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The Secret Origin of He-Man

Seeing a picture of a toy for Keldor in an issue of Toyfare recently reminded me of how much the He-Man cartoon ruined the original Masters of the Universe storyline. That cartoon was awful. And i don't mean that in an "every show from when you were a kid that you thought was good turns out to be crap when you watch it now" sort of way, like Knight Rider and Land of the Lost. I knew it was crap from the beginning. Because, having read the books that came with the original line of Masters of the Universe toys, i knew the truth.

There was no Prince Adam. No Cringer. There was only one guy named Man At Arms and he didn't have a pornstache and he wasn't Teela's father. And Skeletor certainly didn't used to be some loser called Keldor.

Let's take a look.

He-Man's origin

To start with, He-Man was a barbarian. He's no Prince. He didn't even have shoes or a shirt to start with. Just a loincloth.

He got his start by rescuing a sorceress from a monster.

In return, she gives him a bunch of ancient weapons, including a Battle-Ram and two battle suits. And some shoes. Note that the weapons were made before the "Great Wars" by scientists. This is a swords and sorcery world, but there's also all this ancient high tech equipment laying around. What does it mean? Yep, the Masters of the Universe take place in a post-apocalyptic world. Of course i like it.

Let's also stop here and note that He-Man built his home out of stone. With his fists. Again, no pampered prince in purple tights here.

Man At Arms

Man At Arms was a mysterious guy who knew a lot more about the ancient high tech weapons. He and He-Man didn't really get along that well, but they both worked against Skeletor.

The Power Sword
In the cartoon, He-Man always had the Power Sword, which turned him from Prince Adam into He-Man. Umm, why did He-Man need a secret identity? The bad guys always ran away from He-Man. But they were always kidnapping Prince Adam. The secret identity wasn't just pointless. It actively made things worse.

In the real stories, the Power Sword was the key that opened Castle Greyskull.

The Power Sword had two halves. In the toy line, one half came with Skeletor, and one half with He-Man, and they could be snapped together to make the complete sword. In the books, the spirit of Castle Greyskull was always splitting the swords up and hiding them somewhere. He-Man rarely had the sword. He generally used an axe or a spear. Because he's barbarian.

Skeletor wanted the Power Sword because inside Greyskull was the ability to open a portal to another dimension where his people lived. I guess since we don't see their faces, it's possible that Skeletor's people do look like Keldor. But i had always envisioned a nightmare world full of skeletal sorcerers that Skeletor wanted to unleash on Eternia.

Battlecat was exactly what he looks like: a big, bad-ass cat. He lived in the forest unless He-Man called him. He never turned into a talking house cat, because that would be stupid.

In Conclusion
The original He-Man story was awesome. The cartoon stunk. Thank you. The end.

By fnord12 | November 7, 2010, 2:41 PM | TeeVee


I can't wait til She-Ra's available on Netflix's instant play. She ran around with an annoyingly large group of supporting characters, but at least both she and her horse were competent in either persona.

I love He-man.But i love the original four mini comics version far better than the FILMATION version.FILMATION ruined the great character Hordak as well.Hordak is the only leader of the EVIL HORDE.FILMATION totally destroyed Hordak by making him subservant to a being called horde prime,when the EVIL HORDE came out Hordak was it's only leader.Well to me He-man came from a villiage in the Eternia jungles,Skeletor came from a world where there are others like him.Man at arms doesnot have a mustache,the EVIL HORDE has only one leader...the great and powerful Hordak,

Sorry FILMATION fans but the original,the first is the real He-man,a barbarian like muscle man,not a wimpy pussy prince who uses the power sword to transform into He-man!How absurd!He-man was super strong to start with and the warrior goddess gave him garments that added to his strength.She also gave him weapons and vehicles built by Eternia's scientist before the Great Wars.That is the real story of He-man!

And look what FILMATION did to Man at arms!The original was a awsome warrior whos face was usually covered.A master of weaponry.FILMATION's version was a cranky old prude with a mustache!Give me a break!Duncan?

FILMATION ruined a lot of great characters.Beastman,Merman both turned into wimpy pathetic losers,Ramman it almost seemed as though they were just seeing how dumb they could make that character.The EVIL HORDE,give me a break!The mighty Montana was such a joke on She Re!Leech was hardly menacing lookig in FILMATION.

In fact what was the deal with Leech in the FILMATION series?

thanks for posting this i used to have this mini-comic this sure brings back some memories.

I remember being into the toys before I ever saw an episode of the cartoon series. (This was before I could read, but my mother read me all the mini-comics, so I was already familiar with the established story.) Naturally, I was excited when I found out there was a cartoon based on the toyline. And then, when I saw the intro for the first time, my reactions were: "What? Who is this Prince Adam? Cringer? By the power of Grayskull? This isn't the He-Man I know!" And it only got worse as I watched the show. "Battle Cat talks?! Why does Man At Arms have a mustache? Who is this bird girl and why is she the one who occupies Castle Grayskull? Orko?! Nooooo! What have they done to my He-Man!"

Reference from SuperMegaMonkey : chronocomic

...Namor takes up residence on the abandoned Prison Island off the coast of New York. Joining the ranks of He-Man, Namor re-sculpts the prison with his fists to make it seem more like home.    Read More: Sub-Mariner #39

Reference from SuperMegaMonkey

Sure, Leech didn't look all that hot in the She-Ra cartoon. But you have to admit, the original toy was pretty bizarre to begin with. I think they went a little overboard with the suction cups. (I definitely liked him...    Read More: The real travesty was Grizzlor