The King of Castle Grayskull

Forward: I write fantasy because of Masters of the Universe. In 1981, when I spotted the He-Man action figure in the toy store, my life changed forever. I adored the detail of the sculpt, a rarity in those days, but it was the mini-comic the toy came with that sealed my love for all things fantasy. In its 22 pages, I discovered a world of magic, monsters and heroes, and I never wanted to leave that world. That comic was The King of Castle Grayskull. Being six, I could never imagine the plethora of literary heroes that had formed the basis for He-Man, from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter to Robert Howard’s Conan, and it has been a personal goal of mine to trace those roots over the past twenty years. My own barbarian hero, Xandr, owes a great deal to He-Man. They are both blond and blue-eyed and they both possess a sense of duty and honor. Looking back at The King of Castle Grayskull, I am surprised at how well the artwork holds up. It is a testament to the artist (who, I now know, was largely influenced by my all time favorite, Frank Frazetta). In later years, the artwork suffered terribly; and all I can say is, it’s a good thing whoever was in charge of Mattel in 1981 valued fantasy art, or I might not be the person I am today. The quality of the early minis drops only in the writing. I am well aware that much of the story was a marketing ploy, and that it also had to be simple enough for a six year old to read. With so many restrictions, I cannot fault the original author for poor storytelling.

Partly due to nostalgia, partly due to the fact that I feel the book deserves a better edit, but mostly for the heck of it, I thought to try my hand at The King of Castle Grayskull, in my first ever comic book story. To read the story, click on the images below.

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One thought on “The King of Castle Grayskull

  1. (I posted this on your He-Man.org “King of Castle Grayskull” thread, but wasn't sure that you'd read it there.)

    I have enjoyed your stories over the years and your “[I]King of Castle Grayskull[/I]” rewrite has been equally entertaining. Like you, I enjoyed the early or “Mineternia” stories of [I]MotU[/I] far more than the more widely recognized Filmation version of the property. My own fan fictions tend to take place in a pastiche that is mostly based on the old mini-comics, as that is my favorite iteration of the property.

    I agree that the saturation of sub-par fan-fic stories often buries those that are better written, but I also feel that there are some other factors that contribute to the lack of feedback for many stories, primarily a resistance to/dislike for stories told in the Mineternian vein. I too often get little-to-no feedback for my stories, and when somebody does comment, it is often to voice their distaste that my version of He-Man doesn't have a secret identity, doesn't possess strength that rivals that of Superman, or deviates too much from the Filmation (or the newer [I]MotU[/I] Classics) canon and feel.

    It is a frustrating and disappointing reaction to be certain and often discourages me from posting my stories—but not from writing them.

    Like

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