Masters of the Universe is a media franchise created by Mattel in 1981 following the conflict between He-Man and the evil Skeletor on planet Eternia. With six lines of action figures, several comic series and four animated television shows, the MOTU universe captured the public’s imagination becoming very popular over the years.
Inspired by the action toys, James Boorman, a professional motion graphics and character designer started Faces of the Universe, a beautiful project paying homage to the iconic vintage toy line characters. The beautiful prints presented below are part of a personal project started after recent ongoing weekend visits to thrift markets and vintage toy stores, when the artist found, collected and rediscovered his childhood love of He-Man.
Buzz Of – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Buzz-Off is a fictional character from the popular Masters of the Universe franchise. He is a humanoid bee, and comes from a race of Bee People based in the Mystic Mountains. In the 2002 series the Bee People are given the name Andreenids.
He was originally tagged by Mattel as Heroic Spy in the Sky, he serves He-Man and the Heroic Warriors primarily as a spy. He occasionally wears a pair of insect visors which give him insect vision as opposed to human.
Webstor – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Webstor is a blue-skinned creature with the abilities of a spider. A two-bit thief who resembles a goblin with a grappling hook in the 80s series. In the 80s cartoon, he never used the rifle included with the figure.
In the 2002 version, he is an Arachna, a spider-like race that are enemies of the Andreenids. He can spin webs, has spider-like legs sprouting from his back, and multiple eyes.
Sy-Klone – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Sy-Klone is the Master of the Universe with the power of the wind. He can generate whirlwinds with his legs, torso, and arms. He was only shown twice in the 80s series because his figure was released before the cartoon’s closure. The figure came with a yellow shield (absent in the cartoon).
In the 2002 continuity, Sy-Klone was recast as a mystic guardian of the Legacy Stones and the last defender of Anwat Gar, the Tibetan-Japanese-style temple that housed these stones. After destroying the stones, He-Man invited Sy-Klone to become a Master of the Universe. Sy-Klone’s look resembles that of a stylized samurai; he tends to speak in proverbs, which irritates Teela from time to time. He is very lawful and righteous in nature.
Stinkor – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Stinkor is an anthropomorphic skunk with magical control over his own stench. His action figure used the same mold as Mer-Man, wore the same mold of armor as Mekaneck, and actually smelled of patchouli oil, one of only three scented toys Mattel produced (the others being Moss Man and also Perfuma from the She-Ra line).
In the 2002 version, Stinkor was once a Paeleezean named Odiphus who was mutated by an explosion he caused while meddling in Tri-Klops’ lab. The mutations caused the furry creature to grow taller, muscular, and to be able to speak in a humanoid manner. His stench is so awful that a special armored suit was created for him to keep the smell as under control as possible. Some stink still escapes the suit, causing Skeletor and the other evil warriors to cover their noses and to treat Stinkor politely in order to get him out of the room as efficiently as possible. Stinkor’s stench especially adversely affects the dragons of Eternia.
Clawful – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Clawful was introduced into the Masters of the Universe toy line in 1984 as part of the third wave of figures. He uses the standard Evil Warrior Skeletor body, with a new head and right arm sculpt (with spring-loaded claw). His left arm uses the same mold as Buzz-Off, released in the same wave. He carries a bright green version of the mace weapon originally included in the Castle Grayskull playset, with an additional ‘handle’ allowing him to carry it in his left claw.
Moss Man – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
In the 2002 series, Moss Man is a quiet pastoral type who resides in the Eternian forests. Although invited to join the Masters of the Universe by He-Man, Moss Man chooses to retain his position as the guardian of Eternia’s flora but agrees to help the Masters whenever he can. His assistance proves pivotal in “Council of Evil” and in other episodes.
Hordak – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Hordak is an evildoer who, in the 2002 series, wished to rule over all of Eternia. After he and his minions defeated the Snake Men, Hordak turned his attention to Castle Grayskull and launched an attack against it. He was defeated by King Grayskull, who banished Hordak and his forces to the Abyss and entrapped them in a dimension within.
Somehow, ages later, Hordak became Skeletor’s master, despite the dimensional differences. Hordak saves Keldor’s life after he is mortally injured battling Randor; in saving his life, Hordak transformed Keldor into Skeletor and told him there would one day be a price to pay for Hordak’s assistance.
Fisto – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Fisto is an extra-strong warrior with an enlarged metal right hand. In the original series, he was the caretaker of a forest and was hesitant to join in the conflict against Skeletor. He was later appraised by both his fellow Eternians and an alien race as second in strength only to He-Man. In the 2002 series, he is the last to join the Masters of the Universe and is revealed to be Man-At-Arms’ older brother.
Man-e-Faces – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Man-E-Faces is a multi-faced Master of the Universe, with the ability to change his faces from a human face to a monster face to a robot face. His physical abilities mirror the face he wears. Man-E-Faces, at times called Manny by his fellow Masters, had a prodigious career as an actor prior to becoming a Master of the Universe.
His strongest persona, Man-E-Monster, is also his weakest, because as a monster he can be controlled by Beast Man. He enjoys playing the Eternian version of chess; Man-At-Arms built Roboto originally to serve as a gaming partner for Man-E-Robot. The figure came with the gun but it was not used in the cartoon.
Skeletor – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Skeletor is the main antagonist of He-Man In the original illustrated books and in the Filmation series, Skeletor is an evil demon from another dimension. A later Mattel minicomic implies that he was once Keldor, brother of King Randor, which was in fact intended.
The 2002 series and related materials confirm that Skeletor was once a man named Keldor, though the series itself established no familial connection prior to its cancellation, his connection to Randor was heavily implied. The later DVD releases of the series featured bios, confirming ultimately that the shows’ creators conceived of Keldor as Randor’s half-brother.
He-Man – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
He-Man is “the most powerful man in the universe” and in most media he is the alter-ego of Prince Adam. He is armed with a power harness that enhances his strength, the Sword of Power, and a shield. Early media, such as the minicomics packaged with the original run of action figures, also depicts him wielding a battle ax. He-Man possesses superhuman strength and is capable of performing incredible feats, such as lifting heavy objects such as rocks and buildings, as well as having the advantage over just about any opponent.
He is a strong upholder of moral justice and is regarded by the people of Eternia as their greatest hero. In the original minicomics He-Man was a wandering barbarian hailing from a jungle tribe, but the cartoon series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe portrayed him as the alter ego of the young Prince Adam, heir to the throne of Eternia, and most media since have followed suit.
Trap Jaw – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Trap Jaw is a weapons expert and cyborg with a metal jaw, which can bite through anything. In the mini-comic originally packaged with Trap Jaw, The Menace of Trap Jaw, he is a villain from another dimension that Skeletor invades in an attempt to enter Castle Grayskull. While Skeletor attempts to weaken the Castle’s defenses,
Trap Jaw, who is being pursued by authorities, slams into Skeletor and knocks him back through the dimensional portal to Eternia. Back on Eternia, Trap Jaw emerges from the Castle connected to its power by a magical cord. Both He-Man and Skeletor attempt to defeat Trap Jaw, but eventually realize that they must join their halves of the power sword to be strong enough to sever the magical cord connecting Trap Jaw to the Castle. The comic ends with Skeletor carrying the unconscious Trap Jaw back to Snake Mountain where he will become one of his minions.
Tri-Klops – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Tri-Klops is a 3-eyed hunter and swordsman who can see in any direction. His eyes, which are on a rotating visor around his head, have different abilities in different versions; one common ability is the power to see through solid objects with his Gammavision. In both the 1983 and 2002 cartoons, his eyes can also shoot laser beams, although this is not commonly used in other material. The 2002 version also sees him as more of an inventor, with some cybernetic features to his appearance. A well-known classic villain of the MOTU line, Tri-Klops was one of Skeletor’s chief henchmen, and was frequently featured as such in the Filmation cartoon.
Zodac – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Zodac is the Cosmic Enforcer. Much confusion has arisen over the character’s true allegiance due to conflicting portrayals in different media. The original 1980s toy line packaged Zodac as ‘Evil Cosmic Enforcer’ indicating he was an evil warrior. However, the DC Comics and the Filmation cartoon series indicated that the character strives to maintain a neutral standpoint, helping both good and evil sides in their times of need whilst leaning more towards the cause of justice.
Mer Man – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Mer-Man is a fish-man who controls sea life, often depicted as the ruler of Eternia’s undersea kingdom. The figure of him did not wear the gloves and boots he wore in the cartoon, nor did he have the sword in the cartoon that his figure counterpart came with.
Man-at-Arms – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Man-At-Arms is He-Man’s closest ally, originally packaged in the Mattel toy line as the ‘Heroic Master of Weapons’. He is Teela’s adoptive father and the chief producer of the weaponry and vehicles used by the Heroic Warriors. Since Man-At-Arms is actually a title, not a name, the character is also known as Duncan. The original minicomics depicted him as the last surviving member of a family of great warriors and inventors, who used the material resources at his disposal to aid He-Man.
Mekaneck – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Mekaneck is the Master of the Universe with a telescoping neck that enables him to serve as a scout and do reconnaissance. Man-At-Arms is the one who gave him his extending prosthetic neck, although in the 2002 series this is never discussed; Man-At-Arms is only shown repairing kinks and damage to Mekaneck’s neck.
In the 2002 series, Mekaneck occasionally feels useless and wishes he had better super powers than just an extending neck. This leads him to unknowingly retrieve Count Marzo’s power amulet, in the vain hope that he’d be granted better abilities. He-Man and the other Masters finally convince Mekaneck of his worth
Beast Man – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Beast Man makes his debut in Mattel’s very first illustrated books as a follower of Skeletor. As the toyline expanded, he stayed at Skeletor’s side. Beast Man is an animal-like humanoid who can telepathically summon wild creatures of Eternia to aid Skeletor’s schemes. He was frequently portrayed as a buffoon who could not do much correctly.
Roboto – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Roboto is the robot Master of the Universe. In the 2002 version, he was designed by Man-At-Arms as a chess-playing robot, who upgrades his body and his knowledge database into that of a fighter in order to assist in the defense of the Eternian palace. Roboto is seen as an unwanted and unskilled pest by Teela, the Captain of the Guards, until Roboto sacrifices himself to protect the Masters of the Universe. Man-At-Arms rebuilds him, and Roboto is finally accepted by Teela. Roboto’s mechanical nature helps He-Man in overcoming the Serpent Ring’s evil magic.
Faker – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Faker is an evil duplicate of He-Man, created by Skeletor. The toy version is done in blue with red hair and orange torso armor, with the backstory that he is a robot duplicate that did not work out. In one annual, he is a deformed clone. However, in his sole appearance in the cartoon, Faker is a magical creation, identical to He-Man apart from glowing eyes and odd intonation.
Jitsu – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Jitsu appeared only once as a supporting character in The Dragon Invasion episode in 1983. His role in this episode is to accompany Skeletor in an invasion of Castle Grayskull. He has only one line and aside from a brief display of his karate-chopping abilities (his right hand, which has the ability to smash through things, is flesh rather than gold), has no character development at all. He is not used in the series again, even when the toy figure was released in 1984, since he was Japanese and the writers of the cartoon feared he would be seen as a racist stereotype to Asians
Stratos – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Stratos is one of the Heroic Warriors. He has the power of flight and energy projection, and is the leader of a race of birdpeople who inhabit the airborne city of Avion, high in the Mystic Mountains. He appeared regularly in early episodes of the 1980s cartoon series by Filmation, and the season 2 episode Betrayal of Stratos explained that Stratos and his people gained their power of flight from the Egg of Avion, a sacred relic of his kingdom.
Whiplash – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Whiplash is an aligator hybrid whose tail is a formidable weapon. He did not have the spear in the cartoon and, like Tri-Klops, he was supposed to be a heroic warrior. In the 2002 cartoon, he is brother to King Ceratus and betrayed his kind when he sided with Skeletor. This series revealed that he and King Ceratus are Caligars.
Ram Man – Masters of the Universe ( James Boorman )
Ram Man is a stocky warrior with poor verbal skills whose chief method of attack/defense involves using his head as a battering ram (hence the name). He is afraid of the dark, and is unswervingly loyal to the people of Eternia, at times questioning the loyalty of newer Heroic Warriors such as Buzz-Off.
However, he is also a bit naive and gullible. His lack of intelligence is often played for humor. The moral in House of Shokoti, Part I was considered so obvious that Ram Man delivered a lesson about not trying to imitate his human battering ram practices, noting both his heavy armor and his nature as a fictional character.