What’s a Skull Man?

Back in the 80′s, the action figure aisles were ruled by four archetypes–robots, commandoes, ninjas, and barbarians. Of the barbarians, Masters of the Universe was the most prominent line. A few other action figure brands wisely chose to mimic the proportions of Masters of the Universe figures, and marketed their lesser known figures as being compatible with all popular 5.5″ figure lines. Perhaps the best known manufacturer of such figures was Remco–they produced figures based on DC Comics’ Warlord, and the companion line to Warlord was The Warrior Beasts–which brings me to today’s post.

The Warrior Beasts consisted of a group of beastly humanoids and a few monstrous mounts who could all act as antagonists for your Warlord figures (or other 5.5″ action figures). But strangely, in the midst of this group of beasts and beast-headed humanoids, there was a skull-headed Skeletor-esque figure appropriately named Skull Man (not to be confused with a hero of the same name). Here’s my interpretation of the character, drawn to fit in with my various Masters of the Universe drawings:

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But how would he fit into the world of Masters of the Universe, you ask? Well, here’s some nerdy background info I concocted for Skull Man:

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PROFILE: Cold and efficient, SKULL MAN is not only a mercenary, but an expert tracker and sleuth, armed with a cunning intellect. His hand-to-hand combat abilities hint at extensive training in martial arts from across the galaxy–this expertise allows his him to match up against opponents who would otherwise outmatch him in brute strength. Skull Man’s favored weapons are the bow and dagger.

HISTORY: The enigmatic mercenary SKULL MAN operates under his own rules, sometimes working for the forces of good, and sometimes working for the forces of evil. He has his own motivations, but those motivations are as unknown as his true identity. He has been known to operate in Skartaris, but most recently has been sighted on Eternia, allied with the Raqquill Rqazz’s personal army, the Warrior Beasts of Berserker Island.

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Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here and my post is here.

Ape in a Cape

Drawn for a re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The subject is Gygor, a never-made concept for a He-Man toy, as described by a former Mattel employee. Read up on Gygor, and check out the other entries in the challenge’s thread. My post can be seen here. First round polls are here and here. Final poll is here.

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It was tough making the colors from Gygor’s description work. Maybe they don’t work? On the other hand, the description of Gygor’s colors very much paralleled the garish colors of Battle Cat, so maybe if the colors don’t work that means they are working? Anyways, I designed Gygor’s helmet to mirror Battle Cat’s as well. The guns are all modelled on Stridor‘s armaments. The chair mounted on Gygor’s backpack should give you a sense of his scale.

A garishly colored giant gorilla decked out in a cape and high-tech energy weapons… hmmm… something’s missing. Oh, I know–how about some supplemental nerdy background info, written by yours truly? Here you go:

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PROFILE: Standing at well over 13 feet tall, the ancient being known as GYGOR is one of the most powerful entities on Eternia. His physical strength surpasses that of He-Man, his wisdom rivals that of the Sorceress, and his knowledge encompasses aeons of Eternia’s rich history. His helm is made from the hide of a powerful prehistoric Eternian beast, and he is outfitted with a battle harness powered by an enchanted gem. The harness is armed with two heavy shoulder blasters, two hip mounted stun rays, and rotating light rapid fire blasters mounted on the back turret. Gygor rarely needs to rely on more than his brute strength and great wisdom, but he has also demonstrated powerful spellcasting abilities from time to time.

HISTORY: Gygor was already ancient in the days of King Grayskull, and in fact, records indicate that Gygor was a staunch ally and advisor to the legendary king. Allegedly, in modern day Eternia, Gygor has been sighted travelling towards Castle Grayskull. Has Gygor returned to aid the heroes of the land in the dark times that have descended upon Eternia? Only time will tell…

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That Girl(?) is Poison

Today’s post is for yet another re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here, my post is here. The first round voting threads are here and here (my entry didn’t get enough votes to proceed), and the final vote is here.

Apparently, in an issue of the UK He-Man comics, Hordak disguised himself as the “Dream Mistress,” and tried to deceive Stonedar… Stonedar didn’t fall for it (lucky for him). [Place your own cross-dressing joke here]

I chose to interpret the Dream Mistress as a shapeshifting entity who works for Hordak as a spy and saboteur. Here she/it is, in both Horde (right) and non-Horde (left) garb:

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The non-Horde version isn’t significantly altered, so I threw in the Horde version as a re-design (or alternate costume, at the very least). The pose is rather generic, pretty much just a minor variation of a standby that I go to when drawing women (or shapeshifters that look like women). I was a bit short on time for this one.

The Big Oh-Two

(Posted early for the New Year)

So, I’ve now been at it on this sketchblog for two full years! Please, hold your applause until the end of the post. I just want to take a second to thank anyone and everyone who’s dropped by to take a look or leave a comment. I hope you all stay tuned, I’ve got plenty of nerdy sketches left in me yet.

And on that note–I started this blog with an illustration of Skeletor, so here for my second bloggiversary, at last, is Skeletor’s mortal enemy, the hero of Eternia, He-Man:

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My take on He-Man is primarily drawn from the cartoon version, but with a few minor creative liberties. I rendered the red elements on He-Man’s baldric as Korodite crystals, and made the straps on the baldric a darker color. I gave him slightly longer, more unruly hair (with sideburns), instead of his original, inexplicable, pageboy hair cut. I wish I hadn’t drawn the legs so hyper-elongated. But I am happy with how the colors came together.

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

Horrible Post Title #063885: Owl or Nothing

A quick note about the posting schedule for the rest of the year… the second sketch for this week (normally scheduled for Friday) will go up on Wednesday December 24th. Friday, instead, will see a bonus post featuring something that’s a tiny bit different from my usual fare.

Next week, however the second sketch will go up a day early, in the wee hours of New Year’s Day (Thursday), as has become a tradition here.

I’m sure you’re all terribly enthralled by the ins and outs of my post scheduling. Here’s today’s subject, She-Ra’s ally Kowl, in both cartoon and toy forms:

As is my custom, I repurposed the significantly differently-colored toy version into a new character. Corujito, as best as I can figure, means “little owl” in Portuguese, which is how one of the international releases of Kowl was named (using my Sherlock Holmes-like powers of deduction, I’m going to guess it was the Portuguese and/or Brazilian version). I decided to spell it Korujito, just to give the name a bit more of a connection with Kowl. Korujito’s gem and title derive from the play feature of the toy, which I guess was some kind of color-changing gem that ‘answered your questions’ with different colors–I suspect it was a mood ring-like decal, like the old faction sigils on Transformers. But I digress.

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PROFILE: Kowl’s young nephew, KORUJITO, is a “chosen one” of their people. He was born with the ability to divine possible futures through the Oracular Gem, an artifact used by seers and oracles throughout the history of Etheria. Korujito is but a child, however he is wise and serene beyond his years.

HISTORY: Korujito is part of an emerging group of young heroes who have become protectors of Etheria while She-Ra is posted in Eternia. The rulers united under the Rebellion consult Korujito’s clairvoyant powers when they are faced with grave decisions, and his serene counsel has been invaluable to the stoic and conflicted protector of Etheria, Starburst. Korujito is a frequent companion of the impulsive Princess Sorciela, and Kowl seems to spend an inordinate amount of time keeping the two of them out of trouble.

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Kowl is also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

And Korujito is also posted here on my variants thread

Pretty (Dangerous) in Pink

Hang on–here comes another convoluted nerdy ramble from yours truly. I like to make things complicated, don’t I?

There’s another re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The subject this time is Teela, as she appeared in The New Adventures of He-Man. This version of Teela had almost no resemblance to previous versions–however, I liked the character design so much that I decided to just draw a straight-up interpretation rather than a re-design. Because I didn’t change the design aside from a few details, I didn’t enter her in the challenge, but I did give her a new name and persona, and post her in my variants thread instead. The post is here. And while I didn’t enter the re-design challenge, there are some awesome entries, which you should definitely check out.

Less talking, more super-hott space-amazon with sword:

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I’m happy with how this one came out, especially her somewhat relaxed-yet-ready-to-kick-ass pose. The colors (which are loyal to the source material) are somewhat cliche in their “girliness,” but ultimately I think it’s a good color scheme. I can take no credit for the great details of the costume–the slick-looking sword, the arrowheaded scabbard, the multi-pronged helm–everything was present in the original design.

The new moniker, Leeta is an anagram of Teela. I do have a bit of a backstory thought up for her, but it requires me to reveal some other plot points of my own concoction, so presented below is a bare bones version of her bio. And just in case anyone is keeping score at home, in my interpretation of The New Adventures of He-Man, Primus is merely a distant planet, not a future locale requiring time travel.

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PROFILE: An invaluable member of the Galactic Guardians of Primus, LEETA is a Paladin belonging to the order of an ancient warrior goddess. Having shed the headstrong recklessness of her youth, Leeta is a disciplined master warrior, with amazing sword skills, and strong leadership abilities. Her strength and speed appear to be significantly beyond ‘normal’ levels. Leeta is a friend and frequent sparring partner to Mara.

HISTORY: Not long after Leeta first joined the Galactic Guardians, He-Man and Master Sebrian were able to negotiate peace between Primus and Denebria. With true stability established, He-Man was finally able to begin his long journey back to Eternia. Years later, the people of Primus discovered that He-Man never made it back to his home. Indebted to the Eternian hero for bringing peace to their solar system, the leaders of Primus and Denebria assembled a joint task force to find the whereabouts of He-Man. Leeta was one of the first to volunteer, and acts as one of the top lieutenants, under the task force commander.

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Don’t Be Such A Crab (part 2 of 2)

As promised in my last post, here’s the toy version of Clawful, probably considered to be the standard version by most:
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It always struck me as odd that the Clawful action figure looked like a tan guy in a crab costume, so I colored Clawful’s flesh like crab meat. Corny, yes, but I think it works. His bewitched, flaming green mace is a nod to the action figure’s neon green weapon. The drawing itself is nothing to write home about… on the other hand, I’m very satisfied with how the colors came out.

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

Don’t Be Such A Crab (part 1 of 2)

Okay, this is a little confusing–Skeletor had a henchman named Clawful, who was a crab-like humanoid in toy form, but was depicted as a sea serpent-like humanoid with crab claws in the cartoon. Naturally, I decided both versions could co-exist, and renamed the cartoon version after a crab-themed Transformers character. Huh? Oh well, here he is, cartoon-Clawful, rechristened Squeezeplay:

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This one has its awkward points… the right leg is stupidly wrong, and the claws are pretty clunky looking. But I like how the gem and the gold armor turned out. Tune in next time for the other Clawful.

Also posted here on my variants thread on the He-Man.org fan-art forum.

Ultra Mega Super Post (CAUTION: contains He-Man related content)

Very quickly, for those of you who can’t get enough of me: Karen was kind enough to ask me eleven questions, and post my answers on the Paper Lotus Blog. I hesitate to call it an interview, because that would imply that people have any idea who I am or have any interest in what I have to say, but nevertheless you can read the post HERE.

Make sure you check out the rest of the Paper Lotus blog and Karen‘s own blog too! And in case you want to know what kind of a person Karen is, she gave me some cheeseless (vegan, I think?) macaroni and cheese today, and it was delicious.

Today’s post is another He-Man piece. Actually, it’s multiple He-Man related pieces combined into one giant montage for a re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The subject is the Talon Fighter and Point Dread. The thread is here, my post is here. The voting thread is here–my entry landed first place!

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Woof, there’s a lot to cover here, so I’m going bullet-point:

  • The Talon Fighter is very close to the design of the original toy, but I gave it room for four (the toy seated two, but I seem to recall that it could carry more passengers in the classic cartoon–I may be wrong).
  • General notes on all Talon Fighters shown–the original toy had a handle, like a gun, so that kids could hold the Talon Fighter… um… like a gun, I guess. I replaced this “handle” with a tail section to make the fighter even more bird-like. I gave the legs, feet, and claws a more mechanized design, as I imagined them being used in combat, almost like a real bird of prey, thus making the name Talon Fighter even more appropriate. The clawed limbs can also be used to let the vehicles walk or climb. And I added racing stripes, which I feel are pretty sharp.
  • The Point Dread playset was a single tower, and source material from the era indicated that it was located on an island. I decided to portray Point dread as an entire outpost, used as a base of operations for the Talon Fighter (more on that below, in my in-fiction background material).
  • The Prototype XTF-1′s are based on the Monogram model kit version of the Talon Fighter. The box depicted the Talon Fighter in yellow and scarlet, but photos I’ve seen of the model itself have the colors reversed, hence the two versions shown. As far as changes, I added visible engine units, with air intakes, and gave the cockpit a two-seat configuration like something you might see in a military helicopter.
  • The TF-2 variations are all pretty self-explanatory. The standard version of the TF-2 has a small radar dish, not so different from the original Talon Fighter, while the Long Range Scout (TF-2LR) has a large dish, inspired by real life AWAC systems. Extrapolating from the colors of Man-At-Arms‘s uniform and the Wind Raider, I deducted that green/yellow/orange must be Eternian military colors–thus the coloring of the basic TF-2 model depicts “standard issue” coloration. The other TF-2 variations are depicted in colors from specific squadrons. Of particular note–the XTF-2E is colored to resemble either Zoar or the Sorceress.

Now, how about some in-depth, in-fiction info?

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Point Dread: In the distant days of King Grayskull, the children of Zoar the falcon god flew freely in the sky. These giant birds of prey were friends to good, and enemies of evil. Point Dread, was originally a meeting place for the children of Zoar and their humanoid allies, an outpost against the forces of evil. Today, Point Dread has been reclaimed by a small force commanded by Man-At-Arms, once again establishing an outpost against the many dangers that threaten Eternia. The giant perches where Zoar’s brood once roosted are now occupied by squadrons of Talon Fighters.

Talon Fighter: Talon, Zoar’s youngest child, was an ally and close friend of King Grayskull. He was widely known for his bravery, but also for his stubborn recklessness. Disobeying his father’s warnings of caution, Talon fell in battle, mortally wounded. Zoar would not heal his foolhardy and arrogant son, so King Grayskull ordered his followers to rebuild Talon’s body from sacred metal that had fallen from the skies. Even in his new form as the Talon Fighter, the son of Zoar was willful and reckless–only his good friend King Grayskull could calm him and fly him into battle. In the modern age, only He-Man can pilot the Talon Fighter, due to his genetic lineage to King Grayskull.

Talon, the Son of Zoar Reborn: With He-Man missing, and Eternia in dire need of heroes, Zoar has decided to give his brash son another chance to prove himself. Talon’s consciousness has been fully restored, and he can shapeshift freely between the the shape of the Talon Fighter and his new humanoid form.

Prototype XTF-1 (Experimental Twin-Seat Fighter): Charged with fortifying Eternian defenses in the face of invasion, Man-At-Arms has been researching new technologies from Point Dread. Seeking to duplicate the awesome power of the Talon Fighter in a more controllable form, Man-At-Arms and his team of scientists and engineers created the XTF-1. Mass-production of the XTF-1 was scrapped, but its creation did eventually lead to the development of the TF-2 series. Only two XTF-1′s are in existence, and are still used on a limited basis. The XTF-1 has speed and firepower comparable to the original Talon Fighter, but has slightly weaker armor, reduced maneuverability, and poor fuel efficiency.

TF-2 Series (Mass Production Single-Seat Fighters): With the help of newly discovered partial blueprints from the original Talon Fighter, and the Sorceress’s arcane knowledge, Man-At-Arms has successfully perfected a Talon Fighter design suitable for mass production. Faster, and drastically smaller, the TF-2 series are invaluable in the aerial defense of Eternia against the forces of evil. Several variations have arisen for specific uses, including the TF-2LR (Long Range Scout Fighter), and the TF-2H (Heavy Assault Fighter).

XTF-2E (Elite Space Fighter): Still considered to be somewhat experimental, though already approved for field use and eventual mass-production, the XTF-2E is the crowning achievement of Man-At-Arms’s Talon Fighter program. Capable of space flight, and equipped with the latest in hi-tech armaments, only 15 XTF-2E’s are in existence. Talon Fighter pilots are already regarded as elite amongst the Eternian military, and the pilots of the XTF-2E are regarded as the elite among the elite. Historians may also note that while Man-At-Arms and the Sorceress had begun to slowly rebuild their personal relationship during the development of the TF-2, it was during the development of the Elite Space Fighter that the two finally rekindled their long dormant romance.

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If you picked up the Simpsons reference in here, you get a gold star. Two gold stars if you know which episode it’s from.

Well Loo-Kee Here…

Its been a while since I had a chance to nerd out He-Man style, so here’s an entry for a re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here, my post is here. The first round voting polls are here and here. And the final poll is here. I placed 7th out of the 8 finalists.

The subject is Loo-Kee:

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My re-design of Loo-Kee isn’t terribly drastic–I made his rainbow-colored 80′s leg warmers and wristbands into armored braces made of gold and engraved precious stones, and tied his feathered mullet back into a pony tail. I made his overall details a bit more feral and bestial, and armed him with two daggers–I figure Loo-Kee is probably able to handle himself in a fight if he’s a rebel spy in a war against the Horde.

Pink Panther and Snagglepuss!?

First of all, no, this is not a picture of the Pink Panther and Snagglepuss.

Second, I know you ladies are all wondering, how does a guy who spends his Saturday drawing pink kitties manage to stay single?

*sobbing and incoherent babbling*

Anyways… today’s post was drawn for a re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here, my post is here. The first round voting polls are here and here, and the final vote can be found here–I placed 4th out of the finalists.

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The subject is Clawdeen, the feline mount of She-Ra’s foe Catra. There has been a lot of debate about Clawdeen’s gender, owing to the fact that the toy is identified as a “she” and has feminine-looking eyelashes, in spite of otherwise resembling a male lion (it has a mane like a male lion, however it lacks a tuft on its tail). In contrast, the cartoon version simply looks like a male lion (I don’t recall if its gender is ever specified).

My solution to the gender question was to make the toy and animation versions of Clawdeen into separate characters. The toy version, retaining the name Clawdeen and the specified female gender, gains an armored helm–I leave it to the reader’s imagination whether the plume of hair is Clawdeen’s mane, or simply a part of the helm. The cartoon version becomes Clawdius, Clawdeen’s mate. I swiped the name from Lion-O‘s dad.

I did my best to make Clawdeen feminine without resorting to the heavy-handed shorthand that the original toy suffered from (eyeshadow, long eyelashes). With Clawdius, I was striving for a groomed, submissive feel, to contrast the feral and somewhat crazed look of Manticore. Considering I had the handicap of working with almost nothing but variations of the color pink, I’m pretty happy with how the colors turned out.

I’d be lion if I said this wasn’t a terrible title.

(Posting Early… )

Today’s illustration is a monstrous steed for the subject of my previous post. He resembles his mythological namesake, but with some minor differences, and of course he’s patterned after Battle Cat, Panthor, and my own fan character, War-Tiger. He is not to be confused with Montecore.

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This one feels a little stiff and “blah” to me. But as longtime readers will note, I live my life by the phrase, “they can’t all be winners.” I’m happy with the color scheme though… I feel like I successfully emulated the bright and garish style of 80′s action figures. Forward, to the nerdy bio!

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PROFILE: Armed with a poisonous sting, a deafening roar, and the power of flight, the fearsome MANTICORE serves HIGH PRIEST LEO as loyally as the High Priest serves the God-King of Infinita. Like Battle Cat, Manticore is a highly intelligent creature, fully capable of speech.

HISTORY: Upon achieving the rank of High Priest, Manticore was granted to Leo by the God-King of Infinita himself, as a servant and ally. Manticore is the head of his clan, and is widely known for his arrogant sense of pride as well as his steadfast sense of loyalty and duty.

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Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here, and my post is here.

Starts with a "Skele-" and ends with a "-tor"

Okay, strap yourselves in kiddies, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. And by bumpy I mean nerdy. And by nerdy, I mean Skeletor-related.

Basically, there was a variation of Skeletor manufactured in India with a significantly different, darker color scheme. The Indian toy company was named Leo, and so this variation is known amongst He-Man enthusiasts as Leo Skeletor. Naturally, I decided that I needed to turn this into a new character, as is my custom:

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I’ll be the first to admit, this one is kind of a stretch. I took a look at the original toy and decided that I would interpret his dark blue body as chain mail, and using the moniker “Leo” as a theme, I integrated lion-related imagery into his armor to differentiate him from Skeletor proper. After that, his personality and background quickly fell into place.

A not-so-brief note to the truest of He-Man die-hards–you will note that the character’s ring is modelled after the glow-in-the-dark skull insignia ring that was included with the Trap Jaw and Tri-Klops action figures. The ring has no official backstory or copy attached to it–however the symbol on it has popularly become known amongst fans as the “Grayskull symbol,” believed to be modelled after Castle Grayskull or the spirit of Castle Grayskull (a smokey skull-shaped apparition that appeared in several of the early mini-comics that were packaged with the action figures).

However, this explanation still didn’t quite sit right with me… the shapes projecting from the top of the skull insignia’s head were too pointy to be the battlements of Castle Grayskull, and were also far too regular to be wisps of smoke as per the spirit of Grayskull. To my eyes, the projections looked far more like three demonic horns. While all that could be perhaps dismissed as me looking at the ring’s visual cues too literally, something bothered me even more–the fact that the ring was included only with two of Skeletor’s best-known evil warriors. Why were they the bearers of the mysterious rings?

To make a long story long, I decided to go against conventional wisdom–the insignia is not a symbol of Grayskull in my interpretation. I don’t claim to be an expert, and this is all just for fun, so I hope you’ll all enjoy yourselves as the story of that insignia unfolds through the continuing profiles of my variant characters, moving from the classic Masters of the Universe line, to the New Adventures of He-Man, and beyond.

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PROFILE: Hailing from the world Infinita, and serving the God-King of Infinita, HIGH PRIEST LEO is an alien warrior-cleric of the highest order. He was born of the same process that created Skeletor–given demonic powers and a terrifying skeletal visage through dark spellcraft and ritual scarring. Armed with a Havoc Staff (the traditional weapon of Infinitan priests) and accompanied by his winged mount MANTICORE, there is no zealot more fiercely devoted than Leo, whose famed exploits in the name of the God-King have earned him the title “the Lion of Infinita.” All who cross High Priest Leo’s path will bow to the will of the God-King of Infinita. HAIL INFINITA!

HISTORY: With no communications received from Eternia in years, Skeletor was declared a renegade, and the High Priest Leo was dispatched from Infinita to track down and report Skeletor’s whereabouts. His vessel damaged by a meteor shower, Leo crash landed somewhere in the jungles of Eternia, and began the long trek towards Snake Mountain.

Nearing the perimeter of Skeletor’s Fortress, Leo spyed Trap Jaw and Tri-Klops standing guard. With little effort, Leo stepped into the open and bested them both. As Trap Jaw lay on the ground groaning in agony, his prosthetic arm torn from its socket, Leo level his Havoc staff at Tri-Klops. Tri-Klops’s glaring red eye widened at the sight of Leo’s ring, bearing the insignia of the God-King of Infinita–a triple-horned black skull. “W-wait–there’s been a misunderstanding!” he stammered, as he fumbled through his belt pouch. Amused, the High Priest paused to see what attempt at bribery this Eternian could muster–though it did not matter, Leo would kill him one way or another. What Tri-Klops produced from his pouch was not gold or silver, but a blank ring. Tri-klops put it on his finger and held up his hand for Leo to see.

“Hail Infinita! Hail the God-King!” Tri-Klops cried. With a gleam of demonic energy, the triple-horned skull insignia materialized on Tri-klops’s ring. “We’ve been waiting for you, my lord.”

With great effort, Trap Jaw clumsily managed to put on a similar ring on his remaining good hand. He muttered the same invocation, and an identical insignia appeared on his ring as well. Leo stayed his hand, somewhat disappointed that he would have to spare these two Eternian wretches. “Tell me everything you know,” Leo demanded.

In the distance, a stealthy barbarian and his dreadlocked young ward strained to hear the conversation between the High Priest, the swordsman, and the cyborg. When the invader fell from the skies, they had shadowed him silently, ultimately tracking him to the fringes of Skeletor’s lands. The barbarian decided that they could no longer risk detection–it was imperative that this development was relayed to his allies in the capital.

Without a noise, Savage sneaked away, his protege on his heels.

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Also posted here on my variants thread on the He-Man.org fan-art forum.

For my other “new characters from old variants” posts:

Horrible Post Title #954774: Two Heads Are Better Than One

Apparently I’ve been in a He-Man sort of mood? Here’s Two Bad, another of Skeletor’s minions:

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While Two-Bad was billed as a strategist, he was rarely played for anything but laughs. I think he has a lot of untapped potential, and if it were up to me, I would cast him in the role of a genius tactician, Skeletor’s third-in-command (after Evil-Lyn).

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

A Prickly Disposition

(Posting early, and you can’t stop me!)

The subject today is Kactura, a Masters of the Universe fan character created by my pal Super-Munkyboy:

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A cactus woman with built in spikey tonfa, thigh-high platform boots, and an an elegantly crisp color scheme? I was instantly won over the first time I saw this character. Read about Kactura here, and then do yourself a favor and check out Super-MunkyBoy’s art for yourself–right here.

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here and my post is here.

WE’RE TWIIINS!

This will be my final post based on Horde Prime for the foreseeable future, promise.

I’ve seen two versions of Horde Prime as he appeared in comics in the UK, each with a different color scheme. I made each of them into new characters, Praetors of Hordak and Horde Prime’s homeworld. Their weapons were my idea.

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I’ll be honest, the drawing of these was a somewhat hasty process. I was trying to keep it fast and loose, but instead it got sloppy. I think the colors helped pull it together somewhat, and I’m glad I was able to tweak the original color schemes, while sticking pretty close to the source material. Here’s the nerdy bio…

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PROFILE: The harsh enforcers PRAETOR ALPHA and PRAETOR OMEGA are, in reality, genetically modified clones of Horde Prime. Horde Prime is over a thousand years old, and the biology of the Praetors matches that of Horde Prime as a young man–therefore, while Alpha and Omega are extremely skilled warriors with some knowledge of combat spells, they have not yet developed Horde Prime’s advanced magic and shapeshifting abilities. Both of them are merciless in the performance of their duties, though an instinctive mutinous streak is gradually surfacing in both of them.

HISTORY: While it is widely known that Alpha and Omega were genetic experiments raised and trained by Horde Prime in secrecy, their secret genetic heritage is unknown to all but Horde Prime and his trusted follower Ifreet.

Disappointed in Hordak’s failure to crush resistance on Etheria, and having placed Zed (the Crown Prince of the Horde) under house arrest for being a rebel sympathizer, Horde Prime is looking at the very real possibility of placing Alpha and Omega in the line of succession. Already, they are entrusted with the stewardship of Horde World, while the newly regenerated Horde Prime leads the Eternian invasion in person.

Hordak does not suspect the true origins of the Praetors, but he is very wary of them. Hordak is aware that his failures on Etheria put him in grave danger of losing favor with his brother, and he senses his brother’s favoritism for Alpha and Omega. Away from the eyes of his all but his most trusted advisors, Hordak has begun to plan the execution of the Praetors of Horde World.

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Also posted here on my variants thread on the He-Man.org fan-art forum.

Flame Broiled Pork

As a companion piece to the Horde Prime redesign that I posted earlier in the week, here is a fan character that I created, Ifreet (named after the mythological entity):

click above for larger view

The idea here is that Horde Prime and Hordak‘s race have a symbiotic relationship with Imp‘s race. Ifreet is one of Imp’s kind–but where Imp is still a mischievous adolescent, Ifreet is a fully matured specimen. Further explanation in the overly detailed bio:

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PROFILE: Horde Prime is infrequently seen without the zealot IFREET at his side. And one can be certain that if Ifreet is absent, he is carrying out the orders of his master. Unquestioning in his loyalty, Ifreet plays a role for Horde Prime analagous to the role that Imp plays for Hordak–something of a cross between pet, valet, yes-man, messenger, and herald. But where Imp’s diminuitive size gives him the added role of spy, Ifreet’s imposing stature instead allows him to perform the function of bodyguard. He stands at close to nine feet tall, is capable of breathing hellfire, and has the natural shape-shifting abilities of his race (but unlike Imp, his shape-shifting is focused on combat rather than disguise). In addition to his innate abilities, consider that his regular armament includes a stun trident and an elite Horde bowcaster, and you will realize that there are few warriors in the galaxy who could prevent Ifreet from executing his master’s will. However, Ifreet essentially has no identity outside of his servitude to Horde Prime.

HISTORY: Having been Horde Prime’s trusted servant literally since before Hordak was born, Ifreet has a unique and envied position within the Horde, in spite of lacking “official” power within the Horde hierarchy. Even Hordak resents Ifreet, much in the way that Hordak’s underlings resent Imp. Now, in the wake of Horde Prime’s regeneration and rebirth, Horde Prime is himself leading the invasion of Eternia, which means that both he and Ifreet are more visible and present, resulting in further resentment amongst high-ranking Horde officers. All in all, Ifreet refrains from abusing his advantaged station, however, those foolish enough to defy his master earn Ifreet’s eternal enmity.

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Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here.

Big Brother Is Watching (Triple Post!)

(Posting early… )

For a re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here, my post is here. The first round voting polls are here and here, and the final vote can be found here–I placed 4th out of the finalists.

The subject this time around is Horde Prime, Hordak‘s brother and leader.

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The scene in the center is a revision of my previous drawing of Horde Prime–in fact, the secondary head and the silhouette of Hordak on the platform were both directly lifted from the original piece. The figures on the left and right, however, are all new. The entire basis for my interpretation of Horde Prime is the theory that Horde Prime himself was the basis for the symbol of the Horde. The little guy on the left is based on an accessory that came with the original Hordak action figure. The throne room in the center piece is based on scenes from the cartoon. Finally, the Horde Prime on the right combines elements of Hordak’s costume (cartoon version) and the UK comic book version. In-fiction descriptions follow…

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Horde Prime’s Throne Room (center): Centuries before the Horde invasion of Etheria, Horde Prime engaged the heroic champion Light Hope in a battle of apocalyptic proportions. The battle ended in a stalemate, both combatants having received near-fatal wounds. Light Hope sacrificed his wounded physical form to become caretaker of the Crystal Castle and protector of Etheria. His power was greatly increased but his new discorporate form was bound to the castle itself.

Meanwhile, suffering under the effects of Light Hope’s powerful magic attacks, Horde Prime found himself crippled and trapped in his giant form, unable to shapeshift back. He retreated to his flagship, the Velvet Glove, and there, with a combination of advanced Horde science and pirated Infinitan magic, his servants built a sarcophagus-like regeneration chamber. The chamber, combined with Horde Prime’s shapeshifting abilities, allowed him to slowly form a new body, gestating within the colossal rotting husk of his old form. This embryonic body often manifested itself as a secondary head, sprouting from the eye socket of Horde Prime.

Horde Prime’s twisted body renewed itself in a twisted mockery of life and birth over the course of centuries, and in the meantime he plotted revenge against Light Hope and Etheria (it was during this time that Horde Prime’s younger brother and trusted disciple Hordak became the de facto leader of the Horde).

Horde Familiar (left): Through the use of his shapeshifting and magical abilities, Horde Prime can focus his life force to temporarily create a small demonic familiar to act as a spy or messenger. Horde Prime can see through the eyes of these creatures, and act through them. These extensions of Horde Prime were generally reserved for the gravest situations, such as delivering critical information to Hordak without risk of interception. Many rebels have made the fatal mistake of judging Horde Familiars by their relatively small size, failing to realize that a creature with even just a fraction of Horde Prime’s cosmic power is still a formidable foe.

Horde Prime Reborn (right): With the revelation that the two most powerful beings on Eternia (He-Man and Skeletor) had disappeared from the planet, Horde Prime realized that it was the time to strike. Forcing an acceleration of his regeneration, through arcane lore and untested science, Horde Prime is reborn! The cruel leader of the Horde is still regaining his god-like levels of power, but even still he is perhaps the most feared being in the universe. While Hordak holds the Etherian front, Horde Prime leads the invasion of Eternia. Horde Prime seeks nothing less than the utter subjugation of He-Man’s homeworld, after which he will return to Etheria to crush his old enemy Light Hope.

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If this were a toy, I would see Horde Prime’s throne room as a playset, with his giant form being molded into the facade of the regeneration chamber, and his giant arm being a spring-loaded capture claw. Of course, the highly sought-after Horde Prime Reborn action figure would be packed in exclusively with the playset.

Don’t Look A (Humanoid Robotic) Gift Horse In The Mouth

Today’s post is a long-delayed follow-up to my take on Stridor. It’s Night Stalker, now outfitted with the same humanoid transformation that I gave to Stridor. I drew Night Stalker with a slightly heavier build than Stridor, and some different details. He is armed with Asian weaponry as a nod to the fact that he was typically portrayed as the steed of Jitsu, Skeletor’s token Asian henchman. The pole-arm is a Pudao also know as a horse-cutter, and the swords are a set of Daisho. And I slapped a bat-cape on him because I have a tough time not giving cool villains bat-capes.
click above for larger view

His title of “Evil Armored Dragoon” owes to the fact that I found a definition that described a Dragoon as “a soldier trained to fight on foot but who transports himself on horseback.” This seemed like the perfect description for a transforming horse warrior. Elsewhere, I found that Dragoon or Dragoon Guard referred to heavy cavalry, which was appropriate to the bulkier look that I gave night Stalker.

Last but not least, the nerdy, in-depth bio:

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PROFILE: A brilliant strategic mind and a brutally effective warrior, NIGHT STALKER is every bit the match for his brother Stridor. But where Stridor is gentle and merciful, Night Stalker is brooding and unforgiving. He adheres to a strict code of honor, but nonetheless believes might makes right. This harsh sense of honor has earned him the friendship and trust of the similarly dispositioned Jitsu.

Night Stalker is outfitted with standard Stridor-type weaponry (dual heavy laser cannons, and a rapid-fire hip blaster)–however, he prefers to engage in melee combat with his custom-made horse-cutter or Daisho swords. He commands a regiment of Equestris mercenaries with a few other renegade Stridor units mixed in.

HISTORY: Night Stalker was the first of the mass-produced Stridor units, and was groomed to be the original Stridor’s second-in-command. Although their personalities were like night and day, the two considered each other brothers and were a formidable team on the battlefield. In time, Night Stalker was promoted, and became commander of his own unit.

During a heat wave, Night Stalker and his troops were sent to perform crowd control in a town where drought and food shortage were causing riots and looting. They had been dispatched with the idea that their imposing stature would be enough to intimidate the angry mobs into submission–on the contrary, because of their greatly superior size and strength, the troops couldn’t act against the relatively weak humans for fear of harming them. Night Stalker had no choice but to withdraw his troops. However, the rioters had become increasingly aggravated, and Night Stalker and his troops found their backs against the city walls. A make-shift bomb was thrown, a nearby wagon transporting fuel was ignited, and the ensuing explosion brought the city walls down on top of the Stridors. All the troops under Night Stalker’s command were destroyed, and he himself was damaged almost beyond repair–there were no human casualties.

The incident changed Night Stalker forever. He blamed himself, feeling that had he used force to decisively end the conflict, his troops would still be alive. Why, he asked himself, should the strong suffer at the hands of the weak? Night Stalker became increasingly insubordinate, and finally deserted his post. Stridor tracked Night Stalker down and attempted to talk to his brother. Their conversation became heated, and Night Stalker lashed out; an intense duel ensued, and Night Stalker got the best of Stridor. He restrained himself from making the killing blow, and disappeared into the wildnerness.

Night Stalker became a mercenary, and occasionally a bandit. He eventually crossed paths with Jitsu–though the two were initially contentious, Jitsu saw that they shared a common worldview, and he recruited Night Stalker to Skeletor’s cause. Since then, Night Stalker has swayed a few other disillusioned Stridor units to join his forces.

Stridor remains determined to bring his brother back to the fold.

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Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here.