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If you’re a child of the 80s like me then you most likely have at least a passing fancy of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series. Launched in 1981 by Mattel, the MOTU series is a basic story of good vs. evil, pitting the heroic He-Man against “The Evil Lord of Destruction” Skeletor and his henchmen in an epic battle for the planet of Eternia.
Since its initial launch, the franchise has spawned four cartoon series, several comic series, a Velveeta-soaked film starring Dolph Lundgren, and an abundance of action figures. When I was a kid I loved the cartoon and owned almost every action figure. I still look back on those days with fondness. It was a simpler time. A time when kids counted on their own creativity and innocent ingenuity – rather than on Sony or Microsoft’s latest brand of technology – to conjure a playground of possibilities.
Time and retrospect have a way of shedding new light on dusty, old recollections. In the midst of adolescent endeavors you don’t take the time to ponder the disturbing nature of playing with muscular male dolls that are 90% naked. You also tend to ignore ridiculous character names such as Stinkor.
These later-year revelations don’t taint the joy I had orchestrating a successful raid on the evil Horde – an attack that led to the deaths of Hordak and Grizzlor – but they do allow me to reminisce by poking fun at many of the characters with which I am familiar.
And I’m not even including all the wonderfully cheesy characters relegated exclusively to the She-Ra series (Perfuma, Mantenna, Peekablue)! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my choices for the 10 Worst He-Man characters of all time.
On paper, Orko is an inept magician from the world of Trolla who was intended to be a source of comic relief. In reality, Orko is the MOTU version of Jar Jar Binks. Admittedly, the character is easily acceptable by 10-year-olds who will no doubt laugh uproariously at the backfiring of Orko’s magic spells, but this is the same age demographic who cackles at Uncle Larry’s “finger pulling” trick, so their judgment is not to be considered in very high regard. We would be better off if Orko would use his magic to make himself disappear.
9. Snout Spout
Snout Spout? Seriously? A cyborg with a human body and a metallic elephant head? The character was never given any real development, and for good reason. His greatest accomplishment comes during a cameo in the He-Man & She-Ra Christmas Special when he extends his trunk to place a star on the tree. Look at the thing. Can you imagine the interview process to join the Heroic Warriors?
“So, um, what special abilities do you have?”
“I can shoot water out of my trunk!”
“In other words, you can spout stuff out of your snout?”
“And that’s where you got your name?”
“Uh, yeah. That about sums it up.”
Perhaps he’s useful for putting out fires, but if he were alongside me in battle I’d die laughing every time I looked at him or thought about his ridiculous name. Victory would surely be Skeletor’s.
Clawful combines two of the MOTU creators’ biggest trademarks – names that are a play on words and action figures with a prominent limb. First, he’s a bad guy, therefore, he’s awful. But what really brings it home is that he’s a weird human/lobster hybrid with a gigantic claw for his right hand. Combine the two and VOILA! Clawful! What I want to know is why only one of his claws is so prominent. Was there nuclear-tainted water in Eternia?
The writers missed out on two possibilities for Clawful’s arch-nemesis:
- Clawsome – He would’ve been a good guy from the same species as Clawful. His oversized claw could have opened to reveal that it held first aid supplies for any of Clawful’s victims.
- Tartor – Rather than go with the obvious “Tartar,” this gives us the opportunity to use “or” at the end of a character name as the writers absolutely loved to do.
The MOTU characters are the most lazily-named figures in the history of comic franchises. This is an example of yet another trademark of the MOTU creators – just add “or” to the end of a character name. To ensure maximum cheesiness, add the “or” to the end of something that describes who or what you are. There should have been a character named Writor who did nothing but write lists of bad baby names for the citizens of Eternia.
This cat’s a ninja? We’ll call him Ninjor! The franchise already had one character who possessed skills in the martial arts – Jitsu – so Ninjor’s existence is fairly pointless. His stupid name catapults him into lame status.
This character is a humanoid bee. That’s it. He could fly around and act as a spy for He-Man. How exactly does that incorporate any of the natural abilities of the bee? At the least they could have made him He-Man’s lackey who was forced to go gather honey whenever He-Man wanted biscuits for breakfast.
Not only does this thing not possess any envious powers, but come on, Buzz-Off? What a way to go through life. If someone addresses him how does he know if they’re actually calling his name or telling him to get lost?
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