My guest today is one King Grayskull, ancestor of Prince Adam (a.k.a He-Man, though you didn’t hear it from me) and the very first figure from Mattel’s new Masters of the Universe Classics (MOTUC) line.
Thanks for being here, Your Highness.
Thanks for having me, Poe.
So tell me a little about yourself. Who is King Grayskull?
Well, I was a character created for the 2002 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon. Hundreds (maybe thousands) of years before Prince Adam was born, I built Castle Grayskull and protected Eternia from Hordak–and let me tell you, that guy is an ass. He makes Sauron look like the Purple Pieman.
Anyway, when I died in battle, I transferred my power into what’s now called the “Power Sword.” To me it was just a sword, though. I think I got it in a yankee swap.
You’re looking remarkably healthy for a dead man.
Thanks. You know I’m just an action figure, right?
Of course, of course. Speaking of which, how does MOTUC differ from previous MOTU lines?
Well, unlike all three previous lines (Masters of the Universe, the New Adventures of He-Man, and the 2002 Masters of the Universe), MOTU Classics is targeted specifically to collectors, not kids.
The aesthetic design of the line is intended to be strongly reminiscent of the original 1980s toy line. The 2002 revamp featured some very different looks for most of the characters. In essence, MOTUC is the original MOTU, but the figures are taller, more detailed, and much better articulated. While the 2002 revamped figures had a more slender, “realistic” body shape, MOTUC returns He-Man and friends to the realm of the supremely buff.
Yes, I can see that. You’re very tight. Tight like a tiger.
You got me. So the overall design of MOTUC is a bit less detailed than the 2002 figures and more “cartoonish,” for lack of a better term?
I wouldn’t go that far. We’re bigger and buffer than the 2002 figures, but not as insanely ripped as ’80s figures. We’re more like MOTU by way of Ed McGuinness.
Fair enough. OK, let’s get down to brass tacks. You were an SDCC exclusive, right?
Yes, I was available at the 2008 San Diego Comic Con. There was also a bronze-colored “statue” variant. I was briefly sold on Mattel’s new collector website, Mattycollector.com, as well, but I quickly sold out.
Yeah, those guys at Mattel decided it would be fun to package me in something so huge and complicated it would take three engineering students from M.I.T. to get it open and put it together. You should have seen the furrowed brows of those unwashed SDCC nerds as they fiddled with all those cardboard tabs! But I kid the average action figure collector.
In all seriousness, Mattel really outdid themselves–which is impressive given their track record of awesome exclusive packaging. My box transformers into a cardboard replica of Castle Grayskull, complete with the “jawbridge” which opens to reveal me as a deep voice intones “I have the power!” amidst a thunderous crash, while blue lightning flickers behind me.
Yeah, I’ve been driving my wife crazy with that.
Really, the overall effect is pretty awesome, I have to say. I’m proud to come with such packaging.
Indeed. Even a fiddler like me has a hard time throwing away a package like that.
OK, let’s talk sculpt. Obviously, your buck is mostly based off the upcoming He-Man figure, available on Mattycollector.com at the end of October. How does your figure differ?
Well, this big furry cape is all mine. My harness is different too, with leather straps and this weird chest emblem from the 2002 series–personally I prefer the original iron cross. And then there’s my head, which is brand-new and based off my appearance in the 2002 cartoon–which was in turn based on the Four Horsemen‘s original head sculpt for the 2002 He-Man, which was inspired by Vladimir Kulich’s look in the movie The 13th Warrior. Or at least that’s what I’ve heard.
Aside from that, the only difference I’ve noticed is my belt is gray, not orange.
I notice you’re pretty tall. Early reports were that you’d be in scale with Mattel’s other major 6″ line, DC Universe Classics. You seem quite a bit bigger than that to me, though.
True. I am a Master of the Universe, after all.
What sort of articulation do you have?
Let’s see. I’ve got a ball-jointed neck, though I find its movement is a bit limited by this stiff cape. I’ve got ball-jointed shoulders and hips, hinges at the elbows, knees, ankles and abdomen, and swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist, and boots. All in all, I’m pretty satisfied. Aside from the neck, the only other place my movement is somewhat limited is my hips. The plastic this loincloth is made from isn’t very pliable.
OK, I really don’t want to get dragged into a discussion of your loincloth…
I thought you said we were friends–now you’re not interested in how I clothe my junk?
Not at all. What are those accessories you have there?
Ah yes. Well, this is the aforementioned Power Sword, though again, to me it’s just “my sword.” It’s pretty cool to finally have a Power Sword that isn’t either half a sword, like the original, or a technological monstrosity like the 2002 one.
I also come with a labrys (double-bladed axe) and this studded shield. All of my accessories are very closely modeled after the original He-Man’s.
So what’s next for Masters of the Universe Classics?
Well, as we talked about earlier, He-Man will be available on Mattycollector.com in late October. Beast-Man will be next in mid-November, followed by Skeletor in December. After that, a figure will be released on Mattycollector.com once a month, with Stratos in January 2009, Mer-Man in February, and Zodac sometime after that.
By the way, if you want a closer look at the new Skeletor, be sure to pick up ToyFare #134, arriving at comic shops this week!
I’m sure the folks at ToyFare are happy for that plug. Thanks again for chatting with me, King Grayskull. I know you need to get back to being long-dead.
I’d also like to offer a big thanks to Rustin Parr for braving the nerd herds at SDCC to get me my King Grayskull (as well as my DCUC Lobo and NECA Mousers). You are a true hero, Rustin.