200x, Artwork, Comics

2002 Masters of the Universe Comic Cover Gallery – MVCreations

I really like Masters of the Universe comics. Heck its no secret I’d love to one day write and/or draw art for an official publication in the future. And since its now been 20 years that the reboot comic series ended, I wanted to take a moment to appreciate the cover artworks on that series.

The 2002 comics for Masters of the Universe were produced by MVCreations. While the animated series by Mike Young Productions was aimed at a younger demographic, the comics had the opportunity to appeal to the older fans who grew up with He-Man in the 80s.

From 2002 to 2004, the Masters of the Universe comic series was published through Image Comics (15 issues), CrossGen Entertainment (8 issues) and MVCreations (6 issues).

Since the beginning, there were many variant covers for the comic issues. But some fans reported how they couldn’t keep up with them, so the president at MVCreations, Val Staples listened to the feedback and decided to not feature them during the Volume 2 ongoing comics and the mini-series “Icons of Evil”. Accordingly it “cut the sales by almost half, and made the comic extremely hard to produce later on.” [1] They added them back when Volume 3 started, as limited releases and special exclusives, which “helped a little.” There were also ideas for other special gimmick covers they wanted to do, but never got the chance – such as a lenticular cover depicting Adam transforming into He-Man, or a felt texture cover with Moss Man.

The cover artwork especially was really terrific, with a multitude of talent from regular to variants, so I’d like to highlight them in this article. Full disclosure, it was also a way for me to dig through old hard-drives (from 2004) and folders on my computer, so that I can share the logoless cover versions, many of which can’t be found online in 2024 anymore. They are displayed next to the final covers. When researching other sites, I found some to have omitted variant covers or credited wrong artists. So I’ve tried my best to include as many of the unique cover artworks in this gallery (meaning a special museum edition won’t be here, since it used art on its cover from the existing 5-page preview comic), and the artist & colorist credit.

Below you can find links to different sections:

Vol. 01 covers
Vol. 02 covers
Vol. 03 covers
Rise of the Snake Men
Icons of Evil
Specials
Trades
Unpublished/Unused covers

Hope you enjoy the images and if you found some errors or missing unique art by MVCreations, please let me know! Some of the scans are my own, and I’d like to give a special shout out to grahamcrackers, milehighcomics, comicvine, mycomicshop, cilman and RED.


VOLUME 1

Issue 1 – Cover A (wraparound)

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 1 – Cover B (wraparound)

Art by: J. Scott Campbell
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 1 – Cover C (wraparound)

Art by: Earl Norem

Issue 1 – Graham Crackers exclusive cover (wraparound)

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Nathan “Baena” Baertsch

Issue 1 – Reprint (front)

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 2 – Cover A (front)

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 2 – Cover A (back)

Art by: Kevin Sharpe
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 2 – Cover B (wraparound)

Art by: Francis Manapul
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 3 – Cover A (front)

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 3 – Cover A (back)

Art by: Matt Tyree
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 3 – Cover B (wraparound)

Art by: Brett Booth
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 4 – Cover A (front)

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 4 – Cover A (back)

Art by: Tone Rodriguez
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 4 – Cover B (wraparound)

Art by: Keron Grant
Color by: Val Staples


VOLUME 2

Issue 1 – Cover A
Regular (wraparound)

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 1 – Cover B (wraparound)

Art by: Drew Struzan

Issue 1 – Cover C
Graham Crackers exclusive (wraparound)

Art by: Cully Hamner
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 2 – Cover A (front)

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 2 – Cover A (back)

Art by: Nathan “Baena” Baertsch

Issue 2 – Cover B (wraparound)

Art by: JJ Kirby
Color by: Joel Benjamin

Issue 3 – Cover A (front)

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 3 – Cover A (back)

Art by: Jonboy Meyers
Color by: Tony Washington

Issue 3 – Cover B (wraparound)

Art by: Tommy Lee Edwards

Issue 4 – Cover A (front)

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 4 – Cover A (back)

Art by: Leanne Shaw Hannah
Color by: Tony Washington

Issue 4 – Cover B (wraparound)

Art by: Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell

Issue 5 – Cover A (front)

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 5 – Cover A (back)

Art by: Matt Roberts
Color by: Tony Washington

Issue 6 Cover (front)

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 6 Cover (back)

Art by: Jonboy Meyers
Color by: Val Staples


VOLUME 3

Issue 1 – Regular Cover

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Jeremy Roberts

Issue 1 – Incentive Cover (wraparound)

Art by: Frank Quitely
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 1 – He-Man.org Exclusive Cover

Art by: Nathan “Baena” Baertsch

Issue 1 – Convention Gatefold Cover

This cover depicts all of the 5 covers that were planned for Masters of the Universe Encyclopedia. [Click HERE to download a high-resolution scan by Jukka Issakainen]

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia and Enza Fontana
Color by: Nathan “Baena” Baertsch

Issue 2 – Regular Cover

Art by: Enza Fontana
Color by: Jeremy Roberts

Issue 2 – Incentive Cover

Art by: Brett Booth
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 3 – Regular Cover

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Jeremy Roberts

Issue 3 – Incentive Cover

Art by: Sam Liu
Color by: Jeremy Roberts

Issue 4 – Regular Cover

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Jeremy Roberts

Issue 5 – Regular Cover

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Jeremy Roberts

Issue 5 – He-Man.org Exclusive Cover

Art by: Tim Seeley
Color by Jeremy Roberts

Issue 6 – Regular Cover

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Jeremy Roberts

Issue 6 – He-Man.org Exclusive Cover

Art by: Andy Smith
Color by: Jason Keith

Issue 7 – Regular Cover

Art by: Leanne Shaw Hannah
Color by: Jeremy Roberts

Issue 7 – He-Man.org Exclusive Cover

Art by: Eamon O’Donoghue
Color by: Jeremy Roberts

Issue 8 – Regular Cover

Art by: Mike O’Hare
Color by: Jeremy Roberts

Issue 8 – Graham Crackers Exclusive cover

Art by: Randy Green
Color by: Val Staples

Issue 8 – He-Man.org Exclusive Cover

Art by: Nathan “Baena” Baertsch


ICONS OF EVIL

Beast Man – Cover

Art by: Tony Moore
Color by: Val Staples

Mer-Man – Cover

Art by: EJ Su
Color by: Val Staples

Trap Jaw – Cover

Art by: Mike Pedro
Color by: Nathan “Baena” Baertsch

Tri-Klops – Cover

Art by: Corey Walker
Color by: Val Staples


RISE OF THE SNAKE MEN

Issue 1 – Regular Cover

Art by: Jonboy Meyers
Color by: Tony Washington

Issue 1 – He-Man.org Exclusive Cover

Art by: Nathan “Baena” Baertsch

Issue 2 – Regular Cover

Art by: Andie Tong
Color by: Jeremy Roberts

Issue 3 – Regular Cover

Art by: Andie Tong
Color by: Jeremy Roberts


SPECIALS

Promo comic – cover (front)

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples

Promo comic – cover (back)

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples

Special Preview comic – cover (front)

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples

Special Preview comic – cover (back)

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples

Dream Halloween 2002 – cover

Art by: Enza Fontana
Color by: Val Staples

Dream Halloween 2003 – cover

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples

Masters of the Universe Encyclopedia Season one – cover

[*See Volume 3 Gatefold cover variant #1 that depicts all 5 covers intended for the Encyclopedia mini-series]

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia and Enza Fontana
Color by: Nathan “Baena” Baertsch

Target 2-pack He-Man & Skeletor insert comic – cover

Art by: Neal Adams

TDK Gameboy Advance insert comic – cover

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples

Episode 40 Adaptation Comic – cover

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples



Trade Collections

Volume 1 – TPB Cover (hardcover version)

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples

Volume 2 – TPB Cover

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia and Enza Fontana
Color by: Jeremy Roberts

Icons of Evil – TPB Cover

Art by: Emiliano Santalucia
Color by: Val Staples

Unused/Unpublished covers


[1] Staples, V. [JVS3]. (December 3th, 2007). He-Man.org Discussion Boards.

History, MOTU History, ToyFare

ToyFare #143: MASTERS OF THE UNTOLD (July 2009)

The articles and interviews in ToyFare magazine were always insightful on the world of Eternia and its characters, as well as its creators.

One of the more… controversial articles came in July 2009 edition with ToyFare issue #143. The Masters of the Universe Classics line had just started in 2008, and the newly invented story for ‘Classics bios’ was at the time the only existing story media for the characters written on the toy card backs. In the article, the people who worked on the 2002-2004 MOTU Comics teased some of their story ideas and plans that never came to be. Fans obviously were eager to learn more about these ideas, but at the time the then-current brand manager at Mattel didn’t want any confusion between the storylines, so it was asked that the comic bible mentioned in the interview not be posted online. In contrast, by the 30th anniversary Mattel’s creative media department was able to create new stories through DC Comics between 2012-2016 that were not associated or hindered anymore by the Classics narrative, oftentimes creating better origins and adventures with the characters.

Below is a close-up scan of the He-Ro design illustrated by Emiliano Santalucia. The armor design uses an insignia associated with both He-Man, She-Ra, and the “Guardians of Grayskull” symbol (based on the vintage Warrior’s Ring). There are also influences from the then-current Snake Armor that He-Man was wearing in the cartoon and comic. He-Ro did sneak an appearance in the comic on three separate occasions.

Below is the Shadow Weaver art by Emiliano Santalucia. In the comic by MVCreations (vol 2 issue 6), she appeared as a silhouetted character in a single panel.