Mattel Shows Off New MOTU Art Style for 2012

You may recall this odd little news item from February where an artist showed off a Mattel-commissioned “badass” depiction of MOTUC.

I don’t know if that was a dry run or what, but Mattel has now revealed its art plans for the 30th anniversary of MOTUC in 2012:

MOTU Fans,

The holidays are just about here, so we thought we’d give you a little present…here’s your first official look at the all-new artwork for the Masters of the Universe® 30th Anniversary celebration!

Gabriel De La Torre, Staff Product Designer from Mattel Entertainment Design, told us, “This ‘alt’ style to the Classic brand was created as a visual way to re-imagine the vast characters and worlds of Masters of the Universe® with a contemporary edge. This dynamic artwork will be used across multiple categories in consumer products and beyond, celebrating our Masters of the Universe 30th Anniversary program launching in 2012.”

Creating a new look for an iconic brand like MOTU while still retaining the integrity of its original style was no simple task. Gabe and his team searched for an artist who not only had the style they envisioned, but also a love for MOTU. “We landed on a well-known talent named Alvin Lee, whose work can be seen in a variety of brands and also many popular video games. With the finished product, his passion for the characters and the brand really shined through. Raymond Makowski (Staff Product Designer) and I worked with Alvin Lee to create a dynamic collection of poses and battle scenes that not only pushed the designs of the characters, but also captured the essence of the Masters of the Universe® feel–heroic, perilous and empowering,” Gabe said.

Look for the new art to appear on toy packaging starting in Q1, and on licensed goods from shirts to lunchboxes throughout 2012. We’ll have more updates at New York Toy Fair in February, but in the meantime, click here to feast your eyes on images of favorites including Skeletor® and Beast Man®!


The art style seems to be MOTUC-by-way-of-Millennium. Castle Grayskull looks very much like the Millennium version, while this piece almost seems like a spiritual sequel to this Millennium poster by Boris Vallejo.

Alvin Lee‘s artwork looks good to me, except perhaps for He-Man’s head, which looks a little too youngish/Millennium. I’m curious to see what toy packaging it shows up on–it would be nice if they revamped the standard packages a bit.

It’s a bit of a tease to show Ram Man when they haven’t announced a month, or even a year, for the figure yet.


Comments now closed (25)

  • I'm pretty sure I remember Scott saying that Ram Man is not going to be showing up in 2012 for sure.
    I really like the art, by the way.

  • I can’t ever figure Mattel out. This press release garnered a great big ole “who gives a f***?” from me. Seriously, why does anyone care about their art? The only art to appear so far in the line has been nostalgic snippets from old comics and cross-sell, or thatthe amazing andand still consistentfor Wind Raiderup box art, and that logically fit the aesthetic of the line.

    Now YEARS into the line they decide to either:
    1) care enough to support the line with new art
    2) go in a new direction?

    Totally confusing either way.

    And for Ram Man, it seems to me that he’s going to be a 2012 oversize figure, and that fills me with articulated-like-rotocast-Megator fear.

    • No you're not.

      Considering it was done by Alvin Lee who used to work for Udon, the people who do a number of various Camcom comics & art books, it's not surprising there's a resemblance to Ryu.

  • Aside from a Battle Cat and a Panthor a friend gave me, I own not single MOTUC figure, but if they looked anything like this artwork I would buy every one of 'em.

  • The artwork looks SO much better than the standard MOTUC aesthetic. Although I don't really care for the Castle Grayskull, and Snake Mountain is one of the few places I feel Filmation was superior. Also, Ram Man looks entirely 200X there.

  • To remind everyone, Scott has said we will not be getting Ram Man in 2012 since he would require 100% new tooling. Keep your hopes up for 2013.

  • I don't get why people keep assuming that Ram Man will be large or oversized. If anything, I would presume he'd be undersized, just like Filmation and any previous figure of him.

    • as long as his legs are NOT fused together I'll take any size (in MOTUC Scale) of Ram Man

  • My big question does "appear on toy packaging starting in Q1" really mean? Is MotUC getting new packaging (booo)? Will Toy Fair see the reveal of mass-market MotUC figures? Will the perpetually-on-sale figures get new cards with this art to differentiate them? And so on.

    It makes sense that new branding for a toyline would appear on toys, but when they have actively argued against taking the line to retail…

  • Honestly, they looks pretty pedestrian to me. The Snake Mountain and Grayskull pieces in particular look like made-to-order "weird atmosphere" art. And I don't "get" the Man-at-Arms pose, or really like the look of the character at all.

    Isn't it a little odd to have such heavily…let's say "eastern pop-culture inspired" works for a line so desperately trying to get away from "hyper-anime detail"…?

  • Yeah, I'm not a fan of this art at all. MOTUC works best in hyper-western style. Something a little bit more Frazetta by way of Buscema would have gotten me excited. This, though? Flavor of the month.

  • I'll take a lot more Norem, and a lot less Udon style please.

    Don't get me wrong…I love some Udon, but not in MOTU.

  • Alvin Lee has been one of my favorite artists for a long time. He completely revitalized Street Fighter when Udon was making the comics, and is still commissioned to do Street Fighter art.

    He's always been great I think, and I love the art here. I'm glad to see Alvin branching out. These pieces are really amazing. If these show up on shirts, I'm buying them all.

    • Agreed. Love his work…just not for MOTU, but hey, I'm an old man, and a more Norem style will 90% be preferred by me. One's mileage may vary according to many factors. 🙂

      Alvin's style reminds me of the millennium line, and I would just as soon put that behind me. The only reason I bought into 200x is because it was all there was. Loved it at the time because I knew no better. After seeing MOTUC I don't wanna go back. Alvin is a great artist, but I would rather see someone like Nathan Baertsch tackle MOTU.

      I love barbarians and I love manga; heck, I even love manga barbarians. I don't like MOTU manga barbarians so much.

  • The artist is obviously talented and I am not sure why I feel this way, but it seems like the art is " trying too hard to be badass" instead of just " being badass."

  • So I guess somebody had to do *something new and EXTREME!* in 2012 to justify their middle-management jobs, huh? Moves like this are what kill sales, guys. Street Fighter and Lee happened 10yrs ago and the look lasted 3 months before it pretty much tanked at retail in toys and comics. MOTUC was fine as it was. I guess Gabriel De La Torre, Raymond Makowski, and ToyGuru needed to take some moves from the 1994 Mountain Dew playbook, in order to seem "relevant." This is what you learn NOT to do in commercial design 101 kids. Take a 10yrs-gone style (CGI-ed anime) and apply it to a currently hip brand and style (MOTUC and the fine fantasy art style of late 70s) Musta taken what, 2 google searches to think that "Anime" was "Alt" in any way. Jesus, guys, if you want to appeal to kids or twentysomethings, then *talk to real ones instead of holding a meeting.* Take a look at who *actually buys MOTUC* – it's not 12year olds, it's guys 30-45yrs old who are deep into nostalgia. Way to blow it guys, have another Mountain Dew and try again 🙁

  • Now that I've had some time to sit on this — if I was to use one word to describe this art, it would be generic.

    Please, I do not mean ANY insult to the artist or whatnot. Its 1000x better than anything I could do. Call me a slave to nostalgia, but the vintage line has SO MUCH great work that this stuff just seems so "meh".

  • Honestly,it's bad,real bad.Laws of perspectives have been broken by Skeletor's Ramstaff and he-man's body on Battle cat.

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  • No offense to Alvin lee, but who goes through the headache of trying to buy these figures for the art?