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Thread: The newly announced cartoon has a new He-Man symbol - What are your thoughts?

  1. #1
    Color'licious! JVS3's Avatar
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    The newly announced cartoon has a new He-Man symbol - What are your thoughts?

    With the reveal today, December 18th, 2019, of a second animated series coming to Netflix for He-Man, we also got a teaser of He-Man's design for that cartoon. And that new design appears to have an updated sword and harness. And on the harness is a new symbol, which looks to tie into the design of the sword.

    So why did they make this new symbol?

    He-Man's vintage iron cross symbol has come with its share of controversy over the years, and fans have debated the topic at length. Many fans cite the pre-WWII Prussian roots of the Germanic iron cross symbol. Others have pointed out how the square cross symbol has existed for centuries, and has had a positive meaning. And that's just the tip of the iceberg on how it's been used in many ways. But the unfortunate reality is once the iron cross was used heavily by the Nazi regime starting in the 1930s, it has and continues to have a negative meaning for many people.

    The situation is made worse when we examine He-Man himself. Despite him being an alien race on the planet Eternia, he still has a Caucasian skin tone and blonde hair, and has been depicted with blue eyes, all of which were part of the ideal Aryan race which was looked upon favorably by Hitler due to his obsession with "racial purity."

    As children, we did not grow up viewing He-Man as anything other than a hero that did good. We did not associate his symbol or his physical characteristics with hatred or the evils of the Nazis. Many of us are offended by the mere suggestion of He-Man having a connection to Nazi ideology or iconography. But despite this, we still have to take the entire world into account and just how using an iron cross today would reflect on the hero that wears it.

    But, the iron cross is not He-Man's only symbol. In fact, He-Man quickly adopted a different symbol in the 80s. And that's the "H M" hybrid symbol that was first used on Battle Armor He-Man in 1984 only two years after the original debut of He-Man. This new symbol went on to be featured in altered forms on the subsequent vintage He-Man toy variants. It seems as though Mattel was also quick to adopt a new symbol for He-Man, but the plethora of licensing and the syndication of the Filmation cartoon kept He-Man's original iron cross design in the public's eye for many years to follow.


    He-Man then went on to have an "H" symbol in New Adventures, depicted on his belt, with an abstract "M" shape framing it. This evolved the symbol further, and may have been an effort to tie the symbol directly into the brand name for the toys which had become just "He-Man" after the "Masters of the Universe" title was dropped for this space-themed story.


    The symbol controversy reared its head yet again when, in 2002, another symbol would be created for the 200x reboot. It is referred to by fans as the "asterisk" symbol on the toy, while the cartoon harness symbol is more of an "H" with a bar through the center. This change was made quickly after a version was first released of the 200x He-Man toy featuring the original iron cross.



    So, why would Mattel make yet another symbol for the Eternian hero?
    On the Roast Gooble Dinner podcast, we've discussed the symbol numerous times. We were often left unsure of what He-Man's symbol should be. Should he boldly adopt the iron cross once again and try to transform its meaning into something positive in today's world? Should he use the existing vintage "H M" symbol, New Adventures symbol, or the 200x symbol? Or, should it be something new?

    It looks like Mattel, Netflix and the production company behind the cartoon also battled with the same questions. And we have their answer. They created a new take on the "H M" symbol for the harness, but also tied it into the sword for the story of this new cartoon.

    I did a mock-up based on what the lightened image reveals. This may be completely inaccurate, but the new symbol appears to use a double-bladed Sword of Power combined with the hilt to form a "H M" symbol, to stand for He-Man.



    The double-bladed Sword of Power is not a new idea. The original pitch by the Four Horsemen for the 200x toy line had Skeletor owning both haves of the Sword of Power in the form of a double-bladed sword, which is a nod to the original concept behind the 80s toy swords where Skeletor's toy had one half, He-Man's toy had the other, and both combine to make the completed sword.

    The Four Horsemen's idea got abandoned for the cartoon but their design for Skeletor's sword was kept. This new cartoon's double-bladed sword may very well be based on both the original vintage toy idea and also nod to the Four Horsemen's combined sword design that came with 200x Skeletor.


    Design-wise, the new symbol and the new sword make sense. Despite how much fans love the elegant design of the vintage Sword of Power, adopting a new look that ties He-Man's symbol into his weapons as well as into his outfit gives him a more cohesive look, and helps to eliminate the controversy of the past. But it will no doubt leave old school fans feeling like some of their childhood got left behind, for better or for worse.

    So I leave it to you to discuss. Do you feel this new look works? How do you feel about the new symbol? Please share your thoughts below!
    Hope to see you at Power-Con 2020!
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    LittleSpinny TOKYONEVER's Avatar
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    First question coming in my mind is related to the He-Man origin figure, if He-Man's sword and harness are relooked for the TV show why not for the toy?



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    Color'licious! JVS3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOKYONEVER View Post
    First question coming in my mind is related to the He-Man origin figure, if He-Man's sword and harness are relooked for the TV show why not for the toy?
    It's certainly a fair question! I'd love to hear what everyone thinks.
    My own opinion is Origins is a love-letter from Mattel to us old school fans. So I give props to Mattel for not shying away from being faithful to all the old designs for Origins.
    Hope to see you at Power-Con 2020!
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    Heroic Warrior mizterfish's Avatar
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    The newly announced cartoon has a new He-Man symbol - What are your thoughts?

    I’m very curious now whether there will be 2-3 separate toy lines, or will they try to meld the new series into the Origins line like they did with the original movie characters? Whatever they choose, I feel like this is a “rising tide lifts all boats” type of scenario where more exposure to the brand can only be positive.


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    Pillar of the Community hadley's Avatar
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    Aesthetically, the Battle Armor symbol is my preferred symbol for He-Man. It looks great and it’s unique. I liked how the DC comics tied it into Zoar too, so it has a connection to He-Man as a character.

    Because of He-Man though, I have and will always think that the iron cross looks cool. You’ll always have “um actually” people talk about how the symbol really has nothing to do with the nazis, and they’re technically correct (the best kind of correct), but 2019 is not 1981. It’s a simultaneously colder and more sensitive world. If they’re moving away from it because of the nazi association, I can’t blame them.

    The iron cross is cool but it’s not unique to He-Man. It’s been used on a ton of stuff. Fire departments. Skateboard companies. It’s basically the symbol for fragile material. It’s geometric and symmetric and it’s just a visually appealing thing. I like it and I hope there are allusions to it. I can see it in the mockup.

    So my reaction is a kind of muted “yeah, I understand”. He-Man does need his own icon, and I support the effort.

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    LittleSpinny TOKYONEVER's Avatar
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    "H" for He-Man is OK but M for what exactly is it?


    I always wondered about the Laser Power He-Man with the M on his belt buckle, something related?

    On my side I am old school, I would have preferred to see the original sword and iron cross.

  7. #7
    Color'licious! JVS3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOKYONEVER View Post
    I always wondered about the Laser Power he-man with the M on his belt buckle, something related?
    My guess is they were attempting to break it into two. The "H" on his harness and the "M" on his belt.
    Hope to see you at Power-Con 2020!
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  8. #8
    Cobra Saboteur Firefly's Avatar
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    I like the cross the best.

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    Loco Motu Vato ehenyo's Avatar
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    We got a new symbol with 200x. So, not a problem.
    "I wouldn't be surprised if this movie has Adam as a skinny nerd from Earth battling another skinny nerd-hacker from Earth that used an alias of Keldor. They then enter Tron-style to a cyber world called Eternia, where they control muscle-bound avatars to battle (called He-Man and Skeletor). And these same avatars come to life and continue to battle in present-day Earth." - VZX

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    Heroic Warrior Creedog's Avatar
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    I would rather have the iron cross, seems more authentic. Im a bit disappointed but not a big deal.

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    Warrior of El Shaddai He-bro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOKYONEVER View Post
    "H" for He-Man is OK but M for what exactly is it?


    I always wondered about the Laser Power He-Man with the M on his belt buckle, something related?

    On my side I am old school, I would have preferred to see the original sword and iron cross.
    Musculor - It's the Bilingual figure.

  12. #12
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    I thought Classics was our love letter and Origins was intended to get kids back into He-Man since it's coming to brick and mortar stores...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by JVS3 View Post
    It's certainly a fair question! I'd love to hear what everyone thinks.
    My own opinion is Origins is a love-letter from Mattel to us old school fans. So I give props to Mattel for not shying away from being faithful to all the old designs for Origins.
    Last edited by grenadaspice; December 18, 2019 at 10:54pm.

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    Heroic Warrior jeffcope's Avatar
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    Doesn’t bother me in the least. For some reason I’ve never found the harness symbol particularly iconic. Maybe because it wasn’t really used in marketing/merchandising like, say, Superman’s S.

    This is a new show for a new audience. I expect a similar redesign for the movie. I’m wondering if the movie designs are influencing this project at all (just because WE haven’t seen any designs from the movie doesn’t mean they don’t exist)

  14. #14
    Heroic Warrior AntiEternia He-Man's Avatar
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    The double bladed sword in 200x and this new series looks like a flea market find. I don’t need the iron cross but I’d prefer the battle armor logo to the rest.

  15. #15
    Heroic Warrior T-man's Avatar
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    I don't think a redesign is bad. I really like the Battle Armor Chest plate, but doing it because people relate it to Nazis when it had been widely used in SO MUCH stuff thought history seems ridiculous. The people who complain and nit pick are always going to be complainers....and they are behind computer screen complainers.

    Hitlers Bday was on 4/20. None of the pot smokes have a problem celebrating that day. Why? because it is a different meaning . Just like He-mans Iron chest plate. One only relates to the other if you choose it.

    Everyone can find a problem with everything if they want to. Really though.
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    Loco Motu Vato ehenyo's Avatar
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    One other thought - I wonder what an "H M" means for the new mythology. Where the asterisk or iron cross could be applied to any of the "He-Men", the "H M" would be tied specifically to Adam. There's no feeling or groundwork for a passing of the torch.
    "I wouldn't be surprised if this movie has Adam as a skinny nerd from Earth battling another skinny nerd-hacker from Earth that used an alias of Keldor. They then enter Tron-style to a cyber world called Eternia, where they control muscle-bound avatars to battle (called He-Man and Skeletor). And these same avatars come to life and continue to battle in present-day Earth." - VZX

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    Heroic Warrior Lich Leech's Avatar
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    So Mark Taylor intended for it to be a knights templar cross, but of course that's very similar to the German army cross (not to mention fire departments, crown jewels, etc). But, Mark did have an alternative symbol at one point:



    I think this would work well for revised He-Man symbol.

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    LittleSpinny TOKYONEVER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by He-bro View Post
    Musculor - It's the Bilingual figure.
    Yes I thought about "Musclor" the french name.
    The laser figures were sold in France at the same time than Italy (before the Spain release), that may have sens.

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    Evil Customizer smanomega's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firefly View Post
    I like the cross the best. People are looking for ways to be offended these days that they didn't in the 80s.
    Quote Originally Posted by ehenyo View Post
    We got a new symbol with 200x. So, not a problem.
    It's the power of social media . If the internet exsisted in the 80's ohh boy.... All these "movements" these days... Something inside me says it's getting to all be a bit much.

    He man's armor should be able to change to suit his situation or need of a specific power as in the flying fists or the thunder punch, snake armor ,space armor, sub -eternia so on and so forth. Maybe like some kind of symbiote even.
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    Widget Crowley's Avatar
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    I've always really loved the Battle Armor symbol. If I were making the decisions I would go with that one. This new one looks like an iteration off of that so I'm looking forward to it!

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    Heroic Warrior Orko's Magic Hat's Avatar
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    I like the original Iron Cross, I always thought it looked nice, especially with the red squares on the harness. I'd like them to keep that look in the "Revelation" series.

    The Battle Armor HM design was always my favorite too, it looked stylish and eye catching.

    This new one isn't bad actually, It's similar to the original HM design, I kinda like it.

    One thing I do now realise, I really hate the asterisks of the 200X one.
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    Heroic Daddy to Hermione! Uki's Avatar
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    I’m fine with the little we’ve seen this far. This property certainly lends itself to various interpretations; even the “source materials” of the Vintage era vary considerably. I’m open to new interpretations; besides, it looks like Smith’s Show will be close to the “norm.” It’s all exciting!
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    Ancient One zodak74's Avatar
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    No matter the reason, at the end of the day I'm just happy that the new harness just looks good. I like the H M combo- it's like they saw what they tried to do with the harness in the 200X series and someone with better design skills went "wait, why don't we try this..." and kabam! A better symbol on the He-Man harness is born.

  24. #24
    Master of Physics VZX's Avatar
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    First, Val that was an excellent article. I wish you wrote more things like this as your MotU knowledge and fairness in opinion is refreshing.

    I would rather the Iron Cross. I think it looked great on the 200X figure (that I bought in the store, yay!) and was much better to the changed asterisk. I did like the H/M symbol used on Battle Armor He-Man since had that medieval flare to it, but still prefer the cross. Val, you did not mention the dragon symbol on the 1987 movie He-Man, but I understand why since it was barely visible or important in that film.

    As for the politics of the symbol, I think it is silly. When I was a kid I never thought about Nazis or the "master race" when I played with He-Man, I just thought the symbol had a cool barbarian/mythical vibe to it. But, if the new show wants to change the symbol for story reasons that make sense, then I am cool with it. The fact it resembles the new sword may be a good idea, but we will have to wait and see.

    Superman's S has changed over the years. This may just be the evolution or He-Man's cross. This is still cross-like.
    "Everything comes to he who waits."

  25. #25
    Evil Romulan Commander! Old Bolty-Neck's Avatar
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    The iron cross is never going to NOT be He-Man's design. Netflix doesn't have the capability of making a show that can overwrite the use of the iron cross on He-Man's toys and the vintage cartoon.

    Netflix's new design looks fine (assuming Val's interpolation is right, which it probably is), but once that show has come and gone, there's almost no chance that design will ever be used again so it will only ever come to mind among us He-Fans as "that design Netflix used on their show." A one-off. This design is a shiny object now. SQUIRREL! But that novelty will wear off eventually, and the cross symbol on He-Man's figures that we have in our collections will remain permanently there. Filmation's He-Man episodes, when they're shown, will permanently have the cross. New books about He-Man will continue to indelibly identify He-Man as a character who wears that cross symbol (with anything else being merely an other, a lesser symbol such as Battle Armor as opposed to the main one). And so forth.

    Likewise, new toys that draw inspiration from the vintage line will still come out in the years to come, following in the footsteps of Classics, Loyal Subjects, Funko, Mega Construx, and Origins -- none of which seem to be super-bothered about having He-Man wear the iron cross.
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