Evil Warriors

Whiplash – Evil tail-thrashing warrior (1984)

Whiplash Graphic

Whiplash, released in 1984, was part of a series of five animal-themed figures released in the third wave of the Masters of the Universe toyline, which also included Clawful, Buzz-Off, Webstor and Kobra Khan.

I had something of a love affair with the figure as a kid. I distinctly remember the existential agony of having to choose between him and Clawful at the store. Ultimately I went with Clawful, but it could have gone either way. I remember spending a lot of time playing with Whiplash despite that, so I think I was either able to borrow one from a friend or get my own later.

Just about everything I have to say about the development of Whiplash’s design was already said several years ago by James Eatock, in his excellent “Behind the Scenes – The Evolution of Whiplash” video. I’m including James’ video below, but I’ll also go over the details myself.

Whiplash was designed by Colin Bailey in July of 1982. His original concept, shown below, is in many ways quite different from the final toy, but there are points of convergence as well. The character has the same widely-splayed four toed feet and troll-like facial features that the final toy had. However, this concept character, called Lizard Man, had strangely furry calves, yellow legs, prominent spinal ridges, spikey violet bracers, and two prominent horns.

Whiplash Lizard Man Concept Colin Bailey
Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog

Lizard Man made it into the December 1, 1982 MOTU Bible, and was listed among He-Man‘s allies:

LIZARD MAN – moves quietly, quickly and has the agility of his namesake. He climbs perpendicular walls and his tough lizard skin provides protection against most of his enemies. Liz has one drawback — every year he molts and becomes vulnerable to attack and completely useless to anyone.

The Colin Bailey concept was translated into into a simplified design suitable for animation by Filmation’s artists (see above video), but it was never used, and Lizard Man went back to the drawing board at Mattel. In the mean time, Filmation created a new character with the same name for their episode, “She-Demon of Phantos”:

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Mattel made some changes to the shape of Lizard Man’s (or at this point, I should say Whiplash – Mattel filed the trademark claim for that name on August 22, 1983) head, legs and tail. You can see this step in the evolution of the character in the minicomic, The Clash of Arms. Whiplash looks much closer to his final design here, except for his color scheme (green, yellow/orange and purple, like the original concept drawing) and the shape and length of his tail:

Comic Whiplash (2)Comic Whiplash

The final toy would have a much simplified two-tone green color scheme for his skin, with blue boots and loin cloth, and an orange belt. The hand-painted prototype figure, shown below in Mattel’s 1984 dealer catalog, has his final alligator tail design, and sports a purple repaint of the spear that came packed with Castle Grayskull. He reuses arms from Skeletor, as well as the legs and torso from Buzz-Off.

Whiplash Purple Spear FR

The production toy would come with an orange spear, but otherwise the design remained unchanged compared to the prototype:

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Whiplash cross sell art, courtesy of Axel Giménez

Whiplash’s face is somewhat perplexing. He has two large fangs sticking up out of his lower jaw, but he has a third, downward pointing fang that seems to come from the tip of his nose. You can also see that where the concept version had very prominent spikes on the top of his head, the final toy has two short nubs on either side of the crest on his head.

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The final design is somewhat reminiscent of a couple of other lizard themed toys that Mattel released in 1980 – an inflatable lizard monster toy called Krusher, and Lizard Woman from the Flash Gordon series:

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Whiplash was sold in several configurations, including, of course, the standard blister card packaging, which has some lovely artwork by Errol McCarthy on the back:


McCarthy also depicted Whiplash in several other contexts:

The last image from the series above was used for a T-Shirt design. The final design (below) was colored, with the purple spear that appeared on the prototype version (images courtesy of Unsung Woodworks):

Whiplash was also sold in two giftsets – in a three-pack with Webstor and Stinkor, and a JCPenny two-pack with Kobra Khan:


Whiplash makes only two appearances, apart from his debut, in the minicomics. He shows up, confusingly, as a member of the Evil Horde, along with Clawful, Jitsu, Leech and Grizzlor, in Mantenna and the Menace of the Evil Horde!

Mantenna Whiplash
He also makes an appearance, this time as part of Skeletor‘s crew, in Hordak – The Ruthless Leader’s Revenge! While his depiction in the Mantenna comic was relatively toy-accurate, here he borrows the design from The Clash of Arms, albeit with corrected colors:

Hordak Whiplash
Whiplash appears in several of the Golden Books stories. One of my favorite is a scene from Secret of the Dragon’s Egg, where Whiplash lies in wait within a cave to ambush Man-At-Arms. Interestingly, the artist (Louis Eduardo Barreto) depicted the scaly villain with spikes around his shoulders:

A more toy-accurate Whiplash plays a minor role in The Magic Mirror, illustrated by Fred Carillo:

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Whiplash is again depicted with spikes around his shoulders in Maze of Doom, illustrated by Al McWilliams. It seems likely he used Barreto’s art as a reference for the character.

Filmation’s He-Man cartoon usually depicted Whiplash as one of Skeletor’s more competent Henchmen. Design-wise, the animated version of the character is more or less a simplified version of the action figure, but with Mer-Man-like feet, blue wrist bracers, and no orange belt.

Whiplash Model

One of my favorite episodes where Whiplash plays a prominent role is “To Save Skeletor”. In the story, Whiplash arrives half-dead at the royal palace, pleading for help from the heroic warriors. As it turns out, Skeletor had summoned an extra-dimensional being named Sh’Gora with the intent of using him to take over Eternia, but the creature had quickly overpowered the evil warriors and was threatening to destroy the planet.

to save skeletor

Whiplash makes a couple of appearances in the box art – once in the Fisto and Stridor giftset, and once in the Battle Bones box art:

Whiplash also makes a couple of appearances in posters by William George, from 1984 and 1985 respectively:

Whiplash appears prominently in one of my favorite pieces of MOTU artwork – a poster by Earl Norem that appeared in the inaugural issue of the US release Masters of the Universe Magazine. The poster features He-Man, Stridor, Buzz-Off, Webstor, Clawful and a somewhat Filmation-inspired Whiplash:

Evil Warriors

Webstor – Evil master of escape (1984)

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Webstor, not to be confused with 1980s TV character Webster, was a figure I never had as a kid, but always coveted. His looks weren’t as striking to me as characters like Clawful or Whiplash, but his action feature was endlessly fascinating.

Webstor, or Black Widow as he was originally known, first appears in the December 1982 Masters of the Universe Bible by Michael Halperin:

BLACK WIDOW* – as his name suggests, this creepy individual has no scruples whatever. His chief asset is the ability to spin a strong web line in order to climb, snare and imprison those against whom he seeks revenge.

Webstor was designed by Roger Sweet, who, according to The Power and Honor Foundation Catalog, intended for the figure’s differential pulley system to run through the body of the figure itself. To save costs (and perhaps because a grappling hook from a figure’s head doesn’t make a great deal of sense), engineers moved the mechanism to the back of Webstor’s armor. As is made plain in the illustration below, the plan was always to reuse Skeletor’s body, molded in a darker blue color.

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Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation

Other than the engineering change, the above concept is remarkably close to the look of the final figure. One difference that stands out is the flares over the shoulders on his armor, which did not make it into the final toy. Webstor’s hook is also quite different from the concept – Mattel ended up reusing the grappling hook from the Big Jim Pirate Boat instead:

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Webstor doesn’t look particularly spider-like to me, other than the fact that he has four eyes and a black widow marking on his armor. Aside from those details, he could pass for some kind of blue orc.

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Aside from the reused grappling hook, Webstor was also given another recycled accessory – the rifle from the Castle Grayskull weapons rack. In most cases this was molded in orange plastic, but some rare examples came with a blue rifle. Both versions appear in early catalog photos as well.

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Webstor’s action feature allowed him to “climb” his own string when you pulled it from the bottom. Due to the complexity of the internal pulley system, it is pretty common to find examples where the string has gotten tangled internally. That was the case with my figure, but I was able to get mine working again using He-Bro’s method.

Aside from his single carded release, Webstor was released in the following gift sets:

  • Battle Armor Skeletor/Webstor/Mer-Man
  • Battle Armor Skeletor/Webstor/Stinkor
  • Webstor/Whiplash/Stinkor
  • Webstor/Battle Armor Skeletor

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The scene on the back of Webstor’s card was illustrated by Errol McCarthy, who for some reason omitted the black widow symbol on Webstor’s chest. Errol would go on to portray the character in several other illustrations for use by licensees, as well as in the 1987 Style Guide.

webstorback


The style guide described Webstor like this:

This beast is inordinately strong, and is closely allied with Skeletor. He is probably one of the cleverest Evil Warriors outside of Skeletor, and that is how he gained the evil leader’s trust. His hook and winch allow him to climb and crawl in spaces where other warriors couldn’t go.

Webstor first appears in the excellent Clash of Arms mini comic, alongside a cavalcade of villains like Clawful, Whiplash, and Jitsu. However, Webstor is taken out of the fight early with a vicious kick from Stridor.


Webstor also appears in Eye of the Storm, which came packed with Snout Spout. In the story he aids Skeletor in a plot to cause chaotic storms all across Eternia.

Webstor teams up with frequent collaborator Kobra Khan in the mini comic, Rock People to the Rescue (hat tip to Øyvind Johannes Meisfjord):

Webstor also appears in the Golden Books stories, Power From the Sky and The Rock Warriors. In the latter he helps create a diversion for Skeletor, and in the former he helps his evil compatriots climb a cliff face as they journey to launch an assault on the palace of Eternia:

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From The Rock Warriors, illustrated by Fred Carillo.
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From Power From the Sky, Illustrated by Fred Carillo

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Webstor was portrayed as one of Skeletor’s more intelligent minions in the Filmation cartoon. His design was generally consistent with the overall look of the toy, albeit with a few simplified details. The two most notable appearances, for me at least, were in “The Cat and the Spider” and “Disappearing Dragons”.

In “The Cat and the Spider” Webstor comes up against Kittrina, a member of the cat folk. This is Webstor’s debut episode and he’s on screen for a good chunk of the running time. He also flies a strange-looking version of the Wind Raider that has spider legs attached to the sides:

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In “Disappearing Dragons,” Webstor teams up with Kobra Khan as they aid Skeletor in kidnapping Eternia’s dragons. They battle against another pair of characters that frequently work together – Buzz-Off and Mekaneck.

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Webstor also made several appearances in poster artwork by William George and Earl Norem:

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Evil Warriors

Scare Glow – Evil Ghost of Skeletor (1987)

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I wasn’t aware of Scare Glow’s existence when he was released in 1987, but when I finally saw him as an adult, he made perfect sense. Of course there needs to be a glow-in-the-dark skeleton man in Masters of the Universe. Why didn’t someone think of this sooner? Glow-in-the-dark accessories had been produced previously in the line (Evil-Lyn‘s staff, the warrior ring that came with Tri-Klops and Trap Jaw), but never a glow-in-the-dark figure.


Scare Glow seems to have been influenced by traditional imagery of the grim reaper. Unlike Skeletor, his entire body is a skeleton (or at least the closest thing to it without creating a newly sculpted body). He has a reaper-like cloak and the closest thing to a scythe in the existing library of Masters of the Universe weapons.

reaper2

Scareglow was released toward the end of the Masters of the Universe toyline. There seemed to be two categories of figures released in 1987 – figures that were made from newly sculpted parts (Mosquitor, Sorceress, Blast Attak) and figures that mostly reused existing parts, with only a new head and perhaps a new weapon (Ninjor, King Randor, Clamp Champ). Scare Glow is in the latter category.

Scare Glow reuses Dragon Blaster Skeletor’s body (with slightly enlarged feet compared to the original Skeletor) as well as the poleaxe (referred to on the packaging as a “scythe of doom”, and in the style guide as a “spirit staff”) from the Castle Grayskull weapons rack. He was given an all-new head and a new cloth cape. The figure was designed by David Wolfram.

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Scareglow’s weapon came in two flavors – bright green and glow-in-the-dark white. The white version is harder to find, at least in the US.


Scare Glow’s cross sell art, like most cross sell artwork after the 1983, is a pretty accurate representation of the figure:

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Image source: Axel Giménez

Like many other 1987 figures, Scare Glow came with some great artwork on the front of the card, illustrated by Bruce Timm:

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scare-glow-medres
Image source: Jukka Issakainen

The back of the card features a somewhat comical scene of Scare Glow scaring the orange pants off of Snout Spout. The scene was illustrated by Errol McCarthy, who also created an illustration for the 1987 Style Guide:

687762443160-42443161-3scareglowbackscareglovsspoutsnout_full

In this interesting bootleg version of Skeletor made in Yugoslavia (owned and shared by Unsung Woodworks), Scare Glow has black He-Man arms and legs, a blue chest, a black head, and a yellow version of the Horde Trooper staff:

unsung-woodworks-yugo-scareglowyugo-2

More information about Yugoslavian bootleg figures can be found at YugoBootleg.

Given that Scare Glow’s tag line calls him the “Evil Ghost of Skeletor”, there has been debate among fans for years about whether or not Scare Glow is actually the ghost of Skeletor, or merely a ghost who serves Skeletor. The 1987 Mattel Style Guide says this about Scare Glow:

Skeletor conjured up this spirit in his own image to frighten travelers on the pathways of Eternia. Scare Glow is invisible during the daylight, but glows at night.

Unfortunately I don’t think this totally clears up the issue. From the short bio, Scare Glow could be Skeletor’s ghost, or he could be just a ghost who happens to have a skull face like Skeletor. In the mini comic, The Search For Keldor, Skeletor conjures up “the most evil beings of time and space” (Scare Glow and Ninjor). So it could be that Scare Glow really is a future, deader Skeletor. I tend to think that Scare Glow is not Skeletor’s own ghost, however. I think the intent was that Scare Glow was just a conjured being who happens to look a bit like Skeletor.

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In Masters of the Universe Adventure Magazine issue 9, Skeletor creates Scare Glow in his own image, so it’s apparent they are not the same person in this continuity. As described in the style guide, Scare Glow can become invisible in the light:

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In Star Comics Masters of the Universe issue 7, Skeletor calls Scare Glow his “ghostly double”. Scare Glow seems to be a true ethereal ghost, as Blast Attak’s fist passes through him when he attempts to punch him. Scare Glow also has the ability to fly:

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Just to make things a little more confusing, this Greek advertisement referred to Scare Glow as Skeletor (the caption underneath his name roughly translates to “Scarier at night!” – thanks Jukka!):

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Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen

Coming so late in the Masters of the Universe line, Scare Glow didn’t show up in a lot of artwork, but he was a background character in posters illustrated by William George and Esteban Maroto:

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Artwork by William George. Image source: Jukka Issakainen
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Artwork by William George. Image source: Jukka Issakainen
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Artwork by Esteban Maroto. Image source: Monster Brains

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He also showed up in a few catalog photos and advertisements:

The scans of catalogs and advertisements used in this article came from Orange Slime, Grayskull Museum, and He-Man.org. The Errol McCarthy line art and comic book scans also came from He-Man.org.