So far as I’m aware, this small storybook is the very first piece of He-Man / Masters of the Universe tie-in fiction. It describes He-Man as being a mighty forest-dwelling tribesman who leaves his village to battle the forces of evil trying to access the secrets of Castle Grayskull… which, uh, he somehow knows exists despite being a forest-dwelling tribesman. Maybe he was also the village’s biggest gossip hound, I dunno.
This was a much more fantasy take on the He-Man mythos, as technology like the Battle Ram was left over from before Eternia was beset by the “Great Wars” - which were catastrophic enough to tear open a hole in reality(!) that pulled Skeletor to Eternia from another dimension. This set-up also gave He-Man no secret identity, which I am on record for thinking was a dumb creative decision in the first place. Sure, it was a way to add some tension to the animated series… but it just rings hollow to me, because nobody would’ve been hurt if his ID got out. By that point in the canon, Skeletor was gunning for He-Man’s family and friends anyway, by dint of them being the friggin’ Royal Family Of Eternia and the associated hangers-on.
"Gasp! He-Man is really the hated son of the hated king I hate! I must… hate them both even more now! Somehow! Nyeh!"
Also, I don’t get why the back of the storybook lists all the heights/lengths of the toys. That seems kind of weird?
Anyway. I had plans to scan the entire book, but my copy has two of the pages torn out. Turns out the entire thing is up at He-Man.org if you want to read it, though.
Somehow, this still feels way more 1930s sci-fi than 1950s. Also, that rocketship’s got to be pretty inconvenient to fly, since I’m not sure it has seats.
A nightmare-inducing sea creature on the cover of Charlton’s Unusual Tales #6. Art by Steve Ditko, scan taken from Heritage Auctions.
A 1986 Transformers cup by Packer Plastics, featuring Ultra Magnus. On top of some of his parts colors being off - shins, chestplate, helmet - all his white parts are actually depicted as silver-grey, in contrast to the cup’s base white. Whether that change was due to printing on a cup or a genuine deco difference, I dunno.
I’ve often felt that Steve Ditko’s covers for Marvel Comics were kind of sub-par. You’d occasionally get some real gems, but it didn’t feel like he consistently knocked them out of the park as much as, say, Jack Kirby did (which, okay, bad comparison, it’s Jack Kirby). My view led me to think that Ditko was a mediocre cover artist in general… but then I decided to flip through his other work on Comics.org. He did a lot of material for this cheapjack publisher called Charlton, and holy cow - a bunch of it is downright incredible.
Look at the atmosphere on this thing! The composition! It was a horror/suspense anthology, and each one of those flying papers represents a story inside. There’s even an “IN THIS ISSUE” blurb worked into the background! I don’t know why Ditko’s Marvel covers don’t thrill me so much - maybe Stan Lee or whoever put different demands on him - but he could clearly make covers worthy of separating kids from their hard-earn dimes…
Tales of the Mysterious Traveler #4, taken from a Heritage auction.
Write-up of “the latest” Spider-Man movie script from the July 1990 issue of Amazing Heroes.
Ever wanted to study grade-school reading comprehension and vocabulary with the help of Billy Idol? Well, Superstars of Rock has got you covered. Bonus points if anyone actually goes and does any of the assignments.