He-Man DC Comics Launches New "He-Man and The Masters of The Universe" Comic!

Discussion in 'Other Cartoons & Collectables' started by Pum-Ra, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. Pum-Ra

    Pum-Ra Crabman


    EXCLUSIVE! DC Comics Launches Brand New 'He-Man and the Masters of The Universe' Comic From Writer James Robinson

    Posted 4/6/12 4:41 pm ET by Alex Zalben in Comic Books, DC Comics

    Get ready, He-Man fans: DC Comics is getting ready to launch a brand new take on the Masters of the Universe this July, in a six issue comic book series written by James Robinson, with pencils by Phillip Tan and inks from Ruy Jose. And that's not the end of the surprises... As the series starts, the evil Skeletor has already won!
    That's right: the skull faced arch-enemy of He-Man has figured out a way to rewrite the reality of Eternia, casting himself as the ruler of Castle Grayskull, and our heroes - including He-Man - as regular peasants with no memory of their previous life. And while simple woodsman Adam may dream of wielding a massive sword, and fighting in battles, he thinks they're just dreams. That is, until a mysterious sorceress approaches him, and sends him on an epic journey to save all of Eternia.
    To find out more, we chatted with Robinson about where the series is going, if this is just the tip of the iceberg for the Masters of the Universe, and whether a certain fan favorite (well, us favorite) will return:
    MTV Geek: Why Masters of The Universe? I think most people nowadays know it from a somewhat cheesy cartoon, and a somewhat cheesier movie - what draws you to the property? Is it a chance to really go back and reinvent from an almost blank slate, in a way?
    James Robinson: I agree to some people Masters of the Universe is considered a cheesy cartoon. However, I know for a fact that a certain generation of people, who grew up at the right time, hold genuine affection for Masters of the Universe. The challenge is to write something that raises the standard for the series, with a cool, modern story that nevertheless honors the fans of the animated series and toy line.
    Geek: How much reinvention versus continuation are we going to see in the book? It seems, like a lot of these '80s properties, your approach is a way of honoring the old fans, while allowing an easy access point for new ones.
    JR: As I say, that's the challenge. Let's just say I've come up with a series concept that introduces the line of characters to new readers in what I hope is a fresh, dynamic and compelling way while honoring what the series has been prior.
    Geek: Let's talk about the characters... What's going on with Adam? He's in a pretty interesting place when this all starts.
    JR: Adam is in a place where he really has to reconnect with what it means to be a Master of the Universe. It's his odyssey, much like the Greek myth in fact, that is the backbone of this series.
    Geek: Skeletor walks the line between terrifying, and very, very silly... What are you going for here? What's his motivation, and how will he play throughout the series?
    JR: He's terrifying. Period. The silly era is done and gone. Phillip and I are taking great pains to make Skeletor, who is after all a barbarian warrior with a skull face, into a horrifying and worthy foe for He-Man. As to motivation, much like before he wants it all. Eternia. Castle Greyskull. Adam's head on a plate. Everything. He's just going to be much more ruthless in how he goes about getting it.
    Geek: There's also a "mysterious sorceress" who kicks off the proceedings. Is she someone we've met before? What game is she playing? Oh, and she's She-Ra, right? Right???
    JR: Not She-Ra I'm afraid. Although the sorceress is very important to Adam's odyssey taking shape.
    Geek: This is a bit of personal question, but are we going to see Orko in this series? I don't want to brag, but I won a costume contest dressed as him when I was seven.
    JR: Congratulations! Yes, there is a possibility you'll see Orko by the end of the series.
    Geek: What other characters are we going to see popping up? And was there anyone you weren't able to fit in?
    JR: Yeah, Orko until you mentioned him. Apart from that, no, I'm going to try and get every character in, if only in our epic climax.
    Geek: You have Philip Tan on pencils, and he's clearly been doing some fabulous fantasy work on Hawkman - if you've seen any of it yet, what's his work like here? What does he bring to the project?
    JR: Truthfully, I haven't seen the work yet, however based in Philip's work on Batman & Robin, Green Lantern and Hawkman, he'll brings a darkness and mood, coupled with a dynamic storytelling that will definitely add a unique quality to this Masters of the Universe relaunch.
    Geek: This may be a little too literal, but I've always wondered why they were called "Masters of the UNIVERSE," when they only hung out on Eternia - are we going to see any exploration of places beyond Eternia in this series, or more of a fleshing out of that side of the concept?
    JR: A little too literal? Boy that's an understatement. Seriously though, that's a good question and one that deserves it's own arc. However that isn't this arc, which is more concerned with reintroducing the Masters of the Universe and the world of Eternia to a new generation.
    Geek: ...And this may be above your pay-grade, but I imagine these comics are somewhat a testing ground for the franchise, to see if it can be reinvented for TV, action figures, movies, etc... Has that been part of the discussion at all? And when you've been writing this, has your eye turned to that side of the business at all?
    JR: Honestly I don't know. Mattel has been very supportive to my ideas, I do know that. I'm sure as a company they've got their eye on all their franchises for the best way to make the most of them. I know I would.
    Geek: Just to wrap up, between finally revealing the life of The Shade on an epic, globe-trotting journey, creating a whole new world with Earth Two, and reinventing Masters of the Universe, are you going to want to write a nice, small character piece after this is all done? Or do you have even bigger plans?
    JR: No, my plans are a couple of more character based ideas, although even those have some pretty epic brush strokes. Oh and I'm working on a novel, that I'm very happy with so far and will have done by the end of the year. Thanks for asking.
  2. Daremonger

    Daremonger Thunderian Legend

    A new limited Masters of the Universe series published by DC is a really bold move on their part. Must be a sign they're working with Mattel once more like they did in the '80s.
  3. Lord Slithor

    Lord Slithor Mutant

    This sounds interesting! I'm especially intrigued by the premise that the comic starts out with Skeletor having already won. Kind of ballsy as that wasn't something done very often in He-Man.

    It looks like it might be good, but I still really liked Mike Young Productions' version of He-Man that came out 9 years ago. That was really good, and I liked the comics Image did for that, especially Icons of Evil, as that gave a lot of the villainous characters like Beast Man, Trap Jaw and Mer-Man some much-needed backstory. To this day I still mourn the loss of that show and the toy line that accompanied it. Both were excellent, and were cut down in their prime.:(

    But I'll be interested in seeing what DC will do with it. Having Skeletor be a genuine threat rather than a buffoon is a step in the right direction. The MYP He-Man was kind of the same way.

    I was never terribly fond of the 1980's Filmation show, as I always thought MOTU should have been a bit darker. If you look at pictures of the early toy packaging, especially Castle Greyskull, they had a cool oil-on-canvas look that suggested Frank Frazetta and by extension Conan. So I thought it should have been something like that. But the Filmation version was strictly for the kiddies, and I wasn't in that demographic. So when I look at MOTU, I prefer the somewhat darker takes like MYP. Hopefully DC's version will be more like that. And if it does ultimately lead into a new show and toyline, so much the better.
  4. Pum-Ra

    Pum-Ra Crabman

    It should've been a bit more like Thundarr The Barbarian. Then again, it was the dark tone of that show that supposedly got it cancelled.

    Anyway, pretty excited about this, so far, especially that Philip Tan is doing the pencils! If you haven't checked his Savage Hawkman work, you should! It really should give you an idea of what we might expect from his He-Man(and maybe his Stratos)!
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  5. Daremonger

    Daremonger Thunderian Legend

    Wouldn't it be great if DC could do a MOTU/ThunderCats crossover miniseries set in both brands' 1980s universes?
  6. Pum-Ra

    Pum-Ra Crabman

    ....that would be sweet indeed! Still, crossing the current Thundercats show continuity with that of the 2002 MOTU series, could be nice also!
  7. Daremonger

    Daremonger Thunderian Legend

    Agreed, my friend.
  8. Pum-Ra

    Pum-Ra Crabman

    Something I've been thinking; Monkian and Jackalman had their names changed for the new series. Should Beast-Man and Mer-Man be given the same treatment either in this new comic series or in some other future project along the line?
  9. Dr_SLUMP

    Dr_SLUMP Berserker

    I'm pretty sure that the new comic will be very loyal to the MOTUC toyline and keep every name as is. I also believe that this leaves open possibilities for retail releases of the MOTUC figures.
  10. Daremonger

    Daremonger Thunderian Legend

    Mer-Man's and Beast Man's names will remain the same.
  11. Pum-Ra

    Pum-Ra Crabman

    New interview with James Robinson on the series, as well as a look at the variant cover for the 1st issue: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=38505

    CBR News: How did you come to write a "Masters of the Universe" project? The property certainly has a legion of fans --
    James Robinson: Honestly, Warner Bros. came to me and asked me if I would be interested. And the fact they wanted to do it as a slightly more -- I don't want to say mature because that implies a Vertigo book -- [with an] adult sensibility while still being true to the source material.

    [​IMG]EXCLUSIVE: Artist Dave Wilkins' Skeletor variant cover for "Master of the Universe" #1

    It was just a really interesting challenge that I thought would be fun. Knowing Philip Tan is the artist, you know it's going to have a darker, more shadowy look, although having seen the artwork, it's actually quite beautiful and quite bright. But at the time, he wasn't the type of artist that I was expecting for "Masters of the Universe." Again, I thought it would be an interesting challenge to work with someone like him on the book too.
    Those were the initial reasons. I was also aware that "Masters of the Universe" is a fan favorite, and various generations have enjoyed the animated series either in original syndication or in reruns, but there wasn't any new point of entry for "Masters of the Universe." If they don't know the characters from the TV show, it would be bewildering. The challenge was coming up with a storyline that was something that fans of the animated show and fans of the toys and fans of the prior comic books would enjoy but also would be an introduction for new readers into this world, and maybe Eternia would become a place that they would like to revisit and get to know based on this miniseries.
    Were you familiar with the concept before accepting this project?
    I was not familiar with it, but I have made myself familiar with it. Basically, I read up on the franchise without actually looking at the TV show, which allowed me to get what I believe was my own interpretation of the show first and developed a storyline. And then, once I saw the show, I was able to reconcile that with how the actual characters are depicted. That approach allowed me a little bit more freedom at the start in order to come up with a fresh idea that wasn't anchored down by what had been done before.
    I wasn't a fan or familiar with "Masters of the Universe," but I have become one since I started on the project.
    You have a long history of writing epic stories with more traditional comic book superheroes and villains like Superman, Starman and the Justice Society. Do you approach a project like "Masters of the Universe" any differently or is this essentially another superhero series?
    It's definitely different. One of the things about the "Masters of the Universe" TV show is that, I think when they were first doing the show during its original run, they were just throwing anything that they could of think of in there. It was sword and sorcery, but there were robots, flying craft and all sorts of stuff. What that immediately gives a writer is a real open book to do whatever he wants in terms of drawing from inference to another. I was interested in making it a little more science fantasy. Another thing to remember is, since "Masters of the Universe" came out, we've become much more comfortable with those kinds of worlds through playing video games. People say they don't read science fantasy, but they play "Skyrim" or whatever.
    While the world of "Masters of the Universe" is not a comic book superhero universe, it's one -- due to my own love of video games and the art of Frank Frazetta and everything else -- that I am very familiar with in terms of style. I am trying to bring more of that to this series to give it a modern vitality -- and I have to stress this every time -- whilst being true to the original source material. That's not to say what happened before didn't happen or was without validity. I am trying to give everyone what they want, both old fans and new readers.
    Now, the series opens with Skeletor positioned as the ruler of Eternia. How does this come about?
    I don't want to say too, too, too much, but basically at the start of the series, Skeletor has won by wiping the memory of the Masters of the Universe from all of Eternia, including from the Masters of the Universe themselves. He's taking great delight in being responsible for their very unhappy, uneventful, unnotable fates. He now watches over their lives as the Masters of the Universe have no memory of their past.
    Adam, who is now a woodsman, slowly begins to think there is more to his life and he goes off in search of this piece of his life that he believes is missing. Thereby, he begins an odyssey, across all of Eternia, slowly finding and reuniting the other Masters of the Universe. In this way, we are introduced to them one after another and we get a clear picture of each character as this happens.

    [​IMG]Robinson says that while he wasn't familiar with the world when he accepted the project, he'd gladly return to Eternia if sales permit
    Art by Philip Tan

    Orko and a number of Skeletor's cronies like Beast Man, Mer Man and Trap Jaw were traditionally played for laughs on the TV show. On the variant cover for the first issue CBR is debuting today, Skeletor looks pretty bad ass. Are these other characters getting similar makeovers?
    That's definitely something I made sure of. Skeletor is a big, barbarian warrior with a skull face. He should be the most terrifying guy in Eternia. I saw an episode recently where he gets all ****y because the space circus arrived on Eternia and he wanted them to play on Snake Mountain. They don't, so he turns into a school girl and decides to ruin the circus, just like a little kid that didn't get ice cream at the end of the day.
    That Skeletor is not in this series.
    He's scary. He's plotted this downfall and he's joyful in his triumph, but he's also aware that he might lose it because he knows Adam is trying to regain his memories and his hold on all Eternia.
    Beast Man should be this scary, feral villain, but like you said, he was played for laughs too. They all were. But that was the nature of the series. If you look at the toy line from Four Horsemen, there was an attempt to make the characters look a bit more sophisticated.
    I've taken that as part of my inspiration and am now making what I believe to be a story that is a nice sophistication of those old TV shows, which used the villains primarily for comic relief. It's slightly more serious but not without the same sense of wonder, excitement and fun the TV show provided to its fans.
    This was announced as a six-issue miniseries, but having worked with the characters, do you think the world you've recreated could carry additional series or even its own ongoing title?
    I am really enjoying these characters and it's a very cool concept. And yes, potentially, it's one that I would like to revisit if I am given the invitation and if this one is a success.
    I think I know the answer to this last one, but just in case, I thought I would ask; is Eternia part of the New 52?
    No, it's not. In fact, everything I am doing in terms of my editor Kwanza Johnson and all of my approvals from Mattel and Warner Bros. are all handled on the west coast. This is not a DC comic at all -- apart from them being the publisher, obviously.
  12. Lordore

    Lordore Moderator

    Admitedly, very striking cover for issue 1. Thought i've never been a MOTU fan and never liked the cartoon either as a kid or older.

    Still, good news for the He-man fans:thumbsup:
  13. mystique

    mystique Junior Member

    I'm very excited.I can't wait to read it.
  14. Pum-Ra

    Pum-Ra Crabman

    ...same here! Also, going by what Robinson said ("And the fact they wanted to do it as a slightly more -- I don't want to say mature because that implies a Vertigo book -- [with an] adult sensibility while still being true to the source material."), this mini-series could have the potential to display that same type of storytelling-quality that has brought so much positive feedback to the new Thundercats animated series!

    Oh, and here's another recent interview with James Robinson: http://www.newsarama.com/comics/he-man-masters-universe-dc-robinson-interview.html
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  15. Daremonger

    Daremonger Thunderian Legend

    I'm eager to own the new MOTU comic as a trade paperback in 2013.
  16. Pum-Ra

    Pum-Ra Crabman

    Last edited: May 16, 2012
  17. KorbenDallas

    KorbenDallas Glass Walker

    Sounds great, i am a MOTU fan and this should be a terrific comic.
  18. This is awesome news! Comic looks cool :thumbsup:
  19. Pum-Ra

    Pum-Ra Crabman

  20. Daremonger

    Daremonger Thunderian Legend

    Why shouldn't this new "MOTU" comic be ongoing? The artwork is just so amazing.

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