By the power of Grey Skull...
August 20, 2002 8:27 AM   Subscribe

By the power of Grey Skull... Cartoon Network is airing a new He-Man cartoon series. Feel free to reminisce about the original Masters of the Universe.
posted by uftheory (53 comments total)
Dolph Lundgren is the true and silliest He-Man incarnation.
posted by shagoth at 8:32 AM on August 20, 2002

Not only was I the only girl in my 4th grade class who watched He-Man regularly, but I also think I was the only one who had an actual crush on a cartoon.

I wish I were kidding.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:33 AM on August 20, 2002

Did anyone else get the feeling that Skeletor's new voice is done by the actor who played J. Peterman on Seinfeld?
posted by interrobang at 8:34 AM on August 20, 2002

His chest always looked like it was about to explode, like an over-inflated inner tube. Creepy to a stick-limbed 10-year-old.

Teela was cute, but she didn't hold a candle to Ariel (Thundarr, not Disney). Demon Dogs!
posted by gottabefunky at 8:49 AM on August 20, 2002

I remember the good old days.

Me and Ram-Man would go out bar-hopping. He never had much luck with the ladies though. Something about his Ram-Bam, Thank-You-Ma'am approach just turned 'em off.

And we'd razz Man-At-Arms about his stupid name. I mean was it Duncan? Was it Man-At-Arms? Who the hell would name their kid Man-At-Arms? He'd cry. And then we'd laugh. And then we'd apologize. And then we'd make him cry some more.

And don't get me started on Orco. The lovable goof thing gets a little thin after a while. We used to lock him in the crawlspace after taping on Friday and let him out Monday morning. Now he's taking about permanent psychological damage and some kind of lawsuit.

Cringer's in rehab now. Skeltor's doing county fair Ghost Train rides for five bucks an hour plus tips.

And me, Prince Adam? I'm doing OK I guess. I take the bus to work every day like everyone else. You know, punch the clock.

But I can't shake the feeling that it was real, you know?
posted by Kafkaesque at 8:51 AM on August 20, 2002

Kafkaesque writes He Man: Behind the 'Skull.

I can't shake the feeling that a really cool story could come out of this, though... from the POV of Prince Adam's squire, the kid who's supposed to chauffer his boss to castle functions, only to have the pretty-boy disappear at the first hint of trouble.
posted by krewson at 8:54 AM on August 20, 2002

That's hilarious, Kafakaesque.

A friend said he saw the action figures prominently displayed at KB Toys recently -- I wonder if they still have the squishy heads.
posted by me3dia at 8:54 AM on August 20, 2002

I liked the bad guy (what's his name) that was a lizard dude, and when you pressed his head, he sprayed you with water.
posted by adampsyche at 8:58 AM on August 20, 2002

my brother had all the action figures, the He-Man fortress and the Castle Greyskull fortress, and matching sheets and curtains for his room, featuring the rippling muscles and flowing mane of He-Man in technicolor. mmmmmm. am i remembering right, was there a guy called MossMan? i remember an action figure covered with green flocking fuzz...
posted by serafinapekkala at 9:00 AM on August 20, 2002

Be sure to read these Homoerotic He-Man names from I wasn't able to see it as a kid, but now it seems pretty obvious...
posted by Samsonov14 at 9:07 AM on August 20, 2002

I know that this is just a cartoon, but even a cartoon should use some common sense. There are 3 things that urke me about the show now that I'm old enough to make sense of it.

First, the premise was that there were three others that shared the secret that Prince Adam was He-man. The socress (okay, no problem, she was the keeper of Greyskull and gave He-man his power). Man-At-Arms (okay, a wise and experienced warrior). But letting Orko in on this? Rememeber, he couldn't cast a decent spell if his life depended on it. He was a total goof-up yet he was worthy enough to be trusted to keep this great secret. Teela and the other noble heroes of Eternia weren't good enough but Orko was? "Wow, Prince Adam, you're He-Man! You couldn't trust me with your secret but you could trust that worthless Orko?" Now to be fair, it was once explained that in his home domension, Orko is the greatest wizard that ever lived but on Eternia the forces of nature somehow worked against his magic. That sounds plausible but THEN WHY WOULD ORKO LIVE IN ETERNIA? I could buy this if Orko was trapped in Eternia, but he wasn't. He could come and go as he pleased but he chose to stayed in Eternia where he was a medicore magican at best. This is like Celine Dion leaving Earth to another dimension where he singing voice diminishes to the point where he's lucky to get a gig as a back-up vocalist, yet she choses to stay and be adequent rather than return to Earth and be an icon. On her own, Prince Adam's mother (a fighter pilot from Earth) figured out that her son was He-Man. Adam asked her how she knew and she just said, "A mother should know her own son after all these years. That's not saying much for your bonehead father who doesn't have a clue when he's supposed to be a wise and all-knowing king. By the way, asshole, thanks for confiding in us. We are your parents afterall. Thanks trusting your faith in Orko the court jester rather than us."

Second, He-man was never proactive. All the episodes centered around the heroes reacting to an attack from Skeletor. They always sat around and let the bad guys make the first move. If He-Man insisted that Skeletor was the most vile and evil being on all Eternia, then why didn't He-Man get proactive, rally his troops, and storm Skeletor's castle and end his reign of terror once and for all?

Third, there was an episode were Skeletor tried to his paws on an orb that pretty much made whoever possessed it all powerful and invincle and could do practically anything. Our hero twarts the plan and finds himself in possession of the orb. He feels it's power and says, "I could use this orb to destroy you forever, Skeletor. But that would be wrong. Absolute power is evil. No one should possess it." Then he throws the orb away and Skeletor flees. Okay, maybe He-Man is too noble to kill anyone (even evil Skeletor) but couldn't he have used the orb to make Skeletor a good guy, or use it to remove his powers, or use it to imprison Skeletor somewhere so that he could never hurt anyone again? If Skeletor hurt anyone from that point on, wouldn't He-Man be responsible because he had a chance to deal with this evil being?
posted by DailyBread at 9:09 AM on August 20, 2002

Get me! I'm Mossman!
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:10 AM on August 20, 2002

It's weird to me that He-Man is returning. I know it was a popular line of toys (I had a lot of them) but why bring it back after 15 years? I guess I just don't see much in the way of demand for something like He-Man. Back in the 80s, the old cartoon/toy symbiosis was very strong indeed. It seems much less so now. When I occasionally go to a department store and look in the toy aisle out of curiosity, it looks like a ghost town compared to the smorgasbord of action figures it was when I was a youth. I have to wonder if the Cartoon Network is aiming this new He-Man at actual kids or just at hopelessly nostalgic guys in their mid-twenties. They'd probably have a lot more success with the latter group.

Two questions:
1) What are kids doing to entertain themselves these days, if not playing with toys? Have video games completely sucked them in?

2) Did anyone else find the He-Man toys kind of weird and random? I remember Stinkor, a villain who actually, well, reeked, and Moss Man, a fuzzy green yeti who smelled like pine car deodorisers. Odd.
posted by picea at 9:12 AM on August 20, 2002

I had it all! Greyskull! Snake castle! The Talon Fighter! The figures (including Mossman)! A huge collection of the glow in the dark rings that came with the figures!

But I never owned any She-Ra stuff, that was for pansies.

My parents gave away all the He-Man stuff when I stopped playing with them, not realizing I guess that it was just a temporary phase.
posted by frenetic at 9:13 AM on August 20, 2002

I totally fell in love with a girl a couple of years ago because her vintage coat smelled just like that snake-head guy who squirted water.
posted by panopticon at 9:13 AM on August 20, 2002

panop: are you sure it was water?
posted by gottabefunky at 9:19 AM on August 20, 2002

i am disturbed that the impossibly proportioned he-man, of the cartoon series which i once watched, has been replaced by a yet more impossibly proportioned he-man.
posted by moz at 9:25 AM on August 20, 2002

Geez, if He-Man is coming back, what are the chances that we'll see a return of Voltron next?

It's interesting that stuff like this is coming back -- I know I've seen new episodes of Transformers a couple times recently. Maybe the Pokemon/Digimon anime craze of the last few years is losing steam, and the media companies are starting to mine the trove of '80's cartoons? Mebbe.

Picea: interesting comment about the toy aisle ghost town. Personally, I think the retail market has fragmented to the extent that the same about of stuff -- or even more -- is out there, but you see it in a lot more places. I recall reading something that Wal-Mart now sells more toys than anyone, but I'd have to find the reference. But on the other end of the spectrum...I was in MicroCenter over the weekend, they're selling Warcraft III toys. Go figure.
posted by PeteyStock at 9:29 AM on August 20, 2002

Is it just me or are all the cool characters from He-Man either mentally handicapped or have serious physical deformities? I mean, you've got characters like Fisto, who has a huge fist, Ram-Man who has a big, hard flat head (and is arguably mentally handicapped), Orko ('nuff said), Beast Man (also 'nuff said), a guy who's a giant bee, a guy who's power is that he can take his arms off, a guy who's only power is his stench, a guy who's only power is that he's made of moss...

I could go on for days. Of course, I'd buy them all if I was a kid again. Especially the first love.
posted by fatbobsmith at 9:30 AM on August 20, 2002

I still remember the first time I saw the ad for these toys and knew what I was going to ask (and beg and plead) for on my next birthday. I had He-Man and Teela sleeping together before I even knew what that entailed.

Still . . . look at some of these pictures! What a bunch of shitty toys!
posted by mikrophon at 9:42 AM on August 20, 2002

I watched She-Ra and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

The cringer/battle cat toy ruled...two two two toys in one!

I never understood how nobody knew Prince Adam and He-Man were the same person. They looked exactly alike except Prince Adam enjoyed Lavendar shirts.

I watched the last half hour of the new He-Man. At least they make Prince Adam and He-Man physically different and Tee-la (that's her name right?) is still hot. But the dialogue was killing me. A little too heavy handed and lame.

Now if they'll only bring back Thundercats, Silverhawks and GI Joe and USA Cartoon Express featuring Jem and the Holograms, a brotha could be a happy man.
posted by negroplease at 9:43 AM on August 20, 2002

She-Ra for pansies? Psh! She-Ra was the fantastic. When I was small she was *the* coolest female superhero of the 80's. I'd love to see some of those cartoons re-aired.
Interestingly, there's someone who thinks Xena could be a She-Ra rip-off.
posted by dicaxpuella at 9:47 AM on August 20, 2002

Im just glad that they havent turned it into some badly rendered 3d animation thing - looks like they are keeping it as close its original form
posted by monkeyJuice at 9:50 AM on August 20, 2002

Transformers, Voltron, GI Joe, Silverhawks and Thundercats... plus MASK and Centurions pretty much entailed the formative viewing material of my childhood. And the toy/tv symbiosis was scary -- what always cracked me up were the involved plots to get the GI Joe toys near water or snow, because they'd just introduced those lines...
posted by krewson at 9:57 AM on August 20, 2002

i used to love watching he-man. i think they realized too late that a large percentage of their veiwers were girls, and they made she-ra as he-man's ratings were starting to fall. she was lame. when prince adam would change to he-man, he would boom "by the power of greyskull... i have the power!!!!". when aurora would change, she would say "by the honor of greyskull... i am she-ra!". even when i was a kid, this would irk me. why couldn't she-ra have the power?? and she had a stupid fluffy pink world with her stupid fluffy pegasus.
posted by mawlymawnster at 10:09 AM on August 20, 2002

I had to alternate the days I'd watch He-Man and Voltron when I was a kid. They both came on at 4:00 on channels 5 and 11 in New York. (Sometimes, I got storylines confused, but that's another story.)
posted by fredosan at 10:26 AM on August 20, 2002

Cartoon Network is also airing a new(er, it's not all that new in Japan) Transformers series. The trend is definitely to revamp old shows. They've already done it with Justice League, now He-man. I definitely have to agree with the shows put up for revival. For a good laugh listen to some Thundercats Outtakes

Probably the funniest story I have in relation to He-man, which I tell far too often, is about how I met my best friend in 1st grade. At the time I told him I lived in Castle Greyskull, and he wholeheartedly believed me. When I first invited him over I asked him how he liked the Castle... :-) I was really tempted to bring up this story at his wedding a couple weeks ago while I was giving my toast.
posted by turacma at 10:53 AM on August 20, 2002

Required watching: Where are the toons now? He-Man

I'd just like to point out that Prince Adam makes Clark Kent's secret identity look like The Master Of Disguise.
posted by owillis at 11:10 AM on August 20, 2002

Remember that Hubba Bubba (or bubblicious?) contest in the 80's? The one where if you found the winning wrapper, you won the entire line of He-man toys?

My sister won that. She gave the wrapper to my Mom (who had substance abuse problems at the time), and my mom lost it.

I was never too into He-man, but those would have been cool to have.

It's true, I swear.
posted by quibx at 11:57 AM on August 20, 2002

I had a He-Man action figure, along with the Skeletor with the rotating chest thingy. I think those toys are in the same bucket with numerous Transformers, Star Wars figures, and a billion assorted Legos, in my parents attic, of course.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 12:19 PM on August 20, 2002

You know, I was just a tad too old for He-Man, but I can still say with confidence: Best. Thread. Ever.

I remember cracking up because He-Man was the Master of the Universe, but She-Ra had to be Princess of Power because, well, Mistress of the Universe sounded a wee bit suggestive.
posted by GaelFC at 12:22 PM on August 20, 2002

Skeletor And Gang. Requires Windows Media Player. First link in list is bad; file viewable here. Or visit mirror site.
posted by LinusMines at 12:48 PM on August 20, 2002

Skeletor And Gang.

Double post. Sorry.
posted by LinusMines at 12:51 PM on August 20, 2002

So many things to comment on...

re: Voltron There was a new CGI series a couple of years ago with accompanying toys. It didn't go over too well, as far as I could tell.

re: Thundercats resurgence. The new comic book started last month. Just give them a little time to get the tie-ins going...

re: Snake-squirt guy. I think that was Kobra Khan. They had this subset of snakey guys for a while there.

re: THE KIDS THESE DAYS. From what I can tell (toy geek that I am), all that Japanese import stuff really is pushing some toys. Gundam(s) and Dragonball seem to be big toy sellers. I think the superhero figs still go over pretty well (Batman and Spidey), and once in a blue moon I even see a kid eyeing the Star Wars toys, though I think those are purchased almost exclusively by collectors. Oh, and it warmed my heart to hear a kid get all excited over the Junkyard Wars toys one day.

re: bringin' back GI JOE. It airs at 1am EST Mon.-Thurs. on Cartoon Network [schedule]. The new comic book is a HUGE seller, and I think there may be a CGI cartoon in the works. New toys for this one are in stores now. Larry Hama (THE MAN who created the entire mythology from the '80s that we all know and love) will soon be writing a 2nd new comic book. Hopefully, it will rock.

re: closing comments on 80s toys and nostalgia. There's also a new Battle of the Planets (aka G-Force aka Gatchaman) comic, as well as a new Micronauts book. The complete first season of Transformers hit DVD recently, and season 2 drops in 2 parts over the next few months. The new Transformers comic is probably an even bigger seller than GI JOE.

Now if they'd just air M.A.S.K. again...
posted by El_Gray at 1:33 PM on August 20, 2002

Not to go too tangential but...MASK and the Centurions? And those both had great toys.

Yes, good lord, yes!

And that brings up memories of Inspector Gadget but I fear that Matthew Broderick has ruined it for me.

Back on topic...Evilyne was hot right? I mean when you see her you understand why Dominatrixes stay in business, right?

I'm just sayin'....
posted by negroplease at 1:34 PM on August 20, 2002

Oh, and to get somewhere near the original topic...I thought the new He-Man movie was great fun. Lots of anime influence in the fight scenes (motion lines, mid-air clashes, force-wave-type magic, etc), and Teela is hot.

Orko, however, has been made EVEN MORE annoying. Does not compute.
posted by El_Gray at 1:35 PM on August 20, 2002

My best friend when I was little would always come over to my house after school, sit down in front of the tv with me, and watch He-Man because he wasn't allowed to watch it at home. So every day, the same conversation would happen:

Him: (Eyes glued to the tv) My mom says I can't watch this.
Me: (Also transfixed) That's ok. My mom says I can.

Or something similar. I did watch the Cartoon Network broadcast last week, and realized that the show was way cooler when I was a kid. I was somewhat surprised, though, how many of the names I'd forgotten. I mean, really, how can one forget such creative names as 'Beast Man' and 'Panthor'?

It was a bit of a shock to me a few weeks ago to find that I was stocking new He-Man toys at Target. I still find it strange to be working one or two aisles away from that section and hear some kid playing with the sword that makes 'lectronic noises and battle sounds, and then says 'I have the power!' I didn't have any He-Man toys when I was younger (but the above-mentioned friend did!), as I collected Transformers.
posted by emmling at 1:38 PM on August 20, 2002

Oh, but I did have a She-Ra coloring book. Does that count for anything?
posted by emmling at 1:40 PM on August 20, 2002

Larry Hama (THE MAN who created the entire mythology from the '80s that we all know and love) will soon be writing a 2nd new comic book. Hopefully, it will rock.

Did Larry Hama create all the backgrounds and codenames for the GI Joe figures, or just give already existing characters more life in the comics? I'd be interested in hearing about the creation of any of those lines of toys from the 80s. It'd be fun to read an interview with, say, whoever created He-Man. How does one go about creating a line of toys? I guess they sell the concept to a toy company like one might sell a pilot to a TV network? Does one have to build little prototypes of the toys oneself?
posted by picea at 2:18 PM on August 20, 2002

picea, I know that Mr. Hama wrote all the file cards for several years, along with almost all 155 issues of the Marvel comic book (he had no involvement with the cartoon).

I know that the brains at Hasbro came up with the designs for the characters, and probably their code-names. I don't think he had any real input on the creation of new characters...but he did weave them into a pretty nice storyline once they were in his hands.

I've corresponded with the guy in the past, and he was super nice. Maybe I'll try get in touch again once his new book arrives.
posted by El_Gray at 2:28 PM on August 20, 2002

Check out for all your GI Joe (form the 80's) information.. including an interview with Larry Hama

posted by niteHawk at 2:33 PM on August 20, 2002

CENTURIONS. CENTURIONS. The Evil That Lies Within...
*ok, back to normal now*

I think what the kid cartoons are missing today is good theme songs. "Bionic-Bionic Six!"
posted by owillis at 4:37 PM on August 20, 2002

A remake of one of the worst cartoons ever designed to sell action figures. Hooray! You gotta love the horrid old G.I. Joe cartoon too. Millions of laser blasts fired. . . but no one ever got hurt! Very Reaganesque.

What really annoys me about this "new" series are CN's ads: it's "all new" and "original"! By definition, a remake can't be either of those things.

Doesn't really matter though. Lots of people happily drool for nostalgia. Originality sucks!
posted by mark13 at 6:08 PM on August 20, 2002

mark13, you are so dead when mossman hears about your comment.
posted by Kafkaesque at 6:26 PM on August 20, 2002

I had almost all the He-Man toys, even the Castle Greyskull, Battle Armour He-Man, the He-Man blue jet pack, and the Wind Raider. I went through 4 He-Mans, they broke too easily. My first He-Man had a soft squishy head, the newer ones had hard plastic heads.

My mom gave my He-Man toys to my cousin back in 1999, while I was here in the US. I told her if she gave away my dinky car collection, I'd take the next flight back to Bombay to get it back.
posted by riffola at 6:51 PM on August 20, 2002

I did watch the Cartoon Network broadcast last week, and realized that the show was way cooler when I was a kid.

I think that can be said about a lot of shows that go off the air for a while and then get remade. Certainly some of it has to do with a show's production team, but some of it also has to do with individual sentimentality. For instance, Double Dare (a personal favorite from my childhood) was remade into Double Dare 2000, but it just didn't seem as cool and fun as the original. (I still enjoy watching the old reruns on Nick GAS, though.)
posted by fredosan at 7:59 PM on August 20, 2002

Speaking of remakes, has anyone been watching DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION?
posted by Neale at 11:31 PM on August 20, 2002

He-man and Thundercats and their ilk represent the darkest days of American cartoons.
posted by Shike at 4:21 AM on August 21, 2002

I don't know, shike, I think Captian Planet or Hammerman does a better job.

And the squishy-headed-squirty guy was just named Hiss, wasn't he?
posted by Hackworth at 9:13 AM on August 21, 2002

we used to get thrown out of class for jumping up

with our rulers in the air shouting "i am the power !!!!"

skeletors voice rules the waves baby.......

anyone know who did the voice ?

he's a genius.
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:47 PM on August 26, 2002

skeletors voice rules the waves baby.......
anyone know who did the voice ?
he's a genius.

Wow... IMDB reveals him to be Mr. Alan Oppenheimer... 72 years old this year and still going strong! It looks like he was the original Mighty Mouse in 1943 and did voiceovers for Gamera! Go on with your bad self, Mighty Skeletor.

Oh, and if anyone is still reading this thread, I found another good interview with Larry Hama RE: 80s GI Joe.
posted by El_Gray at 7:33 PM on August 26, 2002

oh great!

thanks very much !

voice of skeletor and atom bomb inventor,

what a talented guy!
posted by sgt.serenity at 10:00 AM on August 27, 2002

(thread ends on giant fake laugh and scenes of friendly backslapping......)
posted by sgt.serenity at 10:07 AM on August 27, 2002

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