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Art of He Man and the Masters of the Universe Hardcover – April 28, 2015
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About the Author
Tim Seeley is one of those "slash" people...a writer-slash-artist. He has drawn a number of different comic book series including G.I Joe, Halloween, WildC.A.T.s and Ex Sanguine. His writing work includes the New York Times best-selling Hack/Slash, Witchblade, Batman Eternal and the critically acclaimed Revival. He resides in Chicago, Illinois with his wife, Gina. He works at our Star Studios where he is never far from his 80s action figure collection. The author lives in Chicago, IL..
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Top Customer Reviews
The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is an artbook that looks at the art and design for the animation, comics and toys. Instead of photos of toys and their packaging boxes, you'll be looking at the character designs and packaging art.
There are interviews with many of the creators, such as with Emiliano Santalucia, Joshua Van Pelt and James Eatock, founders of the Power and the Honor Foundation, writer of many MOTU minicomics Steven Grant, illustrator and animator Larry Houston, writer Paul Dini, illustrator Earl Norem, concept artist William Stout, designer David Wolfram and many more. It's interesting to find out how the toys, comics and animation are made, the conceptualisation that went behind, and the creative process used to maintain the series.
The first chapter starts with the business side of making toys to appeal to young boys. It's enlightening to read about the methodology and thinking that goes into toy design, or creating a character that boys can look up to, and eventually buy. There are several notes and internal memos from the Mattel Male Action Team that outlines how they should develop this particular toy market. The book covers not just the creative side but also the business side.
As for the artworks, you'll get to see storyboards, animation cels, including a piece of plastic with He-man and Skeletor that you can overlay onto the background art, toy posters from Mattel, comic covers, designs for the character, background, toys, maps and unused concepts such as toys and characters that never got made.
Personally, I've only watched the animation and don't read the comics or collect the toys, so the bulk of the content in this book are new to me. The artworks are fantastic. There are sketches as well as those fully painted pieces. There's even an illustration by movie poster master artist Drew Struzan.
The latter part of the book covers the relaunch of the toy line and animation from 2000 onwards. Again, it's quite interesting to see the modern take on the classic characters with the current visual styles of comics and animation.
This 320-page hardcover is a wonderful collection of pop culture. Highly recommended to all fans of He-Man and MOTU.
(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
First of all, the book is massive! I included a picture comparing the size to a trade paperback. The hardcover, well cover, is very thick and feels durable, as does the spine and binding. The page stock has a nice thickness, and is nice and glossy. The content is where this thing really shines though. It covers everything you could want, from concept art and toys, to prototypes, to box art, to magazines, Filmation, and so much more. It will take you HOURS to go though everything included.
If you're a fan of He-Man, this is simply a MUST have, there's really not any doubt!
Arranged topically rather than strictly chronologically, this book provides the broad strokes of the art. If you’re looking for a history of the franchise, you won’t find it here. And while The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe isn’t comprehensive on any of its subjects, it does provide a representative sampling of everything.
The first two chapters cover the classic toy line, and the Mattel design memos and proto-versions of the characters are some of the most interesting parts of the entire book (How about that unproduced “Ball Buster” vehicle? Man, I miss the ’80s). There’s plenty of art here that was featured on the toy packaging, but no pictures of the toys in the packages or in the stores, so if you were hoping for that, caveat emptor.
Chapter 3 covers the minicomics. If, like me, you still have all yours, this section might not do a whole lot for you (and remember the minicomic collection is coming out in November). I don’t mean to nitpick, but there’s a pretty glaring error on p. 73, where a page from “The Search for Keldor” has a caption about “The Ultimate Battleground.”
From there, the book moves to Filmation, where the highlights are the storyboards and some interesting developmental designs for She-Ra (who has token representation throughout the book) and Hordak. It also comes with a little He-Man/Skeletor cel you can take out, which is cool.
Chapter 5 encompasses the ’80s comics, books, and magazines. There’s a fantastic collection of Earl Norem’s amazing paintings here, plus some pages from the unreleased Star #14, where He-Man’s wearing the Dolph costume and “Grayskull” is misspelled.
The most notable part of Chapter 6, which covers the live-action movie, is the design concepts by Ralph McQuarrie (of Star Wars fame). I’ve complained about William Stout’s designs for the movie, but holy smokes, this McQuarrie stuff is horrendous. Remember kids, no matter how bad things get, it could always be worse!
Chapter 7 covers New Adventures. Boo. The amazing, horrific highlight here is that before NA was produced, there was a “military pitch called H.E.M.A.N.” where He-Man “joined the US Army.” Remember, kids, it could always be worse!
The book moves on to cover the 200X series, featuring a lot of art you’re probably familiar with plus designs for new characters that weren’t used (none of them were missed), and then to MOTU Classics. This latter chapter feels less about the art and more about shilling the figures, although it redeems itself somewhat with the maps and diagrams.
The last chapter briefly covers the He-Man app game, He-Man’s Facebook page (the two most wasted pages in the book), and the current run of DC comics. It concludes with some techy and off-putting designs of indeterminate purpose (New New Adventures, anybody?), including a Battle Cat who can change into a person. Remember, kids, it can always get worse!
The book also includes a number of interviews interspersed throughout. Some are interesting, but others are just not good (minicomic writer Steven Grant: “I didn’t pay attention, I didn’t think about it, I don’t know, I can’t remember”).
In all, I could have done with more ’80s stuff and less new stuff (it’s about a 2:1 ratio as it stands), but you can’t please everybody, and I really can’t complain too much. And while there’s a little too much marketing and pandering at times in the last 100 pages, this is a very impressive collection.
Unless you’re the most hardcore of collectors, there’s likely a decent amount of stuff here that you haven’t seen before, and both the familiar and the unfamiliar make The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe well worthwhile for anyone who still holds a passion for He-Man.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was born in the 80's and as such, my favorite thing in the world was watching Saturday morning cartoons.Read more