The Shame of the He-Man Poster
Last week Carrie and I went to an Oscar party. I won 70 bucks by most accurately predicting who was gonna win what. But that 70 smackeroonies paled in comparison to the real treasure I scored. Yes, that's right. A friend of mine who I've known since Junior High was there, and he gave me a poster he had come across. A He-Man poster. Actually, he gave me two posters (I'll get into the other one in a later article) and his old SNES and load of games for it. But for this article, let's just focus on the He-Man poster, shall we?
Yes, there it is, in all it's oil-painted glory. We see the final, titanic confrontation that we all wished we could see, where all of the good guys and all of the baddies rush each other in a frenzy of hacked limbs and tiger/panther claw marks. Of course, in the cartoon even a battle like this would be over in a matter of seconds, as He-Man would throw a boulder at the baddies and they would all drop a load in their shorts and run off. Then Man-at-Arms would say something, and Orco would make some dumb, dumb, stupid joke, and all the good guys would laugh as the screen faded to black. Face it, you can picture it, can't you?
Although it's strange. I never knew before looking at this poster that Snake Mountain and Castle Grayskull were only maybe 100 feet apart. And yet there they are. How strange that King Randor allowed these two forces to exist so close together. Well, not so strange for Randor, maybe.
Anyway. Let's take a look at our roster:
Here we have Skeletor in full Battle Armor astride the mighty Panthor, with Screech flying around above the bony one. Behind him in the place of honor is, of course, Jitsu, the man with the giant metal Karate chop. Because, really, in all the years of the cartoon, who did Skeletor rely on more than Jitsu? Anyway, behind that we have Kobra Kahn (who is not actually a G.I. Joe figure), then Tri-Klops, looking awfully jealous that Man-E-Faces gets to change his entire face while Tri-Klops just changes his eyes. Then on further up the hill we have Clawful, whose name is a clever play on... Lawful, I guess. Huh. I didn't know that Skeletor's minions were respectful of the law. Next comes Trap Jaw and Webstor. Webstor has to be given props for the only Heel with cojones enough to actually attack an enemy, as he has a grappling hook flying at the very-deserving Buzz-Off. Next comes Mer-Man, who must be worried about drying out, then the mighty sexpot Evil-Lyn. I could very easily make a joke here about Evil-Lyn, Skeletor, and one of Skeletor's bones, but I'll let you think of one. They're too easy. Following closely behind is Beast Man driving the Roton vehicle.
I think right here that Skeletor has already lost the battle. What kind of dunce would ever put Beast Man behind the wheel of any vehilce? Even a shopping cart is too complicated for the fuzzy wonder. You just know that Roton is going off that cliff and probably right onto Skeletor. What was he thinking? You know, maybe this isn't a battle at all. Maybe Beast Man just climbed in the Roton and it of course went out of control in Snake Mountain, and now the heels are fleeing for thier lives while Whip Lash and Zodiac are the only ones brave enough to try to reign in the maurading moron. Then the good guy team saw them storming out of Snake Mountain, screaming their lungs out, and naturally decided it was time to kick some bony hiney yet again. A natural mistake.
Now, let's take a look at the good guys, or "babyfaces" in wrestling terminology:
In the lead of course is He-Man, resplendid in his fancy Battle Armor, looking erotic on his mighty green Battle Cat. Behind him are his two most trusted comrade "Mans", Man-at-Arms and Man-E-Faces. Man-E-Faces is famous, of course, for having three different faces, including a robot and a monster. I guess the artist couldn't decide, becuase whatever face he is wearing here is in deep, dark shadow. I think Man-E-Faces might be a little miffed at this. Doesn't his gun look suspiciously like it's aiming at He-Man's back? Anyway, while a Man-E-Faces mutiny is underway, coming up right behind him is Prince Adam. Huh. I guess Prince Adam and He-Man are different people. Who knew? Up the hill a little more is my favorite vehicle, the Dragon Walker piloted by... He-Man. Wait, I must have made a mistake. Let me check on that.
Great Caesar's Ghost! Two of them!
Nope. Clearly depicted on the poster is He-Man, Adam and another He-Man. Uh-oh. Maybe Skeletor has this one in the bag after all. It looks like his little Imposter has died his skin and hair the correct colors, instead of that weird blue-green combo that wouldn't fool a color-blind goat. Strange that none of the other faces notices two He-Mans ("He-Men?") running around. Well, anyway, farther up the hill is everyone's favorite Ram Man, another of He-Man's "Mans". Then we have Mekaneck, who was my first-ever He-Man action figure, but is otherwise only good as a human periscope. Astride the mighty Stridor horse is the even mightier Fisto, He-Man's answer to Jitsu, with a big metal punch instead of a Karate chop. Wow. Behind him is Orco. I don't know what he thinks he's doing out here, but a battle is no place for a hovering quizzmaster who can only crack awful, awful Jokes. Oh, well, he'd look goot on the end of Skeletor's sword, I guess. Bringing up the rear is the curvaceous Teela, launching Zoar. In the air over the good guy team are Buzz-Off, Stratos, and the Wind Raider vehilce, being piloted by a nameless nobody. Also on up the hill near Grayskull are a couple more vheilces, the Road Ripper and something called Point Dread. I guess everyone is so sure they can beat Skeletor's crew just by waving thier weapons around that they don't need battle vehicles. More power to them.
You know, looking more closely at this poster, I think I see the real story here. This isn't a battle. It's a Romeo & Juliet style romance in action! Who are the star-crossed lovers? Take a closer look, here:
Doesn't it look suspiciously like Buzz-Off has a longing look in his bug eyes? And that Screech is trying a little too hard to get to Buzz-Off? They're in love! Ah, young love, where a half-wasp man and a bird can get it on.
This obviously upsets their respective families. Look at Stratos trying to stop Buzz-Off:
And that's why Webstor is flinging a hook at Buzz-Off. He's just trying to keep the lovebirds (well, one lovebird and one lovewasp) from hooking up. And look at this. Skeletor is so intent on keeping the couple apart that he is willing to cut his own companion to pieces rather than let him go to the wasp-man:
Please, people! Can't you see that this hatred is tearing apart a beatiful romance? Why can't they just let the young couple just enjoy their feathered/clawed embrace?
They should all be ASHAMED.
Imagine: If two bitter enemies like Buzz-Off and Screech can fall in love, why can't both sides get along? Just imagine their wedding: He-Man in his loincloth tuxedo, Skeletor with his freshly-polished skull. The two would bond at the reception over thier mutual love of lawn bowling. Evil-Lyn would catch the boquet and look shyly at Tri-Klops, who would blush and try to loosen his collar. Ram Man would get drunk and bash his head repeatedly into the punch bowl in an attempt to impress Teela. Mer-Man would give the first toast while drinking 43 glasses of water. Fisto and Jitsu would have a competition to see whose super-hand could break Mekaneck's neck first.
At the end, He-Man and Skeletor would hug, realizing that, deep down, maybe they aren't that different after all. *Sniff* Beautiful.