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  • Writer's pictureSimon Faiers

"I have the power!"

I got this strange urge the other day to draw He-man.

The He-man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon ruined the character for me. My introduction to him was as a bad-ass-looking, Conan-esque figure armed with axe, sword and shield, riding on an armoured green tiger and battling skull-faced wizards and orange neanderthals in the pages of the DC tie-in comic. The combination of medieval and futuristic weaponry was very appealing to my ten-year-old self, and, I believe, unique to the He-man universe at that time.

Then along came the cartoon series, and I was horrified to discover that the barbarian aspects of the character had been toned down to make him more of a bog-standard superhero (albeit one living in a world of science and sorcery). Gone were the axe and shield, and all that was left was He-man's sword, which he used as a door-opener and laser-beam-blocker, but never to kill anyone. (He didn't even chop anyone's hands off, which put him several notches below Luke Skywalker on the scale of heroic bad-assery.) The cartoon introduced a cute little floating sidekick in a pointy hat, reduced Skeletor to a pathetic pantomime plot-of-the-week villain and managed to shoehorn in an important message about crossing the road safely or standing up to bullies every week.

Ah, He-man, you had such potential, but in the end I had to drop you in favour of Optimus Prime.

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