Back when I was a kid, I used to always call this particular time of the year: The Sweet Week. This was the week right after Christmas was over when I was still off from school and had all this free time to play with all of the new toys I had received from jolly old Saint Nick. And for many of those years, the bulk of my new toys came in the form of Masters of the Universe figures, play-sets, and vehicles, and so it was always a tradition of mine to stage a gigantic battle royal among the forces of good and evil of Eternia in my living room, with heroes and baddies both for Christmas’ past and present to So much so that even many years later, during this week, I still often find myself opening and playing with more MOTU figures as I’m still getting them as Christmas gifts even 35 years later.
This year however, I didn’t receive any new MOTU toys for once. Perhaps this was the year that finally Santa looked at me and told me to finally “Grow up, son”. But that didn’t stop me from breaking out all of the MOTU Classic toys I accumulated over the years and with the help of my kids, had yet another incredible war to end all wars on the sacred fields of the living room carpet between He-man and his friends as they attempted to overcome the forces of Skeletor! (Of course, given I was the Dad now, the kids made me be the forces of evil so they could be all the good guys. I can’t fault them. I did the same thing when I was a kid).
But it was during this intense chaotic session of play, that I realized once again how great the MOTU Classics line really was, and how lucky we fans were that we got not only fantastic new verisons of our favorite characters like He-Man, Skeletor, Teela, Beast Man etc. but that we got so many awesome additional figures, especially in those last days of the line before Mattycollector closed down for good. Those were the rare and obscure characters that only some of us hardcore fans really were dying to have. Most of them too were characters from either books, cartoons, or other extended universe materials that Mattel never made figures for originally, so to have some of them really filled in a part of our collections and made the entire MOTU universe more well rounded.
To that end, I thought I’d write today’s article about my top 5 favorite MOTU Classic figures that fit the above criteria. These were characters that we never produced in the original line, but now that they have been, they are characters any self respecting MOTU fan could not live without. Plus, if you are one of those He-Man fans that never picked up these figures, most of them can be found on Ebay fairly cheap, so I would highly recommend picking them up before it’s too late!
Only seen briefly in an episode of the relaunched 200X version of the Masters of the Universe, his splash was evidently as big as a boulder falling into a lake. It didn’t hurt that the episode he appeared in is one of the most famous single episodes of that entire series “The Power of Grayskull” which relates the tale of Prince Adam’s ancestor, King Grayskull, and his war against Hordak and the Evil Horde.
Calix is one of those Evil Horde warriors who pretty much plays the part of “jobber” in the episode getting unceremoniously destroyed by Hordak in a fit of anger to show how credible a threat the bat faced would be world conqueror really is. However his sweet rocky design was an instant fan favorite, and for years after, many a MOTU fan secretly hoped that we’d eventually get a Calix toy to supplement our Evil Horde ranks.
Although I’m not a huge fan of the entire Evil Horde myself, I was a huge fan of Calix, mainly because like so many of the characters on this list, he plugged a hole in the MOTU line up that I thought from a fantasy, mystical character really did exist. That is the hole of a “elemental” bad guy. Whether it was a tree monster, or rock monster, or water monster, these types of bad guys are simply classic when it comes to the fantasy genre just like minotaurs or medusas or dragons. It fits so well in terms of your story building and adventure play to have He-Man fight a Rock Monster, and hearkens back to one of my favorite He-man Golden Books I had as a kid aptly titled “The Rock Warriors”.
In fact, I really thought about buying 4 or 5 Callix figures and creating a Rock Monster army for my Masters of the Universe heroes to fight, but in the end I didn’t because of his connection to the Evil Horde. It’s really too bad he has that Horde emblem on them, as I would have liked to use to them as Skeletor’s minions, or just generic bad guys in general. However what I will say is this figure has awesome cross purposing as a gigantic stone titan any time we play D&D with miniatures. So if you are someone that’s into table top RPG gaming, I would highly recommend picking up a Callix for that!
4. Goat Man
Only appearing in a few pages of one of the classic MOTU Golden Books entitled “The Secret of the Dragon’s Egg”, Goat Man’s strikingly great visual design made such an impact on not only a young Andrew Larson, but as it turns out, countless MOTU fans throughout the world. Thank you so very much, Luis Eduardo Barreto, the often forgotten about artist of so many of these great Golden Book adventures of He-Man.
In any case, this character was so beloved that after years of hearing the fans demands, Goat Man was finally commissioned by MattyCollector and sold as a SDCC exclusive several years back. I wanted this figure so badly for my collection that I begged by one cousin, Tim, who was going to SDCC that year, to sneak over to the Mattycollector table and pick one up for me.
To this day, I am in his debt, because he is definitely one of my favorite obscure characters from this toy line and one that always finds his way into Skeletor’s advance strike force when raiding Castle Grayskull.
In fact, if I was given a chance to write any MOTU comic book, it wouldn’t be about He-man or Skeletor or any of the top tier characters. I’d love to write a “Next Wave” or “Suicide Squad” style book about some of the lesser known of Skeletor’s baddies. Goat Man, Stinkor, Blade, Fang Man, Blast Attack, maybe even Two Bad, although he might be too well known for a series like this. Anyways, give them some lovable loser type personalities and send them after some Macguffin type item for Skeletor with the intention that they are really just a distraction, bait, sacrificial lamb for the real team of baddies to snatch it. Only they through some miraculous stroke of good luck end up getting the item and instead of turning it into Skeletor, they decide to keep it, putting them on the run from both the good guys and the bad guys. Hot damn! This is perfect! Why am I writing this blog?!? I should be writing this story!
Anyways, yeah, Goat Man. Great Action Figure. I’m going to stop talking in case some one tries to steal my MOTU story…
With our lone Heroic Warrior entry on today’s list we have Eldor, Eternia’s answer to a Sorcerer Supreme. Eldor was originally prototype character that was going to be released in the never produced Wave 7 of the classic Masters of the Universe line. Eldor, along with another figure named He-Ro, were supposed to part of a new line of He-man toys set in the mysterious age called Pre Eternia: A ancient land from MOTU’s history filled with Snake Men and Robotic Dinosaurs and so forth.
Instead, the line was scrapped at the last minute and instead they made the New Adventures of He-Man line, which took place in outer space as opposed to the prehistoric past. That line struggled for several years before finally dying a quiet death in the early 90s. Thus ended the MOTU franchise for years until the reboot occurred in the early 2000s.
The major reason I love the Eldor figure is not because of all the history given above. Sure, some fans originally felt cheated that we never got a vintage Eldor figure after he was promised to us in some sort of Sears Christmas Catalog. But for me, the reason is simple: I always wanted a proper wizard in my MOTU universe. And this character has that in spades.
He’s got the wizard hood and skull cap, the wooden staff, the white beard, even a book of magic spells. Everything about this character screams Merlin the Magician, and for a High fantasy toy line, that’s a definite must have. I mean, c’mon, the only real wizards we have are the Sorceress and Orko, and neither of those two are what anyone would consider classical wizards from a literary sense. But this guy, I mean wow, that’s a legit spellcaster right there. You might as well call him Gandalf for Pete’s sake, he’s so good.
So yes, I’ve been a huge fan of this gray whiskered powerhouse since his MOTU Classic figure was released a couple years back. In fact, the Sorceress pretty much got knocked out of being the keeper of Castle Grayskull in my universe after Eldor arrived on my doorstep. C’mon folks, ancient castle of untold danger, mystery, and wonder? If that’s not the perfect place for Eldor to practice his wizardry, I don’t know what is!
2. Fang Man
Appearing in one sole episode of the original He-man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon show from Filmmation entitled “The Time Corridor”, Fang Man was the first time as a young child I ever got confused by some of the subtle ways life really works. Mainly because after seeing Fang Man in this episode, I immediately was convinced that there must be an action figure for this powder blue lizard man because all the rest of the characters had action figures.
I first thought to myself, maybe they accidently misheard them and this was actually Kobra Khan, because he had an action figure. But this guy looked nothing like Kobra Khan, like not even close. So I watched the episode again, and sure enough the guy’s name was Fang Man, there was no denying it. But I looked at all the card backs, there was no Fang Man anywhere. I was bamboozled!
I mean the guy is hanging out with my favorite MOTU baddie of all time, Tri-Klops, so he must be legit! I mean Tri-Klops just doesn’t work with just anyone, he’s like the Boba Fett of Skeletor’s minions, cool as a cucumber, ace bounty hunter, and sword swinging bad ass without compare. Fang man was becoming a favorite of mine just because he was sharing the same air as old Tri-Klops, like getting the rub just from being in a tag team with a super over wrestler, people start looking at you like you are cut from a different cloth. And so I desperately wanted a Fang Man figure so the two of them could continue their dirty deeds done dirt cheap around Eternia in my own imagination.
Unfortunately, Fang Man was a Filmation creation only. And what’s worse he only appeared in one episode so unlike Orko, there was no chance of them making an action figure of him. And so I had to wait almost like 30 years to finally get a Fang Man figure I could call my own, and let me say, the figure does not disappoint as he looks exactly like his Filmation cells.
In closing, back to my story idea of “D” list MOTU villains pulling off that one big score, I definitely would again include Fang Man on the team. Write him in a way that that he tried to become a member of the Snake Men only to be laughed off the team for not “hardcore” enough. Maybe he prefers the taste of bugs and human flesh makes him vomit…something like that. Shush…stop giving away your story lines, Andy! Shush!
1. Lord Masque
Finally, we get to the number one entry on this list. A character that in some ways became a complete game changer in terms of the entire way I view MOTU, even after 35 years being a fan: The Diabolically Great, Lord Masque!
Again another MOTU character that only appears in one episode of the original cartoon series, in this case the first part of the only multiple episode story “The House of Shokoti”, Lord Masque electrifies the screen with a visually simple yet striking character design and devilish power set. Not just another evil wizard for He-man to fight, it seems he is almost the living embodiment of some ancient Lovecraftian darkness from Eternia’s dim past. Plus that muscle bound bod of his looks like he thoust hoist so there’s no need to even say “Bro do you even lift?” And that mask! Oh god that beautifully creepy tribal witch doctor like mask. Again the very definition of simple yet striking.
Alas like Fang Man, there was no figure of him for many years until the very last wave of MOTU classic figures released by Matty Collector before they turned it over to Super7. But he was definitely one I wasn’t going to pass up on, so he became one of the very last figures I ever bought from that line. And brother, am I so glad that I did because he instantly became not only one of my all time favorite MOTU figures, but one of my kids favorties too.
In fact, there are days in which we are playing with the toys and my kids don’t want Skeletor to be the bad guy of the story. Instead, they want Lord Masque. To them, he is equal if not more evil than Skeletor and nothing gives them more pleasure than to pit He-man with his Sword of Power against Lord Masque and his “Laser Sword” as they call it. And I gotta agree with them. It’s almost at times too bad that He-man is not like other super heroes in which her can have multiple arch enemies. That’s it’s often too simple to just have him fight Skeletor and be done with it. And although some will counter with he’s got King Hiss and Hordak to fight as well, I say those two are nowhere near as exciting visually to look at than Lord Masque.
He should be a top tier MOTU Baddie. The type of magic based threat that makes most of He-man’s friends wet their pants and hide from this necromancer supreme. So when I say he rewrote my He-man book, he did. That toy opened so many possibilities for new adventures and in my own private imagination, Masque is one bad mamba jamba indeed, capable of laying waste to entire armies with a wave of his hand.
Plus he has no face. Not a skull face, NO FACE! Just the Mask. If that’s not a terrifying enemy to fight, I don’t know what is!