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Conan The He-Man (Legal Dispute)


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#1 Head-On-A-Pike

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 06:40 PM

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I'd buy this.

#2 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 11:38 PM

Evidence that the He-Man toyline was once the CTB toy line?


No is the answer to that! However Conan was likely part of the inspiration for the toyline.

part 1.

The Rumor:

That Mattel had a licensing agreement to make Conan the Barbarian toys to be associated with the 1982 film and the Masters of the Universe toys were the result. That the idea was modified because of concern that a toy line for kids was promoting a film with nudity and violence that would not sit well with parents who may object. That some prototype Conan-esque He-Man toys were produced and not having an outlet were given away as a promotion through an unknown mail-in offer or as a Wonder-Bread promotion. The brown haired version of the regular He-Man was dubbed Wonder-bread He-Man or Savage He-Man by collectors and supposedly represents the film Conan.

The Facts:

Conan Properties sued Mattel and lost over copyright infringement with He-Man's similarities to Conan.

From the lawsuit of CPI vs. Mattel:

"In 1980, CPI, through its agent, Conan Licensing Company ("CLC"), began negotiations with Mattel regarding the possible licensing to Mattel of certain toy rights in CONAN. During this time, Mattel received a substantial quantity of material on the CONAN character. On July 31, 1981, CPI and Mattel executed a License Agreement whereby Mattel was granted "the right to make and sell certain plastic action figures of CONAN and ancillary characters as depicted in the CONAN movie." Amended Complaint, para. 12. The Agreement provided, however, "that nothing in the License should be construed as an assignment or grant to Mattel of any right, title or interest in or to CONAN, and that all rights relating thereto were reserved by CPI (except only for the licensee to use the property as specifically agreed to)." Amended Complaint, para. 14. It was also agreed that, after the termination of the License Agreement, Mattel would not make or sell any CONAN toys."

"In January 1982, Mattel requested that the License Agreement be terminated. On April 14, 1982, CPI and Mattel entered into a termination agreement which provided that "all materials created and or developed by Mattel for use in connection with products under the CONAN License" would be delivered to CPI's agent, CPC, which would have "the exclusive right to use such material." Amended Complaint, para. 17."

"In February 1982, Mattel introduced a fantasy character, "He-Man," as part of its new "Masters of the Universe" toy line of action figures. Since that time, Mattel has also featured He-Man and the other Masters of the Universe characters in, inter alia, a television series, comic books, and video tapes. Thereafter, CPI commenced this action asserting that these figures are copies of CONAN, were created under the License, and are CPI's property. Amended Complaint, paras. 20, 21."

Our own member godzilladude wrote up some thoughts on the case:

Copyrightable Conan

Masters Of The Universe was conceptualized and developed in 1980 and pitched to Mattel executives by Roger Sweet in late 1980 two years prior to the release of Universal Pictures Conan the Barbarian in 1982. The toyline was produced starting in 1981 and marketed in 1982. The toy line existed prior to the movie and Mattel did not have a license with Universal to make toys for that film. He-Man was conceptualized as a barbarian, soldier, and spaceman with executives picking the barbarian out of the three to be the basis of the toyline. Likely the Masters of the Universe toyline borrowed heavily from Conan concepts but was not intended to be a toyline for the film after those talks fell through and the agreements were dissolved.

He-Man was conceptualized in drawings and wax sculptures. Some of these conceptual renderings do resemble Conan from comic books and paperbacks as some of the artists were inspired by fantasy artists Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo from the covers of the Lancer and Ace Conan publications, and some of the artists that Mattel employed to design the mini-comics, figure packaging, and box art were comic book artists who worked with Marvel on the Conan The Barbarian comic book such as Alfredo Alcala who inked illustrations by John Buscema in the #137 August 1982 issue, and later inked many others and illustrated #225. Earl Norem illustrated Masters of the Universe posters, package inlays, and box art. Earl Norem also illustrated Savage Sword of Conan #74 November 1983 issue, he later went on to do multiple covers for Marvel's Conan Saga and The Savage Sword of Conan.

Mark Taylor original He-Man concept sketch:

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The above toy that Head-On-A-Pike posted is a direct reference to this concept sketch issued by the Masters of the Universe classics with the name Vikor He-Man of the North.

Tony Guerro's Original wax He-Man concept:

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He-Man wax concept revised:

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Original He-Man prototype figure and first marketed figure:

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He-Man the Barbarian:

The original mini-comic He-Man and the Power Sword was included with the first Masters of the Universe figures in 1982. It showed He-Man as a barbarian and the strongest warrior of his tribe. It was written by Donald F. Glut and illustrated by Alfredo Alcala (previously mentioned Marvel artist on Conan the Barbarian).

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Info and photos from these websites:

Grayskullmuseum.com, Tomart.com, he-man.org, he-man.us, Comicvine.com, IMDB.com, comicbookdb.com

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 27 January 2011 - 06:00 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#3 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 11:40 PM

part 2.

Masters of the Universe art:

Earl Norem (worked on Marvel Savage Sword of Conan) Masters of the Universe art:

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Rudy Obrero box art:

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William George poster art:

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Wonderbread He-Man, Savage He-Man, Mail-a-way He-Man:


Years after the original Masters of the Universe toys were sold a collector Darren Fowler issued forth an image that caused some controversy of a Mail-a-way He-Man with brown hair that was available from an unknown mail in offer. He said it was purchased it from a person who said he had saved this offer in the bag since he was a boy and could not remember where it came from. Collectors and He-Man toy enthusiasts then tried unsuccessfully to determine the origin of the toy. Meanwhile a few others like it showed up but no longer packaged. They sell regularly for incredible amounts of money.

Collectors theorized that the Wonderbread company offered the toy as a mail in offer for purchasing bread. Wonderbread has no records of that but did offer Masters of the Universe trading cards with a few specially marked products in the 1980s. Others have said it was a Mattel give a way to employees as a production error with incorrect paint applied. Mattel has no records of this. Then they theorized it was from the original design concept as toys for the movie Conan the Barbarian. Mattel didn't have the license to manufacture those toys as previously mentioned but that didn't stop the fueling of the rumor. People pointed to the fact that the toy had brown hair as opposed to He-Man's usual yellow/blonde hair and said it was modeled after Arnold Schwarzenegger who portrayed Conan in the film because he has brown hair also. As we all know Howard's Conan has black hair.

The coupon seen in the bag came from a legitimate offer to mail in for a figure (which would be ludicrous to include with a figure you supposedly just mailed in to get) from various toy stores that was a tear off coupon in the toy aisles. Some say this figure comes with black armor and some without but most agree it comes with maroon weapons. Some now say the figure itself is legitimate but the weapons and armor are not original to it.

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The maroon weapons came from a promotion on some of the Man-E-Faces figures and they were just re-colored from the Castle Grayskull weapons rack molds. The black armor came from a weapons pack sold separately from the figures and is just another color of the same mold from the armor of the Zodac figure. The "original" bagged sample came in a plastic sandwich bag that was taped not sealed by heat as normal mail in offers would be. It is easy to produce and fake a Savage He-Man by painting the hair after removing all paint from a standard He-Man head and cracking open the body case to switch legs with Tri-Klops for the black boots and a brown waist (fur diaper) from Moss-Man or Fisto removing the belt paint and repainting it black. Collectors argue over paint types and shades as legitimate or not, as well as body styles, supposed gaps, belly buttons, and date stamps.

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Even though this Savage He-Man is likely a hoax from the beginning that He-Man collectors have been unable to prove for over 10 years it has persistently fueled rumors and even made its way into toy price guides. To further confuse the issue when a commemorative set of figures was released as Masters of the Universe Classics they included a character Wun-Dar who is obviously a nod to the wonderbread offer myth that is unsubstantiated and the Savage He-Man figure itself.

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He-Man was not a Conan toy however he may have been indirectly inspired by Conan and borrows heavily from concepts found in comics and pre-production film materials, not so much from the real Robert E. Howard creation Conan.

Info and photos from these websites:

Grayskullmuseum.com, earlnorem.com, Tomart.com, he-man.org, he-man.us, Comicvine.com, IMDB.com, comicbookdb.com

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 18 January 2011 - 09:33 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#4 Taranaich

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 01:51 AM

To add to Amra's brilliant breakdown of the Conan-He-Man situation, there's this piece by Paul Herman.

Hmm, I'll have to mention this in the Newcomer's Guide...

Robert E. Howard, 1906 - 2006

Sword & Sorcery! Posted Image Posted Image Historical Fiction!
Horror! Posted Image Posted Image Westerns!
Boxing! Posted Image Posted Image Conan!


#5 Head-On-A-Pike

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 02:26 AM

I really meant the tagline of the subject ironically. The article I linked to mentions that this toy is more of a tongue in cheek reference to the debunked myth. I am aware (although maybe not quite so comprehensively) of the story/rumor/whatever. ;) This will apparently be available for sale tomorrow.

I kinda like it. :unsure::ph34r:

Edited by Head-On-A-Pike, 18 January 2011 - 02:54 AM.


#6 Dark Mark

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 02:38 AM

I was always of the opinion that Masters Of The Universe was also inspired by Michael Moorcock's creations to a degree.

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#7 Seamvs

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 04:48 AM

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That's strange, my Atali came with reddish blond hair. Sorry, nothing else to add to the great break down of the He-Man, can we say urban legend?

Edited by Seamvs, 18 January 2011 - 04:58 AM.

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#8 Eamon

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 06:34 PM

Great breakdown Amra_the_Lion! :)

If anybody is interested in hearing it from the horses mouth, we interviewd Mark Taylor on our podcast Roast Gooble Dinner. It's only interesting if you love He-man and are interested in hear the creative thoughts behind the creation of Masters of the Universe. This very interesting....when we actually decide to air it!

To me Vikor is a Frazetta figure first and foremost. Especailly since it was Frazetta who first gave Conan is now distinctive look.

But there were already plenty of blonde barbarian / sci-fi hero's around at the time.

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I have an old StarReach comic with a blonde barbarian fighting a dude with a skull for a head. So to say that He-Man or indeed Vikor is a copy of Conan is way too simply I think.

This will rock your socks off:



BTW. Vikor is for sale now!

Edited by Eamon, 24 January 2011 - 06:43 PM.

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#9 thundarr

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 07:06 PM

I just bought my "Conan" toy. :D

MattyCollector.com

http://thefwoosh.com...uc-review-vikor
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#10 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 09:35 PM

Great breakdown Amra_the_Lion! :)

To me Vikor is a Frazetta figure first and foremost. Especailly since it was Frazetta who first gave Conan is now distinctive look.


Thanks. I wouldn't call Vikor a Frazetta figure either even though the artists behind the Masters of the Universe concepts were undoubtedly influenced by Frazetta's paintings. If it were Death Dealer or something okay, sure a Frazetta figure. But it is not a replica of any Frazetta painting including the ones depicting Conan. Vikor is a generic 80s barbarian or a Mark Taylor original sketch tribute that owes far more to pre-production materials for the Conan the Barbarian film and Marvel comic's Conan than Frazetta. At least the toy isn't wearing the standard He-Man fur diaper and has a loin cloth like the sketch. It is a cool toy, but it is a shame that He-Man is associated with Conan at all and should be entirely independent as barbarians and barbarian genres existed far before 1980 when He-Man was conceptualized; and Conan, while a part was not the only direct influence for the toyline. Similarly it is an outrage that Conan is associated with the look of a fur diaper clad barbarian that is more cave man than anything in the minds of the general public; that owes more to the tragic Conan the Destroyer film where Arnold Schwarzenegger parades around in a fur diaper, along with comic book and Gnome press depictions of him. I doubt we will ever get away from the fang and claw necklaces along with the fur diaper.

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1957 Wallace Wood

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Barry Windsor-Smith Conan the Barbarian 1970

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John Buscema Savage Tales 1971

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Here is another Conan and He-Man connection:

William Stout was the production artist on the 1982 Conan the Barbarian film as well as the concept designer on the 1984 Conan the Destroyer film. He later went on to be the production designer for the 1987 Masters of the Universe film.

Conan the Barbarian Production Drawings:

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Yeah that doesn't look at all like the Mark Taylor concept sketch below.

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More Conan the Barbarian production drawings:

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Yep no similarities in the least here (also look at the belts from the Marvel comics above):

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William Stout Masters of the Universe film Production Drawing:


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Even though He-Man and the Masters of the Universe toyline has obviously borrowed heavily from Conan and other barbarians they are not the same and never will be. They should always be considered separate regardless of the "inspiration" from Conan for Mattel. Conan is described as far different in the stories and we have yet to see an accurate adaption from the stories to the screen or comic pages.


How did REH describe Conan ?


Volcanic blue eyes staring from under a mane of black hair square cut. Thick heavy arms, large hairy chest, corded muscles like steel cables. Dark scarred face, a giant of a man. Quick to anger and quick to laugh. A passion for strong drink, a gusto for food, and a lover of women. The strongest man most have ever seen. His armor and weapons vary from story to story and sometimes there are multiple within the stories. His most common weapons are a broadsword and poniard. He is usually wearing some form of mail (ring or chain) on his arms and legs with a scale-mail hauberk. He usually has a helmet in three stories it is mentioned it is adorned with bulls horns. He wears no jewelry (necklaces, earrings, or rings) as king he has a slender golden crown and a silver scepter. If he is not wearing armor (plate-mail, ring-mail, scale-mail, chain-mail) he is usually wearing a tunic and loin-cloth as a youth or a silk shirt, and silk or leather breeches. He is intelligent and can speak multiple languages, read and write, and even has cartographic abilities. He can read archaic and ancient languages as well. No man can stand before him in battle.

All descriptions can be found here:

The Chronicles of Conan the Cimmerian


Photos from:
howardworks.com, he-man.org, joblo.com, wikimedia.org, unrealitymag.com, and Conan the Complete Quest DVD special features The Conan Archives.

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 24 January 2011 - 10:09 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#11 Eamon

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 10:25 PM

Mark Taylor's Vikor's or Torak (as he was also called) predates the Conan movie stuff. ;)
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#12 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 11:51 PM

Mark Taylor's Vikor's or Torak (as he was also called) predates the Conan movie stuff. ;)


How do you know? What is the date of the sketch? According to Roger Sweet He-Man and the Masters of the Universe were conceptualized in mid-december 1980. Conan the Barbarian film was in pre-production long before then with Oliver Stone penning a first draft of the script August 1, 1978, and back in 1977 John Buscema roughed out several pre-production drawings based on a script written by Ed Summer and Roy Thomas. William Stout the production artist for Conan the Barbarian came on board for the film project in 1979. The first mention of negotiations for a Conan film began in 1970 as announced by pastiche author Lin Carter. In 1976 Edward Summer pitched a Conan film to producer Edward Pressman. CPI was founded to help make the film and smooth out relations between those who held the rights to Conan in 1977. Arnold Schwarzenegger was signed for the role of Conan also in 1977. By 1979 John Milius was attached to direct and some concept drawings by Ron Cobb and Willam Stout were done as well. Shooting for the film began in January and lasted until may 1981 you can guarantee that pre-production drawings were finished by then.

Obviously the sketch doesn't pre-date the Marvel Conan publications :Conan the Barbarian 1970, Savage Tales 1971, or The Savage Sword of Conan 1974.

I am a fan of both Conan and He-Man and would love to separate the two as far as possible so each could be respected for their own merits however I think that while The Masters of the Universe was not a Conan toyline, Mattel definitely borrowed from the concepts of Conan.

To quote the CPI vs Mattel lawsuit:

From the lawsuit of CPI vs. Mattel:

"In 1980, CPI, through its agent, Conan Licensing Company ("CLC"), began negotiations with Mattel regarding the possible licensing to Mattel of certain toy rights in CONAN. During this time, Mattel received a substantial quantity of material on the CONAN character. On July 31, 1981, CPI and Mattel executed a License Agreement whereby Mattel was granted "the right to make and sell certain plastic action figures of CONAN and ancillary characters as depicted in the CONAN movie." Amended Complaint, para. 12."


It appears that Mattel received Conan the Barbarian pre-production film materials in 1980 from CPI, likely before the December 1980 conceptualization of He-Man and most definitely including character sketches for reference to possible future toy designs.

Eamon if you know otherwise please let us know the date of the Mark Taylor Vikor (Torak) pre-He-Man sketch.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#13 Eamon

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 12:46 AM

From what I remember for our interview with him and i would have to listen again to be sure, Mark Taylor came up with Torak as early as the late 60's and then was toying around with Vikor in the late 70's.

And do not put much stock in Roger Sweet dude! ;) That book of his is nothing more than a rant and an over inflated claim to fame! He did not do the things he said he did.
He did not create Masters of the Universe or the Fighting Foe men. He did pitch these ideas but the ideas came from the designers. In this case Ted Mayer, Mark Taylor and Ed Watts. No one person created MOTU basically.

The original pitch for a new toyline in 1980 came with the descriptive term "Frazetta type figures parts Conan, Flash Gordon and Star Wars". So right off the bat, it was always gonna be something different to Conan.
This is why I insist we refer to Vikor as a Frazetta figure rather than a Conan. Let folks make their own connection after that! :)

You have to remember that Mattel did loose out to Kenner on Star Wars as they thought George Lucas' fee was too high for the, at the time, an untested property. So Mattel needed a new boys toy line and they were going to have it one or way or another. Sword & Sorcery was the flavour of the day.
There were three initial He-Man prototypes. Military, space and fantasy. We got fantasy. Conan's popularity at the time may has swayed that decision and it's clear that Mattel did initiate an interest in making Conan figures but there was so many wheels at the time moving, I don't think it's no longer fair to say that He-Man is a Conan copy or came about soley because of the Conan movie.

I think He-Man owes a certain debt to Conan in term of influence to a certain degree but then Conan owes a debt to celtic hero Cú Chullainn.

Edited by Eamon, 25 January 2011 - 12:48 AM.

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#14 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 01:10 AM

From what I remember for our interview with him and i would have to listen again to be sure, Mark Taylor came up with Torak as early as the late 60's and then was toying around with Vikor in the late 70's.


It would be interesting to lock down a date from Mark on the sketch if possible. I am no way saying that it is a plagiarism or anything of the sort, it is an original sketch, but definitely drawn with influence from the Marvel comics Conan if not the Conan the Barbarian pre-production film materials as well.

And do not put much stock in Roger Sweet dude! ;) That book of his is nothing more than a rant and an over inflated claim to fame! He did not do the things he said he did.
He did not create Masters of the Universe or the Fighting Foe men. He did pitch these ideas but the ideas came from the designers. In this case Ted Mayer, Mark Taylor and Ed Watts. No one person created MOTU basically.


Oh I don't put much trust at all but the reference above of Roger Sweet saying that the meeting where the original pitch was made in December 1980 probably isn't one of his exaggerations. Speaking of Roger he said in an interview with He-Man.de that he has "beautiful color photographs of the three original He-Man figures of the He-Man Trio" have these photographs ever surfaced? Why are they not on the He-Man.org or other sites?

The original pitch for a new toyline in 1980 came with the descriptive term "Frazetta type figures parts Conan, Flash Gordon and Star Wars". So right off the bat, it was always gonna be something different to Conan.
This is why I insist we refer to Vikor as a Frazetta figure rather than a Conan. Let folks make their own connection after that! :)


Well because the early He-Man concepts including Vikor don't accurately represent any Frazetta painting and are an accurate representation of Mark Taylor's work I would prefer to call it a Taylor figure than a Frazetta. Referring to the toy based on some company executives saying it was similar to Frazetta's work is not enough for me. But, each to his own I guess. Definitely not a Conan as we both agree.

I think He-Man owes a certain debt to Conan in term of influence to a certain degree but then Conan owes a debt to celtic hero Cú Chullainn.


There is a lot to be said of inspiration and both characters and creators do owe a certain degree of debt to pre-existing concepts. Thanks for the timely reply.

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 25 January 2011 - 03:08 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#15 Eamon

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 04:12 PM

We (He-Man.org) will be postiung the fully interview with Mark Taylor at some stage. So I will let you know on that and you can hear it all for yourself. I just think we need to get him back for some extra words and such.
I will get an exact date but the pitch that I mentioned with that Vikor artwork attached was done in 1980.

I do not agree with your ideas about the Conan Comics and movie designs as being the sole influence behind He-Man. Mark did say that he loved John Buscema and Frank Frazetta and all the Weird tales and Eerie stuff.

As for no Frazetta piece looking like Vikor, what would you call these then? I see more Vikor here than I do the comic or movie stuff you have posted. Even the style of the weapons is the same.

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Basically what I am saying that I think you are on the wrong track trying to pin down Conan as the the reason for He-Man's existance. Based on my many converstion with the Mattel artists at the time, He-Man and The Masters of the Universe had many infleunces. This is why I refer to brand as pulp fantasy. All the characters have a certain pulp quality to them yet they are all difference influences from a certain era. Trap Jaw for instance, a big MOTU character came about from the 12" Big Jim toyline and was called Lock Jaw. No Conan at all there,. Same with Battle Cat and Zoar.
I am content knowing that MOTU came about via a melting pot of ideas. Conan was one but so was Flash Gordon and Star Wars. Pulp! :)
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#16 Skullface

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 06:35 PM

The bottom line here is the toy line is full of poached ideas.Where ever they could had for free....why pay for what you can take. :unsure: Change it enough to keep the law out of it.
Next we will talk about how Thongor was a great new idea :lol:

#17 Eamon

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 06:47 PM

The bottom line here is the toy line is full of poached ideas.Where ever they could had for free....why pay for what you can take. :unsure: Change it enough to keep the law out of it.
Next we will talk about how Thongor was a great new idea :lol:



Yeah, I'm sure REH never read any Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan or even Hercules. Did REH create all muscle bound lion cloth wearing hero's then?

Harry Potter is nothing but poached ideas too but yet it has done very well. Poaching ideas is one thing, making something new from these ideas is another. Masters of the Universe is very different to Conan.
If you knew anything about Masters, you would know this. But I guess folks see a lion cloth and it's "oh look a Conan copy" and then don't bother to look any further.

Go watch Inception! :D

Edited by Eamon, 25 January 2011 - 06:49 PM.

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#18 Skullface

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 06:59 PM

I dealt toys for years.I have sold more motu stuff than most fan boys will ever see.
Its a known fact that REH read EBR. The two are a world apart.
Harry potter is a stolen idea. There was a series written years before almost the same.
The man even sued Rowling.(he lost but should not have)
Without Conan there would be no MOTU.
REH was very big at that time.In comic and book form. The brand was pre built,as was flash Gordon and Star wars. Very few new ideas in motu,sorry.
I almost forgot to add they took alot from Thundarr the Barbarian too.

Edited by Skullface, 25 January 2011 - 07:17 PM.


#19 Eamon

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 07:47 PM

I dealt toys for years.I have sold more motu stuff than most fan boys will ever see.
Its a known fact that REH read EBR. The two are a world apart.
Harry potter is a stolen idea. There was a series written years before almost the same.
The man even sued Rowling.(he lost but should not have)
Without Conan there would be no MOTU.
REH was very big at that time.In comic and book form. The brand was pre built,as was flash Gordon and Star wars. Very few new ideas in motu,sorry.


I do not see how selling many figures has any relevance here.

Guess you didn't see Inception then!

So the courts got it wrong with Rowling as apposed to you getting it right and now you are stating there's no new ideas in MOTU despite the vast amounts of money both these properties have made more than the ideas they were what you say are 'stolen' from. Not borrowed or influenced, but stolen. All of which is merely your opinion.

And yet you feel ok with stating that Conan is not romotely like Tarzan despite the dark hair, blue eyes, man against beast or witch or empire, rippling muscles and a lion cloth?
That's some unique logic right there.

You cannot say that He-Man is a rip of Conan and then not say the Conan is a rip of Tarzan.
Just as easily as I could say that MOTU would not exist without Conan (which I don't agree or disagree with), I could say that Conan would not exist without Tarzan.

I love REH but please stop claiming that he invented all hero's with lion clothes as he didn't. Like all good ideas, he took what he liked and made it his own. Masters was is the same.
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#20 Amra_the_Lion

Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 08:36 PM

I do not agree with your ideas about the Conan Comics and movie designs as being the sole influence behind He-Man. Mark did say that he loved John Buscema and Frank Frazetta and all the Weird tales and Eerie stuff.

As for no Frazetta piece looking like Vikor, what would you call these then? I see more Vikor here than I do the comic or movie stuff you have posted. Even the style of the weapons is the same.

Basically what I am saying that I think you are on the wrong track trying to pin down Conan as the the reason for He-Man's existance. Based on my many converstion with the Mattel artists at the time, He-Man and The Masters of the Universe had many infleunces. This is why I refer to brand as pulp fantasy. All the characters have a certain pulp quality to them yet they are all difference influences from a certain era. Trap Jaw for instance, a big MOTU character came about from the 12" Big Jim toyline and was called Lock Jaw. No Conan at all there,. Same with Battle Cat and Zoar.
I am content knowing that MOTU came about via a melting pot of ideas. Conan was one but so was Flash Gordon and Star Wars. Pulp! :)


I never said Conan is the only inspiration for He-Man, in fact I have said the opposite. I think you have missed the point of my replies in this thread; i.e. that while partially influenced by Conan, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe are not a Conan toyline and should be considered separate based on their own merits. I do think that the Vikor original He-Man concept sketch (one of many different initial concepts not all Conan inspired) is directly inspired by comic book Conan and pre-production film materials for Conan the Barbarian. I agree there were several blonde barbarians prior to He-Man. Some prominent ones in comics were Ka-Zar with his pet saber-tooth tiger who first appeared in X-Men 10 in 1963, and later in Astonishing Tales 1970-1973, Ka-Zar 1970, Ka-Zar Lord of the Hidden Jungle 1974-1977, there was also Wulf the Barbarian from Atlas Comics in 1975. Frank Frazetta painted multiple blonde barbarians as well: Green Death, The Mammoth 1973, Parodox 1975, Black Star 1973, and Disagreement 1986 are a few examples, and he wasn't the only one out there painting barbarians.

The conceptual painting of conan from 1966 that you use as an example for Vikor/Frazetta similarity was first published in black and white in the extremely rare fan produced comic fanzine I'll be damned #1 apr 1970 issue (there were only 4 issues in the series) and was limited to 1000 copies with low distribution; the color oil on canvas painting itself wasn't readily available for public viewing until decades later in the Frank Frazetta Icon book in 2003. It is not very probable that this particular Frazetta painting had any influence on the creators of the Masters of the Universe line as they probably did not see it. As for the Conan the Destroyer 1971 Frazetta painting the only resemblance to Vikor is that the helmet has two horns and the character has black hair.

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I don't know of any Lock Jaw in the Big Jim line. Iron Jaw was a never produced concept for Big Jim and there were only fan created figures. That being said it still could have been the inspiration for Trap Jaw. Another Ironjaw was a Atlas Comic barbarian from 1975.

BigJim.it IronJaw

Here are quotes of me saying in this thread that Conan is not the only inspiration for He-Man and that Vikor is very Conan inspired. Masters of the Universe is not a Conan toy line. Few of the finished toys have direct Conan type references with He-Man himself being the most obvious and the references to the Conan the Barbarian and Savage Tales in post #10 of this thread are comparisons of the fur diaper and gold belt designs to the marketed He-Man figure not the Vikor sketch.

Vikor is a generic 80s barbarian or a Mark Taylor original sketch tribute that owes far more to pre-production materials for the Conan the Barbarian film and Marvel comic's Conan than Frazetta.

It is a cool toy, but it is a shame that He-Man is associated with Conan at all and should be entirely independent as barbarians and barbarian genres existed far before 1980 when He-Man was conceptualized; and Conan, while a part was not the only direct influence for the toyline.

Even though He-Man and the Masters of the Universe toyline has obviously borrowed heavily from Conan and other barbarians they are not the same and never will be. They should always be considered separate regardless of the "inspiration" from Conan for Mattel.


You may not see the influence of comic book Conan in the Mark Taylor Vikor sketch but I do and I bet others do as well. It is okay to disagree, I for one will not be calling Vikor a Frazetta toy and it should not really be called a Conan toy either. I am opting for Concept He-Man Vikor or Taylor figure. I think you should do the same and give Mark Taylor his due credit instead of calling it by another artist's name because you assume Frazetta created that look, when Vikor is an exact copy of Taylor's work.

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King Size Conan the Barbarian 1973

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Conan the Barbarian Dec 1972

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Kull and the Barbarians May 1975

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Marvel Treasury Edition Conan the Barbarian 1975

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Savage Tales Featuring Conan the Barbarian July 1974

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Photos from coverbrowser.com, comicbookdb.com, he-man.org, and I'll be damned fanzine.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales