There are conflicting views on who actually did what in the early days of the Masters, with different people claiming to have invented He-Man and the other characters. Roger Sweet claims to have put the idea to Mattel while working for the company and takes much of the credit for the early characters. There is another name that appears in MOTU history though. Mark Taylor also claims to have developed the He-Man idea.
What is known is that there was a team of designers, and several people were involved in turning ideas into the original toys. Part of me would like to know the detail behind the creation of the MOTU, but there is another part of me that says it only really matters to those directly involved - for them it is a matter of pride. There is also a belief that the minicomic writers invented some characters and their contributons were never acknowledged.
The images on this page are by Mark Taylor. Whether they are original ideas or
not really does not matter. What is important is that they are great conceptual
drawings. Some of the characters shown here are instantly recognisable, others
are much less obvious. I have added some observations about each picture.
SKELETOR. This drawing is presented as a very early version of the Lord of Destruction. This character has very little in common with how Skeletor came to look. This creature looks more like a Games Workshop design than a MOTU character. Here Skeletor is drawn with a skull face, but it is bearded and the overall appearance is tribal.
SKELETOR. This design is far closer to the Skeletor that was actually manufactured. A prototype was built which looked almost exactly like this drawing. The figure was simplified a little before production for the toy market. The detachable head of Skeletor's staff did not become a toy line feature.
HE-MAN. Very different from the way He-Man was eventually realised, this character clearly has warrior features. As with the early Skeletor drawing, this He-Man looks like a member of a tribe. That idea found its way into the first MOTU minicomic. He lost his helmet, but the sword, axe and shield were given to the toy He-Man.
MAN-AT-ARMS. This drawing is very close to how Man-At-Arms ended up. I like the amount of detail in this image. What a shame the detachable ball-head of his club did not become a feature when the toy was made.
SORCERESS. This drawing is not necessarily one character. It is believed that this character was originally conceived as an evil sorceress, but she was developed into two distinct characters, Teela and Evil-Lyn.
FEMALE WARRIOR / TEELA. This character did not have a name on the original
sketch, but clearly became Teela. Her spear was replaced by the snake staff of
the preceding picture, but she retained her shield. However, a similar spear
has been recreated as the Goddess's weapon for the Classics line.