attel made a sub-line for Masters of the Universe Classics: The 30th Anniversary Line.
It's 6 Figures! Starting with the never before released Winner of the 80s Contest: The Fearless Photog. After that 4 Spots have been used by The 4 Horsemen, DC Comics' Geoff Johns and the remaining 2 have gone to Mattel's Scott "Toyguru" Neitlich and Terry Higuchi.
1+1+1+2 = 5... what's the 6th spot? Well, that spot belongs to the Winner of the 2011 Character Creation Contest (Available to MOTU Fans on the Continental 48 states... I've mentioned this already and probably had an OF COURSE! reaction from Bison...)
Yes I seem to have done that when I ranted about the Purple Avenger, Time Traveler Extraordinaire, Possible Gary Stu that may out-Mary Sue Bella Swan... The Mighty Spector!
Well, New York Toy Fair was this weekend and we finally saw the Creation that Geoff Johns made!
Sir Laser Lot.
Now here are the other 2 figures (one created by Mattel's Scott "Toyguru" Neitlich):
The Mighty Spector
Draego-Man who was created by the 4 Horsemen
I've already mentioned that Spector has a bit of trouble fitting into the line and how I would have tweaked him to fit better. If I liked Cobra Commander with Pinkie Pie's Tail as a Headdress at all, I would have made a full topic about that. I absotively posilutely HATE this character.
But Geoff Johns made it when he was a kid!
But it's still Geoff "Fricking DC's Chief Creative Officer" Johns!! You mean to tell me that with all of the creative power at his disposal (from both DC and Mattel) this was made!?
Now To be fair, Johns' creation DOES have the Name/Look/Action Feature link that is supposed to be in MOTU. Still his colors give off a Superman meets Cobra Commander vibe.
Now with that out of the way, let me explain why I don't feel that this line celebrates 30 years of MOTU...
First there's the approach to this sub-line. I agree with having Photog and the winner of the new contest being the bookends of the sub-line. The 4 Remaining spots is where I'm a bit of a disagreement with the way Mattel managed it.
Draego-Man looks cool. It has a name/Look/Action feature (theoretical) link that works for MOTU. He even helps balance out a section that was heavily underrepresented... Evil Flyers.
The good guys have Stratos and Buzz-Off... If we add Flipshot that's 3 Flyers... 5 if Flutterina and Sweet Bee join the ranks.
I may not be that fond of the character. (Due to his role in the story.) But he does have that Early MOTU Vibe. With him you can see that a LOT of thought was put into making the character. He fills out an area of the evil warriors that was lacking (flying characters), he's also a Dragon, a HUGE piece of traditional Fantasy that was sorely missing in the line.
Sadly the same thing cannot be said about Spector or Sir Laser Lot.
We already established that his name and Tagline don't mesh with his look or action feature. (Draego-Man's is something about fire, cause he's a Dragon). Sir Laser-Lot looks like there was a bit of thought put into him by being a Laser Knight with a bad pun as a name... (Fisto, Clawful Two-Bad, etc.) Sadly his Color Combination AND his head is what turns people off on this guy... Or makes people think that he ONCCCCCCE WASSSSSS A MAN!
Others see a Medieval Version of the New Superman... (Red cape, Red Boots, Blue body suit...) To make matters worse this design comes from the DC guy that has nothing to do with MOTU...
(I'll touch up on that later. I promise...) So, DC guy brings forth a SuperMan-Esque design...
While there was a Knight in the Line (Extendar) The idea of more than one Knight is not that far-fetched. So, maybe there was some more thought put into him that I thought.
Now the problem with these 2 figures (Spector and Laser-Lot) is that they are pretty much Kid Designs. Now, If these were $4 figures like in the 80s I wouldn't pay much attention to this issue. (Not cause I was a kid in the 80s) but, the MOTU Classics is an "Adult Collectible" line with $22 figures (More like $33 and change if I factor in S&H and taxes to the mix.) and we're expected to welcome these bland, generic looking designs?
The reason I don't Mention Photog here is because of his Historical Significance as being the Original Contest Winner. (He also has a Gimmicky 85-86 MOTU Characters)
Now, we still have one figure left before the Next Contest Winner... I am a bit worried if the trend of "Kid Designs" keeps on. Let's face it not all kids are great character designers.
Aside the Contest "Bookends" I don't feel like this sub-line is celebrating 30 years of MOTU.
If I had been in control I would have gotten in contact with people who worked on the original lines and ask them to contribute a design to honor their contribution to the brand. Apparently Mattel said no cause they wanted to promote current employees. (Also, some of these people wanted to get paid...) If that didn't work out... I have another plan... (Although I recall that 1 or 2 people who worked on the 200X Comic would have donated stuff for the line if possible... But something something Mattel has a grudge against those guys...)
Since the Idea of using people involved in the history of MOTU was axed, how about doing a prototype or concept character from Each Era while Keeping the Contest Winners as bookends?
Sure it would require that some Mattel Employees would have to work overtime on a few Fridays, then again Friday Overtime would mean anything After 1:00 PM (13:00 if you're into the whole 24-hour clock)
Like a Concept Vintage MOTU Character a Concept variant or a Mini Comic Character like the Red Beast, Geldor, or the Horde Armor Skeletor just to name a few.
A Concept PoP Character or a Mini Comic Character that did not get a toy like The Seer, the Bubble Carriage driver or Josh
The Same Thing with a New Adventures Character Like Darius or a Concept that eventually became another character.
And at last but not least the same thing with a 200X Character... (Hint: Illumina)
If that would require TOO MUCH WORK... How about this:
Special Deluxe Versions of certain characters:
Star with the Basic Buck but with more interchangeable parts than the normal figure.
-Swappable boots: for both the Normal Boots and a barefoot look. (It will give him a slightly ugly cut joint on his leg, but it's a small price to pay for the Ultimate He-Man figure)
-A new Belt-less Loincloth (for the Barbarian He-Man Look): The Vintage Belt and 200X Belt could work like Fisto's 200X Belt.
-Swappable hands AND Bracers. The Bracers might be slightly tougher but it's possible. (Vintage He-Man mismatched Bracers, 200X Symmetrical Bracers and Nude Arm "Bracers")
Hands would be:
Sword Aloft Right Hand, Count Marzo Left Hand (With the Normal Right Hand it's perfect for an I HAVE THE POWER!! Pose) Normal left and Right hands, pair of Fist hands
-2 Harnesses (200X and Vintage)
-3 Heads: Vikor's head with He-Man's hair for a more "Barbarian" He-Man, The Normal He-Man head with a new longer hairpiece for that Mark Texeira look from the He-Man Meets Ram Man mini-comic, and last but not least a classicized MYP He-Man head.
-3 swords: One based on the First Mini Comic (He-Man and The Power Sword) by Alfredo Alcala, The Normal Power Sword, The Techno Sword.
-Axe, Shield, and the Barbarian Spear from the first Mini Comic (He-Man and The Power Sword)
Like He-Man start up with the basic buck.
-New bare Loincloth with swappable belts:
MOTUC style Front tassels only, Tassels on front and back (for the early mini comic look and 200X)
-Swappable boots: Normal 3 Toed feet, Boot Feet, 5 toed feet
-Swappable arms: Normal "Evil Arms", "Whiplash Arms" "200X Arms"(Spiky near the elbow but with symmetrical bracers
-3 sets of hands: Normal hands, Spellcasting hands, Wide Grip hands (For the Havoc Staff)
-2 Harnesses (One in classic colors and the other in 200X colors)
-2 Power Swords (Alcala Style and Normal sword)
-200X Twin Swords
-Havoc Staff 200x colors
She would require a New Torso, but her body would be mostly based on the Female 2.0 Buck (With a Skintone as pale as Adora)
Normal Dress Without insignia... Dress might need a hole in the chest to lug the correct insignia.
-Swappable insignia/bustier (Filmation style with the symmetrical "boob wings", Vintage Toy style)
-Swappable Belts: Vintage Toy Style, 200X Style
-Slip-on Armbands for the 200X look)
-Swappable Boots: BP She-Ra, Teela Boots
-Swappable hands: Right Sword Aloft, Left "Catra" hand (For the I am "SHE-RA" pose), Normal hands.
2 Capes: Filmation Cape, New Vintage Cape with frills
-3 Heads: Holey head, Filmation Head, BP She-Ra head
-2 Tiaras: BP She-Ra Tiara, She-Ra 1.0 "Vintage" Tiara
-3Swords: Vintage Toy (NOT BP Sword), Filmation Sword, 200X Sword)
-3 Shields: Vintage Shield Gold (White Gem) Vintage Shield Silver (Blue Gem) Teela's Shield in gold
Well He'd pretty much be Classics Hordak with a swappable Right Arm (For The Filmation Arm Cannon)
Normal Hordak Buck (Minus swappable Right Arm)
-Hurricane Hordak Hood
-2 Capes: One Vintage Based, One 200X Based
-New "200X" Belt
-Alternate Blaster Arm (Hurricane Hordak Arm)
-2 Horde Crossbows (One in Bone White, The other in Gunmetal Black)
-2 Heads: Normal Hordak Head, New Open mouth Angry head (200X)
-2 Torso Armors: Normal torso Armor, BuzzSaw spitting Armor
-HH Spinning Attachments
I'm not going with six characters because these super deluxe guys are super deluxe.
Now if the ONLY Alternative was choosing what Mattel did... I'm sure as Hell I would NOT Have given a spot to Geoff Johns... I would have given it to someone who HAD/HAS Something to do with MOTU... Or 2 Spots Mattel, 2 Spots the 4 Horsemen... No need to look for the Green Lantern... Oh... I see... This might be Payback for the Nite-Lik Red Lantern...
Now after that long winded detour, let me return to reality here. As I was saying, the "Kid Designs" don't sit well with Adult collectors since these toys are more expensive and the line is mostly "Nostalgia driven". Now, with that said I kinda wish that Scott and Geoff had done "More Research" and had put "more thought than Hey this is cool!" into their character submissions.
If I had a spot for this, TRUST me that I would have done some research into the universe BEFORE grabbing a pencil and a piece of paper...
To express better what I mean I'm going to reference this picture of a concept character designed by Emiliano Santalucia... Might Bite:
Now, I don't know what process Mr. Santalucia used to create this character. IF (and that's a big IF) I get a chance to speak with him, I might ask him.
Could He work as a MOTU Character? YES He Can!
Let's look at the Horde for a Moment:
Hordak = Nosferatu (with a bit of a Tiki Mask vibe)
Leech = a Giant Leech/Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Grizzlor = Grizzly/Werewolf
Mantenna = Mantis/Giant insect Monster
Dragstor = Drag Racer/ Possible Reference to Christine the 1983 book and movie? (I may be stretching it here...)
Mosquitor = Giant Mosquito
So as you can see the Horde seems to have a Horror/Predator/Bloody vibe to their characters.
So a Humanoid Great White Shark has 2 out of 3.
It also helps the Horde with an Aquatic Character.
If he were to be Classicized He'd reuse a couple of parts:
Normal Buck (New Torso to add the Shark Tail)
Hordak boots with Evil Warrior feet.
Normal Legs, Preternia Loincloth,
Hordak Flat ab piece.
Right Arm would be the Evil Arm with Mer-Man's hand.
Left Bicep would be the Hiss Bicep, while the Left Arm would be new, yet Similar to Trap Jaw/Roboto, etc. (If done correctly it could be reused as part of 200X Trap Jaw's Mecharm)
Head, Armor and Tailpiece would be new.
So let's see:
New Torso for his new Tail Piece (2-3 pieces) New Left Arm (5) New Armor (6) New Head (7)
Now what would have I done IF I Had a spot. The easiest Factions to think up a character for are: Horde and Snakemen... That is because they have a pretty obvious theme going on. Unlike the Heroic or Evil warriors that almost anything goes. The hard part is making sure that the other side has some sort of counterpart to your character.
Snakemen are pretty much Snakes, so it's kinda easy... A Snakewoman... Based on the Black Mamba. So what do we know about black Mambas?
Fast, quick deadly, Black mouth. Why a Snake Woman? We don't have one. Also a lithe frame like the Female Body makes sense for the quickest snake, that is highly venomous. And their colors range from dull yellow-greenish tones to Gunmetal black. That gives us an idea on palette. and possible weapons.
While in Optimum Conditions I'd use a brand new buck with scales (That could be reused on Snake Teela) I'm sticking with the Create a Character Contest rules about reusing as much as possible... So her scales might need to be created by paint application.
Here we go: Female Buck 2.0 is the base for Mamber: Swift Striking Snakewoman Corny Portmanteau of Mamba and Amber... So I got that name, tagline/Look connection. If she had an 80s action feature it would have been like terror claw's Skeletor, linking name, tagline to look and action feature.
OK Back to the topic. Fembuck 2.0, Teela Shoulders/Biceps, BGEL arms and normal Teela hands.
1.0 Legs for articulation. Catra Boots with Teela feet (No high heels for Mamber...)
Her Dress would be new, so would be her head and weapons.
Her body is gray with a light underbelly like the snake and her clothes have the dull yellows, greens and gray colors of the Black Mamba. And yes, her dress has a not so subtle nod to Kobra Khan. (Cause Mambas and Cobras are on the same family)
While the Katara (Her weapons) are originally from India, the style to use them requires great agility.
Point that I'm trying to make is that in order for me to "create" Mamber I had to look at the Snakemen, what their ranks consist of, what were they lacking and try to fill the hole in the team with my concept. Same thing if I were to make a Hordesman:
Look at the characters if they have some sort of theme (We already established that Horror seems to be the main theme of the Horde) So, looking at horror movies, I see that we lack a Slasher type of character. So, let's think of the big 4: Freddy, Jason, Meyers, Leatherface.
OK, Leatherface is TOO dark visually for MOTU with the mask made of victims so, he's out.
Mike Myers and Jason are too similar, but Jason has a more impressive main weapon the Machete (which Grizzlor already has one). Now both Meyers and Jason have something in common (also Leatherface to an extent) they hide their faces behind a mask. So, that means that our character should have a certain degree of Facelessness. Now, all we have left is Freddy. So, what could we borrow from him? The claw... Instead of being an obvious Freddy rip-off, let's have one Arm that can swap attachments like Trap Jaw or Roboto. There we add a "claw" as a nod to Freddy, a small knife as a nod to Chuckie, he has the Grizzlor Machete as a nod to Jason.
Most of his palette should be dark... Probably using Maroon as one of the colors (nod to the blood without being too explicit) with a lighter colored area on the head (Mask or something that hides the disfigured Monster within). While a Cool idea, it might be TOO DARK for MOTU.
It would need some tweaking to make it fit. If that doesn't work, then I'll have to discard it.
The Rebels are a bit harder. They seem almost Fairy Tale like, but at the same time they are pretty rounded as a Team and have the unwritten limitation that Rebels must be beautiful.
The Horsemen's character was well thought out and it shows. Sadly the other Reveals show that they weren't THAT well thought out. I guess it's a good thing that it's only 6 characters on this sub-line... but at the same time these guys could show up in the next MOTU cartoon...