With Masters of the Universe sales falling at the end of its run, Mattel launched, allbeit briefly, a spin off: The Powers of Grayskull. Though this line would have probably helped bring continuity to the line, (which was struggling in that department, what with DC, Marvel, Filmation, and Mattel stories all contridicting each other), it was scrapped after the release of just three toys: The Powers of Grayskull Dinosaurs.
The story was, primarily, the tale of a wizard named He-Ro, and his battles against the evil Keldor in Preternia...or, how Eternia had existed thousands of years in the past. Keldor would one day become Skeletor, and was also the twin brother of King Randor, ruler of Eternia. (See The Search for Keldor and The Powers of Grayskull: The Legend Begins)
Peter Gullerud produced some paintings for the children's dinosaur book The Little Blue Brontosaurus with Don Morgan and William Stout, shortly before being approached about designing the cybernetically enhanced dinosaurs of the Preternia era.The Little Blue Brontosaurus was the basis for the Lucas and Spielberg collaberation The Land Before Time, an animated film that followed a group of young dinosaurs to "The Great Valley".
Masters of the Universe fans will be familiar with William Stout for his work designing costumes on Masters of the Universe: The Motion Picture. He is an exceptionally accomplished artist, having designed for film, comics, cartoons, and provided an inspiration for Michael Crichton's novel Jurrasic Park.
Peter Gullerud obliged us by talking a bit about his involvement with the Powers of Grayskull line. "I was hired as a freelancer, along with one other artist. Between the two of us, we designed all four dinosaurs." (Bionatops, Turbodactyl, Tyrantisaurus Rex, and Gigantisaur) Of the four, only the the Gigantisaur was not produced into a toy. It looks like it may have made a good one, though!
"At the time, I had not done a lot of similar work to this," Peter recalls, "Mostly I'd done animation. Mattel had learned of my work with Don Morgan and William Stout on a children's dinosaur book, so I was offered the job designing the dinos for Masters of the Universe"
"I wasn't very familiar with Masters of the Universe when I got the job, and very little in terms of story was offered by Mattel when I sat down to create these creatures. They had the idea of dinosaurs with high tech artillery incorperated into them, and I just sketched many designs until they were pleased!"
"My experience working for Mattel was quite pleasant. I did some more work with them, but that ended too soon in my opinion. I would, of course, love to work on designing vehicles for the new line, though I haven't had a chance to check it out yet."
"These days, I've just completed a novel and I am helping design a local western town on a ranch in Frazier Park, California."
I'd like to thank Peter Gullerud for his time, and all of you, my fellow fans for reading this article. I hope it was insightful and informative. Until next time...We have the power!