Roberto Verdugo and his legacy at MABAMEX

MABAMEX (Mattel Baja California Mexico) was the principal manufacturer of Mattel USA in the 80’s in Mexico. This company (which still exists), is located in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. MABAMEX manufactured many toy lines such as Barbie, See ‘N Say, Hot Wheels and of course figures and vehicles for the Masters of the Universe toy line, even though those were only destined for the United States market and were not actually sold within Mexico.

Roberto Verdugo is originally from Sinaloa and studied in Guadalajara, Jalisco where he spent some time working in the shoe industry. In 1980 he moved to Tijuana to look for work and found MABAMEX, dedicating 15 years of his life to working for that company. He began as a production engineer in charge of receiving assembly material and shipping to the distribution centers in the United States.
Mr. Verdugo was kind enough to dedicate a few hours to the foundation to discuss a bit about his work at MABAMEX in the 80’s.
With the launch of production on the Masters of the Universe line in 1982, Mattel USA decided to include MABAMEX as part of this new project. During the first few months, the company only handled painting, assembly, and packaging of the product since the injection process was being done in China and then sent to MABAMEX as MABAMEX did not have the molds for the plastic injection process.
After making some adjustments to manufacture their own molds (tooling), MABAMEX invested in over 100 plastic injection machines for mass manufacturing, thus completing the toy-making process in house from the injection to packaging and delivery. However, the printing for the packages and the comics was still being done in the United States.
Mr. Verdugo told us that when a new product arrived for production, he always took the first samples off the line to his children so they could play with them. These pieces are now a treasure for collectors as the figures can be slightly different than the common production figures due to color and paint variations or even mold defects.

Mr. Verdugo also told us that the Masters of the Universe line has been one of the most successful from Mattel as he remembers having seen literally millions of figures in his hands. He knew it was the product of successful sales. After a rewarding participation in the manufacturing process for MABAMEX, he spent his last two years in the corporate offices of Segundo California where he ended his career with Mattel in 1994.

Art Prints portfolio by Mark Taylor debuting at San Diego Comic Con

They do exist!  Mark Taylor’s original 1981 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe B-Sheet character artwork!

Super7 and The Power and The Honor Foundation have collaborated to bring you the most important images from your favorite 1980’s toy line.  This exclusive 11 art print portfolio features amazing color images by Mark Taylor in a custom portfolio case.

Each print is a a huge 11″ by 17″ and worthy of framing.
Prints include:

Beast Man
Battle Cat
Castle Grayskull

Limited to 250 pieces and available at Skeletor’s Lair at SDCC July 20-24 for $49.99.

Meet Mark Taylor himself at Skeletor’s Lair at 3pm Saturday July 23 and get your portfolio signed.

Skeletor’s Lair is located at the corner of 8th Avenue & G
Downtown San Diego, California.

Check out Super7 website and Super7 Facebook page for more news and information

Errol McCarthy artwork gallery

Back in 2012, The Power and The Honor Foundation’s Emiliano and Josh were able to find out about Errol McCarthy’s involvement with the Masters of the Universe line. Until that time, the name of the most prolific MOTU artist was completely unknown to the fan community. Thanks to Errol’s incredible kindness, we got to meet him, interview him and scan all the original artwork he still owned and that we later purchased.

We’re very proud to present a giant gallery of the artwork Errol created for Masters of the Universe currently in our collection, along with some cool extras, for Big Jim, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and other brands.

You can check out the gallery here or using the link on the menu on the right.

You can also read our original article about Errol here.

Meet Errol McCarthy

He is perhaps the most prolific Masters of the Universe artist of all time. His artwork is featured on more licensed products than any other artist. He created much of the vintage cardback artwork that we all know and love. For 30 years, his name remained unknown to all He-Man fans around the world. Meet Errol McCarthy, one of the visionaries that shaped the world of Eternia!

Not only did Errol illustrate the mood-setting and often action packed illustrations found on the cardbacks, but he also illustrated the original licensing art style guides. In short, Errol created hundreds upon hundreds of pieces, and his artwork was licensed onto hundreds upon hundreds more. If you own any original piece of MOTU vintage merchandising, there are good chances one of Errol’s illustrations is featured on the product or the packaging.

As a teenager Errol developed an interest in anything with an engine. His high school buddies had real hot rods and many, many evenings were spent cruising, and occasionally actually picking up girls. He soon realized that his plans that involved placing V8 engines into certain vehicles were (most of the time) limited to just being plans, whereas his ability to illustrate with great proficiency meant that he could create anything that his mind could visualize![singlepic id=1 w=320 h=240 float=right]

A short stint in the Air Force as an Aviation Cadet convinced Errol that he was not the military type, and so in the late sixties he attended the Art Center College of Design in California, where he met future Mattel employee Mark Taylor. Their friendship was born out of their love for comic books, something that was frowned upon at art school. The two men had initially met when Errol approached Mark upon seeing him reading a comic book. When Errol made a comment, Mark instantly assumed this was a sarcastic attack and took offense. However, it soon became apparent that the two men had a great deal in common (both men met their wives at the college, too).

Errol’s artistic journey led he and his wife, Mitzi, to become freelance artists that have worked on such historic toylines as Big Jim, Hot Wheels, Barbie, Masters of the Universe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and many more! Although he was officially used as a Boys Toys artist by Mattel, he would often go to any meetings that he thought might be interesting, such was his passion for illustration and design.

In 1981 Errol was brought onto the Masters of the Universe brand as a freelance artist by his friend Mark Taylor. His ability to produce a great deal of work in a short space of time resulted in him working at Mattel for many years. One of Errol’s most iconic illustrations was that of Castle Grayskull. The image was reused time and time again, and can be seen incorporated on numerous other MOTU illustrations, where Errol simply photocopied and pasted the castle in the backgrounds. In order to maintain the house style that Mattel were often aiming for Errol would utilize Fred Carrillo’s drawings of He-Man’s head on his own submissions. This way he knew that he would not be asked to redraw the face of the most powerful man in the universe!

During his time at Mattel he was also contracted by the Bates company to illustrate a plethora of artwork for a variety of products. However, for some reason, a great deal of these products were never produced, leaving us with a great deal of unseen artwork!

Errol was asked to join Mattel by Mark Taylor in 1989 where he immediately contributed to The New Adventures of He-Man toyline. Working side by side with Mark, his concept artwork revealed that Taylor was thinking of going into a darker, more hand-to-hand battle concept for the line. He left Mattel in 1995.

The Power and The Honor Foundation is proud to house high quality scans featuring all of Errol’s artwork. Within Errol’s portfolio are the original cardback illustrations for the Powers of Grayskull line. Not only are He-Ro and Eldor included, but also a plethora of unnamed figures  which took the parts reuse concept to an entirely different level!. At some point the Foundation will share all of these wonderful pieces with you!

Errol is still an incredibly active artist. As a matter of fact, when sending us sample scans of his art, he even digitally corrected the artwork from the original Evil-Lyn cardback because he thought that He-Man’s neck was too stumpy!

The Power and The Honor Foundation is grateful to Errol and Mitzi for allowing us to visit them in their home, and spend the day reminiscing about He-Man, their time at Mattel, and most importantly of all, the friendships they built.

The Foundation is also proud to present a small gallery of samples of his Masters of the Universe work:

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