When I was in Kindergarten, oh so many years ago, I would get out of class at noon, and head home. I’d have my PB & J and milk, grab my sword and a fistful of figures, and then park myself in the living room to catch my absolute favorite show, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

Look at this opening, and tell me that 6 year old you wouldn’t eat that up.

Jesus I just got chills.

So, when this showed up in my potential review feed, I jumped at it so fast my own head spun.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection (Dark Horse)

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HELL. YES. SON.

See, for those of you not born in the late 70’s/early 80’s, He-Man landed on the scene with an explosion. First the initial line of toys came out, with iconic characters like He-Man himself, Skeletor, Man-At-Arms, and many others. The show itself did not arrive until almost 2 years after the figures released, which caused a unique problem for the Mattel company.

With no licensing agreement tied to a movie, or tv show, how do you build the world that these plastic barbarians inhabit?

Minicomics.

Genius.

Packed in each figure, was a small, self contained story, illustrated by some now notable names in the comics industry (Bruce Timm anyone?), and with a snapshot of the available figures you could still collect.

The artwork started off pretty fantastic:

I’m 6 years old, I have no idea what’s going on in this picture, but I know i’m 100% in.

but since the series lasted 51 issues, and got more and more product placement-y as it evolved, we see the art become more like this:

Hey...um...great...uh...colors?

Hey…um…great…uh…colors?

Is It Good?

I’m of two minds.

First, for someone like me who recreated this scene, with sticks and his Clawful and Fisto (yes, actual names) figures, it’s pretty much a 10 out of 10:

fisto
BITE MY WOOD EVIL-DOER! SO SAYS FISTO!

Reading dialog like that will show you that nostalgia plays a big part in my love for this.

I’ll give it an 8 out of 10 overall for the following reasons. First – this was a juggernaut in the TV + toy tie-in that dominates today’s world, so if you’re a student of marketing and/or comic books, the interviews woven throughout the mini comics themselves will shed a ton of light on how crazy an idea this was at the time, and how well it ended up working.

I personally would pick this up just to read the evolution of the He-Man property. The first six or so minicomics are FAR different than the rest, as the Filmation show influenced them greatly. In those firsts, He-Man is a barbarian, with no Prince Adam or transformations to be found. If someone wants to get the licensing for this and tell those stories, of a desolate world after massive nuclear wars have savaged the landscape, and forced all men and women to wear fur underwear, I’m in.

If you were a kid who was into these plastic warriors, 100% worth a read. If you always wondered what the hype was all about, this has everything to explain it, including the She-Ra (He-Man’s sister, it’s a long story) comics that expanded the line out to girls. Also, if you’re a parent, and you find your child watching TV like most kids today do: On demand, with no rhyme or reason – these old He-Man cartoons, figures, and comics are all still relevant and fun, as my two year old has found out when he demands Skeletor.

Also, there was this:

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The Slime Pit. A toy where you cover your other toys with slime. SLIME WAS INCLUDED IN THE TOY.

From the kid who use to pretend the arm of the couch was his Battle Cat, to the adult who’s showing this to his own child, this was a fantastic trip down Nostalgia Ave. May the Power of Grayskull be with you all.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection
Every single He-Man comic ever – impossible to collect before nowA master class in marketing and product placement, with a bit of a moral story in there for kicks Interviews with the creators, artists, and designers that made this product come to life, including many a industry name that got started churning out Skeletor dialog
The great artwork and well plotted stories start to peter out as the TV show and pushing more product takes precedenceThe She-Ra, and New Adventures of He-Man are pretty much phoned in
8Great
Reader Rating 2 Votes
8.2
  • Russ Dobler

    I want it.

  • Mark Pellegrini

    I got Dark Horse’s retrospective hardcover that came out earlier this year and it was an amazing resource. I may have to nab this as a companion.