Evil Mutants

Optikk – Evil Mutant Spy (1990)

Of all the New Adventures of He-Man figures, Optikk is perhaps the most well-known and well-liked among He-Man fans. What’s not to like about an armored walking eyeball?

Design & Development

Optikk was designed by David Wolfram, who worked on most of the evil characters in the New Adventures line. In my interview with David, he had this to say about Optikk:

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.

David Wolfram
Image courtesy of David Wolfram. Dated May 18, 1987
“Eyeyik” concept. Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog. Dated August 21, 1987.
Image source: Dark Horse/Power and Honor Foundation. Note that this is a modified version of the earliest concept art, with added color and technological detail.

The earliest incarnation of Optikk, shown first in the concept art above, shows a totally organic monster creature, which makes sense as he was originally slated for the Masters of the Universe line. As the design evolved (and was slated for the New Adventures line), more and more mechanical and technological elements were added.

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.

David Wolfram
Boglins Dwork puppet

Regarding Optikk’s costume design, David ended up repurposing the legs and right arm from his space pirate character design into Optikk (other elements ended up in Disks of Doom Skeletor):

Image courtesy of David Wolfram

The final painted prototype is shown below, with a somewhat different eye design than used on the final figure, and with a red and yellow design. This would be the model for the artwork used on the figure’s packaging.

Image source: Grayskull Museum

Production Figure & Packaging

Optikk had a couple of action features: a quick-draw right arm that would spring into action after being held down, and a dial on his back that would allow his eye to be turned left and right:

He was produced using a dark metallic bronze plastic with swirl patterns throughout. He also came with a silver metallic “photon neutralizer” weapon. The figure was trademarked on April 24, 1989, and copyrighted on July 31, 1989.

The card for the figure includes artwork on the front by William George, and the back of the package provided some background on the character and his abilities:

Evil Mutant Spy from the foggy polar region of evil planet Denebria. The Debenrian 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

The figure appears in various Mattel catalogs, advertisements and magazines:

Comics & Artwork

Optikk appears in the 1990 UK He-Man Annual, in a story called “Into The Deepest Dungeon”. Strangely, he calls his weapon the “Fazer Flash Gun” rather than the Photon Neutralizer.

Images via He-Man.org

In the same Annual, Optikk is described as “half creature, half machine”:

In the minicomic Skeletor’s Journey, Optikk and Slush Head get into some childish squabbles with each other:

In Revenge of Skeletor and Battle For The Crystal, Optikk is more of a background character:

Optikk also makes an appearance in a comic included with an Italian notebook, with a novel color scheme:

Image source: He-Man.org

Incidentally, the art from the notebook cover reuses a pose from Masks of Power, illustrated by Alfredo Alcala:

Optikk also appears in the UK and German He-Man adventure magazines:

Animation

In the animated New Adventures of He-Man series, Optikk, is usually more of a background character, playing the role of spy, navigator and pilot:

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6 thoughts on “Optikk – Evil Mutant Spy (1990)

    1. As far as I know there wasn’t a name for the space pirate design. He had the idea though of a whole series of space pirate figures.

      Thanks for the comments!

  1. Alongside the guy with the elephant themed armor, Optikk is my favorite design from the New Adventures. The big creepy eyeball and the sturdy looking mechanical body are a weird mix but maybe is why it works so well.
    The italian version of the cassette packaged with He-Man clearly described Optikk as a full mechanical being, so here many (me included) believed that he was a bizarre looking robot.

    “Eyeyik” sounds terrible, but (maybe I’m wrong) considering the initial idea of Space Pirates, could it be a pun based on the “Aye aye” from the naval language?

    1. Thank you for your comment Jack! For anyone not aware, Jack was a writer and series co-creator for the New Adventures of He-Man

  2. Nice post about Optikk!

    A few comments:
    -The idea of Optikk migh have come from the Eye-Beam concept design for the 80s Masters of the Universe “Create a Character” contest, where kids submitted custom designs for an action figure
    -I think the space pirate head might have inspired the head of the NA character Artilla
    -In the Italian magazine comic strip, there’s a character named Detector; this was a concept that eventually would become the NA character Vizar.

    I enjoy your blog, keep up the good work!

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