Sep 15, 2014

Rio Rant: the Blast

I am waiting for My Rio Blast to arrive, so let's talk some Rio.

So, Rio Blast, not to be confused with Rio Pacheco, is MOTU's resident Cowboy. According to Vintage Lore, RIO IS NOT FROM ETERNIA... I REPEAT: RIO IS NOT FROM ETERNIA. That fits with the whole "Cowboys don't fit in MOTU because Eternia is a more barbaric society,"

Rio being an alien, helps give the character some, well character, aside being "The Cowboy". Like the Cowboy cliché, he may be at home on the range, but at the same time Eternia is NOT home. That is a great angle to explore for him (and the fact that He-Man is such a huge jerk that goes to fight in other planets instead of helping Rio return home). the UK Comics (I think) had Rio partner up with Snout Spout and something about him being afraid of snakes.

His being a Cowboy can make him a bit of an odd fit to MOTU, but at the same time, he is SO MOTU... He's got guns EVERYWHERE... He walks through life as if he was playing Contra with the Spread Shot at all times.

We have guys defined by their action features (Mekaneck, Extendar) so, a walking Arsenal makes sense in MOTU. I understand he is not for everyone, especially when MOTU itself is very rooted on Sword and Sorcery. The thing is Why people accept Trap Jaw, Man-e-Faces or Roboto, when they have problems accepting Rio Blast?

It has to do with Rio Blast being "the American Cowboy" I'll not go into the whole Cowboy ripping off the "Latin American Vaquero" (Guess where the Term Buckaroo comes from). Like I said, MOTU is well rooted in Sword and Sorcery... Like Dungeons and Dragons, to name a popular Fantasy game. Ninjor, barely gets a pass since the Ninja is the ancient Oriental Assassin. The Cowboy is a more Recent thing, so it is very removed from the sword and sorcery theme. This is another reason why the Disqualified Create a Character entry: Gangstor doesn't fit MOTU... but I digress. When we have KNIGHTS, Barbarians, Ninja, Samurai, a Cowboy does look a bit out of place... Luckily we have Elephant headed Firefighters. A Frogman, a Furry Potato Bear-like creature, a Skunk man and a Witch Doctor Mask/Vampire thing... Classics makes it easier with a Blue Roid Rage Stan Lee, a Purple Chrono gimp, and Cobra Commander cosplaying as a knight.

Rio's main issue is that he is a later wave figure. Those were either cheaply made figures (Black guy with Fisto Armor and a new Weapon as gimmick) or defined by his gimmick (Drag Racing thanks to wheel on stomach.) He also lacked Filmation support. (While a character with the same gimmick appeared on SHE-RA, that guy was a Hordesman, not a hero.) As of the writing of this article, he is still available on Mattycollector. He seems like a cool addition, BECAUSE of how Odd he is. He seems to stand out compared to say, Extendar. His MOTUC version also looks like Sam Elliot... Kinda wished he looked like the spawn of Charles Bronson and Chuck Norris (like the 80s toy)

Long Story short, if Rio had gotten some televised media appearances or had been among the earlier waves, perhaps he would have gotten a bit more love.


  1. Wait, Rio fits but Gangstor doesn't? They're arch rivals...that's like saying "Batman fits the mentally unstable nature of Gotham City, but this Joker guy, yeah he's gotta go." But to each their own...and yeah I wish Rio's head had the original look as well. Still not happy about that decision. >:-C

    1. Nope, Gangstor is ill suited for MOTU. (Though I'd think he fits a lot better in Silverhawks.) Why I don't feel he fits? Well, Like I vaguely stated above, Rio is a bit hard to fit in due to him being a Cowboy. The SLIGHT Advantage that Rio has over Gangstor is that the "Wild West" is so romanticized that it has become an almost mythical era due to it being a bit more distanced from the current era than say WWII (Which is why I LOATHE Tank Top) or the Great Depression and the whole "Cowboys/Indians" thing.

      The Great Depression Mafioso look that Gangstor has is a bit too close to our era and that makes it a bit harder to make it fit with a Samurai, a Steampunk Robot, a Tiki Mask/Nosferatu dude, and a loincloth-clad barbarian.

      I think the design is cool, but not for well suited for a MOTU Character... Holy crap! I just realized. you're the Creator of Gangstor!

    2. That's why Im defending him! *LOL*
      so now its time for my own rant...(in 2 parts):Part1

      I think one of the biggest problems with the MOTU fanbase is that theyre either ignorant of what MOTU really is, or purposefully dont see that it is NOT hard fantasy.
      That may be the baseline underscoring most of it, but its more than that, & was always meant to be as evidenced by the 'Roger Sweet Trio' you cited (Vykron).
      MOTU takes place in a world where ANYTHING can happen.
      I mean, you mentioned "steampunk robot" (an amalgamated conundrum in & of itself), but Roboto still looks extremely hightech despite having gears inside him.
      Moreso in 200X version!

      So if thats ok, along with things like a supercomputer & Jetpak armor inside Castle Grayskull, or Man-at-arms with a wrist mounted laser blaster building vehicles that utilize tank treads, then you have to re-examine A LOT of whats going on in the world of MOTU, & you have to accept that its not fantasy in the strict sense.

      But instead I see fans treat the property like its Tolkien or D&D when that is simply NOT the case.
      Sorry, its not textbook sword&sorcery fantasy. But thats a GOOD thing! Its what makes MOTU special & not a Tolkien knockoff.
      Ultimately MOTU is like a gumbo...a jambalaya of various ideas. Ideas that really aren't supposed to go together but within the vast scope of this property actually can.

      This is why I feel MOTU is the quintessential 80's property....

      Think about it like this:
      you like robots?=there's Transformers & GoBots for you.
      You like ninjas or mutants=theres TMNT & some Marvel properties.
      You like military stuff, like guns & tanks?=there's GI Joe.
      Space?=StarWars, StarTrek...
      Fantasy?=Conan, Blackstar, D&D, etc...
      But if you like ***ALL*** of that stuff & more?= That's what MOTU's for!

      Eternia is like your toy box, where all your toys from various lines all hang out together. The Comet Warriors are the Go-Bots' RockLords, the POP characters emigrated from your sister's doll house...Gwildor is one of those goodluck Troll Dolls, etc, etc....And all these characters fight each other. Its like a violent version of Toy Story.
      THAT'S Motu.

      Its like those random matchups you'd see on the vintage cardback artwork, where like, Fisto's fighting Clawful for no reason --Thats what I mean-- Where else would you see a knight fighting a ninja? Or an elephant fireman fighting a human race car?... THAT'S Motu.

      And that sort of free-form "controlled absurdity" is the real beauty & strength of the property. ...

    3. ...PART2:

      Now, as for the 'modern' aspect to Gangstor... I feel there's an equal romanticism with the gangland era, as with the old west.
      To us it only seems so recent because we were born in the previous century. But the Gangland era actually started in the teens...Making it A HUNDRED YEARS AGO. ....That's a long time.

      And its history repeating itself when you think about it because Rio was released in the 1980's, a hundred years after the old west period was in full swing (1880's).

      And one thing Id like to point out, that a lot of fans aren't seeing, is there's one fan demanded variant of a classic beloved character on Eternia who is way more modern than Gangstor....and that's Crash Scene Captain Glenn!

      Not only is she an astronaut, but her design (white suit with the bubble dome helmet & flag patch on her arm) just SCREAMS "Late-1960's Space Race"...Even her story is reminiscent of the Gil Gerard BuckRogers reboot from the late 70's. This is *waaaay* more modern than Gangstor could ever be as that show was in reruns while Filmation He-Man was new on the air! :-O

      Now, as for your reasoning with Rio, claiming it was ok if he doesn't fit Eternian decor as he's an offworlder, right?... Well, same goes for Gangstor! He is NOT native to Eternia as I explained in his bio.

      As for you feeling he is a better fit for Silverhawks, well guess what?...
      Not only was that *INTENTIONAL* on my part when designing him, but it too was mentioned in the bio! (...along with references to other properties as well, like Bravestarr for example).

      And the thing to keep in mind is that the character's very existence was meant to give context to Rio (my favorite MOTU figure).
      But that was his ultimate purpose...
      So you wonder why He-Man doesn't help Rio return home? Gangstor! That's why...
      And again, its all in the bio.

      But I realize there's no way for you to have known any of this, so its forgivable. Just know there's a lot more to him than whats on the surface. There was deliberate significance to him and I hope more fans come to realize it.