I wanted to know what the regular readers of DC Comics Presents got out of the Masters of the Universe crossover, and in 1982 the only way to do that was to check the letters page. Here’s the relevant page from DC Comics Presents #52:
The late, legendary letterhack T.M. Maple leads the pack and sets the tone, generally praising the Masters of the Universe material and expecting more spotlight on the franchise down the line. Maple also notes, as I did, how DC seemed to be taking the plunge into licensed works the way Marvel had over the preceding five or so years.
Next is Alexandra Peers, which is interesting to me because Alexandra Spears was a prominent member of the He-Man fan community in the early 2000s, though I suspect that's pure coincidence. She remarks that the names are silly, something that the next letter writer also says. I'm not sure I entirely buy the "sexist" remark, but I can kind of see where she's coming from. What's particularly interesting is that Tamsyn O'Flynn (according to the Grand Comics Database, she's the "TOF" answering the letters here, though she's not credited in the issue) shares the concern, but more or less alludes to the idea that three-year-olds are kind of the target market in this case. As someone who was three years old at the height of He-Man's popularity, you can see how well that worked.
W. Gregg Stamey, Jr. praises DC's licensed materials over Marvel's, praises He-Man over G.I. Joe, and compares the story favorably to Nightmaster. The story left him with questions and intrigue, which shows at least that it did its job as a hook for further adventures.
So, more positive and less baffled than I would have expected, though there's also the inherent bias of these being the letters DC chose to print. But given a positive response even from die-hard old-school comics readers, it's baffling to me why the licensing fizzled out after five comics.
But fizzle it did, until the flame reignited across the street three years later. But before we can dig into that, we'll be taking a look at DC's Masters of the Universe volume 1!