He-man is a heroic barbarian superhero who becomes the main defender of Castle Grayskull. His major role also holds a secret identity of a young prince named Prince Adam. He works in secret to become He-man and fight off Skeletor and other evil forces from taking the mystical secrets of the Castle.
First appeared in Masters of the Universe mini comic #1. He was a concept created by Lou Schiemer in promotion for the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe TV series. first written up by Don Glut.
He-Man and Battle Cat belong to the same super heroic archetypes as the 1960s Hanna-Barbera superhero Samson and his super-lion Goliath, who also had a similar transformation sequence.
H. H. Windsor Mini-Comics
He-man was originally a barbarian leader of a small tribe of humans on the planet Eternia. He sets off to find and defend Castle Grayskull as he feels that there is great power inside there that needs to be defended. Along the way he helps a woman who is attacked by a bear, she turns out to be a goddess and rewards He-Man with the power of Super Strength and Invulnerability. It would be later he would also save a Warrior Goddess Named Teela from a demon named Skeletor, who planned to take her as his bride and capture the castle. He-Man later stopped the evil demon and banished the two halves of the power sword needed to enter the castle into another dimension. The series carried on with minor tasks and other characters that He-Man would fight in order to defend the castle. Skeletor became a constant threat in trying to take the castle but never played an overall serious role, often sending new henchmen to fight He-Man such as Man-E-Faces, and Trap Jaw. All these schemes would be undone by He-Man in short order. some of which include the use of mystical items.
In the third series, the comics started to reflect more closely to the cartoon show He-Man and the Masters Of The Universe. He-Man was given the secret identity of Prince Adam, a clumsy and lazy young prince who hides the fact he turns into He-Man from his parents and his close friend Teela. He would only turn into He-Man when ever he was needed to fight off Skeletor. Later on in the series He-Man finds out he has a twin sister who was taken by the Horde when he was an infant. This added new and more interesting characters to join He-Man as well as to fight. We also get introductions of the Evil Horde, and the Snakemen lead by King Hiss. Though always posing tougher challenges, He-Man once again always saves the day.
In this series, Prince Adam is a brash young man who loves to go out and pick fights and pick up women, his good times are ended when there are attacks from demons, He goes to the cave of power to investigate and find out what is going on. He learns that the Goddess was captured and she would be returned if He-Man can gather 3 amulets which would allow him to capture both halves of the power swords and enter Castle Grayskull. At the end of the miniseries Skeletor would be defeated, but has both halves of the power sword. The goddess is now back in place of power and she sits in Castle Grayskull as a guardian until the sword of power is in the hands of good and away from Skeletor. In a one shot that took place after this series, Skeletor opened a vortex and brought earth's mightiest hero to Eternia, Superman. Though controlled magically by Skeletor, He-Man managed to turn the tides of battle and release Superman from his mind control spell. In the end getting both halves of the power sword and able to become He-Man at any time as Prince Adam.
Marvel / Star comics
Much of He-Man's adventures in this series often dealing with a mixture of the Horde and Skeletor. Though often both, He-Man gets more roles with some of his minor characters and saving them from danger, such as Teela, Ram Man, Stratos, Buzz Off, Man-at-Arms and Orko. He-Man's mount Battle Cat acts similar to the cartoon as the goofy scared cat named Cringer who becomes Battle Cat when Prince Adam becomes He-Man. In one of the ending story arcs before the movie release, Prince Adam gets sick of being treated like a fool prince because he has to hide the fact he is He-Man. He makes a small vow not to be He-Man anymore when Skeletor kidnaps him and sets up a Chrono-bomb that would go off if He-Man comes around to save him. The bomb activates because it is homed in on Prince Adam/He-Man's brain waves. the bomb goes off with no one hurt but sends the sword of power into the future. Prince Adam has no choice but to chase after it in a time machine Man-at-Arms built.
New Adventures of He-Man Mini-Comics
Prince Adam wakes up one day to receive a message from the Sorceress, telling him that Skeletor has tricked travelers from the future to steal the power of Grayskull and will take it for himself into the future and rule there. Adam stops Skeletor in time, but fights him on the time traveler's space ship, believing one of the two to be the hero of the past they took both Skeletor and Adam into the future, in the fight Adam revealed he was He-man to Skeletor and the resulting power of his transformation scarred and damaged much of Skeletor's existing body. Skeletor retreated into an escape pod to repair his body. He-Man would join the Galactic Guardians of Primus of the tri-solar galaxy and lead them to fight off waves of attacks and invasions of mutants lead by their leader Flogg who was counseled by Skeletor. The fight still continued into the future and maintained close relation to the TV cartoon of the same name.
MV Creations / Image Comics / CrossGen
Much of the characters background and history was changed when the series was changed in 2002. He-Man's power comes from the council of elder's. Though it was never explained in the initial series what the power of Grayskull was. He-Man gained magical strength and knowledge collected by the council of elders as they ruled Eternia for thousands of years. He-Man's coming was foretold as a champion who would defend Eternia from evil. The Council of Elder's power came from the original owner of Castle Grayskull back eons into the past, King Grayskull was a barbarian king who ruled Eternia with strength, courage and kindness, he lost his life in a battle with his enemy Hordak and his Horde, but managed to seal them away in a timeless dimension which Hordak tried to use on King Grayskull's kingdom. Upon his death he made the prediction of He-Man's coming to Eternia and would be of his blood line. His queen carried his sword and all his power was given to what would be called the council of elders.
16 years after the disappearance of the council, Prince Adam became He-man after his 17th birthday and was summoned to the castle by Man-at-Arms and the sorceress to wield the sword of power and defend Eternia. though hesitant at first, Prince Adam changed his mind after the arrival of Skeletor and his attack on the kingdom of Eternos.
DC Comics (2012)
DC returned to retell new stories of the most powerful man in the universe. He-man came with a bit of change to the iconic hero. As the 6 issue miniseries dealt with a delusional Prince Adam who thinks he is just a simple woodsman. Going on a journey of self discovery and mystery of who he might really be. Adam has been attacked and stopped at every corner by his enemies. With the eventual return of his power sword and return of He-man, Adams memories returned and thus tried to finish of his Uncle Skeletor in a final battle for Castle Grayskull. The series came back as Prince Adam and his comrades have a national funeral for a fallen comrade, During this time of morning Eternia is quickly attacked by the Horde. Led by a woman named Despara; He-Man and the other survivors take refuge in Castle Grayskull, It was there he learned the secret of Grayskull and the source of his power. Using his knowledge and his ancestors forge, Adam remade the Sword of Power and a new armor.
After saving Teela and her new comrade Despara or Adora by her real name; Escape in time to see Castle Grayskull destroyed by Hordaks forces. Now He-Man and the Masters are rebels on their own world.
While on patrol based on information the Horde was carrying an important prisoner, He-man discover Evil lyn. She tells them Skeletor is alive and she needed someone with a connection to him in order to track his whereabouts. She transports him and Teela to Earth where he finds his mother alive and well, and being hunted by Skeletor and seeking help from John Constantine.
To find the whereabouts of Skeletor on Earth, John Constantine brings He-Man and his friends to the Batcave where Batman returns from the Watchtower being attacked. He-Man and the others fight mind controlled Justice League.
Major Story Arc
H. H. Windsor Mini-Comics
The Search for Keldor
In the mini comic of series 6 "The Search for Keldor", We learn the Prince Adam's father, King Randor had a brother named Keldor, and he went missing years ago and never heard from him since. Having He-Man arrive he and the King head off to find out what happened to his brother and Prince Adam's Uncle.
It is in this story that Skeletor does everything in his power to stop He-Man and King Randor from finding out what happened to Keldor. "The secret of Keldor could very well destroy me" as quoted by Skeletor. Though the mystery was left unsolved it often speculated that there was a relation between Skeletor and Randor.
Marvel / Star comics
A Dark Possible Future
Prince Adam arrives in a dark future where Skeletor has won the war with no He-Man to oppose him for many years, everyone he has cared about is either locked up in Snake Mountain or died fighting off Skeletor. In many desperate attempts he reveals his true identity to his parents who later on reveal they knew about Adam being He-Man for the longest time. Prince Adam joins up with his future self and Teela with a band of rebels to storm Castle Grayskull and take back the sword of power which resides inside.
The two Adams become He-Man's and reveal themselves to Skeletor, The final battle between Future He-Man and Skeletor comes to a close when Castle Grayskull collapses on both of them suggesting they died in the rubble. When going back to the past Prince Adam has newfound respect for his job and what he must do in order to protect the land from the possible future that he had experienced and accepted the power of Grayskull.
MV Creations / Image Comics / CrossGen
Shards of Darkness
He-man tries to save an area of Eternos from a raging inferno when Orko used his magic to put out the fires, the power in which Orko was using was way beyond his normal talents. it came to attention of the crystal he was carrying, when taken to the sorceress, she explained it was a shard of the Shakkaran Crystal. She sends He-man alone on the quest to find the rest and destroy the crystal before it falls into the wrong hands.
He-man began to get corrupted by the crystals power as does anyone else who uses it. He-man begins to go into a barbaric and obsessive rage that almost killed Trap Jaw and Tri-Klops, he was later captured by Skeletor. Skeletor made He-man watch as his friends tried to save him, He-man still under influence of the crystal tries to tap into the full crystals power and fights the demon that was trapped inside. In his Prince Adam form, he manages to defeat the demon who wished to use He-man's body as a form to take over the world. it ended with the crystal destroyed and questions being laid upon the Sorceress on how much she really know about the crystal itself.
He-man arrives as Man-at-arms and the other Masters, find Skeletor and his minions at a ruined temple in the light hemisphere. Though coming late in the battle and not being able to help some of the fallen soldiers who died he and the others manage to cause Skeletor's retreat. Though briefly having a giant statue dropped on them it was easily removed by He-mans strength. They follow Skeletor to Castle Grayskull where they find out he planned to use a dimensional gate in order to pass into the castle from the outside. This plan was foiled at the cost of Man-at-arms life being trapped on the other side. Duncan returned but was not the same as he was having hallucinations and spouting out random and confusing things. much about King He-man and the rebels. Meanwhile He-man was sent off to Avion home of Stratos due to strange anomalies have been appearing. having sent off a group of avians to investigate while He-man and the others went in another direction he found himself having to fight flying Man-bats in the place of his avian friends.
At the end of the battle it turns out the anomalies cause changes to the people and places. He-man went to Castle Grayskull, From the Sorceress he found out the rifts between dimensions would keep appearing if the source was not returned, which clued him into Man-at-arms not being the one from their universe.
While on the trail back to Eternos Castle they learn Man-at-arms escaped custody and could be heading back to the Castle, they returned to find Duncan fighting his daughter Teela and was being helped by Skeletor. While He-man and Man-e-faces took out the Skeleton minions Teela and the guards held Skeletor at bay for a moment, He-man was surprised Duncan opened the Jaw bridge to the castle using a replica of his sword.
The series ends with he-man stopping Duncan in the throne room of Castle Grayskull and sending him back to his dimension and returning his Man-at-arms in his place. He also got his first glimpse of a future enemy that he might have to contend with Hordak briefly had access to the dimensional gateway and was attempting to return to Eternia but was destroy when He-man cut the gate into pieces.
Powers and Abilities
He-man is powered by the magical power of Castle Grayskull, and when tapping into that power he is given these following powers:
Strength: He-Man's main power is immense super-human strength. While the upper limit of He-man's strength is unknown, he is at least a class 100 (meaning he is at least able to lift a 100 tons). Using only strength He-man has lifted Castle Grey Skull, prevented Hordak's ship from achieving escape velocity and leaving Eternia's orbit and, when it was out of it's normal orbit, he pushed the Eternia's moon back in its rightful place orbiting Eternia. He-Man has easily moved mountains crushed diamond, thrown objects out of orbit and made a little crack in Eternia meters wide.
Super Speed: He-man has proven to be extremely fast and acrobatic, he has made whirl winds with his speed while running in a circle (proving he can run at least 400 MPH). He has also rubbed sand in his hands so fast he turned it into glass, spun his sword so fast in a circle he was able to generate lift and, thus, fly.
Nigh invulnerable: He-man is very durable and is nigh-invulnerable. He has been able to withstand intense laser blasts and has also survived massively heavy rocks falling on him without injury.
Wisdom: When Adam is He-Man he possesses uncanny wisdom and is almost always able to outsmart his foes rather than resorting to fighting them.
H2H: Prince Adam is a master of hand-to-hand combat and swordsmanship thanks to his close friend, mentor and weapons master Man-At-Arms and his daughter Teela.
Sword of Power
The Sword of Power is He-Man's main weapon, it is a mystical item that grants Adam his powers. The Sword of Power is virtually indestructible, and is often used to reflect laser and magical bolts. It can also shoot out energy beams and absorb energy
He-Man is perhaps best known from the Filmation cartoon, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe that ran from 1983 to1985. The show revised He-Man's origins from his early mini-comics where he is a wandering barbarian to the alter ego of Prince Adam. Prince Adam is the son of King Randor and Queen Marlena, an Earth woman, who rule the planet Eternia. As the show's opening sequence explains, Prince Adam is "He-Man, defender of the secrets of Castle Grayskull... Fabulous secret powers were revealed to me the day I held aloft my magic sword and said, 'By the power of Grayskull, I have the power!' Cringer became the mighty Battle-cat and I became He-man, the most powerful man in the universe. Only three other share this secret. Our friends the Sorceress, Man-at-Arms and Orko. Together we defend Castle Grayskull from the evil forces of Skeletor."
Prince Adam's closest friend is Teela, the adopted daughter of Man-at Arms and captain of the palace guard. As Teela is unaware of his secret identity, Teela often thinks Adam is lazy or running from danger when he is in fact looking for somewhere to become He-Man. A number of other heroes would also join He-Man in his adventures during the show's run including Stratos, Buzz Off, Roboto, Ram-Man, Man-E-Faces, Sy-Klone, Moss Man, Zodac and Mekaneck. He-Man's primary adversary is Skeletor, a blue-skinned, skull-headed sorcerer and the ruler of Snake Mountain. Like He-Man, he had a number of allies, most notably Evil Lyn, Beast Man and Mer-Man.
He-Man was later revived in the fall of 1990. when Mattel tried to syndicate He-Man again with an updated version. But Filmation having closed their doors to He-Man. He was given a new look and a new actor to boot. rather than the same show, they took He-Man to space and into the future where he befriended new allies. The story takes place in a undisclosed date into the future, where a shielded world called Primus is constantly attacked by a group called Mutants, lead by a mutant named Flogg. It would be when the shield is broken that the elder sends two of his best men to get a hero from the past and bring him to the future where they could use his great skill.
The two warriors traveled back in time to meet this warrior and are soon captured by Skeletor's men. Skeletor posing to be a man of good tries to persuade the men to go with him to Castle Grayskull to help him take the power he needs for the long journey. As the men go to Castle Grayskull, and attempt to take the power within He-Man meets with Skeletor and battle. Unable to decide who is good, the warriors take them both. and both Skeletor and He-Man end up in the future. After a brief battle with the Mutants, He-Man shows his new friends his true intentions and offers his service and protection to Primus and defend the tri-solar galaxy from the Mutant threat.
After the battle Skeletor joins up with the Mutants and poses as a strategist for Flogg on the condition he leaves He-Man to him. The series ended when the final battle raged between He-Man and Skeletor. In the end of the battle Skeletor landed in a damaged mutant space craft, He-Man sealed it shut and threw the ship into deep space. With Skeletor saying that he would be back, with no clear signs of returning. He-Man happy that his job is done and that peace came to Primus and the Mutants.
In fall of 2002, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe returned to television. this time was done by Mike Young Productions. The series started with a 3-part episode entitled; The Beginning. In this we learn the origins of Skeletor. Though it was not mentioned in the show, the half brother of Captain Randor, named Keldor attacks with his army on the Hall of Wisdom, to take the power of Eternia by vanquishing the Council of Elders. This was ended when a deflected vial of acid hit Keldor in the face, making his retreat into the dark hemisphere of Eternia. He came back 17 years later as Skeletor, self-proclaimed overlord of evil.
In these episodes we also learn the origin of He-Man's powers which were never described in the 1980's Filmation version. Prince Adam was brought to Castle Grayskull on his 16th birthday as Skeletor's forces were sensed as to almost ready to destroy the Mystic Wall barrier that separated him for so many years. The series later on for season two focused on the return of an ancient Eternian enemy known as the Snakemen.
It was later changed to Masters of the Universe Vs. The Snakemen. It only ran for a few episodes when Mattel cancelled the series as it was not making enough money from the toy line. Much like its predecessor, it was ended in its second season. It would be later given out as part of a DVD set, that the anticipated 3rd season was to showcase He-Man and the Masters of the Universe taking on the newly returned Horde.
In 2021, Netflix released two series of the franchise, the revival of the 1983 series: Masters of the Universe: Revelation, produced by Kevin Smith and the reboot He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
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 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!".