5 Questions With > Josh Van Pelt of the Power and the Honor Foundation

The Power and The Honor Foundation is a fan-funded, non-profit organization that is dedicated to documenting, archiving, preserving, and sharing the rich history of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra Princess of Power. Their first product, The Power and The Honor Foundation Catalog Volume One: The Art of Masters of the Universe Toy Design, is now available for order.

I got in touch with PHF executive director Josh Van Pelt to find out a bit more about the project.

Poe: Tell us a little about yourself and your history with MOTU/POP fandom–when and how did you become a He-Fan/She-Raver, and how has it developed over the years?

JVP: Since I was born in 1977, some of my earliest memories are of playing with my He-Man figures in the early 80s. I can remember getting a Castle Grayskull for Christmas in 1983 and always having a large box of figures, vehicles, and playsets that I would drag around the house. After school each day, I watched Masters of the Universe on TV and recreated the battles between He-Man and Skeletor with my action figures.

Most of my original childhood He-Man figures disappeared over the years and I did not restart collecting MOTU until I went to college. When we needed a break from schoolwork, my girlfriend (now wife) and I would go to fleamarkets, toy shows, and comic book stores, mostly picking up loose figures.

Still in college, I decided to start a website, The Cafe Wha?, where I created a very amateur site that sold MOTU figures, accessories, and minicomics. This was a great way for me to build my own collection and help other collectors complete theirs. It also allowed me to meet hundreds of fellow collectors, many remaining friends even after The Cafe Wha? closed.

Since graduating college in 2002, I have had very little time to dedicate to my MOTU collecting but I continue to keep an eye out for one-of-a-kind pieces that I might never see for sale again. The past few years, my action figure and toy collection has remained relatively stable but I have been able to preserve a large collection of prototypes, original artwork, and rare items.

Let’s talk about The Power and the Honor Foundation. How did this project come about?

The Power and The Honor Foundation came about as a result of a small group of collectors and artists desire to share our MOTU and POP collections. It had always been my desire to share the pieces in my collection with others but never had the time and resources to do so.

While talking with a few other members of the He-Fan community, we came up with the idea to create a foundation whose mission would be to collect, archive, and preserve the artifacts and history of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra Princess of Power.

We are currently an incorporated non-profit organization that is also applying for our 501(c)3 tax-deductible charity status. When approved, this would allow all supporters to use any donations they make to the Foundation as a tax deduction.

Our board members are working on a few projects to generate exposure for the Foundation as well as initiating a few fund-raising campaigns to help us continue to carry out our mission.

Mattel produced its own (somewhat notorious) book with MOTU/POP production art as a San Diego Comic Con exclusive a few years back. How does your Catalog differ, and what can fans expect to see in it?

We are working with an advantage that Mattel did not have. They put together a catalog that represented the artwork and documents that they still had access to. Unfortunately, Mattel’s archives may not have been appreciated for their historical value and were downsized as pieces seemed obsolete or space was needed.

The Power and The Honor Foundation Catalog Volume 1: The Art of Masters of The Universe Toy Design features over 250 never-before-seen and digitally restored illustrations, concepts, and documents.

Our Foundation has access to hundreds of pieces of original artwork, some directly from creators and designers such as Roger Sweet, Mark Taylor, and Ted Mayer. We have spent a tremendous amount of time just cataloging and archiving. The Foundation is incredibly lucky to have an outstanding artist who spent over a year scanning and digitally restoring all of the images. Plus, the catalog features an extensive narrative by a true Eternia historian. Of course, we also have a great cover done by Eamon O’Donoghue!

You can check out Pixel Dan’s preview of the catalog here or here.

What is the Foundation’s relationship to Mattel, if any?

The Power and the Honor Foundation is a fan-created, fan-funded non-profit organization. We are independent of Mattel, and have had only informal contact with management at this time. We would love to share our archives with Mattel to help further secure He-Man’s past and to contribute to the future of the brand as well.

What are some of the Foundations future plans?

While we have not officially announced any catalogs past The Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog Volume 1: The Art of Masters of The Universe Toy Design, the title alone suggests the direction we would like to head. We will next be focusing our efforts on the art from the Filmation Cartoon archives. We have over 40,000 pieces from the Filmation archives in our collection that we can’t wait to share!

In addition to the catalogs, the Foundation is specifically focused on physically acquiring, archiving, and preserving actual artwork and documents related to He-Man and The Masters of the Universe and She-Ra Princess of Power.

This Foundation is by fans for fans so we welcome all feedback. If anyone has any ideas for projects for the Foundation, suggestions, or criticisms, we would love to hear them.

We have really enjoyed the response so far!

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2 Comments

  1. MattelArtistRelative

    But who OWNS the artwork this not for profit acquires? More sooner than later, this PAH foundation will cease main operations, as interest in MOTU wains. Then what happens to all the physical artwork acquired with supporter's money? Isn't is plain that Josh Van Pelt will just keep it for himself? This is VERY, VERY valuable pre-production artwork & designs. Individual collectors will pay thousands for it. I think this whole "start a non-profit' or museum thing is just a guise for an individual using the funds to 1.) gain access to guys who worked on MOTU & an air of 'legitimacy", and also to have donors provide funds for what is essentially an individual buying very rare original artwork for his personal collection. Don't be fooled.

  2. I am so excited for this to show up in the mail in the coming weeks. As a historian, I just eat this stuff up.

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