Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Friday, February 22, 2013
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Monday, February 18, 2013
2. "Nothin' to Lose"
4. "Cold Gin"
5. "Let Me Know"
6. "Kissin' Time"
8. "Love Theme from KISS"
9. "100,000 Years"
10. "Black Diamond"
"Kissin' Time" did not appear on the original release of the album. The track was added to a re-pressing in July 1974.
Celebrate the 39th Anniversary of the first KISS album by viewing this cool fan-made clip!
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Celebrating 40 years of rocking out together in 2013, KISS is marking the occasion by returning to comic books this March with the miniseries "KISS Solo" from IDW Publishing. "KISS Solo" spans four issues, each chronicling a different member of the group on an individual adventure. The first installment titled "KISS Solo #1: The Demon" stars Gene Simmons, better known to fans as The Demon.
Writing this first issue of the miniseries is IDW Publishing editor-in-chief Chris Ryall, who has also penned "Zombies vs. Robots" and "Mars Attacks: KISS." Ryall is joined by artist Angel Medina on the issue. Tom Waltz, who co-writes IDW's ongoing "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" title with Kevin Eastman, is writing the second issue of the miniseries, with the subtitle "The Starchild," with Tone Rodriguez on pencils.
Ryall and Waltz spoke with CBR News about what to expect in their respective issues of "KISS Solo," their love of the franchise and Ryall's personal experience of geeking out with Simmons over comics.
CBR News: Chris, what's the gist of "KISS Solo #1: The Demon?"
Chris Ryall: It's a lovely, touching indie movie-like little tale of The Demon versus the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
In the context of this story, do the members of KISS have super-human abilities or are they just a bunch of really good musicians?
Ryall: We never really get into the musician part of their history in the comics. I sort of hate comics with music and lyrics -- it always rings false to me, even if based on a real band. KISS in the comics are cosmic deities who sometimes imbue humans (or Martians, in the "Mars Attacks Kiss" one-shot from earlier this month) with their powers, or sometimes they play at being human themselves, but -- like with the band itself -- they're larger than life.
Tom, what can readers expect in the second issue, "KISS Solo #2: The Starchild?"
Tom Waltz: It's the Starchild's turn to rock a solo riff and the story is based on the song "Goodbye" from Paul Stanley's 1978 solo album. It's an interstellar romp featuring a cosmic bounty hunter who needs to bring in one last bad guy in order to return home to his beloved wife forever. The only problem is, nobody's ever gone after this baddie in his dark domain and survived. But what if there is a star to light the way? (It shouldn't be hard to guess what exactly that "star" is.) The artwork is handled by Tone Rodriguez ("Violent Messiahs") and he's already turned in some killer pages. The issue hits stores April 2013.
I'm also penning "KISS Solo" #4 featuring the "Catman." It's based on the song "I Can't Stop the Rain" from the Peter Criss '78 solo album and it's a KISS take on the "Beauty and the Beast" mythos. It'll be illustrated by Roberto Castro ("New Exiles") and goes on sale June 2013.
Do all four "KISS Solo" stories connect or are they stand-alones?
Ryall: They're all completely separate and solo. Angel and I are doing issue #1 only, and I'm back doing issue #3 ("The Celestial") with artist Alan Robinson. Tom mentioned the two issues he's writing.
When did you both first discover KISS?
Ryall: When I was about five years old, I shared a room with my brother who was four years older. Back then my tastes in music and comics mirrored his (or else!) -- he was a monster Kiss fan, so I've pretty much been listening to them since I can remember listening to any music.
Waltz: I discovered KISS in two phases. My first memory is from my two older sisters, who shared a copy of "KISS Destroyer" and would listen to it quite a bit in our house. They wore headphones for the most part, so I didn't always hear what they were rockin' to (and Lord forbid I touch the album myself) but I would catch snippets of "Detroit Rock City" and "Beth" on occasion -- I always thought they were cool. What really struck me at that age (I was probably 9 or 10 years old at the time) was the album cover, which I would stare at constantly, absolutely enthralled by the larger than life Kabuki superheroes leaping off the page.
Later, my friend down the road had a copy of "KISS Alive II," "Love Gun" and "Double Platinum" -- we'd jam out to them constantly. I was hooked big time (and was mesmerized by the photo cover on "Alive II" as I ever was by the "Destroyer" cover art -- man, that pic of Gene with blood splattered all over his chin still rules). Besides the music, a big part of the fun in those days were all the urban myths surrounding the band. My favorite was that Gene Simmons' tongue was actually a cow's tongue he had surgically implanted. How cool is that?!
Ryall: Tom Waltz, who's also an IDW Editor, and I are big KISS fans and have been working with Gene Simmons for years. So when it came time to make KISS comics, we just couldn't see handing them off to anyone else. One of my favorite comics as a kid was the "Marvel Super Special" magazine featuring KISS, and it's been fun to now be on the other side. Hopefully we produce some equally fun stories with these characters.
Are there any KISS comic book stories or characterizations that stand out to you as particularly awesome over the decades?
Ryall: Definitely the one I just mentioned -- it was so odd, a hallmark of pretty much all of Steve Gerber's writing, but I remember their appearance in early "Howard the Duck" issues (KISS as drawn by Gene Colan was pretty awesome). I dabbled a bit with the "Psycho Circus" comics, because I really like Angel Medina's work, too.
How did artist Angel Medina get brought on?
Ryall: I just asked -- Angel does "big and cosmic" so well. Our earlier KISS series' were a bit more grounded, but when I'm uncorking the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, something like that calls for exactly what Angel does so well. Happily, he signed on. I've been a fan of his work since Peter David's run on "Dreadstar," so it's a thrill to work with him on a KISS comic where so many fans know him from.
How much interaction do you have with KISS representatives when working on the property?
Ryall: There're basically two people we interact with directly on KISS comics -- Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. It's great that there're no "staff" in the way here. We receive unfettered opinions from the band members themselves and involve Tommy and Eric, too, but Gene and Paul are the ones we work with directly on everything KISS-related. Anyone who's heard Gene Simmons speak knows he's a comic fan from way back, so it's fun having discussions about art, other artists, comics from the past and other geek talk. The band has been amazing, too -- they let us run wild with the comics and don't look to slow us down at all. If anything, they're very encouraging of our crazier ideas, like the KISS series we're doing next after the four "Solo" issues. Fans interested to see what that will be can find clues on the back cover of each of the "Solo" issues.
You mentioned above how Gene Simmons has been a comic book fan for years. Are there any particularly interesting conversations or heated debates the two of you have had on the subject?
Ryall: You've never quite experienced Gene Simmons until you've seen him stand on a chair, arms outstretched in the Doctor Strange/devil horns symbol, bellowing "BY THE HOARY HOSTS OF HOGGOTH!" like he did for Tom and I, to further explain where he got the idea for the devil horns gesture. We also got into a heated debate over which issue of "Amazing Spider-Man" was John Romita's first issue. It's fun when a random name like "Dan Adkins" would come up, hearing Gene talk about which books he worked on, who he studied under and so on. Back in the pre-KISS days, Gene even worked on a comics fanzine with Marv Wolfman. He's a superhero guy through and through.
Tom, what has your experience getting feedback from the band been like?
Waltz: These comics are not something the band is slapping their names on for a quick buck. They take every aspect of what we are doing very seriously, and Gene and Paul especially are extremely vocal during each phase of the comic making process -- from plotting, through pencils, inks, colors and onto final product. They always review whatever materials we send their way and they never fail to promptly respond with approvals and/or the occasional change request, etc. They are true pros, genuinely good guys, and I've always enjoyed working with them.
These gents are doing a thousand things every day yet they still find time to keep an eye on the comic books we're making and provide consistently positive, helpful and respectful input -– I find that to be damn cool. Plus, Ryall and I've gotten to hang out them a few times, too, which is the rock 'n roll cherry on top -- especially for diehard KISS fans like us. If you would've told pre-teen Tom Waltz he'd be working directly with KISS someday, his head would've exploded like so much KISS stage pyro! I've been very fortunate to do some awesome things in my creative career and I've met some fascinating people, but collaborating with KISS is definitely one of the highlights. No doubt about it.
Who are your favorite members of KISS? Favorite albums? Favorite songs?
Ryall: Pick a favorite member of the band while we're doing business with all four of them, are you crazy? Besides, the band is one member to me -- the Four-Who-Are-One. They're stronger than the sum of their parts, so they transcend favorite members. I'll say I've loved working with Gene for his comic knowledge -- he and I are constantly trying to one-up each other in that arena. Little-admitted fact: in this one area I will trounce him every time, but he does know a lot. Favorite album is easier -- "Destroyer," like everyone else, from the makeup era. "Revenge" is my favorite non-makeup album. Favorite song? "100,000 Years," maybe. Kind of hard to pick favorite songs since at different times different ones work for me. I'm a true fan -- I dig a lot of what they've done in pretty much every incarnation.
Waltz: I lean toward "Destroyer," "Alive" and "Alive II" as my favorites because you never get over your first loves, right? I love something about each and every album they've made over the years, though. As for favorite song, I grew up in Southeastern Michigan, so "Detroit Rock City" is high on my list always, but, man, again -- I dig so many of their tunes it's hard to nail down an exact favorite. I've always loved "Love Gun" (the guitar rules on that one), "Black Diamond" (especially played live), "God of Thunder (again, live is best), "100,000 Years," "Shock Me (live!), "Lick It Up," "Sonic Boom," "Cold Gin"... cripes, the list goes on and on. Thing is, put on any KISS album and I'm rockin' with a goofy grin on my face no matter what.
Tom, you also write the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" ongoing series for IDW. How does writing a property based on actual living people, like with KISS, compare with basing one on a property like "TMNT?" Do you feel more or less pressure to do them justice?
Waltz: I approach writing KISS very much like I approach "TMNT." There are four heroes part of a tight-knit team with a long history -- if you think about it, KISS is a family much like the TMNT are. As such, you have to be aware of the diverse personalities involved and be sure to give everyone some face time, so to speak. The cool thing with KISS is that, though they are real, living people, the comic book characters based on them are way larger than life, so dropping them into comic book adventures is both fun and easy. They can be cosmic demi-gods, super heroes, rock 'n roll soldiers with strange powers -- we're only limited by our imaginations.
"KISS Solo #1: The Demon" by Chris Ryall and artist Angel Medina is available March 20 from IDW Publishing, with "KISS Solo #2: The Starchild" by Tom Waltz and artist Tone Rodriguez available April 17
Editor's Note: Our original story listed Sergio Fernandez Davila as the artist of "KISS Solo #2: The Starchild." The artist has since been changed to Roberto Castro.
Star Wars fans, admit it: you like scoundrels. And you’re about to get more of them in your life.
Yesterday, The Walt Disney Co. unveiled plans to make a number of spin-off movies set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away — in addition to the post-Return of the Jedi trilogy that had already been announced.
Entertainment Weekly has learned details on two of the spin-off projects: A young Han Solo saga, focusing on the wisecracking smuggler’s origin story, and a bounty hunter adventure with Boba Fett at the center of a rogue’s gallery of galactic scum.
Several sources close to the projects confirmed this was the direction the development was taking, although each cautioned it’s still very early in the process and, well, the deal could always be altered futher. Lucasfilm and Disney declined to comment on the information.
The Han Solo story would take place in the time period between Revenge of the Sith and the first Star Wars (now known as A New Hope), so although it’s possible Harrison Ford could appear as a framing device, the movie would require a new actor for the lead — one presumably much younger than even the 35-year-old Ford when he appeared in the 1977 original.
The Boba Fett film would take place either between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, or between Empire and Jedi, where the bounty hunter was last seen plunging unceremoniously into a sarlacc pit. Exactly who would play him isn’t much of a complication – in the original trilogy, he never took off his helmet. And in the prequels, we learned he was the son of the original stormtrooper clone, played by Temuera Morrison, who’s still the right age for the part if his services were required.
In addition to bringing back two fan-favorite characters as the leads of their own films, the Han Solo and Boba Fett projects would also allow Darth Vader, in full-on black death-metal gear, to return as a villain, since placing the spin-offs within the original trilogy would mean he is still alive and hissing. That timeline would also open the door for a return from visit with everyone’s favorite degenerate slug-like gangster, Jabba the Hutt.
Walt Disney Co. chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced the existence of spin-off plans yesterday as part of the company’s quarterly earnings report. He said the screenwriters working of the stand-alone films are Simon Kinberg (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Sherlock Holmes) and Lawrence Kasdan (screenwriter of The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and the filmmaker behind The Big Chill.)
The pair are also involved in the drafting of the new trilogy, with Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3) penning the first of the series, which J. J. Abrams has agreed to direct. That film is scheduled to hit theaters in 2015.
There is no indication who might direct the Boba Fett and Han Solo films if they end up coming to fruition. Joe Johnston, director of Captain America and The Rocketeer, originally designed the armor for Boba Fett and told Screenrant he would like to make a film based around the character. Recently, Robert Rodriguez told MTV he would jump at the chance to make a Han Solo film if it were offered to him — although that seemed more like casual interest than a serious proposal.
The recent novel Scoundrels, by sci-fi author Timothy Zahn, focused on the exploits of Solo in the period between A New Hope and Empire as he set up an Ocean’s 11-type heist of a gangster’s fortune. But sources said it was not the basis for any film currently in the works.
As for other spin-offs, Ain’t It Cool reported Monday that a Yoda-centric film may be in the works, and earlier last month Vulture reported Zack Snyder may create a Seven Samurai-inspired Star Wars spin-off, although the filmmaker later said that was untrue.
Lucasfilm has ramped up its development in recent months under the new leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, who stepped in as co-chair of the company as Star Wars creator George Lucas stepped back and sold the company to the Walt Disney Co.
Kennedy, who has her eighth nomination for the Best Picture Oscar this year as producer of Lincoln, has a long track record of making films that strike a nerve with the original Star Wars generation, among them E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and everything from Gremlins to The Goonies and the Back to the Future movies.
The question now: If these films do happen, who would you cast as a young Han Solo – or should they cast someone as relatively unknown as Ford once was?
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Iron Man 3 is coming to theaters in just three months and it's time to activate the armor! Sideshow Collectibles is proud to present Hot Toys' Iron Man Mark XLII Power Pose Series Sixth Scale Collectible Figure. Hot Toys' new line of Sixth Scale collectibles, the Power Pose Series, will highlight the powerful poses performed by Iron Man's many brand new armor suits. Hot Toys will bring all of the new armors seen in Iron Man 3 to your collection soon, and the new Power Pose Series displays perfectly with the Movie Masterpiece and Diorama Series!
The Iron Man Mark XLII Sixth Scale Figure features:
Authentic likeness of Mark XLII from Iron Man 3
Approximately 30 cm tall
Semi-articulated collectible figure, able to perform powerful poses, such as 'flying' and 'battle' poses; waist and neck twist action
Metallic red and gold paint on armor
Special patterns on underarms
Ball joints on four limbs and wrists for posing
Two (2) poses performed including 'flying' mode and 'battle' mode with iconic repulsor blast action
One (1) interchangeable right thigh to switch modes
LED-lighted eyes and RT on chest (white light, battery operated)
One (1) pair of relaxed palms with light-up repulsors (white light, battery operated)
One (1) left fist
Figure stand with Mark XLII and the Stark Industries nameplate with transparent pillar
Collectible Figures from the Power Pose Series (PPS), Movie Masterpiece Series (MMS) and Diorama Series (DS) can be displayed together, 1:6 Scale
Button Cell batteries required (included)
Note: Prototype shown, final product may be slightly different
"There has been speculation about some stand-alone films that are in development," Iger tells CNBC. "I can confirm to you today that, in fact, we are working on a few stand-alone films. Larry Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are both working on films derived from great 'Star Wars' characters that are not part of the overall saga. We still plan to make Episodes 7, 8, and 9, roughly over a six-year period of time, starting in 2015. There are going to be a few other films released in that time, too."
Iger goes on to say that Kasdan and Kingberg are serving in a consulting capacity on J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII with Michael Arndt supplying the screenplay. Both writers are simultaneously working on new, as of yet unknown, Star Wars films.
The news arrives on the heels of yesterday's rumor that claimed the first such film would follow the adventures of Yoda. While that rumor has not been confirmed, Iger's comments suggest some truth to the reports.
You can watch Iger's announcement in the player below, courtesy of CNBC:
Monday, February 4, 2013
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Saturday, February 2, 2013
He-Man is a fictional character and the hero of the Masters of the Universe franchise. In most variations, he is the alter ego of Prince Adam. He-Man and his friends defend the realm of Eternia and the secrets of Castle Grayskull from the evil forces of Skeletor.
In 1976, Mattel's CEO Ray Wagner declined the deal to produce a toyline of action figures based on the characters from the George Lucas film Star Wars, due to the $750,000 license required upfront. Following the commercial success of the film trilogy and its related merchandise during the next few years, Mattel launched several unsuccessful toylines; none captured the public's imagination, or impacted the toy market.
In the race to design the next hit action figure, Roger Sweet (a lead designer working for Mattel's Preliminary Design Department during much of the 1970s and 1980s) realized that simplicity was the key to success. According to his 2005 book Mastering the Universe: He-Man and the Rise and Fall of a Billion-Dollar Idea, Sweet knew that if he gave marketing something it could sell, he had won 90 percent of the battle.
The only way I was going to have a chance to sell this [to Wagner] was to make three 3D models - big ones. I glued a Big Jim figure [from another Mattel toy line] into a battle action pose and I added a lot of clay to his body. I then had plaster casts made. These three prototypes, which I presented in late 1980, brought He-Man into existence. I simply explained that this was a powerful figure that could be taken anywhere and dropped into any context because he had a generic name: He-Man!"During the 1980s, rumors claimed that Conan the Barbarian was a source of inspiration for the He-Man character. According to this rumor, Mattel had a licensing agreement to make the Conan action figures associated with the 1982 film of the same name starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Apparently, such an idea had to be modified in order to avoid objections from parents concerned that a toyline for children was promoting a film containing nudity and violence. In addition, brown-haired prototype versions of the He-Man action figure (bearing a strong resemblance to the Conan character created by Robert E. Howard) were produced and given away by Wonder Bread as a promotion through a mail-in offer. Later he became to be known by collectors as Won-Dar - a rare MOTU collectors' item to this day.
- Roger Sweet
Sweet refuted the rumor, saying that he conceptualized and developed the He-Man/Masters of the Universe franchise in late 1980 (two years before the release of the Universal Pictures film). The toyline existed prior to the movie, beginning production in 1981 and marketing in 1982. At that time Mattel did not have a license with Universal to make toys for the film, which resulted in Conan Properties suing Mattel over copyright infringement, due to He-Man's similarities to Conan.
Mattel won the lawsuit against Conan Properties, retaining the rights over He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
Of the three original He-Man Trio prototype models, the barbarian themed He-Man was black haired with a deeply tanned eastern European or Middle Eastern appearance. His helmet had no horns. Later, at the direction of Tom Kalinske, then in Mattel's upper management, He-Man was made more clean-cut and changed to a blond... Plus, He-Man's skin was lightened, though definitely still tanned. - Roger SweetThe concept of He-Man originated by Roger Sweet in the form of the He-Man Trio was first presented by Sweet to Mattel upper management at a Product Conference in mid-December, 1980. The He-Man Trio consisted of three prototype plaster models, which had some painted formed sheet wax outfit parts. The He-Man Trio originated / brought into existence the following attributes:
1. The super powerful "He-Man" name as a male action figure that instantly communicates exceptionally great physical strength, size, and power.
2. The highly generic / open-ended "He-Man" name as a male action figure that enables the He-Man male action line to accept practically any theme, time period, degree of technology, situation, etc., and combine them all into one highly generic and versatile line.
3. The immensely physically powerful and massive He-Man physique with the 2 - to - 1 body proportion. This means that the He-Man figure is two times as tall as he is wide across the shouldrs. In comparison, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Olympia at a height of 6 feet 1 inch, and weighing 230 pounds, had about a 3 1/2 - to - 1 body proportion. Then, based on a volumetric body weight examination, the He-Man Trio He-Man at 6 feet 1 inch tall would weigh 750 pounds. That is one very big reason why he was and is He-Man.
4. The battle action stance. This is unlike the relaxed, static poses, or distorted positions found in other competitive action figures of the time.
5. The battle action waist. This spring-loaded feature enables He-Man to power punch and throw weapons and other objects - such as small, puny Star Wars and G. I. Joe figures.
6. Much ripped, bare muscular flesh showing.
7. The figure's ability to have attached and hold outfit parts, weapons, and other accessories.
8. The battle action open-mouthed facial grimace expression.
9. The He-Man Trio figures showed that the He-Man / Masters of the Universe line's figure configurations could be basically simple to design and manufacture - yet still be highly appealing.
The He-Man Trio figures were 9 1/2 inches tall. The 1982 and Original Series Masters figures were 5 1/2 inches tall. But the above He-Man Trio physical attributes, scaled down, were transferred directly into all seven of the 1982 Masters of the Universe line male figures. And, in total, those He-Man Trio physical attributes also went into fifty-six of the He-Man-shaped figures in the Original Series Masters line from 1982 through 1987.
Based on valid and factual observation and analysis, all of the above information is readily proven to be true.
The above combination of He-Man attributes that Roger Sweet originated at the beginning of the concept composed Sweet's masters plan that was absolutely essential for Sweet to initially sell the He-Man concept in the form of the He-Man Trio to Mattel upper management at the mid-December, 1980 Product Conference. And those He-Man attributes were extremely essential for the He-Man / Masters of the Universe line to become the phenomenal success that it was.
- Roger Sweet
Prince Adam has a strong human physique. He has passion for freedom, and a love for adventure. He is a free spirit whose escapades are known throughout Eternia. In The New Adventures of He-Man, Adam is portrayed as an easy going young man rather than a feminine, fun loving prince. In fact, Adam is shown behaving more like his alter ego He-Man, without much concern of people linking his behavior with He-Man. This could be representative of the idea of Adam as the true persona, or simply that Adam believes that since he and He-Man do not look alike, the people of Primus probably would not suspect them of being the same person. Throughout the original comics, the 80's cartoon, the full-length feature film or the 2002 animated remake, He-Man/Adam has no romantic interests. In the 2002 series, the earlier "happy-go-lucky" prince image is brought back; he goes so far as to show that initially Adam is a spoiled/carefree prince who does not think anything bad could possibly happen to him or his world. He carelessly scoffs at the Sorceress when she informs him of his destiny to become He-Man. When the reality of danger finally confronts him and endangers his father's life, Adam takes the necessary step to become He-Man. The act seems to have a maturing effect on him. Though he still retains some of his youthful naivety and continues to behave as a shallow fun lover so as not to be suspected of being He-Man (who behaves in a more mature and responsible manner than Adam), He-Man still displays Adam's sense of humor. It is shown early in the first episode following the initial pilot, The Courage of Adam, that Adam resents having to maintain a weak persona as himself. He feels that it damages his relationships with his father King Randor and with his lifelong friend Teela, and wishes to prove his worth beyond He-Man. In the end, he is forced to accept that he must maintain the facade for their safety.
In the illustrated books released with the first series of toys, He-Man was a barbarian from an Eternian tribe. The planet's inhabitants were dealing with the aftermath of the Great Wars, which devastated the civilizations which once ruled supreme. The wars left behind advanced machinery and weaponry, known only to select people. An early incarnation of the Sorceress of Castle Grayskull gave He-Man some of these weapons, and he set out to defend the secrets of Castle Grayskull from the evil villain Skeletor. He-Man possessed one-half of the Power Sword; Skeletor had the second half, and used it as his main weapon. When joined, the two halves of the Power Sword will provide the key to Castle Grayskull (this is why the two figures' swords could combine into one, when the action figures were initially released). In one early illustrated story, He-Man and Skeletor united their two Power Sword halves to form the true Power Sword, defeating a common enemy.
By the time the animated series was developed, He-Man's origins had been revised: his true identity was Prince Adam of Eternia, son of King Randor and Queen Marlena (an earthling), who ruled the Kingdom of Eternia on the planet of the same name. The Sorceress of Castle Grayskull endowed Prince Adam with the power to transform into He-Man, which Adam did by raising his Power Sword and proclaiming, "By the power of Grayskull..." Once the transformation was complete, he continued "...I have the power!" The differences from Prince Adam and He-Man were minimal; He-Man had a slightly deeper voice, and slightly darker skin and hair.
Prince Adam's pet was a cowardly green tiger named Cringer. When Adam became He-Man, he transformed Cringer into a brave armored green tiger named Battle Cat by pointing his sword at him – an ability Adam discovered accidentally the first time he turned into He-Man. Cringer, naturally, cowered in fear at seeing what Adam had become; while reassuring him that nothing had really changed Adam pointed the sword at Cringer, which sent a bolt of energy toward the tiger and transformed him. Battle Cat served as He-Man's steed and fierce fighting companion ever since.
Adam was friendly with the beautiful, strong-willed Teela, who (unbeknownst to her) was the daughter of the Sorceress. Teela was adopted by Prince Adam's mentor, Man-At-Arms (whose proper name was Duncan). Adam and Teela grew up together and now, as Captain of the Guard, she was entrusted to protect the prince. Unaware of his alternate identity as He-Man, she saw Adam as lazy and cowardly.
Man-At-Arms was He-Man's closest companion and the Eternian royal family's innovator of technology and weapons. In many episodes, Man-At-Arms unveiled new and fantastic weapons or devices which helped He-Man and his friends.
Castle Grayskull was the source of He-Man's powers. Inside the Castle lived the Sorceress, who granted Prince Adam his transformative abilities and communicates telepathically with He-Man. To protect his family He-Man kept his double identity a secret, sharing it only with Orko, Man-At-Arms, Cringer/Battle Cat and the Sorceress.
The spin-off cartoon series She-Ra: Princess of Power later revealed that Adam had a twin sister: Princess Adora, a leader in the Great Rebellion against Hordak on the planet Etheria. Adora, like Adam, was given the gift of the power of Grayskull and had her own sword which she used to transform into She-Ra, Princess of Power. He-Man made a number of appearances in the She-Ra: Princess of Power television series.
He-Man's chief adversary was Skeletor: a blue-skinned sorcerer with a yellow skull for a head, wearing a cowl. He was skilled in black magic and all forms of combat. Though his origin was mysterious, and the cartoon described him only as a "demon from another dimension", a tie-in comic implied that Skeletor's true identity was Prince Keldor (older brother of King Randor), thus making him He-Man's uncle. It was revealed in the animated motion picture He-Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword that Skeletor was Hordak's right-hand man until his capture (Hordak referred to Skeletor as "my old pupil" and Skeletor's throne-room in Snake Mountain as "my old throne-room" – to which Skeletor retorts, "my throne-room now") and (supposed) release. Skeletor was accompanied by a group of henchmen who aid with his evil schemes.
In 1987 Cannon Films produced a live-action film directed by Gary Goddard, Masters of the Universe, which featured Dolph Lundgren in the role of He-Man; it was a commercial failure. In this film Prince Adam was not seen at all; only He-Man was shown. This He-Man was much more aggressive than his 1980s TV-series counterpart, attacking with lasers, his sword and bare fists several times throughout the film. The film ended with a spectacular and violent clash with Skeletor, in which Skeletor was flung deep beneath Castle Grayskull into a pit filled with steaming liquid. The film ended with a post-credit scene in which Skeletor emerged from the liquid and proclaimed, "I'll be back!".
The New Adventures of He-Man (1990)
After the end of the Masters of the Universe toy line Mattel attempted to revive interest in He-Man by producing a new toy line, entitled He-Man. The accompanying storyline in the mini-comics packaged with the figures explained that He-Man had left Eternia and pursued Skeletor into the depths of space, where Skeletor had set his sights on conquering the distant world of Primus (a planet with great technological resources). He-Man was shown to have relinquished the identity of Prince Adam altogether, basing himself on Primus where he led a team of defenders known as the Galactic Guardians. He-Man's appearance was retooled for the new toy line, with a space helmet and golden armor added to his attire to give him a more futuristic appearance; his sword was also redesigned. In the insert comics issued early in the toy line's run, He-Man begins to transform – only to be grabbed by Skeletor, who was astonished to see that Prince Adam was casting some kind of strange spell (not realizing he was about to transform into He-Man). Still holding onto Adam, Skeletor was caught in a backwash of power as the comic proclaimed "Prince Adam is no more. Long Live He-Man!" Therefore, He-Man was responsible for the cybernetic breastplate on Skeletor's figurine.
A cartoon series was produced by Jetlag Productions to accompany the toy line, entitled The New Adventures of He-Man. Although generally following the story line from the mini-comics (with certain deviations, such as Skeletor's already having the cybernetic breastplate and never discovering that Prince Adam and He-Man were the same person), this series maintained the double identity of Prince Adam and He-Man. On the planet Primus, Prince Adam posed as a traveling merchant and the nephew of Master Sebrian to disguise his secret identity. His transformation oath was altered slightly, to become "By the power of Eternia...".
To tie in with a new line of action figures based upon the original toy line, a new He-Man cartoon series was produced in 2002-03 by Mike Young Productions again entitled He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. This series retold the Masters of the Universe story from the beginning. He-Man's origin was told in a 90-minute series premiere, in which the 16-year-old Prince Adam was summoned to Castle Grayskull by the Sorceress to assume the identity of He-Man and his role as Eternia's defender. The portrayal of his character in this series was consistent with Filmation's portrayal, although the character of Prince Adam was brasher and more youthfully energetic than his 1980s counterpart (conveying the image of a teenage boy saddled with the responsibility of defending a planet from evil). The Adam/He-Man character was redesigned, to make the character's secret identity more credible. The second-season episode "The Power of Grayskull" revealed Adam/He-Man as a descendant of King Grayskull (a powerful barbarian hero from Eternia's ancient past), who sacrificed his life to save Eternia from the Evil Horde and originally wielded the Sword of Power. He was the original owner of Castle Grayskull; his sword was concealed in the castle for centuries before being given to Prince Adam, who inherited his ancestor's own power channeled through the sword (thus giving added meaning to the phrase "By the power of Grayskull...").
Masters of the Universe Classics (2009)
This action-figure line combined elements from the He-Man universe into a cohesive storyline with biographies on the figures' packaging. These biographies suggested that several "He-Men" have come into existence – such as Vikor (based on an early concept design for a vintage He-Man figure) and Wun-Dar (based on the "Wonder Bread" He-Man figure) – but Prince Adam was the only one who actually wielded the Power Sword and transformed into the true He-Man.
In June 2012, DC Comics began publishing a 6-issue limited series, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, along side the weekly digital first series Masters of the Universe.
The series starts out with Adam as a woodcutter who has been having strange dreams lately that involved a powerful warrior fight evil across the land. Adam spends his days cutting wood and caring for his ailing father Fedor. Fedor seems to believe that he once lived in a castle, and when Adam tries to recall what their lives were really like, he can't. He shrugs the troubling feeling off, and returns to his work. For the last few days, Adam has had encounters with a colorful falcon which he names Zoar and would often share some of his meat with it. Following his latest dream, Adam has a kind woman look over Fedor while he heads out to find the answers to his dreams. Not long after his journey, he encounters a hairy monster named Beast Man who somehow knows his name. Adam manages to find a way to fend off Beast Man. After defeating Beast Man, Adam encounters Zoar again and then continues on with his journey still wondering how Beast Man knows his name. Beast Man reports back to Skeletor who has Beast Man spread the word that Adam must be prevented from learning who he really is at all costs.
Beast Man meets with Skeletor at Castle Grayskull where Skeletor is disappointed that Beast Man failed yet discovered that Adam is not without skill. Their attempt to wipe his memory completely failed to erase his instinctive understanding of battle. Skeletor shows Beast Man mercy, but warns that his troublesome nephew must die....if he doesn't stay within the boundaries. Meanwhile, Adam has traveled into the desert with Zoar as his guide. While crossing the desert, Adam is attacked by a gang of riders and is brought before their leader Trap Jaw who had been ordered to capture Adam on Skeletor's orders. Trap Jaw has Adam jailed with the promise that he will have a chance to petition his life on the next day. Later that night, a woman comes to Adam's cell to give water to him on Trap Jaw's orders. Adam quickly deduces that she doesn't work for Trap Jaw and asks for her name. The woman introduces herself as Teela and is hauled away by the suspicious guards before she can say anything else. When morning comes, Trap Jaw tells Adam that he must choose a person whom he will petition for his freedom. If he fails, he must fight to the death. If he survives, he can petition again until either the petition is granted, he dies in battle, or all the petitioned people are dead. None of Trap Jaw's men would accept the petition and Adam is thrusted into a one-against-many battle for his life. Grabbing a sword, Adam fights his way through the combatants in order to get away. Trap Jaw enters the battle planning to finish off Adam himself. During the battle, the ground shakes upon the approach of stampeding creatures. At the head of the charge is Teela, who apparently caused the distraction in order to save Adam's life. Trap Jaw and his men are trampled as the pair escape. When Adam is surprised that Teela knows his name, she doesn't know where she heard his name from. During their talk, Teela mentions that Zoar is not actually a real bird.
While marooned at sea, Teela and Adam have an argument where while Adam doesn't know that he was a prince, Teela doesn't even know her past. After Zoar brings them a coconut, Adam and Teela realize that there is an island nearby and fashion some oars to take them there. Upon arrival on the island, they are attacked by a group of warriors led by Man-At-Arms. After Adam and Teela are knocked out, Man-At-Arms finds Teela looking familiar to him and defends her from the other warriors' comments. Upon being brought to the queen of the warriors, some of Adam's memories surface as he somehow knows that the queen is named Evil-Lyn and that Teela swears that Man-At-Arms is her father. Evil-Lyn plans to sacrifice Adam and Teela to the Cauldron of Doom tomorrow morning. At Castle Grayskull, Skeletor is getting annoyed at the fact that none of his allies have successfully killed Adam. He can't leave Castle Grayskull to do the job himself or else he won't get back in. Even with all the torture he has caused the Sorceress of the castle, he worries that she is the key to unlocking the castle's power. Later that night, Man-At-Arms has some trouble sleeping and decides to visit the prisoners. He visits Teela's cell and wants to know why her appearance has been in his dreams. All she can think to do is to ask him whether he is her father. Man-At-Arms then looks at Teela, says nothing, and then returns to his home. The fact that Man-At-Arms also appears to have suffered some kind of memory loss in connection with them suggests that someone manipulated them into coming there. The next day, Adam and Teela are brought upon a long glass bridge extending over the Cauldron of Doom as Evil-Lyn explains that they must fight and that the one who doesn't fall into the Cauldron of Doom will go free. Adam and Teela are forced into battle yet they don't know how to bring an end to it. Adam admits he would gladly leap into the cauldron to save Teela, but she is sure that Evil-Lyn would have the survivor killed despite what she claimed. As they fight though, Zoar flies down and distracts them causing Adam to fall into the Cauldron of Doom.
He-Man was characterized as possessing superhuman strength. The extent of his strength was unknown, but on one occasion he was able to hoist Castle Grayskull and throw it through a dimensional doorway. He-Man also demonstrated his strength by lifting mountains and icebergs, and hurling them towards a desired target. In the episode "She-Demon of Phantos" he was shown to be the only person to break Photanium (claimed by Man-At-Arms to be the strongest metal in the universe). In comics, he was shown as able to go one-on-one with pre-crisis Superman. On the original action figure's packaging and in the introductory sequence of the 1980s cartoon series, He-Man is claimed to be "the most powerful man in the universe". His strength was derived from magical powers within Castle Grayskull.
It was unknown if there is a limit to how long Prince Adam could remain He-Man before he reverted to Adam; in the 2002 series, He-Man was shown enduring the brunt of the Ram Stone of Zalasia (a gem whose mystic force could pierce any barrier or topple any obstruction). He survived, but reverted to Adam in the process. In combat against the snake-god Serpos, He-Man was struck by the giant snake's tail and sent crashing into a mountain. When he fell to the ground, he was again in Adam's form; this suggested there was a limit to He-Man's strength and stamina. He-Man's prowess is not limited to strength; he is also depicted as being quick and acrobatic. There were also several instances in the original TV series where He-Man was able to communicate and sense the presence of the Sorceress by telepathy.
He-Man as a character was largely non-violent, only resorting to combat as a last resort. He used his genius-level intellect more often, preferring to outsmart his adversaries; most violent actions typically consisted of body-throws. In accordance with broadcast standards of the period, in the Filmation cartoon He-Man could not use his sword as an offensive weapon or punch or kick anyone. He was only allowed to destroy robotic enemies. The 1987 film and 2002 series, however, showed him fighting more aggressively. He-Man was depicted as a leader – most noticeably in the movie adaptation, where he is referred to as the "leader" of the resistance. Skeletor intended to force him into submission, rather than killing him – fearing that doing the latter would turn He-Man into a martyr who would inspire others to fight.
He-Man's primary weapon was his sword, but he also used other weapons (such as a laser-gun in the film and mini-comics, and a shield and other equipment while battling his foes). His sword, apparently indestructible, could deflect bolts of energy. His sister Adora's sword of protection was not indestructible; the stone in the hilt was once damaged, preventing her from transforming. In addition, the sword gave him the ability to transform him from Prince Adam into He-Man (and back) by utilizing the powers of Castle Grayskull. He also used the sword to transform Cringer into Battle Cat. Originally, He-Man's primary weapon was an axe. The breastplate on his battle harness was made of an Eternian mineral (corodite) which helped add to his physical strength. The origin of the battle harness was explained in the episode "Evil-Lyn's Plot" (written by Paul Dini).
KISS turn 40 in 2013. They played their first show in January 1973 in Queens, New York. Since then KISS have become adored and derided in equal measure, but their influence on a generation of guitar rockers has been huge, and they have proved themselves time and time again to be masters of marketing and self-mythology.
1. Before changing their name to KISS, the quartet were called Wicked Lester. As Wicked Lester, they even recorded an album’s worth of demos for Epic Records in 1971-‘72 that never got released. Some of these songs would show up on later KISS albums. Drummer Peter Criss joined around April 1972 and Ace Frehley followed in January ’73. Two weeks later, they debuted as KISS.
2. Before they decided on KISS, they also considered the names Albatross, Rainbow (before Ritchie Blackmore’s post-Deep Purple band of the same name), and Crimson Harpoon. Gene Simmons was once quoted as saying that he wanted to call the band F***, but he was joking. Simmons is smart enough to know that would be uncommercial.
3. In the 1970s, some anti-rock preachers suggested KISS stood for Knights in Satan’s Service – that’s not true.
4. The Rainbow connection doesn’t end there. Ken Kelly, the artist who painted both the Destroyer and Love Gun album covers also painted album covers for Blackmore’s Rainbow.
6. Their fervent fans are known as the KISS Army, and started in Indiana when a local radio station refused to play any KISS songs in the early ‘70s. Protesting fans marched outside of the radio station and referred to themselves as the KISS Army.
7. Original pressings of debut album KISS did not include "Kissin' Time". The album was reissued in July ‘74 to include the cover, "Kissin' Time," originally a hit for Bobby Rydell.
8. For the cover of KISS, the band wanted their debut LP to resemble Meet The Beatles. Oh, and Warner Bros. Records initially threatened to end the band’s deal if they did not remove their makeup.
10. Ace began using blue eyeshadow in the late ‘70s – he also developed allergic reactions to his silver makeup.
11. “Dimebag” Darrell (Pantera/Damageplan) was buried in a “KISS Kasket”, as he had requested in his will. Gene Simmons said, “There were a limited number made and I sent mine to the family of ’Dimebag’ Darrell. He requested in his will to be buried in a KISS Kasket, as he sort of learned his rock’n’roll roots by listening to us for some strange reason.” For those who favor cremation, KISS urns are also available.
12. In the early 70's Peter Criss flew to England to audition for Elton John's backing band. He failed the audition.
13. Ace Frehley was once known for liking a drink, but his classic “Cold Gin” wasn’t based on his preferred adult beverage. “I didn't drink gin: didn't drink liquor of any kind very often,” he writes in his No Regrets memoir. “I was a beer man then, and not even a connoisseur. Gimme a can of whatever you had in the fridge! I was happy. I wanted to write a drinking song, and "Cold Gin" sounded like a great title.”
14. KISS were offered the part of the Future Villain Band in the 1978 movie Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The band declined, as they were afraid of damaging their image. The role was taken by Aerosmith.
15. The hand on the cover of Music From The Elder is not that of Paul Stanley, as some fans presume. It’s that of a hand model, according to ex-manager Bill Aucoin.
16. The door pictured on the cover of …The Elder is the door for a Methodist church on Park Avenue in New York City.
17. Gene Simmons is one of the world’s top fire breathers. The bassist’s fire-spitting is a KISS stunt, but Simmons is actually good at it. He’s reached 15ft. Not as good as the 2011 world record held by American Antonio Restivo of 8.05m (26 ft 5 in) but impressive nonetheless in what can only be described a “minority” pursuit.
18. Ace Frehley sings horizontally! He says, “Every time I ever record a lead vocal, I've had to do it on my back. If I stand up and try to sing, I can't hit the notes sometimes.”
19. Paul Stanley wrote a number of early Kiss songs, including "Firehouse" and "Let Me Know" while in high school.
20. Stanley was later an art major at the Bronx Community College, before devoting his time to KISS. But he still paints - see Paul Stanley paintings.
21. Kiss have never had a U.S. number one single. But "I Was Made for Lovin' You" hit Number 1 in Canada and Holland.
22. KISS’s late drummer Eric Carr’s collar on his 1980 “fox” costume was made out of real fox fur.
23. Most of the songs featured on Peter Criss's 1978 solo album were originally written in 1972 for an album by his then-band, called Lips.
24. In 1986, Paul Stanley was close to getting the producer's job for Guns N’ Roses' Appetite for Destruction album. But Stanley eventually changed his mind, and declined.
25. For his solo album of 1978, Gene Simmons wanted guest appearances by Sammy Davis Jr., Dinah Shore, Chaka Khan and Liberace. Other obligations meant they couldn’t take part. Simmons also asked Paul McCartney. “Scheduling problems” also stopped that happening.
26. According to Peter Criss, Ace Frehley played bass on a lot of early Kiss songs.
27. Early in their careers, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss all recorded vocals on commercial jingles, including some for AMC trucks.
28. Sammy Hagar was thrown off as the opening act of a Kiss tour during the late ‘70s due to using foul language on stage.
29. The “newscast” heard at the beginning of "Detroit Rock City" on the Destroyer album was read by producer Bob Ezrin.
30. Immediately after leaving Kiss in 1982, Ace Frehley flew out to Los Angeles to produce the first demo tapes for W.A.S.P.
31. Despite Stanley being the serious art student, Ace Frehley designed the KISS logo.
32. When Eric Carr recorded his vocal for the re-recording of "Beth" in 1988, he sat on the same drum stool that Peter Criss used during the original recording of the song in 1976.
33. In his early years, Gene Simmons entered a Jewish Rabbinical school with the intention of becoming a Rabbi.
34. Ace Frehley was a drum roadie for Mitch Mitchell during Jimi Hendrix's final Band of Gypsys New York performance in 1970.
35. All instruments on the song "Little Caesar" off the Hot in the Shade album were played by Bruce Kulick (all guitars) and Eric Carr (drums and bass).
36. Immediately before joining KISS in 1982, Vinnie Vincent was a staff songwriter for the TV program Happy Days – he reportedly wrote all the songs that characters Joanie and Chachi sang on the show. (We so hope this is true!)
37. The guitar solos on the songs "All American Man" and "Exciter" were played by Rick Derringer (of "Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo" fame.)
38. In 1977, Kiss became the first band since The Beatles to have four albums on the Billboard Hot 100 album chart. Alive, Destroyer, Rock and Roll Over, and The Originals were all in the Top 40 at the same time.
39. In 1983, Gene Simmons says he turned down the romantic male-lead role in the movie Flashdance, for fear of hurting his image. Apparently.
40. In the early ‘90s, Gene Simmons claimed to have written a song with Bob Dylan. It has yet to surface.
As is always the way with KISS, some of the above “facts” may be more true than others. Thanks to all the fine KISS fansites, biographies and member autobiographies for their own version of some krazy events…
Friday, February 1, 2013
Paramount Pictures has just released a new behind-the-scenes Star Trek Into Darkness featurette that mixes footage from the upcoming film with snippets of interviews with producer-director J.J. Abrams and several cast members. “The action of this movie,” Abrams says, “the scale of the movie is light years beyond even the first movie.” Chris Pine notes that “The word I keep coming back to is… relentless.” Also commenting are Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana.