Eric Frydler, former Mattel Toys Conceputal Designer and Writer on POP and MOTU, is back to answer some of the burning questions from fans around the world and offer some additional tantalizing bits of information that will surely be appreciated by all. (If you missed his initial response to my e-mail early last month, head on over to the Resources section: CLICK HERE!) Thus far, due to Eric's busy schedule, we have only been able to get through roughly half of the questions I compiled for him, but do not despair. The remainder will make their way into a future installment!
Kevenn and Darkspecter: In the mini-comic "Across the Crystal Light Barrier," there is a somewhat mysterious character named Josh that makes an appearance in a few panels. Josh has become notorious with a segment of the He-Man and She-Ra community, mainly because he looks like he has the potential to be more than just a background character. Did you create him? Was he meant to be used in future comics or be a doll in the PoP toy line?
In thinking about the character of "Josh" my recollection is that I wanted to introduce some male characters (in as much as MOTU had female characters with the males). As I recall, I had worked some missions for my character ideas, but we were butting up against deadlines and there was no consensus from marketing about either the mission or marketing worthiness of these character concepts. It seems to me I must have been thinking of the "buddy" dynamic found in classics like, "Batman and Robin" and so on. I think it would have opened up and added a new dimension to the line.
Tallstar: What can you tell me about the gorgeous PoP packaging?
It may interest you to know that packaging design and copy is as important to the line as the toy itself.
If you look at POP in 1985 and 1986 you'll notice that the text or copy is in first person in the mini-comic books, the package copy on the back of the blister packs, and the inserts - such as the "Fantastic Fashions" booklet. I suggested this and wrote copy this way quite purposely to help bring the characters alive to both mother (purchaser) and daughter and spark imaginations. For that matter, I also requested/suggested that the insert panels appear in "Splash" pages - "Splash" or "Double-Truck" with "Across The Crystal Light Barrier" so that there would be a sense of expansiveness - to give the "Crystal World" a grand and awe-inspiring appearance. I suggested pastel tones to give the "feminine" and other worldly sensory effect and also differentiate the look from MOTU. (BTW - I want to acknowledge the excellent color work by Charles Simpson and wonderful pencils by Jim Mitchell.)
I cannot tell you how important packaging is to the success of a toy line. It is critical to stand out on a shelf (or commercial) and be recognized by the consumer in tandem and theme with the other products in the line. It is its own art form and the art directors who devised them and to a lesser extent the writers who write copy for them were highly prized and respected at the time.
Having bounced several e-mails back and forth to one another, a few fascinating tidbits of information emerged during the course of one of those discussions with Eric that I instantly knew would be of particular interest to forum member Jukka, who is keen to hear more about his involvement with the mini-comics, as well as hardcore fans of MOTU in general. Eric revealed to me that he is the uncredited writer on the MOTU mini-comic entitled "Eye of the Storm" that was packed-out with Snout Spout in 1986. Furthermore, he was responsible for naming the character "Snout Spout", which he originally named "Hose Nose" (the latter is referenced in the Princess of Power cartoon series), as well one of my all-time favorite MOTU characters, "Extendar", the "Heroic Master of Extension!"
"Extendar" was my name and given functionality in its fullest description by me.
(Note to the Readers: Conceptual illustrations of Extendar by Ted Mayer appear in The Power and the Honor Foundation Catalog on page 56.)
He ended up looking different than I conceptualized him to be. I saw a more robotic looking character not so much a knight. The game played in this story called "Glo-Disk" was invented by me and I intended a real game be introduced out of it.
Robin Hood: Were there any stories which did not make it into the comics that you thought were especially good? If so, can you briefly elaborate on them?
Oh yes. I had a number of stories outlined that never made it through script approval. I also conceived some very far ahead escapades that were shot down for both lines POP and MOTU. And yes, there were plenty of drawing board, bread board, prototypes for both lines that did not see their way into production or release.
Robin Hood: Would you help write new He-Man and She-Ra comics if the opportunity arose?
I would write new comics if the opportunity came my way.
Forum member Robin Hood's third and final question: "Have you ever thought of writing a MOTUC/He-Man/She-Ra musical, opera or panto?" evoked great interest from Eric and we discussed this topic at length over numerous e-mails.
I have contemplated an opera [for She-Ra], but not a panto - meaning the English Panto which is centuries old and great family entertainment because it involves raucous, riotous, over-the-top humor, and audience involvement and commentary!
Although Eric has considered the idea, it's a little too complicated to move forward on it at this time, due to the complex nature of the ownership rights, however, he remains committed to his own original science fiction opera.
He would like to thank and recognize the comments by the community for such great suggestions like: opera, musical, and/or panto. He can see how panto would work. He thinks it would be a lot of fun!