I know this is usually Chapter By Chapter day but I went shopping today and I’m a bit too tired to review today. I’m hoping to get enough mental energy for the comic review, so the book review comes tomorrow. Sorry for the delay but it’s less than an hour to post time as I write this paragraph. As it is this article is going to be going up after deadline.
It’s part three of Midnight’s Edge’s look at the rise and fall of the Masters Of The Universe franchise (I’m hoping they get to part 5 before I get to part 4) and this one is a bit more of a commentary piece than the first and second parts. While those were just collecting information on the origins of the toyline and cartoons for Masters Of The Universe and Princess Of Power this one has host Andre Einherjar giving his opinion as to why the franchise went from one of the most popular toys on 80s store shelves to the end of the line. I do have a few thoughts of my own and I think I can bring enough brain power up to go over them.
I don’t know if they’re going to see this but they’re overdoing that clip of the Wind Raider going through the financial fall of the series. I couldn’t tell you if they got it from one of their sources or made it themselves (if the latter, nice work) but it’s being used to death.
Remember that this toyline was popular enough that smaller companies were actually making compatible figures and accessories. Instead of Panthor MY Skeletor rode a two-headed dragon. I don’t think it had a name and I didn’t name him. When you’re a two-headed dragon you don’t need a name. You just hear “look out for the two-headed dragon” and decide who to chase for lunch. I”m hearing the most well-known knockoff line by toy collectors today is “Galaxy Warriors”, a bunch of similar figures of questionable quality and a bunch of spin-offs, including knockoff wrestlers of the 1980s.
As I went over in part two it was a mistake to target the same girls that play with Barbie and friends, but if the current social culture is an indicator we as a society continue to pretend tomboys don’t exist, only now we convince them they’re trans or non-binary rather than boys into traditionally girl things. That’s what Princess Of Power should have gone after, a line for the sister to play with her brother. Keep a few girly things like the hair but remember why this toyline exists and let them share the power like Adam and Adora were. Was it part of the fall of Masters? I’m not completely sure but it did hurt the She-Ra line. Andre does have a point that the lack of new stories and the way Mattel was marketing the POP line would keep the demographic that made this line popular in the first place both boys and girls wouldn’t be interested. It didn’t help that the minicomics had gone down in quality a bit. Eventually in Free Comic Inside we’ll see the Princess Of Power minicomics devolve into the illustrated booklets like the FIRST wave of Masters Of The Universe and the stories often made no sense or were just odd even in the actual comic period. I don’t think the girls division understood minicomics and probably only had them there because they were told to.
I am curious why Mattel didn’t push for more He-Man episodes from Filmation. They had a good enough working deal that Mattel made toys based off Filmation’s Bravestarr series (though not their Ghostbusters figures as a different toy company worked on that). I know the live-action theatrical film is THE status symbol and I’ve certainly complained about that numerous times, especially recently when I made that full realization of the media pecking order, but even if the movie had been good, and part 4 goes into what went wrong with that, it wouldn’t have been enough to sustain the brand in kids eyes. The old kids are coming out and the new kids are not being exposed to it. It’s one of the reasons comics are in such poor shape right now, and they don’t even have to count on kids primarily. It’s not like today when He-Man or Transformers have adults who grew up with it and continue to collect the figures.
Is the teaser using music from the NeverEnding Story soundtrack?
As far as the new character they probably could have been sold well in the show but they didn’t make it there. I think Snout Spout actually shows up in an episode of She-Ra as a gardener, but it took the minicomics, which were at least better than the sister line but still going a bit downhill, to showcase these figures. When they aren’t buying the figures that’s a bit more difficult. Meanwhile Transformers and G.I. Joe were taking up less space in the bedroom or playroom, which was certainly an advantage there. They still had big playsets in the Joe line, like the USS Flag, but otherwise their playsets were smaller than Eternia, Castle Grayskull, or Snake Mountain. Eternia was just a set of towers and really didn’t fit into the story. If anything the minicomics, the shelf comics, and the magazine comics (there was a He-Man & The Masters Of The Universe magazine as this was a brief trend in the 1980s–magazines with a comic story and a bunch of unrelated but interesting articles for kids they already got from other mags at the time) had been dominated by the darn towers and their lore to the point that Castle Grayskull was no longer the hot spot on the planet.
And of course the rights issues. That always seems to be the kiss of death for a franchise. She-Ra never had her own comics because of licensing. The newspaper strips wanted to use She-Ra but they couldn’t get the extra permissions. That led to She-Ra being a separate franchise legally even though fans consider it a part of the He-Man lines.
Whenever I get to it the next installment is actually double the length of the previous videos from Midnight’s Edge’s retrospective, and it’s all about the movie. That…is not a good sign. I’ll post that in the next open space but you can check it now and wait for part 5 over on their channel. I linked to it at the start of the article. Chapter By Chapter book review tomorrow.