A very unique piece of He-Man history was created when Mattel combined the beautiful paintings of Bruce Timm with the Filmation voice actors.
The Power of the Evil Horde?
What do you get if you cross the finest Masters of the Universe mini comic artist, with the voice actors of the cartoon series? The answer: a truly unique part of He-Man history. Painted by Bruce Timm, this booklet is the first major advertisement of the Evil Horde. The familiar Filmation voice actors have performed the dialogue, to the audio tape that comes with the booklet.
Who is Bruce Timm?
For those who don't know, Bruce Timm along with his partner-in-crime Paul Dini, is the producer/designer of the Emmy award-winning Batman and Superman Adventures. A huge fan of comic books, and a dedicated Jack Kirby fan, he has drawn a fair of comic books for mainly DC, but sometimes venturing into Marvel, and small independent publishers. His work with Paul Dini on the Mad Love comic book won him the Eisner and Harvey award.
Bruce Timm's work on the He-Man series mainly goes unnoticed. He was a layout and background artist for season one, and shortly after season two began production, he had already left Filmation.
However, his work on the Masters of the Universe mini comics earned him much praise. The mini comics were always of varying quality as each series of figures came out. The first series had fantastic artwork from Mark Texeria and Alfredo P. Alcala, but as the following lines of figures arrived on shelves, the mini comics began to look cheaper, and the stories looked very rushed. As the Evil Horde and the Snake Men were introduced, a new name began appearing on the comics: Bruce Timm.
Bruce introduced a new style and look to the mini comics, even when inking another artist's work. He-Man was now looking more confident, almost to a cocky extent. Skeletor was more powerful, and his presence was felt in every panel, Hordak looked like a true leader of the Evil Horde, his face constantly evil. Every character Bruce drew was now almost refreshing to look at. Obviously the editors of the mini comics had noticed this, as Bruce's artwork was becoming featured in more and more landmark mini comics.
During that time he also worked on a very special Masters of the Universe introduction for the Evil Horde. This booklet, much larger than a mini comic was created and distributed very infrequently. His artwork was given a chance to really shine and come to life in these pages, as instead of drawing the pictures and cheaply getting a team to color them, he hand painted the entire book. What Mattel finished up with is some of the best images from the He-Man series!
The Filmation voice actors?
Mattel went to further lengths to make this book all the more special. They produced a tape to accompany the book, almost like a soundtrack. Mattel had previously produced other tapes and records to accompany play-sets, and books that related to the earlier material in the He-Man universe. Sadly, actors who sounded nothing like the characters from the cartoon series had voiced them all. Obviously Mattel knew this, and so decided to hire the actual voice actors from the Filmation series!
This Filmation recording was made before the She-Ra series had even been produced. It appears Filmation already knew who was going to voice Hordak, as George Dicenzo appears opposite the regular He-Man voice actors. George Dicenzo had previously worked on two He-Man episodes "Eye of the Beholder" and "The Sleepers Awaken," so he was obviously an early choice for the Hordak character. It is interesting to hear He-Man and Hordak in battle, with no mention of She-Ra or the rebels. This enables us to easily picture Hordak in the He-Man series, had She-Ra never been created (which was actually Mattel's original intent).
In order of actor appearance John Erwin plays He-Man and Webstor; Alan Oppenheimer is Skeletor and Man-At-Arms; George Dicenzo is Hordak; Lou Scheimer is Orko, Mantenna and Grizzlor, and Linda Gary is The Sorceress.
The soundtrack also features quite a few of the familiar musical scores that we have heard many times in the actual animated series. Again, this shows that Mattel did actually put a lot of thought into this product.
What's in the book?
This story tells the tale of Hordak's first arrival on Eternia, and his mission: to punish Skeletor for his past crimes, and to take control of Castle Grayskull. He-Man confronts the Evil Horde who overwhelms him; take Skeletor prisoner, and take Orko hostage. He-Man has to now travel to Etheria, battle the dangers and the Fright Zone, and save Orko and Skeletor.
So what now?
Read it and admire Bruce Timm's paintings!! This is the one of the most beautiful pieces of artwork ever to grace the He-Man universe. This is one rarity that the He-Fan's must see and enjoy.