“I have the POWER!!!”
With those iconic words, He-Man burst onto the living room televisions of children all throughout the 1980’s. He-Man, and the Masters of the Universe (“MOTU”), remain a huge part of 1980’s pop and toy culture. With the popularity of 1980’s culture soaring, He-Man has seen a resurgence as well. As with any 1980’s toy property, there are hard-core fans who follow the toyline throughout good times and lean times (GI Joe anyone?). However, the He-Man brand has proven its strength time and again, most recently with the success of the Netflix She-Ra show, and now the announcement of a new He-Man show on Netflix. These are exciting times to be a fan of the MOTU universe.
But first a word about the convention itself. Power-Con is a two day show, taking place on Saturday and Sunday, this year on August 17-18, 2019. Power-Con has been going on for several years. It has grown over time, and this year the convention moved into a larger space at the Hilton Anaheim hotel, near Disneyland. The move appeared to be successful, as the Hilton Anaheim offers several large meeting rooms for panels, costume contests and product reveals. The Hilton Anaheim is no stranger to hosting pop culture fan conventions, as it is one of the primary hotels for Wonder Con, a very large convention that is run by Comic-Con International, the same group that runs San Diego Comic-Con.
Integral to any toy convention is the dealer room, and Power-Con had a strong dealer room with a variety of toys both vintage and new. Brand-specific conventions such as Botcon for Transformers, Joecon for GI Joe, Power-Con for He Man, Power Morphicon for Power Rangers, and others, typically have dealer rooms that focus primarily on toys for the brand being celebrated at that convention. In fact, brand-specific shows often require dealers to stock a certain percentage of toys from the brand being represented at that particular show. However, one can often find toys from other brands as well.
In addition to MOTU toys, booths at Power-Con carried Transformers, GI Joe, A-Team, Ghostbusters, Voltron, Japanese robots, and toys from many other iconic properties. Rarer international toys and prototypes could also be found, in addition to animation cells, prints, and vintage He-Man items such as books, pajamas, backpacks, and other treasure from the 1980’s. The dealer room was particularly busy on Saturday, with crowds reaching a point where buyers carrying large purchases had to carefully navigate their way through the thicket in order to bring their new acquisition back to their hotel room or car. Some memorable sights included watching three attendees carefully transport a GI Joe Defiant Space Shuttle complex through the crowd. The large Jabba’s Sail Barge was also available in the dealer room, though there was no word on whether a lucky attendee walked away with that impressive set.
Many successful conventions offer show exclusives, and Power-Con is no exception. A number of MOTU exclusives were available, with attendees queuing up early in hopes of purchasing the desired exclusive toys. Power-Con also utilized a pre-order system for exclusives in order to help manage lines. Popular companies with impressive merchandise at their booths included the Four Horsemen and their famous sculpts and Mythic Legions line. Also in attendance was Super 7, a toy company well known for licensing many beloved 1980’s properties such as Robotech, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Karate Kid, Alien and MOTU.
Con-goers who attended panels were treated to news about exciting new toys that will be released over the coming months. Super 7 discussed their Ultimates line which covered Thundercats and TMNT. The four Thundercats Ultimates that were discussed included Lion-O, Mumm-Ra, Panthro and Jackalman. The four TMNT Ultimates discussed included Raphael, Splinter, Baxter Stockman and a Foot Soldier. Super 7 also announced their Conan Ultimates line, which will include Conan The Barbarian, Rexor and Guard.
Mattel provided exciting news as well. Mattel’s MOTU Origins line, which includes 5-inch scale articulated upgrades of vintage He-Man characters, will feature a new Battle Cat toy. This Battle Cat will have improved leg movement, and is due out in Fall 2019. Mattel also announced a MOTU/WWE wave, which will include mashup characters such as Macho Man At Arms, Rey Mysterio Stratos, and New Day Man E Faces.
Many fans also came dressed as beloved characters, again a sign of a strong convention. Many children also participated in cosplay, with the new Netflix She-Ra appearing to be a popular character choice.
Sunday was less crowded and busy, however the marquee highlight of Sunday was the appearance of Kevin Smith. The Clerks director appeared at a panel to reveal the new Netflix He-Man show on which he is the show runner. Afterwards, Kevin Smith walked around and posed for pictures with fans, creating a memorable experience for grateful attendees.
Power-Con continues to thrive, and offers a fun experience for what now appears to be a mid-size convention that is steadily growing in size.