No doubt a lot of casual MOTU fans are wondering where the heck “Preternia Disguise He-Man” comes from. The answer is the vintage minicomic “The Powers of Grayskull – The Legend Begins” (inked by Bruce “DC Animated Universe” Timm and lettered by Stan “Usagi Yojimbo” Sakai). I have to say, I think this is one figure that really needs to come with a reprint minicomic to be appreciated, and I hope Mattel has a plan for that–at the very least, they should have a nice version of the comic available on Mattycollector.
You can read the entire comic on He-Man.org here, but I’ll summarize it for those of you who don’t want to bother. He-Man and the Sorceress are hanging out in the Eternia playset Three Towers when He-Man starts wondering about the Towers and the return of the Snake Men. The Sorceress takes him to a magical portal, formed by the Cosmic Key, that lets them walk right into the past (I hope they keep a velvet rope around that or something–you just know Ram Man’s going to wander in and get lost). They witness King Hiss tormenting some peasants. He-Man wants to help, but the Sorceress forbids him to interfere with the past lest he step on a butterfly or something. However, Skeletor sneaks into the Central Tower and crosses through the portal, quickly joining forces with King Hiss in hopes of changing Eternia’s future for the worse.
Now that Skeletor’s involved, the Sorceress lets He-Man join the fray–but only once he’s disguised, “for reasons that will made clear to you in the future” (I’m guessing this has something to do with He-Ro being his ancestor, but who knows). The Sorceress conjures a Bionatops and He-Man rides it into battle, but even as he defeats Skeletor, He-Ro (unnamed and seen only in shadow) appears and sends He-Man, Skeletor and the Sorceress home. When He-Man asks who the shadowy figure was, the Sorceress replies, “the greatest Sorceror [sic] of all!” “But who is he?” He-Man wonders, and the caption tells us to learn the answer, and more, in the next amazing issue of “The Powers of Grayskull.”
Sadly, that issue never appeared as MOTU was cancelled before it could be published, and it would be nearly thirty years before He-Ro was officially incorporated into a MOTU toyline. In any event, here are the pages showing He-Man’s disguise.
"If you make the sub figure a good one, you lock people into buying 12+ figures a year from you. That actually makes sense."
The sub figure is a bonus. How many people do you think subscribe to get that figure who are not "hardcore"* MOTU fans? I see quite a few subscribers who get the sub just to not have to deal with Matty monthly, which I can understand after Tytus month (my personal month of not getting anything that was placed in my cart).
How "good" could the sub figure be before people flipped out? Because if they wanted to have a figure just to give incentive for subs, they would make it Man-E-Faces, and have it so he ships in December of the subscription term. Disguise He-Man wasn't even on my radar, but as you said, this is one for the hardcore collectors. So is Wun-Dar, for that fact. I really wonder how quickly (since every figure sells out anyway) Wun-Dar would have sold as a monthly figure, or even a quarterly release.
*to not open debate about real fans, etc, hardcore fans, as I see it, means they want every possible character and variant, no matter how obscure or the heritage.
@Lycor: Oh, I imagine he'll have that sticker. It would be weird if he didn't.
given that Greyskull will now be reissued with a 'Powers Of . . ' logo – Mattel should really slap one on the front of this 'exclusive', it'll tie him in nicely to a line [one that never that was never completed] and possibly even make him more desirable . . .
@Damien: I've been on both sides of the debate. It's just lately I'm feeling the concept characters less. No matter what anyone says, the original MOTU is the big draw. While that definitely still dominates the line, and I'm not disputing that, there does seem to be more of a focus as of late on obscure characters.
With the line moving as slow as it already does, my interest wanes some on these guys. I guess I was just really hoping for something amazing with the MOTUC announcements and I just didn't find it. And I can't in good faith believe that anyone really wants or cares about Preternia He-Man… No matter what anyone says here.
It's He-Man in a silly outfit. It's not even like, another He-Man that you could say has a mythos around him. It's literally He-Man in a robe. I'd rather had a new Ice He-Man (or whatever it was in the 200X line) because at least that would lend itself to a variety of scenes.
But it is what it is. I'm not going to lose sleep over it. I'm just skipping the sub as a result.
If they are willing to go this far with conceptual figures like Gygor and Vikor, I certainly hope we get other killer unreleased concept figures like Horrorsaur, and that Horde Mummy that were shown a while back. Those were freaking awesome.
I get what you're saying, but why -shouldn't- Vikor (for instance) be considered a main figure? It's Masters of the Universe Classics. Not 'Vintage MOTU Reborn.'
By the same logic – Marvel Legends should only ever, or at least primarily, release figures of characters created in the early '90s Marvel lines.
I love that MOTUC is giving treatment to characters that have been, if vaguely, part of the mythos/property for over 20 years without ever getting toys before. To me, that makes it the best line we could ever ask for.
But that's just my opinion, of course.
@Poe: Nah I wasn't talking about Vikor. Even though he doesn't really do anything for me one way or the other. I was talking about in general, we've gotten several prototype figures already or are in the works. That's fine and all, but my particular interest in the line dwindles as we get more and more obscure. I know you've been high on Vikor for a while and I think he's cool enough, but I wasn't really singling him out as an issue with the line. Vikor would have been great as the bonus figure actually, but instead he's considered a main figure.
@Reilly: I hear you about Vikor, to an extent, but I honestly don't care even a little bit. Unlike Marzo, who is just Marzo and therefore useless outside an MOTUC display — Vikor functions as Vikor in a MOTUC display, but as Conan outside of it.
I think that's just goddamn awesome. Seems to be plenty of Conan fans out there that feel the same. Hell, I doubt I'll ever have Vikor near my MOTUC toys. He can go on my Robert Howard shelf with LCBH Conan, Wraal, and so on.
If I weren't a huge fan of Conan, I doubt I'd be as excited for Vikor as I am, though.
Oh right – Preternia He-Man. Yeah, uh.. dumb. It's an ugly figure from an uninspired, somewhat trite mini-comic. I couldn't care less about it. But since I can't afford to get a sub, that's probably a good thing.
I like Preternia Disguise He-Man.
Not for the great design, though, but for his amazing weapons/accessoires and the fact that I get another figure for my Preternia collection.
Only thing I'm bummed about is that it's another He-Man figure, and another heroic character.
The "Preternia" section full of heroes already – King Grayskull, the Goddess, Tytus, He-Ro and even Moss Man, Zodac and Zodak if you don't want those in a present-day Eternia display.
The only Preternia villains released/announced yet are Hordak, Grizzlor, Webstor and King Hiss – all still being alive in the present. I desperately need some villains to fight the dead heroes without keeping She-Ra and Zodak for themselves!
About the Cosmic Key, I'm sure that we're gonna see Gwildor this year, with another Cosmic Key looking like the old toy version.
As for Vikor, yes he's a nice figure. But come on, except for the blue Power Sword half, it's a pretty generic Conan-esque barbarian figure without any real MotU traits. As much as I love my Count Marzo figure, there's some truth of him not looking "right" among everybody else, and it's the same with Vikor for me.
It would be kind of awesome if we got a Bionotops to go with this He-Man.
Just imagine it. You at home, with your Disguised He-Man treating the bony head frill of a green triceratops as his personal butt-rest on your mantlepiece. Sword held high above his head, assuring man's dominance over nature and those damn snakes.
…and maybe a Tyrantasaurus Rex while we're at it.
I'm not really crazy about this figure, but he comes with a cosmic key. So he's definitely got that going for him.
Good points, Poe. He is not a must have, but a nice to have, which for all intents and purposes is a good point of the sub.
Are you really complaining about Vikor? That figure is awesome. Concept or no, I think he’s an awesome action figure in any line.
I see your point regarding the club-exclusive figure not being a good “incentive” figure, but given the fact that Mattel seems to have moved away from the “incentive” wording toward the “exclusive” part, I think they may actually have been trying to avoid a popular, unique character for the sub. And I can think of at least two reasons why:
1.) As mentioned by some other posters, this club-exclusive is a nice bonus for those who want to subscribe, but doesn’t force someone who doesn’t want to into doing so to make sure they get a unique character they’ll need for their collection.
2.) There’s some evidence to suggest that a fair number of collectors cancelled their credit cards, and thus their subs, after they got their Wun-Dars. By offering a less appealing exclusive, Mattel can ensure a more accurate year-long subscription number, since the fans who sign up won’t be doing so just for the exclusive.
So in this case, I’m more on the “nice bonus that doesn’t force unwilling fans to subscribe” side of the argument.
Check out the homage to the POG Bionatops weapon on the bottom of this pic. Pretty neat.