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Mer-Man is a fictional character from the Masters of the Universe toy line from Mattel and accompanying animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

Character history

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The Mer-Man toy was part of the first series of Masters of the Universe action figures released by Mattel in 1981-1982. The character was conceived as Skeletor's most prominent henchman after Beast Man.

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Mer-Man features as a major character in almost all the various Master of the Universe media since the toyline's inception. This includes the original mini-comics that accompany the action figures, the Filmation animated series, both the DC Comics and Marvel Comics versions and the more recent animated series produced by Mike Young Productions. He is not present in the 1987 film Masters of the Universe.

In all these different interpretations of the Masters of the Universe mythology the major aspects of Mer-Man's character remain relatively unchanged. Mer-Man is apparently the king of a species of amphibious humanoid creatures who inhabit at least some part of the oceans of the planet Eternia. Sometimes it is stated that Mer-Man is not just the ruler of his own race but also the ruler of all that lies beneath the sea. Though a king in his own right Mer-Man is a thrall to Skeletor, the Lord of Destruction and ruler of Snake Mountain. Mer-Man's service of Skeletor means he is constantly at odds with He-Man and the other heroic champions of Eternia. When engaging the Heroic Warriors, Mer-Man is most frequently teamed up with Beast Man.[1]

He seems to hail from the Crystal Sea. In the episode "Teela's Quest" Skeletor refers to this location as Mer-Man's "home territory."

Physical appearance

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Mer-Man's basic physical type can be described as humanoid, however he has green skin (blue in some versions), that in some renditions appears to be of a scaly texture like a fish. He has webbed feet and hands and two fins on either side of his head that appear to be his species' equivalent of ears. He has large bulbous eyes like a fish and a wide, fang-filled mouth. He has no apparent nose, however in some representations he has nostrils. The area around his eyes and upper lip is covered in a layer of rough orange scales; in the animated series the orange scales only surround his eyes not his lips. He wears yellow chest armor that is possibly made of fish hide. He also wears orange trunks. The character's original box art showed him to wear yellow gloves and ankles, although the original figure did not have these painted on (though in the early mini-comics he is shown wearing yellow anklets). In the Filmation series he is seen to wear yellow gloves and boots. He has a muscular build and is at least as tall as an average human male. He is armed with a yellow sword.

Powers and abilities

Mer-Man possesses a number of extra-human powers and abilities. It is unclear how many of these abilities are physiological traits possessed by his species and how many are skills unique to Mer-Man himself. Mer-Man is amphibious, being just as comfortable walking about on land, as he is swimming at the bottom of the ocean, although he is shown to be happier underwater. Although his strength level is not on par with that of He-Man, Mer-Man seems to possess a physical might that is greater than that of the average human. It is clear however, that his strength is much greater underwater than on land. Mer-Man also displays the ability to control a number of aquatic life forms through a primitive form of telepathy. It is stated in some stories that this power works only on cold-blooded sea creatures, having no effect on sea mammals. From time to time Mer-Man's sword also displays special properties: on some occasions causing it to discharge a sort of freeze ray, encasing his targets in ice. It is unclear if the sword is a product of magic or a product of advanced Eternian technology. A trident spear or lance has also been shown as his weapon at times.


Masters of the Universe Revelation

Mer-Man in Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Main article: Mer-Man (Revelation)

Minicomics appearances

Although he was a central character in the earliest minicomics, Mer-Man appeared infrequently after the first series.

Main article: Mer-Man (early minicomics)

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Actors' portrayals

In the Filmation series, Mer-Man's distinctive gargling voice was provided by Alan Oppenheimer. In Mike Young Production's version, Mer-Man spoke in a somewhat different voice which was provided by Scott McNeil.

Toys

Masters of the Universe (1982)

1981 Mer-Man: Mer-Man was one of the first wave of toys, designed in 1981 and released in 1982. His toy design was based on DC Comics' character, Swamp Thing. This design was later used for Stinkor in the same toyline.

The original 1981 Mer-Man toy

Masters of the Universe (2002)

2002 Mer-Man: A toy of Mer-Man was made in 2002 to accompany the Mike Young Productions show. The design of the toy is based on that show, with brown armor and a head reminiscent of the original Lords of Power prototype.

Mer-Man's toy from the 2002 line

Masters of the Universe Classics

Classics Mer-Man: As part of the Masters of the Universe Classics toyline, this Mer-Man toy was released only on Mattel's collector's website in 2009. This toy came with two heads, one which imitated his classic head and one which was based on the prototype, Lords of Power design. This toy was sculpted by the 4 Horsemen, and came with a bio on the packaging which read:

Real Name: Squidish Rex

Ruler of the undersea realms of Eternia, Mer-Man was forced to serve in the armies of Skeletor after his kingdom was destroyed in a battle with rival ocean clans. His allegiance with Skeletor brings him to the surface world more often then he would like. Lurking deep beneath the Sea of Rakash, Mer-Man awaits the evil call to arms of Skeletor!

Vintage toy styled head

Lords of Power styled head

Masters of the Universe: Classics Mer-Man, shown with both head types.


Super7

Filmation: As part of Super7's Masters of the Universe line, this toy was meant to be as faithful as possible to the FIlmation series portrayal of Mer-Man. This toy was released in 2018.

Super7's Filmation Mer-Man

Vintage: Also made by Super7, this toy was made to be similar to the original toy from 1982. This toy was released in 2019.

Super7's vintage toy styled Mer-Man

ReAction Mer-Man: Mer-Man also received a toy from Super7 as part of their ReAction Figures line.

Mer-Man's ReAction figure


Masters of the Universe Origins

Origins Mer-Man: In early 2021, as part of the Masters of the Universe Origins toyline, a Mer-Man toy based on the original 1982 toy was released.

Mer-Man from Masters of the Universe: Origins

Origins Lords of Power Mer-Man: In the Origins toyline, Mattel also released a series of figures based on the prototype, Lords of Power designs. Mer-Man received a Lords of Power toy in mid 2021.

Lords of Power Mer-Man from Masters of the Universe: Origins


Trivia

  • According to designer Mark Taylor, Mer-Man's design was based on Bernie Wrighston's rendition of DC Comics character Swamp Thing.
  • The mold of the Mer-Man toy was later reused by Mattel in 1986 to create Stinkor, another villain in the Masters of the Universe line. The only differences between Mer-Man and Stinkor are that Stinkor is painted black and white, wears different chest armor than Mer-Man and was chemically treated to smell musky.

References

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