King Hiss

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King Hiss
Masters of the Universe character
First appearanceRevenge of the Snake Men, 1985
Created byMattel
Portrayed byBrian Dobson
AliasHssss of the Viper House

King Hiss (spelled King Hsss in the 2002 version, and sometimes King Hsssss) is the villainous king of the Snake Men in Mattel toyline He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Although he never appeared in the original animated series by Filmation, Hiss made a belated animated debut in the 2002 revamped He-Man animated series by Mike Young Productions, this time as the major villain of the second season. In both incarnations his default appearance is human but he is capable of shedding his skin revealing everything from his waist up to be a writhing mass of serpents. Hiss possesses a host of somewhat vague magical powers.[2]


According to the original toys' minicomics, King Hiss was the ruler of a race of interstellar conquerors. Although his people were a race of humanoid snakes, Hiss for some unexplained reason had the default appearance of a human, a notional disguise to hide his true form of an upper body comprised several intertwined serpents (although one head is clearly central and dominant, the 2002 MYP animated series depicts all five heads speaking in unison). Hiss and his Snake Men were fighting a protracted war of conquest on the planet Eternia, when they were eventually overcome by the combined magic powers of the planet’s Elders.

The Elders' magic flung King Hiss and his army into a limbo-like dimension. Trapped outside of normal time, Hiss and his minions did not age. Centuries in limbo with his serpentine underlings also gave King Hiss the ability to remove his human skin and become a hideous being composed of squirming snakes. After milenia of imprisonment, King Hiss was freed by his right hand man General Rattlor and a descendant of the original Snake Men, Kobra Khan. Skeletor’s base Snake Mountain had formerly been King Hiss’s headquarters (and the petrified body of Serpos, the god of the Snake Men) and he, King Hiss, temporarily took Snake Mountain over. The two villains formed an uneasy alliance, so they might conquer Eternia and destroy its champion He-Man.

King Hiss was unable to free his entire army, however some Snake Men rallied to him. They were, Kobra Khan, Tung Lashor, Rattlor, Snake Face, and Sssqueeze (Sometimes called Tanglor). Hiss and his Snake Men seen to be referential to the Serpent-Men from Robert E. Howard's, Conan the Barbarian. (The Masters of the Universe toys were originally going to be a Conan toyline until Mattel saw the adult content in the Conan movie.)

King Hiss' personality in the 2002 cartoon was evil lawful. While indeed power hungry and ruthless, Kobra Khan described him as being as generous to his friends as he was ruthless to his enemies. Unlike Skeletor who regularly abused and humiliated his minion, King Hiss respected his minions, giving sincere praise and congratulations as appropriate. In return, the Snake Men were fiercely loyal to him, ignoring any personal ambitions they might have in order to serve their leader out of sincere devotion. (Quite the opposite of Skeltor's Evil Warriors.)

The Connection Between Thoth-Amon and King Hiss[edit]

Since Mattel placed the idea of the snakemen from Conan the Barbarian, King Hiss' template from Conan is rather Thoth-Amon. Thoth-Amon doesn't trust Thulsa Doom, and the same thing happens as King Hiss doesn't trust Skeletor.

It seems in the cartoons that it is implied that Skeletor has control over some snakemen like Thulsa Doom did in the comics. Whether or not Skeletor worships Set (of Snake Mountain) still remains to be seen.

Like Thoth-Amon he was also imprisoned into the void where he did not age, instead he grew in anger. He also worshipped a god named as Serpos, who is loosely based on the snake god Set.

In the 2002 version of He-Man, fans of Conan who may have known Thulsa Doom and Thoth-Amon would see the same kind of distrust between Skeletor and King Hiss. In addition, the last episodes have Thoth-Amon summon Serpos, who is loosely based on the snake god Set (from Conan), and that the snake men there ate human flesh, but they ate their victims directly without making human soup. [2]

Unlike Thoth-Amon, King Hiss never relied on any ring to give him immense power and he could become a five-headed serpent in combat and had vast sorcerous powers. However like Thoth-Amon he worships the snake god Serpos (Set).

Also, Snake Mountain would look like a Cult of Set headquarters however currently run by a skull-headed necromancer known as Skeletor (based on Thulsa Doom). Like the movie version of Thulsa Doom (who highly resembles Thoth-Amon), he also had a consort who suspiciously looks like King Osric's daughter but is a real villain named Queen Hiss.

Conan the Adventurer's Influence on 2002 He-Man[edit]

In He-Man 2002, King Hiss resembles Wrath-Amon from Conan the Adventurer. The very artifact which changes men into snakemen is similar to the episode where Wrath-Amon attempts to change Conan into a snakeman; here he tries to do the same to He-Man.

The last episodes for the second season featured Hiss and his snakemen releasing their snake god Serpos. They too were like Wrath-Amon - they wanted to enslave the human race. King Hiss also has the "change into the living image of Serpos" which is similar to that of the bloody Conan the Barbarian movie.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002 series)[edit]

In the 2002 series, The Sorceress describes King Hsss as wielding magic as great of that of the Elders. King Hsss was defeated by Hordak and his minions in the times of King Grayskull.[3] Ages later, King Hsss and his henchmen were sealed away beneath Snake Mountain (which King Hsss built) by Zodak, to be released during the reign of King Randor by Kobra Khan, General Rattlor, and Evil-Lyn.[4] [5]

Other Media[edit]

King Hiss appeared in the game He-Man: The Most Powerful Game in the Universe.[6]


Comic Book Resources listed the character as part of He-Man: 15 Most Powerful Masters of the Universe.[7]

King Hiss was voted No.11 in The 14 Least Masterful Masters of the Universe by Io9.[8] IGN recommended that King Hsss be a character introducted into any potential Masters of the Univerese movie franchise.[9] King Hsss was voted 7th out 7 in the 7 Stupidest He-Man Characters by Total Film.[10]


  1. ^ "MTV Geek – Masters Of The Universe Classics King Hssss Issss Sssso Awssssome!". MTV Geek. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  2. ^ a b Staples, Val; Eatock, James; DeLioncourt, Josh; Gelehrter, Danielle (25 August 2018). He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Dark Horse Comics. ISBN 9781506701424. Retrieved 25 August 2018 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ "REVIEW: Masters Of The Universe Classics King Grayskull". MTV. Retrieved 2014-08-26.
  4. ^ "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: The Complete Series (2002) DVD Review". IGN. Retrieved 2014-08-26.
  5. ^ ""Masters of the Universe" Season Two Slithers To A Successful, If Premature, Ending". Toon Zone. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  6. ^ Buffa, Chris. "He-Man Update Adds Battle Armor, King Hsss". Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  7. ^ "He-Man: 15 Most Powerful Masters of the Universe". 2017-01-28. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  8. ^ "The 14 Least Masterful Masters of the Universe". io9. Retrieved 2014-08-26.
  9. ^ "MAKING A HE-MAN MOVIE WORK". IGN. Retrieved 2014-08-26.
  10. ^ "The 7 Stupidest He-Man Characters". Total Film. Retrieved 2014-08-28.