Debunking commonly believed myths about Skeletor

17Nov08

Myth: Skeletor got his name because he is an animate skeleton.
Fact: Skeletor is plainly not merely a skeleton, as, despite his skull-like facial features, he possesses the powerful, Herculean physique common to most males of the planet Eternia, any random sampling of whom resemble the onstage lineup at the Mr. Olympia contest. Nor is he called “Skeletor” because he has a skeleton; otherwise, “Skeletor” would surely crop up as a perennial favorite on lists of the most popular names given to Eternia’s baby boys, most of whom also possess skeletons. Skeletor took his name after an accident that burned off his face, exposing his skull. One might point out that “Skulltor” might be a more fitting moniker. However, Skeletor has taken his name as a result of self-loathing caused by the body dysmorphic disorder (or “bigorexia”) that is common in muscle-obsessed Eternian society, which causes him to see his physique as scrawny when he looks in the mirror, no matter how hard he works out.

Myth: Skeletor’s face was burned off by acid flung in his face by a spurned suitor who had been rebuffed in his proposal of marriage.
Fact: You may be thinking of Destro, the arms dealer who wore the metal mask in the G.I. Joe cartoons and had a tumultuous relationship with Cobra Commander. According to canon, Skeletor’s facial disfigurement was caused when he flung a vial of acid at his brother, the future King Randor, who raised his shield to protect himself, thus causing the acid to splash back into his own face. However, a more intriguing possibility is proposed here, where it is suggested that Skeletor was at one time a cast member of the children’s television program You Can’t Do That on Television. This would explain a lot. For instance, Skeletor was fond of torturing foes by imprisoning them in his infamous Slime Pit, where green goo would be allowed to slowly seep over the manacled victim; although this would cause no more than mild discomfort to even the most fastidious, cleanliness-obsessed subject, and although this substance is considerably less viscous, there is an obvious parallel to the green slime used on You Can’t Do That on Television. Moreover, Skeletor’s facial disfigurement is plausibly attributable to a fellow cast member tricking him into saying the word “acid”, with horrific but inevitable results.1

Myth: Skeletor uses magic to see and speak.
Fact: As a sufferer of massive corrosive facial trauma, Skeletor doesn’t merely possess an empty skull; rather, he retains the organs he formerly possessed therein. Skeletor’s eyes are often not depicted due to limited animation techniques, but are there nonetheless, though, like those of actor Ron Perlman, they are quite deep-set. Likewise, Skeletor is the proud owner of a tongue, which he uses enthusiastically for the purposes of speech, taste, and cunnilingus like any normal Eternian male. Because of his lack of lips, however, Skeletor does use a limited degree of magic to assist in the articulation of bilabial and labiodental sounds, which he would otherwise be unable to pronounce without lisping.

Myth: Skeletor had a lifelong hobby of painting clowns, having started his career in the circus.
Fact: The son of a circus clown, the American comedian Red Skelton donned the greasepaint as a teenager before going on to success in vaudeville and then establishing himself as a top radio, television, and film star. Dogged by personal tragedy, Skelton increasingly sought solace in his lifelong love of painting in his later years, finding comfort in painting circus scenes evocative of his youth. Red Skelton is often conflated with both Skeletor and Captain America archnemesis The Red Skull due not only to the similarity of their names but also to the active involvement of all three men in Freemasonry.

Myth: Skeletor was once rushed to a hospital emergency room to have over one gallon of semen pumped from his stomach.
Fact: This despicable rumour is absolutely false. For starters, it would take at least three full days of sustained fellatio to accumulate this much semen. Further, semen is completely non-toxic and would simply be digested harmlessly. And lastly, Skeletor’s grinning rictus of exposed teeth makes scrape-free fellatio impractical if not impossible. This vile slander is nothing more than a vicious lie spread by enemies of Skeletor, almost certainly He-Man.2

Myth: The inspiration for Skeletor was ripped off from Robert E. Howard’s Conan novels.
Fact: He-Man is widely thought to be have been based on Conan, after television executives balked at the sex and violence of Howard’s original sword and sorcery tales. Skeletor, however, is a clear rip-off of Darth Vader. Consider the following: Both live in a fantasy setting where magic and technology co-exist. Each rules from an imposing fortress: Skeletor from Snake Mountain, Darth Vader from the Death Star. Each wields a type of magic sword; Skeletor occasionally possesses one half of the enchanted Power Sword, while Darth Vader uses a light saber. Each wears a cape. Each was previously horribly maimed in a battle with a hero with whom he was once close, and who went on to become a respected elder: Skeletor by King Randor, Darth Vader by Obi-Wan Kenobi. Each got his start as the protegé of a pale, evil master whom he eventually turned against: Skeletor served Hordak, leader of the Evil Horde, while Darth Vader served Senator Palpatine, the future Emperor. And each was secretly related to heroic brother and sister twins who were raised on separate planets; Skeletor was uncle to He-Man and She-Ra,3 while Darth Vader was the father of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa. Clearly, while the heirs of Robert E. Howard’s estate may have a case against the makers of Masters of the Universe for infringement upon their intellectual property, they’d better get there before Lucasfilm’s lawyers.4

* * *

1. This also explains the high turnover in cast members, with over 100 child actors appearing on the show between 1979 and 1990, many never to be seen again.
2. Further rebuttal must be made to He-Man’s disgusting lies about Skeletor. That kind of stuff is really frowned on in Eternian bodybuilding culture, and accusations like that could really ruin a guy. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with it, or anything. It’s just that He-Man’s the one walking around with the page-boy haircut, not Skeletor. Who’s the one who wears a pink vest some of the time and bondage gear the rest of the time? He-Man, not Skeletor. Who’s living a secret life under dual identities? Is it Good-Old-Always-Skeletor-All-the-Time? Or is it He-Man/Prince Adam?
3. On the other side of the family, He-Man and She-Ra’s mother, Queen Marlena, is an astronaut from Earth whose full name is Marlena Glenn. This is often considered an homage to the famous astronaut and U.S. senator John Glenn, although it may also imply that He-Man and She-Ra are directly descended from John Glenn. With no offence meant to Mr. Glenn, however, it would be even more appealing to think that they are descended from Buzz Aldrin, who, at age 72, punched a filmmaker in the face for insulting him and claiming that he faked the moon landing. Mr. Aldrin is a true he-man if ever there was one.
4. All that said, there’s a case to be made that the makers of Xena: Warrior Princess ripped off She-Ra. She-Ra started out as a member of the Evil Horde, then defected and became good; Xena led a horde of warriors as an evil warlord before changing her ways. Each had a love interest who was a bard; She-Ra had the archer Bow, while Xena had Gabrielle.



7 Responses to “Debunking commonly believed myths about Skeletor”

  1. 1 B

    Aw wow, I loved YCDTOT! I forgot how bizarre some of those sketches were.

  2. 2 B

    Also, the script they reviewed on Latino Review for the doomed Masters of the Universe project sounded amazing – http://www.latinoreview.com/news.php?id=4765

  3. I heard a rumour that Skeletor had a twin brother, who he is estranged from. Is this also true? Why wouldn’t he want to talk to his twin brother?

  4. 4 Peter Lynn

    I’m not sure if King Randor and Skeletor were twins (though they obviously run in the family), but after the acid thing, I can see why they might not have been on speaking terms.

  5. Very informative. Now if we could find out which muppet gave birth to Beastman. I am thinking it was Sgt. Floyd Pepper, the bass player from The Electric Mayhem.

  6. 6 Jonathan Noll

    Skeletor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Skeletor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Skeletor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Skeletor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Skeletor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Skeletor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Skeletor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Skeletor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Skeletor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Skeletor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Skeletor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Skeletor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Skeletor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Skeletor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Skeletor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Skeletor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. “Clearly, while the heirs of Robert E. Howard’s estate may have a case against the makers of Masters of the Universe for infringement upon their intellectual property, they’d better get there before Lucasfilm’s lawyers.4”

    I think you’re really understating the similarities between Howard & He-Man, not least the fact that Skeletor is really, really similar to Thulsa Doom. Both are sorcerers, both are the nemeses of muscular warrior heroes, both have skulls on a corpselike body, both have a flair for the dramatic. Skeletor’s backstory may be inspired by Vader, but his appearance & design is unquestionably similar to Doom.

    I don’t know if there’s any truth to the “He-Man was originally going to be a Conan toyline” rumour, but I do know that Conan Properties Incorporated (which has since been replaced by Conan Properties International) did sue Mattel for copyright infringement fairly early on, but were unsuccessful in receiving any damages, mostly because they made such a mess of proceedings.


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