Yikes. Why did this Dark Horse announcement that they were publishing The Art of He-Man and the Master of the Universe have to remind me that it’s been 32 years since the first over-muscled toys arrived on the shelves from Mattel? Way to make me feel old and creaky, Dark Horse – not cool.
My rapid descent to the grave aside, the April 2015 release sounds like the kind of thing a He-Man fan might want to pick up. Not only will the book collect character sketches and prototypes from the early days of the toy line, but original concept art from Earl Norem.
That’s perhaps the most exciting part of the announcement for me: the man simply known as “Norem” had his illustrations grace not only tough guy magazines with names like Men, he also worked on some of Marvel’s trippier sci-fi covers as well as the Mars Attacks! trading cards.
The origins of the look and design of Masters of the Universe is one of the most contentious stories in toy collector history. Mattel designer Roger Sweet and artist Mark Taylor have been swapping accusations of plagiarism and outright theft for years since the launch of the line back in 1982 after Mattel went in search of a license to compete with the monster success of Kenner’s Star Wars toys. The whole crazy story was captured in the documentary, Toy Masters.
The hardcover is available for pre-order now, and Dark Horse has also supplied a few preview pages to whet your appetite. However, the official release and sales page don’t provide any details about the book’s dimensions or page count.