The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is an odd relic from the 1980s, a cartoon and toy line that heavily inspired decades of animation and marketing while never achieving the long-lasting fame of franchises such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. However, MOTU still enjoys a strong cult following and much admiration and respect from artists and fans, which this coffee-table book attributes to the art of the early animation and packaging. Tracing the origins from a reactionary creation—He-Man creator Mattel passed on the Star Wars action figure line—through its many television, film, book, and marketing incarnations, the journey mirrors the animation industry over the past three decades. More than 300 pages collect preproduction memos, concept sketches, prototype figures and seemingly endless examples of card-back art, mini comics, posters and beautifully hand-drawn Filmation cels. Since the focus is on the art, fans may lament the exclusion of packaged toys, displays and pop-culture impact and analysis, but the imagery alone is powerful enough to kick-start a nostalgic trip. With special appearances by She-Ra and a wonderful mix of behind-the-scenes interviews and info, this colossal tome honors Eternia's greatest heroes and one of the most imaginative and game-changing animated series of all time.