Thursday, March 26, 2020

Old School MOTU: He-Man #17 from POP! Television: Masters of the Universe by Funko

   First of all: This year you're going to see me reviewing a lot of older Masters of the Universe stuff, as MOTU is really where most of my collecting interest has been heading for the last few years. I'm going to use the "Old School MOTU" label just to show off stuff that isn't a new release. Today I;m checking out the original Funko POP! He-Man from 2013. Funko has released quite a bit of MOTU product over the last 7-8 years, so any discussion of Masters of the Universe toys has to include them.
   Second of all: Whenever we discuss the toylines of the 2010s, we're going to have to talk about Funko POP! vinyls. Collectors either seem to love or hate POP! vinyls, with those that hate them often derisively comparing them to Ty's Beanie Babies. Like Beanie Babies, Funko's POP! vinyls certainly have captured the attention of many people who don't really collect traditional toys and action figures and they do utilize marketing techniques such as "chase variants" and "exclusives" to drum up excitement. Unlike Beanie Babies, though, POP! vinyls are tied in with properties people have a deep love for. While the popularity of POP! vinyls may certainly wane over time (though Beanie Babies are still around, just FYI), the fact that they're mostly based on other properties is going to keep folks attention. I'm not collecting "POP! vinyls:" I'm collecting Masters of the Universe, Resident Evil, and horror figures. They just happen to be made in the Funko POP! style. See what I mean?
   Anyways, why am I going on so long? Maybe it's because we're all quarantined and we're all bored? Actually, it's because since this He-Man figure is the "first" MOTU POP! it's a great place to discuss the brand and its relationship to MOTU. When Masters of the Universe Classics came out in 2008, MOTU was very much a "dead," niche brand. As good as the 200x line and the MYP series was, overall it was a swing and a miss in the early 2000s and the brand seemed to be going nowhere. MOTUC really seemed like the last hurrah for the brand. But something happened: MOTUC began to elevate the brand. What was originally intended as a couple exclusives, or possibly even just as a series of 2 packs, became one of the largest, most expansive toylines of all time. As MOTUC grew so did MOTU's cultural footprint and a couple of other companies started to pay attention again to the brand that built. In 2013 Funko released some Masters of the Universe POP! vinyls in their POP! Television brand and thus He-Man's slow but steady rise back into the pantheons of popular culture continued to grow. Let's take a look at the Funko POP! He-Man after the break and see if this guy still has the power...

 The Facts:

Height: 3 5/8ths inches

Articulation: Swivel head

Accessories: None

Original Retail Price: $10 dollars

Year of Release: 2013

 The Positives:

* This is the first He-Man POP! that Funko. Heck, it's also one of the earlier POP! releases at this point (the first releases were in 2010) and you can definitely see how it's a bit more stylized and simpler than the modern figures. I like the pose (it definitely looks like He-Man's in a bit of a battle crouch) and the fact that you can swivel the head around. It's nice that POP! vinyls have been consistent for so long, too.

 * The original Funko heads were a lot plainer for sure. There's just less definition, but it works. He-Man is definitely one of the plainest POP! vinyls out there (well, face-wise) but the classic yellow locks are definitely recognizable to He-Fans and She-Ravers.

 * He-Man's body is what really makes this POP! recognizable. He's got the classic harness, the matching wrist cuffs (like in the cartoon), and some furry trunks. He-Man doesn't wear a lot of clothing but what he does wear is iconic for sure.

* He-Man is definitely toting around his Power Sword. It's Filmaton styled, too!

 * He's got his sheathe for the Power Sword attached to his back, too! It's a cool little detail that could have easily been left off, but Funko remembered it!

 The Negatives:

* My He-Man has some errant strands of glue across his chin. It looks like it dripped from his neck somehow, where you can see two parts are glued together. Oh no! It's a QC error on a 7 year old toy!

   Looking back, Funko's first He-Man wasn't the best POP! out there but it definitely was a key player in the Masters of the Universe renaissance that has been slowly happening over the past decade. While the newer MOTU POP! vinyls are a bit more intricate, He-Man is still a Great addition to a MOTU collection. I like his simple, stylized design and I'm sure plenty of other feel the same way. He's fairly pricey these days, especially in the box, so shop around if you're wanting to add one to your collection. You might stumble upon a deal.

He-Man/ Prince Adam is one of my favorite characters and I've reviewed so many toys based on him that he has his own review archive. Check out Fabulous Secret Powers for more He-Man toys!

For more POP! Television reviews, check out the following:
Buzz-Off #759 from Masters of the Universe
Crow #488 from Mystery Science Theater 3000
Elvira #375 from Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Ghost Charlie Brown #333 from Peanuts 
He-Man (Slime Pit) #952 from Masters of the Universe 
Lucy Van Pelt #332 from Peanuts
Mr. Bean #592
Snoopy #330 from Peanuts 
Stinkor #657 from Masters of the Universe
Tom Servo #489 from Mystery Science Theater 3000
Tri-Klops #951 from Masters of the Universe
Twisty from American Horror Story: Freak Show

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