?While deceptively only lasting two seasons, He-Man an the Masters of the Universe had a grand total of 130 episodes under its belt by the time it stopped airing in 1985. That’s a lot of hours of cartoons to comb through for anyone, even the greatest He-fan. While doing so, though, we were impressed and distressed by some of the monsters, demons and creatures He-Man and the Masters had to face off against. Many of them were dragons, or a variation on a giant lizard theme, but there were some really creative ones — and some that are just too ridiculous for words, and plenty of color choices that leave us scratching our heads (why were so many bad guys on the show wearing pinks and purples?). Anyway, this list looks at the creature from the very first season including the good, the bad, and most obviously, the ugly.
?Long before Avatar brought the idea of a helpful tree on a strange planet filled with all kinds of strange life forms, He-Man did the same thing by introducing Skytree in “The Dragon’s Gift” (see, more dragons). An old dragon called Granamyr wants Teela and He-Man to cut down an even older tree called Skytree in exchange for a spell to free Man-at-Arms from his statuesque prison. Of course, being the good guy he is, He-Man lets Skytree live and, in return, gets a spell from Skytree and skips the middle man. Damn dragons.
?You want to know how He-Man deals with his problems? He doesn’t use his fists (at least on anything living), he throws giant boulders. In “Orko’ Favorite Uncle,” Prince Adam, Cringer and Orko take shelter in a cave, which happens to be the Manticore’s home. This lion-headed, lizard-bodied beastie gets understandably upset and, since they apparently don’t speak the same language, things get dicey. Thanks to some magical shenanigans, Orko’s uncle Montork shows up to create a diversion, which leads to He-Man throwing the guy around and then blocking the door to his cave with a giant rock. That’d be like you breaking into an old lady’s house, not understanding what she says, getting upset with her and then blocking her door so she can’t get out. Uncool, He-Man.
8) Sand Demons
?Sand Demons, which appeared prominently in “Temple of the Sun,” might look like orange crocodile characters from that old M.U.S.C.L.E. mini-toyline from the ’80s, but in reality they’re much less formidable than a few inches of rubber. A hobo named Nepthu gets great power thanks to the Scarab of Power, which he uses to fell the Sorceress in her bird form and make gold chairs appear out of nowhere. Couldn’t he come up with better minions than these guys? He-Man easily defeats ’em by punching one of them into a ball and throwing him against the rest? You deserved to lose that one, Nepthu.
7) The Coral Creature
?Like many of his giant brethren, the Coral Creature here looks pretty intimidating, but, in the end, doesn’t really do much. He’s protecting Princess Nami in “City Beneath the Sea.” He’s supposed to be a pretty fierce creature, but all he does is try to blast He-Man, which of course he deflects with his sword. Within moments, He-Man trips him up and then causes a localized cave-in over the coral creature which presumably kills him (his weird head pipes stick out of the rubble, unmoving). Oh, plus he’s purple.
6) The Spirit of Evil
?Another character appearing in the episode “Wizard of Stone Mountain,” the Spirit of Evil is actually Lokus’ boss (you’ll meet him later in the list). He shows up at the end of the episode as, well, a man-size column of fire who delivers his lines like he’s ordering a list of lunchmeat at the deli. He does toss Battle Cat off like he’s nothing and puts up a generally good fight, but in the end, is felled by He-Man’s goodness. “I could fight you for years and never win,” he says before running away from the fight. Shouldn’t the spirit of something be a little more formidable? You wouldn’t see Jenny Sparks giving up and running away with her tail between her legs like this chump.
5) Tentacled Snake Monster
?“The Curse of the Spellstone” saw Evil-Lyn and Skeletor unleash the Creeping Horak on the Royal Palace to pretty devastating results. And yes, it looks like a mutated version of Gene Shalit’s mustache, but the real monster star of the episode is this tentacled snake monster that nearly destroys He-Man, Stratos, Ram-Man and Orko as they ride along in the Attak Trak. A blast of electricity easily subdues him, but he sure looks cool. Though, again, why is he pink?
?Just look at this little weirdo. If Eternia were a mall, he’d be the guy working the skin care kiosk who slithers out and asks if you want to put your hand in something. In “Wizard of Stone Mountain,” a lovelorn magician named Mallek makes a deal with Lokus to try and win Teela’s heart, but of course, it all goes to hell. Aside from this weird baboon/gargoyle look he’s got going on, Lokus also transformed himself into a cherub statue and an old man with a pageboy haircut. Not okay.
?One of the few first season monsters to get his name in the episode title, Colossor of “Colossor Awakes” fame earned his spot on the list by giving our heroes a pretty good run for their money and also looking somewhat like a Jack Kirby creation. Skeletor brings Colossor to life and tells him to go destroy Castle Grayskull. Being a good giant, Colossor obeys. Or at least tries to. Skeletor and Beast Man succeed in slowing He-Man down, but he, Man-at-Arms, Stratos, Orko, Ram-Man and Teela come together to bring the big bastard down, making him one of the more formidable monsters on record. Must be that Kirby essence to it. For the record, He-Man wins by punching Colossor in the ankle and watching him crumble to pieces, a very physical attack on He-Man’s part for the show.
?Here’s the problem with Molkram from a story perspective. The episode “Reign of the Monster” builds him up as this big baddie who can destroy not only Castle Grayskull but also all of Eternia and almost did back in the day. Once Skeletor releases him, though, all he does is use superbreath and eye beams to trap the Masters, give Skeletor horsey rides and get fended off by He-Man’s fancy car. By He-Man standards though, Molkrom is one of the most formidable foes as the Masters spend most of the episode fighting him and they only succeed thanks to a magical binding staff. We do give extra points for creating a monster that’s a mix of horse, squid, bull and Sebastian Bach. Dig those locks, man. Also, note that Molkrom just barely beat out the horned, elephantine lizard monster from the caves, who deserves an honorable mention at the very least for its crazy ass design.
1) The Sleeping Beast
?Far and away the creepiest looking monster of the first season of He-Man, the Sleeping Beast has got all the makings of a classic Lovecraft monster: green skin, claws, huge jaws, tendrils, a gaping mouth and a yellow eye that extends out from its head. The problem? Well in its one and only appearance in “House of Shokti Part 2” this beast pops out of the murky depths, tries to blast a kid who swiped He-Man’s sword (which frees him and Ram-Man, of course) and then gets shoved back into the depths thanks to a statue He-Man throws at it. Just once we would like to see one of these guys destroy some property or maybe even trample an innocent bystander, but that’s not the way the He-Man gang handled things. They were clean cut all the way, sometimes to the detriment of the story and definitely to the detriment of the monsters.