• Aidan Cross

The name Light Spinner comes from the UK Comics. NOT from Filmation.

Updated: Jul 23, 2019






Did I make myself clear enough?


Okay, with that basic point out of the way, this first blog post on the MOTU UK Comics Fan Site will be aiming to clear up a longstanding confusion regarding Shadow Weaver's original name being 'Light Spinner' prior to her joining the Horde and becoming Shadow Weaver. The UK She-Ra and MOTU Comics published by London Editions came up with the name Light Spinner, and the name was exclusive to the London Editions comics and had nothing to do with the Filmation show (which did give Shadow Weaver an origin episode, but did NOT mention what her name was prior to her transformation). Yet for 20 years now there has been a common error within the MOTU fan community involving fans - and numerous websites - claiming that the name Light Spinner came from the Filmation cartoon series, which it certainly did not... and for many fans, particularly fans of the UK Comics, it can be very frustrating to see Filmation being given the credit for one of the London Editions team's ideas. (And as I'm not a fan at all of the look of Shadow Weaver's human form in the Filmation show, it can be equally frustrating to see people tagging pictures of the Filmation look as 'Light Spinner'.) The name Light Spinner has now gained even wider recognition after being used by Mattel in their bios for the MOTU Classics toy line, and even in animated form having been used in the new She-Ra and the Princesses of Power series being produced by Dreamworks... so it is time to clarify that this name is the product of London Editions and not Filmation, and establish just how the misunderstanding came about.

Light Spinner as depicted in MOTU Issue #23

Issue #23 of the UK MOTU Comic, in January 1987, published a "Secret Files of Scrollos" strip revealing some of the backgrounds of the Horde members. While the female Horde villains rarely appeared in the MOTU Comic due to not being part of the MOTU toy line, this strip made a brief mention of Shadow Weaver, revealing that she was once a young sorceress called Light Spinner, before Hordak transformed her into the evil Shadow Weaver. It was this strip that introduced the name Light Spinner to the MOTU mythos.

Light Spinner in She-Ra Issue #13

A month later, Issue #13 of the UK She-Ra Comic, published February 1987, contained the story "Tales From the Crystal Castle: A Shadow Over Etheria" which told the origin of Shadow Weaver, and expanded on what had been revealed in the MOTU comic, revealing that she was formerly a sorceress-in-training called Light Spinner, who trained alongside Castaspella in the kingdom of Mystacor. Despite her ambitions to become a great sorceress, Light Spinner did not want to put in the necessary work required to achieve the powers she desired and instead sought an easy way to power - which evoked Hordak to take advantage of her misguided nature and use a combination of Horde science and magic to transform her into the villainous Shadow Weaver. Although only published in the UK, with the rise of the internet a decade later, the story was to become famous among MOTU fans worldwide for being probably the only story in any media to depict Shadow Weaver without her hood.

Light Spinner's transformation to Shadow Weaver in She-Ra Issue #13, depicting Shadow Weaver unhooded

Now prior to the UK Comics covering Shadow Weaver's origin, the cartoon series She-Ra: Princess of Power by Filmation had produced an episode in 1985 titled "The Price of Power" which told Shadow Weaver's origin in flashback, revealing that she had been a young sorceress being trained under the wizard Norwyn, before betraying her allies for the Horde and being transformed into Shadow Weaver. The UK Comics' origin story for Shadow Weaver does share a few basic similarities with her Filmation origin and it is possible the UK Comics team had looked to the cartoon series for inspiration - but the Filmation episode DID NOT mention what the character's name was before she became Shadow Weaver. She was simply a generic sorceress given no name prior to her transformation, and absolutely NOWHERE in the episode was the name 'Light Spinner' mentioned. On the below link, you can view the whole "Price of Power" episode and you will see that absolutely nowhere is the name 'Light Spinner' mentioned:


So why are so many fans under the impression that the name Light Spinner came from the Filmation show, when the name came purely from the UK Comics, which were never published across the Atlantic? How did the name Light Spinner become so well-known among international fans when the UK Comics were a relatively obscure canon compared to the Filmation series? Well to understand how the misunderstanding came about, we have to fast forward 10 years to the late 90s, by which time the internet was on the rise albeit very much in its infancy, and the MOTU fan community was likewise in its early stages as a plethora of websites appeared across the net paying tribute to the MOTU franchise...

I can't seem to find any screengrabs of the old he-man.org/ctyner homepage, but the image on the left greeted fans in the late 90s as they visited the main He-Man website and precursor to he-man.org. On the right is the old website as shown on the Internet's Wayback Machine.

In those embryonic stages of the MOTU fan community, the most prominent MOTU website was www.he-man.org/ctyner, an early version of what was to become he-man.org. The main discussion forum used by fans was the message board on this site, which was populated by a small group of MOTU and POP fans - the online fan community was indeed small back in those days; from memory I would say there were only about 20 fans at most who posted regularly on the forums at this time. Among these fans was a fellow UK citizen of mine called Jessica Thomas Clenshaw, with who I am still in touch to the present day. Jessica posted on the MOTU forums under the name 'Light Spinner'; a name that was unfamiliar to most MOTU /POP fans internationally - while it was the norm for many fans to use the name of a MOTU or POP character as their online moniker (I was Mosquitor for instance, a name I still use on the forums today) many fans simply assumed Jessica's moniker had nothing to do with MOTU. I immediately knew where it was from and asked Jessica if she had got the name from the UK Comics, and she clarified that indeed she had. A short while later, in a discussion about Shadow Weaver's origins, Jessica mentioned that Shadow Weaver's original name in the UK Comics had been Light Spinner, and the reaction of the international fans was one of surprise - in fact some of them even thought she was joking at first. But Jessica stood by her word and before long, in the absence of any name having been given to Shadow Weaver's original form by Filmation, the fans were accepting the name Light Spinner as SW's original moniker.

Now already at this stage, many fans were erroneously making the statement that the name Light Spinner had been used in the Filmation series, and the confusion was emerging - I distinctly remember one thread on which a board member recounted SW's Filmation origin using the name, and when another member pointed out the name was not mentioned in the episode, the prior member responded with "Oh no, it didn't say her name was Light Spinner. It was just apparent that it was." What the fan's exact logic behind this claim was I don't know, but see how the confusion emerged? Another factor worth considering is that back at this time, the Filmation cartoon shows were considered the definitive MOTU/POP canon by most fans, and though many comics and storybooks had contradicted the cartoon, most fans preferred the idea of one single MOTU continuity rather than multiple versions of the story across different media, and so if an obscure UK Comic claimed SW's original name was Light Spinner, that was good enough for most fans to accept it as her name within the Filmation canon, in the absence of any alternative in the cartoon itself.

So the seeds were sown for this misunderstanding very early on, but the confusion was to intensify following the appearance of a website dedicated thoroughly to Shadow Weaver, roughly around the year 2000. Miraculously, the site is still online although its creator vanished from the MOTU/POP fan community almost two decades ago: http://www.angelfire.com/sd/shadowweaver/lightspin.html

Suzanne's Shadow Weaver Website, from the early days of the online MOTU/POP fan community c.1999

The creator of this website was an Australian She-Ra fan called Suzanne, who was a particularly enthusiastic fan of Shadow Weaver. Suzanne was a lively and much-loved presence on the MOTU/POP forums and wanted to collect all the Shadow Weaver information she could for a website she was planning that would be completely dedicated to her favourite character. So I was more than happy to oblige, and told her about the UK Comics origin, and how the comics gave her the original name Light Spinner, and also showed her without her hood. Suzanne was very excited about this information, and I provided her with a scan of the panels from UK MOTU Issue #23, which she used on the page linked above (although the image link is now broken). As you will see from the text on her website, although she used the image of Light Spinner from the UK Comics, Suzanne went on to describe the character's origin from the Filmation cartoon, only using the name Light Spinner as taken from the UK Comics; conflating the two origin stories. I did make it explicitly clear to her that the name Light Spinner was from the UK Comics and not Filmation, but like many fans, she preferred the idea of one single definitive continuity as opposed to multiple different versions, and so was happy to discard the discrepancies between media for the sake of having a 'complete' Shadow Weaver origin, with the character's former name and her appearance under the hood filling in the gaps left by the Filmation cartoon.

All very well that people preferred the idea of a single continuity (even to this day many fans often express their wish that there could be one single storyline for MOTU rather than the ever-expanding 'multiverse' of different versions that exists across countless media), but in those early internet days, when the MOTU/POP cartoons were yet to be released on DVD and were still pretty rare, such websites were the sole source of information for many fans, and so the misinformation quickly spread, with many different websites erroneously stating that the name Light Spinner came from the Filmation cartoon. And while the eventual release of the shows on DVD in 2005 finally rescued the cartoons from obscurity and allowed fans worldwide to see the episodes, this did not change the misconception - by now, the name Light Spinner was well-known enough that many fans became convinced they'd heard it mentioned in the "Price of Power" episode even when they hadn't - that's just the way mental confabulation works - and so even when corrected, many fans were reluctant to abandon their conviction that the name Light Spinner came from the Filmation series.

Fast forward to the 2010s and the name Light Spinner finally became acknowledged by Mattel, when it was used in Scott Neitlich's bio for Shadow Weaver, accompanying her figure in the Masters of the Universe Classics toy line. It is likely that Scott was aware of the name's origins in the UK Comics, for he incorporated many ideas from the comics into his bios (his Grizzlor and Modulok bios were particularly heavily inspired by the UK Comics versions) and was instrumental in bringing the London Editions team's ideas to a wider audience. Jump ahead to the present day and we see the name Light Spinner finally being used in animated form, with its usage in the Netflix series She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, currently being produced by Dreamworks - it is even the title of a season 2 episode detailing Shadow Weaver's origins, marking the first time that an idea from the UK Comics has made it into one of the animated cartoons. (I hope that the writer Noelle Stevenson and the rest of her team were aware that the name came from the UK Comics and not Filmation - it is of course most likely they got the name from the MOTU Classics bios and the MOTU Encyclopedia by Dark Horse.)

So there we have it, the background to how one of the UK Comics' ideas came to be widely misattributed to Filmation. So could it be that had Jessica Thomas Clenshaw never used the name Light Spinner on the MOTU forums back in the 90s, and had Suzanne's Shadow Weaver site never existed, the name Light Spinner would still be relatively unknown to this day? Objectively speaking, it is likely the confusion would have happened regardless of the contributions of these two to the MOTU fan community - even without them, someone would have been certain to have shared Shadow Weaver's UK origin story with the international fans at some point, and in the absence of any other name being given for Shadow Weaver's pre-transformation form in the Filmation show... most likely the name Light Spinner would just have fit nicely and the confusion would have happened anyway, making the surprise popularization of the name an inevitability. Ultimately we can thank Filmation for NOT providing a name for the character in their own storyline and thus allowing the UK Comics' innovation to seep through and gain widespread acceptance by the fan base and the official story media.

But after 20 years of the confusion, it is about time we cleared it up once and for all, and gave full recognition to Brian Clarke and his team of writers at London Editions, the true originators of the name Light Spinner. So if you see anyone misattributing the name to the Filmation series, feel free to share this blog post with them to set them straight. Or alternatively, let Batman do the job with the below meme. ;-)

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