all of the best minicomics have one editor's name listed:
Lee Nordling. He is responsible for piecing together the elements
for some of the best Masters of the Universe stories ever
a member of CAPS (Comic Arts Professionals Society), has developed
a wide array of experience in his years, having dipped his
feet in one thing after the other; among other things, he
has worked as a cartoonist, an artist, and a writer. Needless
to say, when it comes to comics, he has probably done it.
all started after he graduated San Jose State University with
a Bachelor's in Advertising in 1975. After taking on miscellaneous
tasks, Nordling went on to work as the Art Director for the
LA Times Syndicate for a few years. This eventually gave way
to a job as a strip writer for some of Walt Disney's most
about seven years, Nordling went on to write Aladdin for Marvel
Comics, but never completed the assignment because he was
hired by DC Comics as the Group Editor for Creative Services.
Nothing was permanent for Nordling, who was always on to something
new and fresh.
worked with Nickelodeon as the editor for the Rugrats comic
strip and freelanced on several assorted projects. In 1999,
Nordling found his current job at Platinum Studios, which
is responsible for many of the more popular comic book-based
movies in the works today.
has lived in many places throughout his career, but is currently
in the process of settling into a new home in Pennsylvania.
Here he enjoys the option of working at home, with the occasional
short commute to his job at Platinum. Most of his hobbies
revolve around his career, but he also finds time to go antiquing
with his wife when not involved in the hustle and bustle of
all of this, Nordling worked with many wonderful artists producing
the minicomics we all know and love. Nordling says that the
minicomics were a good start for a lot of great artists: "They
were a great training ground ... they gave a lot of people,
who normally didn't have the option, the chance to work in
comics." Adds Nordling, "It was great to work with
people who hadn't done comics before."
he worked with a wide variety of artists, his initial choice
of artists were ones he came to rely on for issue after issue.
These included Larry Houston (co-producer of the X-Men animated
series) as penciller, Michael Lee as inker, and Skip Simpson
Timm, who went on to play an influential role in Batman: The
Animated Series, The New Batman/Superman Adventures, and Batman
Beyond, was also one of Nordling's choices for inks and pencils.
"I'm pretty sure it was Timm's first sequential work,"
says Nordling. He went on to say that Timm also did a fully
illustrated book that was released with one of the Evil Horde
vehicles or playsets. It was a larger format, and fully painted.
He chuckles, "The book almost got us fired because it
had the word 'evil' in the title."
first work in a minicomic was on The Secret Liquid of Life.
He was quick to note that Mattel gave them free reign in the
way of character design. They were given the story and allowed
to do with the art as they pleased.
noticed there wasn't a lot of ethic diversity in the books.
After talking this over with the artists, they went for a
change. Larry Houston suggested that they make the characters
in this book of black descent like him. Nordling agreed.
Geldor is one of the few black protagonists to grace the stories
of Masters of the Universe. It was such a good experience,
other cultures were used, such as Asian (as seen in Double-Edged
Sword, done in regards to Michael Lee) and Native American
(as seen in Slave City). "It was a good feeling to integrate
different races into the comics," Nordling says.
minicomics were never really considered by Mattel as much
of a resource for the toy. "They had no intent other
than to just give some additional tidbits with the toy."
minicomics were done this way on purpose. "They did not
tie into the toy, and were not very interesting ... they were
stories that kids could read ... Mattel's total interest was
just in making comics to include with the toys ... That is
why you have characters you'd never see toys of or never see
in the TV show."
Mattel's relative disinterest with the minicomics changed.
Mattel came to realize that the minicomics were being used
by children as a roleplaying guide. Thus, they turned towards
making minicomics that actually went along with the toys they
were packaged with, giving children some type of background
to use in play.
tried to take total advantage of this option. "At one
time, I didn't know whether they were telling stories or doing
toy illustrations." But Mattel gave Nordling and his
artists room to do as they wanted and they concentrated more
on the storytelling elements of the comics, rather than turning
them into 12-page ads.
to Nordling, the books were always done in a hurry. The stories
were usually thought up on the fly and the art done quickly,
allowing about one book to be completed per month. About two
weeks for pencils, a week for inks, and a week for colors
... unlike today's comics, which are typically done months
in advance in order to allow artists time to complete them.
the art for all the minicomics is probably long gone by now.
The original black and whites were split among the pencillers
and inkers, while Mattel held onto (and likely later discarded)
the colored versions.
is modest about his role as editor. He is actually rather
embarrassed to find his name printed in the books just because
he doesn't like to make a great deal out if his contributions.
That's not to say he is embarrassed to have worked on the
minicomics themselves; to the contrary, he loved it.
stories went along with the creation of the minicomics, a
few of which Nordling had time to tell. The book Slave City
was notable to Nordling. He remembered it as "having
one of the most violent covers ever." This cover even
prompted Mattel to try to package the figure and accessory
inside in such a way that it covered up the art.
Slave City was nearing its deadline for pencils, Larry Houston
told Nordling that he had stretched the story as far as he
could go and they were still three pages short. Nordling suggested
that he extend the fight scene for the additional length.
Thus, three pages of additional battle were inserted in the
also recalls some internal continuity problems with the book.
"The book was supposed to be packed out with a toy character
of Zodac. After the comic was drawn, a marketing person at
Mattel wanted to know why Zodac didn't resemble the toy. That's
the question my art director asked me. I responded, "Zodac
is a toy? We had two choices, redraw every misdrawn Zodak
(here, spelled with a 'K'), or do what I suggested: change
his name to a character who isn't a toy."
is my creation. I made all the corrections to the finished
lettered overlays, retouching out the horizontal top of every
'Z' in his name, so that it became an 'L.' Then I wrapped
the top angled stem of the 'K' so that it resembled an 'R.'"
book that stood out in Nordling's mind the most was Spikor
Strikes. The deadline for the book was near and all the art
from penciller Jim Shull had not yet been turned in. Tempers
were flaring and the book had to be done post haste. When
all the art was turned in, it turned out Shull had drawn the
story one page too long. Thus, through some quick, creative
editing, two pages were combined in the book.
also had a lot to do with the Princess of Power minicomics.
He says that some of the comics were like storyboards, while
others were treated as comics. So, he decided to combine both
these elements, and Jim Mitchell (who has drawn for Marvel)
came on as penciller. However, Nordling says that girls just
weren't interested in the minicomics.
all good things must come to an end. Nordling, then working
for Disney, finished his last assignment, the New Adventures
minicomic Revenge of Skeletor. Mattel had hired a new art
director and Nordling no longer had the same control he once
had over the minicomics. He left, but still remembers those
did not pay well ... but it sure was fun while it lasted."