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Thread: Do you think He-Man would have been as successful if he had stayed just a barbarian?

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    Heroic Warrior Dr Kain's Avatar
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    Do you think He-Man would have been as successful if he had stayed just a barbarian?

    So obviously with the classics line, He-Man is a pretty successful series. However, do you think it became successful because it came out right at the perfect time? Was it the cartoon that made it successful? Do you think that if Mattel and Filmation had stuck with He-Man being just a simple barbarian it would have still be the hit it was in both toys and cartoons, or do you think the series would have ended sooner?

    As I have said before, I grew up on the cartoon, so to me, He-Man was Adam and all that stuff. However, I just recently looked into some of the pre-Filmation concepts and gazed through the original mini-comics on the site (I tried to read them, but when the pages have no semblance of order, it is kind of hard) and I have to say that there were some things in there I saw that were quite impressive. In fact, I hate to say it, but I think He-Man is much better with a smaller cast of just a few characters instead of this huge amount of friends and family and soldiers and subjects and others running about. Plus, I think they could have really taken the concept of the sword halves somewhere if they had truly desired to.
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    Evil Warrior Invicta's Avatar
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    It is possible as a concept, but I think they had to soften him up for "prime-time". Even Filmation cartoon was under fire by the vocal minority of people who considered whole cartoon evil and violent. It was just the times.

    Today you can get away with more violent cartoons, I guess.

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    Heroic Warrior Dr Kain's Avatar
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    Yeah, they talked about them being under fire in the Xmas Special DVD, which I do not even know how when nobody ever really hit anyone. They always jumped out of the way, deflected laser beams, and then threw each other. All He-Man ever did with his sword was juggle it and then use it to transform.
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    Fighting Foe Fan Whiplash7's Avatar
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    Yes, it would have been just as successful. It was successful before the cartoon, just simply b/c of the "HE-Man, HE-Man" chants from the toy commercials.
    If the cartoon had followed the original storyline, it still would have been just as successful. I'm very glad they've going back to a lot of those concepts and designs in MOTUC.

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    Heroic Warrior He-Kal's Avatar
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    Maybe somewhat, but not as much as now. The filmation, extra cast, etc... introduced later only added to the image of this character to make him an icon. if he just stayed a barbarian we would have had a blonde Conan, whereas with what we have a cross between Conan, Starwars (the technology) and Superman.

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    Fighting Foe Fan Whiplash7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by He-Kal View Post
    Maybe somewhat, but not as much as now. The filmation, extra cast, etc... introduced later only added to the image of this character to make him an icon. if he just stayed a barbarian we would have had a blonde Conan, whereas with what we have a cross between Conan, Starwars (the technology) and Superman.
    It already had technology. It was a warrior fighting a skull-faced guy, for control of a skull castle, using both primitive and scientific weapons and vehicles. It was also the same cast of characters as when the filmation cartoon started.

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    Master of Time & Space Jedi_Master_Jeremy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Kain View Post
    Yeah, they talked about them being under fire in the Xmas Special DVD, which I do not even know how when nobody ever really hit anyone. They always jumped out of the way, deflected laser beams, and then threw each other. All He-Man ever did with his sword was juggle it and then use it to transform.
    Fanatics who want to see a demon behind every bush... My mother for one wouldn't have been satisfied with He-man unless he had gone to church on the Christmas special and repented of hanging out with the Sorceress.

    And I don't think He-man would have been successful as a barbarian only. How many kids in the 80's aspired to barbarian status? He-man was successful, for one, because he transported the goofy prince Adam in all of us into a plain of power and strength as He-man we couldn't have achieved as some cave man. For a half hour every time MOTU came on we could visualize ourselves as powerful and strong even for the sake of good. As kids we couldn't exactly achieve all of that. He-man appealed to my desire to be big, strong, powerful and good and for just a little while now and then I could escape the fact that life was dictated to me and instead for just a little bit, now and then I could be the most powerful man in the universe.
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    Fighting Foe Fan Whiplash7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MegaGearMax View Post
    There was more than that. There weren't alot of books, we're talking about a year and a half or so of merchandise when the line first started. The merchandising machine didn't go full-tilt until Filmation took off.

    But here are the top signs that you're probably reading a Pre-Filmation tale...
    No Adam
    No Cringer
    No Orko
    No Filmation Sorceress
    No "By the Power of Grayskull" transformation

    A good sign that the canon is Pre-Filmation is if you see the Spirit of Castle Grayskull, He-Man using his axe and shield or Power Sword halves in the story.
    ^ This, exactly. Thanks Max. That's exactly what is contained within these publications, and I'll add another: Skeketor kidnapping Teela to be his bride.

    Adam: you keep moving the goalposts. First you claimed no comics, books, media, etc. Then you conceded to the DC comics, then when presented with publications you basically say it's not good enough, and question the content. I only posted 3 that I own, that were from that era, but that's 3 more than you claimed existed.
    Next up: the demand for scans of the insides, and then "See? It's just like Thundarr".
    This is straying far from the topic, which is if one thinks it would have been popular or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jedi_Master_Jeremy View Post
    And I don't think He-man would have been successful as a barbarian only. How many kids in the 80's aspired to barbarian status? He-man was successful, for one, because he transported the goofy prince Adam in all of us into a plain of power and strength as He-man we couldn't have achieved as some cave man. For a half hour every time MOTU came on we could visualize ourselves as powerful and strong even for the sake of good. As kids we couldn't exactly achieve all of that. He-man appealed to my desire to be big, strong, powerful and good and for just a little while now and then I could escape the fact that life was dictated to me and instead for just a little bit, now and then I could be the most powerful man in the universe.
    A point of view I can appreciate. Since I started off in the franchise before there was a secret identity, it was jarring when they introduced it. However I can see the appeal based on what you've written here.

  9. #9
    Got Filmation? shadowfall1976's Avatar
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    I certainly would not care about MOTUC if I had not gotten into the Filmation cartoon, so to that end I can safely say I would be out of MOTU. Just take a show of hands or look at one of the polls about what canon or source of MOTU more liked or followed....that will tell you, certainly a lot of people knew of the toyline before Filmation, I for one did not....but in the end love it or hate it, Filmation is responsible for why we're all here today in this board, otherwise it would be a tiny board dedicated to the lovers of the Vintage lines few waves that made it out. Because how many toys were Filmation based after the cartoon took off, and how many more toys were made after regardless of if they appeared in Filmation or not? That being said, likely 3 waves would have been all you got. And POP, NA, 200X and MOTUC fans would not be battling it out over their personal preferences today.

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    He was barefoot for like four pages in the first mini comic. After that he looks pretty standard most of the time.

    The commercial looks more like the early product art than either Filmation or mini comics to me.
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    Actually, this commercial was produced by FILMation. Mattel liked it so much that they commissioned the animated series.
    There you go, it's not only a lost MOTU commercial it's the lost first episode of Filmation!!!

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    Lord of the Patch baronterror's Avatar
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    of course not.

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    Heroic Warrior hauke's Avatar
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    He-Man was quite succesfull in Germany and the cartoon did not air here until 1988 when the toyline was as good as over. But granted we did not have a lot to choose from action figure wise so He-Man had an advantage here even without the cartoon.
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    Heroic Warrior Lich Leech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Kain View Post
    So obviously with the classics line, He-Man is a pretty successful series. However, do you think it became successful because it came out right at the perfect time? Was it the cartoon that made it successful? Do you think that if Mattel and Filmation had stuck with He-Man being just a simple barbarian it would have still be the hit it was in both toys and cartoons, or do you think the series would have ended sooner?

    As I have said before, I grew up on the cartoon, so to me, He-Man was Adam and all that stuff. However, I just recently looked into some of the pre-Filmation concepts and gazed through the original mini-comics on the site (I tried to read them, but when the pages have no semblance of order, it is kind of hard) and I have to say that there were some things in there I saw that were quite impressive. In fact, I hate to say it, but I think He-Man is much better with a smaller cast of just a few characters instead of this huge amount of friends and family and soldiers and subjects and others running about. Plus, I think they could have really taken the concept of the sword halves somewhere if they had truly desired to.
    This is a good source for the old mini comics (other stuff there too):

    http://www.goodolddays.net/comics/index.pl?id=22
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  13. #13
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    There were a LOT of toys around that time that were awesome. MOST only lasted a wave or two. Some awesome concepts didn't even GET toys...

    Conan, Thundar, Barbarians were nothing new even 1982. "I" got hooked after seeing that castle the first time... But I really don't think it would have had NEAR the following if the cartoon didn't inflate it up.

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    Heroic Warrior FutureRetro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantom1592 View Post
    ...But I really don't think it would have had NEAR the following if the cartoon didn't inflate it up.
    This. As it's already been pointed out, He-Man was under fire before the cartoon was released. The public was terrified of their children watching some barbarian hack people up with a sword. That's why when the cartoon was created, He-Man rarely used his sword unless he was deflecting something or hacking at a robot or plant-monster. If the cartoon had followed the path of the mini-comic, the cartoon would have been banned or never even sold in to syndication as every TV station would have been scared to go anywhere near it.

    I personally prefer the mini-comic ideas over the Filmation cartoon, but my own personal ideas are a blend of both. I tend to not like the Prince Adam aspect of He-Man. Although if I had to make a movie about He-Man, I would probably keep the mini-comic origin of an advanced civilization almost obliterating itself in to extinction, leaving behind barbarians and sorcery. The royal Prince/King aspect would be a role that He-Man had to grow/evolve in to instead of the other way around. Maybe he would pick up one half of the sword in pursuit of the other half and once both pieces were united he would become King.

    I think another version of the original question could be, if released today - Would a mini-comic origin story be more popular than the Filmation origin story?

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    Heroic Master of 200X MegaGearMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FutureRetro View Post
    This. As it's already been pointed out, He-Man was under fire before the cartoon was released. The public was terrified of their children watching some barbarian hack people up with a sword. That's why when the cartoon was created, He-Man rarely used his sword unless he was deflecting something or hacking at a robot or plant-monster. If the cartoon had followed the path of the mini-comic, the cartoon would have been banned or never even sold in to syndication as every TV station would have been scared to go anywhere near it.

    I personally prefer the mini-comic ideas over the Filmation cartoon, but my own personal ideas are a blend of both. I tend to not like the Prince Adam aspect of He-Man. Although if I had to make a movie about He-Man, I would probably keep the mini-comic origin of an advanced civilization almost obliterating itself in to extinction, leaving behind barbarians and sorcery. The royal Prince/King aspect would be a role that He-Man had to grow/evolve in to instead of the other way around. Maybe he would pick up one half of the sword in pursuit of the other half and once both pieces were united he would become King.

    I think another version of the original question could be, if released today - Would a mini-comic origin story be more popular than the Filmation origin story?
    No. Like it or not, the whole transforming prince gimmick is how most people know and recognize He-Man. The question would be if Adam is He-Man with pale skin, if Adam is a younger kid or at least a different looking character or does Adam train into becoming He-Man? The only way we might see an Adamless He-Man is a one-off "Legends of the Dark Knight" type anthology story. If it takes off, who knows.

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    Heroic Warrior FutureRetro's Avatar
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    I absolutely agree. If a movie is made, Hollywood WILL take the Prince Adam route as that is how the majority of the world knows He-Man. And more than likely, they will show Adam train and become He-Man. I'd be very surprised if they don't use the Dark Knight route every other super hero movie is rebooting under.

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    Heroic Warrior gbagok's Avatar
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    Personally I thought the pre-Filmation stuff most resembled Thundarr the Barbarian with Eternia being a post-apocalyptic fantasy world, and He-Man, Teela, and MAA as a troika hero set each with their own ride (Battle Cat, Charger, and the Battle Ram). I could see a road/chase series with them trying to find Castle Grayskull, Skeletor chasing them wanting the other half of the sword that he'll need to open the castle and become all powerful--which is starting to sound like Blackstar. You could probably get some cool stories out of the premise, but if that would have been more successful back in the 80s, I'm not so sure. I mean Blackstar, Thundarr, Galtar....none of them were the hit He-Man was and is now. I also think the large selection of characters was part of MOTU's appeal, and that the rather small main cast of the Filmation cartoon was a weakness more than a strength (compared to the character overload we got from Transformers and GI Joe's cartoons).
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    Heroic Warrior Lich Leech's Avatar
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    I think he would have been as successful with the mini comic universe. They had some technology, but it was leftover from an earlier age. 80% sword and sorcery elements with 20% leftover technical toys is a good combo. Too much tech and it just gets messy.
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    The Pale Emperor dedset13's Avatar
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    I don't think He-Man would have been as popular if he'd remained a Barbarian. He'd have been just another Conan/Tarzan type of character. Granted, both Conan and Tarzan are cool characters, but they are a bit generic.

    Without some of the things that FILMation brought to the table, He-Man would not have been anywhere near as popular as he was in the 80's.
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    I think He-Man would have been successful in either case. However, I feel that the stuff that filmation added (e.g. the secret identity, warmth, "humor", etc.) helped make the franchise more successful than it would have been otherwise. I don't know if that would remain true if the character was created today, but my feeling is that in that era it did.

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    Heroic Warrior Lich Leech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedset13 View Post
    I don't think He-Man would have been as popular if he'd remained a Barbarian. He'd have been just another Conan/Tarzan type of character. Granted, both Conan and Tarzan are cool characters, but they are a bit generic.

    Without some of the things that FILMation brought to the table, He-Man would not have been anywhere near as popular as he was in the 80's.
    I think just the fact that it was a TV show that supported the toys really helped sell a lot of figures. I think it could have been truer to the early mini comics and done just as well. Just having a fun adventure cartoon series in conjunction with toys I think was the key, and a novelty at the time.
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    The Pale Emperor dedset13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lich Leech View Post
    I think just the fact that it was a TV show that supported the toys really helped sell a lot of figures. I think it could have been truer to the early mini comics and done just as well. Just having a fun adventure cartoon series in conjunction with toys I think was the key, and a novelty at the time.

    G.I. Joe, Transformers, ThunderCats and many others tried to copy He-Man's cartoon formula and none of them were as successful as He-Man was in the 80's.

    I enjoy the mini-comics and the toyline was a success before FILMation came along. However, without some of the unique aspects that FILMation introduced, I highly doubt it would have been the phenomenon that it was in it's prime.
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    President of Primus Ornclown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedset13 View Post
    I don't think He-Man would have been as popular if he'd remained a Barbarian. He'd have been just another Conan/Tarzan type of character. Granted, both Conan and Tarzan are cool characters, but they are a bit generic.
    I think R.E. Howard and E.R. Burroughs may disagree with you...

    Both characters are definitely NOT generic. (But that is an argument for another time...)

    Quote Originally Posted by dedset13 View Post
    Without some of the things that FILMation brought to the table, He-Man would not have been anywhere near as popular as he was in the 80's.
    I have to agree with this. He-Man would most certainly still have been popular to certain audiences before the Filmation show, but after the show, almost everyone knew who He-Man was thanks to MOTU's massive spread throughout 80's pop-culture.
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    The Pale Emperor dedset13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ornclown View Post
    I think R.E. Howard and E.R. Burroughs may disagree with you...

    Both characters are definitely NOT generic. (But that is an argument for another time...)
    I didn't mean generic in a bad way, just that the archetypes are fairly simple.

    Believe me, I'm a big fan of both Conan and Tarzan. The first comics I ever read as a kid were the Tarzan comics from the 50's and I enjoyed them a great deal. However, when compared to He-Man and The Masters of the Universe, I believe both Conan and Tarzan are generic, or rather plain in comparison.
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    Sorcerer of Zalesia bcrduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marndt8448 View Post
    I don't think that's exactly fair there duke. I watched back then as a kid too (born in 74), and I remember back then comparing it to my other favorite cartoons of the time (Tranfsormers, G.I. Joe, Spider-man & His Amazing Friends, Incredible Hulk) it did feel even back then that He-man was striving for an even younger demographic than the other shows I mentioned. I don't mean it as a knock against the Filmation toon (MOTU was easily my favorite property w/ anything else a very distant second), but in that sense, it did feel 'too kiddie' when compared to their competition at the time. I guess being a 9, 10 or 11 year old at the time I may have been too old already for the show? Or at least the 10 year old me thinking I was too old for the show.
    Again, not bashing the show, I just feel that the 'too kiddie' complaint can be a valid one to an extent, as it was one I had even back then. .....And that's not me saying it's a bad thing, it obviously increased the range of the target audience by doing so.
    This brings up a key factor: Age differences.

    I am a bit younger than you, and I didn't have the same perception.
    I found the stories, at the time, quite "real.". Kind of like how I watch Game of Thrones today. The stakes are higher. It's fantasy, but i am drawn in by the characters and the plot.

    That age range timing is key to how a fan might remember Filmation, and the rest of the brand.

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