Two of my most favorite decks of cards of all times are these Heraclio Fournier. Of course He-Man and the Masters of the Universe are two of my favorite toylines, so any related article is for me very interesting. But I am also a collector of Heraclio-Fournier card decks, so my interest is double.
The first deck "Masters of the Universe" was released in 1988, followed by the "He-Man" deck in 1991. Both comprise 32 cards, plus the cover card with the instructions printed on the back. Both decks are very similar, with very few differences. Beside the design of the cards, the card back has different colours, (purple or orange), the rules belong to two different games and also the numbering of the cards is different.
Let’s stop at this last difference.
The Masters of the Universe deck has its cards numbered from 1 to 32, and then in the lower part of the card, we can read the name of the character, object or place depicted, plus some text in brackets. The first 12 are “Master Bueno” (or Good Master), the cards numbered 13 to 23 are “Master Malo” (or Bad Master), numbers 24 to 29 are “Horda del Terror” (name given in Spain to the Evil Horde), 30 and 31 are “Vehiculos” (or vehicles), and card 32 is “Varios” (or various). To the rules of the game, the Evil Horde, vehicles and various cards all belong together to a third group, so we may summarize, there are cards belonging to the “good”, “bad” and “others” groups. Note that there are some inconsistencies, like Hordak being marked “bad” instead of “Evil Horde” or Zodac being marked “bad” as well.
The He-Man deck uses the more common division in four families with 8 cards each (for example red 1, red 2, ... up to red 8, then yellow, then green and finally blue). In this case, all red and yellow cards represent characters or vehicles belonging to Skeletor and the bad guys and the blue and green families are showing only characters and vehicles of He-Man’s team.
And now, let’s focus on the illustrations.
The "Masters of the Universe" deck shows very interesting concept art drawings of many characters from waves 1 to 4. These illustrations were unknown at the time, what made it even more interesting. I have seen some of these in comics from Egmont (from the UK) or Ehapa (Germany), but I do not know where do they came from. None of them is taken from the cardbacks (except Zodac). I have checked the “The Art of He-Man and the Masters…” book, but I found none of them… any real expert who can put me on the right track here?
The text that go with each figure are sometimes freely chosen from the appearance of the figure, probably because Heraclio-Fournier did not have much background information about this or that figure. Note for example that the artwork for Stinkor shows the “Stench of Evil” over his head, and it vaguely looks like fire. In the description it is mentioned, that it owns a fire armour that makes him almost unreachable. This is just an example, but there are others.
And now, let's continue with the "He-Man" deck. Note that most cards show a picture of the actual toy, with only a couple of exceptions (both Battle Punch He-Man cards, green 1 and green 3). Note that the figures that represent the actual toy are taken from official Mattel catalogues and promotional leaflets. Interestingly, the cards show even the last figures released in 1992, which were never available in Spain.
This deck has no text, except for the names of the characters or vehicles.
Sorry for the quality in the He-Man deck pictures, they were taken several years before the MotU deck, and I didn't put much care in them.
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- Name: MASTERS DEL UNIVERSO and HE-MAN
- Year: 1988 and 1991
- Company: Heraclio-Fournier (Spain)