Back in the heyday of Masters of the Universe during the 1980s, a few promotional posters for the line were made. These were lush, fully-painted depictions of the characters rather than checklists featuring photos of the action figures. By far my favorite was the so-called Grayskull Poster, because it featured most of the early, iconic MOTU characters, vehicles and playsets that I owned.
Pretty nice, huh? Of course, while He-Man and Skeletor look ready to mash it up as usual, there’s a lot of other strange stuff going on in the background of this poster.
Let’s star with Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain: they are way too close. Perhaps this is the temporary result of some wizard’s spell, an attempt to get the two enemy groups to wipe each other out. If that’s the case, ordinarily I would blame Zodac–nothing would be better for cosmic peace than for all the warriors to be destroyed. However, Zodac, it seems, has chosen a side.
But I’ll get to that later. Here’s PGPoA’s A to Z analysis of every character and vehicle on this poster.
- (Prince) Adam – Right off the bat we’ve got a HUGE problem here. Battle Armor He-Man is up front on Battle Cat, He-Man is driving the Dragon Walker, and Prince Adam is waving a sword around. Either Man-At-Arms got a lot better at making robots that aren’t blue and stupid, or the wizard who put Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain about a quarter of a mile from one another also triplicated the Most Powerful Man in the Universe. Seems like overkill, especially since Skeletor only gets the one version.
- Battle Armor He-Man – Maybe it’s just because there’s so much art of BA He-Man on Battle Cat, but I think he looks better on the mighty steed than the regular He-Man.
- Battle Armor Skeletor – That’s right–he’s rockin’ the staff and the sword.
- Battle Cat‘s heroic pose looks great, but it probably opens him up to an attack to his left flank by Panthor. Fortunately, Panthor is busy yelling at Skeletor for some reason.
- Beast Man looks like a pimp on the Roton. Everyone else has to run down the steep, narrow cliff with a fifty-foot drop on both sides, but BM gets to sit back and let the red gear-teeth do all the work. Is he whipping Evil-Lyn like a slave driver?
- Buzz-Off – Check out the goofy grin he’s giving Stratos. He’s clearly unaware that Webstor’s jagged hooks are about to tear through his whisper-thin insect wings.
- Clawful – Why is he holding his mace like that? Looks awkward.
- Dragon Walker – This thing dominates the cliffside, but I can’t help but wonder how it’s making the turns.
- Evil-Lyn – As mentioned previously, it looks like Evil-Lyn is being whipped by Beast Man, judging from the way she’s looking back at him. “OW! Quit it, asshole!”
- Fisto – Is he shaking his giant fist in rage at the bad guys–or Orko?
- He-Man – Seriously, why did the marketers think it was OK to have three He-Men on this poster? No doubt it gave some kids a lingering ontological complex.
- Jitsu – Boring pose, nothing to see here.
- Kobra Khan – Ditto.
- Man-At-Arms – Who is Duncan looking at? Me? Shouldn’t he be paying more attention to, y’know, the battle? Nice pose, though.
- Man-E-Faces – I appreciate the artist’s desire to offer a certain level of realism via shadows, but did he have to hide Man-E-Faces’ meal ticket–his face?
- Mekaneck – My favorite part of this poster. For years I thought Mekaneck was running away from the danger; it’s only recently I realized he’s using his mechanical-neck powers to look over a rock. Well, more like at a rock. Easily distracted much?
- Mer-Man – I worry that Mer-Man may be a bit too precariously balanced here, especially if Beast Man whips Evil-Lyn again and she bumps into him. The dangers of running full-tilt down a steep cliff, I guess.
- Orko – Two problems here: he’s walking, not floating, and he’s way too big. He also seems to be making “V for victory” signs with his fingers, which seems kind of presumptuous if you ask me.
- Panthor – Great pose, but why is he looking at Skeletor?
- Point Dread – Naturally one of the few cool good-guy vehicles is sitting, ignored, on the clifftop.
- Ram-Man is going to f*** someone up with that axe. You can just tell.
- Road Ripper – There’s a reason this Eternian equivalent of a motorcycle sits riderless next to Castle Grayskull–it sucks.
- Roton – Beast Man looks real comfy in there. Say what you will about Skeletor, he doesn’t skimp on the patent leather seats in his war machines.
- Screech is fixing Stratos with a death glare that probably should have killed him instantly.
- Stratos looks less like he’s flying than falling to his untimely death. “Catch me, Buzz-Off! Help!” Maybe that’s why Buzz-Off is grinning…
- Stridor – That rear-mounted ass-gun looks to be dead centered on the “O” on Orko’s chest. Can’t say I’d blame him.
- Teela – Sure, the girl is stuck at the back of the line, but at least she’s not being whipped.
- Trap Jaw – I have to say, I’m disappointed in my boy Trap Jaw. I’d have hoped he’d at least be blasting with his laser arm or something.
- Tri-Klops – Great pose, but not much else to discuss here.
- Webstor – The one bad guy who’s actually doing something useful–he’s going to f*** up Buzz-Off but good.
- Wind Raider – The dull green workhorse of the Eternian fleet, being flown by–wait, who the hell is that?!
- Whiplash – “Wait for me guys!”
- Zoar‘s proximity to Teela only adds to the Teela/Goddess/Sorceress confusion.
- Zodac – Ah yes, the “neutral” Cosmic Enforcer. Looks like he picked a side to me. And he’s looking straight at the viewer, too, as if to say, “What?”