Artwork, Cardbacks

Top Toys cardbacks & cross sell art

Special thanks to Martin Alejandro Salinas for sending me all of the Top Toys cardback scans used in this article and providing some background information as well.

Typically the cross sell art used on the backs of Top Toys cards was the same as what appeared on US cards. One exception to that is Jitsu, where a photograph (mirror reversed) of the toy was used rather than artwork:

Another interesting difference is Two Bad. Although the artwork is the same as was used on US cards, Two Bad was grouped with the Evil Horde:

Below we have Zodac’s card, which is similar to the US reissue card, but the layout of cross sell art characters is changed, and it also includes larger toys like Castle Grayskull and Battle Cat:

By comparison, here is the US version of Zodac’s 1983 cardback.

Here is a selection of additional cardbacks from various Top Toys figures. One note is that the Trap Jaw cross sell art is the “jawless” version that appeared in later US cardbacks as well as on the backs of many of the US minicomics.

Another interesting note: Hordak’s cardback includes a blurred-out section for the Evil Horde faction on the back, with a message saying the the Evil Horde would arrive soon. Martin notes that Grizzlor, whose silhouette is visible in the blurred image, was never produced in Argentina.

Finally, Martin says that at the tail end of the line in Argentina, Toy Toys began using generic cards for figures. On the backs of those cards they used artwork from the cover of first issue of the Star Comics Masters of the Universe series. The name of the figure would be announced on the front with a sticker, since it wasn’t printed on the actual card.

Image via He-Man.org

Because there were no instructions for the toy printed on the back of the card, they would include a black and white printout of the instructions inserted in the bubble with the figure:

Thanks again to Martin for the wonderful scans and background information. This website would not be half as comprehensive as it is without contributions from fans like Martin!

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Cardbacks

MOTU Cardbacks: 1988

Recently one of my connections on social media was asking if there was a resource of all of the vintage cardbacks collected somewhere. While most of them are scattered throughout my site, I thought it might be helpful to collect them in one place.

There are lots and lots of cardback variants, both by country and by release order. My objective isn’t to provide every single last variant (and I certainly do not have scans or photos of them all). My objective is to do all the US cardbacks, and any major variants. Major variants would include things like 8-back vs 12 back reissue versions of the earliest cardbacks, or any major updates to the artwork on the scene at the top or the illustrated instructions on the back of the card. I generally won’t provide variants based on different cross sell art featured on the cardback. For example, a 1983 He-Man 12-back would have different cross sell art compared to a 1984 He-Man 12-back. The character selection changed to reflect whatever was new for the year.

Let’s define cardbacks: for my purposes this won’t include the backs of boxes on large items like Castle Grayskull or Battle Ram. You can find those in my previous “Box Art From A-Z” series. This is the back of the individual figures on blister cards, for the most part. I’ll also include the cardbacks of smaller accessories like Jet Sled, since the back of the packaging was in a very similar format to the standard figures. I’ll also include the backs of the Modulok and Multi-Bot packages, for the same reason. I’m not including gift sets with the regular carded figures – I plan to do a separate article about those later.

I’ll sort the cardbacks in chronological release order to the best of my knowledge. Please note, however, that some figures, like He-Man and Skeletor, were released at the same time. From 1986 to 1987, many figures featured artwork on the front of their cards, so I’ll include shots of the front as well.

Photos and scans in this article come from: He-Man.org

1988 only had two carded figures, released in Europe only (the giants were released in boxes rather than on cards). However, I will include the card art for the “lost wave” of figures that had been planned for 1988, but were not released.

Laser Power He-Man

1-back action scene art: Unknown
Cross sell artwork: Unknown
SKU Number: 7060

Laser Power He-Man was released on a deluxe-style card, and features artwork on the front and back. I don’t have confirmation on who the artists were, unfortunately. The only cross sell artwork on the back is for Laser-Light Skeletor.

Laser-Light Skeletor

1-back action scene art: Unknown
Cross sell artwork: Unknown
SKU Number: 3024

Laser-Light Skeletor was released on a deluxe-style card, and features artwork on the front and back. The artwork on front appears to be by Bruce Timm, however I don’t know who did the scene on the back. The only cross sell artwork on the back is for Laser Power He-Man..

Laser-Light Skeletor artwork from the front of the card (by Bruce Timm). Like the cross sell artwork, this features a havoc staff that is close to the original 1982 design, minus the ball end and the disks near the top. Image source: Jukka Issakainen (scanned and cleaned up)

Strobo

Action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: N/A
SKU Number: N/A

You can see in all of these unreleased 1988 line figures, all of the figures are kitbashed from existing pieces. Strobo is a mix of parts from Sy-Klone and Zodac, with an added cape. Strobo is the only figure in this “lost wave” to appear in vintage media, in a comic in the fall 1988 issue of Masters of the Universe Magazine.

Image from The Dark Power of Skeletor

Snake Trooper

Action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: N/A
SKU Number: N/A

You can see in all of these unreleased 1988 line figures, all of the figures are kitbashed from existing pieces. Snake Trooper is a mix of parts from Horde Trooper, Rattlor, Blast Attak and King Hiss.

Terroar

Action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: N/A
SKU Number: N/A

You can see in all of these unreleased 1988 line figures, all of the figures are kitbashed from existing pieces. Terroar is a mix of parts from Whiplash, Rattlor, Mosquitor and Trap Jaw. Note that the figure’s name is a modern creation. It’s unknown what his original name would have been.

Plasmar

Action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: N/A
SKU Number: N/A

You can see in all of these unreleased 1988 line figures, all of the figures are kitbashed from existing pieces. Plasmar is a mix of parts from Fisto, He-Ro, Sssqueeze, Rio Blast and Grizzlor, with an added cape. Note that the figure’s name is a modern creation. It’s unknown what his original name would have been.

Lord Gr’Asp

Action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: N/A
SKU Number: N/A

You can see in all of these unreleased 1988 line figures, all of the figures are kitbashed from existing pieces. Plasmar is a mix of parts from Clawful, He-Man/Skeletor, Sssqueeze, and King Hiss, with an added Scare Glow cape. Note that the figure’s name is a modern creation. It’s unknown what his original name would have been.

Slamurai

Action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: N/A
SKU Number: N/A

You can see in all of these unreleased 1988 line figures, all of the figures are kitbashed from existing pieces. Slamurai is a white-colored repaint of Ninjor, the Storm Shadow to Ninjor’s Snake Eyes, so to speak. Note that the figure’s name is a modern creation. It’s unknown what his original name would have been.

Thank you to the following individuals who are current Patreon supporters!

  • Philip O.
  • MOTU Origins Cork
  • Bryce W.
  • Ben M.
  • Matthias K.
  • Max I.

Cardbacks series1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988

Cardbacks

MOTU Cardbacks: 1987

Recently one of my connections on social media was asking if there was a resource of all of the vintage cardbacks collected somewhere. While most of them are scattered throughout my site, I thought it might be helpful to collect them in one place.

There are lots and lots of cardback variants, both by country and by release order. My objective isn’t to provide every single last variant (and I certainly do not have scans or photos of them all). My objective is to do all the US cardbacks, and any major variants. Major variants would include things like 8-back vs 12 back reissue versions of the earliest cardbacks, or any major updates to the artwork on the scene at the top or the illustrated instructions on the back of the card. I generally won’t provide variants based on different cross sell art featured on the cardback. For example, a 1983 He-Man 12-back would have different cross sell art compared to a 1984 He-Man 12-back. The character selection changed to reflect whatever was new for the year.

Let’s define cardbacks: for my purposes this won’t include the backs of boxes on large items like Castle Grayskull or Battle Ram. You can find those in my previous “Box Art From A-Z” series. This is the back of the individual figures on blister cards, for the most part. I’ll also include the cardbacks of smaller accessories like Jet Sled, since the back of the packaging was in a very similar format to the standard figures. I’ll also include the backs of the Modulok and Multi-Bot packages, for the same reason. I’m not including gift sets with the regular carded figures – I plan to do a separate article about those later.

I’ll sort the cardbacks in chronological release order to the best of my knowledge. Please note, however, that some figures, like He-Man and Skeletor, were released at the same time. From 1986 to 1987, many figures featured artwork on the front of their cards, so I’ll include shots of the front as well.

Photos and scans in this article come from: Hake’s Auctions, Heritage Auctions, LCG Auctions, Star Crusader, eBay, Deimos and KMKA.

One other quick note: Mosquitor, Ninjor, Scare Glow, Snake Face, Clamp Champ and King Randor were all released late in 1986, but I’m including them here as they are generally grouped with the 1987 wave.

Mosquitor

5-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 1191

As with the other Evil Horde members, Mosquitor’s cardback features only Evil Horde faction toys in the cross sell artwork.

The front of the card featured artwork by Bruce Timm:

Ninjor

12-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 3069

Ninjor continues the trend of placing Snake Men cross sell art in a green scaly background box.

The front of the card features artwork by Bruce Timm:

Scare Glow

12-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 3072

The front of the card featured artwork by Bruce Timm:

Image via Jukka Issakainen

Snake Face

9-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 1967

The front of the card features artwork by Bruce Timm:

Clamp Champ

12-back action scene art: unknown
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 3073

The front of the card featured artwork by Bruce Timm:

King Randor

12-back action scene art: unknown
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 3068

The front of the card featured artwork by Bruce Timm:

Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen

Blast Attak

8-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 1710

Blast Attak featured only 8 cross sell art characters on the back of his card. Artwork on the front of the card is by Bruce Timm:

Image via Jukka Issakainen

Sorceress

8-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 1787

Sorceress featured only 8 cross sell art characters on the back of her card. Artwork on the front of the card is by Bruce Timm:

Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen

Sssqueeze

12-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 1417

Artwork on the front of the card is by Bruce Timm:

Buzz-Saw Hordak

8-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 1732

Artwork on the front of the card is by Bruce Timm:

Image via Jukka Issakainen

Blade

11-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 3295

Blade and other movie figures had a “To Be Featured In The He-Man Movie!” box for movie-based cross sell art on the back. Artwork on the front is by Bruce Timm: I hope to eventually get a better quality image for this cardback.

Gwildor

10-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 3294

Apologies for the low-quality image. I hope to find a better one. Artwork on the front is by Bruce Timm:

Saurod

11-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 3670

Artwork on the front is by Bruce Timm:

Rotar

11-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 3024

Rotar was released on a deluxe-style card, and features Bruce Timm artwork on the front.

Twistoid

11-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 3024

Twistoid was released on a deluxe-style card, and features Bruce Timm artwork on the front.

Update: I thought it might be a good idea to include also Eldor and He-Ro, who were planned for 1987, but not released. We do have replicas of their cardbacks in the form of the 2019 Super7 recreations, and we also have the original card art for Eldor.

Eldor

4-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 1759

The Eldor cardback featured only cross sell art for Powers of Grayskull toys. The front of the card was a total redesign for the Powers of Grayskull subline.

Super7 cardback recreation
Original vintage cardback
Original vintage card front

He-Ro

4-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: Unknown

The He-Ro cardback featured only cross sell art for Powers of Grayskull toys. The front of the card was a total redesign for the Powers of Grayskull subline.

Thank you to the following individuals who are current Patreon supporters!

  • Philip O.
  • MOTU Origins Cork
  • Bryce W.
  • Ben M.
  • Matthias K.

Cardbacks series1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988

Cardbacks

MOTU Cardbacks: 1986

Recently one of my connections on social media was asking if there was a resource of all of the vintage cardbacks collected somewhere. While most of them are scattered throughout my site, I thought it might be helpful to collect them in one place.

There are lots and lots of cardback variants, both by country and by release order. My objective isn’t to provide every single last variant (and I certainly do not have scans or photos of them all). My objective is to do all the US cardbacks, and any major variants. Major variants would include things like 8-back vs 12 back reissue versions of the earliest cardbacks, or any major updates to the artwork on the scene at the top or the illustrated instructions on the back of the card. I generally won’t provide variants based on different cross sell art featured on the cardback. For example, a 1983 He-Man 12-back would have different cross sell art compared to a 1984 He-Man 12-back. The character selection changed to reflect whatever was new for the year.

Let’s define cardbacks: for my purposes this won’t include the backs of boxes on large items like Castle Grayskull or Battle Ram. You can find those in my previous “Box Art From A-Z” series. This is the back of the individual figures on blister cards, for the most part. I’ll also include the cardbacks of smaller accessories like Jet Sled, since the back of the packaging was in a very similar format to the standard figures. I’ll also include the backs of the Modulok and Multi-Bot packages, for the same reason. I’m not including gift sets with the regular carded figures – I plan to do a separate article about those later.

I’ll sort the cardbacks in chronological release order to the best of my knowledge. Please note, however, that some figures, like He-Man and Skeletor, were released at the same time. From 1986 to 1987, many figures featured artwork on the front of their cards, so I’ll include shots of the front as well.

Photos and scans in this article come from: Hake’s Auctions, Heritage Auctions, LCG Auctions, Star Crusader, eBay, Deimos and KMKA. Special thanks to Abraham Flores for providing the scans for the Flying Fists He-Man and Hurricane Hordak cardbacks.

Rokkon

12-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 9863

Rokkon has two major variants to both the front and back of his card. Upon the initial release of the figure, he was called the “young heroic battling boulder.” However Mattel quickly changed him to a comet warrior, possibly to coincide with the appearance of Haley’s Comet at the time. On the back the text over the Errol McCarthy artwork was changed from “boulder” to “meteor.”

The artwork on the front of the first release had an image by, I believe, Errol McCarthy. That was changed in the second edition to a new illustration by William George.

Apologies for the low quality image. I’m hoping to locate a better one.

Stonedar

12-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 9862

Rokkon has two major variants to both the front and back of his card. Upon the initial release of the figure, he was called the “heroic leader of the rock people.” However Mattel quickly changed him to a comet warrior, possibly to coincide with the appearance of Haley’s Comet at the time. On the back the text over the Errol McCarthy artwork was changed from “boulder” to “meteor.”

The artwork on the front of the first release had an image by, I believe, Errol McCarthy. That was changed in the second edition to a new illustration by William George.

Flying Fists He-Man

12-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 9695

Flying Fists He-Man was released on an extra-large, deluxe card. As with the previous year’s Thunder Punch He-Man, the instructional panels are right below the artwork, and then the 12 characters in cross sell art are squeezed in at the bottom. The artwork at the front of the card is by William George.

Image courtesy of Abraham Flores

Terror Claws Skeletor

12-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 9696

Terror Claws Skeletor was released on an extra-large, deluxe card. As with the previous year’s Dragon Blaster Skeletor, the instructional panels are right below the artwork, and then the 12 characters in cross sell art are squeezed in at the bottom. The artwork at the front of the card is by William George.

Dragstor

5-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 2313

Dragstor shows a change in the cardback design – instead of showing 12 pieces of cardback art, it instead features only five, focusing on Evil Horde characters only.

King Hiss

3-back action scene art: Unknown
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 2420

King Hiss’ carback is pretty unique, in that it features a multi-panel comic scene at the top, by an unknown artist. Below that we see a paragraph telling a bit about the origins of the Snake Men. Only three pieces of cross sell art are shown, all depicting Snake Men characters, including Kobra Khan, who was retconned into the faction. This limitation on cross sell art would apply to all Snake Men released in 1986.

Rattlor

3-back action scene art: Unknown
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 2036

Tung Lashor

3-back action scene art: Unknown
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 2331

Jet Sled

7-back action scene art: Unknown
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 2084

Unfortunately I don’t have a good quality image of the cardback for Jet Sled. If I locat a better one I will update this post. The general layout of the cardback follows those of the deluxe figures – action scene on top, six instructional panels below that, and small cross sell art below that. Unlike most cardbacks, this features 7 rather than 12 piece of cross sell art.

Megalaser

7-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 2083

Unfortunately I don’t have a good quality image of the cardback for Megalaser. If I located a better one I will update this post. The general layout of the cardback follows those of the deluxe figures – action scene on top, six instructional panels below that, and small cross sell art below that. Unlike most cardbacks, this features 7 rather than 12 piece of cross sell art.

Stilt Stalkers

7-back action scene art: Unknown
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 2082

The general layout of the cardback follows those of the deluxe figures – action scene on top, six instructional panels below that, and small cross sell art below that. Unlike most cardbacks, this features 7 rather than 12 piece of cross sell art.

Snout Spout

11-back action scene art: Unknown
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 2083

Snout Spout’s card features only 11 pieces of cross sell artwork, with a special section for the Snake Men.

Hurricane Hordak

6-back action scene art: Unknown
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 2083

Unfortunately my cardback image for Hurricane Hordak is subpar. I hope to find a better one to replace it. Hurrican Hordak was released on an extra-large, deluxe card. As with Terror Claws Skeletor, the instructional panels are right below the artwork. We get cross sell artwork for four figures, as well as the two Evil Horde playsets. The artwork at the front of the card is by William George.

Image courtesy of Abraham Flores

Meteorbs

12-back action scene art: None
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: Various

Meteorbs came on unique, smaller cards. They omitted any action scene artwork on the back in favor of transformation instructions. They included cross sell art for each of the 10 Meteorb characters, including: Cometroid, Ty-Grrr, Astro Lion, Comet Cat, Tuskor, Dinosorb, Crocobite, Rhinorb, Orbear, and Gore-Illa. They all include an illustration of the the included character on the front; I believe the artist was William George.

Multi-Bot

Action scene art: Unknown
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 2312

As with Modulok, Multi-Bot was released in a box rather than on a card, but the back of the box looks a lot like a figure card in layout and design. No cross sell artwork is included, only a depiction of “Mega-Monster” (sometimes called Megabeast), a mix of parts between Modulok and Multi-Bot.

Extendar

10-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 2797

Extendar’s card features only 10 pieces of cross sell art. For the first time we see the Snake Men cross sell art delineated with a scaly green background, a trend that would continue into 1987 cardbacks as well.

Rio Blast

9-back action scene art: Errol McCarthy
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 2792

Image source: Mundo Masters

Horde Trooper

5-back action scene art: Unknown
Cross sell artwork: William George
SKU Number: 2549

Horde Trooper features cross sell art of Evil Horde characters, as well as the Slime Pit and Monstroid toys.

At this point I will note that quite a few of the 1987 “wave” of figures were released ahead of schedule, in late 1986. These include Mosquitor, Ninjor, Scare Glow, Snake Face, Clamp Champ and King Randor. I wonder if they weren’t rushed out early as part of the scheme to increase year-end bonuses for senior Mattel executives that famously ended the Masters of the Universe line, due to over-shipping at retail. In any case, I’ll include those in the 1987 Cardbacks article, as this one is already quite long due to the number of SKUs released in 1986.

Thank you to the following individuals who are current Patreon supporters!

  • Philip O.
  • MOTU Origins Cork
  • Bryce W.
  • Ben M.
  • Matthias K.

Cardbacks series1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988