Matt Originally posted on 11.08.02.
While the Comet Warriors never appeared on the He-Man cartoon, Stonedar was briefly seen on She-Ra: Princess of Power. The fact that I didn't know that until just now proves that you shouldn't advertise boys' toys on girls' cartoons. The animated version of Stonedar looks sort of like a really freezing Ram-Man after 30 days on Trim-Spa.
Stonedar and Rokkon, the heroic comet warriors from space, entered the realm of Eternia late during He-Man's run on top of Toy Mountain. Masters of the Universe had a good long run, but the ol' well was running pretty dry: kids had already gotten two MOTU figures with giant fists, and probably eighteen with some kind of oversized claw. Mattel had this thing about elephantiasis. People became outraged - here they were, loyal purveyors and purchasers of many fine He-Man toys, and what does Mattel do? Shaft 'em by releasing figure after figure after figure with the same stupid 'giant hand' gimmick. Mattel finally listened, and while the more up-to-date and stylish figures they started marketing didn't cause a complete resurgence in interest, it did help keep the series alive for another year or so.
Last time around we saw the villains' new recruits, The Snake Men. It wouldn't be fair if only Skeletor got some new allies, He-Man had to get some too. And since Skeletor got cool ones like a bunch of guys in snake outfits with long retractable tongues, they couldn't just stick He-Man with more losers with extending necks, or people in bee costumes. They needed something interesting. Alien soldiers made of shiny rocks are interesting. It was a match made in Grayskull.
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Now these two slabs of limestone were no bottom-tier lickers, they were bona fide stars when they first hit toy store shelves. I'm almost 100% sure they never showed up on the cartoon, so their popularity was even more impressive. How'd they create such interest in Stonedar and Rokkon without ever having them appear in the cartoon or alongside Mario Lopez and a fat disk jockey from Queens? The answer was really brilliant, actually. I've long marveled at how far an effective advertising campaign can take something, and you never see more clear examples of that than when dealing with junk meant for kids. Of all the impressive schemes I've seen, the Comet Warrior ads just completely blow away the Dell Dude and fuck the Energizer Bunny right up the ass.
What they did was add a teaser spot to the end of all their regular toy commercials, for several weeks before these rock people were even being sold. You'd see the Mattel logo morph into a pair of comets, flying toward the surface of an asteroid before exploding into a shot of the figures. Then, an ominous voice was overheard saying 'Coming Soo-hooonnnn...' Well, before long, the stupid Comet Warriors became the talk of the school. Small boys everywhere were conversing in ways they never had before - without ever using words like 'pee' or 'booger.' These strange figures were nothing to joke about, this was serious stuff. How would they get them? What day would they be arriving at Kay Bee? How much would they cost? Were they good or evil? Was comet an acronym for 'can our mothers eat tarantulas'? These two became the most popular characters in the He-Man world before anyone even had one.
Their gimmick was unique, or at least unique for Masters of the Universe. The Comet Warriors are another Transformers-ripoff, where every other toy company out there firmly believed that the entire series' popularity was solely because it featured things that turn into other things. In the case of the new He-Man heroes, we got rocks that turned into people! I love rocks that turn into people! I wish I could turn into rocks just like the rocks that turn into people could turn into me! Try saying that three times fast. With rocks in your mouth. That turn into people.
You'll notice that Stonedar and Rokkon are a little more attractive than your typical He-Man figure. They broke out the shimmery paint and detail knives for these two, listening to fan sentiment and avoiding using the same mold that they did for every other figure in the MOTU line. Better materials were also utilized, and the Comet Warriors are some of the heaviest figures in the whole collection. This came in extra handy while they were in rock-form. I've said this before - there's a certain unspoken law that says you'll get in less trouble for throwing a toy at someone, instead of, let's say, a real rock. But since Rokkon weighed even more than a real rock, the joke was on them. You could bust straight through a kid's skull if you really knew your fastball. At the least, you could cause a bump shaped like Stonedar to pop out of your friend/enemy's forehead.
Even though most kids already bought 'em, there were still a few more skeptical children who weren't sold on buying toys when they didn't even have clearly defined allegiances. Were these the type of guys who would try to kill He-Man, or were these the type of guys who'd just invite him and Teela into their doubles tennis tournament? Mattel had a dream, and that dream involved every last small boy on the whole damn planet owning a Comet Warrior action figure. Just so there wouldn't be any confusion, they started airing a new commercial that explained everything perfectly...
Oh wait, those are just Comet Warriors flying towards Grayskull. I was ready to collect my tabloid photo check. Then again, it's still possible that Stonedar and Rokkon are ghosts. Spirits of rocks that've passed on. Booulders!
Today's villainous victim is Grizzlor, Hordak's version of Beast-Man. Seems like every major crime king anywhere near Eternia has to have some kind of giant mutant bear to kick around when things go wrong. It's become perfectly acceptable there to own a mutant slave bear to abuse, with the catch being that you must be a super-villain. The reason so many people keep trying to kill He-Man isn't because they want the alleged 'secrets of Grayskull' - they just don't want to give up owning their giant mutant slave bears.
Grizzlor's wandering around rather aimlessly, not too worried about being ambushed by more virtuous monsters. There's not a person in sight - just some piles of dirt and a few suspiciously flinching rocks. Nothing to worry about, right Grizzlor? Wrong, Grizzlor, wrong! Those aren't any ordinary rocks - they're super-rocks. Super rocks that turn into people, just like you wish you could turn into a rock like the rocks that turn into people! Uh oh.
Grizzlor becomes frightened after Stonedar and Rokkon reveal their true identities. The duo begins tormenting him, pushing the poor koala back and forth like so many beach balls while insulting his mother, manhood, and favorite television show, The Art Of Being Nick. I don't get it. Grizzlor wasn't doing anything wrong! Aren't the 'heroes' supposed to be creatures of defense? What's with all the proactive aggression? What was Grizzlor's crime, jaywalking? Maybe these Comet Warriors aren't such good guys after all. I was just tricked by their innocent baby blue rock-skin. I hate it when I get all cognitively judging. Whatever that means.
I'm not sure who leads the Comet Warriors - I always assumed Stonedar was in charge. I thought Rokkon was intended to be some type of rebellious high school student, the 'Rokkon' name being a hilarious play-off on 'Rock On!' I pretty much hate myself for writing this last paragraph, so in turn I hate the Comet Warriors for feeding my mind such crap.
Ah look, it's He-Man! Conveniently showing up once again after the villains are already defeated. "I knew you could do this guys, I had faith in you!" He-Man was such a great con artist. Who else do you think taught Eternia that wearing your underwear outside of your pants was 'fashionable'? What a trickster. Hee-Hee Man.
Friends, those are the Comet Warriors / Stone Warriors / Rock Warriors / Anything Really Hard Warriors. They're pretty high up there on collectors' want lists these days, mostly because a lot of the old figures absolutely suck in retrospect. They're not so expensive that you'll be dissuaded from buying 'em if you really, really wanted the things, but you won't be purchasing the Comet Warriors for a song, either. Even more expensive versions of the figures exist, too. In Germany, and probably a few other nations because no one would do an exclusive deal for Germany, some of them were put in special packages that came with a free cutout cardboard mask, matching the figure you bought. Boy, do I have a surprise for you!
The second picture up above shows all of the masks that were available - not very numerous, but really, there's only so many kids who have a vested interest in tying a piece of paper around their head. King Hiss had a sweet deal, getting a mask for each of his faces. Hordak kind of looked like the Grinch's dog. Stonedar had an interesting mask himself, it could've been any number of disguises. King Tut jumps to mind, as well as Guy In The Photon Arena Just Kicked In The Balls. Oh yeah, my surprise, how could I forget? Check this out...
Click on either of the pics to get the full-sized bitch, ready to be printed out, cut, and worn on your very own face! Now you can be Stonedar, or the evil Hordak! File sizes on the masks are around 300 KB each, so don't click if you're on a dial-up. Also, don't click if you're not going to really cut out and wear the masks. That's 300 KB guys, it gets me up there in bandwidth charges. I don't want any of you leeching it unless I can be fully assured that you'll make an ass of yourself by walking around the local mall wearing a paper Comet Warrior mask. I know you won't listen to my pleas, but the joke's on you: I put the pop-up ad on those pages. Nyah nyah nyah.