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Thread: He-Man's Cross

  1. #1
    Heroic Blogger Sea Hawk's Avatar
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    He-Man's Cross

    So, the cross on He-Man's classic harness. It's in concept sketches going back to when He-Man still had a helmet and boot dagger, and it persists through the FILMation series all the way up to the 200X toyline. But after scanning some interviews with Mark Taylor and skimming the opening of the Art of He-Man book, I can't find an origin for it. I'm sure somebody's asked about it somewhere. Does anybody know & have a source for it?

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    Heroic Warrior Lich Leech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sea Hawk View Post
    So, the cross on He-Man's classic harness. It's in concept sketches going back to when He-Man still had a helmet and boot dagger, and it persists through the FILMation series all the way up to the 200X toyline. But after scanning some interviews with Mark Taylor and skimming the opening of the Art of He-Man book, I can't find an origin for it. I'm sure somebody's asked about it somewhere. Does anybody know & have a source for it?

    Sea Hawk
    If I recall correctly Mark said that it was inspired by the Knights Templar. I believe that was from one of his Grayskull Con appearances.

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    2002/DC He-Man Video guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lich Leech View Post
    If I recall correctly Mark said that it was inspired by the Knights Templar. I believe that was from one of his Grayskull Con appearances.
    Yeah. Basically that.
    Though Mattel favored heavily on Battle Armor He-Man for toybox appearances and use of that H-logo since its more trademarketable.
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    master of accessories facet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jukka View Post
    Yeah. Basically that.
    Though Mattel favored heavily on Battle Armor He-Man for toybox appearances and use of that H-logo since its more trademarketable.
    So in your opinion, what is more of the iconic symbol of he-man, the iron cross or the H symbol> I feel like when ever i think of heman i think of the iron cross

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    2002/DC He-Man Video guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by facet View Post
    So in your opinion, what is more of the iconic symbol of he-man, the iron cross or the H symbol> I feel like when ever i think of heman i think of the iron cross
    I also think of the Knights Templar Cross with He-Man.
    (though I do appreciate how in new DC Comics they utilized the H-symbol and tried giving it more story behind it)
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    Heroic Blogger Sea Hawk's Avatar
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    I appreciate the cross, though its similarity to some more problematic iconography, and its overall generic-ness holds it back. I really like the stylized merged H-M logo of the Battle Armor and Thunder Punch harness, and I especially appreciate how that became the angular H-M logo of the NA figures (particularly the first NA He-Man's belt buckle). I honestly think they're all superior to the 200X logo, which became even less distinctive when it made the jump to TV. I get the need to give He-Man a trademark-able sigil, but I wish a little more design work had gone into that one.

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    Color'licious! JVS3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sea Hawk View Post
    I appreciate the cross, though its similarity to some more problematic iconography, and its overall generic-ness holds it back. I really like the stylized merged H-M logo of the Battle Armor and Thunder Punch harness, and I especially appreciate how that became the angular H-M logo of the NA figures (particularly the first NA He-Man's belt buckle). I honestly think they're all superior to the 200X logo, which became even less distinctive when it made the jump to TV.
    I feel the same way.
    Ultimately, I think the symbol that should be used is what we got with vintage BA He-Man and the like with TP He-Man.
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    He-Man's Cross

    The red cross pattée will always be the most iconic He-Man symbol to me. It just has a simple, archetypal, ancient feel to it.
    I think if you asked the average person in their 30's and 40's to draw He-Man's "symbol", they'd most likely draw the red cross pattée.

    The "HM" is ok, but when I was a kid, I felt it was a weird change and didn't like it too much at the time. It has grown on me over the years, but it definitely isn't the default image that pops into my mind when someone says, "He-Man."

    When I got older, I realized that a blonde haired Übermensch wearing a cross pattée on his chest was probably not something Mattel wanted to revisit in subsequent variants.
    Then again, they used it on the Stilt Stalkers armor in 1986, so who knows?

    All this said, while my go-to for the He-Man symbol is the red cross, the "HM" is miles better than that wacky asterisk they used during 200x.

    If Mattel ever said, "we absolutely can't use the red cross anymore," then the "HM" would most likely be my second pick.
    Last edited by Penny Dreadful; January 11, 2018 at 02:04am.
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    Heroic Warrior Lich Leech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Penny Dreadful View Post
    The iron cross will always be the most iconic He-Man symbol to me. It just has a simple, archetypal, ancient feel to it.
    I think if you asked the average person in their 30's and 40's to draw He-Man's "symbol", they'd most likely draw the iron cross pattée.

    The "HM" is ok, but when I was a kid, I felt it was a weird change and didn't like it too much at the time. It has grown on me over the years, but it definitely isn't the default image that pops into my mind when someone says, "He-Man."

    When I got older, I realized that a blonde haired Übermensch wearing an iron cross on his chest was probably not something Mattel wanted to revisit in subsequent variants.
    Then again, they used it on the Stilt Stalkers armor in 1986, so who knows?

    All this said, while my go-to for the He-Man symbol is the iron cross, the "HM" is miles better than that wacky asterisk they used during 200x.

    If Mattel ever said, "we absolutely can't use the iron cross anymore," then the "HM" would most likely be my second pick.
    I do like the Battle Armor H symbol, but yeah, this is pretty much where I stand too.

  10. #10
    Master of Physics VZX's Avatar
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    The cross is my favorite. I think it was also on the TORAK picture, which was the proto-He-Man. But it's true it is not as iconic as Superman's S or the Green Lantern symbol. The Battle Armor HM never really caught on, but it seemed that Mattel tried to push it as it was also on the Dragon Walker. It's true Mattel went back to the cross for the Jet Sled and Stilt Stalker armor.

    At least they are both better than the 200x asterisks and the weird dragon symbol from the 1987 movie.
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    2002/DC He-Man Video guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by VZX View Post
    The cross is my favorite. I think it was also on the TORAK picture, which was the proto-He-Man.
    Its not on the Torak sketch.



    But Mark Taylor did add it to He-Man in other early concept artworks.

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  12. #12
    That PlanetEternia.de guy Sir Reilly's Avatar
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    As a kid, the iron cross never struck me as He-Man's symbol. To me, it was a cool element on of his vest, but not THE symbol I associated with him. I really loved the symbol introduced with Battle Armor He-Man though, and I think that's something I would easily accept if it was used in a movie.
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    UK MOTU Comics Junkie Mosquitor's Avatar
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    He-Man's cross? Why, what's annoyed him?

    Sorry, couldn't resist.
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  14. #14
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    At the time, I honestly never thought much about the cross, or why this character had it. Now, I'd have some ideas about the iconography, based on what I know of that particular cross design, who used it historically, and what it meant to them. But I'm not sure how much of this actually matters when we are talking about a toy. It's there because Mattel thought it looked cool. They could never have imagined the phenomenon He-Man would become, or that 30 + years later anyone would still be talking about it.
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    Heroic Warrior Grimbot's Avatar
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    Could people please stop calling it iron cross? The iron cross is always black, never red and the shape existed before it.
    Otherwise you'll just make Mattel and any licensees paranoid about using it ever again. :P

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimbot View Post
    Could people please stop calling it iron cross? The iron cross is always black, never red and the shape existed before it.
    Otherwise you'll just make Mattel and any licensees paranoid about using it ever again. :P
    Good point. I changed “iron” to “red” in my post.



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    Heroic amphibian CharlyZarkov's Avatar
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    I personally love how, on this piece, the artist (Ryan Barger) managed to merge the cross symbol with the letter H. It works way better like this than in the 200X version, IMO.

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  18. #18
    2002/DC He-Man Video guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlyZarkov View Post
    It works way better like this than in the 200X version, IMO.
    Which version you mean? The toy 200x or the Cartoon 200x?
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  19. #19
    Heroic amphibian CharlyZarkov's Avatar
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    I was thinking toy 200X (that thing was really too busy for my taste), but the 200X cartoon version was not very good either. I guess I'm definitely a vintage fan!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jukka View Post
    Which version you mean? The toy 200x or the Cartoon 200x?
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    I have no doubt the original censors brought up the same argument but were given a satisfactory enough explanation to give it the green light.

    It's a Templar cross , a symbol of protection . Christianity and Christian iconography is part of our world culture .

    I always found that BA and TP symbol to be rather corny. Let superman have his S symbol and we can all chuckle by the lame excuses for wearing that .

    He Man does not need that.
    Last edited by Lokus; January 11, 2018 at 07:20pm.

  21. #21
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    The black cross was and still is the insignia of the german forces. It goes back to the teutonic Knights 1190. To reduce it to a symbol of the Nazis is absolute wrong.
    But He-Man doesn´t even wear a black cross. It´s red like Grimbot and Penny already mentioned.
    I hope we see it used in a somewhat stilized way in a movie ( like 4 Triangles or something like that). An H would be as dubious as the S on superman for me. What does it stand for? Hope? Well that would be something

  22. #22
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    Love it when I learn on forum, thanks for the added knowledge.

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  23. #23
    Color'licious! JVS3's Avatar
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    Fans can argue tooth and nail that the cross is not a symbol of Nazism. But the problem is many people look at it and think "Nazi". That connection is not going away, no matter how it's explained. This is a factor that will be considered by those in charge when rebooting/relaunching MOTU.

    I full expect to see a new He-Man symbol. Personally, I hope it's similar to the BA He-Man symbol (TP He-Man, FF He-Man, etc).
    But it may be the H from the 200x cartoon as well.
    Possibly even something like what Ryan did, or something more vague like what JimPansen described.
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    Despite also favoring the red cross pattee, I've thought it was an *odd* choice for He-man.

    In a mythos that didn't (until recently) have much to do with religion (except in a mythic, quasi-pagan way), and doesn't even use the cross to evoke religion (unlike the Castlevania series, for example), the choice to use a real world religio-political symbol (still in use, by the way, in *many* countries - including Germany, as someone mentioned above - and *not* conflated with National Socialist symbols) seemed odd. Coming up with the stylized "HM" combination was far better from a world-building standpoint.

    That notwithstanding, the symbol is still an iconic, if unfortunately meaningless (has any canon ever discussed what the red cross means on Eternia?) design element, and I think if they wanted to use a red cross, there are plenty of ways in which it's been drawn that would work. Or, we could just hold people accountable for learning history and understanding that just because a Nazi co-opts something doesn't mean they get to keep it... but I'm sure it's difficult to sell that angle to marketing.
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  25. #25
    Über Fan Adam_Prince of Eternia's Avatar
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    The design of He-Man is based on third-century descriptions of the Germanic people, and the emblems on his harness and shield are Norse solar symbols. The equilateral cross on his harness represents the sun, and the inversion of a cross within a circle on his shield is a sun wheel. That is why they are colored red and orange respectively.

    The design of She-Ra is based on descriptions of the Valkyrie in Norse mythology, and the emblem on her bodice is also a Norse solar symbol. Incidentally, she takes part of her name from the Egyptian sun god, Ra.

    Interestingly, Norse influences are not limited to He-Man and She-Ra. The comb packaged with each Princess of Power action figure is a reproduction of a traditional Viking comb. And the design of the Sorceress is based on historical descriptions of Norse witches. Red hair was, and continues to be, rare. And women with red hair were considered especially disposed to magical abilities. They would cover the bodies in a white make-up that contained lead, which would cause their hair, if it was not already, to grow an unnatural shade of red or orange. And hey would wear the head of their familiar animal as a headdress, and its hide or skin as clothing or a cape.

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