Sunday, 30 December 2012

M.A.S.K. Annual

British Tradition dictates that if anything is popular - comics, toys, cartoons, movies, etc. - then an Annual will be produced at Christmas time.  M.A.S.K. falls into a number of these categories what with a successful Toyline, Comic and Cartoon.

Table of Contents -

  • Front Cover
  • Single Page - M.A.S.K. Emblem (Colour)
  • Twenty Three Pages - "When Opportunity Knox!" (Colour)
  • Four Pages - "Inside Job" (Text Based Story)
  • Eight Pages - Character Profiles (Colour)
  • Four Pages - "Black Gold" (Text Based Story)
  • Twenty Two Pages - "The Domain of the Dead" (Colour)
The front cover of the first ever M.A.S.K. Annual features Switchblade and Rhino in Battle with head shots of the Opposing Team leaders - Matt Trakker and Miles Mayhem.

"When Opportunity Knox" Starts off with Matt Trakker aboard an American Aircraft Carrier preparing to Dive to retrieve a Malfunctioning Strategic Defense Satellite.  As he is rescuing it, a V.E.N.O.M. Submersible arrives too late!

Once back onboard the Aircraft Carrier, the Satellite is loaded into the boot of Thunderhawk and Matt flies back to Boulder Hill to examine the Satellite.  As he, Alex Sector and Buddie Hawkes are about to inspect the Satellite, Miles Mayhem in Switchblade, Cliff Dagger in Jackhammer and Sly Rax on Piranha attack Boulder Hill allowing us to see Boulder Hills Array of Weaponry.

We cut to Duane Kennedy of the Peaceful Nations Alliance receiving a Snake Shaped Balloon.  Back to the main action and our heroes manage to overcome their attackers.

After all of that action, Matt heads off to take his adopted son, Scott, and his faithful sidekick, T-Bob, on a vacation.  Matt receives a priority message from Duane, just as Scott buys a Snake Balloon the same as the one delivered to Duane's office.  Scott and T-Bob are ordered back to the Hotel to wait on Matt's return.

Duane informs Matt that all of the Gold reserves at Fort Knox have been stolen - he summons the team -  Bruce Sato in Rhino; Brad Turner on Condor and Dusty Hayes in Gator.  When they arrive at Fort Knox, Matt's Spectrum Mask detects a hidden tunnel under the floor - Dusty's Backlash Mask makes an entrance to the tunnel.  As Dusty and Brad follow the tunnel, Matt and Bruce follow above in Rhino until they come across the Tunnelling Mole and the stolen Gold Bullion being loaded into a Hovercraft - only Sly Rax and Cliff Dagger are present.

At the same time sleeping gas, from the Snake Balloon, knocks out Scott Trakker as Miles Mayhem and two henchmen Kidnap him and T-Bob leaving behind an Egyptian symbol on the wall to be continued...

Miles Mayhem and his team attack Melville Penitentiary looking for Fernando Rosch in "Inside Job".  As they make off with him, 800 prisoners make their escape via a whole in the wall created by V.E.N.O.M.

When the M.A.S.K. team arrive, some of them go after the missing prisoners whilst Matt Trakker tries to figure out Mayhems devious plan.  He discovers that Rosch used to work for the Peaceful Nations Alliance as a Computer Expert before going into the private sector and was caught selling PNA secrets to Contraworld.

Mayhem explains his plan to Rosch and the rest of the team - he is being paid, in foreign currency, to bring down the US economy.

Matt Trakker deduces that whatever Mayhem is up to, Rosch will need specialist equipment from his old company - so they lay a trap.  After a battle, Rosch is captured and delivered back to the Penitentiary.

We then move onto eight pages of character profiles.

Giving us an insight into some of our favourite characters - their Codename, Age, Civilian Activities, MASK/VENOM role, their Masks & vehicles and their Special traits.

This is a great insight into the world of illusion that is M.A.S.K.

Matt Trakker is on his way to join up with his M.A.S.K. team in the Gulf of Mexico at the start of "Black Gold" when he receives a call from Duane Kennedy.  He informs Matt that Sheikh Mustapha, the High Potentate of Sharam, has come to America to buy some Racing cars and is carrying with him 27 million dollars in Gold Bullion.

Matt agrees to allow Brad Turner to shadow the Sheikh to make sure V.E.N.O.M. don't attempt to rob him.  As Matt Rendezvous with the rest of team when Switchblade and Piranha strike at oil rig - as M.A.S.K. intervene - the V.E.N.O.M. agents turn tail and run.

Matt then receives a call from Brad that a V.E.N.O.M. team have managed to capture the Sheikh.  Sensing that his team had been set up, Matt returns with the team leaving only Gloria and Calhoun in the Gulf in case he's wrong.

As they arrive back, a ransom demand has been sent to the PNA for the Gold Bullion - Trakker puts a plan into action and manages to rescue the Sheikh.

"The Domain of the Dead" continues where "When Opportunity Knox!" left off.  Matt and Bruce fly to Cairo in Thunderhawk to meet up with Professor Ginsburg to see if he can help him find the kidnapped Scott Trakker and T-Bob.

Unfortunately, Ginsburg and his team fall through a trap door within a Pyramid and come across "Anubis" and three "Mummies"...

As Matt and Bruce arrive at the museum for their meeting they are advised that Prof Ginsburg is unusually late when they hear a commotion and discover "Anubis" and the "Mummies" robbing the museum.  Despite Matt and Bruce's valiant efforts, the robbers escape.

As Matt is about to call up the M.A.S.K. team, he receives a call from Duane to advise he is sending a new member of the team to help out - Nash Gorey - an Egyptian Expert.  Jaques LeFluer in Volcano; Hondo MacLean in Firecracker (NB although text mentions Firecracker, the images are of Hurricane) and Julio Lopez in Firefly.

We then cut away to discover that "Anubis" is actually Miles Mayhem and his Mummies are actually Cliff Dagger, Bruno Sheppard and Sly Rax.

Nash Gorey arrives at the same time as the rest of the M.A.S.K. team and they set off after Anubis and the captives!  They encounter the V.E.N.O.M. agents and a battle ensues; firstly outside in the vehicles and then continues inside and the M.A.S.K. team manage to prevail over V.E.N.O.M.

As a collector of the comics, I had mixed feelings about the Annual.  It was exciting to see some new characters and vehicles as up until this point, the comic only centred on a core section for the first eight issues - we were only at issue number 5 at Christmas time - so would be another 4 issues before some "new blood" would appear in the comics.

The art in the comic is completely different from the comic and has a different feel to it.  Reading through it a number of times I got the impression that somethings weren't quite right - for example in "The Domain of the Dead" it refers to and incident that happened "last issue".

In the last page below, we only have a half page and Julio Lopez is making a comment that doesn't seem to fit -

Everyone around him is enjoying their success yet he is exclaiming "Hey you Guys!"

It wouldn't be until a few years later when I managed to get a hold of the American Four Part Mini-Series that I would find out my suspicions were correct and that the two story's were in fact the first two issues of the comic and there are a couple of missing Cells that would lead us into issue three.

As said before there is confusion over Firecracker/Hurricane and in the text story's vehicles are referred to as "The" Thunderhawk or "The" Switchblade as an example which I don't like.

Bruno's vehicle is called Stinger in the UK but is called Scorpion in the Annual (again I would find this out later on in the UK Comic run when this vehicle is introduced) along with some other errors - to many to list or be picky over.

Nevertheless, this Annual is pride of place in my collection!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

M.A.S.K. Issue 5

The Festive Issue 5 of M.A.S.K. UK available for sale the 20th of December 1986 - 2nd of January 1987.

Table of contents -
  • Front and Back Wraparound Cover
  • Five Pages - "Crisis at Christmas" (B&W with Pink Tint First Cell)
  • Four Pages - "The Great Head Robbery" Conclusion (Colour)
  • Five Pages - "Kamikaze" Part One (B&W)
  • Centre Page Spread - Gator
  • Five Pages - "Monster Mountain" Part Four (B&W with Blue Tint First Cell)
  • Single Page - Advertisement
  • Single Page - Letters Page
  • Single Page - Torch MASK Cutout
  • Five Pages - "Android Assault" (B&W with Blue Tint First Cell)
  • Single Page - preview of next issue
After my disappointment of last issues cover, my faith is restored in this issue.

Promising a "Power-Packed Christmas", we have a sneak peek of the first story as we see Miles Mayhem, Sly Rax and Cliff Dagger hijacking a Concorde aircraft.  Wearing Santa Outfits over their respective Viper, Stiletto and Torch Masks - Mayhem has the captain of the aircraft in a wrestling hold as Dagger and Rax assume a threatening posture.

The word "Venom" is burned into the side of the aircraft and unusually there is no issue number on the cover - this is the only issue that this happens.  Vibrate colours and action are the order of the day in this Venomous cover which leads us swiftly to...

..."Crisis at Christmas" sees a Concorde jet full of American tourists landing at Lapland for a Christmas lunch with Santa.  On it's return to London's Heathrow Airport, we discovered an empty plane except for the Pilot and Co-pilot bound and gagged in the Flight Deck.  The pilot tells the story of how three Santa's wore "horrible Masks" and took the passengers captive - one of them used their Mask to burn the word "Venom" with acid into the side of the plane - a message to the PNA that M.A.S.K. need to surrender to V.E.N.O.M.

Using Brad Turner's Hocus Pocus Mask, the team fool V.E.N.O.M. on Frozen Straits - then a PNA submarine, Nautilus, surfaces from under the ice between the M.A.S.K. and V.E.N.O.M. agents.  The submarine off loads Thunderhawk, Condor and Gator.

Meanwhile, Mayhem uses a detonator to try and blow up the cabin with the hostages, but it's signal is jammed by Nautilus.  A battle ensues and our heroes manage to free the hostages and have a party as Mayhem and his team end up near the North Pole with a frozen Switchblade and the prospect of a ruined Christmas.

Matt Trakker and Cliff Dagger in a deadly battle with their Masks in the conclusion of "The Great Head Robbery".  Conveniently, Matt has taken along both Spectrum and Ultraflash and puts the latter on to blind his opponnet and then runs at him head butting him in the stomach.  As Dagger falls back he knocks himself unconscious.  Matt picks dagger up and as they flee from the Head of The Statue of Liberty, he orders Brad Turner, who is circling in Condor, to blow up the head as they are exiting.

Buddie Hawkes has repaired Thunderhawk in time for Matt to go after V.E.N.O.M. and Contraworld agents who are fleeing with stolen cash and bullion on a Cargo Ship.  He fires a magnetic bomb that disables the ship allowing the police to intervene and capture the Contraworld agents but Mayhem and his mob manage to escape.

Three days later, looking for spare parts for T-Bob, Scott Trakker finds the original head of The Statue of Liberty and the great lady is restored to all of her beauty and splendour!

American Businessman "Brett Miller" is being given a guided tour of a Car Factory near Tokyo in Japan when all of a sudden a gang called The Savage Sumos sweep through destroying everything in their path.

When Matt Trakker and Bruce Sato arrive to investigate they are quickly called away to the heart of Tokyo where The Savage Sumos are creating havoc!  Using their Masks they quickly help contain the situation as the gang are herded into the back of awaiting police vans.

We then cut away to a meeting between Miles Mayhem and a mysterious Japanese Gentleman called Hidetadi - we discover that plans are afoot to destroy the corrupt society - does Hidetadi know who he is working with as he unveils his adopted "son" Kamikaze!

We then move onto the Centre Page Spread - one the highlights of every issue.  This weeks issue Features Gator - M.A.S.K.s jeep that turns into a Hydroplane.

In the UK comic, Hondo MacLean didn't get his own vehicle until later on in the run so until then he was always Co-Pilot of Gator whilst Dusty Hayes is it's Pilot. 

If you take a look at this picture and compare it to the box for the Gator toy on Albert Penello's website (click here) it looks like the artist has almost copied the image from the box, just putting their own look to it.

The Giant of Geissmuhl awakens from it's slumber from under the ice in the Bavarian Alps as the fourth instalment of "Monster Mountain" kicks off.

Miles Mayhem uses his Viper Mask and a new Telepathic function learnt from Ancient Papyrus Script to control the beast to do his bidding.  The Assembled M.A.S.K. team go after both the beast and V.E.N.O.M. and a battle ensues - who will win the day?  The story continues.

Our last story this issue, "Android Assault", is a continuation from Issue two's story "Snake Farm"!  After stealing Agricultural Worker Robots, Mayhem has converted them for use as weapons as they attack Boulder Hill - Headquarters of our M.A.S.K. team.

Despite all of their weaponry and technology, the M.A.S.K. team resort to using Scott Trakker's trusted Sidekick T-Bob to save the day.  He exits Boulder Hill and goes into the battlefield and reprogrammes one of the robots so that it turns against its master, Miles Mayhem in the process destroying his remote controlling the robots.

I'm not too sure if it was just because it was a Christmas issue or not, but I always liked this issue of MASK when I was a kid.  It has one of the most recognisable covers of any issue and was a change to NOT see Matt Trakker on the cover.

The Kamikaze storyline stuck in my head for a while afterwards as well.

I'm not too keen on the idea of Viper getting the "Telepathic Function" to control the beast in "Monster Mania" but apart from that, a very good issue.

Anyway, I hope that you all have a great Christmas and New Year.  I check my stats most days and see that I have had a lot of interest from around the world - UK, USA, Canada, Indonesia, Germany, France, Malaysia, Ireland, Netherlands, Austria, Australia, China, Korea, etc.  Feel free to leave some comments and let me know what you think of my site.

Thank you,


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Interview with Erik -

As many of you will know by now, there are many M.A.S.K. sites on the web. is one such site that has an array of information on the world of Mobile Armored Strike Kommand.

Recently, I was interviewed for this great site and thought that I would return the favour -

maskcomics:  Who are you?  My name is Erik, and I’m from Southern California, in the good old U.S. of A. Next year, sadly, I’ll be turning 30 years young. Oh yeah, I run

maskcomics:  Did you collect the DC M.A.S.K. comics growing up?  Funny enough, I didn’t. I say it’s funny because I was (and am) totally in love with M.A.S.K. and I’ve been a big comic collector since I was about 6 or 7 years old. I even worked in a comic book store for a number of years. It wasn’t until I had been working at the comic book store that I even learned M.A.S.K. had a comic book adaptation. Of course now I own all the issues (actually if you want to be technical I own two copies of each issue).

maskcomics:  Do you own the Toy Insert Comics Featured on  your website?  I do. Like almost everything else on my site, if you see it, I own it, with a couple exceptions. I scanned those toy comics and posted them up hoping to let some people relive the fun they had with M.A.S.K. as a kid.

maskcomics:  Did you ever collect any other variants such as from the UK or Germany?  I don’t spend a lot of effort on non American versions of toys. Not because I don’t want them, but because I want to finish my US collection first. That being said, I do have a few variants figures that I’ve picked up. I love the crazy repaint jobs on them. The one UK variant that I did track down on purpose was T-Bob. I think it’s really cool that he came in his own box for the UK release. In the US Scott and T-Bob were just put out on a blister card, like an Adventure Pack. Hopefully down the line I can pursue more of the non-US versions and add them to my collection.

maskcomics:  Which was your favourite issue of the comic?  It’s kind of funny. My favorite issue is one I don’t own. A friend of mine in the UK sent me some scans of issues he had. One in particular I loved, The Adventures of Cliff Dagger. It’s just a silly one page thing where Dagger ends up in the mud, but I love it. It’s also one of the few things on my website I don’t actually own!

maskcomics:  The Adventures of Cliff Dagger appeared later on in the run of comics so my blog readers can look forward to more on that in the future.  Will you be featuring more information about the comics on your website?  I definitely hope to. The friend who sent me that Cliff Dagger page sent me some others as well, so hopefully I can get those posted up. Unfortunately it’s pretty difficult to get any of the UK comics over here, so I’m mostly limited to the American releases. I do hope to get the DC series up on my site. At least the covers if nothing else.

maskcomics:  Any other information to end with?  Well I want to say thanks for showing interest in my site and I’m flattered you wanted to talk to me. For any readers out there I’d love to see your comments on my site. It lets me know what I’m doing right (and wrong) or just to know you’re out there. A couple personal M.A.S.K. bits of info regarding myself, for anyone interested; my favorite character is Brad Turner with Buddy ‘Clutch’ Hawks a close second, my favorite vehicle is Condor, and my favorite episode is The Magma Mole. Anyone who wants to contact me can reach me through my email: and if for some lucky reason Seth Green reads this, I’d love to do a Q&A about M.A.S.K.!

maskcomics:  I'm sure that if Seth is reading they'll get in touch with you soon.