Tag Archives: Childhood

He-man and the Masters of the Universe: Mini Comic Collection (2015)

I grew up in the 80’s and for me that was a time that I remember fondly for two things: saturday morning cartoons, and the wonderful toys that these cartoons got their inspiration from. When I was a kid I used to get up at about 7 o’clock in the morning on saturday, turn on the tv to Sky Channel and there it was: the program that set my young eyes alight: Fun Factory. For the first two hours or so, Fun Factory was okayish. But things became really interesting when the “big three” came on: M.A.S.K., He-man and Transformers. Ahhh..to think back on those days, even though they are so many years ago (jeezzzzz I really AM getting old), just brings a smile to my face. When you look at the cartoons from this era and compare them to the golden oldies from the 80’s one can only say that they just don’t make them like they used too. I was and still am a huge Transformers fan (like many kids back in those days). But one of the biggest rivals of Transformers, a dude with a big sword called He-man, honestly failed to impress me. I never bought a He-man toy, and I really did not enjoy the cartoon as much.

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This is a pretty big book alright.

Now, thirty years later, I came into posession of the complete series of He-man and the Masters of the Universe on dvd. And…I am loving it. For some reason I have found a new appreciation of the cartoon, but that is a story for another day. As is most often the case when I all of a sudden have a new obsession, I want to find out more about it. And that brings me to this incredible tome that was released a few years back by Dark Horse comics. He-man and the Masters of the Universe Mini Comic Collection reproduces the comics that came with the toys. Well as I was never interested in the toys in the first place I did not even know of the existence of these comics until I read about this book. The first thing you will notice is how thick this book is (and for that matter how much it weighs). With a massive 1232 pages it will take you a while to get through it all. So what exactly does this book offer you?

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Gotta love that retro comic book style.

This being a comic collection it will not come as a huge surprise when I tell you this humongous book contains comics, and a lot of them. Nearly 70 comics in total are collected here, ranging from the orginal 1982 toylines of He-man and his sister She-ra to a shortlived comic run that should have served as a revival for the series but never quite took off. Besides the comics themselves it also contains a wealth of background info on the series,  which includes interviews with some of the writers and pencilers that created these works of art. And I do mean art. As you might have noticed from a couple of the shots I have included in this post, there was some major talent involved when you like at the drawings alone. I love the oldschool style of some of these comics, and for anyone who grew up with comics in the 80’s it’s hard to not smile at the nostalgic feel of it all. At the start of this run, you could hardly speak of comics as they were more stories that were accompanied by pictures. Later the series evolved and became more traditional looking comics.

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The early comics could not really be called comics in the traditional sense of the word.

The art is good, but how are the stories themselves? Well, they range from totally awesome to downright sucky, if you will pardon my French. But overall though most of the comics are pretty cool. It’s classic good vs evil type of storytelling where He-man fights against his nemesis the evil lord Skeletor and his henchmen. A fun fact to know is that one of the comics was written by Robert Kirkman. If that name doesn’t ring a bell he is the creator of a little known comicbook/tv series called The Walking Dead. This being a kid show, are these comics any fun to read when you are an adult? Well, quite frankly yes. He-man always has been a series that targeted an audience of 12 years and older (and ofcourse younger children still watched it anyway because it was cool to do so), and as such some of the stories and comics depict some pretty gruesome creatures and situations. In fact one of the covers of these comics caused quite a big disturbance at the time of it’s release because it was very brutal and had parents all over the world in uproar.

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Gee, I wonder why parents got upset by this cover?

This book is absolutely amazing. If you have a warm heart towards 80’s cartoons, or a love for oldschool type comics, this is a collection that you just have to pick up. It isn’t even a very expensive book, and for the amount of stuff it contains it is well worth the price. It gives a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of these mini-comics and the amount of work that went into creating these. Even if you have never heard of He-man it’s worth checking it out, especially if you like fantasy type storytelling combined with some of the best art possible. Even though not all of the comics are of the same quality, you will get enough of a kick out of these to make you enjoy it, and forget about some of the lesser comics. In other words go and relive your childhood if you grew up with these cartoons, and buy this book. I promise you, you will not regret it. By the power of Grayskull: I HAVE THE POWERRRRRR!!!!!!

I give He-man the Masters of the Universe mini comic collection a 9 out of 10 score.

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Special Features Presents: Childhood Cartoons

A few months ago I published a post about Childhood Movies (you can find it here). It featured a lot of my favorite movies from my own childhood, and that I really enjoyed back in those days (and to be perfectly honest, I still enjoy watching them). But one of the really great things of the 80’s were the fantastic cartoons. I remember getting up early on saturday morning, switching on the television, and just sitting back watching all of your favorite cartoons back to back. So I thought it would be nice to make a post that brings us back to those days, and feature some of my alltime favorite 80’s cartoons. Most of these are now available on dvd boxed sets, to relive your childhood. The thing that may surprise you the most when you rewatch these great cartoons, is the amount of stuff you still remember from certain episodes. Even though most of these are almost 30 years old now. So without further ado, here they are counting down to number one.

8. Gi-Joe

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Gi-Joe was my least favorite cartoon. The story about a special group of soldiers fighting against the evil forces of Cobra, was for me never as much fun as the other series on this list. It was a highly popular show though, and the toyline also made a lot of money. Still, I did watch the series, when nothing else was on, and kind of enjoyed it at times. It certainly featured some great characters, and a cool villain in the form of Cobra Commander.

7. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

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One of the cartoons that probably everyone who grew up in the 80’s remembers. From the powerful theme song, to the fantastic characters, this cartoon is a true gem. Taking place in a fantasy world called Eternia, the most powerful man in the universe has to protect the planet from the evil Skeletor. This series was incredibly popular, and even spawned a live action movie featuring Dolph Lundgren in the role of He-man.

6. She-ra Princess of Power

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Because of the success of He-man a spinoff series was made which featured his sister She-ra. And honestly I liked this series even better than He-man. Also taking place in a fantasy world, She-ra had a great nemesis in the form of Hordak, who actually was once the mentor of Skeletor. The series was a bit lighter than He-man, and featured some great humour as well. There were, ofcourse, also a lot of guest appearances by her brother He-man.

5. M.A.S.K.

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Mask was a truly terrific cartoon. Matt Tracker who always lead the mission and the hero of the show had assembled a team of men to fight against the evil organisation of Venom. Equipped with special masks that gave them all kinds of powers, and transformable vehicles, every episode was packed with action and featured some memorable characters and some great storylines. Unfortunately in the second season of the series, the storylines were gone, and instead it became a pretty weird series where the heroes had to race against Venom in order to win the day. Still, I have fond memories of this great cartoon, and I still enjoy watching it to this day.

4. Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors

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I think this series is one of the first truly great science fiction epics I have seen in my life. Even though most of the episodes could be watched on their own, it had a storyline that progressed throughout the series. The hero of the show Jayce, went in search for his missing father Audric together with his friends. Opposing them were terrible monsters that were mistakenly created by his father in an experiment that could have prevented starvation, called the Monster Minds. Led by the terrifying Saw Boss, the creatures stopped at nothing to prevent Jayce from finding his father. A very underrated and in my opinion still utterly fantastic cartoon.

3. Inhumanoids

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Now this was a very shortlived cartoon, which, when looking back on it today I still find very strange how this could ever have been found suitable for children. The series featured truly terrifying monsters that preyed on the human race. Opposing them were the Earth Corps and a few benovelent creatures. With a narrative that progressed from episode to episode, this was one of the more unusual cartoons from the 80’s. This series is still very enjoyable to watch, even though it has only a few episodes.

2. Transformers

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One of the most popular cartoon series of the 80’s it will always be one of my alltime favorites. The story about the two robotic races, the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons, is one of the few franchises that is even today still very well known. And ofcourse the toys that the series was based on are still incredible to look at, and are highly coveted by collectors. When the cartoon was cancelled in America, the show continued in Japan. Also known as the Takara series, it continued the storyline,and went in a very different (but no less enjoyable) direction. Transformers will always be a fun watch, and one of the true highlights from my childhood.

1. Robotech

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My number one series, and one I have been a fan of for more than 30 years now, is called Robotech. An Americanised version of three totally unrelated Japanese animeseries, it featured three generations of humans that had to deal with the threat of an alien race. With main characters dying, a storyline that was truly powerful (especially the first segment of the show: the Macross saga), it was a unique series. Robotech has a very strong and loyal fanbase, and that is the reason that Robotech still lives after all these years. This year will see the release of a new comic book series, and a live action movie is supposedly still in the works. If you have yet to see this magnificent series, try to track it down in any way you can. It is an awesome cartoon, especially if you like Mecha anime shows.

Final thoughts

And that brings us to the end of this post and this trip down memorylane. Now ofcourse this list is not complete. There are a lot of cartoons from the 80’s that I have not featured, such as Visionaries and Inspector Gadget to name a few. That is not to say that those were not fun to watch, but I did not find them good enough to include in my personal top 8 shows. These are the series that I enjoyed the most, and the rest just fell short.

So that brings me to you. What childhood cartoons did you watch? Are any of these included on the list above? Are there any others you might have enjoyed, or maybe you have never heard of a few that are included above. Let me know in the comments section. As always thank you for reading, see you on the next post!

 

 

 

Special Features Presents: Childhood Movies

I don’t know if it’s because the end of the year is nearing, or maybe because of the terrific anime Erased I recently watched, but I have been thinking a lot of the past lately. Sometimes going back as far as my childhood. Don’t worry, I am not going to turn this into some kind of weird post, with mushy and heartbreaking tales of sadness. What I do want to talk about is one of my favorite subjects: movies! Even as a child I already liked them, and it probably won’t be much of a surprise that most of the movies I liked back then, had some kind of fantasy element in them. So I thought I would share a few of these movies with you as kind of a trip down memorylane. All of these are from the roaring 80’s, a time in which so many great films were made. So let’s head back down to those days, and see if you remember some of them.(Note: there might be a few very minor spoilers ahead, so you have been warned!).

E.T. (1982)

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What can I say about this one? A classic, in every sense of the word. A young boy called Elliot becomes friends with an alien from outer space. It is not long before government forces are on the hunt for the creature, and Elliot and his friends try to protect him, risking their very lives. This movie is in my opinion one of the greatest films ever made, and even though it is now more than 30 years old, it still hasn’t lost it’s power in any way. A touching film, and the only movie I watched in the cinema as a child, that left me in tears afterwards (don’t laugh).

The Karate Kid part 1 and 2 (1984,1986)

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Wax on, Wax off. It is a quote I still use sometimes at work, when things are stressful. Another great feel good movie in which the young boy Daniel, who is bullied at school, gets help from an old Martial Arts teacher. Eventually he learns the ways of Karate and takes revenge. The second part, which moves the action to Japan, I liked even more. It was pretty much my first introduction to this wonderful country and some of the customs and traditions from there. Both these movies are an absolute blast, and if you have a bit of a somber mood, I pretty much guarantee it will turn bright again after seeing these.

Labyrinth (1986)

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Starring a very young Jennifer Connelly, and the late David Bowie, this movie is a fantastic adventure for all ages. It tells the tale of the young Sarah who has to babysit her baby brother Toby, a job she doesn’t really like, to say the least. The fantasy book Labyrinth is her life, and one day she calls upon the Goblin King from that book, to take Toby away. Pretty much to her surprise it happens for real, and she has to travel to a magic Labyrinth to get her brother back. With a wonderful cast of creatures from the Jim Henson studios, there is so much to enjoy in this film. It features great music from Bowie, very impressive special effects, and is also one of those excellent feel good movies. Now 30 years old, it has withstood the test of time very well, and is still every bit as fun to watch, as when this movie was first released.

Transformers: the movie (1986)

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Ahh, Transformers. That was the toy from my childhood, and ofcourse the best cartoon ever made (well at least to my 10 year old mind). Featuring robots that could transform into cars, planes, weapons etc. (Hence the name duh), it was one if the hottest things from the 80’s. The heroic Autobots fought against the evil Decepticons to protect the Earth and it’s inhabitants. This movie turned things pretty dark however as my childhood hero, the leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime, was killed off. I was absolutely stunned at the time, and remember staring at the screen in total shock and disbelief when that happened. Ofcourse now we have Michael Bay’s version of this classic animation series. Even though I quite enjoy those big budget blockbuster movies, the original is still the best and will never be surpassed. Roll out!

The Neverending Story (1984)

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With a themesong that was stuck in your mind for the rest of the day when you heard it, the Neverending Story is also a wonderful fantasy movie for all ages. The young boy Bastian, who has a lot of trouble at school and home, one day comes across a mysterious book. The title of the book: the Neverending Story. When Bastian begins reading the book, he is transported to a magical land, which is about to be consumed by a great evil. It is up to the young boy to save the land from impending doom, and in the end he ends up saving himself as well. Featuring a whole bunch of fantastical creatures, a great story and some fantastic music, it really is highly recommended to everyone who likes fantasy. Simply put, movies like this are just not made anymore these days.

The Goonies (1985)

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The last, but certainly not the least, movie of this post is the Goonies. A group of youngsters are about to lose their home. When cleaning up they come across a treasure map, which supposedly leads to the long lost riches of a pirate captain. Travelling down a tunnelsystem full of traps, and pursued by a bunch of criminals, the Goonies risk everything to find the treasure. This is, if I were to make a comparison, pretty much Indiana Jones for kids. But it is hard not to like this movie, even when your older, as it features a lot of great humor, great setpieces and is an absolute joy to watch.

Final thoughts

Well, and that just about brings me to the end of this post. At times it is just nice to look back on things and revisit some of the movies that made an impact on you. Even though I was still very young at the time that these movies were made, they had a lasting impression on my mind. Strange really, as all of them are 30 years old, or even older. Memory can be a weird thing at times. However, even though old, all of these movies are still highly enjoyable to watch, and if you have never seen them before, it is worth it to track them down.

So how about you? Do you have any favorite movies that you remember from your childhood? Are maybe a few of the movies above on your list? Let me know in the comments section below.

As always, thank you for reading, and see you at the next post!