Thanks for all the views in my absence! The SpartanNerd has been really busy with his real job. But now, back to blogging.
Masters of the Universe “mini comics” were truly my introduction to comic books. I had no Spider-man, Superman, or Batman comics as a small child. The only comics I specifically remember were those packed with Masters of the Universe figures. Me and my brothers would read these, and they would get stepped on, crumpled, left in the car. Pages torn out. Staples let loose. Crayon marks. Holes. All kinds of abuse. I cringe to think about it now, but I don’t think I would have had it any other way. As a teacher, I know that these experiences led me to a whole-language approach to reading, and it helped my brothers as well, who weren’t as good at reading as me.
The other thing about the mini comics…they told inconsistent stories. I didn’t understand that there were different artists, writers, and publishers with different ideas. The public at large didn’t know all of the details that have been unearthed in recent years about the workings behind the scenes. So when Skeletor says he and his people are from another dimension…that didn’t make sense with my largely Filmation understanding of the story. This didn’t turn me off of the mini comics. But it made me wonder “why?”
The story behind me getting He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection is sort of a frustrating one…I actually ordered it at The Tangled Web in Spartanburg SC back in November, before it came out. This was supposed to be my anniversary present…It wasn’t a pre-order, so I didn’t pay up front.
But somehow, it didn’t arrive. And so they re-submitted the order for me, at least three times. I heard rumors online that the production run was shorter than expected…that demand couldn’t be met easily. I was tempted to order from Amazon, go to Barnes and Noble maybe. But I am loyal if nothing else, and in time I accepted that rumor as truth, and that the mini comic collection would be another rare thing I wouldn’t have a hold of. I would pick it up eventually…(maybe.)
Apparently, sometime in the last month (While I have been away from the blog) the owner of The Tangled Web came across, and ordered the upcoming art-book thing that is all about the Filiation cartoon…He was telling me about it, and knew I would definitely want a copy. (I DO!) And so I asked him to look again about the mini comic collection. A quick look on his computer and he said. “We’ll have it in a week!” He was right this time. You have to love small business!
Does the mini comic collection deliver up to my expectations? Keep reading!
Here is the front cover…still sealed with cellophane! The Tangled Web sold this to me for a slight discount, considering my situation. I am quite appreciative! Long live small business! Love that store, and any of my readers who ever come through Spartanburg should come by and purchase something. (Would Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Wal-Mart have cared ? Of course not.)
The cover makes it clear what you are getting. It is probably wrong to put She-Ra mini comics (storybooks?) in this and just call it He-man and the Masters of the Universe. But they did. I suppose by now, though most She-Ravers consign themselves to this.
Here’s the back, featuring an image from “The Terror Claws Strike!”
And the spine…showing that this is a Dark Horse product, as well as offering you a glimpse at how very thick this book is! It is in fact 1232 pages long!
A little comparison for you. On the left is the Minicomic collection (now unwrapped.) And on the right is my only extant mini comic. “King of the Snake Men.” A gift from my wife…the italian version no less! But anyway. Look at the size difference!
I found a page from “King of the Snake Men” in the collection, so you can further see the incredible difference “blowing this up” makes! Good thing too. The SpartanNerd’s vision fails him in his old age.
For a book that is thicker than many Bibles, Harry Potter books, and encyclopedia’s…its a good thing they included this ribbon-bookmark! And it is a very handy addition as well. (I am reading the collection straight through. I use this to mark where I left off.)
Now for the contents.
As you read, you get little footnotes. See the bottom here. This information helps you see the mini comics as pieces of Masters of the Universe history. And they appear to be in chronological order, starting with the first “storybooks” given out…drawn by Alfredo Alcala. These show “miniternia.” The first story depicted in media about He-Man. And this story is vastly different from Filmation and later stories. He-Man is a barbarian hero in a post-apocalyptic situation, where technology and magic are lorded over the populace by experts such as Man-At-Arms, The Goddess (Sorceress), and Skeletor.
The book takes some time to share interviews with the artists and writers. Here is a pic of the interview with one of the earliest writers, Gary Cohn.
I haven’t read past “mini-eternia” yet. (Just got to Filmation era.) But I will go ahead and show you what else this book consists of. Here is some of the She-Ra stuff. They seem to have included it all!
Tons of pink and pastels. Not sure what the image below depicts. But there are several pages of this book which I assume is some part of She-Ra lore preserved here. AND, in a similar vein, the “read with me” story with a record about the Talon Fighter is in here too. I remember owning that and reading it as a kid, and being terrified. (A terrified as you can be of a comic book. Hey…I was like six years old…or younger!)
Here is what I considered the sad story from the first New Adventures of He-Man mini comic. Prince Adam is No More! It depicts He-Man transforming in the presence of Skeletor, knocking him down and frying his skull. (Which necessitates the “cyborg” version found throughout that particular incarnation of the story.) All of the New Adventures stories are chronicled here.
The comics by Val Staples and Emiliana Selucia from the 200x series are here. These were the pack-in comics, not the monthly comics. But the art is very much the same. (The second Pack-In was drawn by Enza Fortana)
The rarest of the mini-comics is here. “The Power of the Evil Horde”
And the Masters of the Universe Classics mini comics are here. I haven’t been fortunate enough to own or read any of these. I was very happy to get to see the maps in the Masters of the Universe Art Book. And since I am reading straight through, I am avoiding the temptation to go ahead and read these. (My readers should know…I am also re-reading the recent DC comics again.) I don’t want too much fantasy bouncing around in my head!
And here is what is on the last pages of the book. Not sure what this is about. A book that didn’t make it to print?
Reading what I have read so far has been extremely satisfying. The larger pages lets me have a deeper appreciation for the art. I have no trouble reading the script, either. The colors seem to be “restored.” I love the chronological nature of the collection as well, unfolding a history of the brand. What a great way to pay homage to something so fundamental to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
I have read some of the mini comics online over the years. (Is that piracy?) I don’t buy many digital comics…I do use ComiXology and its associated apps, but what I read on that is usually Spawn or Conan the Barbarian books…things I don’t want laying around for my children to read. But there is nothing like having the physical book in your hand.
If I had a choice, own a copy of every single mini comic, OR own this collected edition. I would go for the collection. Simply because of the large size. And they are all collected in one volume, so that is convenient!
If I could rate anything higher than 5/5, then the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection would be a 6/5. It is perfect! I love the large pages, the chronological order, the interviews…all of it is spectacular!