Evil Warriors

Spikor – Untouchable master of evil combat (1985)

 

Spikor is the one figure from 1985 that I have no memory of ever being aware of as a kid. I don’t know why that is, but I just draw a total blank.

 

Spikor was designed by Roger Sweet. In the image below, from The Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog, we see that Spikor originally had much more of a porcupine look, down to the tail and animalistic face. Per the Catalog, the character’s name early on was “Spike”. The mace is somewhat reminiscent of Mekaneck‘s weapon, also designed by Roger Sweet.

Further evolution on the design is evident in Spikor’s first minicomic appearance, Spikor Strikes. You can see that other than losing his tail and shortening the character’s snout, Spikor (in this comic) is a recolored version of Roger Sweet’s original concept art. You can see that especially in the specific shape of his central chest piece and collar and in his mace weapon.

Interestingly Spikor holds his trident weapon, which he also did in some versions of the Filmation cartoon. On the toy, the trident is a part of his hand, like a pirate’s hook. It’s not totally clear what the original intention was from Roger Sweet’s artwork. It looks like a part of his arm, but it could have been something he was holding, with some kind of hand guard design blocking the view of Spikor’s left hand. If that wasn’t the case, then perhaps the source material was misinterpreted.

Spikor was trademarked on September 10, 1984. The final toy design has a less prominent design on the front of the chest piece. Because of the way it’s designed, his torso spikes look like armor and not a part of his actual body. But his head is the same color and has the same kinds of spikes. so it’s difficult to suss out what’s going on there. Spikor was given a much spikier mace, and his trident was fused to his straightened left arm, to allow for its telescoping action feature.

Spikor cross sell art. Image courtesy of Axel Gimenez

Interestingly, the figure used in the commercial had red “glove” painted on its right hand:

It’s a mystery to me why Spikor’s trident’s tines end in balls. Surely they could have been shaped like spikes, but rounded off at the ends to satisfy safety requirements, like all the other spikes on his body and mace. Having balls at the end makes it look like Spikor is very concerned about accidentally poking someone’s eye out.

Spikor very easily could have reused the right arm from He-Man (he does have He-Man’s legs, and in some version the legs from Thunder Punch He-Man), but Mattel opted to give him a unique bracer with pyramid-shaped designs in the center.

The artwork on Spikor’s card was illustrated by Dave Stevens, who worked on other 1985 cardbacks such as Stinkor and Moss Man.

Image source: StarCrusader
Original packaging layout artwork

In addition to the single-carded figure, Spikor was also sold in a JCPenny giftset with Stinkor:

http://www.grayskullmuseum.com/GiftSets/SS.htm

Errol McCarthy gave Spikor a puffer fish physique in this illustration intended for a T-shirt:

Image source: http://www.he-man.org

In the previously-mentioned minicomic, Spikor Strikes, Spikor is given a nemesis in Sy-Klone (for those keeping track, in the 1985 wave, Stinkor’s minicomic nemesis is Moss Man and Two Bad‘s nemesis is Roboto). In The Terror Claws Strike, released the following year, Spikor plays the part of sinister blacksmith, creating Skeletor’s new Terror Claws weapons in the heart of Snake Mountain:

In the fall, 1985 issue of Masters of the Universe Magazine, Spikor takes part in a humorous story about a ball game for control of the Fright Zone:

Spikor shows up in several episodes of the Filmation He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon series. He is characterized as a typical bumbling henchman throughout. In some appearances he had his trident attached to his arm, like the toy, and in others he has a normal left hand.

From The Games.

In the December 1987 UK MOTU magazine issue, Spikor (colored in two tone blue) rudely interrupts a game of kickball and bullies some kids, before Mekaneck steps in a puts a stop to it.

Image source: He-Man.org

Spikor doesn’t make any appearances on box art, but he does show up in several posters by William George and Esteban Maroto

 

Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen
Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen
Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen
Image source: He-Man.org

For more information about Spikor, check out this great video series from ToonJukka!

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Evil Warriors

Two Bad – Double-headed evil strategist (1985)

Two Bad is one of two two-headed figures released in 1985 (along with Modulok).

My first exposure to Two Bad came on the playground in third grade. I had gone to the same elementary school during kindergarten and first grade. But in second grade, we moved away for a year to a smaller town, which turned out to be something of a He-Man vacuum. All of the kids there seemed to be into either Voltron or Thundercats. But when I returned to my old school in the third grade, I found He-Man was still going strong there. One fall day on the playground, an enterprising kid brought out his Roboto and Two Bad figures.

I never had either of these figures myself, but I was pretty impressed with both of them. Two Bad was bizarre looking, and not just because he had two heads. He had an enormous barrel chest and his arms were mounted toward the top of his shoulders rather than to the sides. His main feature of interest seemed to be his ability to punch himself in the opposing heads.

 

 

I don’t know who designed the final look for Two Bad, but Roger Sweet seems to have come up with the general concept for a two-headed warrior. You can see several incarnations of the concept in the images below. An early idea was for a character that had an evil half and a good half. While the final figure was completely evil, he did have a different color scheme and sculpt for each half of his body.

While the concept was Roger’s, I suspect at least some of the artwork was done by Ted Mayer, based on the style. According to the Power and Honor Foundation Catalog, the half good/half evil concept was rejected by Mattel marketing, who said that both halves should be evil.

Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen, by way of the Power and Honor Foundation Catalog
Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen, by way of the Power and Honor Foundation Catalog
Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen, by way of Tomart’s Action Figure Digest

Some unrelated concepts by Ted Mayer have a helmet design reminiscent of Two Bad’s blue head:

Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen

A late hard copy/prototype of the figure shows a few subtle differences from the final toy. The prototype had more prominent and finely detailed ears and horns on the head. It also had a much slimmer torso design. I’m sure that the torso on the final figure had to be enlarged to accommodate the spring punch action feature on both arms, in addition to the spring-loaded waist.

Image source: Toy Archive
Two Bad cross sell artwork, based on the final toy, but with a slightly different shade of purple. Image courtesy of Axel Giménez

The final toy has a greatly widened torso and softer sculpted details, but is otherwise close in appearance to the prototype. All of his parts are brand new, with the exception of the standard crotch piece. He is one of several figures in the 1985 wave whose only accessory was a shield:

Shortly after it was released, the figure was reissued with a greatly flattened torso. This didn’t affect the width, but it did affect the depth. This flattened version seems to be somewhat more common than the original release. The second version also has its arms at a slightly lower angle, so they don’t obscure the faces as much.

Unfortunately Two Bad tends to suffer from discoloration with age. This seems to be “sweating” out of the plastic. It can be cleaned up with a magic eraser sponge, but it eventually returns.

There are two main versions of the US card for the figure as well. The first release features “NEW!” on the front:

Note that this set of instructions says to “fit arm to body.” The plan early on may have been to package him with his arms disconnected.

The next release omits “NEW” and has a different set of instructions on the back:

Image source: He-Man.org. The instructions on this cardback include the idea that the figure can “crush” enemies. This is easier to do on the second release of the figure, because he chest doesn’t protrude out as much.

Two Bad is said to be a strategist with “twice the plotting power” due to his two heads, although that characterization was rarely followed in printed or animated stories.

Two Bad’s cardback artwork was done by Errol McCarthy, who also illustrated the character in a number of other contexts:

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

The 1987 Style Huide, which also features art by Errol McCarthy, characterized Two Bad this way:

Role: Powerful, two-headed master of evil illusion.

Power: Ability to create the illusion that he is “two” evil warriors, twice as devious as any of his comrades.

Character Profile: Though two heads are often better than once, Two Bad is a mixed blessing for the Evil Warriors. When his two heads are working together, Two Bad is nearly as clever and devious as Skeletor, and his advantage in battle is doubled. However, his two heads rarely get along. Quite often, the two heads will bicker with one another just at the wrong moment. Skeletor has little patience with Two Bad, not only because of the distracting arguments, but because Skeletor feels that the two-headed beast could one day gain too much evil brain power.

The Style Guide seems to have taken a cue from the commercial shown earlier in this article, in which Two Bad tricks his enemies into thinking he is actually two evil warriors.

In addition to the single carded figure, Two Bad was sold in a JCPenny giftset with Tri-Klops:

http://www.grayskullmuseum.com/GiftSets/BTJCP.htm

Mattel filed for a patent on Two Bad on December 24, 1984. The inventors lists were Larry Renger and Roger Sweet. The trademark for Two Bad was filed September 10, 1984.

Two Bad came packed with The Battle of Roboto minicomic, and he and Roboto were featured heavily in the story. Each of Two Bad’s heads is constantly arguing and fighting with the other:

Two Bad was characterized in much the same way in his infrequent appearances in the Filmation He-Man cartoon.

Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen
From the episode, Capture The Comet Keeper

Two Bad doesn’t appear in any of the MOTU box art, but he does make a few appearances in posters by William George:

Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen
Two Bad poster, from a 1988 German MOTU magazine. Image source: http://www.he-man.org

Update: In the comments below, Aidan notes that Two Bad was characterized as an inventor in the UK MOTU comics, so he wasn’t always characterized as a simpleton. Aidan also notes that the individual heads were named Blue Head and Yellow Band, which apparently originated from notes at Filmation studios.

For detailed information about the UK Masters of the Universe comics, check out Aidan’s site at this link:

https://www.motuukcomics.co.uk/

Also check out James Eatock’s old blog for a quick example of Two Bad in the UK comics:

http://bustatoons.blogspot.com/2006/08/scientific-genius.html

Artwork

Masters of the Universe Cross Sell Art – Brazilian Variants

The Brazilian Estrela toy company was one of several foreign manufacturers to purchased a license to produce Masters of the Universe Figures. However, the artwork they used on their packaging was slightly different from the artwork that appeared on US packaging (front and back).

My theory is that Estrela purchased the rights to make the toys, but not the rights for the artwork. Maybe it was cheaper to contract the art out locally. Most of the Estrela cross sell art is closely based on the US version, with some slight variations, almost always on the face. They also seem to modify artwork to make it look closer to the actual toy, whenever possible. This is especially evident for their cross sell art for Castle Grayskull, Wind Raider, Teela, Stratos and Ram Man.  Note they also remove the orange stripes on Battle Cat‘s tail – a feature included on the prototype but not on the vast majority of factory versions.

Estrela cross sell artwork comes courtesy of Jukka Issakainen, originally scanned by Polygonus. US artwork comes from Axel Giménez, Tokyonever, Jukka, StarCrusader, and my own photos and scans.

Please allow some time for photos to load.

 

 

Others in this series: