I always hated He-Man. An action figure that time has largely forgotten, he – sorry – ‘He’ was the lord of Castle Grayskull, and spent the 1980s battling Skeletor, whom he always defeated, and irrelevancy, which ultimately vanquished him.
The other boys in my primary school collected He-Man much as they collected head-lice, but I always despised his page-boy blonde haircut and bulging muscles. His appearance would have reminded me of Clive James’ famous description of Arnold Schwarzenegger as a ‘condom full of walnuts’ if I’d known what a condom was at the age of eight.
I mention He-Man not just to pat myself on the back for rejecting plasticised machismo early in life, but because that’s where my lifelong antipathy towards fantasy literature began. While many of my sweaty teenage boy classmates spent their lunch hours swapping Magic: The Gathering cards and rolling AD&D dice with an unfeasibly large number of sides, I was never interested. Continue Reading →