It isn't often we hear from any of the creators' that were behind Mattel's iconic 80s Princess of Power toy line, so I was over-the-moon when Eric Scot Frydler, former Mattel Conceptual Designer and Writer, was kind enough to respond to my e-mail and discuss his involvement in both the Princess of Power and Masters of the Universe toy lines.
Eric was hired by Mattel to develop new toy concepts and comic books after answering the company's ad in the back of Adweek for a "Child Genius". He was instrumental in developing and writing some of the POP and MOTU mini-comics, which were used as a marketing tool to cross-sell the action figures, as well as coming up with a few of the toy concepts.
Though he has had a role in numerous lines (Masters of the Universe, She-Ra, Princess of Power, Popples, Rainbow Brite, etc.) and his accomplishments are numerous, this installment mostly focuses on Princess of Power.
Eric has graciously offered to answer questions from the fan community, though he prefers that I field these questions and comments and be his filter, rather than having fans e-mail him directly. I ask that everyone respect his wishes...
Without further ado this was his response to my initial message:
"Thank you for your interest in one of my favorite lines POP. It may interest you to know that I was the only male as far as I know to work on the line surrounded by a cadre of females mostly management level executives. I proposed so many concepts in those days that it is difficult to know which ones were slated for further development and which ones found themselves destined for the archives.
The mimi-comic which I am most proud of in the line is entitled, "Across The Crystal Light Barrier". I wrote, named, art directed, conceptualized, and innovated the "Crystal World" and its magical horses, "Crystal Moonbeam", "Crystal Sun Dancer", and "Crystal Swift Wind". This mini-comic was packed out with the "Starburst She-Ra" doll. My concept solved a dilemma for the company which at the time was developing a new material with a sheen and it was brought to me to solve which I did to the delight of the Mattel hierarchy up to and including Jill Barad, President of the Girl's Toys Division at the time. I was able to develop multiple innovations and descriptive functions for these toys to enhance and increase the play pattern opportunities for girls. I am also thrilled that I was instrumental in developing one of the first self-empowering toy lines for girls that tapped into archetypes, fantasy, imagination, and social development, self esteem, and self awareness and consciousness on a larger scale than simple emulation of dress-up and modeling typical up until that time.
The mini-comic which I am most proud of in the MOTU line is entitled, "Escape From The Slime Pit" packed with the "Evil Horde Slime Pit" set. As far as I know, this is the first time "He-Man" was ever drenched in slime and his perfect styling totally mussed up. I also utilized archetype thinking found in both "Frankenstein" and later "Hulk".
I was also involved in many aspects of these and other lines. Some of my new concepts never did not see the light of day. I formed my own toy company called, Toymorrow, in the 1990's and early 2000's. I since have turned my attention to writing and composing musicals and opera and so abandoned Toymorrow whose mission and name was taken up by Disney.
Please feel free to share with me your interest and career choices and how my work touched you, friends, and fans. It isn't often I have the opportunity to hear directly from fans of MOTU and POP!
It is so gratifying to me to learn that my work had a positive impact on you and so many others.
"It was a conscious effort on my part as a storyteller to bring a sensibility, sensitivity, and almost "Zen" quality to both lines. At the time, most executives were not concerned about this kind of thinking.
Eric tells me he is currently devoting much of his time and applying all his writing and composing skills to a new form of opera, a sci-fi opera.
"To me, opera is timeless and transcends boundaries. I have recently been in touch with opera singers in Argentina, Denmark, Colorado Springs, Palm Springs, and it is very rewarding to feel the support, much like your letter makes me feel supported.
I feel it is time to re-invent opera. To make opera more accessible to the people and to bring it home for children and young adults who do not relate to it in its current form. To universally inspire all generations. It would also spawn a wonderful action figure line of characters invented by me!
To inspire, uplift, and move people. To evolve consciousness so that we can look forward to a positive planetary shift for all of us.
He will keep me updated on this project as it progresses and I'm hoping fans will support this wonderful creator by getting the word out on his current endeavor.