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DC’s She-Ra digital comic offers slightly darker take on ’80s heroine

If not for this CNN article, I’d have missed entirely that DC Comics last week released a digital one-shot introducing a darker take on the origin of She-Ra, the 1980s toy property (and cartoon star) introduced by Mattel as an alternative to its own popular Masters of the Universe line.

The twin sister of Prince Adam of Eternia (aka He-Man), Adora was kidnapped as an infant and whisked away to the planet Etheria, where she was raised as Despara, a force captain of the Evil Horde. Eventually, she learns her true origins and is given the Sword of Protection, which allows her to transform She-Ra and join the rebellion to free Etheria from the clutches of the Evil Horde.

The new comic, by writer Mike Costa and artist Drew Edward Johnson, focuses on the time before the character’s transformation into She-Ra, when the future heroine wasn’t quite so heroic.

“I think the trick for me was drawing this version of She-Ra as not really evil but detached and cold,” Johnson tells CNN. “She wasn’t born as this deadly Hordak enforcer but was made one, and over the course of the story, we can see how she’s been kept in line and made to do things that are against her nature. I tried to show in a couple of close-up shots that her eyes are not those of a killer, and in those shots, divided her face down the middle with the panel borders to show her split nature.”

Addressing the DC digital comics showcasing the origins of various Masters of the Universe characters, Mattel executive Rob David says, “The line is diverse, but every title shares one thing in common: We’re not playing things safe. ‘Masters of the Universe’ isn’t just part of our cultural past; it’s alive and constantly growing.”

Masters of the Universe #8, detailing the “shocking secrets” of She-Ra, is available for download for 99 cents.



Jesus H. Christ! Does EVERY damn comic have to be grim and gritty? I wish DC would get their heads out of their posteriors and realize why their sales suck. The 90s have been over for more than a decade. Let’s get a new damn sensibility for a new millennium, shall we?

did dc forgot the last time they tried to go dark and gritty with motu in comics they lost the license. and now it seems they are back repeating some history for seeing a young adora before she becomes shera dressed in that armour and wearing a hordak helment is creepy

I’m with you on that–both of the Big Two need to be set straight, and it’s up to us, the CONSUMERS (note I do not use “fans”) to give them that proverbial slap in the face.

Thank god! My daughters LOVE shera, this is a great way to get them int- wait, what’s that? It’s darker? As in, too cool for the actual demographic that is most likely to be into it?

This specific story might be genius — let’s just assume it is — but at what point was a decision made to NOT make money?

Seriously, the hell with this, now I know what I’m making my girls for Xmas.

I agree with everything the previous 4 posters said.

Grimdark is the only idea modern comics creators ever seem to have about anything. This is due at least partially because it’s the only idea many fans ever seem to have about anything.

Next thing you know Warners/DC “Entertainment” will demand “dark and gritty” versions of Rigby and Mordicai of “Regular Show”.

I’m not opposed to “dark” storytelling in the MOTU or PoP universes–it kind of reminds me of what Mattel originally wanted to do in the original MOTU mini comics, prior to the Filmation series.

I loved the Filmation series, but I don’t see why we can’t have both types of stories for multiple audiences.

It’s like having Tiny Titans vs The Teen Titans vs Young Justice. Or The Clone Wars and Star Wars. Or Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and The Avengers comic. Different tones can exist side by side, I’d just like to see the TV, film and publishing really embrace that for PoP and MOTU, because I love the characters.

Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Trapjaw, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Catra, etc. can be quite horrifying, when re-imagined and I have to say I enjoy seeing a fresh, more adult take on characters I lovingly grew up with through the filter of being an adult now.

Again, that’s not to say I don’t want to see a kid-friendly version either–I just don’t think the two need to be mutually exclusive.

defiance defiant.

December 17, 2012 at 3:13 pm

“dark and gritty” SHOULD be the norm. comics were intended to mirror real life. not be mickey mouse and popeye funny books.

if ya don’t like that, there are plenty of comic companies doing light hearted b.s. , of course those companies are loosing stock, and money out the wazoo, but they currently exist. people want to see dark and gritty in droves, and have proven this by actual sales.

–comics, when they were created, were intended for adults…not children. they only became kid friendly for a while and then went back to what they were intended to be. when i want light hearted b.s., which sometimes happens, ill read popeye. i certainly don’t want a light hearted kid friendly he-man, superman, batman, vixen, wonder-woman, black-canary, or she-ra. -especially when there’s zero justification as to why those types of characters should be written lightly.

DC needs to make this next Masters of the Universe mini series. So many people have been waiting for this. It looks like it’s following the storyline MYP and MV Creations had in mind during the revival ten years ago. DC do it and do it with this team.

Will these digital series make it to paper eventually?

I like this twist MOTU was to campy and after all most 80’s children are grown up and in late 20’s or early 30’s now and I dig it as I am the demo DC is going after.

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