Evil Warriors

Evil-Lyn – Evil warrior goddess (1983)

Evil Lyn Graphic

My first introduction to Evil-Lyn was through the 1983 Filmation cartoon. When I finally saw the toy (which belonged to another kid), I was a little taken aback at how bright yellow her skin was in comparison to the character on the show. I remember thinking about it for a minute and deciding that they probably made her colors brighter to appeal to kids. I think 6-year-old me was probably right on that count.

Evil-Lyn probably has roots in Mark Taylor’s Sorceress concept, although the connections are somewhat tenuous. Mark Taylor intended the Sorceress (also known as the Goddess, and eventually fused with the Teela concept) to be a double agent and a changeling, playing both sides. The Sorceress wore a head piece under her snake armor that formed a V-shape on her forehead, a design repeated with Evil-Lyn.

sorceresstaylor

And of course from the neck down, Evil-Lyn is a repaint of Mark Taylor’s Teela:

teela-concept-2

Having said that, Evil-Lyn was designed by Mattel artist Colin Bailey, who also designed Trap Jaw and Buzz-Off.

Colin Bailey Evil-Lyn
Notice the reference to “Tee-La”. Her name is hyphenated, just as it was in the earliest mini comics.

There are a few things to unpack here. Notice the very short wand in the above concept illustration. The version that came with the toy was more of a short staff than a wand. The size was no doubt increased in order to reduce the likelihood of it becoming a choking hazard.

The artist mentions that Evil Lyn’s face should resemble Sophia Loren, or at least mimic her expression. Some of that did end up in the final toy’s face:

The original working name for Evil-Lyn was “Sultra”. It might be worth noting that the Sultra drawing is dated October 5, 1982. Mattel never filed a trademark claim on Sultra, but they did file one for the name Evil-Lyn on Jan 21, 1983.

The toy was packaged on the standard card, with a very nice illustration by Errol McCarthy on the back. Evil-Lyn’s wand was molded in glow-in-the-dark plastic. Strangely, there is no mention of this feature on the packaging, which seems like a missed opportunity.

evil-lyn-instructions

Note that in the above Errol McCarthy illustration, Evil-Lyn carries the short wand from the original concept art. In the black and white versions of the same illustration (below), you can see that Errol tried out a couple of looks for He-Man: one with a shorter neck, and one with a longer neck. The shorter neck version appears in the final colored illustration.

Errol also illustrated the character for one of Mattel’s licensing kits:

The cross sell art is pretty faithful to the final toy:

Evil Lyn Cross Sell

In early stories, Evil-Lyn is sometimes described almost as an old crone – certainly that’s the case in the 1983 Kid Stuff Masters of the Universe audio book.

In both the Kid Stuff audio book and the Golden Books story, The Sunbird Legacy, Evil-Lyn has the power to transform into Screeech, the barbarian bird:

Evil-Lyn Screech
Evil-Lyn transforms into Screech, who in this image resembles a buzzard rather than an eagle or falcon. This ability gives the character some nice symmetry with Filmation’s version of the Sorceress.

Although Evil Lyn appears in the 1983 Mattel Dealer Catalog, she doesn’t show up in mini comics until the 1984 lineup.

el
This version is likely a prototype – the details on her face seem more refined than the mass-produced toy

As I mentioned earlier, my first introduction to Evil-Lyn was through the Filmation cartoon. In the series, Evil-Lyn always reminded me a lot of Ursa from the 1980 film, Superman II (we watched this many times on the old video disc player).

videodisc superman
Remember this format?

In the Filmation Series guide, Evil-Lyn is very reminiscent of Colin Bailey’s concept artwork, including the short wand. I would guess that the colors in this depiction are what Colin originally had in mind, but the colors were altered at some point during the development of the toy.

Series Guide

The final design that Filmation went with was somewhat simplified. Evil-Lyn lost the skull on her helmet, and the decoration on her costume was simplified. Her wand looked like a cross between the concept and toy versions. She also gained a cape, which seems to suit her:

Style Guide

As James Eatock noted in his “50 Things About…Evil-Lyn” video, Evil-Lyn did sport a skull motif on her helmet in some early  animation cells in the series, but it was painted over in black and wasn’t visible.

50 things 2
Image via He-Man Official YouTube Channel

In the 1982 Masters of the Universe Bible, written by Michael Halperin, Evil-Lyn’s real name was Evelyn Powers. She was a scientist from earth and part of Marlena’s crew that crash-landed on Eternia and Infinita. Evelyn was transformed in to Evil-Lyn via the evil magic coursing through Infinita, domain of Skeletor.

Evil-Lyn was a central character in the 1987 live-action Masters of the Universe movie. Early concept art for Evil-Lyn’s (played by Meg Foster) costume was very close to the toy design, but the final costume was much more ornate:

Evil-Lyn was depicted in posters, coloring books and box art by artists such as R.L. Allen, William George, Esteban Maroto, and many others. She remains a quintessential 80s villain and a fan favorite to this day.

Esteban 2Esteban Maroto

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21 thoughts on “Evil-Lyn – Evil warrior goddess (1983)

  1. Talk about a bizarre coinsidence! Evil lynn was bought for me by a grand parent on holiday in a place called Lowestoft on the coast of Britain. Im typing this 35 years later on holiday in the very same place! Life is strange times.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A favorite character of mine, although I wasn’t really into her toy or Teela’s as a boy since they were so flimsy.
    I also made the link between her and Ursa. I also link them to The Baroness from GI Joe, personality-wise.
    Amazing how in most of the memorable incarnations of Evil Lynn, she is generally working against Skeletor.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ahh… Evil-Lyn, such a wonderful villain (villainess). Although she was the only second wave figure I never had as a child, she’s long been a favourite of mind. I loved how she was always portrayed in the Filmation series as a cunning character, likely far more clever than Skeletor, who was likely just serving in his ranks out of convenience until such day where she would overthrow him.

    The origin of the figure is quite intriguing, of her initially considered as an evil counterpart for the Goddess/Sorceress (although she would wind up somewhat as an evil counterpart for Teela, and many illustrations seemed to play this up). The early idea of her transforming into Screeech (a la Sorceress/Zoar) was one I didn’t learn about until years later, reading very early on-line MOTU pages. Regarding some sources suggesting her to be an “old crone”, even though this interpretation was never really evident, I have always personally imagined her to be a century or so old at least, from a race that ages very slowly, due to the hints of her great intelligence and experience.

    It was always notable and a little odd that the figure was bright yellow whereas the Filmation version was Caucasian (Btw I beleive there is mention in some source(s) oh her having green skin, but I think this is more down to misinterpretation of a prototype photo than an actual considered colour for her). I do actually consider yellow to be her ‘default’ colour in my personal “pre-Filmation” mythos. I think I justified the colour change to myself over the years as her turning yellow skinned as an effect that gradually wore of after conjuring particularly strong black magic spells.
    But of particular note is, in the UK 1984 Annual, which uses a number of prototype shots, she is gold! Presumably this was a considered colour for the figure for a while (maybe dropped due to cost?)

    The figure’s crystal ball wand can actually be found in regular (non glow-in-the-dark) and glow-in-the-dark versions. I’ve had different theories to this, some claiming it depends on country of origin, other’s claiming this feature was added slightly later (which would tally with why it isn’t mentioned on the packaging).

    Regarding the Filmation version of her crystal ball, in several episodes she is seen clutching a far more prototype-like version of the wand, with the far shorter length. (Off the top of my sleepy head I recall it being used as a stock ‘prop’ in the series in another, non-Evil-Lyn story, too).

    And further to James Eatock’s interesting information on how early drawings of the Filmation of the character did have the skull on her helmet, the character was also drawn with cat-like pupils, though where she was painted with black eyes this was never evident on-screen. Also, on James’ YouTube commentary for “Diamond Ray of Disappearance”, he mentions that in the original script Evil-Lyn wasn’t used, but instead another witch-like character, Desira.

    I think many fans were surprised when Evil-Lyn removed her helmet in the great first season episode “The Witch and the Warrior”, to reveal a shock of short white hair. This design concept was continued in the 200x series of course, but I wonder if this was a purely Filmation decision originally, or if Mattel had had some input on it. Also, as with Beast Man and Tri-Klops, I am so glad Filmation never went with that HORRIBLE origin concept of Evil-Lyn and those other two hoodlums being mutated scientists from Marlena Glenn’s crashed spacecraft!

    Liked by 1 person

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