I think I only encountered Flying Fists He-Man once as a kid. I don’t remember being all that impressed – I thought the transition between his neck and his head looked very strange, and the head itself looked off to me. Certainly the action feature was far less interesting to me than his immediate predecessor’s, Thunder Punch He-Man.
Design & Development
In terms of visual design, we get our basic look for Flying Fists He-Man from Ted Mayer. The illustration dates to December 8, 1983, and may be the genesis for both the Battle Armor and Flying Fists He-Man variants, in terms of their appearance.
The action feature itself seems to originate with Roger Sweet, who illustrates it in a concept using the standard He-Man look, and a swinging ball weapon (the page below comes from the Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog):
In the cross sell art below, we can see the finalized look for the figure, including gold and silver metallic armor, mace and shield. The mace and shield elements would spin as the figure was made to swing its arms back and forth, something that happened automatically was the waist was twisted.
One interesting note on his design – the lower edge of his chest armor features a mirror image of the standard male belt design. This was also something that showed up in an early incarnation of Tri-Klops, as captured in the cross sell artwork:
Figure & Packaging
The first First Flying Fists He-Man newspaper ad appears on February 12, 1986, and he was probably available in stores shortly before then. The packaging of the figure announces him as the “5th Anniversary” He-Man figure, which isn’t quite true. He-Man was originally released in 1982. Maybe their reasoning was that it was the “fifth year” of the line.
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, and the scene on the back is by Errol McCarthy:
Subsequent releases of the figure featured a color change to the font on “Flying Fists” on the front:
The figure featured modified arms that were similar to the original He-Man, but subtly different. He also featured greatly enlarged feet for greater stability. He had a lot of vac metal on his costume and accessories, which in toy language is the universal signifier of a “deluxe” figure. He also featured a removable clip on his back that functioned both as a way to store his weapon, and as a handle to help kids get a better grip when using his twisting waist/arm swinging feature. He also had a hard, solid head, which in my opinion reduces the quality of his face compared to the original hollow polyvinyl head. The images below come from eBay, as I don’t have one of these on hand to photograph.
One notable international variant is the Leo India version, as shown by spiritofsnakemountain on Instagram:
Flying Fists He-Man was also released in a gift set with Terror Claws Skeletor:
Below are a selection of Flying Fist He-Man ad appearances:
Flying Fists He-Man was featured the trade ad below, which was originally unearthed at the excellent MOTUC Figures site.
He also appears in the Mattel rebate ad below, which was originally posted on the Battle Grip site:
Flying Fists He-Man is featured in a few posters by the following artists:
There was also an unreleased piece by William George that features Flying Fists He-Man and Terror Claws Skeletor fighting over the cosmic key, which was shared some years ago by Roger Mahafy:
The primary minicomic for this variant is The Flying Fists of Power. Interestingly it features Roger Sweet’s rather minimalist concept for the figure, which just looked like a standard He-Man with a spinning mace weapon (updated to three ball ends) and an updated shield. In the story the Sorceress awards He-Man with an additional gift of “energy and spirit.” When He-Man summons the Flying Fists, he will get have additional punching abilities and his spinning mace and shield will appear in his hands. (All minicomic images come from the Dark Horse minicomic book.) (Update: Matthew Martin and Øyvind Meisford note that Flying Fists He-Man also appears in King of the Snake Men and Enter: Buzz-Saw Hordak.)
In The Terror Claws Strike he get a rather amusing visual depiction of He-Man’s flying fists power. In this comic the ability isn’t necessarily tied to the weapons. It’s really unclear how this is a new ability for He-Man, because he did similar things in the Filmation cartoon all the time. It doesn’t make a lot of sense narratively, although it does get the action feature across.
Flying Fists He-Man, still in his concept look, also appears in the unpublished Return From Terror Island Comic:
Flying Fists He-Man in Action
Øyvind Meisfjord has shared the following image, and video of Flying Fists He-Man in action. Enjoy!
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