Interview with Daniel Benedict, creator of MOTU Classics Castle Grayskullman
At the 2012 San Diego Comic Con, Mattel revealed the winner of their Masters of the Universe Classics Create-A-Character contest. The winner announced was Daniel Benedict for his creation Castle Grayskullman.
For his win, Castle Grayskullman will get a release in the 2012 Masters of the Universe Classics 30th Anniversary Collection toy line. He will receive the same treatment as the other figure, even getting sculpted by the Four Horsemen.
The new figure was on display at the show in the the Mattel display cases. He’s a very interesting design, featuring the look of the famous castle from Masters of the Universe. His face is that of the castle’s, his shield is from the drawbridge, and even his swords are taken right from the designs seen on the flag that stood atop the vintage Castle Grayskull playset. It’s a very creative idea for an action figure, and I immediately felt that this felt like a great figure for a “create-a-character” contest win.
Soon after the event, I was contacted by the winner himself, Daniel Benedict. I took this opportunity to ask him if he’d be willing to do an interview with me, and he obliged.
Read through to find out Daniel’s reaction to winning, and to see his incredibly creative “vintage” toy commercial for Castle Grayskullman!
Pixel Dan: Hi Daniel! Thanks for agreeing to this interview. First and foremost, let me congratulate you on winning Mattel’s Create-A-Character contest!
Daniel Benedict: Thanks! And thanks for wanting to interview me.
PD: Let’s start with a question I’m sure many folks would like to know: Are you a life-long Masters of the Universe fan?
DB: If by ‘fan’ you mean ‘overly obsessed without hope’ then yes…very much.
PD: So, what can you tell us about the design process for Castle Grayskull Man? Was he a childhood idea, or something you thought up recently?
DB: [He's] New. I had the original castle on my desk while I was coming up with ideas. It was my inspiration obviously.
PD: Did you have a story in mind for this character? If so, did it translate to his bio Mattel is printing on the back of his packaging?
PD: I have to say that the weapons are a big favorite of mine. I love how you integrated parts of the vintage playset into an action figure. Was this something that you had planned from the beginning when designing this character? Or did it just kind of work out that way?
DB: Yes, that was the plan from the beginning.
PD: Were there ever any plans to give him any additional Grayskull-related accessories? Perhaps the tower blaster?
DB: I thought about it, but I figured I’d better keep the number of accessories down since we were supposed to use a lot of shared parts.
PD: Did you design any other characters for the contest, or was Grayskullman your only entry?
DB: I submitted 5 total.
PD: What did you think your chances were of winning? And what was your reaction when you found out?
DB: My chances, about -0.00000000000001%! My reaction?… [This sums it up]
PD: Did you find out when everyone else did at SDCC, or were you notified sooner?
DB: I found out on the [He-Man.org] forums that morning. I guess there was a mistake or leak on the Matty site or something.
PD: I saw the hilarious commercial you made for Castle Grayskullman! What prompted you to do that? I noticed you had a custom vintage figure of Grayskullman. Is that something you recently created just for that commercial?
DB: I made the commercial just for the heck of it. I’m proud of the fact that my character won, so I thought I’d have fun with it. And yes I made the custom for the commercial. I put play-doh on an old he-man figure and painted it. By the way, I put Mosquitor in there just for you, Dan!
PD: Any final words you would like to give on your winning creation?
DB: Thank you to everyone who has been so kind on the forums regarding my win. It truly means so much that people actually like this character. And if you don’t, just give the poor guy a chance. He’s been locked in a room alone forever. Give him a break!
Oh and there’s CastleGrayskullMan.com too. Nothing new or fancy. It’s just there.
PD: Thank you Daniel! I know I and many others are looking forward to adding your creation to our collections!
Daniel’s Castle Grayskull Man “vintage” commercial: