In 2000, I managed to score a collector’s set of Masters of the Universe toy replicas. The set included favorites He-Man, Skeletor, Beastman, Merman, and Prince Adam, all cast from the original molds. While many fans nit-picked the slight color variations that set them apart from the original figures, I was nothing but thrilled to have them again. I did have one problem, though: I wasn’t about to take the toys out of the packaging, which meant there was no way that I was going to be able to read the mini-comics that came packed in with each toy.
Dark Horse Comics has recently published a collection of all the classic mini-comics in the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection Hardcover Book. This is something that I had often dreamed of, but never dared to actually hope for. For me and many other fans, at least half of the fun of getting a new MOTU figure was get a hold of the mini-comic. They often featured the character that you had acquired (though, frustratingly, not always), and always had amazing artwork and mythical storylines.
Because these comics were sold along with one of the most popular toy lines ever made, there were literally millions of them printed back in the 80s. You’d think this would make them plentiful, but for the same reason, not many exist today; many kids who were just in it for the toys didn’t bother to take care of the comics long-term. Or, kids would page through them time and time again, reliving the adventure that helped them frame how to play with their new toy. This makes vintage issues of these comics nearly impossible to collect.
I got a hold of this book last weekend, and I haven’t been able to put it down. If you were afraid that there was a catch to this, I’ve got to tell you that there just isn’t. It is everything you could wish for. It is absolutely comprehensive, containing all 49 of the original MOTU mini-comics; 11 Princess of Power (She-Ra) mini-comics; all four of the He-Man New Adventures comics, released in the late 90s; three MOTU Classics mini-comics; the landmark storybook, “The Power of Point Dread/Danger at Castle Grayskull” (originally sold as a record storybook back in the 80s); “The Power of the Evil Horde” book that launched Hordac and, eventually, She-Ra; the 2002 Target-exclusive He-Man and Skeletor Comic; two previously unpublished comics, from 2003; as well as tons of interviews and annotations.
If you’re wondering how long, exactly, this book is with all of that material inside, it is well over 1200 pages. That’s right: this is the War and Peace of He-Man legend you’ve always wanted.
Just cracking this volume open blew my mind. Seeing the original frames of the first comic, where He-Man leaves his tribe to go protect Grayskull was like visiting an old friend who you’ve forgotten was missing in your life.
There were many strange differences between the comics and the cartoon, and the comics and the other comics that used to confuse us as kids. Those differences are explained in footnotes below the images, as the complicated process of producing these comics is illuminated. Interviews with the artists and authors let you in on even more of the behind-the-scenes excitement.
Hats-off to Dark Horse. What could have been a lousy footnote to cash-in on nostalgia could have turned out about as good as the inevitable Michael Bay He-Man reboot. Instead, they have produced a wonderful anthology that is complete and exciting. What’s even better? This hardcover book comes at a very affordable price, making it not just a collector’s item, but a book that you can read over and over again. It’s almost like reading a book of your own childhood.
The He-Man & MOTU Minicomic Collection Hardcover Book is available at Entertainment Earth.