some people think what the future of Masters of the Universe
may have held, they tend to reference The Powers of Grayskull:
The Legend Begins. This future was being developed with the
help of writer Phil White
a member of CAPS (Comic Arts Professionals Society), has written
the stories for some of the most talked-about minicomics.
Not only that, but he helped to create the backstories for
a number of the toys and vehicles in the Masters of the Universe
area of expertise centers on marketing and advertising, and
his hobbies have always been involved around fantasy and comics.
Despite this, White may never have gotten involved with Masters
of the Universe had fate not intervened.
working for an engineering company for about six years, White's
career there was ended by cutbacks from an oil crisis. So,
he found himself searching for a job, ultimately landing a
position in Mattel's Creative Resources Group (CRG). This
department was in charge of the copyrights on packaging and
instructions as well as working with the minicomics.
engineers would design toys, then come to the CRG to get names
and story ideas to explain why the toys did what they did.
Then, while the toy was developed, the CRG would research
the copyright info on the name and developed the actual story
for the packaging and, in some cases, the minicomic.
had a lot to do with the development of the Princess of Power
toy line and actually created the Spinnerella doll. Mattel
made a special effort to make both Princess of Power and Masters
of the Universe toys have gimmicks. This played into designs
such as Spinnerella's pump-and-spin action. "The toys
had to be two things in one, because of the whole Transformer
addition, White worked with the Bravestarr toyline as well.
his work with Mattel was short-lived. Mattel found itself
financially burdened and started making cutbacks. Being an
employee for only 3 months, White fell victim to lay-offs.
suspects that this came from the fact that Mattel put a lot
of money into the failed development of the Intellivision,
a gaming system intended to rival Atari and Coleco. Mattel
had also made recent acquisitions such as the purchase of
Barnum and Bailey Brother's Circus, which added to the problem.
Mattel still commissioned White to write stories afterwards.
went on to develop his own comic strip. However, publishers
weren't interested in anthropomorphic characters at the time,
and swung more towards strips like Doonesbury. So he tried
his hand at his own comic entitled Ogre. It was a 4-issue
limited series that sold great at first, but timing would
be against White. Releasing the book in 1994-95 coincided
with a major decline in comic sales.
White went on to work with an office machine manufacturer,
and then with a major tax software company. White now lives
in Nevada and still continues to work freelance as a writer
and does a weekly cartoon strip.
talked a little about some of the questions that have arisen
from one of the more popular minicomics: The Powers of Grayskull.
three-part minicomic never made it past part one. The whole
purpose of the series was to help set up the bridge between
Masters of the Universe and what was going to happen with
a new proposed series. "They were going to introduce
a new toyline, a spin-off from Masters of the Universe and
Princess of Power ... a whole new universe."
many know, the new line of toys, The Powers of Grayskull,
was to be based on dinosaurs. But the development of the new
line came to a halt as attention turned to the new Bravestarr
line. Mattel's financial hardship sealed the fate of The Powers
of Grayskull. "There was going to be a TV show and new
toys, but because of the Mattel cutbacks, they had to put
a lot of plans on the shelf."
combination of poor investment decisions and the Bravestarr
line ultimately killed off any hope of He-Ro and company battling
the forces of evil. With The Powers of Grayskull now debunked,
a lot of questions were left unanswered. White helped explain
a little of what was intended.
turns out He-Ro was going to be the lead character of the
new series, while Keldor was planned to be the antagonist.
"He-Ro was probably meant to be a leader ... I'm not
sure if he was one of the council of Elders ... Eldor was
probably going to offer advice."
what about Keldor? Many have asked what his connection is
to Skeletor, and we finally have official word: "Keldor
and Skeletor were the same person, hence the similar spelling
of the names."
explained that much of this was created on the fly, so, no
definite story was every really decided upon. But he was able
to talk in brief about the toys for the new series. "The
toys couldn't be just dinosaurs ... they had to be like transformers
that had things that flipped open, with control panels, fire
projectiles, and features like that."
the interview, White pulled out some plans for the proposed
Giagantisaur toy and explained some of its layout. "The
brontosaurus' side flipped down ... it had control panels
and things inside, I guess so they could work on him ... It
was like a mobile unit for the army." Apparently no story
had been developed for why the dinosaurs were part mechanical.
described how the Snake Men and the Towers of Eternia were
also an important bridge between Masters of the Universe and
the Powers of Grayskull. But, sometimes marketing played a
role in that as well. "We were putting a lot of emphasis
on the Eternia toy, because it was so expensive and elaborate."
of the Snake Men's story had already been told throughout
the comics. But some have wondered if a more elaborate story
exists. White explains, "Not really, none of the characters
had really been developed ... the Snake Men were probably
heavily influenced by Conan the Barbarian."
no one was fortunate enough to see the dawn of this new series.
"The toys were trying to keep up with what the animation
was doing and what the market was requesting."
we would never see what the future (or past) would hold for
Masters of the Universe.