A TOY LINE FAR AHEAD OF ITS TIME
The appeal of the Power Lords can be traced back to its origins in 1982 when famed toy creators Ned Strongin and Len Mayem contacted legendary Sci-Fi and Fantasy artist Wayne Douglas Barlowe and hired him to help create a toy line.
Wayne Barlowe is a transcendent talent who became a household name in the Sci-Fi community after creating and illustrating the award-winning Barlowe’s Guide to Extra-Terrestrials in the late seventies. His amazingly detailed and imaginative depictions of aliens were unparalleled and helped earn him the moniker Audubon of the Otherworld.
Barlowe has since gone on to design movie characters for the Harry Potter, Avatar, and Hellboy movies. He’s also got hundreds of published works under his belt and has written and illustrated a number of his own books including Expedition, the book that was made into the Discovery Channel’s television special Alien Planet.
Originally Strongin and Mayem wanted to base the toy line on characters from Barlowe’s Guide to Extra-Terrestrials but Barlowe didn’t own the rights to those characters so the world ended up getting something far, far better — original aliens that came directly from the strange mind and fevered imagination of Barlowe himself.
Barlowe’s efforts resulted in a ground-breaking toy line so odd, so freaky, so ahead of its time that some parents refused to buy it for their children, fearing that its nightmarish offerings would irreversibly warp their pint-sized progeny. Thankfully, not everyone felt the same way, and many children ended up getting hooked on these fantastic, horrific, creepy cosmic creatures.
One such kid who grew up playing with and loving Power Lords was Eric Treadaway, who would later grow up to be one of the most well-known action figure creators of our time.
Treadaway reminisces, “Power Lords was the first time I realized how alien an alien could be. Up until the point that I first saw Power Lords, an alien was a humanoid creature in a robe or a jumpsuit, but these creatures took my imagination to the next level. The designs have stuck with me for years, and had a huge influence on the way that I look at creature design.”