He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
There are discrepencies between the continuities in the mini-comic toy inserts, the different cartoon series, and the assorted comic book series. In this profile, the emphasis is on the 1980s cartoon. The newer He-Man cartoon on Cartoon Network has subtle differences. The following text is a combination of information from the original series' bible, various MotU web sites, and other sources.
When he was a boy, Prince Adam discovered an injured tiger cub in the hills of Eternia. He took the cub back to the palace, where Man-at-Arms tended to it's wounds. The cub became Prince Adam's pet and followed him wherever he went. Unfortunately, the cub was afraid of everything, and soon earned the name Cringer. The Sorceress of Grayskull contacted Adam and told him not to be embarrassed by his pet, for one day Cringer would play a very important role in his life.
Not long afterward, during an archeological expedition in the Tecon Jungle, Adam once again transformed into He-Man, unaware that Cringer had tagged along. When He-Man spotted his pet tiger, he pointed the Sword of Power at his terrified friend. A blast of energy lept forth from the sword, changing Cringer into the mighty Battlecat. From that day forward, Battlecat would become a valuable ally to He-Man, much to Cringers dismay.
Zodac gathered the Council of Elders in the Hall of Wisdom and collectively they concentrated their mind force until the sheer power of their consciousness created a mighty force field. At that moment, an implosion cracked through the corridors of the Hall and the Council disappeared in a blinding flash of energy. Only Zodac retained his human form, as one of Eternia's guardians. In the Council's place existed a mass of light at once denser than the densest material in the universe and as light as a ghost. It rose to the topmost parapet of the Hall of Wisdom, where the Spirit of the Council looked to the far horizon — past the Evergreen Forest; beyond the Vine Jungle; above and through the Ice Mountains to the sealed Space Portal. It knew that one day an Infinitan would discover how to break the spell. That evil person would search the magnificent Hall of Wisdom. The Spirit, along with Zodac, determined that it would not be found — at least not in its present state.
A great aura of energy burst forth from the mass of light which had been the Council of Elders. It surrounded the Hall of Wisdom and an astonishing shuddering and shimmering arose as the very air around the Hall glowed with a cosmic light. Anyone witnessing the experience would have seen an incredible sight — almost mirage-like, the Hall's very atomic structure shifted; the molecules seemed to run wild as the building changed form. The wisdom of that which once was the Council understood that the demons of Infinita would look for the magnificent edifice embodying all that it wise and good. But if they saw a dark and forbidding place they might go aside. The wisdom of the Council planned to hide the once beautiful hall behind the rocks, trees, and overgrowth of the Evergreen Forest. When the atoms and molecules slowed, the Hall of Wisdom ceased to exist. In its place stood the dark, green, crenelated fortress of Castle Grayskull. Its craggy towers and black windows looked out upon Eternia. The most striking feature of the castle was the entrance. The portal had the face of a skull. The skull's lower jaw created a jawbridge, and anyone wishing to enter had to have immense courage. Behind these walls and within the corridors of Grayskull dwelt the wisdom transformed into the Spirit of Grayskull. The Sorceress remained, guarding the castle against all intruders. Zodac would sail the universe, keeping watch over Eternia, keeping vigilance over those who believed in virtue and wisdom, but not interfering with the natural course of events. Thus did Castle Grayskull slowly subside out of sight and the minds of all Eternians except as myth and legend.
The Council of Elders
Zodac, the wise leader of the Council of Elders, called to the stars for advice. In a shimmering, gleaming beam, a figure appeared out of the cosmos — the figure of an elegant and beautiful woman adorned in snake shaped armor and bearing a twisted snake-headed staff. For centuries Eternia dwelt without fear, the Sorceress told them, and now the time of testing fell upon the planet. For too long the Council had made all decisions; Their people had lost the ability to think for themselves. The time had arrived to cut the umbilical cord and permit Eternia the right to exist on its own.
The Council listened to the vision, which promised them that if ever the forces of evil should try overcoming Eternia, a champion would arise to defend the planet. A champion not seen in all the universe. A being so powerful and filled with good that evil, no matter how mighty, could not stand against him. However, with all the champion's virtue, he needed one more element to make him the ultimate ruler of the Universe — he required the collective wisdom of the Elders. And that he would not have until he proved himself against the dark forces.
There lay the danger. For if the evil powers discovered the secret — this key to destiny — they might destroy all that is harmonious in Eternia. Once that occurred light would go out all over the planet and it could end with the same fate as Infinita.
Eternia and Infinita
Beyond the farthest galaxies, beyond the limits of our universe, lies another place — a place of magic, myth, sorcery, and science. Through the cosmic clouds spins a solar system with a Type Three star, twinkling in the ether of interstellar space. About the star rotate worlds inconceivable to mere mortal minds. They are populated by demons and demigods, sorcerers and sybils, men and women imbued with the powers of good and evil.
One of these planets shined blue-green with a mantle of clear air and fleecy clouds. A globe of everlasting beauty and great diversity, this world, Eternia, represented a microcosm of all the universe's inhabited planets.
While Eternia rolled peacefully through the heavens, drama played itself out on another world within the same solar system. Unknown and unseen by Eternia, its orbit is precisely the same and always lies directly opposite, perpetually shielded by Eternia's sun. Not only is the planet physically opposite Eternia, its people and their purpose are diametrically opposed as well. This planet, Infinita, holds the sum total of all the universe's evil. Always at war, it's foreboding, dark inhabitants have been held in check only by their own fiendishness. Their powers built war machines of incredible destructiveness. Infinita's charred surface bears mute testament to the constant battle of one vile force with another.
One day, two of the greatest opposing forces on Infinita faced each other across the Dunes of Doom — made black and unwholesome by the constant battles waged by the dark powers. Both sides believed they could win the war — the final armageddon — for they were the only ones left on Infinita. Both sides held in their hands the ultimate weapon of desolation to be thrust at the enemy before the foe retaliated. Both sides guessed wrong. The triggers snapped at exactly the same moment and seconds later a cataclysmic explosion tore through the planet, leaving in its wake poisonous gas, flaming mountains, and a race of people whose mutated genes would determine their future. The explosion created one other phenomena — a Space Portal leading directly to Eternia.
Several of the most horrendous leaders of Infinita hurtled through the portal, and when they found themselves in the midst of a lush, fertile, peaceful land they swore it would be conquered. Slyly and slowly, they infiltrated Eternia's society until the day when they attempted to mount an invasion. Their troops rode through the Space Portal and all the weapons within the Hall of Wisdom came to the fore. After many long battles, Eternia drove back the Infinitans and they sealed the Space Portal. But the Elders knew they couldn't keep evil from the planet any longer.
He-Man (Prince Adam)
Prince Adam and Teela grew up together under the tutelage of Man-at-Arms. Adam often got into trouble by trying out weapons and ground sleds before he knew how to use them. Many a bruise was dealt him in crashes and crackups, causing Teela to look upon him as something of a scatterbrain. Teela frequently became angry at Adam, for she thought their instruction was somber business. She knew that Adam would someday be king, and he certainly wasn't acting like royalty. Where Teela studied seriously and fervently learned the skills of battle, Adam played, joked, and poked fun at his teachers. That's not to say he wasn't a good student. On the contrary, for all his playfulness he received excellent grades, and learned to wield a sword, bow and arrow, and photon gun. King Randor and Queen Marlena cast uneasy eyes over Adam's pranks as well. The time would come, they thought, when he'd put away childish ideas and realize his destiny, but it appeared that might take a very long while.
For years, Skeletor and his evil forces plotted and planned on how to invade Eternia. On Adams and Teela's eighteenth birthdays, they succeeded. A great feast was taking place within the walls of the palace. Teela sat with her father, Man-at-Arms, while King Randor and Queen Marlena looked anxiously at the chamber door waiting for Adam's appearance. Queen Marlena requested that Teela find Adam and remind him of the celebration and his duty to his people. Teela objected, but Man-at-Arms' stern glance convinced her to do as she was told. Teela almost forcibly dragged Adam back to the festal chamber and all the court rose and cheered the young Prince who one day would rule Eternia. He sat between his parents and proposed a toast. Afterward, King Randor announced that in celebration of Teela's birthday, and in honor of her strength and prowess with weapons, she would be named Captain of the Royal Guard. All of a sudden the palace shook as if an earthquake rolled across the land. Everyone paused and waited for the aftershock, but none came. The king bade the people to continue feasting. Only Man-at-Arms seemed ill at ease and Adam saw it in his eyes.
Just then, a voice spoke to Man-at-Arms, a voice he hadn't heard in eighteen years. It was the voice of the Sorceress. Man-at-Arms turned to Adam and grabbed him by the arm. They had to leave immediately and no one must know where they were going. Once outside, Man-at-Arms told Adam they were headed for Castle Grayskull. Adam laughed and questioned Grayskulls existence, claiming it was merely part of Eternia's mythology. An immense shadow passed overhead as Zoar the falcon skimmed the very treetops. Man-at-Arms pointed skyward, stating that the falcon was their guide. They followed and were eventually led to the legendary castle. The two men entered and were greeted by the Sorceress, who informed them that the forces of evil were invading Eternia, and that it was time for a new hero to emerge to protect the realm.
The Sorceress showed Adam to the Sword of Power. She told him it was his destiny to become the defender of Eternia. The prince backed off, shaking his head. The Sorceress voice poured forth like a trumpet, instructing him to take the sword. With a pounding heart Adam reached out a steady hand ready to retreat in a moment. He didn't have to grasp the hilt for it floated gently into his palm. The grip felt as if it had been molded to his hand. It was as light as a feather and seemed to shine brighter as he held it. Adam looked questioningly at the Sorceress. Standing straight and tall, Adam demanded to know how he, a mere mortal, could accomplish all the things desired by the Sorceress. She told him to raise the sword above his head and call out the words By the power of Grayskull!. Adam lifted the sword to the heavens and shouted the words. A blazing, brilliant, flaring burst of light illuminated the room. Man-at-Arms shielded his eyes from the incredible white blast of energy. The prince was obliterated from sight, except for the Sword of Power which seemed suspended over the spot where Adam stood. The light faded and, when Man-at-Arms opened his eyes, an awesome vision stood in place of the prince. This was He-Man, champion of Eternia, bearer of all Eternia's virtue.
He-Man and Man-at-Arms quickly returned to the palace, only to find it under attack by Skeletors minions. He-Man joined with King Randors warriors, battling back the invading army. Skeletor, who was unprepared for this powerful and unexpected reinforcement, retreated back to Snake Mountain with his invasion force, vowing to return.
King Randor and Queen Marlena
In another universe, an event took place which had become almost prosaic. A space shuttle was about to be launched from the third planet of a minor solar system on the edge of an insignificant galaxy called the Milky Way. The shuttle pilot, Marlena Glenn, a young, attractive, and brilliant scientist, donned her space suit and climbed into the pilot seat. Many changes had taken place since the early shuttle flights leaped into space, piggy-backed to three enormous solid fuel rockets. Now the shuttle taxied down a runway using ordinary jet engines. Once it reached the edge of the stratosphere, its own boosters cut in, sending the craft into deep space, where its ion-drive engines took over for the almost speed-of-light trip to the other planets.
As the shuttle rumbled down the runway, Marlena could not have known or foreseen the coming events. The cataclysmic explosion on Infinita had been traveling through the void for a thousand years, and now it approached the edge of another universe just as the space shuttle's ion engines hummed to life. The craft aimed its nose at Europa, one of Jupiter's asteroids. With the ion-engines forcing the shuttle to move to the limit of endurable speed, Europa came within view in only a few days. Marlena placed the craft in orbit around the moon and plotted the landing pattern. Suddenly, the shock wave from Infinita tore away at the very fabric of space. The ship was driven out of its orbit, cartwheeled toward a rip in space, and fell through the interspace void, only to reappear in the sky above Eternia.
Marlena staggered to her feet and lurched to the captains chair. Little time remained to brood as the shuttle shot into the Eternian Ionsphere glowing red, yellow, and white. She nosed the craft up and bounced off the layer of air, slowing the vehicle for a smoother re-entry. Marlena couldn't spot any runways for the shuttle, so she aimed the ship at the only clear spot she saw — a long meadow in a lush, green valley. The space craft hit the ground, its landing gear crumpled on impact, and it sank to its belly skidding, pitching, and crashing to a wrenching stop. Unconscious, Marlena couldn't know the helping hands pulling her out of the wreckage and carrying her to the royal palace of the reigning king of Eternia, the young and handsome Randor.
For several days Marlena slept in the palace, and each day Randor sat by her bedside and waited for her to awaken. All the royal physicians and wizards provided potions and spells in order to insure her well-being and soon color stirred in Marlena's cheeks. On the seventh day, her eyes fluttered open and the first sight she saw was Randor's rugged, handsome face. A spark flew between them as he reached out his fingers to touch her hand and they both smiled.
King Randor made Marlena his queen, and three years later she bore two heirs to the throne of Eternia — a son, Prince Adam, and a daughter, Adora.
Man-at-Arms (Duncan) and Teela
At the moment Prince Adam was born, the current Man-at-Arms, Duncan, heir to the secrets of weaponry and invention, strode through the Evergreen Forest searching for rare herbs which he used as the base for a special sword-tempering oil. He heard a rushing and flapping sound over his head and, when he looked up, he saw an immense falcon circling overhead. Man-at-Arms crouched behind a tree and waited until the colossal bird settled on a nearby crag. The falcon opened its curved beak and seemed to call out. Then the warrior heard another voice — as if speaking within his mind. "Man-at-Arms," it cried softly, "come to Zoar, the Falcon". The soldier looked into the bird's black pupils and saw within them the Sorceress' image.
The Sorceress explained to Man-at-Arms that he had been chosen for a very special mission. Some time after becoming the Sorceress, Teelina had met a great warrior who gave his life so that Eternia could have peace. Soon afterward, she bore a daughter, Teela. This infant was destined to become the next Sorceress. Man-at-Arms was to take the baby and raise and train her alongside Prince Adam, promising never to reveal Teela's true heritage until Teelina deemed it safe to do so. As Zoar spread its expansive wings and flew off, Man-at-Arms stood silent staring at the disappearing shape of the titanic falcon. A cry rose from the rocks and the soldier clambered up to find the baby girl just as he'd been told.
Orko of Trolla
The wizard named Orko was accidentally transported to Eternia from the world called Trolla when a fierce storm hit the Tar Swamp. The storm caused a temporary portal to open between Eternia and Trolla, which pulled Orko through it. The portal then closed, leaving him trapped in Eternia. Orko wandered through the Tar Swamp until he heard the cries of a young boy. He investigated and discovered that the boy and his pet were trapped in the tar. Orko, knowing that they would perish without immediate assistance, pulled out his magic medallion and used it's great power to rescue them. Orko returned with the boy, Prince Adam, and his pet, Cringer, to their home in the Royal Palace. Orko was invited by the Royal Family to remain at the Palace, an offer he gladly accepted.
The Royal Family and the Man-at-Arms
Eternia's society, once egalitarian and so used to being ruled by a wise council, yearned for a leader, someone to guide them through the troubled times. Thus a king, selected by the people from among the wisest on the planet, was chosen to rule. His descendants would reign for hundreds of years, providing leadership, wisdom, gallantry, and chivalry.
Some of the devices created by the old science and magic remained and these were used for transportation and hunting. Only one family had the secret of invention handed down from generation to generation. They were warned to use the knowledge judiciously until it was needed in defense of Eternia. Each generation had its own Man-at-Arms, skilled in the practical and mystical arts of forge and machine — able to create devices of war as well as those of peace.
The Sorceress (Teelina)
Centuries after the establishment of Castle Grayskull, a woman named Kodak Ungor was appointed as the latest Sorceress, mystic guardian of Castle Grayskull. As the time approached for her too to find a worthy successor, Kodak Ungor eyed a young girl name Teelina, a kind and caring young woman. One day, Teelina's village was seized by Morgoth's evil servants. Teelina feared that the evil ones would take over all of Eternia, so she ventured out in a search for the mystical castle. Teelina traveled to the Wastelands, just as an ancient riddle had suggested, but she did not find anything there. Tired from her journey, Teelina fell to the ground, calling out for someone to help her people. Suddenly, a castle appeared in front of her... Castle Grayskull. Teelina entered and was greeted by Kodak Ungor. The Sorceress told Teelina that she had been observing her for some time, and asked what had finally brought her to the castle. Teelina explained that her village was under attack by invaders and that she feared that all of Eternia would fall to them if they weren't stopped. The Sorceress offered the girl a bargain. She told Teelina that she would be given all the power that she needed to help her people, but only if she would agree to become the new Sorceress. Teelina accepted, and Kodak Ungor proclaimed "Then, by the power of Grayskull, let it be done!". Teelina was then told to enter the Pool of Power, whereupon she was transformed into a falcon. Teelina then concentrated and transformed herself back to human form. Kodak Ungor declared "From this day on, you shall ever be the Sorceress".
After Hordaks escape, Skeletor took over Snake Mountain and made it his center of operations. With his old mentor out of the way, Skeletor plotted to take over Eternia for himself. Castle Grayskull, the source of great power, is often the target of his attacks. Unbeknownst to anyone, Skeletor is actually Keldor, the long-lost brother of King Randor, transformed into his mishapen form while dabbling with black magic.
She-Ra (Princess Adora)
Shortly after the birth of Princess Adora, a group called the Horde invaded Eternia. After they were defeated by King Randors forces, their leader Hordak kidnapped Adora in revenge. Hordaks pupil, Skeletor, betrayed him and revealed to his enemies the location of the secret Horde base on Eternia, a place called Snake Mountain. The Sorceress and Man-at-Arms arrived to rescue Princess Adora, but Hordak fled to another world, Etheria, through a portal. When no could find the Princess, the Sorceress used her magic to erase the memory of Adora from everyone's mind except the King, the Queen, and Man-at-Arms.
Prince Adam is summoned to Castle Grayskull by the Sorceress, who sends him on an urgent mission to the world of Etheria. She gives him the Sword of Protection, a sword which closely resembles his own Sowrd of Power, and tells him that he must find its owner, whose identity she cannot reveal. Accompanied by Cringer, Adam goes to Etheria, where he learns of the Great Rebellion, whose aim is to overthrow the planet's dictatorial rulers, the Horde. Adam soon finds himself caught up in the conflict and transforms to He-Man. He is attacked by the Horde's ruthless force captain, Adora, but is shocked when the sword glows in her presence.
He-Man is ultimately captured by the Horde. As the Rebels set out to rescue him, the imprisoned He-Man learns that Adora, who has taken possession of the sword, has been tricked since birth into believing the Horde are the rightful rulers of Etheria. He-Man tells her to go out and see the world, to find for herself just how evil the Horde really are. She is skeptical of him, but agrees to do so.
He-Man is soon rescued from his prison cell by the rebels, but he quickly sets out to find Adora to see if she has learned the truth about the Horde. Unfortunately, Adora is now being prevented from turning against the Horde through magical means. When He-Man finally finds her, she arrests him.
However, that night, Adora's sleep is interrupted by a telepathic communication from the Sorceress, who reveals to her that she was kidnapped from her parents as a baby by Hordak and the Horde, who brought her up to follow their evil ways. She is also informed that the mighty He-Man is her twin brother, who she must now save. Adora uses the Sword of Protection to become She-Ra, Princess of Power, and sets out to rescue He-Man and foil Hordak's latest scheme.
After freeing He-Man, She-Ra reveals to him that she is his sister. He-Man is amazed and confused, having never known he had a sister, so he calls upon the Sorceress to explain the whole story to the both of them. The Sorceress explains that Adam and Adora were born to the King and Queen of Eternia as twins, but that Adora was kidnapped by Hordak and brought to Etheria. The Sorceress had used her magic to erase the memory of Adora from everyone's mind except the King, the Queen, and Man-at-Arms. When Adora's whereabouts were finally traced, the Sorceress sent Adam to find her.
Princess Adora briefly returns to Eternia to become reunited with her parents, but decides that her place is on Etheria, fighting against the Horde forces alongside the Rebellion.
Mattel Action Figures and Mini-Comics:
- The Masters of the Universe. A total of 49 mini-comics were produced as inserts for the Masters of the
Universe action figures. The first 11 issues were produced by DC Comics in
1982 and 1983. The subsequent 38 were produced by Mattel from 1984 to 1987.
- The 11 DC mini-comics are (by Series, in alphabetical order):
- "Battle In The Clouds", 1982, Series 1.
- "He-Man and the Power Sword", 1982, Series 1.
- "King of Castle Grayskull", 1982, Series 1.
- "The Tale of Teela!", 1982, Series 1.
- "The Vengeance of Skeletor", 1982, Series 1.
- "He-Man Meets Ram-Man!", 1983, Series 2.
- "The Ordeal of Man-E-Faces!", 1983, Series 2.
- "The Magic Stealer!", 1983, Series 2.
- "The Menace of Trap Jaw!", 1983, Series 2.
- "The Power of ... Point Dread!", 1983, Series 2.
- "The Terror of Tri-Klops!", 1983, Series 2.
- She-Ra, Princess of Power. 11 mini-comics were produced by Mattel as inserts for the She-Ra, Princess of Power action figures from 1985 to 1987. There are two different versions of the first mini-comic, "The Story of She-Ra". The original edition was included with the She-Ra action figure. The alternate edition appeared as a special insert in the Spring 1985 issue of Barbie Magazine.
- The New Adventures of He-Man. 4 mini-comics were produced by Mattel as inserts for the New Adventures of He-Man action figures in 1989.
DC Comics Comic Books:
- DC Comics Presents #47 (July 1982). "From Eternia With Death"
- Masters of the Universe insert appeared in the following comics (Nov. 1982). "Fate Is The Killer!"
Action Comics #537
All-Star Squadron #15
Arak/Son of Thunder #15
Captain Carrot And His Amazing Zoo Crew #9
Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #1
DC Comics Presents #51
Fury of Firestorm #6
Justice League of America #208
Legion of Super-Heroes [2nd series] #293
New Adventures of Superboy #35
New Teen Titans #25
Wonder Woman #297
- Masters of the Universe #1–3 (Dec. 1982–Feb. 1983)
Marvel Comics (Star Comics imprint) comic books:
- Masters of the Universe #1–12 (May 1986–Mar. 1988)
- Masters of the Universe: The Motion Picture #1 (1987)
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Magazine #1–16 (Winter 1985–Fall 1988)
- She-Ra, Princess of Power Magazine #1–6 (Winter 1986–Spring 1987)
- Masters of the Universe Magazine #1–72 (Spring 1986–Winter 1988)
- Masters of the Universe Adventure Magazine #1–27 (1987–91)
- Golden Books
- Kid Stuff Books
- Ladybird Books
- World I.P Annuals
- Coloring and activity books
Filmation Associates cartoons:
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. 130 episodes beginning in September 1983.
- She-Ra, Princess of Power. 93 episodes beginning in September 1985.
- Masters of the Universe: Skeletor's Revenge (1984?). Three episodes from He-Man Season One.
- Masters of the Universe: The Greatest Adventures of All (19??). Three episodes from He-Man Season One.
- He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special (1985)
- He-Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword (1985). First five episodes of the She-Ra cartoon.
Jetlag Productions cartoon:
- The New Adventures of He-Man. 68 episodes beginning in September 1989.
Mike Young Productions cartoon:
- Masters of the Universe. 26 episodes beginning August 2002.
- Masters of the Universe: The Motion Picture (1987, Cannon Films)
Original text copyright DC Comics unless otherwise noted. Used without permission.