Very nice post. Brings the whole story up to date in my opinion. I agree with JVS3 that it will be sad in a way if the mystery is ever solved. Doesn't mean we shouldn't stop trying to solve it though!Well I finally read all of this thread, took me three days. The beard stubble is long and the odor is ripe. I was nearly a cripple when I got out of the chair. Survived on a package of slim-jims a handful of chips, and a few cokes.
My twin brother Amra (name used on this site and on the Conan forums) posted here awhile back and I was mildly curious. As kids we owned nearly all of the Masters of the Universe line of figures, playsets and vehicles. We discussed the wonder bread/savage He-man mystery at length. I believe I recall seeing brown haired He-man's in toy collections as a kid. I never owned one though and I don't recall black belt or boots specifically however. At the time I remember thinking they were just fakes or bootleg He-Man ripoffs or whatever, that is how I remember seeing them in the first place. My twin brother disagrees just as adamantly that we saw no such thing as kids. So much for memory reliability.
That is the main issue of the problem: Lots of people seem to remember this or that but there doesn't seem to be concrete evidence/proof of them surfacing in the early 80's at all. Not one photo with a kid holding one up in the 80's seems extremely hard to believe considering I held up all my Christmas/Birthday toys for pictures every year. however, a few Savage He-Man toys do seem to be legit. Where/when did they come from? That is the mystery.
Rumor control here are the facts:
1. Several alternate colored He-Man figures (Brown hair and waist, Black belt and boots) have surfaced and appear to be legitimately manufactured by Mattel. They have good quality detail which would suggest coming from the molds early rather than late in the production run of figures and could not be from after the molds had been sold to south America to make to Fuerza T toy line with their many strange color variants of the Masters of the Universe line. The waist piece is molded in Brown and several figures appear to have a blank spot between the belt and fur detail. the hair is factory painted a different brown than the waist piece. The figures have no neck pin and a soft head type. there is often a noticeable separation gap at the neck line. Taiwan 1981 is mold stamped on the back. they seem to have only been available in the United States and most that have been found are in the North-East area of the Country.
2. Some have been bought or found in collections of toys that supposedly came from attics/basements or whatever that date from the early 80's.
3. Wonder bread has no records of any such figure or promotion, and the only connection at all to that company was an offer for He-Man trading cards. That much has been verified by many inside the company and out. There is no company paper record reference to the mysterious figure at all. The "wonder-Bread" He-Man origin and name is a myth and should not be used to keep that urban legend from spreading. Toy Collectors and fans dubbed the color variant "Savage He-Man" due to the fact that he most likely came top bare and in reference to He-Man's canon origin from a tribe of savages in the early comics.
4. Nestle had an offer for He-Man figures during the mid 80's but no tie in with Savage He-Man has ever been confirmed, All toys from that promotion that have been confirmed turned out to be standard figures from the Mattel line.
5. Other promotions, in store give-aways, and mail-in offers have been speculated as the origin of the Savage He-Man figure but none have ever been conclusively tied to the mysterious figure. A 3 for 1 coupon proof of purchase mail in offer that came in a tape sealed bag with a savage He-Man that was purchased on E-Bay has never been proved to be the original offer that savage He-Man was obtained by and all efforts to verify what figure actually came with this offer have not been successful. Most likely they were overstock of traditional figures. The Coupon is a valid Mattel offer and the P.O. Box listed on the back is a West Coast mail box that is used by Mattel. No association with the color variant He-Man and the coupon can be confirmed except the E-Bay purchase (which obviously was not the original outlet for the figure but a secondhand sell.)
6. The color variant figure was not mentioned in published toy collections or collecting until the mid 1990's.
7. No original packaging or weapons or armor have ever been verified for the mysterious figure. Despite claims for black Zodiac armor and maroon weapons in a tape sealed bag, all that information came from one E-Bay purchase that most likely was not the original packaging or weapons assortment. What weapons and armor (If any) and what color they might have been molded in is a mystery. It is unknown how the figures might have been originally packaged. The maroon colored castle Greyskull type weapons have been verified to come with the "Man-E-Weapons" Variant of Man-E-Faces and have never been confirmed in any other product. the black Zodiac armor has been verified to come in the extra weapons assortment pack and has not been confirmed with any other product. Even if the figure did come in a plastic bag and had weapons, it has never been confirmed.
8. Mattel has no records of this figure or production numbers, factory data,shipping records, distribution or other info on their release and did their own investigation into the matter and could find no evidence.
9.Several home-made imitations, kit-bashes or "custom" figures of the Savage He-man color variant have been made due the to high prices that they can fetch in auction. Many fakes flood the market to fool the unwary.
10.Mattel, intrigued by the mystery, released a Wun-Dar the savage He-man figure in the Masters of the Universe Classics toy line Feb.15 2010 for Club Eternia members. He even came with a loaf of bread even though the Wonderbread promotion origin hypothesis has never been proved or supported by any evidence.
11. Although Mattel originally had an option deal to do Conan toys and the Conan the Barbarian movie starring Arnold Swartzenegger was popular at the time, that did not work out and Mattel opted to do their own fantasy toy line instead of Conan toys and Savage He-Man is not an early prototype Conan toy. Conan actually has black hair even though in the movie Arnold had brown hair. Several people have claimed similarities to Arnold's muscular build and the He-Man action figure as well.The original prototype drawings and clay mockups of He-man all had He-man established as having blonde hair even before the first toy was ever released. No early color variants were ever released or tested. CPI or the owners of the Conan trademark did bring a lawsuit against Mattel saying that the He-Man toy was based off their character in violation of trademark, but this lawsuit happened after the Masters of the Universe toy line had been in production for some time. If the brown haired variant had been available it most certainly would have been used in the trial as evidence. Mattel returned all Conan related material to the owners before production of the Masters of the Universe line ever began. The standard dark-haired, bare chested, sword swinging fur shorts barbarian can be attributed to Frank Frazetta's drawings for the Lancer and Ace Conan novels. This well known image has become stereotyped and is used across the entire sword and sorcery and fantasy genres.