In October of 1982, I turned 7 and unwrapped a life altering gift: the original He-man. He was muscular and good with sandy blond hair. When you pulled back on his arm and let go, his torso whipped around and delivered a power punch. He came with a shield and two weapons: a sword and a battle-axe. He could protect any of my sister’s dolls.
In the coming weeks, I bought evil figures like Skeletor, Beastman, and Mer-man. He-man could take on all three of them by himself. He became even greater when I bought Battle-Cat for him to ride into battle, and then for Christmas, I unwrapped Castle Grayskull, He-man’s center of power.
I played with He-Man off and on for a couple of years in battles with siblings, friends, and evil warriors. Through his battles, some of his paint chipped and his joints became loose and I lost his shield and his sword didn’t fit so well in his hand.
Then, in 1984, a new figure was released. He was called Battle Armor He-Man. He looked like the regular He-Man, but with a chest that showed battle damage when he got hit. I saved my lunch money for a week, added my allowance, and bought him that weekend.
He was glorious. Battle Armor He-Man crushed the evil warriors. He was new and shiny and when you pulled back on his arm and let go, his torso whipped around and delivered a power punch.
For weeks on weeks I played with Battle Armor He-Man. The original He-Man was relegated to the toy box. Once he even had to play on the side of the evil warriors because Battle Armor He-Man was so dominant.
And then, one day, of a sudden, as I pulled Battle Armor He-Man out of the toy box, I saw the loose-legged original He-Man sitting there. And it hurt me. My old friend and powerful fighter for good. I picked him up and set him on Battle Cat next to Battle Armor He-Man. They traveled to Castle Grayskull and talked. They found they had a lot in common. They had the same parents, lived in the same house. One was newer and looked a little different, but they were on the same side. And fought together from then on out.