Saturday, October 16, 2010

31 favorite monsters: Mantenna


While most other kids were wild about He-man and She-ra in the mid-80's, I was under six years old and still preferred such "baby" shows as Glow-worm Friends and Winnie the Pooh. My only experience with the characters of He-man's universe was with the action figures, and I can only remember owning one of them. Fortunately, it's still the only one I'd ever need; a freaky, big-eyed bat-bug whatsit hilariously named Mantenna.

I always adored this figure's two-lobed head, veiny ears, lidless stare and gaping, ragged facial orifice, though Mantenna's best feature is also his action feature - extending eye stalks!

I've always loved the aesthetic of eyeballs reaching or dangling from big, gaping sockets, and I think Mantenna might be primarily to blame. Knowing nothing about the character in cartoon form, I always played with him as one of the good guys - a physically frail but highly intellectual alien hero.

It was many years before I'd finally see Mantenna in action on She-ra: Princess of Power, and was delighted to learn that he's actually six-limbed, like an insect, which was never apparent with the figure's four legs sculpted as two, though I was slightly let down by his more humanoid facial features. Cartoon Mantenna is a villain, obviously, but one of those lovable underdog villains who might not even be a villain if he just had better friends.

...Of course, I'd just pick whichever side Shadow Weaver was on myself.