Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist.
This week we're doing something pretty different. For one thing, though Masters of the Universe has been a comic, it's primarily a TV cartoon and a line of toys, and those are the sources I'm turning to in casting this movie. The other difference is that this movie is actually in development, with McG reportedly expected to direct.
This past weekend, you may have been lucky enough to find yourself in Austin, TX to attend the second annual MondoCon. If you weren't (like me), you apparently missed out on a whole mess of cool announcements (like me). In addition to the requisite vinyl and print teases for upcoming releases, Mondo also hinted at the future of its collectibles line. We already knew licenses like He-Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Madballs would be on hand, but Mondo's creative director of toys and collectibles Brett Otterbacher had a few surprises for those in attendance, too.
According to a recap in the Austin Chronicle, Mondo will be crafting statues based on two different DC Comics prints that have already been released. First, a cast version of Francesco Francavilla's "Red Rain" print will be coming soon. Like the Godzilla statue based on the work of Phantom City Creative, the Batman-as-Dracula piece will be stylized as a 3D recreation of Francavilla's scrawny, bony, fang-bearing art. There will also be a Harley Quinn statue based on the 2014 SDCC-exclusive print from Matt Taylor (above). How this Harley will be translated to a statue remains to be seen, as this piece is just as much about her room as it is her. It will be interesting to see which elements make the leap to physical form when the statue begins development.
This weekend will see the second annual MondoCon take place in Austin, TX, and with that comes the debut of amazing exclusive vinyl soundtracks, prints, screenings, posters and teases from Mondo about its plans for the coming year and beyond. While there will be a heavy leaning towards film at MondoCon, there will be a smattering of comic and cartoon-related goodness on display, too. Jock will have his own panel, the 1989 Batman will get a special showing, and for the first time, Mondo's upcoming 1/6 scale He-Man figures will be on full display.
The He-Man figure announcement came at San Diego Comic-Con, but the showing of any assets was very hush-hush, meaning this weekend's event will be the first time the general public will have a chance to peek at the prototypes for He-Man and Skeletor in their new forms. In advance of their debut, Mondo teased the a bit of the preliminary design sketches to give fans an idea of what to expect from their particular take on the '80s cartoon characters.
Artist Stjepan Sejic is a busy man. From working on the likes of Sunstone, Death Vigil, IXth Generation, Rat Queens, Ravine, and covers for seemingly dozens of different books, he somehow also found time to design a new series of statues for Sideshow Collectibles. I can barely tie my own shoes every morning, but this dude found way to digitally draw and paint a half-dozen books a month, and had some spare time to guide the look and feel of a line of Masters of the Universe premium format figures. Wherever this dude is eating, I would like to go to there.
We first got our look at the Sejic-designed pieces at San Diego Comic-Con, but now it appears Sideshow is ready to formally reveal the Masters of the Universe line with it's first piece, He-Man. This statue is just the first of two (the other being Skeletor) that were shown off at SDCC, but Sideshow intimates this could just be the beginning for the MotU series. If this He-Man is any indication, that's going to be a set of statues that even the most lapsed of fans can fawn over.
One of the greatest things about being into comics right now is that we're getting closer and closer to a time when there's nothing that isn't reprinted. I mean, really, as much as I love digging through back issue bins --- and as much as I doubt that particular pastime is going anywhere --- being able to snag a comic that might have otherwise been forgotten in a high-quality prestige format is pretty cool.
That's why I'm so excited about Dark Horse's upcoming He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Mini-Comic Collection. Set for release next week in comic book stores, the 1200-page hardcover collects the original mini-comic stories that were packed in with the MOTU action figures --- comics that featured creators like Mark Texiera and Bruce Timm --- in a brand-new complete package.
Remember when you were a kid and you'd pit toys from different lines against each other, like, say, having the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fight the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation in a crossover that somehow never happened? Remember how this was something you definitely did as a kid and not, like, this weekend when you were bored and realized that you paid good money for all these toys and so you might as well get some use out of them? Well, Ubisoft, the video game publisher best known these days for the Assassin's Creed franchise, is certainly hoping you do, because that seems to be the premise of the upcoming Toy Soldiers: War Chest.
If you were into He-Man and the Masters of the Universe back in the '80s, then you might remember that the toys came with minicomics that provided some additional story about bare-chested heroes fighting equally bare-chested (and surprisingly muscular) skeletons --- and if you were really paying attention, you might recall that those comics featured some early work from legendary creators like Mark Texeira and Bruce Timm.
If that's the case, you might be tempted to dig through toy bins at conventions and try to put together a run yourself, but fortunately, Dark Horse is saving us all the trouble. This October, it's releasing the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection, a whopping 1,232-page hardcover that collects every single minicomic from the classic toy line, bumped up to 6" x 9" and presented in production order.
Considering that it's a franchise built entirely on going way over the top with sword-and-sorcery action, bizarre sci-fi, and a heaping helping of Jack Kirby-inspired action, you might think that Masters of the Universe would be exactly my jam. The thing is, it was just slightly before my time --- my mom has reminded me on several occasions that I was once really into He-Man, but I was so young that I don't really remember it, and I don't have a connection to the franchise today.
That said, I want Dark Horse's The Art of Masters of the Universe book so bad that I'm not sure if I'll be able to wait until it comes out on May 6. Compiled and edited by Steve Seeley and Tim Seeley --- the same Tim Seeley currently writing Grayson for DC --- the book doesn't just collect concept art for the TV show, toy line and comics, but it's an exhaustive look back at the franchise that even includes Mattel's internal guidelines on how to create a "generic Male Action Figure" that are absolutely fascinating. Check out a preview below!
Some of the most horrifying things I have ever seen in my life are those baby dolls that people buy and then paint to be ultra-realistic so that they can sell them on Etsy to people who, I assume, have truly horrible homes. Today, however, I have learned that crafting horrifying babies out of plastic is something best left to the professionals, because I have seen Mattel's new Baby Skeletor doll.
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