He Man's Rock People
Everybody has to get their start somewhere, right?
You may or may not remember this, but the original He-Man figures in the 80s came with tiny comics that usually told a quick story about the origins of the characters or how they were introduced to the He-Man universe. A while ago Ryan of The Wastelanders gave me a whole buttload of these comics (without their accompanying figures, but oh well), so today we're going to be looking at one in particular:
That's right, it's the humble beginnings of The Rock People, Stonedar and Rokkon. I chose this one to review first because it has much better artwork than most of the crappy-ass He-Man comics that Mattel put out. The inking is particularly well done, but I'll say more on that later.
Let's get right to the story:
He-Man and Orko are riding around on the brand new Jet Sled when they see two meteors falling from the sky! What better test for a brand new piece of expensive equipment than to see if it can outrun a couple of falling meteors? Doesn't sound like a bad idea to me, and it didn't sound like a bad idea to the two of them, either.
The meteors impact and much to the heroes' surprise, they cause only very, very tiny dents in the ground. Oh, yeah, and they turn into people.
He-Man immediately brands them as "Humans," which seems a bit weird considering that he just saw them fall from the sky and they've got gigantic chunks of stone attached to them. They do look vaguely human, but I would have said "Humanoid Aliens" since they fell from outer space. He-Man and Orko rush up to them, and before they can open their mouths to say anything the two Humans from Outer Space open their mouths and say something I never would have imagined that someone who just fell out of the sky would ever say:
They tell He-Man some very important things here:
They Know who He-Man is.
- This is the luckiest day in the history of creation, considering that the two of them fell randomly on Eternia and immediately meet He-Man, the person they were "hoping to find."
- They know that He-Man fights evil.
- They wonder what Skeletor is up to "these days," highly implying that Skeletor bothered the Rock People before in the distant past, but they haven't seen him in a while.
- Stonedar is the leader of the Rock People, meaning he has completely abandoned his people to come fight Skeletor, who presumably is not currently molesting the peaceful Rock People.
Wow! What an introduction! What the fuck!?
He-Man, being a great judge of character, instantly welcomes these new heroes because it would have taken too many panels for him to force them to prove their goodness.
But not all is goodness in Eternia! It appears that Webstor and Kobra Kahn are lurking in the distance, hiding behind some brush. Were they there the whole time? Did these Rock People just happen to land nearby? The world may never know. But these guys got a plan. An EVIL plan.
They're gonna spray them all with Kobra's NEW mist and take them all back to Skeletor so they'll be under his control! Gasp! Dastardly! They sneak from bush to bush until they're close, and then suddenly:
Kobra whammies He-Man with his NEW sleep mist and He-Man is out cold! He turns to Rokkon to put him to sleep as well, but Rokkon will have none of that (idiot) and viciously backhands Kobra. Webstor simply runs away. Stonedar wants Webstor captured so they can learn how to reverse this NEW sleep mist, so he rolls up into a stone and Rokkon knows what to do:
After crushing Webstor's head, Stonedar congratulates Rokkon on a "good job." Rokkon goes off to stand guard on some nearby cliffs so nobody else can sneak up on them, even though these two didn't sneak up on them from the cliffs, but from the nearby bushes. Oh, well. Orko doesn't think it's necessary to ask the severely concussed Kobra or the head-crushed Webstor how to bring He-Man back around. Orko uses his magic. But not all is goodness in Eternia!
Oh, no! He-Man don't remember who he be! While Orko tries to convince an understandably incredulous He-Man that he's a regular man who uses a sword to turn into a hero who fights a man with a skull for a head, Webstor—despite having his head crushed just moments earlier—comes to and grabs Orko!
Webstor does some fast-talking to try to convince He-Man that Orko and the Rock People are evil, and that Webstor and the still-unconscious Kobra are his friends. For some reason Stonedar doesn't say anything throughout this really long speech. Orko, however, tries to reassert that he and the Stone People are the good guys. He-Man's in a tough spot here. On the one hand he has a tiny, hovering thing with a big "O" on its chest and two people with giant chunks of stone attached to their bodies. On the other hand you have a horribly fanged blue guy with red eyes and a prone snakeman who is bleeding from his ears. I think He-Man puts it best:
Rokkon, who was guarding them with his back turned to them apparently, happens to glance over his shoulder and see that Webstor is up and about. Well, he can't have that, now can he? He'll set things straight!
Yes, Rokkon's solution is to roll into a ball himself and crush Webstor's head again. But he doesn't see that Webstor is holding Orko. If Rokkon crushes one, he crushes both. But which one should He-Man save? The "webbed man" or the "wizard?" He can't decide! Oh, wait, yes he can.
Well, that wasn't to difficult. All He-Man had to do to break out of his amnesia was, um... to just break out of his amnesia. I dunno, your guess is as good as mine here, people. He just remembers. Good timing on the NEW sleep mist wearing off? You be the judge. You decide.
Meanwhile, Skeletor has of course been watching this whole fiasco, and seeing how badly Webstor and the newly-conscious Kobra Kahn are botching things, he decides to jump into the fray himself.
Skeletor's plan is much simpler than Kobra's. He steals the Jet Sled and tries to shoot He-Man and to death. Well, now we learn that the Rock People are good for more than rolling down hills and crushing people's skulls:
Well, then since lasers don't work, Skeletor hops off the Jet Sled and decides to use his "own energy beam" to kill the good guys. I'm not sure what he was thinking. If Rock People can deflect lasers with their stone coverings, why wouldn't they be able to deflect energy beams?
Rokkon bounces the energy beam to Stonedar, who in turn bounces it back to Skeletor, who in turn bounces it to... oh, wait, Skeletor doesn't have stone coating his arms, does he?
This just makes Skeletor a little pissy, and he decides to take out He-Man the old fashioned way. By delivering a terribly long monologue about how he's going to punch the snot out of He-Man, and then punching the snot out of him. You know, because whenever He-Man and Skeletor get in a fistfight, Skeletor always wins, right? Oh, wait...
Yes, He-Man punches Skeletor over the horizon. He-Man should start a travel company. One punch to wherever you want to go.
Webstor and the newly-conscious Kobra Kahn decide to follow on foot thanks to some "friendly persuasion" by Rokkon, even though a punch from He-Man would get them to their destination much faster.
Well, that's that. He-Man says the dumb episode-ending line:
"I'm not worried. Even SNAKES IN THE GRASS (his emphasis, not mine) are powerless—when you trust in your heart to find your true friends."
And there you have it. The humble, ass-kicking origin of Rokkon, the man who loves to roll, and Stonedar, the man who doesn't say very much. For your amusement I have scanned in the entire comic and you can read it by clicking below (opens in a new window):
Oh, and this comic isn't only the humble beginnings of the Rock People. Someone else got their humble beginnings by working on these crappy little He-Man comics. Who could it be now? Remember when I mentioned the really good inking in this comic?
Yes, that's right. Bruce Timm, the man who would go on to create Batman: The Animated Series and all of its various incarnations and therefore completely recreate the worlds impressions of the Dark Knight and the capabilities of an action cartoon, inked Orko.
Humble beginnings indeed.