This here is King Grayskull. He is an ancestor of our beloved He-Man, hence the striking similarities. He was introduced into the mythos during the 2002 animated series. Years before the birth of He-Man, King Grayskull heroically defended Eternia from the Snake Men and the Evil Horde. Unfortunately he was mortally wounded by Hordak in their last encounter. Before passing away he managed to transfer his power into his sword so that one day someone else might use it to defend Eternia. This Power Sword is the one that generations later transforms Prince Adam into He-Man. This backstory changes up everything we knew about the “Power of Grayskull”. We always thought it was the power of Castle Grayskull that fueled He-Man’s super powers but apparently it’s actually the powers of the long lost King that he’s been channelling. I like when writers are able to tweak the history of fictional properties like this while still respecting the work of the original writers.
The main reason that King Grayskull so closely resembles He-Man is apparently because this was originally one of the designs proposed for He-Man himself for the 2002 series. The creators of the series went with a younger look but liked this design so much that they decided to use it as a brand new character.
A few new characters were introduced during that 2002 series but none of them made it into the 2002 action figure line. They probably would have eventually had the line not been prematurely cancelled but as it is the 2002 toy line only provided us with new versions of classic characters; and for the most part that’s what I want. I buy these things for nostalgic reasons, they remind me of my childhood and I like to collect the cool new versions of all the G.I. Joe, Transformer, and He-Man figures that I had as a kid. However there are only so many figures from my childhood available to remake. In order to keep these properties, fresh, collectable and of interest to kids new characters need to be added once and a while. G.I. Joe does a great job of peppering in new characters amongst all the much-loved classics. The Masters of the Universe Classics line does the same .
Some characters included in the MOTU Classics line such as Mighty Spector or Drageo-Man are brand new characters who have never been part of the MOTU mythos prior to the figures release. Others are characters who have appeared in different forms of media in the past, whether it be cartoons or comic books, but who just never got made into an action figure before; this includes characters like Count Marzo, Keldor and King Grayskull. I welcome all of them into the fold.
King Grayskull was actually the very first figure released as part of the Masters of the Universe Classics line back in 2008. I was rather dismissive of him at first. You see I loved the 2002 cartoon and the 2002 toys. They were much more stylized and dynamic that the frumpy 80s figures. This was in large part due to the fact that Mattel hired toy sculptors extraordinaire, The Four Horsemen, to design the new line. The Horsemen were clearly big fans of the property and did their best to get all of the classic characters re-designed and released in figure form. When the cartoon and toy line was abruptly cancelled the Horsemen even took it upon themselves to release action figure sized statues of the characters that they hadn’t got around to releasing as toys so that fans could complete their collections.
Even after the statue line ended after a handful of waves the Horsemen continued to pursue the property; they weren’t done with it yet. It had already been determined that kids today weren’t as enamored with the concept as the kids of the 80s were as the 2002 series didn’t live up to sales expectations. If kids weren’t into it the toy line would never survive on retail shelves. So from that notion MattyCollector.com was born. Mattel launched a toy website geared towards collectors. They vowed that each month they would release a new He-Man figure that would only be available on their site. The figures would be of high-quality and produced in limited numbers to keep them collectable. For this new line, dubbed Masters of the Universe Classics the Horsemen opted to take a more retro approach to the designs. They kept some of the 2002 design elements but for the most part the figures closely resembled their original 80s versions. The figures looked really nice but I already nearly had the complete 2002 line which I was very happy with. I saw no reason to start buying up another set of He-Man figures.
And so the line was launched at the 2008 San-Diego Comic-Con with King Grayskull who was followed by online releases of the characters you would expect, He-Man, Beast Man, Skeletor etc. It wasn’t until the 9th release that I finally picked up one of these figures. It was Hordak, a character who I wasn’t able to find from the 2002 series. When I saw a used version of the figure for sale at a local comic shop I scooped him up. Even though he wouldn’t match the other characters that I had on display (Classics are much bulkier and a bit taller than the 2002 figures) at least I would have a Hordak to display with my other Evil Horde members. Once I had the figure in my hand I realized how much I loved the feel of the Classics figures. The weight and the size and the bright colors; it was just such a fun toy. I was hooked and now I own over 60 of the damn things.
Though Grayskull may have been the first Classics for many collectors he’s actually my most recent acquisition. MattyCollector made him available again for a limited time in October and so I ordered him along with my Rattlor figure that month. So how is he? Well he’s pretty awesome. I kind of love how closely he resembles He-Man. From the neck down they’re nearly identical. The features that differentiate the two are King Grayskull’s cape and his hair. The cape is awesome with its bulky fur collar, very king like. The hair is much longer than He-Man’s and he has two long “pigtails” that drape over the fronts of his shoulders. He’s molded in a darker plastic so he has a darker complexion than He-Man as well.
For accessories the King came with two separate halves of the power sword and a complete unified power sword as well. He’s got his shield and also a crystal ball thing which looks cool but is hard to keep in place. My only gripe is that his ankles are very loose though that may only be specific to my figure. I recommend you track him down for yourself. 7 out of 10.