The Mighty Spector: Interview with Scott Neitlich

By John Atkin – May 2012

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Masters of the Universe, and to celebrate, Mattel produced six new characters for their MOTUC 30th Anniversary Series. These figures include Fearless Photog (by 1980s contest winner Nathan Bitner), Draego-man (by the Four Horsemen), Sir Laser-Lot (by DC Comics’ Geoff Johns), and the Mighty Spector (by Mattel’s Scott Neitlich). The fifth figure is being developed by Mattel Design, and the sixth and final figure will be the winning entry from the 2012 “Create-A-Character” contest. I had the chance to speak with Scott "Toyguru" Neitlich about his creation for the Masters of the Universe 30th Anniversary line... The Mighty Spector!

1. Describe the Mighty Spector to us in a nutshell. Who is he, and where does he come from? 

Spector is a Time Agent working for King He-Man. It is his job to stop other bad guys from messing with time. His suit is powered by a 2.0 version of the Cosmic Key which in turn is powered by plasma ammo he keeps strapped to his leg. The plasma ammo can also power his ray gun, or emit an energy blade from his wrist controller/time circuit. 

2. What was the original inspiration for your character's design, and has that design changed much over the years? 

I created Spector when I was very young. He was inspired by a lot of things; visually some Ghosts from Scooby Doo’s opening credits and Batman and his Utility Belt. Over the years he has been many things including a space captain, a guy with “animation powers” (like Freakazoid) and a cyborg bounty hunter. For MOTUC I brought him back to his origins as a time traveling secret agent! 

3. The Four Horsemen took your original concept art and turned it into an action figure. How involved were you in the design process of the figure? 

I spoke with CB and Eric at length about who the character was and how his suit worked. I did a doodle from memory which Terry Higuchi in Mattel design rendered as a B-sheet for the Horsemen to work off of. I was involved every step of the way, approving the sculpt, the deco, etc… 

4. Did the action figure turn out the way you expected? 

I wish we were able to keep the plasma whip accessory but I understand why it needed to be cut (due to a change in the way the whip and knife attached, from plugging into the cosmic key to being part of it). But otherwise it is amazing to see my concept come to life!

5. Most of the characters in Masters of the Universe: Classics have a special ability that makes them unique. What is the Mighty Spector's special ability that makes him stand out?

He has a Vortex suit powered by the Cosmic Key (sort of) that lets him create time tunnels to stop bad guys from changing history. He also has a ray gun that is powered by the same ammo pellets that power his time circuits. Finally he can also use these pellets to create energy weapons like blades and whips. 

6. What are some of the character's strengths and weaknesses that you can share with us?

Most of his powers come from the suit and the ammo pellets. So his biggest weakness is running out of ammo while on a mission. If he has no pellets he can’t use his weapons or open a time tunnel. So if he is out of ammo he is literally ”out of time”! 

7. In comics, superheroes who maintain a secret identity often wear a mask and costume to protect their identity. Do you consider the Mighty Spector to be Eternia's version of a superhero? 

He is not a superhero and does not have a secret identity. He wears a mask because in order to travel through time he needs to be completely incased in his Vortex suit (like being inside the Delorean in Back to the Future, anything outside the Delorean doesn’t go through time). If he took the mask off, he would arrive though time without half of his head! He is not hiding his identity, but rather wearing a functional suit to use its powers. 

8. The character has a spade emblem on his chest armor. Does this symbol refer to an allegiance of some kind, or have any special meaning to the character? 

Yes, the spade is the symbol for the Time Agents. 

9. Do the Times Agents also have the ability to travel back and forth through time, or is Spector the only one with this power? 

There is only one suit and right now Spector is wearing it. The other time agents are his support team (like a race car driver or non-field agents in the CIA or something). One of the "asks" from upper management for the 30th line was to use the new figures to move the brand forward and open up new storylines. Maybe future creators on the brand will create other Agents, but for the sake of Spector and 2012, he is the one Agent who actually wears the suit right now due to being so loyal to the royal family from his time as a palace guard. 

10. Are there any fans misconceptions about The Mighty Spector that you would like to dispel? 

A lot of fans jumped on the fact that I said he was “rejected by Marvel” which is not really true. Yes, when I was 13 I submitted him to Marvel but they (like Mattel) have/had a no outside submissions policy. So he wasn’t rejected as much as never even looked at due to a policy! He also is not meant to replace He-Man as the main character in the franchise. I have no idea why customers and fans thought this. None of the new 30th figures were meant to do this. They are additions to the brand, not replacements for main characters! 

11. As an adult now, how does it feel to have a character you created as a kid turned into an action figure? 

It is the single coolest thing ever. 

12. If you could be any Masters of the Universe character for just one day, which character would you want to be and why? 

I would be Mekaneck hands down. I always want to look over crowds and would love an expanding neck.

At age 6, Scott named his favourite "Construx" spaceman figure "Captain Spector".
At age 6, Scott named his favourite "Construx" spaceman figure "Captain Spector".

The Mighty Spector
The Mighty Spector
The Mighty Spector (back of package)The Spector "Modifighters" figure.At age 10, Scott carved the name Spector on the sidewalk by his childhood home.
The Mighty Spector (back of package)The Spector "Modifighters" figure.At age 10, Scott carved the name Spector on the sidewalk by his childhood home.
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