Errol McCarthy and Mattel have provided He-Man.Org with a gallery of incredible He-Man and MOTU artwork illustrated by Mr. McCarthy during the 80s. This artwork was orginally shown by Mattel at the 2016 Power-Con. Check out the gallery at the bottom of this article* and enjoy the interview below with Errol McCarthy.
Errol McCarthy epitomizes the idea of a “behind-the-scenes” artist. While he is, by far, the most prolific Masters of the Universe artist of all time, his name was virtually unknown to the MOTU & POP fanbase until he was found online by former The Power and the Honor Foundation member James “Busta Toons” Eatock. James passed news of his discovery along to the other foundation members, who then brought Mr. McCarthy to the attention of fans in November of 2012. While his name wasn’t known to the majority of MOTU enthusiasts up to that point, his work most certainly was. Mr. McCarthy produced hundreds of iconic MOTU illustrations. His artwork for the Masters of the Universe and He-Man brands ran the gamut from licensing art, to cardback artwork, to minicomics, and more.
Mr. McCarthy came to Mattel with a solid background in illustration. “I was always a comic book/cartoon fan & discovered I could draw in the 4th grade. I was lucky to grow up during the Golden Age of comics with Captain Marvel, Batman, Blackhawk and the then notorious E.C. line of comics. After that, it was Underground Comix! I went to Art Center School intending to become a magazine illustrator & met Mark Taylor who was later to become my boss and one of the creators of MOTU. I went on to graduate from Cal State LA with a Masters degree in art. My Masters thesis was a paper and my own underground comic. It is still fairly shocking that they awarded me a degree for this project! At the same time, I was doing comic book work for the Petersen hot rod themed books such as CARtoons and Cycletoons. It was great fun! In 1978 I started doing freelance work for toy companies, particularly Mattel, thanks to Mark Taylor. It was the beginning of the MOTU toy line.”
And because he worked on so many aspects of the brand, Masters of the Universe kept Mr. McCarthy very busy. “No one had any idea that it would become as big as it became. I enjoyed the great variety of the work. There were conceptual drawings of things that were not produced and many drawings of things that were produced.” During and after his time on MOTU, McCarthy worked on several other brands at Mattel. “I worked on Hot Wheels projects as well. My pride and joy was the Real Monsters Toilet Mobile! Who says that toy design is not suave and sophisticated? Hah!”
Even though his work appeared on a multitude of licensed MOTU items, Errol didn’t have much time to take notice. “It was gratifying, but the idea was to keep busy, busy. I didn't pay much attention to anything but work and making a living. Most freelancers will say the same thing.”
The Masters of the Universe cardback illustrations are well-known and beloved by many fans. McCarthy illustrated the vast majority of these cardbacks. Of special interest to many fans are the never-before-seen characters from the proposed 1988 wave of figures. While fans will recognize Strobo, who appeared in the final issue of the US He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Magazine in 1988, the rest of these characters are a mystery. These cardback illustrations feature characters that are seemingly made up of 100% reused parts from pre-existing characters. Errol has little memory of these characters. “Honestly, I am not the guy to answer these questions; I was busy just drawing them and paid little attention to what happened or did not happen to them. The people to ask are probably Emiliano and Josh. One of the many enormously talented designers, Dave McElroy, said that the way to come up with a new character was to simply add"...OR"to almost any word you could think of; STINK-OR was a good example!”
McCarthy’s efforts did not end with Masters of the Universe. He went on to work on the He-Man sequel toyline, often referred to by fans under the umbrella term, “New Adventures,” or “NA” for short. Mr. McCarthy produced several conceptual drawings for the renewed brand, some of which featured designs for characters that never came to fruition. He also illustrated a scene entitled “Battle Babes,” which appears to feature designs for potential Mara and Crita figures. “I drew ‘Battle Babes’ as pretty sexy. It was no surprise that they were ‘blander-ized’ in production.”
Additionally, Errol illustrated two of the four He-Man (NA) minicomics. “I really enjoyed working on the mini-comic ‘He-Man,’ but was too busy to do more than 2 of them. I do wish they had been comic book sized. I really had no role in the concept of the ‘New He-Man,’ just did the work.”
A vast array of McCarthy’s MOTU artwork was to have appeared on shirts for Bates Nightwear. However, it seems most, if not all, of these designs didn’t make it to market. “I did about 54 of these for Bates Nightwear. I think Josh (Van Pelt) said that they were not produced! I was surprised.”
Errol has fond memories of working at Mattel. “I enjoyed freelancing & then working in house at Mattel starting in'89. I loved working at Mattel alongside the most talented people I'd ever seen this side of being a student at Art Center School in the '60's. It's hard to believe now that it was so long ago and that some of these talents are gone.”
Fortunately for fans everywhere, Errol McCarthy is indeed very much with us and is one of the greatest talents the Masters of the Universe franchise has ever known.
*Please note: the names of the images below are the names Mr. McCarthy gave the files. They are not necessarily the titles of the illustrations and/or the names of the characters.
Yoda man vs 2 bad guys
|3 Eye_ spys on He Man||3 fuselage _Spin Master_plane||Arena w_Monster Mouth||Attack Track||Battle Beard vs opponent||Battle Cat w_ He Man front||Battle dent HeMan vs Skel||Battle women final||Beastman||Blast Attak||Blast-Attak vs Mosqitor||Bolo HeMan vs 2 Head and Spikehead||Buzz Off||Buzz-Off-Bates||Buzz-Off-fabric||Castle Grayskull||Chaos Ram||Clamp Champ||Claw arm Skel vs Fisto||Clawster vs Teela in swamp||Dragon Blaster Skel-Bates||Dragon Flyer vs He-Man and Man-at-Arms||Dragon pak Skel vs Fisto||Dragstor||Dragstor-transforming-vs Lizard Men||Evil Horde||Evil Lyn sees HeMan||Evil-Lyn||Extendar and Little||Extendar||Extendar2||Fisto and Stridor Bates||Fisto and Stridor||Fisto hits Skel||Fisto Vs Jitsu||Fisto vs Jitsu-Bates||Fright Zone||Gargoyle Castle playset||Giant bad guy||Good Giant and Prince Adam||Grayskull and Princess castles||Grizzlor||He Man Man at Arms Teela Orco||He Man Man vs Skel Beastman w_ castle||He Man Skel others Castle||He Man Teela Man at Arms on plain||He Man Teela Man at Arms Orco||He Man veh w-ball arm||He Man vs fake He Man||He Man vs Merman||He Man w logo||He Man w_sword shield||He Man-castle in B-G||Helmet bad guy_ w- Ray gun||Helmeted Snake Guy_ vs||He-Man and Attak Trak Bates||He-Man and Attak Trak-fabric||He-Man and Bashasaurus Bates||He-Man and Battle Cat Bates||He-Man and Battle Cat marching fwd-fabric||He-Man and Battle Cat vs Skel Bates||He-Man and Battle Cat vs Skeletor-color||He-Man and Dragon Walker Bates||He-Man and Laser Bolt-fabric||He-Man and Road Ripper-fabric||He-Man and Stonedar Bates||He-Man and Stonedar-fabric||He-Man and Trycer fabric||He-Man and Wind Raider Bates||He-Man Battle Armor w- friends||He-Man battles Skel||HeMan battles Skeletor||He-Man Bugle-Dave McElroy||He-Man Evilynn box art||He-Man in armor w-Battle cat walking fwrd Bates||He-Man new running fwrd-frnds castle in b_g Bates||He-Man on Battle Cat||He-Man on Battle Cat-fabric||He-Man on Charging Battle Cat-no B_G||He-Man on Pter vs Skel Bates||He-Man on pterydactyl-fabric||He-man on Tryceratops Bates||He-Man running forward-castles in B-G-fabric||He-Man running fwd Bates||He-Man running fwrd w- sword and shield-Bates||He-Man running w_ ax and shield||He-Man saves Stondar Bates||He-Man Spydor Grayskull box art||He-Man standing||He-Man Stonedar-Slimepit-fabric||He-Man street scene-Bates||He-Man vs Beast man Bates||He-Man vs Beast Man-fabric||He-Man vs Beastman Bates||He-Man vs Beastman||He-Man vs Horde Troopers||He-Man vs King Hiss Bates||He-Man vs King Hiss-fabric||He-Man vs Kobra Khan 1-fabric||He-Man vs Kobra Khan 2-fabric||He-Man vs Kobra Khan-Bates||He-Man vs Merman||He-man vs Ninjor||He-Man vs Rattlor and Tung Lashor Bates||He-Man vs Rattlor and Tung Lashor-fabric||He-Man vs Rattlor||He-man vs Skel atop bldg Bates||He-Man vs Skel atop bldg-fabric||He-Man Vs Skel Flying Machines||He-man vs Skel in _tank_ things Bates||He-Man vs Skel in Battle Armor Bates||He-man vs Skel in Battle Armor-fabric||He-Man vs Skel in tank things-fabric||He-Man vs Skel-Wrist Lock thing||He-Man vs Tyran and Skel Bates||He-Man vs Tyranasaurus-fabric||He-Man w- ax and shield line-Bates||He-Man w- battle armor frnds in b-g Bates||He-Man w- logo||He-Man w- mini sub vs Squeeeze-fabric||He-Man w-Ax shield volcano-fabric||He-Man w-Bolo_ vs Skel Bates||He-Man-Old and New and Brontosaurus-scanned from fabric||He-Man-Old and New||He-Man-Prince Adam w-cape||He-Man-standing w- ax and shield Bates||He-Man-street scene-fabric||Hordak||Hordak_vs Snake Men||Karate Chop guy vs He Man on steps||Kickor vs Sluggor||Kobra Khan||Leech||Lizard Man_vs He Man||Man at Arms Teela hiking||Man at Arms w_club||Man-at-Arms and Dragon Walker||Man-At-Arms and Stratos Bate||Man-at-Arms w- shoulder gun firing at bad guys||Man-E-Faces Bates||Man-E-Faces||Mantenna w-X bow||Mecha neck lurking||Mekaneck Bates||Mekanek-fabric||Mer Man w_ sword||Merman||Modulok||Monster Mouth Arena||Monstroid in pit-4 panels||Monstroid vs Jet sled color||Monstroid vs Sy-Klone and Roboto||Mosquitor 1||Mosquitor 2||Mosquitor vs Snake guy||Moss Man||MOTU poster w-all figures||New and old He-man and Brontosaurus Bates||Ninjor attacks Rio Blast||Ninjor vs new He-Man||Ninjor leaps||Ninjor vs Clawhand||Ninjor Vs||Orco in Palace||Orco||Power Punch He Man vs Trap Jaw||Power Punch He Man vs Whiplash||Prince Adam vs Giant||Prince Adam||Ram Man||Rattlor||Rio Blast vs Snake Men||Rio Blast||Roboto facing L||Roboto vs King Hiss Tri-Klops||Roboto w- smoking gun Bates||Rokkon and Stonedar||Rotor and Twistoid||Scare Glo leaping||Scare glo vs Spout snout||Skel and Land Shark 1 Bates||Skel and Land Shark 2||Skel and Roton-fabric||Skel and Snake Mntn-fabric||Skel on Panthor||Skel w- Dragon Blaster vs Teela man-E||Skel w_ rips in b_g||Skel w_ staff||Skel w_Dragon Blaster||Skel w_moon and castle Bates||Skeletor and Roton Bates||Skeletor and Snake Mntn Bates||Skeletor holding staff aloft||Skeletor in front of gate Bates||Skeletor on Bone Throne||Skeletor on Land Shark||Skulking Skel w_ castle in b_g||Sledor vs Rocket Legs||Slime Pit w-He Man||Slimepit figs-He Man and Stonedar||Slimepit w_ figs||Slimepit w_o figs||Snake Face w_ staff||Snake face_ turns guy to stone||Snake Men King Hiss||Snake Mtn||Snout Spout||Sorceress and Zoar||Sorceress vs Hordak w_castle||Spikor Bates||Squeeeze vs He-Man on sub Bates||Sssqeeze||Sssqueeze vs Rio Blast Extendar||Stiltstalker and Megalaser||Stinkor||Stratos Flying||Stratos vs Skel Beastman Evil-lyn||Sy-Klone vs Skel||Sy-Klone vs Lizard Man||Sy-Klone facing L||Sy-Klone vs Snake guy||Sy-Klone vs Snake Men||Sy-Klone vs Webstor Bates||Teela stalking Skeletor||Teela standing w- staff 2||Teela w- staff||Teela w_ Sword and shield||Terror Claws Skel vs Flying Fists HM-fabric||Thunder Punch He-Man Bates||Trap jaw vs Stratos||Trapjaw w- gun||Tri-Klops vs HM Bates||Tung Lashor||Two Bad 1||Two Bad 2||Two Bad vs He Man Teela Man at Arms||Venom Spitter vs He Man||Webstor BW Bates||Webstor on castle||Webstor||Webstor-scanned||Whiplash vs He Man||Whiplash Vs He-Man||Wizard w_ book Prince Adam||Wizard||X-bow Man Vs Clawhand||X-Bow man w_ cape vs|