CARD ART BY ERROL McCARTHY
Errol McCarthy's artwork featured on the reverse of the packaging for many of the individual Masters of the Universe figures, always accompanied by some text describing the action. The pictures were always confined to the top of the card, which had the effect of diminishing the impact of the art. Fortunately a portfolio of McCarthy's art was released as a limited edition set by Super7, and we finally got to see the images on a larger scale. They look so much better this way.
This portfolio has moved me from indifference about the images to really appreciating them. They present a brighter and more colourful version of Eternia than Rudy Obrero's work, with beautiful landscapes rather than Obrero's ravaged world. But McCarthy's landscapes are reminiscent of those seen in the minicomic art of Alfredo Alcala, so they feel familiar. There's also ruggedness and drama. We're given the sense that these characters are the wandering soldiers of the minicomics.
This collection features the much discussed image of Zodac attacking the heroes. For a while the character was portrayed as an evil warrior, in the service of Skeletor, with the title of evil cosmic enforcer. McCarthy's Zodac image reinforced that incarnation, and it's my opinion that Zodac is much more interesting when presented this way instead of as a neutral observer. All the characters are presented in more angular and sharper poses than we see elsewhere.
As well as featuring bold colours, McCarthy's work also includes a lot of black. This is unusual in illustrations for children. I can remember a conversation I had with a children's book illustrator several years ago during which I was told that black had to be used sparingly or not at all, for fear of scaring delicate little kids. There's no such reservation with McCarthy's MOTU art. He provided many more illustrations for characters than are featured in this portfolio, so hopefully more of McCarthy's work will be released by Super7 in the future.