Wednesday, July 7, 2010


[Skeletor sits atop his giant hamster and shows off his latest purchase from Knick Knacks]

Nothing beats the original villains of yester-years: they always had quirky idiosyncrasies, came with personalized evil laugh-styles, could seldom beat the protagonist hero in an actual fist fight, and are usually ugly as sin.

Skeletor is, luckily for us, all those things.

Skeletor has been a mainstay of the Masters of the Universe franchise, as arch-enemy and main antagonist since forever - perhaps since the creation of Eternia. Depicted as a muscular blue humanoid with a purple hood over his yellowing bare-bone skull, Skeletor seeks to conquer Castle Grayskull so he can learn its ancient secrets, which would make him unstoppable and enable him to conquer and rule all of Eternia.

According to the classic 1983 Filmation brand of cartoon series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, little is known of Skeletor's early years. Skeletor is a former pupil of Hordak, leader of The Evil Horde. He was solely responsible for the knowledge used to build Snake Mountain; the command base for the Evil Horde as they attempted to conquer Eternia.

When Hordak and his Horde invaded Eternia and stormed the palace they were driven back and defeated by King Randor's armies, and the magic of Castle Grayskull. Hordak, however, had one final plan - he knew that the twins just born to King Randor were somewhow important, though he did not know exactly why. Hordak set off to kidnap the children, taking Skeletor along with him. Hordak managed to grab Randor and Marlena's daughter, Adora, and would have taken their son, Adam, as well, but was discovered by Man at Arms and Queen Marlena.

[Skeletor's lack of nipples was a concern for the crowd]

A fight broke out, during which Skeletor was overpowered, and Hordak abandoned him and retreated to Snake Mountain. Furious over having been betrayed by his mentor, Skeletor gave away the location of the Horde's secret base in exchange for his freedom.

Hordak had retreated to his base of operations Snake Mountain. When cornered, Hordak opened up a random dimensional portal (later revealed to have led to Etheria) and leaped through with the baby Princess Adora still in his possession.

Though Hordak would escape with Adora, Skeletor remained on Eternia, and set himself up in Snake Mountain. Skeletor remained on Eternia and raised an army of powerful minions of his own and took over as ruler of Snake Mountain. Skeletor's main goal is to conquer the mysterious fortress of Castle Grayskull, from which He-Man draws his powers. If he succeeds, Skeletor would be able to conquer not only Eternia, but the whole universe.

[The secret Horde way of saying 'oh puh-leez, girl warrior']

A later series, that was a re-engineering of the original, confirms that Skeletor was once a man named Keldor who was transformed into Skeletor after nearly dying.

Skeletor possesses an array of mystic powers and is an extremely powerful sorcerer with control over a vast range of dark magical powers. He also possesses considerable scientific skill, and is shown to have skill in creating various machines and devices in both the Filmation and New Adventures animated series.

He is usually armed with a magical weapon called the Havoc Staff; a long pole crowned with a ram's skull (and in some depictions, a crystal ball embedded within). He can discharge bolts of mystic force from the head of the staff, or use it as a focus for more powerful forms of magic.

[1984 classic, featured on many episodes of Robot Chicken]

Skeletor has also displayed the ability to discharge energy from his own body, as is seen in the 1987 film (played by Frank Langella) where he casts lightning from his hands, and in the original animated series where he projects energy from his fingertips.

All versions portray Skeletor as being extremely cunning and intelligent

Of course, Skeletor is never without is evil feline companion Panthor; a giant purple panther who serves as an evil counterpart to Battle Cat. Panthor is portrayed as Skeletor's pet, being at the right of his throne. However, unlike Battle Cat, Panthor only appears in a handful of stories in the original series.

[Like Cringer but eats the flesh of children]

Fun sideline fact: a 94 metre unfinished highrise building in Kraków, Poland was nicknamed after Skeletor, the arch-villain in the cartoon which was popular in Poland in that decade. Spelled in Polish, Szkieletor.

See what you learn when you pay attention.