Every hero needs a villain to fight and Skeletor makes a good one. Skeletor is a controlling "Gar" being who rules the dark side of Eternia. He would love nothing better than to be one of the Masters Of The Universe. Thankfully, he loses the more important battles. He was previously known as Keldor and was involved in black magic and learned the black arts from a satanic being named Hordak. After Skeletor betrays Hordak, he retreats to Snake Mountain, which he himself built. He is sinister in his original incarnations and then becomes more of an incompetent figure as time goes on. Mattel's Skeletor Masters of the Universe action figure kept both Castle Grayskull and delighted kids busy and he was a significant animated character in the later cartoon.
The evil Skeletor gets his power from black magic. As such, he earned the title of "Lord of Destruction". His betrayal of his own teacher only shows part of the depth of depravity of this Gars character. His Mother was a Gar, making Skeletor an outcast from a royal castle on Eternia. This caused Skeletor, then called Keldor, to roam the countryside in search of knowledge. What he found was a sorcerer named Hordak. This event caused Skeletor to use the black arts to try and take over Eternia. In some stories about Skeletor, he is said to have absorbed the power of the "Great Eye" and becomes transformed into a warrior with golden armor. It does not prevent him from being defeated by He Man though. In other episodes, he journeys to the Moon Nordor and finds a powerful crystal. He also absorbs the power from this trinket and becomes more evil. It winds up changing his appearance again, including giving him red eyes. Skeletor's intense craving to control others is also a source of his evil power.
Skeletor and the other 1982 Masters Of The Universe action figures are 5 ½ inches tall. This was a departure from the standard 3 ¾ inch figures of the day. Mattel gave him blue skin and a purplish outfit. His head is covered in a hood and his skull face is painted yellow. Skeletor does not have regular feet, but the feet of something that looks like a heavy bird. They have three toes with claws on them, but he also has human hands. He comes with a purplish looking staff topped with the figure of a ram's head in the 1981 version. His purplish sword is included as well. The same color protective belt covers the area between his thighs and underneath there are tiny black shorts. If you look into the eye sockets Mattel painted them with red details.
The original Skeletor action figure pivoted at the waist. The waist contained an elastic spring which brought He Man back to a front-facing position. This twisting movement was created to give Skeletor and other Masters Of The Universe figures a "power punch" while children played with him. The elastic band would wear out with continued use.
The original versions of Skeletor sometimes had "half boots" that only had the front half of his boots painted. Otherwise, an unused Skeletor can be found on "8 back" or "12 back" bubble packages. The difference between the "8 pack" and the "12 pack" is the number of Masters Of The Universe characters found drawn on the back of the package. The "8 pack" will have eight characters and is more collectible than the "12 pack".
Skeletor was the second most popular action figure for most children when he came out, right behind He Man. He may be hard to find in high grade condition. Sale prices for a 1982 Skeletor action figure range from around $8 dollars for a loose figure in poor condition up to around $300 to $400 dollars for an unopened and ungraded Skeletor 12-back. 8-back Skeletors can reach upwards of $3000 dollars for one in excellent condition.
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