Introduction to Elite Legends: My Time is NOW

I’ve been collecting action figures as an adult for nearly twenty years. As a child, my scale of choice was 1/18–more popularly known as 3 3/4 inch. Prominent examples of this scale are the original Star Wars toys made by Kenner in the late 70’s to early 80’s followed shortly thereafter by Hasbro & their iconic GI Joe: A Real American Hero line. Collectors frequently refer to this line as the “small joes” to distinguish them from the original classic 12-inch GI Joe that debuted in the 60’s. As an adult, I began with what I played with as a child but eventually grew to desire more realistic & posable action figure which brought me up the 12-inch figure, also known as 1/6th scale. The idea being that the ideal action height for a normal human is 6 feet tall so that a 1/6th scale toy version of such a human such stand about 1/6th that height–meaning one foot, or twelve inches.

For Christmas 2021, one of my brothers bought me two GI Joe figures for the newer 1/12th scale line. I had known about this scale since around 2010 when Marvel Legends figures would fill the pegs when I went on a hunt for the more traditional smaller GI Joes. I never bothered picking up a 1/12 figure but had been intrigued with the recent decision Hasbro had made to introduce GI Joe into that scale. I had decided that I have enough to waste my money on so I had avoided them; but now that my brother had handed me two such figures at no cost, I was intrigued. The debate began; 1/6 scale figures no longer had a major retail presence & they took up enough space to boot. I knew I’d have to give up collecting for a while or perhaps adopt a smaller scale moving forward. Would 1/12 the the answer?

Regardless of scale, the focus of toy collection at any age has always been action & adventure. While I realize that some people may find this insensitive to say, but that focus frequently meant military themed figures like GI Joe; or at least, warrior-themed ones like He-Man & the Masters of the Universe. I had never been a huge fan of wrestling figures a la WWE because I didn’t see much potential for them outside the ring. The big draw of toy collecting, even as a kid, was inventing numerous scenarios that brought your favorite heroes until dangerous situation; situations that frequently could only be resolved through violent conflict. Wrestling, though combat oriented, was still a sport to me. I wanted my heroes in extreme harm’s way playing higher stakes than just championship belts.

GI Joe Classified, the 1/12 scale Hasbro figures that my brother’s Christmas gift were a part of, had been my intended target for future toy collecting. The problem is, they are rarely available on shelves. After a three month break from toy hunting, I decided it was time to try my luck at my nearest Target store. I just had a feeling I would find what I was looking for. Interestingly enough, there was one GI Joe character available on the pegs that I had been interested in. But the prospect of owning this figure didn’t “wow” me. I decided to look at Masters of the Universe just to see if they distribution would be much improved over GI Joe Classified but I had pre-determined not to buy anything. Next to the Masters I saw a slew of WWE Elite Legends figures, which I normally do. I thought I may as well take a look at this collection since they were at least commonly available. My glance came upon a normal looking male wrestler in a T-shirt & camo pants & that light bulb in my head went off.

I could see possibilities in this particular figure as we wasn’t sculpted exclusively in his wrestling wear. Plain camo pants would work with my military themed plots in my imaginary adventures & fan-faction pieces. Plus, the presence of genuine cloth gear (soft goods) in lieu of clothing sculpted onto the figure intrigued me. I liked the big joes because you could use your same handful of figures & gear them up for different environments & dioramas. To accomplish this same thing with smaller figures which often had their clothes sculpted onto them often required buying numerous version of the same character in different gear. I grabbed the package, based on a character named Road Dogg, tor a closer inspection. This figure looked bigger than the GI Joe Classified but still fairly close to 1/12 scale. Well, long story short, I took the figure home & after removing him from the package–the debate was settled. I would be collecting WWE Elite Figures in conjunction with the occasional GI Joe Classified figure when a character of interest was available. The went to Target looking for a particular solution in mind. I didn’t find it; but found an even better solution. It just wasn’t the one I had expected to find.

Military & adventure will always be the foundation of my toy collection for as long as I continue to do it. However, my discovery of Elite Legends allows me to execute this same ideas through different molds. I no longer have to limit myself to GI Joe, Ultimate Soldier, or similarly themed toy lines. Moving forward, I plan to cut my current 1/6 scale figures in half & suspend purchasing anything outside of 1/12 scale for a while.

It’s not that I’m giving up on GI Joe–it’s more that I’m no longer limiting myself to them. That line will always have a special place for me because of how much it played a role in my childhood, spending time with my friends & cousins & brothers happily living out one adventure after another. But right now, I’ve found something better out there–something that bridges that gap between my beloved small & big joes. Truth be told, it’s really as sure a thing as a body slam! WWE Elite Legends are the definitive mass retail 1/12 action figure line–for now at least.

So that’s what I’m going with–for now at least.

Grey Skull’s Greatest Secret

Art by Alex Ross; discovered on Wikipedia.

Foreword

Do you remember Masters of the Universe from the 1980’s? Do you remember how Castle Grey Skull was supposed to house the universe’s greatest secrets which, conveniently, were never spelled out for us? I’ve finally cracked the code–the secrets were revealed to me in a dream. If you’re willing to keep reading, I’m willing to share my discovery.

Warning: This content is legally protected creative property. Do not share, quote, or re-use any portion of this content for commercial use without expressed, written permission from the author.

Background

If you are unfamiliar with the toy line that launched a franchise complete with two cartoon series, numerous comics, & one live action movie–I’d like to summarize the premise of Masters of the Universe. The toy line emerged on the heels of the massive success of Kenner’s Star Wars line with board games like Dungeons & Dragons appearing not too far in the background. In an attempt to combine adventure with a simple construct of rules to go by, Mattel pitted the great hero He-Man & his allies against Skeletor & his dark minions. Using a formula similar to the childhood game of “Capture the Flag,” He-Man’s goal was to prevent Skeletor for conquering the mysterious Castle Grey Skull–a fortress that allegedly housed the secrets of the universe. The person who conquered Grey Skull could claim themselves to be “Master of the Universe.”

The Secret Revealed

Skeletor finally conquers Grey Skull. He gloats over his triumph only to discover that his “reward” is damnation to Hell. His time on Eternia as Ruler of the Dark Hemisphere was actually his last sentence in Purgatory. God, in His mercy, had given Skeletor two prior opportunities to purge himself of his sins. Each time, Skeletor squandered his opportunity in the exact same manner. Hellbent on conquest at the expense of everything & everyone, Skeletor had doomed himself bit by bit to his current fate. The previous incarnation of Skeletor as Keldor was actually his 2nd opportunity in Purgatory. His transformation from Keldor into Skeletor was actually a death & rebirth. Since this was his last go-around, God dispatched Eternia’s greatest hero–He-man–to dissuade Skeletor from this path. All along, He-Man was an agent of God in Purgatory. What Skeletor perceived as He-Man’s interference was actually an attempt to save him.

But now that Skeletor had finally vanquished He-Man & breached the inner-sanctuary of Grey Skull, the truth became clear–all the memories came flooding back & the Skull Face that made Skeletor notorious once again became flesh as pieces of all his past lives came together once more. His face of flesh proved more terrifying than his face of bone & emptiness! For, in order to be either damned or saved, a soul would have to be made whole again. Because both Damnation & Salvation are absolute conditions; there’s no coming back from either. And because it’s all or nothing, the soul must be made whole before admittance to either.

For the entirety of his three lives as an immortal soul, Skeletor had sought to uncover the secrets of Grey Skull. And now, the day of his triumph became the day of his greatest failure. The Greatest Secret of Grey Skull is this: God loves us so much that he gives us the freedom to choose. Skeletor chose his own damnation–not once, not twice, not even three times. The soul that we know as Skeletor had chosen an obsessive path of merciless conquest four consecutive times: the first was in his mortal life on earth and the last occurred in Eternia. Eternia is Purgatory. It’s called Eternia because, one way or another, any lifeform on that planet chooses the place it will spend forever in. Those who ascend graduate to Heaven while those who repeat past mistakes devolve into Hell. And some souls choose to stay where they are–on the planet that they call Eternia, not realizing their home was meant to be only a waystation for souls but never a permanent home. But God loves every soul so much that He gives them choice; and some souls choose to dwell there.

As Skeletor’s eternal soul evaporates into the cold darkness of Hell, be bellows out a ghastly shriek. To his credit, he doesn’t make excuses–he doesn’t blame He-man; he doesn’t curse God. He curses himself as a single tear slowly drips down his left cheek.

On the outside, the imposing fortress known as Castle Grey Skull temporarily features the face of a stunningly handsome man. It is the face of God; and, as with Skeletor, a single tear slowly makes it’s way down His cheek. As great as He is, God cries every time a soul chooses the eternal death. He loves Skeletor as He loves all of His creation. He loved Skeletor so much, he gave him three more lives in Purgatory to recognize the sin he committed during his initial mortal life on Earth.

Warning: This content is legally protected creative property. Do not share, quote, or re-use any portion of this content for commercial use without expressed, written permission from the author.

These are the Secrets of Grey Skull.

  • There is but one “Master of the Universe” & that is God.
  • Souls, especially those on Eternia, frequently consider themselves to be “masters of the universe” because they are ascended life forms, meaning they have lived a previous life in the flesh on earth or another fallen existenceunder God’s domain. God has crested life on more planets than earth & in more realities than just our own. Moreover, they are “masters”because God has given them the freedom to choose their eternal paths.
  • And finally–the greatest secret of Grey Skull is this: Since we are all born with an element of God & an element of the Devil inside us, we all have the choice to decide where we will spend eternity. And that is the greatest power any flesh & blood being can hope for.

This upcoming weekend features Easter Sunday–a celebration of salvation & resurrection. Remember that God gives us each a choice just as Skeletor had a choice.

Please choose carefully.

My Origins Story: Overlord of Evil

“Better to RULE in HELL than SERVE in HEAVEN.” —-From John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

Creative License: This piece represents a form of fan fiction. It takes a concept previously established in the public domain and, while maintaining much of the same fundamentals of the original idea, adds new material inspired by the the author of the fan fiction. This material, while consistent in many ways to the source material, is under no obligation to do so & will present ideas independent to the author. This material is not intended for commercial but entertainment purposes alone. Source material: MOTU franchise.

Skeletor is often described as “a demon from another dimension” hellbent on conquering the planet of Eternia. He already rules the Dark Side of Eternia, residing at his fortress Snake Mountain with a host of lesser overlords as well as a powerful witch as his vassals. Skeletor was once a skilled mortal warrior known as Keldor: skilled with the sword, wrestling, & melee warfare. However, just a few years into his legacy as a warrior, Keldor experienced a mysterious flash point that drove him to sorcery. Keldor quickly excelled, as he was highly intelligent. Still despondent, Keldor decided to pledge himself completely to darkness. He underwent a transformation & became the aberration known as Skeletor.

Eternia is a realm of conflict. Unlike earth, everything is cut & dry; black & white, good or bad. The planet literally splits into two hemispheres; the northern one known as the Light Hemisphere, protected by Kingdom Randor; and the south being the Dark Hemisphere, ruled by Skeletor. On Eternia, everyone is either a champion or a victim; either strong or weak. The strong depend on either physical prowess or sorcery, but almost never both–or at least, never very well at both. Skeletor & his sorceress Evil Lyn are the only exceptions.

To the inhabitants of the Dark Hemisphere, admittedly sparse in numbers when compared to their northern neighbors, Skeletor is champion. He offers protection from the various pre-historic & even legendary beasts that walk the wastelands. But the price for his service is slavery; as Skeletor’s rule is absolute. He is both champion & villain.

Overall, Skeletor rules half of Eternia & strikes fear into the other half. As a dual warrior/sorcerer, not a single member of even the Royal Family can match his power. Arguably, Skeletor is already he most powerful person on Eternia–and yet, he never feels satisfied. So obsessed with what he does not have, Skeletor feels no satisfaction in what he already has. Skeletor is both a ruler & a slave–a slave to his infinite ambition!

Borrowed from FANSITE.

In appearance, Skeletor is a walking contradiction. He boasts the physique of a strongman, but it’s marred by the pale complexion & hideous features of a monster. His body seems locked at the peak of life, but his face symbolizes death. But, for all the ambivalence in his outward appearance, the polarization on the inside is what defines Skeletor the most. The face of death blankly staring out from underneath his purple hood sets atop an immortal body. Skeletor cannot die! He is a man divided both on the inside & the outside; a body that cannot die yet lacks a soul. Poetically, there is no one more suited to rule Eternia than Skeletor–a divided man ruling over a conflicted planet–one split into hemispheres of both Light & Dark–ruled by a king who will liver forever on the outside but has always been dead on the inside.