In the illustrated minicomics released with the first series of toys and drawn by Alfredo Alcala, He-Man is a barbarian from an Eternian tribe and doesn't have a double identity.
First DC comic book apperance
- Main article: From Eternia -- With Death!
From Eternia—With Death! is the first Masters of the Universe story published by DC Comics. It is the lead feature in DC Comics Presents #47 (July 1982). This is the first appearance of the Prince Adam identity; before it, He-Man was depicted as being a hero in full time. Curiously, this initial description of Adam states that he has a much superior strength, but not so much as in his persona He-Man, which he could only turn into a place called the Cavern of Power, and not recite words with his sword.
Filmation seriesPrince Adam is half-Eternian and half-Terran. According to the episode "Teela's Quest", Adam's mother Queen Marlena was a Terran astronaut. Her ship crashed on Eternia where she eventually met and married the Eternian King Randor. Their child Adam grew up to be "smarter, more agile, stronger, and more muscular than any Eternian". According to the series bible, Prince Adam experienced a pivotal change in his life one day while he was walking through Eternia's Wind Forest. He noticed a falcon flying overhead that was screeching at him as if it wanted him to follow it. Adam followed the bird through an adventurous path leading him to a clearing. When Adam looked up, he saw the legendary Castle Grayskull. The falcon transformed into The Sorceress who explained to him that his birth had been foretold in ancient legends and that the spirits had chosen him to share in Grayskull's secrets. Although the Jaw Bridge of Castle Grayskull had not been opened for centuries The Sorceress opened it with a magical gesture. After walking inside of the castle, Prince Adam was given the Power Sword and he was told to strike the sword against stone and to speak the phrase "By the power of Grayskull!" When he did this, he was transformed into He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe. Adam committed himself to use his newly found power for the good of others and to oppose Skeletor and his evil Masters of the Universe, and confided his alter ego in Man-At-Arms and Orko. The secret is also known by Zodac, the cosmic enforcer, and some TV episodes imply that Adam's mother, Queen Marlena, suspects it. In the episode "Prince Adam No More", it is explained that He-Man's true identity must be kept secret because if Skeletor or other evil forces knew, then that knowledge would endanger all of those whom he loves.
New Adventures seriesAfter being informed by the Sorceress of Grayskull that he must travel into the future to defend the planet Primus from invaders, Adam goes before his parents, King Randor and Queen Marlena, and finally reveals to them that he is He-Man, transforming right in front of them, and that he must travel into the future to defend the planet of Primus. Once on Primus, Adam confides his identity in Master Sebrian, who takes Adam in and they formulate a plan wherein Adam will pose as Sebrian's nephew, a merchant.
Unlike the original series, Adam looks very different from He-Man, being noticeably shorter and younger than his alter ego, thus making any connection between the two less likely.
2002 seriesA teenaged Adam is brought to Castle Grayskull by Man-At-Arms on his birthday, where the Sorceress tells him of the prophecy that foretold his becoming He-Man to defend Eternia, which Adam initially scoffs at. After events come to pass, Adam realizes that the prophecy is true and returns to accept the power and duty when Skeletor attacks his people and kidnaps his father.
After this time, Adam regularly has the freedom to temporarily become He-Man whenever trouble arises. When he changes into He-Man, he also points the Sword of Power at his reluctant large green cat named Cringer, who subsequently becomes He-Man's sidekick Battle Cat. Besides Cringer, there are only three others who know the true identity of He-Man: Man-At-Arms, Orko, and the Sorceress.
Like the New Adventures series of the early 1990s, Adam is portrayed as being far younger and skinnier than his He-Man persona, again, making any association between the two less likely.
Prince Adam is portrayed as a, "happy-go-lucky" future heir to Eternia's throne. He has a strong human physique, and loves to wear shades of pink and purple. He has passion for freedom, and a love for adventure. He is a free spirit whose escapades are known throughout Eternia. In The New Adventures of He-Man, Adam is portrayed as an easy going young man rather than a wimpy, fun loving prince. In fact, Adam is shown behaving more like his alter ego He-Man, without much concern of people linking his behavior with He-Man. This could be representative of the idea of Adam as the true persona, or simply that Adam believes that since he and He-Man do not look alike, the people of Primus probably would not suspect them of being the same person. In the 2002 series, the earlier "happy-go-lucky" prince image is brought back; he goes so far as to show that initially Adam is a spoiled/carefree prince who does not think anything bad could possibly happen to him or his world. He carelessly scoffs at the Sorceress when she informs him of his destiny to become He-Man. When the reality of danger finally confronts him and endangers his father's life, Adam takes the necessary step to become He-Man. The act seems to have a maturing effect on him. Though he still retains some of his youthful naivety and continues to behave as a shallow fun lover so as not to be suspected of being He-Man (who behaves in a more mature and responsible manner than Adam), He-Man still displays Adam's sense of humor. It is shown early in the first episode following the initial pilot, The Courage of Adam, that Adam resents having to maintain a weak persona as himself. He feels that it damages his relationships with his father King Randor and with his lifelong friend Teela, and wishes to prove his worth beyond He-Man. In the end, he is forced to accept that he must maintain the facade for their safety.
Prince Adam's duties seem to be somewhat limited. He frequently practices his combat skills with Teela, who will often berate him for his carefree attitude. He is often seen loitering in the Royal Palace, with no pressing concerns. Adam often speaks with Man-At-Arms and Orko, but rarely does he have any duties outside of an occasional escort.
- Originally in the Masters of the Universe franchise there was no concept of a Prince Adam. This is evidenced in some of the earliest, original four mini-comics and that of the second wave. However, in the series of comics published by DC the concept of Prince Adam is debuted, and is subsequently used in Filmation's He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Ever since then, the concept of Prince Adam has been retained in the various Masters of the Universe media, the only exception being the Masters of the Universe film (although some fans have argued that he may simply not have become Prince Adam during any point of the film due to the danger of the situation).
- Unlike in the Filmation cartoon, there are several minicomics that only feature He-Man and not Prince Adam (only one Filmation episode, "Reign of the Monster", features He-Man and not Prince Adam). Adam's minicomic appearances are:
- Dragon's Gift
- Masks of Power
- He-Man and the Insect People
- Double-Edged Sword
- Slave City
- Skeletor's Dragon
- The Battle of Roboto
- Grizzlor: The Legend Comes Alive!
- Spikor Strikes
- The Stench of Evil
- Mantenna and the Menace of the Evil Horde!
- The Treachery of Modulok
- Leech: The Master of Power Suction Unleashed!
- The Flying Fists of Power
- The Terror Claws Strike!
- King of the Snake Men
- Between a Rock and a Hard Place!
- The Warrior Machine
- The Fastest Draw in the Universe!
- Snake Attack!
- The Menace of Multi-Bot!
- The Hordes of Hordak
- The Search for Keldor
- Revenge of the Snake Men!
- Enter: Buzz-saw Hordak!
- The New Adventure
- ↑ He-Man and the Masters of the Universe intro
- ↑ The New Adventures of He-Man intro
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Series Guide, p. 3
- ↑ He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Series Guide, p.4