Sunday, February 19, 2012

"How Spector Got His Groove Back"
...Or "Honey, I Shrunk The Resentment!"


Remember awhile back when I posted the story about Keaton's first dentist visit and how it forced a slight change of heart over the whole Mo-Larr thing? Well, looks like I'm heading to the kitchen table to eat my second helping of crow.

Since the reveal of "The Mighty Spector" back at Power-Con in 2011, I have been pretty vocal about my dislike of the character and his inclusion in the MOTUC line-

"How could this Deadpool-wannabe make it into my beloved He-Man franchise?"
"Why is Scott "Toy Guru" Neitlich getting a coveted spot for his character in the 30the line?"
"Who could justify that design as fitting into the world of MOTU? This guy is going to look ridiculous next to guys like Man-At-Arms on my shelf!"
"Why, why, why!?!"

And those were my calmer, nicer arguments. But when I really look back at all the things I have said about Spector, it basically boils down to two main gripes: (1) That the character's design doesn't fit the MOTU world and is more akin to the superheroes of the mid-90's, and (2) that it was pretty selfish of Toy Guru to shoehorn his failed Create-A-Character contest entry into the MOTU world.

Valid points, right? Well, at least they were to me. "Were" being the operative word here. It seems that I may have been a bit hasty in my Spector bashing, as a couple of tidbits shared online in the past week have caused me to reevaluate my feelings on TMS.

Let's start with his design. I, like many others, have felt since his reveal that the Spector design was incredibly similar to the Marvel Comic's character Deadpool. In fact, the most recent Deadpool figure featured a variant paint scheme eerily similar to the (at the time unannounced) Spector. See-


With his masked face and large belt, holster, & straps, it isn't hard to imagine Spector as a character created by Rob Liefeld for one his oft-canceled Youngblood comic books. I just couldn't imagine anyone actually coming up with a design so "Spawny" during the 1980's, much less thinking that it would make a valid entry for the MOTU Create-A-Character contest. This lead me to believe that while the Spector name was probably something Scott came up with back then, the actual visual design of the character must be something either heavily re-designed to fit current aesthetics OR an entirely new concept borrowing heavily from modern superheroes.

Turns out I was wrong. Not only is it totally plausible that this design originated in the 80's, but it might even be that the look is directly inspired by Masters. Want to know from where? Of course you do. Why else would you be reading this.

My fellow He-Fan Joe Amato posted this very interesting article from the second issue of the vintage "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Magazine" on Facebook the other day-


While not part of the official "Create-A-Character" contest, this fun 2-page spread allowed aspiring young He-Man fans to mix and match parts in an effort to create their very own He-Man characters, which they could then name and assign special powers to. As Amato pointed out in his posting, what makes this article interesting is the inclusion of parts which look VERY similar to those we see in the design of Spector.


One set of legs and arms are remarkably close, even sharing Spector's purple hue. A belt and crotch piece from another mirror the final toy (albeit through the "classicizing" machine). One of the torsos featured has straps with a circular symbol emblazoned in its center. Everything is there... minus a head.

Since none of the four heads presented in the spread even remotely resemble a human, let's assume that Scott might have drawn influence from outside mediums- like comic books.What characters prevalent in the 1980's might have inspired the Spector's mask design? Two spring to mind for me instantly-


Both DC's Deathstroke and Marvel's Prowler feature mask designs similar to what Spector wears... and both pre-date the aforementioned Deadpool by a fair margin. Hypothetically speaking of course, let's say influence was drawn from one of these sources. Looking at what we have here, it isn't hard to imagine these bits swirling around in a young Scott Neitlich's mind, coalescing into the final Spector design.


A few color tweaks and some minor design changes later, and we have this-


Pretty close, eh? Keeping in mind that the Spector figure had to use existing parts, it seems like a pretty close match to me. Almost entirely constructed from what was presented in that vintage MOTU magazine feature.

Even if Scott never saw the magazine and never used it for inspiration in his design, this all still proves something very important; Not only could this design have been created in the 1980's, but the MOTU magazine itself even included the "superhero" type parts as possible bases for a He-Man character.

So there goes my first argument. If there is historical relevance to the character's design in the Masters mythos, I can't very well keep arguing that Spector doesn't fit. Which leaves me with my second point- That Scott is wrong in injecting his failed design into the line.

Yeah, I think I might have been wrong on that one too. Or at least a hypocrite. Yeah. Definitely a hypocrite.

Check out this video from Pixel Dan featuring Scott giving a walkthrough of the Toy Fair 2012 reveals. Spector turns up at about the 30 minute mark, but the part I really want to focus on is right at 33:28...

While talking to Dan, Scott pulls a Spector figure out of his inner coat pocket. They joke back-and-forth about him carrying one around with him all the time, and it seems like Scott was maybe keeping it in there just for the video... But you know the first thing that popped in my head when I saw that?

"If I had a figure based on something I made up, I'd carry it around with me everywhere too."

And I'm sure many of you reading this thought the same thing.

That was when I realized that no matter how much I argued about how wrong it is that that a brand manager stuck his own childhood idea in the line, or how many times I professed that if I were brand manager I would do what was best for the line and leave my personal desires totally out of it... I was lying to myself. If I were in Scott's shoes and there was an opportunity for me to get my own creation into the line (all the while not eating up a regular monthly slot), I would have done it too. And I would be just as excited (and defensive) as he is in the video.

Guilty as charged.

Which leaves me with no real arguments left, outside of the issues I could take with any other MOTUC figure. I wish this color was different, this part of the bio is weird, his weapon is too powerful, the design choice here is odd... etc, etc etc.

Spector is now on a level playing field in my eyes. Which is kinda weird to say after how long I spent convincing myself that he had no place even being in the line.

....but Sir Laser Lot? That is a whole different can of worms. ;)


  1. Exactly the arguement I had with a couple of people about this guy. To me it would be the same. Its on a similiar line of getting to name a product or project.

  2. Sir Laser-Lot actually feels closer to a Motuc design than TMS. I could totally see that character show up in a Filmation episode. Queen Marlena tells Adam the story of Lancelot, Skeletor spies on the conversation, skeletor creates Sir Laser-Lot to destroy He-Man, He-Man befriends Sir Laser-Lot who helps them defeat Skeletor, and Queen Marlena dubs him a knight.

  3. I changed my stance too though but for a whole different reason. I am a sucker for underdogs and I want team 30th Anniversary lead by Illumina to become the new world order in Eternia.

  4. Good job James. And I still honestly believe he was not inspired by any head design when he made it. Since he did not use any of the available 4 heads from the Create a Character choices, I honestly believe he just colored in the blank head template purple and put red eyes on him. I may not be the biggest fan of The Mighty Spector either, I just felt it was only right to show everyone that he is not a Deadpool ripoff. Since this issue was from 1985, and Deadpool debuted in 1991. And I am happy for Scott that he is getting his childhood design made, must be a dream come true!

    Joe Amato

  5. Good comments James, glad that some people can re-evaluate their own arguments in a fair and just way. I can't afford (either) subscriptions, but if I could, I would have stayed away from the add-on just based on TMS and SLL (and put my money towards the Star Sisters lol), but anyway, good that you've realised where those feelings were coming from. There are times that I'm in the shower and I day-dream about how things would be different if I was in charge too:)

  6. I don't care where it originated or how much it "fits" with the existing characters. It's simply a butt-ugly design and that is enough of a reason for anyone to hate that figure.

  7. Glad to see that you rethought some of your earlier thoughts. To me, the weakest argument against TMS has always been the "TG was wrong to insert his own character in the line because I never would have done that." The fact of the matter is that many people would. The Mighty Spector is no more out of place in this line than any other figure.

  8. I entirely agree, I saw the same thing in that video and really find myself almost wanting Spector to do well because of it.

    This is the first of your blogs i have read and I am glad I discovered it. Jeevesosiris.

  9. Oh if I'd gotten a character I created put into the MotU line as a kid I'd totally carry that around with me too. I like this figure for the potentinal it has. When I get him he'll be joining Icarius/Flipshot, Roboto & Snout Spout & a few of my other heroic MotUC characters in their battles on my desk. I'm a big fan of toys, and this figure is as toyetic as you can get.

  10. I hope the fan made figure is cool, and that the fan doesn't have to deal with all the bashing Scott does. I also hope it's my fan design that gets picked (ha ha). I assume they know who won and are working with that person already to get the figure sculpted.

  11. For all the hard work and personal time Scott has put into this line, making it into the epic mega line that it is, I think he deserves his figure. Lt Spector was not his fault, that was a thank you by the Horsemen I would think.

  12. I agree on all points!
    Both TMS and Laser Lot are slowly growing on me the more i look a them.

  13. Great discovery! It's funny how we can sometimes forget childhood influencers and then later think it was our original idea. Which isn't to say that Spector doesn't share a lot in common with other characters of that era. Thanks for sharing.

  14. When I was a brand manager at Jazwares, and as a HUGE toy fan, I always put in my own opinion and chose characters I wanted to see. You can't help it!
    Usually what I wanted was what other fans wanted as well. You don't know how lucky we are that Scott is a huge MOTU fan!!! It helps a lot! The worst is when you have a brand manager that knows nothing about the property they are working on! The toy industry is made up of toy fans and people that it's just a job. They could be working on toilets and it would be the same. I run into them all the time. Those are the people that give us Disco Skeletor and such. So I say let Scott have his figure...I know I would have made Palace guard Joe for sure!

    1. I, myself, am as of the moment indifferent to Mighty Spector, but I am certainly glad for Toyguru that he not only got his character into the line--and into MOTU continuity--but as the original Lt. Spector figure bore his likeness, technically, *he's* part of MOTU continuity; I think that's totally awesome.

      I do want to see more though where they go with his character to form a more thorough opinion, but I do happen to agree with the sentiment that he's no more out of place than Snout Spout or Buzz Off.

  15. Scott has done so much for MOTU he deserves a figure. I am so happy for him and hope he might be at Wizard World Philly again so I could congratulate him.

  16. Then is nice to see he got back to the states to land in great hands...