Friday, October 14, 2011

Masters of the Universe Classics - SCAREGLOW

From time to time there are certain entries within this Halloween Countdown that even I know only sort of technically count as seasonal material, Scare Glow is one of them. But after seeing this awesome action figure I think everyone will agree that he is far more suited to be covered now than during any other time of the year. Besides Scare Glow holds a very unique place within He-Man lore and I think you will all enjoy reading  the storied history of one of the most miss-understood action figures of all time. The Masters of the Universe: Scare Glow!

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As is the case with most entries that I write a little back-story is in place. I am sure anyone who reads this blog is familiar with the old He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon series and subsequent toy line. It was your typical good verses evil story which featuring the adventures of Adam, Price of Eternia, who could transform into the heroic He-Man by lifting his sword into the air and shouting "By the Power of Grayskull! I have the Power!". Together He-Man and his friends would defend their homeland of Eternia from the evil forces of Skeletor. Don't believe me? Just check out the cartoons introduction! It tells you everything you need to know.


He-Man and the Masters of the Universe consisted of 65 episodes and lasted from 1983-1985. Like most popular cartoons a series of action figures accompanied the show. First launching in 1982 (a year before the cartoon first aired on television) the line of He-Man toys became immensely popular and lasted for many, many years before finally setting in amongst other great 80s toys as GI Joe and Transformers in the collectors market.

Both the Masters of the Universe cartoon series and toy line are slightly before my time, so while I never lived through their heyday, I was able to catch the toys during there highly discounted later stages and thanks to my parents old Primestar satellite dish and some bizarre cartoon station that no longer exist, I was able to catch the re-runs of Masters of the Universe. Although my first actual exposure to the series was from an older friend of the family who had lived through the shows high points. One day he gave me an entire box filled with old beat up Masters of the Universe toys. They quickly became integrated with my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures and joined in on the ever growing WAR that took place on the battlefield known as my room.

Out of all the figures that were given to me Scare Glow was not one of them. This is not surprising, considering how late of an entry into the franchise he was. The cartoon series had ended in 1985 but the toy line trudged on for a couple years after. All the way up to 1987 to be exact (astute readers may also know that this is the year in which I was born) and by 1987 almost nobody was paying attention to them anymore. After-all the first TMNT cartoon had just been broadcast to televisions across America in December of '87 and the first line of turtles toys would hit later on in the summer of 1988. Turtlemania was just about ready to sweep America and in its process lay the final death blows to such now classic toy lines as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Not even the ever popular line of Hasbro Transformers would be able to last in this new turtle dominant market.

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This is the original Scare Glow action figure from the '80s. Scare Glow had the misfortune of being apart of the last line of original Masters of the Universe toys in 1987. Coming into the series so late meant that he never had a chance to be apart of the cartoon series, so nobody really knew who he was. Being a late entrant also mean that since fewer figures were being sold, fewer figures were being produced. Because of this not many people actually owned the original Scare Glow figure. The only way most people even knew of his existence was from looking at the back of one of the other figures packages. And this is where our story really gets interesting.

You see since Scare Glow wasn't apart of the cartoon series, the only way to get his backstory was by reading the comic book that came included with his figure. Since not very many people purchased the figure nobody knew who the hell he was. This is where the strange wording of his full name and description comes into play. According to the back of the box, which was where 90% of everyone got there information from his name was SCARE GLOW: EVIL GHOST OF SKELETOR. I see it. You see. Everyone saw it except the makers of the figure. Evil Ghost of Skeletor. Everyone interpreted this in the exact same way, that somehow Skeletor had been killed and re-incarnated as an evil ghost known as Scare Glow! Talk about a plot point! Even for a fledgeling line of toys based on a cartoon series that was now in the re-run stages, this was a really big deal. Scare Glow suddenly became the figure to own. After-all who wouldn't want to have the evil ghost of Skeletor in there set? Demand became higher than supply and Scare Glow grew to the stuff of legend.

Ahhh but not so fast. Those who actually owned the figure knew the truth. Scare Glow was not literally Skeletor dead and brought back from the grave into ghost form. Unfortunately his real back-story is far less interesting than the one everyone created in there heads. Scare Glow was summoned to Eternia by Skeletor "through space and time" and along with Ninjor was sent out to do the typical 'go kill He-Man routine'. Scare Glow's main power was that he emitted a mysterious glow that would frighten his opponents into submission. His fifteen minutes of fame in the comic book consisted of Scare Glow scaring the shit out of Prince Adam thus rendering him unable to transform into He-Man. Why he didn't take this opportunity to stab He-Man or something, we will never know. Instead Scare Glow gets tackled to the ground by Clamp Champ, someone that nobody remembers because Clamp Champ was lame as hell. This gives Prince Adam time to transform into He-Man and, well you can sort of figure out what happens next for yourself. This is literally the last important thing Scare Glow ever did in his included comic book and since He-Man as a franchise was basically dead at this point, Scare Glow never got a chance to do anything else.

Of course his actual story wasn't important. What was important is that everyone thought he was the ghost of Skeletor. This, combined with the low production numbers and the fact that he was the only figure in the series to ever glow in the dark, well it has turned Scare Glow into quite the sought after figure. To this day boxed versions will set you back anyplace from $500-$700 and loose Scare Glow's will run right around the $100 range.

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Never fear though, you too can own a slightly less expensive and far cooler version of Scare Glow all for yourself. In 2008 a new line of toys was introduced called Masters of the Universe Classics. Brand new re-sculpted versions of classic He-Man figures! This new line was a vast improvement in every possible way over there 1980s counterparts. Figures were far more detailed, far more articulate, and just all around better than the ones we played with as kids. Masters of the Universe Classics are everything the originals had hoped for but couldn't quite achieve due to the technical limitations of the time.

This is Scare Glow's modern interpretation as part of the Classics line. No, he is not ever coming out of that package. These new figures are not the kinds that get opened and played with. They sit in the cool looking box and proudly get displayed on some shelf someplace. Which is really kind of a shame because this new Scare Glow is a hell of a figure. He is evil. He is menacing. He looks like Halloween. He is an all around badass looking dude who would have instantly been promoted and put in charge of all my other figures back in the day.

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And yes new Scare Glow glows in the dark too. Presumably much more convincingly than his 1980s counterpart could ever hope to achieve. He is an all around awesome figure and while you will not find him by walking into your local Wal-Mart and having a look around. He is available online for a much more reasonable price than the original, thus making him a great alternative for Scare Glow fans who do not wish to take out a second mortgage for a toy. Although I still cannot help but feel just a little bit sorry for Scare Glow, after-all he is the greatest figure that nobody ever got a chance to own. The original came out a little too late and the re-release says "Collectors Toy" right on the side of the box. Back in '87 there was probably not a kid alive who wouldn't have loved to rip open a present on Christmas Morning and find Scare Glow glowing back at him, but unfortunately it was never meant to be. Scare Glow will live on, though, where most toys simply die off and leave no legacy behind. Scare Glow will always be that ever illusive He-Man figure that, no matter how many signs point otherwise, might be the ghost of Skeletor.

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And the infamous line on the bottom of the box? It's been changed. It now reads: SCAREGLOW: EVIL GHOST SERVING SKELETOR.  The back of the box even provides more details into this once mysterious figures life. "In life, Karak Nul was a shifty bounty hunter who spent years attempting to break into Castle Grayskull, obsessed with legends that within lay the power to become the Master of the Universe. In death, he was cursed and banished into the dimension of Infinite forever chained to his past crimes. He was brought back to Eternia by a magical spell of light cast by Skeletor to locate the most evil warriors in the five dimensions. Provided with a Scythe of Doom, Nul agreed to join forces with Skeletor and quickly became known as "Scareglow" due to his ability to burst forth and freeze his enemies with fright!" Everything about Scare Glow, from his assumed history, to his now real history. Rarity and subsequent re-release makes for one interesting of a story. And while he may not technically be a Halloween toy, he sure as hell looks right at home here in the month of October!

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1 comment:

  1. Those were a little after my time, but I love the glow-in-the-dark feature. I would have bought them just for that.

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