He-Man is a big part of my childhood. While I didn’t collect as many of the action figures (I do feel I missed out on Castle Grayskull though) as I did for other toyline–Transformers and Star Wars tended to be my biggest collections–I did read the daylights out of the minicomics I had and of course I very much enjoyed He-Man & The Masters Of The Universe and She-Ra: Princess Of Power. I do have ties to this franchise.
Since I need to adjust my workload a bit today for the sake of the schedule I present this filler video from YouTube creator Shadiversity. Author Shad M Brooks usually discusses medieval life and weapons (a big fan of swords) and on occasion relates them to modern and classic fiction. In this video he goes over why the most powerful man in the universe and the original Filmation series were so iconic and so important to kids, while the classic series gets mistreated by Netflix and frankly other modern media sources.
Catch more Shadiversity on YouTube.
The whole “Sword Of He” thing is a reference to some modern mythology changes in the bios for the Masters Of The Universe Classics adult collector toyline, a line with highly detailed articulation and more realistic proportions. It’s a cool line, but the way it delivers it’s take on the mythology leaves something to be desired, like they were making stuff up as they decided on which characters to give an update to in this particular wave of figures. There are a few interesting ideas now and then but for the most part I’m not really a fan of it.
I wonder if Shad read the comics from the 1980s where Superman got dragged to Eternia and helped He-Man fight Skeletor? I’ve read it online but I would really like to own a copy. It was DC Comic Presents #47 as well as a quick preview section in some other comics meant to promote the shelf version miniseries of Masters Of The Universe as part of DC working on the second series of minicomics. This is actually where the concepts of Prince Adam and Cringer as well as Marlena coming from Earth were first introduced, a ball Filmation decided to pick up but wouldn’t be in the minicomics until after they started imitating Filmation. I still don’t know for sure why DC decided He-Man and Battlecat needed secret identities but it’s a story I would love to dissect someday for this site.
One thing Shad discusses is how He-Man and Superman influenced him as a kid to be a good person. Remember, supervillains have cool powers and costumes as well, only they use it for different reasons even after their identities are revealed. The real difference between the supervillain and the superhero is right there in the name. Make being a bad person look lame and a good person look cool and even if their normal talents a kid may strive to make the world a better place for everyone. This of course depends on the hero being written like a hero and that’s where we may all have differing views as we see out in the world today, but there are things we all agree on and seeing heroes used their abilities for good can be a positive influence. That’s what a fictional hero, and even tales of real-life superheroes, are supposed to be.
My history with superheroes is a bit different from Shad’s. As a kid I was a bully victim. Here were people who could better talk to people, were more confident (not always in a good way but I still wish I was), and other people liked them. And yet they were using their talents to make my life miserable. So here come superheroes, using their talents, powers, and cool gadgets to make people better and as a bonus having awesome adventures. I was drawn to those stories and when some of my friends at the time were folding paper into homemade comic books it sounded cool and I did it myself…and didn’t stop for a good chunk of my life until I just took a five subject notebook and started drawing big comics instead of just minicomics. Now here I am making comic strips and PDF comics and sprite comics and while not making any money off of them (goals) I get to tell amazing stories or just silly gags and commentary. Someday I would love to have a printed comic with my name in the credits as writer and possibly somewhere in the art team. I want to be that sense of escape from a crappy life outside of my home (God granted me the best parents possible) for some other kid, to inspire them to use their talents to benefit others and bring people together, and to be a good example, especially to kids who weren’t as lucky as I am to have role models in their surroundings.
As far as Adam’s transformation to He-Man in various iterations, and I’m curious if you all would like to see me do an article series reviewing the numerous hero transformations that just popped into my head and not just He-Man and She-Ra’s, I do have to agree that the original was the best. New Adventures is just too short, the 2003 series is too long and continues that show’s trend of overdoing the power on display like a big show-off, Revelations has a few issues starting with how little energy Adam puts into it, and the other Netflix show shares the problem of having him say “I have the power!” before he actually has the power AND is a bit too long, kind of like this sentence. I’d like to see it after new kids Netflix Adam gets used to calling the spell instead of confusingly reading it for the first time though.
And for those of you who reject Shad’s discussion on male/female interactions as being “old-fashioned”, let me offer these defenses of the original He-Man & The Masters Of The Universe. The planet doesn’t just have other races, it has other species, or races as a proper definition and not just a different shade of skin or shape of the eye. There are people made of plants, people made of rocks, people made of actual living fire, and dragons! The show taught tolerance of people of other races because their races were even more different from ours and yet they were more accepting of each other’s abilities and personalities, even if your face spins around to show a different face. Women were treated just as powerful of the men, right down to a woman with He-Man’s powers as well as extra powers her brother didn’t have. She-Ra had his strength but could also heal people and talk to animals, and that show exists because girls had a strong reaction to the strong yet feminine women of Eternia, and with that planet being a virtual death trap they kind of have to be.
One of my video goals is to dissect all the shows in this franchise He-Man and She-Ra alike. There are reasons these characters stuck with people even if they didn’t buy the toys. The original show spoke to its audience while more recent versions seem to reject the very aspect that made them popular. Maybe if you don’t understand a franchise you should look to make your own stuff instead.