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The History of Masters of the Universe Action Figures

Masters of the Universe action figures were created in 1979. Mattel’s Ray Wagner formed a team to explore the creation of the company’s next big action line, which was needed to compete with Kenner’s successful Star Wars action figures. One of the team members named Roger Sweet added modeling clay to bulk up an existing Big Jim and an illustrator named Mark Taylor developed the proposed aesthetics for the new action figure and He-Man was born! He-Man and his fellow Master of the Universe figures were accompanied by an elaborate backstory told in mini comic book form. The comic books offered plenty of characters that Mattel could make into action figures. They quickly caught on with kids and Mattel and Filmation worked together to launch a TV show tie-in that ran from 1983 – 1985. While that original show ended in the mid-1980s, the popularity of the Masters of the Universe action figures lives on today. New variations and characters have been added over the years to keep kids interested. In 2021, Mattel entered a licensing agreement with Olmec Toys and Yla Eason to add Sun-Man, a Black action figure who uses intelligence to defeat evil forces, into the line. Today, Masters of the Universe action figures are still sold at many stores and are beloved by collectors and kids alike.

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