So Sayeth the Odinson: A Look at Comics History: Part 6 of 10 – DC Universe and Masters of the Universe

Greetings from the Odinson,

A Look at Comics History: Part 6 of 10 – DC Universe and Masters of the Universe

Not every team-up goes over as smoothly as peanut butter and chocolate.

The Odinson is taking a look back at Comics History.  More specifically, I will be looking at interactions and relationships between characters that do not necessarily have much in common but when they do interact, it’s always noteworthy. 

I’ve written down the names of ten different odd couples on Post-its, threw them in my winged helmet, and each week I will pull one at random. 

This week, the Defenders of Castle Grayskull and the Legends of the DCU.  

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe are the greatest heroes on the far off world of Eternia and the defenders of the secrets of Castle Grayskull, a primordial, foreboding citadel that contains all the secrets of the cosmos within its cragged stone walls.  The DC Universe is the original comic book universe and home of the World’s Greatest Super Heroes.

Mighty Men and Monsters DC Comics Presents #47 marked not only the very 1st appearance of He-Man in comics, but it also marked the very first time the Masters of the Universe would crossover with the DC Universe.  In this classic tale by writer Paul Kupperberg and classic Superman artist Curt Swan, Superman suddenly finds himself on a strange world of magic and super science where the evil Skeletor uses his dark sorcery to set the Man of Steel against his arch foe He-Man.     

Comic Book Secret Origins – The Masters of the Universe have a long, sporadic history in comic books.  Everyone from Marvel to Image took turns bringing them to life in the four color medium.  But it was in 1982, when DC Comics published the very first Masters of the Universe standard size comic book, officially making MotU a part of the DC Multiverse.

Oddly enough, to the best of the Odinson’s knowledge, this 3-part tale with gorgeous art by George Tuska and Alfredo Alcala has never been collected into trade or hardcover formats.

In 2012, after decades of bouncing around from publisher to publisher, Master of the Universe finally returned home to DC Comics for arguably their best four color run of All-Time.  This stellar run includes a follow up 19-issue Master of the Universe series in 2013, the origins of MotU’s greatest villains – Skeletor and Hordak, the epic Eternia War, and the long overdue and greatly satisfying He-Man/ThunderCats crossover!  All set within the continuity of the DC Multiverse.

Plus, He-Man, along with his allies and enemies, played important roles in two big DC events, but more on that in a moment.    

Masters of the Mini Comics – Back in the 1980s, when the original Masters of the Universe toys were released, each individual action figure had its very own Mini Comic sealed with it in the package.  This feature made these toys stand out, even amongst a throng of stellar 1980s toy that included Star Wars, GI Joe and Transformers.  These mini gems expanded on the mythology and gave children of the 80s a springboard with which to bounce ideas off of for Saturday morning playtime.   

These magnificent mini comics had amazing artwork by comic book legends Alfredo Alcala (Swamp Thing) and Mark Texiera (Wolverine).  The 2nd Wave of these mini comics, which were released in 1983, was produced by DC Comics.  This wave of titles included He-Man Meets Ram-Man, The Ordeal of Man-E-Faces, The Terror of Tri-Klops, The Menace of Trapjaw, The Tale of Teela, The Magic Stealer, and The Power of…Point Dread.

The entire run of mini comics were collected by Dark Horse in a beautiful hardcover titled He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection.

Universes Collide – In the pages of DC Universe vs. the Masters of the Universe two iconic franchises collide in a big way!  He-Man and the Masters track down the fiend Skeletor across the cosmos and find him taking up residence on planet Earth.  There they find themselves set against the Justice League.  As these two iconic forces for justice collide, Skeletor plots and schemes from the shadows with a mysterious benefactor.

Who is this mysterious puppet master that can manipulate two of the mightiest forces for good into a battle to the death?

An Important Role to Play – The Masters of the Universe play a very important role in yet another big DCU storyline.  Injustice: Gods Among Us is a long running mega series that was inspired by the 2013 video game of the same name.  Set in an alternate reality where Superman has been driven over the edge by the errant actions of the Joker, Injustice shows a path where a full blown civil war breaks out amongst the heroes of the DCU, one side being led by a tyrant Man of Steel, and an underground rebellion being led by Batman.   

Over the course of nearly a decade of storytelling, the Injustice Saga takes place before, during, and after the events of the popular video game and its sequel.  It draws in every corner of the DC Universe into the conflict including the Worlds of Science Fiction, Magic, Mythology, and Villains.  All these components are the elements that define the World of Masters of the Universe!

This is significant because it is in the pages of Injustice vs. Masters of the Universe that the Injustice Saga finally reaches its explosive climax.  In an epic finale, He-Man and his allies are drawn into the conflict to stop the tyrant Superman and end his reign of terror once and for all, while at the same time facing down a full scale assault on the ramparts of Castle Grayskull by Darkseid and the armies of Apokolips! 

The Toy Connection – The Masters of the Universe toy line is one of the most iconic toy lines to come out of the 1980s Golden Age of action figures.  With its amazing character designs, stellar package graphics, and enduring mythology, it truly deserves its spot on the Mount Rushmore of 80s toys.  One of the aspects that helped it stand out in such a competitive era, besides the afore mentioned Mini Comics, was the scale of the figures.  At 5 ½ inches tall, these hulking action figures towered over the 3 ½-in. standard used by Star Wars and GI Joe

This was a difference that helped He-Man and the Masters toys stand out, and it was a difference that did not go unnoticed by others.

Not long after and inspired by the distinct Masters of the Universe toy line, Remco, the K-Mart equivalent of Mattel, released a series of musclebound 5 ½-inch action figures based on the DC Comic Warlord.  This short lived but super cool knockoff series included action figures of Travis Morgan, Arak Son of Thunder, the villainous Deimos, the lycanthropic Mikola Rostov, and the mighty Hercules.    

Masters of the Universe and the DC Universe have been entwined for four decades, and though they have not always been on the same comic book path, I believe it’s safe to say they are both better and stronger together than they are apart.

Be sure to tune in next week as the Odinson picks another pair of random names from my winged helmet and explores their shared Comic Book History. 

This is Odinson bidding thee farewell     

NOTE: Be sure to check out my new book – Autumn Dawn: A Glen Haven Tale.  Available in Paperback, on Kindle, and Audiobook

About Odinson

I am a lifelong comics fan and pop culture enthusiast. Comic books, novels, games, television, movies, I love it all. From fantasy to science fiction, drama to comedy, as long as the writing and execution are interesting, I love it, and I want to talk about it.

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