Evil Mutants

Optikk: Evil Mutant Spy (1990)

Optikk is widely regarded as one of the best figures to come out of the 1989 He-Man line. Featuring a giant eyeball for a head and a metallic bronze costume, Optikk remains a fan favorite to this day.

Image source: Battle Armor Dad, from the 1990 Mattel catalog.
Image source: Battle Armor Dad, from the 1990 Mattel catalog. Note this version has a copper-colored weapon

Image source: Battle Armor Dad, from the 1989 Sears Wishbook

Design & Development

Optikk was designed by David Wolfram. In my interview with David a few years back, he explained his design process, with Optikk originally being intended for the original Masters of the Universe line:

DW: It was always one of my favorites. He was originally something that I did for a MOTU theme testing board, and he made it into the first wave of evil New Adventures figures.

As designers, we had been asking for quite a while for some nice molded metallics, and we finally got them. I know I used a lot of that dark bronze and copper over the next few years. We actually had a fairly limited palette to work from based on the Munsell color system, and unfortunately many of the colors were too ‘pretty’ for my design ethic, so I ended up using the same colors over and over again. To get any new colors into the system took forever, and took an act of congress. Later, as we started working on more licensed properties where we had to used specific colors from a style guide, that system was abandoned.

Organic-looking Optikk concept by David Wolfram

DW: In the early sketch of Optikk, the thought was that his eye would be removable and go into the forks of the staff. We were looking at making the eye like the compasses that went on car dashboards at that time, but I imagine that approach ended up being too expensive, so we went with the simpler execution. The eye tampo design was the same one that I had designed and used on “Boglins”, another Mattel creature line from that time.

In the space pirate concept below, we can see parts of Optikk’s design on the lower legs. The upper body design was adapted for Disks of Doom Skeletor:

Image courtesy of David Wolfram

In the Power and the Honor Foundation catalog and The Art of He-Man, a couple of other iterations of the idea were shown. One was “Eyeyik,” a strange cyborg creature with purple skin:

The other was a rendering of Optikk closely based on the original “organic” concept, but this time with a technological costume added over top.

Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation/The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

Update: Thanks to Nigel Willis to pointing me toward a full version of the above concept art, dated March 18, 1987. It was retrieved from the DK Masters of the Universe Book:

Update: I found another piece of Optikk concept art buried in a post in the Geeks_Antiques instagram page. This is a full rendering of Optikk, closer to final but with red and gray armor. It was found included with some Captain Power artwork, and dates to April 25, 1988. You can see this color scheme on Optikk in his appearance on the cover of an Italian notebook cover, toward the end of this article.

A hand-painted prototype model of the figure appears below:

Image via Grayskull Museum

Figure & Packaging

The figure featured a dial on the back to move the eye back and forth. The arm was also spring-loaded for a “quick-draw” effect.

The card provided a short bio for Optikk, which I’m reproducing below:

Evil Mutant Spy from the foggy polar region of evil planet Denebria. The Denebrian fog is so dense here that he has a spyball eyeball that sees through almost anything. His rotating spyball and his Photon Neutralizer weapon make him one of the meanest mutants in the Tri-Solar System.

Mission: To assist Skeletor and the rest of the Evil Mutants by keeping his eye on He-Man and the Galactic Guardians from planet Primus.

Battle Equipment: Photon Neutralizer weapon.

We get another nice image of Optikk on this Spanish playing card, which comes courtesy of Mundo Masters:


Optikk appears as one of the primary Evil Mutants on the New Adventures of He-Man cartoon series. In the show, he has quite a darkly-colored costume, possibly because the hand-painted Optikk prototype costume looked much darker than the final figure. His pupil looks robotic rather than organic. His job on the show is typically as navigator for the Evil Mutants. There is a longer discussion of his appearances on the cartoon here.

In the series Bible for New Adventures of He-Man, we get the following information about him:

Comics & Stories

Optikk appears in three of the four minicomics produced for the toyline. In these stories he’s typically portrayed as the kind of bumbling henchman often seen in the original Masters of the Universe stories. (Minicomic images comes from the Dark Horse MOTU Minicomic collection.)

From Skeletor’s Journey. Image via the Dark Horse Minicomic Collection

From Battle For The Crystal. Image via the Dark Horse Minicomic Collection

From The Revenge of Skeletor. Image via the Dark Horse Minicomic Collection

Optikk appears in the 1990 UK MOTU Annual, in Into The Deepest Dungeon:

He’s also given a short bio, which is similar to the one on his cardback. The main difference is his “Photon Neutralizer” is called a “Fazer Flash Gun.”

He also appears in “The Drumskalan From the Denebrian Swamp.”

Optikk appears in a number of the later UK Adventure comics, including this 1990 story, “The End of He-Man.”

Optikk also appears in a poster included with issue 23:

There was a series of German MOTU magazines with stories that were illustrated using still images of the figures, set within dioramas. Optikk appears in several of the later issues:

Optikk also appears in this Italian storybook, “Cosmic Explosion.” Unfortunately I only have an image of the cover:

There’s an interesting image of Optikk that appeared in an Italian school notebook (branded as Masters of the Universe rather than He-Man). The image depicts Thunder Punch He-Man (the New Adventures version) hitting Optikk (who features a red and black costume) while tossing Karatti (in early concept form) over his shoulder.

The pose in the artwork above is actually copied from an earlier minicomic, The Masks of Power, illustrated by Alfredo Alcala:

Within the notebook there is a short comic in Italian which also includes Optikk:

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4 thoughts on “Optikk: Evil Mutant Spy (1990)

  1. Great article! Thank you! I only ever bought three of the “New Adventures” figures: Optikk, and the Slushhead / He-Man 2-Pack. Just wasn’t a fan of the revamped style not meshing with the MOTU figures I already had. Happily, MOTU Classics started making all the characters in the same size and scale, and Optikk was the first “New Adventures” character made in Classics. Great version of him, too.

    I might be misremembering, but I seem to recall a concept sketch for the character that was originally called “Eye-Gor” or “Eye-Gore,” and had “Eye-Yik” written over top in different-coloured pen. Might’ve been in the Power & Honour Foundation Catalogue, but all our books are currently packed for a move, so I can’t check.

    1. I’ve seen the name Eye-Gor talked about, but haven’t found concept art with that label. The Eye-Yik art comes from the P&H catalog, and the other color art comes from The Art of He-Man (Dark Horse), but it’s heavily cropped.

      1. Yeah, I know I’ve seen “Eye-Gor” recently, and I don’t have many MOTU reference books with me here in the States, so it was either the P&HFC, or that new(ish) and rather disappointing DK book that was brought out around the time they were preparing to launch the Netflix series.

        Alas, they’ve all been packed, and are sitting in a storage facility 600 miles away, at the moment, so I won’t be able to verify for a couple weeks, at least . . . .

  2. When I was a child I remember one of my friends had this figure and loving how the eye floated around like a compass. recently I got the Dark Horse book on the figures and was surprised to learn they supposedly never followed through with the compass eye design due to cost! Maybe I misremembered or is it possible they released some of the compass eye design figures in Australia?

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