Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Interviews:

Features:

Reviews:

Catalogs, Books, Comics and Magazines:

Commercials:

Other Articles:

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Evil Warriors

Laser-Light Skeletor – Evil Master of Light Energy (1988)

Laser-Light Skeletor, released exclusively in Italy and Spain a year after the end of the Masters of the Universe toyline in the US, was a figure most North American fans were not aware of until they discovered it online years later. That was certainly true for me. Because the figure was produced in limited numbers overseas, it’s one of the most expensive vintage He-Man toys to acquire today.

I’m not someone who owns a lot of high-dollar items, but if I was going to own one, this would be it. I can’t fully explain why that is – my tastes tend to gravitate toward the aesthetics of the earlier MOTU figures. But there is something about Laser-Light Skeletor in all his creepy, funky techno-glory that really draws me in.

The earliest known concept art for the figure comes from Dave Wolfram, who also did a lot of work on the New Adventures of He-Man toyline. (That line is actually just called “He-Man”, but it’s common to refer to it as “New Adventures”, after the accompanying 1990 animated series)

In this artwork, dated June 22, 1987, Wolfram incorporates all kinds of wires and mechanisms into “Bio-Mechazoid Skeletor.” The design is quite similar to the final Laser-Light Skeletor, except he lacks his cape, glowing right hand, and glowing staff. He carries a strange claw weapon that might have been intended to work like a pair of pliers.

Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog

Wolfram created another piece of concept art that appears to reflect the final design, including the staff, right hand, cape and battery pack:

Image Source: The Art of He-Man

Wolfram’s style is pretty distinctive, reflecting a kind of brutal futurist design that would come to dominate the New Adventures of He-Man toyline’s look, especially in the villain faction. Laser-Light Skeletor technically belongs in the original Masters of the Universe toyline, but he is clearly a giant step in the direction of the New Adventures.

An early, rough prototype of the figure appears in a 1988 French Catalog. It looks like a quickly thrown together proof of concept type figure, built from a standard Skeletor toy, but with gloves, trunks and boots painted brown/copper. He also has some crude armor laid over his chest, as well as a cloth cape and hood ever his sculpted hood. The light feature has been incorporated into his eyes (quite effectively) and hand. His staff is built from the original release staff, but without the ram’s head and in translucent red.

Image source: Bustatoons/He-Man.org

A close to final version of the figure appears in the Italian advertisement below. This prototype has a yellow belt buckle, a “Y” shape in red on his forehead, and a translucent red casting of the original Skeletor havoc staff, with the disk designs removed. This prototype uses all newly sculpted pieces, other than the staff.

The cross sell artwork for the figure seems to be based on a further refined design for the figure, which is almost like the final toy, but still features a not-quite final staff and finer paint work on the right boot:

The final figure lost the “Y” on the forehead and the colored belt buckle, and has further modifications to the staff design. The figure has quite an extreme “squat” pose, reminiscent of some of the knock-off He-Man figures produced earlier in the 1980s. He has a creepy, stylized, almost alien-looking skull face (loose figure images below via eBay):

Unlike every previous version of Skeletor before him, Laser-Light Skeletor had a removable hood. This variant had some extensive wiring around the back of his head – a feature he shares with the New Adventures Skeletor:

Image source: Jimmy_Ikon/He-Man.org
Image source: Jimmy_Ikon/He-Man.org
Image source: Jimmy_Ikon/He-Man.org

Skeletor’s LED eyes and right hand could be activated by raising the figure’s right arm. The light from his hand was meant to also illuminate his translucent staff, although the effect diminished quickly the further it got away from the the light source

Spanish version, with shorter cape in a deeper purple than the Italian release.

The figure was produced in Spain and Italy. Spanish versions typically came with a minicomic-sized catalog, and the Italian versions came without the catalog. I’ve heard of the figure coming packaged with a copy of the Powers of Grayskull minicomic, but I haven’t seen an example.

Spanish release with catalog.
Italian card front. Image source: He-Man.org
Italian cardback. Image source: He-Man.org

 

Laser-Light Skeletor artwork from the front of the card (by Bruce Timm). Like the cross sell artwork, this features a havoc staff that is close to the original 1982 design, minus the ball end and the disks near the top. Image source: Jukka Issakainen (scanned and cleaned up)

Some figures came with belts painted gold on the front, and red on the back:

Image source: Wespenmann/He-Man.org

The catalog that came packed with the figure featured both of the light-up variants.

Image source: He-Man.org
Image source: He-Man.org

A nice poster featuring a photo the figure was included in the Yugoslav edition of the Masters of the Universe Star Comics:

Photo by Ljubomir Patrnogić, scanned by Bane Masters and shared by Dušan M.

Because Laser-Light Skeletor came at the very tail end of the line, he was never featured in any vintage minicomics or other stories, sadly. I suppose we can imagine that his tale might have been very similar to Skeletor as depicted in the New Adventures series of minicomics:

Update: Aidan in the comments below provides some fascinating background information (by way of Emiliano Santalucia) about the true intent behind the creation of Laser Light Skeletor and Laser Power He-Man. I’m quoting his comments verbatim here:

A little-known fact about Laser Light Skeletor and Laser Power He-Man is that they were designed to be the lead figures for a brand new interactive toy line that would be accompanied by a live action TV series. The intention was that the figures and weapons would be able to interact with the episodes of the TV show. It’s unclear as yet how far into production the live action series got, but props and sets were designed for it and from the limited information available it appears it was going to be space-based and very sci-fi, with He-Man and Skeletor battling for possession of some sort of glowing crystals that were the source of the laser power of their weapons. Vehicles and playsets were designed for the toy line, but for reasons unknown, the plans for this line were scrapped around 1988. As the Laser figures had been made, they were given a limited release in Europe as part of the regular MOTU line, similar to what had been done with the giants and dinosaurs from the unreleased Powers of Grayskull line. Later, Mattel used the space-based idea for the ‘He-Man’ line better known as the New Adventures, while the idea for an interactive toy line accompanied by a live action show was used for Mattel’s line Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future.

I hope more information about the interactive toy line and the live action series comes to light as it’s one of the most intriguing chapters in MOTU’s history particularly as so little is known about it. There’s even been rumors that the pilot episode was actually made but never screened, though these rumors are unsubstantiated.

History

Copyrights in MOTU (Part Two: 1982)

licence kit kid

In previous posts I’ve covered trademarks and patents in Masters of the universe, and organized the material into a cohesive Masters of the Universe Timeline. In this post I’m going to be covering Mattel’s He-Man-related copyrights, sourced from the US Copyright Office, for 1982. Eventually I’ll fold these dates into the MOTU Timeline article as well.

Some of the copyright entries have some interesting details and comments, so I’ll include most of the original text (errors and all), eliminating some redundancies and the registration numbers.  Each entry has multiple dates, but I’ll sort according to “Date of Publication”. I’ll do a separate post for each publication year.

Sometimes, however, date of publication actually refers to a piece of material that a new claim was based on. So a new set of stickers could be made in 1984, but based on material published in 1982. Typically you’ll see that where the registration date is much later than the publication date. Some discernment is needed to interpret this information.

Please note that I have not been able to locate images for all the materials described, and some of the images I have located could be misplaced. Any assistance from perceptive readers is always appreciated.

1982

January

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1983-11-28
Title: Masters of the Universe fast male action for licensees.
Notes: Cataloged from appl. Only. Based on Mattel’s Masters of the Universe He-Man figure toy and other Masters of the Universe figure toys.
Date of Creation: 1981
Date of Publication: 1982-01-26
Basis of Claim: New Matter: “two dimensional rendition of a three dimensional figure toy, artwork, text, and photos.”
Copyright Note: C.O. correspondence.

February

Type of Work: Serial
Title: Mattel toys . : [catalog].
Serial Publication Year: 1982
Imprint: Hawthorne, CA : Mattel Toys.
Description: print material.
Frequency: Annually.
Description based on: 1982 issue.
Authorship on Application: Mattel, Inc., employer for hire.
Issues Registered: 1982. Issue title: Success for all seasons. Created 1982;
Pub. 1982-02-10; Reg. 1982-04-06; 1982.

Type of Work: Serial
Title: Mattel toys . : [catalog].
Serial Publication Year: 1982
Imprint: Hawthorne, CA : Mattel Toys.
Description: print material.
Frequency: Annually.
Description based on: 1982 issue.
Authorship on Application: Mattel, Inc., employer for hire.
Issues Registered: 1982. Issue title: Success for all seasons. Created 1982;
Pub. 1982-02-10; Reg. 1982-04-06; 1982.
Issue title: Mattel success for all seasons : repro art book. Created 1982; Pub. 1982-04-20; Reg. 1982-11-18;
Other Title: Mattel success for all seasons
Makin’ it with Mattel
Mattel dimension ’78.
Mattel ’79.
Mattel movin’ ahead 1980.
Mattel makes it happen.
Success for all seasons.
1982 repro cover

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1983-12-02
Title: Puffy stickers, Masters of the Universe : [no.] 82-289(1)
Notes: Cataloged from appl. only.
Date of Creation: 1982
Date of Publication: 1982-02-10
Previous Registration: Appl. identifies Masters of the Universe Fast male action
for licensees art book as preexisting material.
Basis of Claim: New Matter: “new artwork, addition of color.”
Copyright Note: C.O. correspondence.
Other Title: Masters of the Universe Fast male action for licensees art
book Fast male action for licensees art book

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration  Date: 1984-06-04
Title: Puffy stickers–Masters of the Universe : no. 82-289 (2)
Notes: Cataloged from appl. only.
Date of Creation: 1982
Date of Publication: 1982-02-10
Previous Registration: Prev. reg. as Masters of the Universe fast male action for
licensees art book, 28Nov83, VA 151-306.
Basis of Claim: New Matter: “new artwork.”
Copyright Note: C.O. correspondence.
Other Title: Masters of the Universe fast male action for licensees art
book

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1984-06-04
Title: Masters of the Universe.
Series: Puffy stickers ; 82-289
Notes: Cataloged from appl. only.
Date of Creation: 1982
Date of Publication: 1982-02-10
Previous Registration: Appl. states derived from Masters of the Universe fast male action for licenees [i.e. licensees] art book, prev. reg. 28Nov83, VA 151-306.
Basis of Claim: New Matter: “new artwork.”
Copyright Note: C.O. correspondence.
Other Title: Puffy stickers ; 82-289 Masters of the Universe fast male action for licenees [i.e. licensees]

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1983-12-02
Title: Masters of the Universe : puffy stickers : no. 289.
Description: 5 works.
Date of Creation: 1982
Date of Publication: 1982-02-10
Previous Registration: Appl. states derived from Masters of the Universe fast male
action.
Basis of Claim: New Matter: new artwork.
Copyright Note: C.O. correspondence.
Other Title: Masters of the Universe fast male action.

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1983-12-05
Title: Super puffy stickers–Masters of the Universe.
Notes: Cataloged from appl. only.
Date of Creation: 1982
Date of Publication: 1982-02-10
Previous Registration: Appl. identifies Masters of the Universe fast male action
as preexisting material.
Basis of Claim: New Matter: “new color versions with new and additional
drawing material.”
Copyright Note: C.O. correspondence.

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1983-02-22
Title: Battle cat : [no.] 81-5048.
Description: Figurine.
Date of Creation: 1981
Date of Publication: 1982-02-20
Date in Notice: notice: 1981
Previous Registration: Tiger figure toy sculpture prev. reg. 1983, VA 118-557.
Basis of Claim: New Matter: addition of new sculptural material.
Other Title: Tiger figure toy

 

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1984-12-11
Application Title: He-Man and Castle Grayskull heat design 82; Heat design number 3350.
Title: He-Man.
Description: Iron-on transfer.
Series: Masters of the Universe ; 3350
Notes: Based on He-man figure toy & Castle Grayskull toy castle.
Date of Creation: 1982
Date of Publication: 1982-08-23
Authorship on Application: artwork on heat transfer material: Factors Et Cetera, Inc., employer for hire.
Previous Registration: Figure toy prev. reg. 1982, VA 111-545 & toy castle prev. reg. 1982, VA 111-541.
Basis of Claim: New Matter: “new version in two dimensional form.”
Other Title: Masters of the Universe ; 3350 Castle Grayskull He-Man and Castle Grayskull heat design 82 Heat design number 3350.

 

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1984-12-11
Application Title: Skeletor heat design number 3351 82; Heat design number
3351.
Title: Skeletor.
Description: Iron-on transfer.
Series: Masters of the Universe ; no. 3351
Date of Creation: 1982
Date of Publication: 1982-08-23
Authorship on Application: artwork on heat transfer material: Factors Et Cetera, Inc.,
employer for hire.
Previous Registration:
Prev. reg. as figure toy 14Nov82, VA 111-542.
Basis of Claim: New Matter: “new version in two dimensional form.”
Other Title: Masters of the Universe ; no. 3351
Skeletor heat design number 3351 82
Heat design number 3351.
Names: Mattel, Inc.
Factors Et Cetera, Inc.

 

 

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1983-01-04
Title: Masters of the Universe : [no.] 2827.
Description: Col. prints ; 1 v.
Series: Sticker Fun
Date of Creation: 1982
Date of Publication: 1982-10-04
Other Title: Sticker Fun

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1983-02-17
Title: He-Man meets Ram Man.
Series: 82-comics
Notes: Cataloged from appl. only.
Date of Creation: 1982
Date of Publication: 1982-10-15

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1983-05-16
Application Title: The Magic stealer mini-comic book, 82-comics.
Title: The Magic stealer.
Description: 1 v.
Series: Masters of the universe
Date of Creation: 1982
Date of Publication: 1982-10-15

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1985-12-02
Title: The Menace of Trap Jaw : mini-comics : 82-comics.
Notes: Cataloged from appl. only.
Date of Creation: 1982
Date of Publication: 1982-10-15

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1983-02-17
Title: The Ordeal of Man-E-Faces.
Series: 82-comics
Notes: Cataloged from appl. only.
Date of Creation: 1982
Date of Publication: 1982-10-15
Names: Mattel, Inc.

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1985-12-02
Title: The Power of Point Dread : 82-comics.
Notes: Cataloged from appl. only.
Date of Creation: 1982
Date of Publication: 1982-10-15

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1985-12-02
Title: The Terror of Tri-Klops : 82-comics.
Notes: Cataloged from appl. only.
Copyright Claimant:
Mattel, Inc.
Date of Creation: 1982
Date of Publication: 1982-10-15
Names: Mattel, Inc.

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1983-04-01
Title: Masters of the Universe : Pop-Up game : for 2 to 4 players, ages 6 to 12.
Description: Kit.
Notes: Includes instruction folder, gameboard, pieces & spinner in box.
Date of Creation: 1982
Date of Publication: 1982-12-03
Authorship on Application: text & artwork: Mattel, Inc., employer for hire.

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1983-01-04
Title: Masters of the Universe : 10 posters to paint or color : [no.] 2110.
Notes: Cataloged from appl. only.
Date of Creation: 1982
Date of Publication: 1982-12-06
Variant title: Masters of the Universe : 10 posters to paint or color

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1983-01-04
Title: Masters of the universe : no. 2803, a coloring book.
Notes: Cataloged from appl. only.
Date of Creation: 1982
Date of Publication: 1982-12-06

Type of Work: Music
Registration Date: 1983-03-15
Title: Attack track / by Mattel, Inc.
Description: 1 p.
Notes: Music.
Copyright Claimant: Ogilvy & Mather, Inc. & Mattel, Inc.
Date of Creation: 1982
Authorship on Application: Mattel, Inc., employer for hire.
Names: Ogilvy & Mather, Inc.  Mattel, Inc.

Type of Work: Music
Registration Date: 1983-03-15
Title: Faker / by Mattel, Inc.
Description: 2 p.
Notes: Music.
Copyright Claimant: Ogilvy & Mather, Inc. & Mattel, Inc.
Date of Creation: 1982
Authorship on Application: Mattel, Inc., employer for hire.
Names: Ogilvy & Mather, Inc. Mattel, Inc.

Type of Work: Music
Registration Date: 1983-03-15
Title: He man / Mattel, Inc.
Description: 1 p.
Notes: Music.
Copyright Claimant: Ogilvy & Mather, Inc. & Mattel, Inc.
Date of Creation: 1982
Authorship on Application: Mattel, Inc., employer for hire.
Copyright Note: C.O. correspondence.
Names: Ogilvy & Mather, Inc. Mattel, Inc.

Type of Work: Music
Registration Date: 1983-03-15
Title: Ram man / by Mattel, Inc.
Description: 1 p.
Notes: Music.
Copyright Claimant: Ogilvy & Mather, Inc. & Mattel, Inc.
Date of Creation: 1982
Authorship on Application: Mattel, Inc., employer for hire.
Names: Ogilvy & Mather, Inc. Mattel, Inc.

 

Further reading:

History

Copyrights in MOTU (Part One: 1981)

Image source: MOTUC Figures

In previous posts I’ve covered trademarks and patents in Masters of the universe, and organized the material into a cohesive Masters of the Universe Timeline. In this post I’m going to be covering Mattel’s He-Man-related copyrights, sourced from the US Copyright Office, for 1981. Eventually I’ll fold these dates into the MOTU Timeline article as well.

Some of the copyright entries have some interesting details and comments, so I’ll include most of the original text (errors and all), eliminating some redundancies and the registration numbers.  Each entry has multiple dates, but I’ll sort according to “Date of Publication”. I’ll do a separate post for each publication year.

A few notes – the “Date of Publication” for the early toys listed universally as February 15, 1981. The figures were not actually sold that early, or even really close to their final designs. The He-Man project was well underway, however. They may have sometimes just chosen a safe, early date for some of these. I believe that entries that have more unique publication dates are more likely to reflect an actual production or release date. The minicomics in this post all have a publication date of November 28, 1981, which at least sounds plausible as a “printed on” date.

Note also that while the male figures are generally called “figurines”, Teela is referred to as a “doll”, apparently based only the fact that she’s a female figure. In reality, Teela is every bit as much an action figure as He-Man.

1981

February

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1982-11-04
Title: Battle ram : no. 81-3990.
Notes: Cataloged from appl. only.
Date of Creation: 1981
Date of Publication: 1981-02-15

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1982-11-04
Title: Beast Man : [no.] 81-5043.
Description: Figurine.
Date of Creation: 1981
Date of Publication: 1981-02-15

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1982-11-04
Title: He-Man : [no.] 81-5040.
Description: Figurine.
Date of Creation: 1981
Date of Publication: 1981-02-15

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1982-11-04
Title: Man-at-arms : no. 81-5041.
Notes: Cataloged from appl. only.
Date of Creation: 1981
Date of Publication: 1981-02-15

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1982-11-04
Title: Merman : [no.] 81-5046.
Description: Figurine.
Date of Creation: 1981
Date of Publication: 1981-02-15

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1982-11-04
Title: Skeletor : [no.] 81-5042.
Description: Figurine.
Date of Creation: 1981
Date of Publication: 1981-02-15

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1982-11-04
Title: Stratos : [no.] 81-5047.
Description: Figurine.
Date of Creation: 1981
Date of Publication: 1981-02-15

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1982-10-26
Title: Teela : [no.] 5045-81.
Description: Doll.
Date of Creation: 1981
Date of Publication: 1981-02-15

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1982-11-04
Title: Wind raider : [no.] 81-5117.
Description: Sculpture.
Date of Creation: 1981
Date of Publication: 1981-02-15

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1982-11-04
Title: Zodac : no. 81-5044.
Notes: Cataloged from appl. only.
Date of Creation: 1981
Date of Publication: 1981-02-15

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1982-10-25
Title: Castle Grayskull : [no.] 81-3991.
Description: Sculpture.
Date of Creation: 1981
Date of Publication: 1981-02-15

Image courtesy of Unsung Woodworks

November

Type of Work: Text
Registration Date: 1982-12-28
Title: Masters of the universe
Name: The Vengeance of Skeletor
Description: 22 p.
Date of Creation: 1981
Date of Publication: 1981-11-28

Type of Work: Text
Registration Date: 1982-12-08
Title: Masters of the Universe : He-Man and the power sword.
Description: 26 p.
Date of Creation: 1981
Date of Publication: 1981-11-28
Other Title: He-Man and the power sword

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1982-12-07
Title: King of Castle Grayskull.
Description: 22 p.
Series: Masters of the Universe
Date of Creation: 1981
Date of Publication: 1981-11-28

Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Date: 1983-01-17
Title: Comics maitres de l’univers : no. 81.
Notes: Cataloged from appl. Only. Appl. states titles on copy: Les Maitres de l’univers; Masters of the universe.
Date of Creation: 1981
Date of Publication: 1981-11-28
Other Title: Les Maitres de l’univers Masters of the universe

Image source: Lulu Berlu

Further reading:

 

Thanks to Miguel A. for inspiring this series!