Keith Giffen already introduced He-Man in a whole new way in last year's He-Man mini-series. Now, he's bringing a new incarnation of She-Ra to comic books as DC turns the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe title into an ongoing series in April.
The He-Man comic is based on the 1980's media franchise that was built around a line of popular action figures and toys. In fact, Masters of the Universe was once so popular that the toys spawned a TV cartoon series and several spin-off lines of action figures.Last year, DC Comics worked in conjunction with Mattel, owner of the licensed property, to launch a new, six-issue He-Man and the Masters of the Universe comic, trying to attract a whole new audience to those once familiar characters. The series was originally written by James Robinson, but Giffen took over when Robinson began dedicating his time to the new Earth-2 comic. During the course of the six-issue introductory mini-series, the comic updated the He-Man characters and concepts for a modern audience. Now, Giffen is turning his attention to a new version of She-Ra, who also enjoyed fame in the '80s as an action figure and cartoon.
Written by Giffen with art by Pop Mhan, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1 will tell the story of what happens when the evil Hordak invades Eternia. With him is one of his most deadly weapons, a warrior woman named Despara, whose identity is actually She-Ra.
Giffen, who's also a penciler, will lend his artistic skills to the He-Man universe in May when DC releases his one-shot special, Masters of the Universe: The Origin of Hordak #1. Written and drawn by Giffen, the comic tells the history of Hordak in this new, revamped He-Man universe.Newsarama talked to Giffen to learn more about his hopes for the ongoing series and what readers can expect from the new version of She-Ra.
Newsarama: Keith, now that you're doing an ongoing He-Man comic, it's time to bring back She-Ra, right?
Keith Giffen: Yeah, in this arc, we're bringing She-Ra into the book, but not like anyone expects. She's not the She-Ra you've seen on TV, I'll tell you that much.
But Adora does show up. She doesn't even know her real name. She's known as Despara, one of Hordak's most deadly weapons.
Nrama: Can you tell us anything about Despara? What's she like?
Giffen: Despara is, in a lot of ways, is the way I would handle Wonder Woman. She's got that heroic, warrior about her, but with a little bit rougher edged personality.
Nrama: But she's still Princess Adora?
Giffen: Yeah, she still has the whole Adora/She-Ra background. But we tweak her in this story to almost create a new character.
Nrama: Besides her introduction to the story, what else can readers expect from the first story arc of Masters of the Universe?
Giffen: Hordak invades Eternia, and I know how these stories normally end. But this one doesn't end that way.There will be a couple of surprises. There will be developments made — with Mattel's OK, and in some cases at their request — with He-Man and the characters around him, especially with Hordak.
The first six-issue mini-series was a quest of trying to regain you. But now that the ongoing is starting, they've regained themselves and here comes Hordak. And it's war.
So it's the whole Despara/She-Ra story within this massive, worldwide invasion of Eternia by Hordak.
Nrama: And DC has teased about the first issue that somebody dies?
Giffen: Well, you'll have to pick up the issue to see what that's all about.
Nrama: And you're working on He-Man and Masters of the Universe with Pop Mhan?
Giffen: Yeah, and I love Pop's stuff. The first time I saw his artwork, on issue #4 of the mini-series, it was the first time in years that I flipped through a book and went, "Oh my God! This is the way I'd lay it out! This is the way I'd tell the story!"And the artwork was gorgeous. But I was freaked out by the fact that this guy knows his way around a story. He's already started the ongoing. He's working on it right now and it's looking great. I'm just thrilled to have him on board.
Nrama: And now that you're not drawing Legion, you've started working on the art for a He-Man one-shot that comes out in May?
Giffen: Yep! I'm drawing a Hordak one-shot, which is allowing me to stretch that drawing muscle again. It's the origin of Hordak, and it fits into the mythology of the ongoing series. It gives you the background behind what he's doing in the ongoing story.
The guys at Mattel have been just great. And I'm not just saying that. Most times when you're working with the guys who license this stuff to you, it's like pulling teeth. And I've worked with a lot of guys like that, to the point I wasn't sure I wanted to do this again.
But the Mattel guys are sharp. They know what they're doing. If they add something to the mix, it's something that's really worth adding. And they're not inflexible. So good for me! I don't mind them being involved. I actually appreciate them being involved. A lot of times, they will push me farther than I thought I could go with a licensed property.
It's been a joy so far. And I'm having a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to telling a lot more fun He-Man stories.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!