Slave City has He-Man at odds with the ruler of a kobold kingdom where our hero must fight for his freedom.
In the minicomic, the kobolds were purple-skinned muscular monsters that matched He-Man in size, but that’s a far cry from the typical take on kobolds.
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, kobolds are “An often mischievous household elf in German folklore” or “a gnome that haunts underground places.”
A more “mainstream” kobold can be found in recent
“Dungeons & Dragons” books, where the cowardly little beasties are barely over two feet tall and known for setting devious traps rather than facing opponents directly.
The minicomic also featured a character that seemed to be a “test run” for a
possible action figure. Garn, a slave, is costumed in a Native American motif and sports a mowhawk. Given his proportions and styling, you can just see the artist’s preliminary sketches for an action figure.
The minicomic was later used for the plot to a “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” cartoon, albeit without any kobolds.
You can read a description here:
Here’s how He-Man.org describes the comic:
While walking through the Evergreen Forest, Prince Adam and Cringer come across a group of Kobolds taking a Native American woman to the City of Targa. Adam and Cringer quickly change and stop the kidnappers. Afterward, the woman, Princess Rana of Targa, thanks them, as she says that otherwise she would have become a slave. He-Man is shocked to know that slavery exists on Eternia, and finds out that the leader of the Kobolds, Lodar, has enslaved her entire people.
He-Man decides to go to Targa with Rana to stop Lodar, but must first cross a river flooded due to rain. In the process, a boulder hits He-Man, knocking him out. Rana and Battle Cat race to help him, but too late — the Kobolds have captured him. The purple warriors see the two watching, and capture them as well!
Later, He-Man awakens in a dungeon next to a member of Rana’s people named Garn, unable to remember his name. Suddenly, the Kobolds burst in and demand that the two come with them. They bring them to a throne in front of Lodar, and demand that they bow. But even without his memory, He-Man refuses to bow to him.
Lodar, apparently a man in a mask, demands that Garn and the stranger fight as gladiators in the Arena of Death, promising that the victor shall go free. During the combat, Garn sees the stranger’s death as his passport to freedom, and both battle fiercely. Eventually, Garn clubs He-Man in the head, which revives his memory. He-Man ends the fight decisively, but will not kill Garn. Instead, he climbs into the stands after Lodar! Though Lodar puts up a good fight, He-Man eventually prevails.
Afterward, Lodar and the Kobolds are banished underground, where Lodar no longer will be able to use magic without the sun and the moon. He-Man, triumphant, heads off to new adventure.
1984, Series 3.
Packaged with Orko, Prince Adam, and Zodac.