Book Title: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe—Minicomic Collection
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Don Glut/Gary Cohn/Michael Halperin/Karen Sargentich/Christy Marx/Tim Kilpin/Gayle Gilbard/Larry Houston/Steven Grant/Eric Frydler/Jim Mitchell/Tina Harris/Phil White/Eric Frydler/Val Staples/Robert Kirkman/Val Staples/Scott Neitlich
Artist: Alfredo Alcala/Mark Texeira/Larry Houston/Peter Ledger/Jim Shull/Bruce Timm/Mike Sekowsky/Jim Mitchell/Chris Carlson/Mike Vosburg/Errol McCarthy/Carol Lay/Emiliano Santalucia/Enza Fontana/Kevin Sharpe/Wellinton Alves
Release Date: 2015
He-Man could be the most powerful man in the Universe! With the threat of Skeletor forever threatening Eternia, He-Man and his allies must defend the planet from Skeletor and his men, but also from dangers outside of reality. While He-Man battles to protect Eternia, his twin-sister She-Ra finds herself as the defender of Eteria which has problems of its own. He-Man, She-Ra, and their allies together are the Masters of the Universe…and the fate of their worlds rests on their shoulders.
With various writers and artists, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe—Minicomic Collection spans decades. The series is a complete collection of the individual comic books packaged with the Masters of the Universe and Princess of Power toys along with later versions of the toys. Included in the volume are interviews with artists and writers involved in the comics creations and supplemental material.
I loved Masters of the Universe. Simply “a series to sell toys” (as many critics claimed), the characters developed through mini-comics and the TV series. This doesn’t mean that the development was always good, but ripping into the plastic of a new He-Man toy and reading the minicomic that came with it on the ride home from the store felt like a tradition.
The stories of the comics range from ok (maybe good at best) to poor. As the series evolved, it seems like Mattel got less interested in the comics and putting much work into them. They just would introduce a new character and then Skeletor and his goons would be driven off at the end with He-Man and his friends smiling. It isn’t very deep and a struggle to read at points.
I do find the earlier issues very interesting. Before the whole Clark Kent-Prince Adam type of story, He-Man was radically different. I only had a few of the early issues (which were more text based) and it is good to read the start of the series. He-Man is just a guy with a magical sword and vest. Eternia is much more savage and the stories actually seem more dangerous. I wish that someone would return to this story for some alternate universe telling.
As average as the He-Man comics are, the She-Ra comics are far worse. The art and storytelling is barely there and people wonder why girls have traditionally been left out of the comic market…no one tried to recruit them! She-Ra’s minicomics are a prime example of a missed opportunity to make an audience (though Mattel’s primary goal was to sell toys not comics…it goes hand-in-hand however).
With a majority of He-Man toys and a majority of the comics, this collection was mostly a revisiting of childhood for me, but for a collector, it is loaded with hard-to-find issues. It is also interesting to see who came out of the comics and still are making a mark in comics today like Bruce Timm and Stan Sakai (though most of the people being interviewed remember little of the projects). I can distinctly remember acting out comics with the toys and playing with them. I still have my minicomics (though some are very worn) and still love opening them to remember simpler times…I have the power!