January 5th, 2007


Vive les comics.

He-Man was a big deal for me and my childhood pals. I learned to draw quadriceps and lots of other muscles (most of them real!) from watching He-Man cartoons, and the MOTU dramas my friends and I staged during recess went a long way toward making school bearable. So it was with great excitement when, at the age of nine or ten, I discovered that my best friend, Brett, had acquired some He-Man production art.

Brett's dad was an optometrist, and it happened that a patient of his, Mr. Raddatz, was a REAL LIVE animator who ACTUALLY WORKED ON HE-MAN. Mr. Raddatz was nice enough to give Brett some Xeroxed model sheets from the show, along with an impressive pencil sketch of He-Man's sidekick, Orko. Brett kept that sketch pinned to his wall for many months -- maybe even years -- and I paused to admire it whenever I visited. This was in the days before either of us had been to an animation gallery or comic convention, and before the internet made animation art more accessible, so Mr. Raddatz was our sole ambassador from that mystical world where cartoons were concocted. The very name, "Mr. Raddatz," took on the magical quality of a "Mr. Tumnus" or "Mr. Toad," to my mind. I never met the man myself, but like Santa Claus, the gifts he'd left were ample proof that he was alive and making magic somewhere.

Recently, after watching a He-Man cartoon for the first time in many years, I got curious and decided to do a websearch on kindly Mr. Raddatz. Was he really an animator? Whatever became of him? For that matter, what was his first name?Collapse )