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  • Poe, I know you had to draw the line and obviously wanted to stick with the 80's MOTU media, but the MYP era has SO much to offer–like He-Man throwing a tower at atmosphere-breaking speed and into the Eternian sun. Mind you that in the previous season, He-Man also got laid out by Count Marzo, who in his turn was trussed up by…Mekanek's neck. In the immortal words of minicomic MAA: "What?"

    Come to think of it, much as I enjoyed it, the MYP cartoon should be saved for an article about fantastically inconsistent power levels in service to poorly conceived plots…

  • There is no such thing as physics in Eternia,only magic and humiliating arcane cybernetics.

  • You forgot saving Christmas. 🙂

    Seriously, awesome work! That's an awful lot of nerd research right there.

  • @Dark Angel: Actually, I considered that tower-throwing one from MYP, but in the end I decided to stick with the vintage stuff. Adding NA/Millennium to the mix opened up a whole new can of worms.

    @Ben: This was a surprisingly hard one to write. He-Man's done a lot of crazy crap over the years, and picking the ten craziest was hard work. I owe a lot to this "Respect He-Man" Web page for listing a bunch of feats, but I still had to track down where and when the feats occurred, find videos and images, and even watch two entire episodes because I couldn't find plot summaries online.

    It was all worth it, though. I laughed out loud not when He-Man pushed the moon away while standing on the Wind Raider–though that was funny–but when he plugged the hole and then flew back to put the moon back into orbit.

  • Dude, I would have been a little freaked out if you could come up with that list WITHOUT doing at least a little bit of research! Although there are probably some He-Nerds out there with ridiculous encyclopedic knowledge of this stuff…

  • @Mark: Anyone who argues that the Filmation He-Man series wasn't pure dreck is fanboy-blind. It was horrid–which is not to say that people don't have a perfect right to enjoy it, just that they should admit that it ain't any kind of "art".

  • @Dark Angel: At the risk of being labeled "fanboy-blind," the show did have some decent episodes penned by the likes of Paul Dini, J. Michael Straczynski and Michael Reaves. "The Dragon's Gift" and "The Problem with Power" come to mind.

    Art? Maybe not (although the background artists on that show have been underappreciated, if you ask me), but for a kid's cartoon those two episodes–and most the episodes in that "10 Best" DVD set–were fine, even, mayhaps, good.

    Most of the show was shallow and poorly written and animated, of course. But characterizing the entire enterprise as "pure dreck" does a disservice to a show that gave three of the best animated writers out there some of their first work in the field.

  • I specifically remember the episode in which He-man made glass by rubbing sand. I had no idea what he had just accomplished and upon asking my dad that is when I learned about silicon.

    Since it is kinda on topic of "what I learned from cartoons" I didn't know what a coma was until G.I. Joe the movie.

  • @Poe: Did I express myself too strongly?

    As I said, you and everyone else have a perfect right to enjoy it, Poe–but even you stop short of enshrining the series as some kind of "art" (Honestly, sir, saying something is "decent" is damning with faint praise!). That is because you are a reasonable person; we both know that these fabulous internets are quite full of unreasonable people who attempt to raise any number of things to a higher level than those things deserve.

    I, for one, love my old G.I. Joe cartoons (and compared to Filmation's MOTU, they are virtually Shakespearean), but they are still dreck. And well they should be! Five to twelve year old kids aren't generally looking for high art. I'm not throwing that word out there as an insult, it just is what it is.

    Hence, a world wherein the absolute ridiculous feats you described in your article occur, as well as the varying power levels of characters that I referenced and the much-ballyhooed fact that the entire world of Eternia is practically awash in incredibly powerful, largely indestructable artifacts that–go figure!–are predictably remembered and/or forgotten in service to simplistic plots.

    Finally, any writer worth his or her salt will tell you that their freshman efforts are nothing compared to what they produced after many years and more experience. Plus, many writers have enjoyed fine careers producing nothing but dreck, like Stephen King and Anne Rice (both of whom have produced works I have read and enjoyed, and which are still not art!). 😉

    So–that is my opinion, and I am sticking to it. What can I say? I thrive on hate.

    Now that you bring it up, exactly which was the original version of "Dragon's Gift"-the mini comic, or the Filmation episode?

  • @Dark Angel: The Filmation episode came first. Written by Larry DiTillio (I knew I was forgetting one other notable writer!).

    And I will continue to contend, in the face of your hate 🙂 , that it is a flat-out good episode of the cartoon–of any cartoon.

    "Jacob and the Widgets," though–that's dreck.

    (I'm also on the other side of the Stephen King issue–not that I think he's an artistic genius, but I don't think everything he's written is dreck, far from it–and am prepared to defend my opinion with all the weapons an English degree, Michael Chabon, and Leslie Fiedler can provide me with–and to be clear, the opinion of a Yalie windbag like Harold Bloom counts for less than nothing to me–but anyway, I like you as a person, so maybe we should just not go there and agree to disagree.)

  • You like me? Good heavens, did you not get the memo? 😉

    OK, OK–I will cop to throwing King's name down as a gauntlet, because I very well know there is a strong case on both sides of that issue…but I honestly did not know you were a defender. I am just pushing buttons left and right, aren't I? As for my tastes…well…

    Yes, I think its best we both leave it alone… 🙂

  • Neat and interesting list remembering all the nonsense of the original show and comics.

    We tend to get caught up in the rarity and actual marketing of Classics, we often forget the original stories that brought us there.

    I was more a fan of the 200X Fiction, which was a bit more refined than the original show and made a bit more sense. If they ever make a Classics show or comic book (which seems more likely), it would be a lot more 'mature' than the original TV series.

  • That was hilarious, Poe!

    I do have to come to the rescue of Dark Angel a bit here in saying that, retrospectively, the He-Man 'toons were just plain dreadful. I enjoyed the hell out of them as a five year-old, but watching them as an adult I am taken with the sheer lack of logic in virtually every aspect of their creation, from storytelling to plot points. I prefer to think that the creators did that on purpose, with tongues firmly in cheeks. I enjoy laughing at them with friends, but get nervous when super-fanboys take them too seriously as art.

    It's the nostalgia, folks. Keep it there.

  • @Dan C.: I agree that the Millennium stuff, particularly the comics, took the concept about as "mature" as it could go when you have characters named Clawful and Two-Bad (and now, Demo-Man). If anything, it went too far with the Icons of Evil: Trap Jaw issue…

    In any event, "art" or not, I'd still welcome a MOTU comic written by Geoff Johns.

  • DA, i have to say, as a classically trained artist myself, your concept of "art" is exclusive… while art, by it's nature, and per it's intent, is inclusive. you do the very object of your affections disservice by labeling in the ramshackle way you are… if you experience an emotional reaction to something, an object, a story, a picture, and that thing is taken from the recreational and mundane, to the sublime and the necessary… it's art. even if it only has that effect on one person, it met it's goal and served it's purpose. if you consider king or rice less artisic than poe or homer, you're only showing your own lack of perspective, rather than the implied insight you'd like folks to read into your analysis. he-man was an introductory course into the concept of what we call "fantasy genre" storytelling for a whole generation of young people… that's art baby, as much as david bowie or picasso, every bit as valid.

  • @dayraven: As a trained artist myself, you should know every critic is entitled to there opinion 😉 Personally, regardless of the fact that some things called art may serve there purpose and touch some people no one can deny there is some vrap about being called art…just look at some of the stuff entered in the Turner prize….an un made bed….no one can call that art.

    @Dark Angel: Well, it is dreck, but still has a lot of good memories for me. In all honesty though, who cares who wrote speciffic episodes they still were not that great…now Thundercats, they don't need to defend episodes or the series claiming such and such wrote this episode etc.

  • @dayraven: If there is no exclusivity, sirrah, then every artistic endeavor is pointless. We may all have many things around us that we love, but when we smell smoke, we decide very quickly which ones are the most important.

    In some armageddon scenario (highly unlikely as that may be), given the choice to preserve one and only one item which will be the sole representative of the culture dying around me, am I going to grab the complete DVD series of MOTU, or my copy of Wilkie Collins' "The Woman In White"? Both are important works of fiction in their own way, I admit, and believe it or not "The Woman In White" was intended as mass entertainment in its day just as MOTU and other TV series are now. But only one has proven to have transcendent, worldwide cultural and artistic value over a 150+ year history…and it ain't the dude in the furry miniskirt.

    Still, these arguments will be endless. I have my opinion, and that's that. I like MOTU! I never intended to imply otherwise. No need to fret over that. Like it or not, however, it just doesn't peg on my value scale like some other things. That's just me. The rest of you are entitled to value it as you will, naturally.

    @Mark: @misterbigbo:

    Excellent. Appreciation in context, without undue sentimentality. Perfect. My compliments, and may you both continue to enjoy MOTU for many years to come!