. I’m not doubting things like that BUT its not a safe thing to go with. I can name tons of things that large amounts of people remember from when they were kids but was totally wrong. and I do mean LARGE groups.. thousands of people having the same memories which are WRONG. I remember a number of things from my childhood.. some are true. Some are true to what I believed at the time. Some have gaps filled in by other stuff going on (TV, newspapers, comics etc) as this is how the human brain works. unless you can provide you have 100% total recall which is.. well, even people with photographic memories don’t have it, cause it’s pretty much impossible) then saying ‘I remember from 30 years ago’ is not a statement of fact. sorry

    1. Hi there, I might be able to do something like that. There are some question marks still, though.I know Martin Arriola designed the sticker for Faker, but I don’t know whose idea it was to do Faker in the first place, or who chose the colors (Mark Taylor designed the source material of course). I haven’t researched every toy yet, but I’ll look into doing something like this.

  5. The answer if clear. These figures are time remnants that survived alterations in the timeline after a temporal incursion(s) by unknown parties.

  6. stupid point but just re-reading this made mf think of something… a number of toys of humans when imported into japan in the 80s (okay, top of my head I can only think of Dinoriders, but I know there ARE others) did a bit of localizing with there paint jobs etc. sometime Mold colours.. Pretty much all blonde, blue-eyed Dinoriders turned into Brown haired dark eyed characters.
    Of course, not all blonde characters had this done, but a fair number. Most likely due to Blonde not being a Asian natural colour..

    seeing the video clipped jogged my memory on that… The theory might not hold much weight, but since it has been known and done around the time

    1. Hi Manic Man – that’s actually a really interesting theory. If you don’t mind I’ll update the article to include your idea. We may never know the real reason, but that strikes me as a plausible idea – a run of alternate color He-Man figures intended for the Asian market. Why not?

      1. go ahead
        and while it’s not Mattel, since it has been known and done it makes it a bit better then a complete wild stab in the dark with nothing to back it up..

  7. I believe it all happened.
    A cheap batch for non-US got cancelled and then promo’ed out in US.
    They seem to appear in attic collections in US. It would be interesting to see a map of discovery locations or claims.

  8. Since nobody at Mattel seems to know where it come from, my personal (and totally not serious) theory is that he is the He-Man from an alternate universe and a batch of his figures phased into ours (insert “Twilitgh Zone” theme) XDXDXD And that in the same alternate universe, people are asking themeself the same questions about a misterious blonde haired He-Man figure XDXD

  9. I brought home THREE of them on loan from a childhood neighbor in the 1980s, during the height of the cartoon. Name was Andy Kessler I believe. His friend Jared was my friend too, so Jared facilitated the loan at Andy’s house. Andy REFUSED to tell me how or were he got the figures (why?), just that he just received them. I am not sure if he told Jared to keep it a secret. but Jared acted like he knew the big secret and how I could not buy them.

    If any of you have the motivation, send him a Facebook message https://www.facebook.com/jared.katcher (I am not on FB).

  10. I got mine from a grocery store promotion in late 83(?) I was wearing a jacket, so it was cold out. Could have been early 84. I remember it vividly because my friend Wayne got a Hot Wheels toy.

    The promo was something like ‘buy three gallons of milk and get a free toy’. My mom got her groceries and I begged her to get whatever was required for the toy. It came in a clear plastic bag with a sword, but not the regular He Man sword.

    I told my friend Wayne about it the next day and his mom took him to the store but the only free toys left were Hot Wheels. I don’t remember if it was carded or not, but it was one of the Dukes of Hazzard cars, Boss Hoggs’ Cadillac.

    I asked my mom which store that was and she said it was either an A&P or an IGA. It was originally an A&P but changed to an IGA in the mid eighties.

    I never liked my fake He Man. I didn’t know anything about him so he was always kind of hanging around being swallowed by the Fright Zone snake or chained up on Snake Mountain.

    1. Thanks very much for sharing your story! This is the second time I’ve heard it associated with a grocery store promotion.

  11. So, am I understanding that there a Man-E-Faces mail in offer, too, then?

    Maybe, due to the popularity of the line, they ran out of the premium figure (Man-E-Faces) during the promotion, and just sent whatever was in the warehouse — and it sounds like Savage Wonder Bread Man was the result of a goof up in production regarding colorization of elements.

    Maybe that’s why the promotion was partly started, to drive sales and get rid of the production mistake batch.

  12. Hello, thank you for this blog; I only came across it during this coronavirus quarantine, and it has killed a number of hours quite enjoyably and resurrected my nostalgia for He-Man. I don’t have any memories of this figure (I’m 42, so would have been just five, although that is indeed when I bought my first figure).

    My thought was about the coupon. Sometimes promotional deals (speaking generally about any number of industries) are made by mid-level sales and marketing folks, even regional wholesalers, who have little or no communication with corporate folks.

    A number of collectors talk about how Mattel doesn’t have records of it—by that I assume they mean from the corporate folks in Hawthorne/El Segundo. The coupon has an address in City of Industry, however. Was that a Mattel facility? If not, who owned it? I wonder if it’s possible to get a list of 1983 employees who worked at that facility and talk with some of them.

    The whole thing also makes me remember how Sears and other retailers would have exclusives that were repaints in the G.I. Hoe and Star Wars lines (hence blue Walrus Man). Do we know the history of those? Maybe they have similar provenances, even the same marketer working for different toy companies or different retailers.

    Given that adults from the era are now mostly 65 years older and up, the answer may never be determined if it isn’t done in the next several years.

  13. One other thought. What do we know about the other giveaway items (Barbie, etc.)? Perhaps someone at Mattel with a memory of other components of the promotion would be able to offer some additional insight.

  14. Hasn’t anyone ever asked the guys running Mattel at the time? They’ve made a He-Man documentary and the episode of “The Toys that made us”. Maybe he was an early version of Faker.

  15. Regarding the Prince Adam theory — any chance it was an attempt to do a figure based on the Jungle Man version? I know the hair color’s wrong, but seeing the bare chest and brown loincloth reminded me of him.


  16. Hi!

    Regarding the story of the figure, I would have to say the revelation of being released as promotion on 1983 still doesn’t actually reveal the true origin of the figure. That it was actually created on 1983 as a cheap He-man repaint to be given for free is still just one of the possible hypothesis. The theories pointing about a possible way of Mattel of getting rid of extra figures previously created and rejected, is still possible and not actually debunked, as many people seems to be assuming.

    I have a question, regarding the date of the promotion. The article says “According to the offer, the purchases had to have been made between January 2, 1982 and June 30, 1983”. So why the dating for the release of Savage He-Man is being assumed as 1983? Shoudln’t it be Januray 1982-June 1983?

    Besides, the video of Scott Neitlich where he told his hypothesis, has a couple of plot-holes that I would love to be resolved. I say this with total respect to the man, of course. But on one point he says the Savage He-Man couldn’t have been designed as portraying Conan because the movie was released AFTER 1983, that is, after the release of Savage Heman. Well… the first Conan the Barbarian movie was released on 1982. And even before 1982 Mattel was indeed creating a Conan toyline, so… I really don’t understand the logic of such argument, and in my opinion it doesn’t debunk the hypothesis of being originally a rejected Conan figure using the mold of Heman to save costs (as this article also points as a possibility).

    Besides, since Mattel decides in January 1982 to cancel the Conan toyline, and the promotion to give free figures actually has the starting date of January 1982… Well.

    Finally, Neitlich defends all the brown weapons were supposedly repainted on 1983 for the 1983 Savage Heman, then since the SH was cancelled on the promotion because of the critics, Mattel gave all his weapons to Man-E-Faces. But, wait, so was Savage Heman suppossed to be released with all those? The shield and the gun too? Wasn’t Savage Heman supposeed to come only with the axe and the sword?

    I tried to contact Neitlich himself to discuss these questions, but also I wanted to share those with you, to know your opinion.


    1. Okay, so the promotion dates: looking at the actual document more carefully, I’m not sure if the date is Jan 1 1982 or 1983 – it’s low resolution. Regardless, that would be the date that the consumer bought the toys for proof of purchase, not necessarily the date the promotion was running.

      A careful search of newspaper archives reveals the actual promotion associated with Savage He-Man only starts being advertised April 1, 1983. Man-E-Faces is advertised as early as Feb 1983, and there is an ad for the version with the extra weapons in March 1983. Scott’s theory is interesting, but so far it looks like the evidence is the maroon weapons were first released with Man-E-Faces.

      The Conan talks were early enough that Mattel wouldn’t have needed to wait for the movie to come out. However, Savage He-Man has the physical characteristics of a 1983 release figure – meaning his boots are “dipped” not sprayed, he has a corrected belly button, and he has a flat spot under his belt that only shows up in some 1983 figures. I think that means he’s too late to have been an early, discarded repaint for Conan. Mattel would have abandoned the Conan project before this figure was made.

      As far as what weapons Savage He-Man came with, it doesn’t appear to be consistent. Some seem to have come with axe and sword, some with nothing at all. I heard of one coming with only the shield. It may have been randomized, consistent with Scott’s claim on that point.

      Hope that’s helpful!

  17. Hi again!
    Doing some little research I found some info that hopefuly you could find interesting:

    about the theory of Savage Heman being conceived as an early version of Adam with brown hair. The first depiction of Adam in DC Comics presents #47 “From Eternia — With Death” (already BLONDE and with noble blue outfit) is dated July 1982 as cover date (it has such date on the cover and below on the first comic page).
    But such date is actually not even the actual date of release, since for some reasons comics have a cover date with is about 3 months later than the actual date they were sold on stores (don’t really understand why, but apparently that’s the case). Check out the “on-sale date” on this link (you can also compare the “cover dates” with the “on-sale dates” on the timeline of that collection):


    Since the Savage Heman as you described, belongs to a mold that was created circa… late 1982? couldn’t we assume that date would be also too late for it being conceived as an early Adam, being the blonde Adam already appeared on the DC comic on july?

    Actually, what would be the stimated date for that 2nd mold with perfect belly buttons? Mid 1982? Late 1982?

    If the wave 1 was released on 2 subwaves, and the 2nd wave (Teela, Stratos, Zodac, Merman) released on mid 1982 (right? any stimated month for those?), then I guess the re-release of the wave 1 with perfect belly buttons and dipped boots would be from late 1982?

    Please correct me if any of those guesses is wrong.

    Finally, my last question (and always asking to your educated guessing) is, would you consider the Savage Heman a figure from the Wave 1? (A late wave 1, that is). Or would you consider it a figure from the Wave 2 (Evyl-Lyn, Ram-Man, Triklops, etc)
    Are the wave 2 figures using that 2nd mold with perfect belly buttons too, or not? (Cause if they aren’t, then we would need to consider Savage Heman belonging to the late wave 1, right?)

    Thanks again!

  18. Without getting too into it I think it’s very simple. Conan dolls existed. Conan dolls were not perfected necessarily. Conan dolls were brown haired He-man dolls. I hate the term dolls as well. So they had to get rid of these figures. Just like the corn industry has to sell it’s corn production sewage to be turned into corn alcohol and then corn syrup. Just like Mattel wanted to reuse Tarzan junk to make battle cat and panthor. They DEFINITELY had a meeting at Mattel in the early 80s. Prior to 83. And they asked the question “what do we do with these Conan figures?”. And one little genius said “AHA! WE could run a promotion!” and the director said “I’m listening”. And the rest is history. They used their bad lemons to make special limited offer lemonade and it promoted the lemonade stand. Now my query is what armor was that savage he-man wearing in that black and white photo?

  19. It would seem obvious (by how he looks) that he’s based on He-Man’s early mini comic appearance before he gets the power sword etc from the Green Godess. This barbarian is ‘Adam’.

  20. Hallo again and thanks for the info and help. Does anyone know of a he man figure ) other than the wonderbread he man ) that is marked Mattell 1981 Taiwan ?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.