Heroic Warriors

Ram Man in Minicomics and Golden Books

In my post about Ram Man last year, I touched very briefly on the character’s appearances in minicomics and Golden Books.  I’d like to expand on that now with an exhaustive look at every single appearance of Ram Man in these media. I’ll be skipping pages and panels where Ram Man is absent. Selections from the minicomics come from the excellent Dark Horse Minicomic Collection, and Golden books come from He-Man.org.

1983 Minicomic: He-Man Meets Ram-Man!

Ram Man tousles with He-Man over a misunderstanding, causing some hard feelings. Skeletor is able to use that to trick Ram Man into bashing his head repeatedly against Castle Grayskull‘s doors in order to get the power to defeat He-Man. In the end, Ram Man comes to understand that He-Man is not his enemy, and aligns himself with the heroic warriors. Ram Man is given a deep red and magenta color scheme that looks like it wants to follow the cross sell art/concept scheme (the figure was originally designed by Mark Taylor), but couldn’t quite get there. Written by Gary Cohn, penciled by Mark Texeira, inked by Tod Smith, colored by Anthony Tollin.

Mess with the bull, get the horns.

Ram Man uses his head.

Skeletor is in for months of traction.

Allies at last.

1983 Minicomic: The Terror of Tri-Klops!

When third wheel Ram Man walks off into the woods to give He-Man and Teela some privacy, Tri-Klops strikes, nearly defeating our heroic warriors. Written by Gary Cohn, pencils by Mark Texeira, inks by Tod Smith, colors by Anthony Tollin.

This is the happiest Ram Man has ever looked.

Not Ram Man’s finest moment.

1983 Minicomic: The Tale of Teela

Ram Man is a minor background character in Teela‘s breakout comic. Written by Gary Cohn, pencils by Mark Texeira, inks by Tod Smith, colors by Anthony Tollin.

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Ram Man driving an orange and red Attak Trak.

1984 Minicomic: The Secret Liquid of Life!

Ram Man gets a chance to bust into an ogre’s cavern using his battering ram of a head. Ram Man is portrayed with the green and red color scheme used in the mass-produced toy. Written by Michael Halperin, pencils by Larry Houston, inks by Michael Lee, colors by Charles Simpson, letters by Stan Sakai.

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Clobberin time?

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1984 Minicomic: Double-Edged Sword

Ram Man’s head is ineffectual against Skeletor’s vine monsters, but together with He-Man he is able to break through a magic seal. Written by Michael Halperin, pencils by Larry Houston, inks by Michael Lee, colors by Charles Simpson, letters by Stan Sakai.

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Ram Man and He-Man can break through anything.

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1984 Minicomic: Temple of Darkness!

Ram Man batters his head against several giant minions of Skeletor, and even seems to have the power power of flight in the final panel. Written by Michael Halperin, pencils by Larry Houston, inks by Gerald Forton, colors by Charles Simpson, letters by Stan Sakai.

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Either Ram Man can fly or the laws of physics work differently on Eternia.

1985 Minicomic: Skeletor’s Dragon

Ram Man is barely noticed in the background of this story about magically reanimated dinosaur bones. Written by Christy Marx, illustrated by Peter Ledger, colors by Charles Simpson, letters by Stan Sakai.

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1985 Minicomic: Mantenna and the Menace of the Evil Horde!

Ram Man is background character with no lines in this story that, despite its title, isn’t really about Mantenna at all. Pencils by Mike Sekowsky, inks by Steve Mitchell, colors by Charles Simpson, letters by Stan Sakai.

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1985 Minicomic: Hordak – The Ruthless Leader’s Revenge!

Ram Man is crushed by Spydor and then plays fight commentator in his last minicomics appearance. Pencils by Larry Houston, inks by Michael Lee, colors by Charles Simpson, letters by Stan Sakai.

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Skeletor pinches more than an inch.

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1985 Golden Book: The Magic Mirrors

Ram Man is another background character in this engaging story about magic mirrors and trickery. Written by Jack Harris, illustrated by Fred Carillo, cover by Earl Norem.

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Kobra Khan is in for a world of hurt.

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Ram Man looks particularly short here.

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1985 Golden Books: Demons of the Deep

Ram Man and Fisto accompany He-Man in an underwater rescue mission to save Teela. Of all the characters to take on an underwater mission, Ram Man and Fisto seem the least likely candidates, given their heavy metal armor. Ram Man sports his prototype colors here.

Written by R.L. Stine of Goosebumps fame, illustrated by Fred Carillo.

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I’m not sure how Ram Man is managing to tread water here.

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1985 Golden Book: New Champions of Eternia

Ram Man is a barely-present background character in this story about some mysterious new heroes. Ram Man sports his prototype color scheme in this book. Written by Jack Harris, illustrated by Jeffrey Oh, cover by Fred Carillo.

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The blond hero is clearly Hulk Hogan.

1986 Golden Book: Power From The Sky

Skeletor uses the power from an eclipse to launch an assault on Eternia. Ram Man shows up occasionally in the background, without any lines. Written by Wallace Green, illustrated by Fred Carillo, cover by Earl Norem.

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Heroic Warriors

Sy-Klone – Heroic fist-flinging tornado (1985)

I was a little conflicted about Sy-Klone as a kid. For whatever reason I was bothered by his blue and yellow dominated color scheme, but fascinated by the Saturn-like rings around his helmet, gloves and boots (a Jetsons-like design choice, to be sure), his lenticular chest radar sticker, and of course his spinning action feature. I would tornado him around the house using the wheel on his belt until my thumb got sore.

Sy-Klone was created by Mattel Designer Roger Sweet, under the working name “Tornado”. The Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog shows two early concept designs for the character.

This version [below] doesn’t have lot in common with the specific design details of the final figure, other than the circular shape on his chest and the general design on the crotch piece.

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Image source: The Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog

This version of “Tornado” (below) is closer to the final design. Note the presence of the arm “fins” and the various retro-futuristic rings on the costume. Significant differences from the final toy include the shape of his chest radar and his color scheme, which is has a great deal of green in it.

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Image source: The Art of He-Man/The Power and the Honor Foundation

As is often the case, elements from a concept version of Sy-Klone ended up in the minicomics – specifically Spikor Strikes (which came packed with both Spikor and Sy-Klone). The design is almost identical to the second concept version of the character, except the “fins” on his arms are mounted on oval plate-like structures, which resemble the design of the shield that would come with him. He also has a Caucasian face, rather than a blue or metallic one, and carries a Mekaneck-like club (as does Spikor). This likely represents a third version of the concept art, or even an early prototype. Note that in the third image below, he is referred to as “Tornado”, although he’s called Sy-Klone throughout the rest of the comic:

The patent for Sy-Klone’s spinning mechanism was filed December 14, 1984. The following drawings were included, showing the inner workings of the mechanism. Note that the figure drawing still follows the look of the early concept artwork:


Sy-Klone wasn’t trademarked until June 17, 1985. I suspect he was released somewhat later than other 1985 figures, given that his trademark filed later than any other 1985 figure.

The final toy is a somewhat streamlined looking version of the second version of the concept art. His color scheme is simplified to blue and yellow, with red highlights. He lost the rings around high thighs and biceps, and the top of his helmet was modified. He was given a space-themed belt, and of course his chest radar was made circular. The cross sell artwork is closely based on the final toy, and reflects all these changes.

Sy-Klone cross sell
Image courtesy of Axel Giménez

Sy-Klone reuses no previously existing parts. He is one of the few vintage Masters of the Universe figures with ball-jointed shoulder articulation. The ball joint was very loose, allowing the arms to raise on their own with centrifugal force as the figure began to spin. Sy-Klone’s face, like Mekaneck’s face, bears a strong resemblance to He-Man.

Like many figures released in 1985, his only weapon is a shield. In examining the 1985 wave of heroic and evil warriors (leaving aside the evil horde), some clear patterns emerge.

Looking at the non-variant heroes and villains, there is one of each that is an entirely (or nearly) new sculpt, with almost no reused parts (Two Bad and Sy-Klone). There is one of each that has significant new tooling, but also reuses some parts (Spikor and Roboto). There is also one of each that is entirely made up of preexisting parts (Stinkor and Moss Man). Clearly this was planned out ahead of time and likely based on budgetary concerns.

Of the six 1985 unique heroic and evil warriors, half of them (Sy-Klone, Stinkor and Two Bad) have a shield as their only accessory.

Spikor was released on the standard blister card, with artwork on the back by Errol McCarthy (images via Jukka Issakainen and Starcrusader).


Errol McCarthy also illustrated the character for use in licensed products, as well as the 1987 Style Guide.

The guide had this to say about Sy-Klone:

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Image via He-Man.org

Power: Ability to fly and plow through enemy lines with turbulent fist-whirling action.

Character profile: His built-in radar screen enables him to sense oncoming attacks. He often senses the physical presence of evil long before others of the Heroic Warriors. Sy-Klone is extremely fast on his feet and quick with his fists.

Sy-Klone was sold in a couple of giftsets – in a three pack with Hordak and Roboto, and in a JCPenny two pack with Moss Man (images via Grayskull Museum):
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Sy-Klone makes appearances in box art for the Eternia playset as well as Monstroid and Tower Tools:

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Sy-Klone makes some brief appearances in the Filmation He-Man cartoon, showing up in “Beauty and the Beast” and “Here, There, Skeletors Everywhere”. In the series Sy-Klone has the ability to spin his entire body in tornado fashion, or just his arms. His Filmation look is quite close to the toy counterpart, with the exception of his  radar screen, which is  greatly simplified (color images courtesy of Jukka Issakainen; color model sheet originally from He-Man and She-Ra: A Complete Guide to the Classic Animated Adventures):

As mentioned previously, Sy-Klone came packed with the Spikor Strikes comic. In the story, his unique powers and courage allow him to rescue Teela from Skeletor. He also plays bit parts in the following minicomics:

  • Leech – The Master of Power Suction Unleashed!
  • The Flying Fists of Power
  • The Terror Claws Strike
  • The Menace of the Multi-Bot!
  • The Hordes of Hordak

He is illustrated with variations on his concept art look until his appearance in The Hordes of Hordak, which probably comes down to artists using Spikor Strikes as a reference.

Sy-Klone appears on the cover art (illustrated by Earl Norem) in the Golden Book story, Power From the Sky. He does not, however, show up in the story itself.

Sy-Klone is given an origin story in the hardback Golden Book story, I Have The Power. In it, Skeletor inadvertently gives an acrobat called Human Tornado his powers using a “mechano-ray” device.

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Image source: He-Man.org. Note that Sy-Klone is modeled after his concept design.

Sy-Klone makes several appearances in the German Ehapa Verlag comic series. This image comes from the end page of issue nine from the 1988 run (image via He-Man.org):


Sy-Klone also appears in posters by William George and Earl Norem:

The Earl Norem poster featuring Sy-Klone, Moss Man, and He-Man battling the beast from the Fright Zone is one of my particular favorites. For this reason I often think of Moss Man and Sy-Klone working as a team.

Sy-Klone was given another origin story in issue 71 of the UK MOTU Magazine. In the story his real name is Dash-El, a runner who rebels when the Evil Horde invade his planet. Injured in an explosion, Dash-El’s father nurses him back to health by repairing his damaged body with cybernetic parts. Healed with cybernetics and cloning technologies, Dash-El’s father comes to call him Sy-Klone.

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

Sorceress – Heroic Guardian of Castle Grayskull (1987)

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This article was co-written with guest writers Dejan Dimitrovski and Jukka Issakainen. 

Of all of the Masters of the Universe characters, the Sorceress has perhaps the most complicated and mercurial history, particularly in the first few years of her existence, with twists and turns relating to Teela both as a toy and character.

The story of the the Sorceress begins with Mark Taylor, the artist who designed all of the figures released in the first year of the toyline’s existence, along with Castle Grayskull.

The original Sorceress B-sheet concept art by Mark Taylor is the earliest known version of this character, dated June 3, 1981.

The skin of the original Sorceress was not intended to be completely green as it appeared in the first MOTU minicomic He-Man and the Power Sword; instead she was supposed to wear a tight green costume, very much like Man-At-Arms. Unlike Teela, Sorceress was not supposed to have the golden leafy overlay over the front of her costume. The overlay, which intended to be a separate piece, was eventually molded to the Teela figure’s torso (this observation was first made by Emiliano Santalucia during Grayskull-Con):

As Mark Taylor has explained in public appearances, he didn’t want to give up on the idea that Sorceress was a “bad person”. Her personality is perhaps mirrored in her stern, cold, almost angry facial expression in Mark’s concept art.

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Mark has also said that, though initially “bad”, he had the idea that Sorceress could at times team up with either Skeletor or He-Man.

In the first series of minicomics, the Sorceress appears only in the aforementioned He-Man and the Power Sword. The illustrator, Alfredo Alcala, depicted the Sorceress with green skin color and snake armor, and this is the only time in the minicomics that she is seen this way. Contrary to Mark’s conceptualization, she is unambiguously heroic, providing help for He-Man and defending the Power Sword and Castle Grayskull.

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Alfredo Alcala’s interpretation of Mark Taylor’s Sorceress

Beginning with the 1982 DC Comics series of He-Man comics, the Sorceress was given a Caucasian human skin tone, similar to Teela. Mark Taylor intended that the Sorceress should get her own figure, as she tested well, but Mattel made a decision to “merge” Teela and Sorceress in production, into a single figure (more on this later).

As mentioned earlier, Teela was supposed to have her white costume upon which the golden decorations could be applied as a separate armor piece, while the Sorceress figure would have had the same body sculpt as Teela, with the snake armor piece in place of the gold decorative overlay. Mattel made the decision to make just one female figure in the first wave of figures, and in so doing they combined elements from both Teela and Sorceress. She was called Teela, the Warrior Goddess. She was manufactured with the golden decorations already sculpted on her costume, and the removable snake armor could be worn over top of that. She was given a red version of Sorceress’ original brown snake staff, and a red version of Teela’s original golden shield.

So actually, by buying a Teela figure you could either display her as the Sorceress or as the warrior maiden Teela. It is perhaps because of this change that the green skin theme was abandoned, and she was from that moment, depicted with normal human skin tone. The green sorceress doesn’t appear to have made it into prototype form, but the hybrid Teela/Sorceress concept did. It is mentioned in an interview by Paul Kupperberg that they used, for the most part, a box full of prototype toys and accessories as references when creating the DC Comics MOTU stories.

We see this reflected in comic book form first in the DC crossover comics, From Eternia With Death! (July 1982) and Fate is the Killer (November 1982). The Sorceress is referred to as both “the Sorceress” and then “the Goddess”. (Teela was at one point in the series given a totally new outfit to more clearly differentiate between the two.)

Starting from Death, the Sorceress’s home is the Cavern of Power, an important location for the early DC MOTU media, since Prince Adam transforms into He-Man by passing through the entrance of the Cavern (not by using his Power Sword).

The weapon of the Sorceress/Goddess in the first crossover comic is a golden spear and shield, identical to the accessories of the early Teela prototype figure, while in the second story, she is seen holding a cobra-headed staff.

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From Eternia With Death! – pencils by Curt Swan

In fact, in early media, whenever we see what looks like “Teela” with her cobra armor on, there is a chance that what we’re looking at is actually supposed to be the Sorceress:

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From Fate is the Killer, artwork by Curt Swan and Dave Hunt; note that this version has a golden snake staff, like the cross sell artwork for Teela.

Following these stories are the DC mini-series comics, containing three stories arranged into chapters: To Tempt the Gods, The Key to Castle Grayskull! and Within these Walls… Armageddon! Depicted very similarly to her previous appearance in the DC crossovers, the Sorceress gets a spotlight in this series, as it revolves around her rescue from Skeletor‘s imprisonment.

As a side note, the people at DC Comics also depicted Teela with a bikini in the first issue of the mini-series, and then with no explanation illustrated her with her regular outfit from the second issue onward.

James Eatock, who had original B&W pages of the miniseries, mentioned this: “Throughout the third issue, Teela was illustrated in her Battleground Teela costume… each illustration of her has white-out over the top and her “standard” costume is re-drawn!” That could mean the last minute decision to utilize the Teela action figure for two characters caused these changes in the comic.

On that third issue, DC mentions on their Letters page that “DC has produced a special series of mini-comics that will be “packed-in” with a whole new group of Masters of the Universe hero and villain toys. In one story “The Tale of Teela”, you’ll discover that Teela is a mystical extension of the goddess…”

In the wave two (1983) series of minicomics, the Sorceress is featured in four issues: The Magic Stealer!, He-Man meets Ram-Man, The Ordeal of Man-E-Faces! and The Tale of Teela!, but is also seen on the cover of The Power of Point Dread!, though she doesn’t take any part in the actual story.

In The Magic Stealer! the Sorceress is again referred as the “Goddess”, and the same title is used for her in The Tale of Teela!, a story in which an actual magical merging of Teela and the Goddess takes place, possibly as a fictional counterpart to Mattel’s decision on merging the designs of Teela and the Sorceress. In all other cases, in the mini-comics, she is called “the Sorceress”.  So, the DC produced wave 2 mini-comics stand out in this regard as well.

Minicomics series 2 group

In the MOTU series Bible, written in late 1982 by Michael Halperin, the Sorceress is described as “…an elegant and beautiful woman adorned in snake shaped armor and bearing a twisted snake-headed staff.” Judging from this description, she was supposed to appear as she did in the mini-comics and the DC comics.

The Series Bible also gives her an origin story: she is of celestial origin and appears on Eternia when Zodac calls to the stars for advice. She is a peace-loving being, yet dressed for war. Her role is that of stern but wise mother figure who foresees the rise of a powerful champion will defend the planet from evil. After the Hall of Wisdom transforms into Castle Grayskull, the Sorceress remains behind to guard it.

Zoar is also featured in the 1982 Series Bible but is described as an immense, colossal-sized falcon. There is no indication, at this point, that Zoar is the alter ego of the Sorceress.

The Sorceress as depicted in the 1983 Kid Stuff Castle Grayskull audio story is very similar to how she is portrayed in the 1982 Series Bible, from her physical description and the staff she is carrying, to her prophecy of the appearance of the forces of evil and He-Man.  Her illustration in the book matches the one in the minicomics and DC comics.

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The early, snake-themed Sorceress is not seen in the first four Golden Books stories released in 1983, but a Sorceress is mentioned in the Thief of Castle Grayskull, created sometime in 1983. It actually remains unknown which version of the Sorceress was discussed here, though Skeletor says that she guards and lives inside Castle Grayskull, which more likely indicates the latter Sorceress, showcasing the ever-changing world of Eternia as comics and books were published.

This is of course speculation, but her staying in Grayskull is a strong case for the falcon-outfitted character, as well as the mention of Snake Mountain which didn’t exist during the time that cobra-armor Goddess was prevalent. What we do know is that Teela is universally depicted wearing the snake armor in these stories.

The sorceress appears in The Sunbird Legacy, likely released a bit later in 1983. In this story her look is based on her appearance in the Filmation cartoon (more on that later).

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On an interesting note, as the role of the Sorceress was being more defined and in a changing state, in the German audioplays the Sorceress was depicted as the Spirit of Grayskull. Appearing as a head in a cloud (similar to minicomic “The Temple of Darkness”). The heroes usually would go to Grayskull in search for advice and the Sorceress mainly talked in cryptic words to them, leaving it up to the heroes to find out what her clues meant.

The early Sorceress also appears in the 1984 World I.P. UK Annual. (The Annual seems to draw from very early source materials – for instance, the book showcases many prototype toy photos, uses names early working names like Miro and Gorpo and includes Mark Taylor’s original idea that the Battle Ram’s front sled could only skim along low to the ground).

Though the Sorceress has the early snake-themed design, she seems to have the function of the later Sorceress – the Guardian of Castle Grayskull, as described in “The Time Portal Opens” story.

The Sorceress, again wearing with her snake priestess costume, shows up The Shrine of the Iron Mountains. Teela also appears, without the snake armor. Confusingly, in the same book, the prototype figure with snake armor is labeled as “Teela.” At this point the difference between the two characters is tough to suss out, and it’s no wonder really that the Sorceress was fated for a radical redesign.

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Image courtesy of Jukka Issakainen

At some point in 1983, the Sorceress was redesigned by the Filmation Studios.  The changes made to the character of the Sorceress were not only visual, but also concerned her relationship with Zoar, her role and duties, and many other aspects of her character.

The first two major differences made are most evident and perhaps inseparable, and concern her overall appearance and design changes as well as her relation to Zoar.

In the 1983 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Series Guide, written as an official updated version of the 1982 MOTU Bible, she got a totally new concept design. Sorceress was illustrated with purple skin and somewhat ancient Egyptian costume design. It seems as if at this point, the Filmation staff made a decision to unify Zoar and the Sorceress into one character. The falcon was simply an alternate magical form of the Sorceress. This is stated in the Series Guide – the Sorceress can retain her human form only inside Castle Grayskull and if she wanted to venture outside, she had to transform herself into Zoar.

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For the series itself, the Sorceress got her final design which implemented many aspects from the orange, white and blue of Zoar in the design. Whether the decision to change colors for Zoar came at same time with Filmation’s Sorceress designs is speculation. According to James Eatcok; for the first batch of character models, there are three primary designers at Filmation; Herbert Hazelton, Diane Keener and Carol Lundberg. It is likely that at least one of those three worked on the Sorceress design.

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When analyzing the differences between the roll and duties of the early and the “new” Sorceress, one difference is evident – the early Sorceress was NOT bound to Castle Grayskull. The Castle seemed to stand on its own and protect itself, not needing a guardian. In fact, in the media where the pre-Filmation Sorceress was featured, she was rarely seen in the Castle, instead residing in Eternia’s woodlands or inside the Cavern of Power. Overall, concerning all the media where she appeared in, she had no “primary” duty, instead having many different responsibilities and roles, which ranged from guarding the two halves of the Power Sword and being the protector of the whole of Eternia, to being a god-like entity which is essential for the continued flow of time and space.

In the Filmation series, the Sorceress was a pivotal character, appearing in total of 62 episodes out of the 130 (not including her appearances in the She-Ra series). Early on she served a similar role to the pre-Filmation Sorceress, calling out the main hero when danger was imminent. Early in the first season, in the “Teela’s Quest” episode, we learned that the Sorceress, or Teela Na, was the biological mother of Teela. Due to her duties in the Castle, she kept that relationship secret, leaving her to be raised by Man-At-Arms.

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Image source: Jukka Issakainen
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Image source: Jukka Issakainen
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Image source: Jukka Issakainen

As more episodes were being produced, the Sorceress’ role grew, from Emotional support for characters like Orko, Guidance for Prince Adam, Magical help to heroes when required and acting as pivotal connection to other important characters like Zodac and Granamyr. Many times she also is seen keeping a careful eye of Eternia, acting as its overall Watcher, like when Evil-Lyn steals Coridite from the Widgets (“Evil-Lyn’s Plot”) or when there’s trouble at the Fortress in the Sands in “House of Shokoti – Part 1”.

The Sorceress’ impact in the show should not be underestimated. Often that impact actually comes through the catalyst of Teela. Their connection is explored in episodes such as “Teela’s Triumph”, “Into the Abyss” and the aforementioned “Teela’s Quest”. Her own origins were also explored in the episode “Origin of the Sorceress”, where it was revealed how she had been chosen to be the Guardian of Castle Grayskull, taking over for the castle’s previous guardian, Kuduk Ungol. It is revealed that the keeper of Grayskull was not necessarily blood-related, something that would be used in MYP series and to some extent the Modern DC Comics. The episode showcased her bravery and willingness to do whatever was necessary to protect Eternia.

The table below shows some major, (as well as few minor differences) between the snake-themed and the falcon-themed Sorceress:

Dejan table

These design and character changes became crucial as they were reflected in all other upcoming minicomics, books, and other materials (with a few exceptions like the UK Annuals). The snake theme was abandoned, as was the concept of the “Goddess”, and the “official” Sorceress became the falcon-themed guardian of Castle Grayskull. This version of the character undoubtedly became the most well-known and popular.

In the entire third series of the minicomics, and for the first time in the minicomics, the character has her “new” redesigned look she got from Filmation Studios, with the exception of the colors of her costume; instead he colored it simply white with some rendered shading. Just speculating here, but it’s possible that Alcala was provided with a black and white model-sheet but no color-codes (something similar happened for 2002 reboot).

The falcon-themed Sorceress makes her premiere in the Masks of Power story, illustrated by Alfredo Alcala. She has an almost identical design in He-Man and the Insect People and in The Obelisk, also illustrated by Alfredo Alcala.

Then, in The Secret Liquid of Life!, the Sorceress appears only on page one, drawn and inked by Larry Houston and Michael Lee, and colored by Charles Simpson. Seen only partially – her head, chest and arms – her costume and headdress are white, but somewhat different than in the other mini-comics, in that it has no sleeves and she lacks her feathered cape. Also her arms are bare showing her skin and golden arm wrists, similar to those Teela has. Mattel’s decision to change the Sorceress’s appearance from the early version to that of the falcon-themed Filmation version, is perhaps most evident in this panel (see below), where we see how Larry Houston initially illustrated the Sorceress, as the snake-themed version, and then changing it to the new design:

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Image Source: Larry Houston

What is interesting about this illustration is that she holds a falcon staff, not unlike the later Staff of Zoar – a toy accessory that will be produced much later in the figure series, with the first official Sorceress figure in 1987. This is also the only place in the mini-comics where we see such a staff (in the Filmation Series, the Sorceress was also without a staff). The bird design on the staff is different than that of her figure accessory, but the basic idea of a staff with a falcon motif remains the same.

The last series 3 minicomic to feature the Sorceress is the Temple of Darkness!, also illustrated by Larry Houston. Like the Sorceress herself, Zoar is colored differently than in the Filmation Series – here the falcon is completely blue. On page 12, she is seen with translucent white wings as she manifests before her rescuers.

Temple 1

When the Sorceress finally appears in the Golden Books stories in 1984 and afterward, she typically takes her design cues directly from the Filmation cartoon. Some of the stories she appears in include Masks of Evil, Time Trouble, The Sword of She-Ra, She-Ra, the Princess of Power, Skeletor’s Flower of Power, Teela’s Secret, The Horde, Demons of the Deep, Maze of Doom and New Champions of Eternia.  In a few cases she appears in a white cape, such as in Skeletor’s Flower of Power and The Horde.

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Sorceress appears in Golden’s Giant Picture Book – Heroic Warriors, illustrated by Fred Carillo. Image source: James’s Eatock’s He-Man and She-Ra blog.
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Sorceress appears in “Sticker Fun”, with illustration by R.L. Allen

In the 1985 minicomic Skeletor’s Dragon, the Sorceress  is given a new color scheme; though she retains her Filmation design, the greyish-white color of her costume has been changed to pink (illustrated by Peter Ledger and colored by Charles Simpson). From this point on, until The Ultimate Battleground story, she will retain this pink color scheme whenever she appears in the mini-comics. (Including: The Battle of Roboto and The Stench of Evil, both illustrated by Larry Houston and colored by Charles Simpson; Zoar is also seen, this time as a pink falcon.)

A pink clad Sorceress also appears in the very first story of the Princess of Power mini-comics  – The Story of She-Ra, illustrated by Jim Mitchell and colored by Charles Simpson, which was created around the similar time as the MOTU comics of Series 4 (1984/1985).

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In the fifth series of minicomic, the first two stories where the Sorceress appears, The Flying Fists of Power! and King of the Snake Men, again feature her clad in the pink costume. However, in her third appearance (in The Ultimate Battleground!) her colors match those of the Filmation Series, though the artist made a small mistake with upper part of her costume above the breasts – she seems to be lacking her blue V collar undershirt, but not the sleeves. From this minicomic, to the end of the original MOTU mini-comic series, she will retain this Filmation-accurate color scheme.

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All of the Series 6 mini-comics came packed with Wave 6 figures in 1987, among which was the Sorceress figure. This could explain why the Sorceress’s color scheme was changed from the former pink to match the colors of her action figure/Filmation appearance.

In the entire Series 6 the Sorceress is no longer bound to Castle Grayskull: starting from the first story. In The Search for Keldor the Sorceress explains how, since the appearance of the Three Towers of Eternia, she can freely assume and maintain her human form outside Grayskull. It was established in the Filmation cartoon that she could be in human form mainly inside the Castle, although Filmation themselves played fast and loose with this “rule”. And in minicomics’ own canon, it should be noted that she is frequently seen in human form outside the castle.

The Sorceress also takes a more active role in battle in series 6, which was not common in the previous mini-comics. In Series 6 she casts complex spells, engages in magical combat, and even sacrifices herself for the life of Queen Marlena. It may be that these changes were introduced as a marketing decision to her more appealing as an action figure and give her more to do during play time.

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It’s a bit odd that the Sorceress’ release was delayed until 1987, the tail end of the MOTU toyline. It may coincide with movie’s release (she was included in the movie). She’s a character that surely many fans wanted to see in toy form, thanks to her pivotal presence and impact in the Filmation cartoon. However, given Mattel’s resistance to releasing two female figures in the first wave, it could be that they were reluctant to release a third female figure (after Teela and Evil-Lyn) in a toy line aimed primarily at boys.

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Sorceress cross sell art

The figure itself was sculpted by Martin Arriola. Reflecting on the figure, Martin recently recalled:

The hardest one I worked on was Sorceress. Her wings popped out on her backpack. Roger Sweet promised all those things. It’s hard to pack a mechanism on a thin-looking body. There was no other way I could do it except to put hump on her back.

Unlike most Masters of the Universe figures, Sorceress had the ability to raise her arms horizontally due to her ball-jointed shoulders. However, she lacked articulation in the head. Matteal easily could have reused Teela’s legs for this figure, but instead chose to give her all unique parts, including boots with feather detailing at the cuffs. The figure also came with the “staff of Zoar”, which seems to have been invented for the toy (but as previously discussed, somewhat resembles a design by Larry Houston earlier in the minicomic series), and it suits the character very well.

Her design doesn’t exactly match the Filmation version – she has more pronounced wings, and her headdress is tilted upward. This gives her the appearance of a bird in flight when you hold her horizontally, but compromises the look of the figure somewhat when she is standing.

Some promotional artwork by Pat Dunn depicts the sorceress with a clip on the wing that attached to her forearm. This was not present in the production toy, and may have been present in an early prototype:

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Image Source: The Art of He-Man

The artwork on the front of her packaging was done by Bruce Timm, and the artwork on the back of her packaging was done by Errol McCarthy:

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Artwork by Errol McCarthy – interestingly, the Sorceress faces off against Hordak, who was primarily an Etherian villain, at least in the cartoon.

Errol also illustrated her for an appearance in the 1987 Style Guide. Note that her bio takes elements from both the original MOTU Bible and the Filmation cartoon. She is also said to be the ally of He-Ro, a character that was planned for a 1987/88 release but never produced.

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

For the 1987 Power Tour, the Sorceress (played by Sally Ann Bartunek) also was part of the story and had a bird-motif outfit with white-blue colors, highlighted by gold parts.

The Sorceress appeared in the 1987 Masters of the Universe movie, played by Christina Pickles. In the film she played her traditional role as guardian of Castle Grayskull, although her costume (like many others in the film) underwent a radical redesign:

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The all-white costume is very elegant and may work better for film-adaptation than a animal-motif costume. The colors are also a great contrast of goodness when standing next to all-black that Skeletor wears. The final look was a collaboration by Production designer William Stout and costume designer Julie Weiss. Though Stout had hired Jean “Moebius” Giraud to do concept designs for the Sorceress, sadly none were used. Moebius had one idea where the million-year-old Sorceress be played by a 12-year old girl.

The sorceress makes an appearance William George’s Eternia and Preternia posters, done late in the toyline:

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The character of the Sorceress appears in both New Adventures of He-Man minicomics (the earliest released with figures in 1989) and cartoon series (first aired in fall 1990), despite the fact that she didn’t have a figure in the new line and probably was not planned to have one.

In the minicomics of this series, the Sorceress gets a very interesting design change, and this version is the most technology-based, futuristic design of the Sorceress seen in any MOTU media. Two of four mini-comics of this series, among which is the first mini-comic, were illustrated by Errol McCarthy.

Her new design is shown on the front cover of first minicomic of the series, The New Adventure. She is seen floating in the air in a metallic-white cyber outfit, with all traces of the falcon costume gone, except for the helmet that is only reminiscent of the falcon theme (notice the feather-like plates below her jaw line and a crest-like plate above her forehead, on the closeup panels).

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From the story point, the Sorceress and the Power of Grayskull (now contained within Starship Eternia) served to connect Eternia and old He-Man mythos with the new one in the future of Tri-Solar System. Two other major changes made to the character are: the concept of Zoar seems to be abandoned; and the Sorceress is no longer associated with Castle Grayskull in any way, but seems to be connected with Starship Eternia where the Power of Graykull now lies.

It should also be noted that the Sorceress in “The New Adventures of He-Man” cartoon looks completely different, and her design looks like a hybrid between the Filmation look and the mini-comic version, as it has the elements of both.

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Image source: Bustatoons Blog

Sorc ad sheet

Special thanks to James Eatock and Sebastian “Sir Reilly” Vogl (from PlanetEternia).