The Toys of He-Man and MOTU Guide Book
Dark Horse has been killing it for a few years now with their MOTU resource books collecting the art, character guides and minicomics. Now they have covered the one aspect I was waiting for, the toys! Let’s take a look at The Toys of He-Man and the MOTU Guide Book!
The Toys of He-Man and the MOTU Guide Book has a nice hardcover with a dio picture of Castle Grayskull and at the bottom we see various headshots of He-Man and She-Ra. If you’ll notice, these headshots tell you which toy lines are represented in this book! This book covers just about every mainline He-Man toy line released to date! (Origins is just a bit too new to be included)
Since this book covers so many toy lines, it’s going to be a big book! It measures: 12 3/8″ tall, 9 3/8″ wide and 1 5/8″ thick. This 751 page book comes in at a whopping 6.8 lbs!
Each figure or vehicle gets a full page. There’s a large main picture of the figure with their weapons, there’s a separate picture of just the accessories and four pictures showing a 360 rotation of the figure. You also have pictures of the front and back of the MOC/MIB toy.
Included in each entry is a list of their accessories and what Mini-Comics they were packaged with (I unfortuantely have found an error in the book with Evil-Lyn as I don’t believe The power of….Point Dread was packed in with her, she also doesn’t appear in it)
Some entries have “Fun Factoids” listed under the MOC pictures (Again, my fault choosing the Evil-Lyn picture as she doesn’t display one of these) The factoids range from subjects like the Man-E-Faces blaster was reused as a Voltron Lion Tail Gun to Skeletor being inspired by Day of the Dead artwork and the mummified corpse in the Pike Amusement Park.
While the Figures and Vehicles get one full page in the MOTU Guide Book, the Playsets get at least a two page spread! (Eternia had four) Just like the figures, the playsets have multiple pictures of all sides, accessories, boxes and even pictures showing off the play features.
Also included are some of the Role Play items. The MOTU Guide Book doesn’t list ALL role play items or other random miscellaneous merchandise unfortunately. It really only focuses on the items Mattel made and what you would typically see in the toy aisle alongside the action figures. Due to this, the Vintage MOTU and Princess of Power chapters don’t include any role play items as those were typically made by other companies like HG Toys and such who bought the license from Mattel.
I was rather surprised to find that the book also includes the Commemorative Editions! Mind you, they don’t go as in depth with this line as any of the others in the book. Basically because these toys were covered in the previous chapters. They do show all of the packaged pictures and note some differences between these versions and the originals.
At the end of each toy line’s chapter, they talk a bit about variants within that toy line. Typically it’s International Variants but as with the 200x line, they talked about Promotional Variants.
The Classics Chapter covers all the same aspects that the other chapters covered, you’ll notice though, that in the MOC pictures, you also get the outer shipper box pictured.
Also included in the classics section are reprints of the maps that Mattel used to include with the Club Eternia Subscriptions!
The Classics chapter is split up into three sections. The first (and largest section) covers all of the Mattel Items. The second section covers the Super7 Club Grayskull Classics.
The third (and smallest) section covers the Ultimate Edition Classics.
The last chapter of the MOTU Guide Book covers the Super7 Masters of the Universe figures. These are the new figures made to look like the vintage line.
Interspersed throughout the book are various interviews with the Four Horsemen, Ted Mayer, Janice Varney-Hamlin, Mark & Rebecca Taylor and many other talents who worked on these toys over the years. In the back of the book is a fan thanks page for the help members of the fandom gave to make the book. A book spanning all these years and toys can’t be made by just one person after all.
For years, the He-Man toy line has had a go-to online source for all of this info (He-Man.org) so it’s no surprise to find out that the owners of that site were responsible for this book being made. This MOTU Guide Book is basically like having the website in your hands. I would say it’s the definitive He-Man toy guide out there. I really only have one minor quibble with it, everything is listed alphabetically in each chapter. (Same way it is on the website) I’m used to guide books being in chronological order. (Even the GI Joe RAHC guide, which covers multiple lines of toys, has the figures in each line in chronological order) I prefer this method because you can look through the book and see how the toy line grew and changed over the years. That’s a little hard to do when the first entry to your 1982 He-Man toy line is a 1986 Meteorb. But like I said, it’s a minor quibble and if you know the name of the figure you want to look up, it’s much easier alphabetically than remembering what year that figure came out.
This is the best MOTU Guide Book out there and should be on any toy collector’s shelf.