Val Staples interview

Masters of the Universe is the latest addition to the 80s comics revivals. The writer behind the comic featuring He-Man and his friends and enemies is Val Staples. Worlds of Westfield Content Editor Roger Ash recently contacted Staples to find out more about the Masters of the Universe mini-series coming from Image.

Westfield: For those who may be unfamiliar with Masters of the Universe, what is the concept of the series?

Val Staples: Masters of the Universe is an epic tale where sorcery and technology thrive in harmony. The story is a classic good vs. evil myth that revolves around a world of fantastic creatures and beings of incredible power. There is something for everyone to enjoy in the realm of the Masters of the Universe.

Westfield: Which of the classic characters can readers expect to see, and will there be new characters joining them?

Staples: We are striving to make the story focused so anyone can jump in at any given moment. Thus, we are keeping the number of characters to a minimum. The initial group of characters are all classic characters, and we will add to this roster as things progress. Over time, you will undoubtedly see new characters, but only if they truly lend to the story.

Westfield: Which of the classic characters specifically will appear in the early issues of the series?

Staples: Issue one will mainly feature Prince Adam/He-Man, Skeletor, Man-at-Arms, Evil-Lyn, and everyone's favorite court magician, Orko! We are determined to turn Orko into more than he was in the cartoon. But, he won't be a regular roster member.

Westfield: How much of the comic is inspired by the 80s cartoon and action figures, and how much is inspired by the new cartoon and action figure line?

Staples: The new cartoon and action figure line is in fact, heavily inspired by the 80's story. As a matter of fact, any classic fan should recognize almost all elements of the new story. Fans will be introduced to stories that not only tell new tales, but explain origins of some of our favorite characters. This holds true for both the cartoon and the comic.

Westfield: How much updating did you have do to the characters?

Staples: For the comic, we base the designs on the new toys. The cartoon is based, for the most part, on the toy as well. So, all our designs mirror what you see in an effort to keep the continuity unified.

Westfield: How closely is the comic tied to the new cartoon?

Staples: Very close. The story in the comic will parallel the cartoon. We work closely with Mattel to make sure this is the case. We can't promise everything will be exactly the same, but there won't be contradicting building blocks crucial to the story.

Westfield: What can readers look forward to story-wise in the comic?

Staples: The story starts off with a moderate pace. We didn't want to up the tempo of the story in the comic, or alter any personas to the point classic fans wouldn't relate to the characters. As the comic progresses, so will the intensity. You'll go from what equates to a serious cartoon episode to a full-blown illustrated tale with a rich plot and strong character development.

Westfield: Was it difficult to craft a story that long-time fans would enjoy yet is accessible to new readers?

Staples: Very much so. Trying to create a story that will appeal to fans of the classic cartoon and fans of a more hard-hitting story is extremely difficult. As the comic progresses, we hope to draw old fans into the new direction of the property, while giving new fans more meat to sink their teeth into.

Westfield: Masters of the Universe was one of the cartoons that came out in the 80s that was accused of being nothing but a commercial for the action figures. You obviously feel differently. What is your response to this claim?