Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Review - The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe


"I have the power!"

In 1982, the world was introduced to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. What followed was a cultural sensation that changed the landscape of children’s entertainment forever. Fortunately, Dark Horse has teamed up with Mattel for a comprehensive retrospective chronicling He-Man’s decades-long, epic journey from toy, to television, to film, to a true pop culture phenomenon. The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is chock full of illustrations and insights into that phenomenon.

he Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe includes rarely seen images of concept sketches, prototypes and more from Mattel’s archives. These archives are insanely rich with information about many facets of the design process for the entire He-Man universe. And that's where The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe really excels, as it provides readers a great look into the extensive creative process that went into crafting the He-Man lore. There are countless character design sketches, cartoon storyboards and a look at characters both familiar and likely unfamiliar to fans. For instance, do you remember Stinkor?

Much of the art in The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe comes from the work of some pretty notable talents, many of which comes from master illustrator Earl Norem. Norem's style is one of the more recognizable when it comes to He-Man, as he incorporated a look reminiscent of pulpy Tarzan books. There are other talents on display in the book as well, including interviews and insights from Paul Dini, Erike Scheimer and Dolph Lundgren (among others). Viewing the artwork reading some of the Q&As is very powerful and really affords the reader a much more insightful look into what is one the best recognized properties out there. Aside from the abundance of illustrations, there are also numerous other materials included.

There's plenty in the book about the evolution of He-Man, as both a character and an intellectual property. There's one example featuring a page from the script for the movie Masters of the Universe featuring Lundgren that underscores the almost PG nature of the work. One line referred to Skeletor showcasing a less hospitable side, requesting that the outlaws be killed. Notes are included that request the language be softened up, likely owing to the fact that the property had a younger following as a result of the cartoon. Little insights like this really give the reader details of the creative process that might not have been readily apparent at the time to viewers or readers.

The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Limited Edition are on sale in comic shops April 15th and April 28th in bookstores with interiors below. Restricted to 4,000 copies, The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Limited Edition comes packaged in a deluxe Castle Grayskull slipcase, with an exclusive foil embossed cover and portfolio print, coming in at just under 400 pages with commentary written by Tim & Steve Seeley.








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