2002 MOTU COMIC BOOKS
This page was originally written during the time when Image Comics and MV Creations were publishing MOTU comics. These comics accompanied the 2002 toys, and were good examples of MOTU art and story-telling. The 2002 line obviously came to an abrupt end, and the comics inevitably did so too. Therefore this page has been rewritten (in 2010) to reflect the fact that these comics are no longer available.
The comics were never sold outside the US, but I did manage to buy some for review when they were released. I was never a big fan of the 2002 toys. I felt the manga-styling was a mistake. Of course, the figures were sold in the stores as toys rather than collectors' figures, so the styling obviously had the young audience in mind. I felt this limited the story-telling potential of the line, so I was pleased when I saw the comics. There was a maturity to the storylines that was not apparent in the figures themselves.
The stories were created by Val Staples (president of MV Creations) and co-owner of He-Man.org. There is no doubt that Val is a long-standing MOTU fan with a love of the various canons. His work in these comics was really imaginative, and while the stories had to run alongside the toys, there was a depth to the stories that satisfied fans. I read various reviews of the stories on the Internet, and was curious about the reactions. One review criticised the stories for being aimed at fans familiar with the world of Eternia. I never saw this as negative; quite the opposite in fact.
Several artists contributed to the comics, and the quality of the images was fantastic. The design team included Emiliano Santalucia, who wields a pencil like no other! Emiliano is also co-owner of He-Man.org and clearly loves the MOTU world. My introduction to Emiliano's work was his Masters Of The Universe Homecoming tale. This graphic art short story combined themes from the MOTU, Princess Of Power and New Adventures lines in a very imaginative way. In many ways, Homecoming was before its time - the book pre-empted the Classics line. You can read Emiliano's book by clicking here.
The comics showed off Emiliano's talents brilliantly, as well as those of the other artists. One of the things that impressed me with the comics was that they revealed the contributors' passion for the Masters. One issue revealed that it took Emiliano twenty minutes to draw one of Skeletor's legs in each frame! The dedication to quality was evident in every image.
For collectors, the different issues had a number of alternative covers. The first comic had three, and the image below shows the C or premium cover by Earl Norem. I like this one in particular, because the image captures the drama of battle against the backdrop of an untamed, barbarian world. He-Man is the age he always used to be, and Skeletor is frighteningly menacing! You can see more of Earl Norem's artwork by clicking here.
It is a shame that these comics had to come to an end. I believe they were the most
creative interpretation of the 2002 line - better by far than the awful cartoon (which
you can read about here). Val and Emiliano are still very much
a part of the comic book world, but they are not creating MOTU comics. It would be
great if the Classics presented an opportunity for more MOTU graphic art.