He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: A Character Guide and World Compendium Encyclopedia Review.

By: Karl Stern (@dragonkingkarl, @wiwcool, karl@whenitwascool.com)

We discussed this great Masters of the Universe encyclopedia recently on the When It Was Cool Podcast and I decided I wanted to do an all out review of the book as well since it is such a great book.

Bravo to Dark Horse for making the he-man and the masters of the universe: A Character Guide and World Compendium comperable in size to the other hard back encyclopdias.

Bravo to Dark Horse for making the he-man and the masters of the universe: A Character Guide and World Compendium comperable in size to the other hard back encyclopdias.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: A Character Guide and World compendium spine view.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: A Character Guide and World compendium spine view.

First, bravo to Dark Horse Publishing, who released the encyclopedia, for making it similar in scale and look to the DK Publishing Marvel and DC Comics encyclopedias.  When I saw the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: A Character Guide and World Compendium in the book store my first thought was that it would look great on the bookshelf with my Marvel and DC encyclopedias which I use frequently.  While I love He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, I'm not certain I would have bought it had it not been compatible.

The encyclopedia breaks down the numerous continuities of each character from the mini-comics, to the cartoon series, the the masters of the universe movie, and more.

The encyclopedia breaks down the numerous continuities of each character from the mini-comics, to the cartoon series, the the masters of the universe movie, and more.

The encyclopedia itself is amazing.  He-Man and the Masters of the Universe are the perfect property for something like this because the world is so deep and imaginative with a diverse and wild set of characters, places, and vehicles.

In addition to the individual characters like Beastman there is also a section for groups and factions when applicable.

In addition to the individual characters like Beastman there is also a section for groups and factions when applicable.

I bought He-Man and Battle Cat off the toy shelf in 1982 when they first came out and over time bought many more (Skeletor, Zodak, Man-At-Arms, and Ram Man were among my favorites).  He-Man was such a great property, a blend of Conan meets sci-fi meets magic.  

Over the years, there have been many interpretations of the Masters of the Universe that are very different so it is impossible to have one nice and neat continuity and the encyclopedia addresses that with wonderful break downs of how different characters fit into the different stories.  The mini-comics were vastly different from the animated series, the DC Comics were different from the Marvel or Star comics, all were different from Dark Horse Comics, and so one... and oh, yeah, what about that Sci-Fi He-Man reboot and She-Ra, Princess of Power?  It is all broken down into easy to understand detail.

Of course, the wonderful weapons of the masters of the universe world has it's own section as well.

Of course, the wonderful weapons of the masters of the universe world has it's own section as well.

There is also a section for locations, artifacts, and much more.  Of course, the encyclopedia contains numerous photos of the various Masters of the Universe toys as well.

There is also a section for locations, artifacts, and much more.  Of course, the encyclopedia contains numerous photos of the various Masters of the Universe toys as well.

From photos of the comic artwork, to photos of the action figures, to photos of the animated series, this book is packed with visual guides to the masters of the universe.

From photos of the comic artwork, to photos of the action figures, to photos of the animated series, this book is packed with visual guides to the masters of the universe.

If you are a Masters of the Universe fan then this is a must have book.  It's hardback, full color, and a massive 700 pages.

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