Comic Collection Review: He Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection

9781616558772

Once more we travel through the vast underground catacombs that reside under the gothic castle that is the offices and home to the Root Beer Party.  Little do people realize the vast underground network that lies under the rolling green hills of the palatial estate.  To the world it is merely the home to an eccentric clan of comic creators with an affinity for root beer, but lurking just beneath lies the most complete collection of comics in the world.  Countless volumes thought to be lost to the ages, including artifacts such as Trajan’s Column, Egyptian hieroglyphs and the Bayeux Tapestry and the Ark of the Covenant .

Since time immortal, the select guardians of the Root Beer Party have kept the history of comics alive, carefully cataloging and collecting every scrap of comic art in the history of the world.

Now I travel down those same corridors, where once the Great Root Beer monks of old traveled to deposit their latest discovery.  The walls lined with ancient cave paintings and dimly lit torches create an atmosphere of mythical awe until you turn on the lights and then it just a really, really big room.

Today we will look at a recent publication from Dark Horse.  He Man and the Masters of the Universe minicomic collection.  There is a lot that goes along with this collection of minicomics.  Interviews with the artists, the writers and even the executives in charge of the toy and cartoon lines.

He-Man became a cultural phenomenon beyond the expectations of Mattel.  This is why there is some serious continuity issues between the original mini comics and the later released ones.  The first issue, He Man and the Power Sword, considering all of the copies sold along with the action figure means that the mini comic has the largest print run of any comic book in history.

We can see the difference in the minicomics and in the action figures which would later be packaged with them.  In order to have the comic ready it was done well in advance of the action figures debut and changes were made to the action figures that were not reflected in the minicomic.  The minicomic: The Tale of Teela, is a perfect example of this.  Teela was supposed to be the Sorceress, but the Sorceress was later introduced as a separate character, and then when the cartoon came along, all the continuity was sort of thrown into disarray.

This book walks us through all of that, how the plots and designs were dictated to the writers and artists and it became more of being just a sales pitch.  So why would a cheap sales gimmick turn out to have such a nostalgic value to people today?  I guess it is because for many of us, these minicomics were the jumping off point of every action figure we collected.  It introduced us to the character and their place in the world of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  While some of the stories are downright silly and in the later releases when the writing was on the wall about the end of the toy line, they still kept us invested and those same late issue minicomics are some of the most expensive to collect today, fetching hundreds of dollars for unopened packages in mint condition.

The book also gives us the complete comics from the several failed re-launches of He-Man.  some feature artwork by people such as Neil Adams and writing from people like Tim Seeley and Robert Kirkman.  The collection also contains some unreleased minicomics and scripts from minicomics that were never used as the toy line was cancelled.  So if you are a fan of the old He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and want to take a stroll down memory lane, this collection may be for you.  It brought back fond memories and the interviews and overarch of the history of the minicomics weaves a wonderful spell to keep you interested with all the behind the scenes facts.

You can get this book at Amazon Here: https://www.amazon.com/He-Man-Masters-Universe-Minicomic-Collection/dp/1616558776/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

So now we return this volume to it’s place shelf in the archival room, sealed once again in airtight vellum to protect it’s precious pages from the ravages of time.  I hope you enjoy this collection and check it out.  And as always True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

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20 Questions with Comic Artists: Neil Kohney from The Other End Comics

4-8 Wasp Nest

We are Back Once again True Believers with an all new installment of our world renowned, Emmy nominated*, Tony Award** winning segment 20 Questions with Comic Artists.  Today we have with us Neil Kohney from the amazing webcomic The Other End.  You can check out his web page here: http://www.kohney.com/

(*Someone named Emma liked one of our posts.)

(**A guy named Tony made us an offer we couldn’t refuse)

The Other End is a daily webcomic with an assortment of recurring characters brought to us by the number #4 and the letter H.  We caught up with Neil at his palatial estate just outside Martha’s Vineyard, where a lot of great webcomic artists have formed a sort of Shangri-La right in between the toxic dump site, the ancient Indian burial ground and the pet cemetery.   But let’s get to the interview:

Question 1:  What got you started in doing a comic series?

So, I started my first comic series when I was in the 7th grade. It was a parody super hero series about the titular Dyno-Dan, and it was terrible. This was all on notebook paper, by the way, distributed to a few close friends. But I kept trying to make it happen, until I eventually gave it up in high school. Then, in late high school, I started drawing up some one-off comics that eventually became the first iteration of The Other End. Over the years, I switched from computer paper to digital, got my own domain, and tried to make a name for myself in the great wide world of webcomics. Then, last year, I decided to switch things up with the introduction of storylines. I had a few running characters, but hadn’t done much with them. Nevertheless, the storyline angle just felt right, and I haven’t looked back since.

Question 2: Who was your greatest influence?

Calvin and Hobbes, Bloom County, The Far Side, Peanuts, blah blah blah. Literally every major newspaper comic has influenced me one way or another (some significantly more than others). That being said, I always look to the 1950s Peanuts comics for inspiration. There’s so much amazing humor and art that just got lost to time, drowned out by the animated specials, running jokes and more memorable characters of the 70s and 80s.

Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?

Fitz’s. I love those glass bottles.

Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?

I want to make something that recalls the best qualities of old school comics, while embracing the advantages of the new medium (HD comics, baby). I don’t think there’s enough of that, especially among the most popular genre-defining webcomics, some of which can barely be classified as comics.

Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?

Sorta. I work on screenplays and such, but that kind of writing is so similar to scripting a comic that it feels like an extension of that interest.

Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?

Professional, definitely. It’s mostly all about making that sweet sweet cash. Of course, it’s impossible for a comic NOT to be personal, to an extent. Especially if you’re the only one working on it. And my future children will absolutely have to compete with my comic characters for attention and love.

 3_27 The Flightless Penguin

 

Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?

For one, I don’t get overtly political. Not that I’ll never do some more political stuff, but I hate straw men, and it’s tricky to avoid that. Also, I try to avoid toilet humor. Not because I think I’m too good for it or anything, but it doesn’t work that well in print. With plenty of exceptions, of course.

Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use? 

Wacom tablet and Clip Studio Paint, which I try to make look as hand drawn as possible. I’d love to work on paper with real pens and paper, but I wouldn’t be able to crank out a daily comic if I did that. Plus, I hate paint, so I’d be limited with the colors.

Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?

Nothing. Basically, I decided this is what I wanted to do, and decided that I was never going to miss an update. And so far, beside the occasional technical problem, I haven’t.

Question 10:  What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?

The other day I got an email with the subject line “Screw You”, which contained a bizarre rant from a fan that basically said (I’m paraphrasing), “Screw you, I finally caught up with your comic and I like it a lot.” So that was pretty cool.

Question 11:  What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?

I had an ad box on my site for a while that occasionally forced my readers onto other sites. It took me forever to figure out what was doing it, and I was furious. And when I tried to remove it, it took down my site for a few days. All while I was out of town for vacation. So that all really sucked.

Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?

Nope. I had a book for a bit, but I think the publisher actually closed shop. Since then, I’ve been too busy to pursue any other print options.

Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?

This is nowhere near a comprehensive list, but some of my absolute favorite creators are Asher Freeman (Flop Comics), Twistwood (Captain Macbastard), el Fury (bastard comics), Reza Farazmand (Poorly Drawn Lines) and J.L. Westover (Mr. Lovenstein)

Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?

It certainly takes up a helluva lot of my time. Beyond that, while it’s certainly a big part of my life, I wouldn’t say it’s had an impact on my life. It’s just something I really like to do and something that helps me get where I want to be. And while I’ll probably write and/or draw for the rest of my life, I could see moving on from it at some point. I want TOE to end when it’s ready to end. Not that that’s coming up anytime soon!

Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators?  (no need to keep this answer clean.) 

I’ve never remembered a troll’s comment for longer than a day or two. So yeah, I don’t think it was worth their time. 

4-4 Studio Audience

Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated? 

My daily deadline is the only motivation I’ve ever needed. Because once I miss a deadline, this immediately turns into a hobby, and its way too much work to just be a hobby.

Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink? 

I’m a water drinker 99.99999999% of the time, but I do like a classic rum and coke.

Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you? 

I’m not sure if that’s a hashtag or some sort of cult, but I’m in either way.

Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?

Mainly the writing and the drawing and the inking and the coloring and the lettering and the networking and the social media stuff. But I’m pretty good with coming up with ideas.

Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life? 

I’ve got a couple ideas for spinoffs and various new adventure comics, but I’m not sure when I’m gonna have time for all that. If anyone wants to help me make a little time for new projects, you can support me on Patreon at patreon.com/TheOtherEnd

4-7 The Smell of Ham

And there you have it True Believers, another interview from our newest member of the Root Beer Party.  Welcome to the party Neil, pull up a chair and grab a frosty mug from the freezer and fill it with Fitz’s Root Beer, this round is on the house.  So let’s all top off our glasses and raise them to Neil Kohney.  Now let’s all go to his site and read up on all the happenings over on The Other End, and as always True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.