MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE Writer Shares Origin Of Eternia & Castle Grayskull
The new issue of Shadowland Magazine has a fantastic spread on the Masters of the Universe. They cover the 25th anniversary of the 1987 live-action film, a review of the classic toyline, and an interview with the writer of the original mini-comics.
In the latest issue of Shadowland Magazine there is a terrific interview with Donald F. Glut. He is the writer that is responsible for creating much of the foundation for the Masters of the Universe. He wrote the first four mini-comics: He-Man and the Power Sword, King of Castle Grayskull, Battle in the Clouds, and The Vengeance of Skeletor.
SHADOWLAND MAGAZINE: When Mattel initially hired you to write the original four Masters of the Universe mini-comics how much of the story and characters had already been fleshed out? Did Mattel already have a structured outline, an early concept to expand upon, or was much of the story left to your imagination?
DONALD F. GLUT: I wasn't hired by Mattel per se, but by Western Publishing Company. Western, at the time, was publishing a lot of licensed books, comics, etc. owned by various movie, TV and toy companies. My main editor at Western offered me the gig. He showed me a set of about a half dozen Polaroid photos from Mattel, showing prototypes of various characters and also the castle, most of which were, at the time, unnamed. I recall He-Man and Man-at-Arms - and possibly Beast Man already having names, but not much else. Mattel sent notes to Western describing what the toys did. But the names of the other characters, the universe they existed in, their origins and powers, etc. were pretty much left up to me. And I was instructed to include in the stories how the toys and their accessories (like swords) functioned.
SM: Were you responsible for coming up with the names of Eternia, Castle Grayskull, and He-Man's Power Sword?
DFG: Yes, all three. The name Eternia was inspired by the title of the movie Fantasia To my thinking it seemed to fit because the mixing of the primitive and futuristic - swords and fantastic vehicles, for example -suggested to me an "eternal" or timeless universe. Castle Grayskull I named after my then-wife's maiden name, Gray. I named the Power Sword after the Power Stone, a recurring plot device from some of the earliest Superman comic-book stories.
Donald also discusses how he felt it was necessary to add as many "in-jokes" as possible just to make sure that he could prove that he wrote the mini-comics. One such reference is that the third mini-comic is titled Battle in the Clouds, which is a reference to the 1909 silent sci-fi film of the same name.
Shadowland Magazine - The MOTU 1987 live-action retrospective honors the 25th anniversary of the film, comparing the cartoon/toy line to the film, while debating why the movie, albeit controversial to MOTU fans, was a good MOTU adaptation. There are also a number of character comparisons.
Our other MOTU feature focuses on a 30th anniversary retrospective on the cartoon/toy line, as well as thoroughly reviewing the entire MOTU Classics toy line. Fans who are either on the fence about the toy line or don't know about it, will find much to enjoy here.
The magazine covers a bunch more, such as an article arguing the differences between The Hunger Games and Battle Royale - and the lasting appeal of the Japanese cult classic. Horror fans will be interested in our Universal Monsters toy article (tons of pictures too) on the classic Universal Monster merchandising craze between the 1960s and 1990s (models, action figures, costumes, flashlights, coloring books, puzzles, costumes, etc).
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