Comics

Early Alcala reference material

Frequent readers of this blog know that if there is one aspect of Masters of the Universe that endlessly fascinates me, it’s the early minicomics and the concept toy designs for the brand. As I was reviewing the recent Power-Con “Lords of Power” set, I noticed that Alfredo Alcala, illustrator of the first four minicomics (or really, story books) for the series seemed to be using two different references for He-Man, in his early material. I thought it might be interesting to identify all of the reference material Alcala used, based on similarity to known prototypes and concept art.

Before I get into that, I should note some actual extant reference material that Alcala used still exists, and was shared by his son, Alfred Junior. Mattel sent Alfredo Sr. some actual toys to use as references, which were well-loved by his son. It seems that Alcala used this in later comics (he illustrated various comics for the 1983 and 1984 waves). The Teela head below is actually an early incarnation with sculpted eyelids, not present on the production toy, so that might have been used for his 1982 material (images courtesy of Alfred Alcala Jr.).

I thought I would trace the references he used in the first four minicomics by character. I’m also operating under the assumption that the order of illustration of the comics is He-Man and the Power Sword, King of Castle Grayskull, The Vengeance of Skeletor, and Battle in the Clouds. That assumption is based on the evolving look of the characters and how that matches with the evolution of the character designs at Mattel. I’m also going to include some early line art that the artist did for He-Man and the Power Sword.

He-Man

Appearances: He-Man and the Power Sword, King of Castle Grayskull, The Vengeance of Skeletor, Battle in the Clouds.

The earliest Alcala comic, He-Man and the Power Sword, is the only one of the series to feature He-Man with his boot dagger, which shows up in several panels. The dagger shows up only in Mark Taylor’s B-sheet art, and not in any known prototypes, so the reference material at the start must have been Mark’s B-sheet. I imagine someone at Mattel told Alcala to skip the helmet, as they had decided to nix that early on. You can also see the early belt design in several panels (square center buckle, furry shorts spilling over the top). In some panels you do see the revised belt (cleaner top, round center buckle), so that might have been a running change at the 11th hour. The axe and shield are also taken directly from the B-sheet.

Mark Taylor B-Sheet. Source: The Power and the Honor Foundation

In the other three comics, every depiction of He-Man seems pretty clearly based on the prototype figure shown in the “Lords of Power” slide series. The defining characteristics are: no boot dagger, no bracer on the left wrist, cleaned up belt design, x-shaped harness around the back (thanks Dušan M. for the reminder) and somewhat paler skin:

Image source: Andy Youssi
Side view, in prototype Wind Raider

Skeletor

Appearances: He-Man and the Power Sword, King of Castle Grayskull, The Vengeance of Skeletor, Battle in the Clouds.

In all four comics, Skeletor seems to be based on both the original Mark Taylor B-sheet and on the “Lords of Power” prototype. He always has the smooth forearms of the prototype, but he also usually (but not always) has the chest straps of the B-sheet. Sometimes he has the yellow detail of either the chest (which shows up on both references) or just the shin guards (only in the B-sheet). Perhaps there was an additional transitional reference he was working from, or perhaps he simply got notes from Mattel about which arms to use, or (after the first minicomic) dropping the yellow detail on the costume. The skull is of course quite different from the “rotting face” concept. I suspect Mattel told him to replace the concept face with a skull face, and so without a reference Alcala came up with his own unique design there:

Mark Taylor concept art. Image: Super7/Power and Honor Foundation
Image source: Andy Youssi
Image source: The Power of He-Man/Jukka Issakainen

Teela/Sorceress

Appearances: He-Man and the Power Sword, King of Castle Grayskull, The Vengeance of Skeletor, Battle in the Clouds.

Teela and Sorceress change the most from comic to comic, which makes sense, given how many changes these character designs went through behind the scenes. I’m putting them together because at times their costumes and roles converge in the early Alcala comics. Technically Sorceress only appears in the first minicomic.

In He-Man and the Power Sword, Sorceress is the guardian of the two halves of the Power Sword and Teela is a wandering warrior. In King of Castle Grayskull, Teela is the guardian of Castle Grayskull, having been selected by the Castle itself for that role. By Battle in the Clouds, Teela is back to warrior duties but she’s wearing the Sorceress’ snake armor.

Images from He-Man and the Power Sword:

The reference material for both characters above is clearly Mark Taylor’s B-sheets. The one deviation is Sorceress’ face, which Alcala colored green. That may have been an oversight. Also the staff the Sorceress uses has some kind of horn design. It’s unclear why that is.

Image source: Super 7/The Power and Honor Foundation
Image source: Super 7/The Power and Honor Foundation

In King of Castle Grayskull, Teela steps into the Sorceress’ role (who is never mentioned in this series again). Her costume is mainly her B-sheet design but with the Sorceress’ staff. Her boots are redder, and the hair ranges from reddish to blondish – perhaps because the hair in the B-sheet is both reddish and blondish, and the boots are somewhat ambiguous. There may have been some other lost reference material used here. Mark Taylor was also known to do several color variations of his B-sheets, so there may have been more variants that didn’t survive.

In The Vengeance of Skeletor, Teela looks very much like her first comic appearance (blonde hair, brown boots, with Charger), but she carries the Sorceress staff.

Finally, in Battle in the Clouds, Teela for the first time pulls from identifiably different source material – here she is based on the cross sell art that was used on the back of the action figure cards:

Beast Man

Appearances: He-Man and the Power Sword, The Vengeance of Skeletor

In the first comic, Beast Man is depicted with red fur and a red costume with yellow medallion. In his other appearance (The Vengeance of Skeletor), he has orange fur and a red and blue costume. It’s clear that in both cases, Alcala was using Mark Taylor’s B-sheet (below for reference). But I think there must have been an all red version (with red trunks and a yellow medallion) that has unfortunately not survived.

Image source: Super 7/The Power and Honor Foundation

Man-At-Arms

Appearances: He-Man and the Power Sword, The Vengeance of Skeletor, Battle in the Clouds.

We can see a few different references used in Alcala’s early depictions of Man-At-Arms. In the unused panel below, we see a transitional version of Man-At-Arms – something in between Mark Taylor’s first, pre-MOTU concept (labeled “Paladin” below) for the character, and his B-Sheet. Unfortunately we don’t have Mark’s transitional concept, but thankfully Alcala’s interpretation still exists. What sets this version apart is the piece of armor on his right shoulder, and the bladed rifle that he carries.

Unused Alcala panel, from The Power of Grayskull documentary
Early Mark Taylor “Paladin” design
Mark Taylor B-sheet

In He-Man and the Power Sword, the reference seems to almost entirely from the “Lords of Power” prototype. It has the updated belt and the colors of the prototype, as opposed to the orange boots and squared off belt of the B-sheet. In one panel he has the fur cape, which is a holdover from the earlier design and an earlier draft panel (more on that panel later).

Man-At-Arms prototype

In Man-At-Arms’ other appearances, a major reference is the cross sell art, (note the his symmetrical helmet design and monochromic boots). However, his left arm armor still extends to his fist, which was a feature of the prototype.

Mer-Man

Appearances: He-Man and the Power Sword, King of Castle Grayskull, The Vengeance of Skeletor, Battle in the Clouds.

In the first three appearances, Mer-Man’s art references could have just as easily been Mark Taylor’s B-sheet or Tony Guerrero’s prototype sculpt – they are essentially the same design. Regardless of source, Alcala usually illustrated Mer-Man with a lighter blue color than what appeared in the source material:

Image source: Super 7/The Power and Honor Foundation
Image source: Andy Youssi
Image source: The Power of Grayskull/Jukka Issakainen

In Battle in the Clouds, Alcala bases his Mer-Man on the character’s cross-sell artwork, as evidenced by the more greenish skin, simplified belt, bare feet and modified shin guards:

Stratos

Appearances: He-Man and the Power Sword, King of Castle Grayskull, The Vengeance of Skeletor, Battle in the Clouds.

Alcala’s Stratos illustration in the first three comics all seem to be based on Mark Taylor’s B-sheet design for the character. In the B-Sheet, Stratos seems to have gray skin, except for on his chest. Alcala may have interpreted that to mean the design wasn’t fully colored and the character was to have tan skin.

In Battle In the Clouds, the reference changed to the updated (but still not finalized) cross sell art design:

Battle Cat

Appearances: King of Castle Grayskull, Battle in the Clouds.

Battle Cat is a surprisingly infrequent guest in the early Alcala illustrations. When he does show up he tends to have stripes on his tail, indicative of Mark Taylor’s concept art. However, it appears that the reference for Battle Cat was actually the prototype figure, which has a slightly different helmet shape than Mark’s art, as well as orange around the edges of its mouth:

Image source: Andy Youssi
Image source: Super 7/The Power and Honor Foundation

Castle Grayskull

Appearances: He-Man and the Power Sword, King of Castle Grayskull, The Vengeance of Skeletor, Battle in the Clouds.

The striking Castle Grayskull depicted in the early Alcala comics is always based on the prototype castle, rather than on any known concept art. The prototype (sculpted by Mark Taylor) is quite different from Mark’s previous artwork.

Image source: James Eatock/Andy Youssi
Image Source: The Power and the Honor Foundation

Vehicles

Appearances: He-Man and the Power Sword, The Vengeance of Skeletor, Battle in the Clouds.

Alcala included various vehicles in the early comics. The earliest vehicles, included in the early line art draft of He-Man and the Power Sword, were actually Mark Taylor concept vehicles. Eventually Mark brought Ted Mayer in to the project to design the vehicles, so Alcala must have started the draft before that time. The earliest known Ted Mayer concept is an early Battle Ram design from April 7, 1981, so Alcala probably started his draft images before then.

One early vehicle in the draft minicomic was a Mark Taylor chariot design, which is being driven by Man-At-Arms below:

Early Alfredo Alcala comic panel, featuring the prototype vehicle. Image source: The Power of Grayskull documentary
Mark Taylor concept vehicle. Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation

In the final comic, that vehicle was swapped out for Ted Mayer’s concept Battle Chariot, which was also never produced. That vehicle was designed by Ted Mayer on June 5, 1981, so Alcala must have completed his work on He-Man and the Power Sword after that date.

Ted Mayer’s Battle Chariot concept

Another Mark Taylor vehicle, the Battle Catapult, shows up in Alcala’s draft below.

Image source: Rebecca Salari Taylor

In the final version of the comic, it’s replaced with the Battle Ram and the Battle Chariot:

The Battle Ram itself is (which shows up in Power Sword and Vengeance) was created referencing the prototype Battle Ram toy:

Image source: Ted Mayer

The Wind Raider shows up only in Battle In The Clouds, and is based on one of the prototypes for that vehicle (which, along with Battle Ram, was sculpted by Jim Openshaw). The prototype in question had smaller engine inlet cones and its wings were straight along the trailing edge, rather than ridged.

Further reading:

Mark Taylor Interview
Ted Mayer Interview
He-Man
Skeletor
Teela
Sorceress
Man-At-Arms
Beast Man
Mer-Man
Stratos
Battle Cat
Castle Grayskull
Battle Ram
Wind Raider

Post script: I contributed to the upcoming Dark Horse book, The Toys of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. It’s available to pre-order now!

Buying the exclusive combo pack (which includes a supplemental character guide) supports me and all the other contributors to these books: http://toyguide.thepower-con.com

You can also purchase the individual toy guide at Amazon or through Big Bad Toy Store. Thank you and Merry Christmas!

If you enjoy this content, feel free to throw in a dollar or two to support the blog. To do so, click the link below:

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Evil Warriors

MOTU Classics Mer-Man

Masters of the Universe Classics Mer-Man, released in April of 2009 and again as a blue variant in November of 2010, is still, for me, the best figure ever released in the Classics toyline. Part of that is certainly the painstakingly accurate reproduction of Mer-Man as he appeared in the vintage cross sell artwork, but part of it also is the shading and detail on the figure itself.

First release Classics Mer-Man in green

Source Material

The main source material for the Classics Mer-Man (green version) is explicitly the vintage cross sell artwork. It’s nearly a perfect reproduction of that depiction, and a passion project for Eric Treadaway of the Four Horsemen. The details reproduced from the artwork include:

  • Color and shape of the gloves
  • Four-fingered hands, with open left hand
  • Bare feet with smooth, yellow shin guards
  • Yellow loin cloth
  • Yellow detail on face
  • Large eyes
  • Upward pointed fins on the head
  • Sculpted gills around the neck
  • Wide chest armor with enlarged spikes
  • More detailed sword (the Classics version is more detailed still than the source material)
Scanned by the author.

The figure was augmented beyond the source material with some colored gems on the armor and some additional shading throughout the figure. There are some nods to the vintage figure as well. The most obvious one of course, is the second head, sculpted after the vintage figure, but also the green belt, which was featured on early releases of the 1982 toy.

Vintage toy style head
First release 1982 made in Taiwan figure

It should be noted that in some respects the Classics vintage style head is somewhat less detailed compared to the original vintage head. The vintage head has fins that terminate in individual protuberances, while the fins on the Classics head are rounded at the ends, and more closely resemble ears.

There is one nod to the 2002 Mer-Man figure as well – the trident accessory. Of course the 2002 figure is also influenced by the vintage cross sell art, particular in the head sculpt:

The blue version of Mer-Man that came packed with Aquaman is supposed to resemble Mer-Man as he appeared in the earliest minicomics illustrated by Alfredo Alcala. That version was based on early concept art by Mark Taylor and an early prototype sculpted by Tony Guerrero.

Alcala’s depiction of Mer-Man
Mark Taylor’s original Mer-Man B-sheet, published by Super7/The Power and the Honor Foundation. Image courtesy of Axel Giménez.
Tony Guerrero prototype Mer-Man. Image courtesy of Andy Youssi

The color scheme is similar to the minicomic version (blue skin, blue and yellow sword, full yellow boots), but it borrows wholesale the sculpt of the original green release of Mer-Man. It doesn’t have the unique boots, gloves, belt and other details of the minicomic/concept version, so it actually winds up looking like earlier versions of the cross sell artwork, which featured a blue-skinned Mer-Man:

Image courtesy of Tokyonever
Blue Mer-Man

This Mer-Man also has the green belt of the vintage toy. Note also that early concept art gave Mer-Man copper/gold/ accents on  parts of his costume, which didn’t end up in the minicomic artwork.

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Reviews

The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2015)

The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (published by Dark Horse, April 28, 2015) is a celebration of He-Man from his  earliest known concept drawings in 1979 to his latest 2015 evolution in modern comics and toys (images below courtesy of Jukka Issakainen).

Limited Edition printing of The Art of He-Man, with Castle Grayskull slipcover and exclusive artwork by Gerald Parel.

The focus of the book is primarily on artwork, although there is some time spent on toys. In many ways the Dark Horse book seems to take some cues from Mattel’s 2009 book, The Art of Masters of the Universe (a San Diego Comic Con exclusive). The 2009 book took a broad approach to the subject, starting with early concept artwork and moving on to cross sell artwork, box art, mini comics, the New Adventures of He-Man line, the 2002 He-Man line, the ongoing Masters of the Universe Classics adult collector line, and finishing up with some modern concept art for a potential rebooted line.  The Dark Horse book follows the same general outline, but radically expands it with more than five times as much content.

The Art of He-Man was written by Tim and Steve Seeley and edited by Daniel Chabon and Ian Tucker, with contributions by Emiliano Santalucia, Joshua Van Pelt, James Eatock, Danielle Gelehrter, Val Staples, and others. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, from current and former insiders at Mattel to external collectors and experts, The Art of He-Man is able to delve deeper into the subject than the 2009 Mattel SDCC book, and expands the territory into areas like the 1983 Filmation cartoon and the 1987 live-action film.

By comparison, The Power and the Honor Foundation’s 2011 Catalog Volume One went into far greater depth on the subject of toy design, but stayed away from topics like packaging design, mini comics, and Filmation. Some of the artwork from both The Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog and the 2009 Mattel book made it into The Art of He-Man, but by no means all of it.

Early on, The Art of He-Man was slated to be much shorter, capping out at 168 pages by the beginning of chapter 10 (thanks to Jukka Issakainen for the image and the reminder):

After I believe some extensive contributions from The Power and the Honor Foundation and others, the page count was radically increased to about 320 pages total:

The Art of He-Man starts things off with some tantalizing internal memos, most of them directly or indirectly related to the creation of He-Man. One notable exception is the December 24, 1981 memo from Mark Ellis looking into the creation of a generic male action figure line for use in licensed properties. The He-Man line had already been largely created by then, and the memo seems to favor a smaller scale line of figures.

If you’re familiar with my blog, it might not surprise you that the first chapter of The Art of He-Man is my favorite, as it covers early concept designs by Mark Taylor, Ted Mayer and Colin Bailey, as well as the first He-Man prototype sculpted by Tony Guerrero. We also get to see a number of other concept drawings by Roger Sweet, Ed Watts, Mark Jones, James McElroy, David Wolfram and others. Quite a lot of the artwork in the sample below was contributed by The Power and the Honor Foundation:

About 40 pages in, the book switches gears to packaging artwork, including figure and vehicle cross sell artwork, some of it blown up gloriously large. It’s here where I get a little frustrated at the limitations of printed media, as many of these images are heavily cropped.

At about 50 pages in, the book changes focus to concept artwork for unproduced toys like He-Ro, Turbosaurus, Rotary Man, Rhino Man, Torton, and others. Some of my favorites here are the Ed Watts concepts, which were also contributed by The Power and the Honor Foundation. Watts created some really imaginative vehicle and vehicle/creature designs in full color illustrations with background scenery included.

Turbosaurus, by Ed Watts. An early incarnation of Gigantisaur. Originally via The Power and the Honor Foundation.

About 60 pages in the book begins to explore some of the painted packaging artwork that appeared on product boxes and cardbacks. We’re treated to a gorgeous, two-page spread of Rudy Obrero’s iconic Castle Grayskull illustration. We also see a great deal of artwork by prolific MOTU artists Errol McCarthy and William George. There is also the packaging illustration for Tyrantosaurus Rex artwork by Warren Hile, who painted several packaging illustrations near the tail end of the line.

At around the 70 page mark, the book changes focus to the vintage mini comics. I would say that this section had been rendered mostly redundant by the Dark Horse He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Mini Comic Collection (more on that in a separate article), but this section does feature some lovely blown up pages, as well as an interview with writer Steven Grant and illustrator Larry Houston.

Speaking of interviews, The Art of He-Man is peppered with them. Interviewed subjects include:

  • David Wolfram
  • Dolph Lundgren
  • Earl Norem
  • Eric Treadaway
  • Erika Scheimer
  • Gabriel de la Torre
  • Gary Goddard
  • Joe Ferencz
  • Larry Houston
  • Paul Dini
  • The Power and the Honor Foundation
  • Rob David
  • Scott Neitlich
  • Steven Grant
  • Val Staples
  • William Stout

At the 85-page mark, the book switches focus to the subject of the Filmation He-Man series. It includes some lovely drawings from the early Filmation animated toy commercial, and development artwork and story boards for the actual series. One of my favorites is a page showing numerous early designs for Hordak. There is also included a replica animation cel and three printed backgrounds, so you can get a tangible lesson in the magic of traditional hand-drawn animation.

At 120 pages in, we turn to the subject of artwork from magazines, story books and posters. That means we’re treated to a number of large size images of artwork by the late, great Earl Norem, not to mention the fantastic William George.

Artwork by Earl Norem

Some 150 pages into the book, there is a smattering of miscellaneous subject matter, from the vintage DC comics, newspaper comic strips, Golden Books, coloring books, as well as some style guide and licensing artwork by Errol McCarthy.

At 175 pages, the book takes a very in-depth look at the 1987 Masters of the Universe motion picture, a topic not covered in the 2009 Mattel art book. This section is thick with interviews, draft scripts, and concept artwork by William Stout, Claudio Mazzoli and Ralph McQuarrie.

Ralph McQuarrie’s Man-At-Arms

The subject turns to the New Adventures of He-Man some 200 pages into the book. We get to take a peek at early attempts to relaunch He-Man as a G.I. Joe-like military hero, before designers eventually moved toward a science fiction look for the most powerful man in the universe.

New Adventures of He-Man concept, by Martin Arriola

At 219 pages we finally move on to the 21st century, with a look at the 2002 reboot of Masters of the Universe. I remember at the time I did encounter the Commemorative reissues of the vintage toys (I bought one of the five-packs immediately when I saw it at Toys ‘R’ Us), but I somehow missed the entire 2002 relaunch.

We get some great concept drawings from the Four Horsemen,  including depictions of many new characters who never made it into the toyline or the cartoon series. This section also covers the Mike Young Productions cartoon, with some lovely background art, as well as an extensive look at artwork from the MVCreations comic book series. I do like the Four Horsemen’s original concept He-Man, but I’m not as fond of the anime look and oversized weapons that are peppered throughout the 2002 line. On the other hand, I absolutely adore the line’s vision for characters like Stinkor, Leech, Mer-Man and Webstor. I also find the stories in the 2002 cartoon series more compelling than the original Filmation series, although I prefer the look of the original cartoon.

four-horsemen-concept-he-man
Concept 2002 He-Man, by Four Horsemen Studios. Image via The Art of He-Man.

At about 250 pages in, we turn to the 2009 adult collector series, Masters of the Universe Classics. We to see some of the artwork that Rudy Obrero produced for the toyline (including his maps of Eternia and Etheria), as well as prototypes from Four Horsemen Studios. There are also maps, concept art, packaging artwork by Nate Baertsch and Axel Giménez. Tucked away in this section is also the original 1981 Wind Raider box art, which was used as a basis for the Masters of the Universe Classics version of the toy.

Classics “Alcala” style Skeletor and prototype Demo Man

The last 20 pages or so are a hodgepodge of subjects, from mobile games to social media,  modern DC MOTU comics and far-out, exploratory artwork.

The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is practically mandatory reading for any serious He-Man fan, but I there’s I think it’s broad enough to appeal even to non-collectors who merely remember He-Man with fondness.

Several sections of the book have since been expanded into separate Dark Horse books, or else are in the works:

  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Mini Comic Collection
  • He-Man and She-Ra – A Complete Guide to the Classic Animated Adventures
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe – The Newspaper Comic Strips (Available February 14, 2017)
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe – A Character Guide and World Compendium (May 16, 2017)

I hope that at some point we’ll see the subjects of vintage toy concept artwork and packaging artwork get the same treatment. The two topics could easily fill a couple of large volumes, and would be, in my opinion, required reading.

Modulok illustration for Masters of the Universe Classics, by Axel Giménez

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History

Masters of the Universe Timeline (1971-1987)

timeline-cover-2

In my continuing quest to understand the history of the vintage Masters of the Universe toyline, I’ve put together the following timeline. It’s generally focused on toy design, drawing dates from concept artwork, internal Mattel documents, patent filings, trademark filings, and even the Masters of the Universe Bible. My goal here is to give readers a sense of how the He-Man toyline developed and evolved. I’ve also included a few dates gleaned from the CPI (Conan Properties International) vs Mattel court cases. I believe this will help put to bed the idea that He-Man started out as a Conan figure. While He-Man was certainly influenced by Conan as depicted by Frank Frazetta, the He-Man project predates Mattel’s work on the Conan property by some time.

I drew on a number of different sources in compiling this information. Those sources include:

This is by no means an exhaustive timeline. I included only those pieces of information that were dated in some way. That includes information from court cases that was assigned an approximate date, like an early 1981 date for Tony Guerrero’s He-Man prototype. That also means that undated material like Mark Taylor’s Demo Man concept or Roger Sweet’s Mekaneck concept are not included in the timeline. I could of course infer dates for this kind of material, but I wanted to avoid guessing and stick to known facts.

I also have stayed away from dates tied to media not directly related to toy production. There are many specific dates available for individual episodes of the Filmation He-Man cartoon, for instance, but that is really outside of the parameters of this particular project.

I have only included a few images of concept designs here – some of them appear in earlier posts in this blog, and almost all of them appear in the sources I drew from. Unfortunately it would not be practical to try to include all of them in this post.

Finally, I’ve included some names that were listed in the Masters of the Universe Bible. The Bible itself is dated December 1, 1982, which gives us an early (if not exact) date for at least the conceptual existence of characters like Orko (or Gorpo, as he was first named) and Jitsu (or Chopper).

1971

“King of Styx” – illustration for a short story by Mark Taylor. Some elements later reused for Skeletor. Image courtesy of Rebecca Salari Taylor

1979 – “The King of Styx” concept, by Mark Taylor

1979

Torak, by Mark Taylor – 1979. Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation

1979 – Torak (He-Man) & early Skeletor concept, by Mark Taylor
1979 – First Castle Grayskull sketch, by Mark Taylor
Aug 15, 1979 – Category Management Teams memo

1980

December 1980: Roger Sweet’s “He-Man” trio; the barbarian figure was based on designs by Mark Taylor

May 22, 1980 – Fantasy Make Believe idea disclosure form, Roger Sweet
June 11, 1980 – Male Action Figure attributes list
September 8, 1980 – Figure Attributes list
September 21, 1980 – Space/Monster/Fantasy Figures budgeted hours form, Roger Sweet
November 3, 1980 – Megaton Man project request form, Roger Sweet
Late November, 1980 – Work started on “He-Man trio”, Roger Sweet with Mark Taylor
Mid-December 1980 – He-Man trio presented at Mattel Product Conference
December 30, 1980 – He-Man Characters & Accessories idea disclosure form, Roger Sweet

1981

Tony Guerrero’s early 1982 He-Man prototype. Image source: Tomart’s Action Figure Digest.

Early 1981 – He-Man prototype, by Tony Guerrero
1981 – Bird Man (Stratos) concept, by Mark Taylor
1981 – Mer-Man concept, by Mark Taylor
1981 – Castle Grayskull concept, by Mark Taylor
1981 – Battle Cat concept, by Mark Taylor
1981 – Sensor (Zodac) concept, by Mark Taylor
1981 – Heroic Figure Battle Tester (Castle Grayskull combat trainer) concept, by Mark Taylor
1981 – Heroic Figure (He-Man) concept, by Mark Taylor
1981 – Heroic Figure (He-Man) battles plant monster concept, by Mark Taylor
January 6, 1981 – He-Man Vehicles and Accessories idea disclosure form (modular vehicles), Roger Sweet
January 23, 1981 – Drawing by Colin Bailey depicting Mark Taylor working on He-Man project, titled “Death of Mark Taylor From Night Visitation”
March 30, 1981 – De-Man (Skeletor) concept, by Mark Taylor
April 1, 1981 – Man-At-Arms concept, by Mark Taylor
April 2 1981 – Tree Man (Beast Man) concept, by Mark Taylor
April 6 1981 – He-Man (tan boots) concept, by Mark Taylor
April 7 1981 – Battle Ram (tank treads version) concept, by Ted Mayer
April 24, 1981 – Memorandum urging negotiation for Conan license
May 3, 1981 – He-Man (red/yellow boots) concept, by Mark Taylor
May 5, 1981 – CPI draft licensing agreement sent
May 28 1981 – Female Warrior (Teela) concept, by Mark Taylor
May 28, 1981 – Battle Ram control drawing, by Ted Mayer
June 3 1981 – Sorceress concept, by Mark Taylor
June 5 1981 – Battle Chariot concept, by Ted Mayer
July 1981 – He-Man designed by this month, per CPI vs Mattel lawsuit
July 14, 1981 – Memorandum discussing Mattel’s presentation of He-Man to Toys ‘R’ Us
July 23, 1981 – September 21, 1981 – Tony Guerrero worked on Conan toys
July 31, 1981– CPI and Mattel entered license agreement to manufacture toys based on Conan movie
August 10, 1981 – Attak Trak mechanism patent filed (non-Mattel)
September 16, 1981 – Mer-Man sword design concept, by Mark Taylor
September 30, 1981 – “Proprietary Line Concepts” document (Megaton Man, Kid Gallant, Robin & The Space Hoods, Monster Fantasy/He-Man)
November 28, 1981 – King of Castle Grayskull published per copyright records
November 28, 1981 – He-Man and the Power Sword published per copyright records
November 28, 1981 – The Vengeance of Skeletor published per copyright records
December 21, 1981 – Castle Grayskull trap door mechanism patent filed
December 14, 1981 – He-Man trademarked
December 14, 1981 – Teela trademarked
December 14, 1981 – Man-At-Arms trademarked
December 14, 1981 – Stratos trademarked
December 14, 1981 – Wind Raider trademarked
December 14, 1981 – Battle Ram trademarked
December 14, 1981 – Beast Man trademarked
December 14, 1981 – Mer-Man trademarked
December 14, 1981 – Zodac trademarked
December 14, 1981 – Masters of the Universe trademarked
December 21, 1981 – Battle Cat trademarked
December 21, 1981 – Castle Grayskull Trap Door patent filed

1982

Attak Trak concept drawing, by Ted Mayer – Mark 23, 1982. Image courtesy of Ted Mayer

1982 – Ram Man concept, by Mark Taylor
1982 – Gargo/Gargoyle dragon concept, by Mark Taylor
1982 – Man-E-Faces concept, by Mark Taylor
January 1982 – Mattel requested termination of Conan license agreement
January 15, 1982 – Castle Grayskull trademarked
January 15, 1982 – Skeletor trademarked
February 17, 1982 – Mattel introduces new “Masters of the Universe” toy line at Toy Fair
March 1, 1982 – Possible debut of the He-Man toyline, based on rebate offer date in first mini comic
March 4, 1982 – Attak Trak control drawing, by Ted Mayer
March 23, 1982 – Attak Trak concept, by Ted Mayer
April 14, 1982 – CPI and Mattel entered into a termination agreement
May 21, 1982 – Trap Jaw concept, by Colin Bailey
July 1982 – Wasp Man (Buzz-Off) concept, by Colin Bailey
July 1982 – Lizard Man (Whiplash) concept, by Colin Bailey
September 27, 1982 – Attak Trak trademarked
September 27, 1982 – Man-E-Faces trademarked
September 27, 1982 – Point Dread & The Talon Fighter trademarked
September 27, 1982 – Ram Man trademarked
September 27, 1982 – Trap Jaw trademarked
September 27, 1982 – Zoar trademarked
October 5, 1982 – Sultra (Evil-Lyn) concept, by Colin Bailey
December 1, 1982 – Marlena Glenn (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – King Randor (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – Tri-Klops (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – Snake Mountain (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – Panthor (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – Prince Adam (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – Sorceress (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – Cringer (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – Gorpo (Orko) (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – Delora (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – Ram Man (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – Spy Man (Mekaneck) (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – Bugoff (Buzz-Off) (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – Tri Trak vehicle (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – Roton (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – Faker (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – Black Widow (Webstor) (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – Fang Man (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – Chopper (Jitsu) (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – Tornado Traveler vehicle (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – War Sled (evil Battle Ram) (MOTU Bible)
December 1, 1982 – Grinder vehicle (MOTU Bible)
December 07, 1982 – King of Castle Grayskull copyright registered
December 08, 1982 – He-Man and the Power Sword copyright registered
December 28, 1982 – The Vengeance of Skeletor copyright registered
December 10, 1982 – Tri-Klops trademarked

1983

Dragon Walker concept by Ed Watts, 1983. Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation.

1983 – Dragon Walker concept, by Ed Watts
1983 – Snake Mountain packaging sketch, by William George
1983 – Dragon Walker with Land Shark packaging sketch, by William George
January 21, 1983 – Evil-Lyn trademarked
January 21, 1983 – Heroic Warriors trademarked
January 21, 1983 – Evil Warriors trademarked
February 16, 1983 – Panthor trademarked
February 16, 1983 – Screeech trademarked
May 23, 1983 – Prince Adam trademarked
May 25, 1983 – Faker trademarked
May 25, 1983 – Point Dread trademarked
May 25, 1983 – Talon Fighter trademarked
August 15, 1983 – Snake Mountain trademarked
August 22, 1983 – Battle For Eternia trademarked
August 22, 1983 – Buzz-Off trademarked
August 22, 1983 – Clawful trademarked
August 22, 1983 – Fisto trademarked
August 22, 1983 – Jitsu trademarked
August 22, 1983 – Mekaneck trademarked
August 22, 1983 – Road Ripper trademarked
August 22, 1983 – Roton trademarked
August 22, 1983 – Stridor trademarked
August 22, 1983 – Whiplash trademarked
September 5, 1983 – Filmation He-Man cartoon debuts
September 17, 1983 – Gyro (early Roton) concept, by Ed Watts
September 19, 1983 – Spider Attack Vehicle (early Spydor) concept, by Ed Watts
September 19, 1983 – Ball Buster (early Bashasaurus) concept, by Ed Watts
September 22, 1983 – Zap ‘N’ Go Vehicle concept, by Ted Mayer
September 26, 1983 – Dungeon concept, by Ted Mayer
September 29, 1983 – Vehicle Launcher (very early Road Ripper) concept, by Ted Mayer
November 18, 1983 – Masters Playset (two towers) concept, by Ted Mayer
December 5, 1983 – Villain Playset (early Fright Zone) concept, by Ed Watts
December 5, 1983 – Webstor trademarked
December 8, 1983 – Flying Fists He-Man/Battle Armor He-Man concept, by Ted Mayer
December 8, 1983 – Dragon concept, by Ed Watts
December 8, 1983 – Dragon concept, without helmet, by Ed Watts
December 29, 1983 – Mekaneck patent filed
December 29, 1983 – Battle Armor He-Man patent filed

1984

Torton, by Ed Watts – February 9, 1984. Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation

1984 – Mantisaur concept variations, for “New Ventures”
1984 – Jaws I, Jaws III, various unproduced vehicles concept, for “New Ventures”
1984 – Battle Armor Skeletor & Panthor packaging sketch, by William George
1984 – Dragon Blaster Skeletor packaging sketch, by William George
January 10, 1984 – Dragon Walker patent filed
January 27, 1984 – Battle Armor trademarked
January 27, 1984 – Kobra Khan trademarked
January 27, 1984 – The Fright Zone trademarked
February 9, 1984 – Torton concept, by Ed Watts
March 29, 1984 – Hordak concept, by Ted Mayer
June 1, 1984 – Horned helmet warrior woman concept, by Ted Mayer
June 6, 1984 – Modular Man (Multi-Bot) concept, by Ted Mayer
June 7, 1984 – Horde Octopus Woman (Octavia) concept, by Ted Mayer
June 13, 1984 – TM action figure concept, by Ted Mayer
June 15, 1984 – Snout Spout (black and white) concept, by Ted Mayer
June 18, 1984 – Walking skull vehicle concept, by Jim Keifer
June 19, 1984 – Early Megator concept, by Ted Mayer
July 6, 1984 – Chest cannon He-Man concept, by Ted Mayer
July 6, 1984 – Multi-Bot concept, by Ted Mayer
July 7, 1984 – Chest monster Skeletor concept, by Ted Mayer
July 7, 1984 – Transparent Man (Roboto) concept, by Ted Mayer
July 7, 1984 – Jester figure (Acrobad) concept, by Ted Mayer
July 8, 1984 – Rotary Man (early Hurricane Hordak) concept, by Ted Mayer
July 8, 1984 – Horde Mummy concept, by Ted Mayer
July 8, 1984 – Vulture figure concept, by Ted Mayer
July 8, 1984 – Stilt Stalkers concept, by Ted Mayer
July 8, 1984 – Jet Sled (close to final) concept, by Ted Mayer
July 8, 1984 – Helicopter accessory concept, by Ted Mayer
July 8, 1984 – Claw climbing accessory concept, by Ted Mayer
July 9, 1984 – Handsome concept, by Ted Mayer
July 9, 1984 – Basher concept, by Ted Mayer
July 10, 1984 – Megalaser concept, by Ted Mayer
July 10, 1984 – Octavia (colored) concept, by Ted Mayer
July 12, 1984 – Big Foot concept, by Ted Mayer
July 12, 1984 – Snowman concept, by Ted Mayer
July 12, 1984 – Tung Lashor concept, by Ted Mayer
July 13, 1984 – Green witch concept, by Ted Mayer
July 13, 1984 – Archer woman concept, by Ted Mayer
July 13, 1984 – Snout Spout concept, by Ted Mayer
July 13, 1984 – Masters Gigor concept, by Ed Watts
July 13, 1984 – Mantor (Mantisaur) concept, by Ed Watts
July 13, 1984 – Attak Pose Panthor concept, by Ed Watts
July 13, 1984 – Cyclo Marauder concept, by Ed Watts
July 13, 1984 – War Wing parachute concept, by Ed Watts
July 13, 1984 – Monster Walker (snake mountain face), by Ed Watts
July 13, 1984 – Fright Fighter concept, by Ed Watts
July 13, 1984 – Dart (Laser Bolt) concept, by Ed Watts
July 13, 1984 – Dungeon concept, by Ed Watts
July 13, 1984 – Battle For Eternia game concept, by Ed Watts
July 15, 1984 – Tyroar concept, by Ed Watts
July 15, 1984 – Turbosaurus (early Gigantosaur) concept, by Ed Watts
July 16, 1984 – Disc Blaster concept, by Ed Watts
July 16, 1984 – Weapons Factory concept, by Jim Keifer
July 22, 1984 – Land Shark & Battle Armor Skeletor packaging sketch, by William George
September 10, 1984 – Grizzlor trademarked
September 10, 1984 – Hordak trademarked
September 10, 1984 – The Horde trademarked
September 10, 1984 – Land Shark trademarked
September 10, 1984 – Leech trademarked
September 10, 1984 – Mantenna trademarked
September 10, 1984 – Spikor trademarked
September 10, 1984 – Spydor trademarked
September 10, 1984 – Stinkor trademarked
September 10, 1984 – Thunder Punch trademarked
September 10, 1984 – Two Bad trademarked
September 15, 1984 – Canyon Hopper concept, by Ed Watts
September 18, 1984 – Motorized waking monster armor concept, by Ed Watts
September 24, 1984 – Dragon Fly (Fright Fighter) concept, by Ed Watts
September 29, 1984 – Transforming figure concept, by Ed Watts
October 3, 1984 – Firepower Man (Rio Blast) concept, by Ed Watts
November 13, 1984 – Land Shark patent filed
November 23, 1984 – Bashasaurus trademarked
November 23, 1984 – Night Stalker trademarked
November 23, 1984 – The Evil Horde trademarked
December 1, 1984 – Engine Man (Dragstor) concept, by Ed Watts
December 11, 1984 – Conan Properties, Inc. v. Mattel, Inc. lawsuit
December 14, 1984 – Battle Bones patent filed
December 14, 1984 – Sy-Klone patent filed
December 17, 1984 – Mantenna patent filed
December 19, 1984 – Dragon Blaster trademarked
December 19, 1984 – Modulok trademarked
December 19, 1984 – Moss Man trademarked
December 24, 1984 – Two Bad patent filed
December 28, 1984 – Battle Bones trademarked

1985

Eternia sketch, by Ted Mayer

1985 – “The Slime Pit” finished painting, by William George
1985 – Hurricane Hordak pencils, by William George
1985 – Flying Fists He-Man pencils, by William George
January 3, 1985 – Roboto patent filed
January 3, 1985 – Thunder Punch He-Man patent filed
January 4, 1985 – Bashasaurus patent filed
February 5, 1985 – Wolf head Eternia concept, by Ted Mayer
February 26, 1985 – Early Blast Attak concept, by Mark Jones
March 29, 1985 – Seaman (Scubattack) concept, by Alan Tyler
April 5, 1985 – Fright Zone puppet tooling method patent filed
April 18, 1985 – Heroic Giant (Tytus) concept, by Alan Tyler
June 14, 1985 – Laser Bolt trademarked
June 14, 1985 – Terror Claws trademarked
June 15, 1985 – Gyrattacker concept, by Ted Mayer
June 17, 1985 – Flying Fists trademarked
June 17, 1985 – Rattlor trademarked
June 17, 1985 – Rokkon trademarked
June 17, 1985 – Stonedar trademarked
June 17, 1985 – Sy-Klone trademarked
June 17, 1985 – Tung Lashor trademarked
June 24, 1985 – Slime Pit trademarked
July 8, 1985 – Spydor patent filed
July 25, 1985 – Slasher/Punjab concept, by Roger Sweet
September 4, 1985 – Triceratops (Bionotops) concept, by Mark Jones
September 4, 1985 – Turbodactyl concept, by Mark Jones
September 9, 1984 – Horde Slurb concept, by Mark Jones
September 13, 1985 – Dragon Lord concept, by Alan Tyler
September 13, 1985 – Sorcerer concept, by Alan Tyler
September 13, 1985 – Steel Kill concept, by Alan Tyler
September 13, 1985 – Laser Bolt patent filed
September 16, 1985 – Secrets of Grayskull “New Notes” document (Grayskull Tower, King Hiss, etc.)
September 22, 1985 – Early Jet Sled concept, by Ted Mayer
September 25, 1985 – Horde Trooper patent filed
September 27, 1985 – King Hiss patent filed
September 27, 1985 – Megalaser patent filed
October 4, 1985 – Fright Zone patent filed
October 11, 1985 – Hurricane Hordak patent filed
October 17, 1985 – Secrets of Grayskull Preliminary Story Background Eternia, King Hiss, etc.)
November 4, 1985 – Medusa-Man (Snake Face) concept, by David Wolfram
November 12, 1985 – Horde Trooper trademarked
November 12, 1985 – Mantisaur trademarked
November 12, 1985 – Multi-Bot trademarked
November 12, 1985 – Snake Men trademarked
November 12, 1985 – Snout Spout trademarked
November 21, 1985 – Tyrantisaurus concept, by David Wolfram
November 26, 1985 – Crack-Pot (Blast Attak) concept, by Richard Lepik
December 6, 1985 – Streak concept, by Alan Tyler
December 12, 1985 – Blasterhawk trademarked
December 16, 1985 – Evil Giant (Megator) concept, by Alan Tyler

1986

Rokkon/Stonedar patent illustration – filed January 14, 1986

January 9, 1986 – Extendar trademarked
January 9, 1986 – Rio Blast trademarked
January 14, 1986 – Rokkon/Stonedar patent filed
March 15, 1986 – Comet Warriors trademarked
March 21, 1986 – Battle For Eternia (game) trademarked
March 21, 1986 – Fright Fighter trademarked
March 24, 1986 – Stilt Stalker trademarked
May 14, 1986 – The “Multiples” (heroic) concept, by James McElroy
June 9, 1986 – Tower Tools/Cliff Climber/Scubattack mechanism patent filed
June 14, 1986 – Sticky Minions concept, by James McElroy
June 14, 1986 – Spider People Centipede concept, by James McElroy
June 15, 1986 – The Multiples (evil) concept, by James McElroy
June 16, 1986 – Recording Sound Playset concept, by James McElroy
June 18, 1986 – Spider People Tarantula concept, by James McElroy
June 20, 1986 – The Lockers concept, by James McElroy
June 20, 1986 – Skeletor Dragon Disguise concept, By James McElroy
June 20, 1986 – The Slime Monster concept, by James McElroy
June 20, 1986 – Gwildor concept, by Alan Tyler (based on movie designs)
June 29, 1986 – The Optimagic concept, by James McElroy
June 30, 1986 – The Voice concept, by James McElroy
June 23, 1986 – Rotar/Twistoid patent filed
June 23, 1986 – Eternia trademarked
June 23, 1986 – Grayskull (figure) trademarked (cancelled)
June 23, 1986 – Jet Sled trademarked
June 23, 1986 – Monstroid trademarked
June 23, 1986 – Buzz-Saw trademarked
June 23, 1986 – Mosquitor trademarked
June 23, 1986 – Sorceress trademarked
June 23, 1986 – Meteorbs trademarked
June 23, 1986 – Cometroid trademarked
June 23, 1986 – Ty-Grrr trademarked
June 23, 1986 – Astro Lion trademarked
June 23, 1986 – Comet Cat trademarked
June 23, 1986 – Tuskor trademarked
June 23, 1986 – Dinosorb trademarked
June 23, 1986 – Crocobite trademarked
June 23, 1986 – Rhinorb trademarked
June 23, 1986 – Orbear trademarked
June 23, 1986 – Gore-Illa trademarked
July 9, 1986 – Giant Foot Print Trap concept, by James McElroy
July 9, 1986 – Net Trap concept, by James McElroy
July 13, 1986 – Gyrattacker patent filed
September 16, 1986 – Blast Attak patent filed
September 22, 1986 – Bionotops trademarked
September 22, 1986 – Gigantisaur trademarked
September 22, 1986 – Powers of Grayskull trademarked
September 22, 1986 – Tyrantisaurus Rex trademarked
October 1986 – He-Man military pitch, by Stephen Lee
October 6, 1986 – Eldor trademarked
October 6, 1986 – Rotar trademarked
October 6, 1986 – Turbodactyl trademarked
October 6, 1986 – Twistoid trademarked
October 6, 1986 – Tytus trademarked
October 7, 1986 – Blast-Attak trademarked
October 7, 1986 – Gwildor trademarked
October 14, 1986 – Cliff Climber trademarked
October 14, 1986 – Scubattack trademarked
November 17, 1986 – H.E./M.A.N. concept, by James McElroy

1987

Megator concept, by Mark Jones, based on Mark Taylor’s Demo-Man concept – 1987. Image source: The Art of He-Man/The Power and the Honor Foundation

1987 – Megator concept, based on Mark Taylor’s Demo-Man, colored by Mark Jones
April 27, 1987 – Saurod trademarked
April 27, 1987 – Megator trademarked
May 18, 1987 – Laser Power He-Man drawing, by David Wolfram
May 18, 1987 – Bio-Mechazoid Skeletor (early Laser-Light Skeletor) concept, by David Wolfram
June 22, 1987 – Regular Bio-Mechazoid Skeletor (early Laser-Light Skeletor) concept, by David Wolfram

Thanks to Shawn for pointing me towards the CPI vs Mattel material.

“Death of Mark Taylor From Night Visitation.” Artwork by Colin Bailey, January 23, 1981. Given to Mark when he was working on his “dark project” (He-Man). Image courtesy of Rebecca Salari Taylor.

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