Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas from M.A.S.K. Comics

Just a little message to say Merry Christmas to you all and thank you for all of the support over the past year.

I know I've not made many posts recently and I was hoping to have caught up by now so that I would have covered the Christmas issue to coincide with today, but been busy with other things.

So, how has your Christmas been?  I've had an enjoyable day with my wife, Heather, and son, Reece.  At the in-laws for dinner and just back.

Got some great presents - mainly Blu Rays - but one thing not in my stocking was a live action version of M.A.S.K.

I'm sure that this would be on every M.A.S.K. fans list to Santa.

Perhaps 2014 will bring us one step closer to a live action M.A.S.K. Movie - so we need to keep the momentum going with the Bring Back M.A.S.K. campaign.

Remember there is more over at the M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page as well.

I'll catch up with you all soon with a post on the next issue of M.A.S.K. Comics UK so will see you all then.

Thank you,


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Follow up from my previous post "Apologies"

I was off work on Tuesday morning as I had to take my son for his Flu Immunisation.  That's when I posted my last two blogs - Apologies and M.A.S.K. Comic UK Issue 17.

Not long after I posted these blogs, I noticed an add on a Buy/Sell page on Facebook - someone was selling a Laptop - cheap.  They mentioned that the built-in Wifi wasn't working and that it was running Windows 8.

I viewed that night and bought it for £40.

After a little bit of playing with it - I managed to get the Wifi working.  I knew from experience of my old defunct laptop that there is normally a "Soft" on switch in addition to the physical "Hard" switch! Clearly the seller wasn't too clued up on Laptops to realise this!

I was a bit dubious about Windows 8 being on it when I bought and - and this was well founded as appears to be an unregistered copy.  Although, having a shot of this copy of Windows 8, I'm glad I'm not keeping it - not as user friendly as previous versions of Windows.

I'm well used to XP and our work computers have just been replaced with Windows 7 which I really like - Windows 8, however, unless you have a touchscreen device, is hopeless!

There is a product key for Windows Vista on the laptop so I'm hoping to get this reinstalled on the machine but until then, I've installed Ubuntu - a free Linux operating system.  Haven't quite figured everything out with it yet, but so far I'm impressed with it.

This should allow me to resume my normal blogs - as long as I have the time!  With Christmas coming up it's always a busy time of the year and family is far more important!

Now for a few updates on M.A.S.K.

Trademarks still seem to be an issue in the world of M.A.S.K. just now.  Hasbro and made some inroads into acquiring "M.A.S.K. - Mobile Armored Strike Kommand" and an updated version of the M.A.S.K. Logo.

However, there has been a recent application from a third party to Trademark "V.E.N.O.M. - Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem".  

 The Application has been made by "wetta frederic".  After a bit of research on the Internet, I found that this seems to be some kind of French Comic Book Company.

I'm not sure how this will work out - I have contacted Hasbro to let them know, so I'm not sure if there is anything they can do to stop this.  I also don't know how this will affect my site or the many other M.A.S.K. fan sites that mention V.E.N.O.M. and Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem as we could be seen as being in breach of Trademarks by mentioning these terms.

This would also be problematic for a return of M.A.S.K. if Hasbro own one Trademark and a third party owns the other.  All the meanwhile, I know how Hasbro can obtain all of the M.A.S.K. trademarks back.

I have offered this information to them so I'll need to wait and see.

With this in mind, I'm still looking for help with my bring back M.A.S.K. campaign.  I made a post on the M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page a while back that garnered a lot of likes but not very many shares.

I'm keen for all the readers of my blog and Facebook Page to get behind this campaign as a sign of solidarity and support so that Hasbro or any other company who may have rights to M.A.S.K. will make an effort to bring it back.

So, if you haven't already, please go to Bring Back M.A.S.K. Campaign and share your support with our Facebook campaign and let us show Hasbro that we really mean it!  Share it with as many people as you can and make comments to keep this campaign alive and remember to hashtag everything with #assembleMASK #Hasbro

Jason and Wyatt over at the M.A.S.K. Movie site and Erik from Boulder Hill have joined forces once again to bring you scans of the US M.A.S.K. Comic Mini-series.   There are also some reviews with a read-a-long podcast still to come!

After I was approached by someone looking to turn my script into an audiobook - myself and Darren Gregson came up with some ideas for a new M.A.S.K. line - however, with all of the Trademark issues going on surrounding M.A.S.K. not sure how that would work.

Anyway, I hope that you will all hear from me soon now that I have my replacement laptop up and running and is more reliable and quicker than my last one!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

M.A.S.K. Comic UK Issue 17

The 6th to the 19th of June saw Issue 17 of M.A.S.K. Comic UK.

Table of Contents -

  • Front and Back Wraparound Cover
  • Five Pages - "Inside the Volcano" Part 1 (B&W with Pink Tint First Cell)
  • Four Pages - "Royal Rescue" Part 1 (Colour)
  • Five Pages - "T-Bob the Hero!" (B&W)
  • Centre Page Spread - Bruce Sato with Lifter
  • Five Pages - "Operation Vandal" Part 1 (B&W with Pink Tint First Cell)
  • Single Page - Advertisement
  • Single Page - Letters Page
  • Single Page - MASK Art
  • Single Page - Advertisement
  • Four Pages - "Young at Heart" Part 3 (B&W)
  • Single Page - preview of next issue, adverts, info on this weeks free gift

In the Battle of M.A.S.K. versus V.E.N.O.M. - this weeks front cover deals with that age old issue - whose free sticker is the best?

Sly Rax's or Dusty Hayes'?

The front cover of this issue doesn't disappoint as we see Dusty Hayes in Gator and Sly Rax battling it out re the free stickers to complete the poster given away free with issue 15.

T-Bob is on the front cover directing you to a full page back cover featuring our rotund robot that he suggests you could cut out and make your own sticker - thanks for the offer; but no thanks, T-Bob!

You may notice a couple of things from the Table of contents above -

Firstly, after the conclusion of so many stories last week, we have the start of three new serial stories this week, so that should be good.

Secondly, despite one story titled "Inside the Volcano" and another "Operation Vandal", neither of them feature the vehicles that have their names in the titles - bit of a disappointment!  Volcano hasn't been introduced in the comics yet and the Split Seconds toys don't actually make their way into the comic (thankfully, as they're not really that good)!

As we start "Inside the Volcano" we have a full page dedicated to Matt Trakker's exploits as a Narrator shows what a Great Hero Trakker is.  On the next page, there is narration over three cells discussing who much of an evil Genius Miles Mayhem is.

The Narrator? J.J. Kinsale - sitting on the floor with two of his henchmen looking on.

I'd say that this artist is one of my favourites, however, when I was reading these when I was a kid, I never liked the character of J.J. Kinsale and his henchmen.  The same artist created Kamikaze that featured in earlier issues, and I feel that these characters are very "2000 A.D.esque"

Don't get me wrong, the artistry is amazing - it's just that I never felt that these characters fitted in the M.A.S.K. world.  

This character has respect for Trakker and Mayhem but he wants to prove to the world that he his the most powerful man in the world - and he has a plan!

He sends his henchmen to kidnap Scott and T-Bob - four huge henchmen to kidnap a 10 year old kid and his robot?  Really?

Anyway, Kinsale calls Matt to inform him he has Scott and that he's to come alone to his Island free him.  He then makes a call to Mayhem to "sell" his captive to him.

Both Trakker and Mayhem take the bait, and end up trapped in Kinsale's Artificial Jungle "Inside the Volcano" and they face off against each other as Kinsale watches on on a large screen!

Prince Sabana, heir to the throne of Melina, is at the top of a ski jump as we start our "Royal Rescue".  His Security Officer, Hakin, advises that he cannot protect the young Prince if he goes down the ski jump.

As he leaves the jump, he is confronted by Switchblade with a net underneath it and the young Prince is taken captive!

Back in the capital city of Melina, the people are out in protest as they hear about the capture of Prince Sabana.  His father, King Hazan, feels under pressure to abdicate but our M.A.S.K. team of Matt Trakker, Bruce Sato and Brad Turner come to his aid and persuade him not to.

The King's trusted aide, Hamed, draws a pistol on the King and our M.A.S.K. team but Bruce Sato is on hand with his Lifter Mask to take care of the problem.  We find out from Hamed that he is loyal only to Miles Mayhem and is forced into giving our M.A.S.K. team information that the young Prince is being held captive only ten miles from where he was taken.

Hamed is turned over to the King's Guards, however, as our M.A.S.K. team leave, we discover that the Guards are loyal to Hamed and we are left with the King being thrown over a balcony and killed!

In an unlikely turn of events, we now have "T-Bob the Hero!"

In each issue of M.A.S.K. there are normally 5 stories - each drawn by a different artist and each with their own unique style and vision of M.A.S.K.  

Normally, T-Bob is depicted as a bipedal robot who can turn into a Motorscooter!  In this strip, however, he his a three wheeled Motorscooter/robot as he appears in toy form.  As mentioned on my review of issue 16, there is one image of him in this strip whereby he looks like Old B.O.B. from Disney's The Black Hole!

On a holiday in the South of France are Matt & Scott Trakker and our Hero, T-Bob.  As they drive along a country road in Thunderhawk, T-Bob accidentally knocks Thunderhawk into full speed and it's not long before some Gendarmes take notice of the speeding car and chase after them.

As Matt pulls over, he is confronted by Cliff Dagger and Sly Rax dressed up in Gendarme uniforms with the intent of stealing Thunderhawk.  As Rax and Dagger take off in Thunderhawk, Matt and Scott are left stranded in the French Countryside - when Scott realises that T-Bob is still in the back seat of Thunderhawk!

Not to worry, though, as T-Bob attacks the dim-witted car jackers and soon dispatches Cliff Dagger out of the vehicle.  As Dagger lands in a Duck Pond, he is soon being pursued by some real Gendarmes who happen to be close by.

Meanwhile, T-Bob is in a struggle with Sly Rax up above in Thunderhawk.  Rax is soon defeated and knocked out of Thunderhawk and is left hanging from a tree branch.  T-Bob assumes control of Thunderhawk and manages to crash land her into a haystack near Matt and Scott - saving the day!

Bruce Sato and his Lifter Mask are this issues centre page pin ups!  We see an image of Bruce demonstrating Lifter on Sly Rax and Cliff Dagger in Piranha.

Floyd Malloy on Vampire flies out of a ventilator grille for the London Underground system, right into the heart of Trafalgar Square in "Operation Vandal".  For no apparent reason, his sole purpose is to blow up Nelson's Column!

Unfortunately for Floyd, Matt Trakker just happens to be flying around in Thunderhawk and engages the V.E.N.O.M. agent.  During the struggle, Vampire is damaged and has to make an emergency landing just outside of a new V.E.N.O.M. base and Cliff Dagger comes to his aid.

Thunderhawks alarm goes off to let Matt know that he must've detected a V.E.N.O.M. base but above the cloud cover - he doesn't see it and heads back to an airstrip 20 miles away to rendezvous with Alex Sector, Scott and T-Bob at a temporary M.A.S.K. base.

We are left with Miles Mayhem giving orders for the destruction of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Arc De Triomphe.

Miles Mayhem and Floyd Malloy are continuing to spread an "Anti-Maturity Gas" as we see the next instalment of "Young at Heart".  As the citizens of London revert back to a childlike state, Mayhem and Malloy land Switchblade and Vampire and put up a V.E.N.O.M. flag and pronounce that London is now theirs!

Back in Germany, are our M.A.S.K. team surveying the effects of Mayhem's Gas on the P.N.A.'s gathered troops in what was meant to be an army exercise.

Our heroes head out to London to chase after Mayhem to find him in a horse-drawn carriage on the The Mall in London - Rax is on the reigns of the horses as Malloy and Dagger stand on the back like footmen!

A couple of Sonic Disruption Bombs from Thunderhawk soon shakes things up for the Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem!  As our M.A.S.K. team land to fight on foot, a blast of corrosive poison from Viper knocks Bruce off of his feet and his Lifter Mask from his head!  We are left with Mayhem tossing a canister of the Gas at him.

Not really one of my favourite issues of M.A.S.K.  There are some good points such as the front cover and the centre pages and the artwork of "Inside the Volcano" but I didn't really feel the love for this issue!

Remember the Facebook Page and to hashtag everything #assembleMASK #Hasbro.

Please continue to support our Bring Back M.A.S.K. Campaign.


I'd just like to apologise to you all for my lack of posts over the past while.

My Laptop is getting a bit long in the tooth and takes about a day to bring up Chrome or Internet Explorer.  Even when they do come up, they are that slow that they're not really usable - not handy for someone trying to do a bit of Blogging!

Not too sure how much longer it'll last and don't have the bucks just now to buy a new one so you may not see many more new posts on my site!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

M.A.S.K. - Just a G.I. Joe/Transformers Mash-Up?

I've heard it said many times that M.A.S.K. is just a Mash-Up of G.I. Joe and Transformers.  I thought it was about time to give my point of view on the subject.

First up we have G.I. Joe - 

A series of Toys, Comics and Cartoons that centre on a group of soldiers.  So, what similarities are there between G.I. Joe and M.A.S.K.?  The characters are human, so I guess that's a start!

The Joe's enemies are Cobra and the V.E.N.O.M. logo has a Cobra on it.

Asides from that, I'm at a loss to find anything more in common.  The scale of the toys is different.  The M.A.S.K. cartoon was great, the G.I. Joe cartoon...  well, I can't say that it made any impact on me.

The G.I. Joe comic was on a par with the M.A.S.K. comic but completely different style.

Then we have the Transformers Comparison -

T-Bob is a Robot that can turn into a Moped - well in the Cartoons and Comics, anyway.  The toy, he is a simple robot trike!

There are no talking alien robot/vehicles in M.A.S.K. so again, no other similarities.  Even if you put the Joes in the Transformers (a bit like the Bay Movies) you still don't have M.A.S.K.

So, what is M.A.S.K. like?  Well, we have heroes who hide behind identities - like spies - and have cool vehicles that convert into something else.  In my opinion, I'd say they are more akin to James Bond - 007!

The fabled Shark Toy that was never made, but managed to make its way into the cartoon, is very similar to Bond's Lotus Submarine.

Perhaps MI6's Q Branch at a hand in creating the weapons for M.A.S.K.

One thing is for certain, M.A.S.K. didn't perhaps enjoy the same kind of longevity as G.I. Joe or Transformers - and that's a shame.  I believe if Kenner hadn't run into problems, M.A.S.K. should've; would've been bigger than it was.

With a massive following in Europe and other countries outside of the US, I'd say it was bigger in those areas than G.I. Joe - perhaps because, although their Boulder Hill HQ was in the US, M.A.S.K. was very much an international organisation.

G.I. Joe was "The Real American Hero" and wasn't as popular in some countries outside of the US - we had Action Man; then Action Force and eventually the Joes.  This may be part of why the first G.I. Joe movie flopped!

I think people should get out of the mindset of M.A.S.K. being a G.I. Joe/Transformers Mash-Up and see it for what it really was - a great product in its own right!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

M.A.S.K. Comic UK Issue 16

Following on from the last issue of M.A.S.K. Comic UK's free gift of a poster; Issue 16, dated 23rd of May - 5th of June 1987, came with two free Stickers to add to it.

The front cover features Julio Lopez and Floyd Malloy fighting it out as to whose free sticker is the best.  Meanwhile, on the back cover, V.E.N.O.M. Leader, Miles Mayhem, is complaining that Ball Bearings from Malloy's Buckshot Mask almost hit him.

Mayhem is trying to tell the readers all about his "Killing Beam"!  We have T-Bob on the back cover also, frightened as the "Killing Beam" is pointed directly at him.

This is another fantastic cover.  The detail in the Uniforms and Masks is unbelievable.  I know that there are many a M.A.S.K. fan that wouldn't like a CGI remake of the cartoons - but could you imagine how amazing it would be if the CGI images could replicate the quality of this cover!?

Ok, so Streamer doesn't lend itself very much in the detail stakes as it's a simplistic design.  Buckshot, on the other hand, is very over-engineered and the artist has a lot to work with and has improved on the original toy's design.

In fact, when M.A.S.K. makes a comeback, they should turn to the M.A.S.K. Comic UK artists to help in development of the redesigns!

Table of Contents -

  • Front and Back Wraparound Cover
  • Five Pages - "The Killing Beam" (B&W with Pink Tint First Cell)
  • Four Pages - "Danger in the Outback!" Conclusion (Colour)
  • Five Pages - "Project Dinosaur" Conclusion (B&W)
  • Centre Page Spread - Sly Rax with Stiletto
  • Five Pages - "Maelstrom Mayhem" Conclusion (B&W with Pink Tint First Page)
  • Single Page - Advertisement
  • Single Page - Letters Page
  • Single Page - MASK Art
  • Single Page - Advertisement and Blaster Mask Cut Out
  • Four Pages - "Young at Heart" Part 2 (B&W)
  • Single Page - preview of next issues gift & issue

In the Arizona Desert, a powerful laser is pointed down towards the ground - set to tap into into the Earth's Crust to act as an unlimited power source; Miles Mayhem and V.E.N.O.M. have other ideas and want to turn it into "The Killing Beam".

First on the attack are Cliff Dagger in Jackhammer and Floyd Malloy on Vampire.

As the workers flee from the ferocious attack, Miles Mayhem lands his Switchblade Helicopter on the scene.

Soon, Matt Trakker is on a reconnaissance mission in Thunderhawk and evades fire from Jackhammers Cannons.

Mayhem broadcasts to Matt that if he doesn't leave, he will fire the laser directly into the Earth's Core.  Alex Sector, at Boulder Hill, relays to Matt that that would cause destruction on a massive scale to major cities including San Francisco.

Alex then comes up with a master plan - there is a Geological Fault running under the path of the laser (seems strange to put an Geothermal Energy Plant over such a fault, never mind) and that T-Bob Would be small enough to climb into it.

So, equipped with a ruby prism, T-Bob is dispatched down the fault and once he reaches the correct co-ordinates, the M.A.S.K. team assault V.E.N.O.M. - Rhino; Firefly; Condor and Thunderhawk.

Mayhem carries out his threat to fire the laser but T-Bob's ruby prism manages to defeat the laser beam back up to the machine and destroy - V.E.N.O.M. retreat as they come under fire as a proud T-Bob realises he's a hero - but doesn't know how to get back out of the fault!

An executive jet is making it's way down a runway in the Conclusion of "Danger in the Outback".  With a powerful laser on the nose cone (lasers seem to a theme this issue) firing at all and sundry in it's way as Miles Mayhem makes his escape.

Without any flying vehicles at their disposal, M.A.S.K. agents Julio Lopez, Bruce Sato and Matt Trakker can only look on - until, Brad Turner turns up with Thunderhawk and Spectrum for Matt.

Matt takes off and follows Mayhem's trail of destruction and manages to blow the wing off of the jet.  We are left with Mayhem parachuting to safety.

The Triceratops is still wrecking havoc as we come to the conclusion of "Project Dinosaur".  In last weeks issue, Matt had challenged Mayhem to a fight Mano-a-mano - and he accepted the gauntlet being thrown down.

They land their vehicles and prepare to fight - Matt wearing Ultraflash and Mayhem wearing Viper.  V.E.N.O.M. agents Floyd on Vampire, Cliff in Jackhammer and Sly on Piranha come out of their secret base on their way to help their boss; unaware of the trap set by Matt Trakker.

M.A.S.K. agents Hondo and Dusty in Gator and Julio in Firefly are waiting on them and do battle.  Mayhem attempts to get to the control for his dinosaur from Switchblade but is stopped in his tracks by Matt - who destroys the controls.

Julio is sent after the beast to finish it off with a Superstun Atomizer!

Whilst this is all going on, Scott and T-Bob make their way into the V.E.N.O.M. HQ and T-Bob knocks over the incubator with the Baby Clone Dinosaurs and they shrivel and die.

Sly Rax is this weeks poster boy.

From all of the bio profiles so far, this is the best one, in my opinion.  The level of detail in this image is amazing - like the the front cover image.  But then, like Malloy on the front cover, there is a lot to work with here.

Last issue, Cliff Dagger was in the centre page, and the design of his Torch Mask is very much like Dagger - simple!  Stiletto, on the other hand, is far more complex and has the feeling of being made of various materials and alloys.  There is a sense of purpose about his uniform and you know he rides a bike!

in the third story conclusion this issue, Matt and Bruce are up against it in "Maelstrom Mayhem".  The Self Destruct timer is still counting down, and they are still too far away to flick the switch to turn off the power to the plant.

Matt tells Bruce to use his Lifter Mask to flick the switch - he does so, but too late!  they brace for the explosion; an explosion that doesn't come!  Alex has made his way to Joshua Snyde's office and manage to take remote control of the Alternative Energy Plant and put paid to Mayhem's sinister plan!

As Matt and Bruce think they are in the clear, Mayhem and his minions Dagger, Rax and Malloy come back to finish off the job.  Despite their valiant efforts, Matt and Bruce are forced further into the now very unstable plant.

Matt informs Mayhem that the plant is unstable and even a small rise in temperature could cause it to blow!  You can always count on Cliff Dagger to do the stupid thing as he fires his Torch Mask and, sure enough, it sets a chain reaction and everyone has to flee the plant.

As they get back to their vehicles, Matt decides it's better to go after Snyde rather than Mayhem and his minions!

I haven't featured the MASKart in a page, but I thought I'd show this image by Robert Doel of Cheshunt as it looked good!

It has a lot of detail in and Stinger was always one of my favourites!  Although Bruno is in my script, we don't see Stinger!

Now free of the Landslide from Issue 15 of M.A.S.K. Comic UK, Matt and his team are making their way to the P.N.A. (Peaceful Nations Alliance) military exercise site in Germany.  When they get there, they find that the Gas released by V.E.N.O.M. has caused all of the Military Personnel to regress back into their childhood mental states.

Doc Julio is dispatched to go after Switchblade and Vampire and as he arrives and attacks, Mayhem gives the order to spray the gas over a major German City - what will happen next?

On the last page, we have a preview of next issue and have this image of Sly Rax and T-Bob -

I'm not sure of the demographic of my readers, but if you are near my age (40) then you may remember a movie called The Black Hole!  The best parts of this movie were two robots - V.I.N.C.E.N.T and Old B.O.B.

Is it me, or does T-Bob in this image remind you of Old B.O.B.?

Maybe it's just me, but feel free to comment below if you wish or over at my Facebook Page.  

As always, another great issue of M.A.S.K. and with 3 stories concluding, next issue should be great as we kick off another 3 serial stories!

Please remember to continue to support our Bring Back M.A.S.K. Campaign.

#assembleMASK #Hasbro

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

M.A.S.K. Comic UK Issue 15

The 9th to the 22nd of May 1987 saw issue 15 of M.A.S.K. UK Comic.  It came bearing a free gift of a poster.

Table of Contents -

  • Front and Back Wraparound Cover
  • Five Pages - "Maelstrom Mayhem" Part 5 (B&W with Blue Tint First Page)
  • Four Pages - "Danger in the Outback!" Part 3 (Colour)
  • Single Page - Advert, details of this weeks free gift and preview of next issues gift
  • Four Pages - "Young at Heart" Part 1 (B&W)
  • Centre Page Spread - Cliff Dagger with Torch
  • Five Pages - "Project Dinosaur" Part 8 (B&W with Pink Tint First Cell)
  • Single Page - Advertisement
  • Single Page - Letters Page
  • Single Page - Streamer Mask Cut Out
  • Five Pages - "The Prize" (B&W with Pink Tint First Cell)
  • Single Page - MASK Art

The cover of this issues is very much of two parts.  On the front, we have Matt Trakker and T-Bob displaying the free gift of a Poster.  Meanwhile, on the back cover V.E.N.O.M. agents are looking to steal it from him.  However, the dimwitted Cliff Dagger doesn't know how to get onto the front cover to steal it!

Split into four sections, we have various scenes of M.A.S.K. and V.E.N.O.M. war machines doing battle on the Poster.

With space for six stickers, this issue comes with the first two; then two in each of the next two issues of M.A.S.K. UK fortnightly.  I have all six stickers on my poster above so kind of spoils the surprise for you.  It has some amazing artwork and is a great example of why I thought that M.A.S.K. was always a superior comic to many others.

As "Maelstrom Mayhem" continues, our M.A.S.K. team of Brad Turner, Alex Sector, Buddie Hawks and Hondo MacLean are attempting to clear damage in London.  Unknown to them, Matt Trakker and Bruce Sato are sealed in a room below the office of V.E.N.O.M. spy, Sir Joshua Snyde; a room that is used to experiment extreme weather conditions.

The current setting is turning the inside of the room into an icy tomb.  As the the temperature drops, Bruce uses his Lifter Mask to lift Matt up to the trapdoor - which is completely locked.  Matt uses a beam from Spectrum like a Sonic Screwdriver.

For those of you unaware - there is a Sci-Fi series in the UK called Dr Who - a Time Lord from Gallifrey.  Asides from his Tardis, the Dr is also famous for his Sonic Screwdriver - I wonder if the writer was a fan?

Anyway, Matt and Bruce manage to escape and make their way to Thunderhawk to make their way to Glynys in Wales - the location of the Alternative Energy Plant.  However, Snyde and Mayhem have already decided to unleash another attack on London and our brave M.A.S.K. team have to brave the elements.

As Matt and Bruce approach the Energy Plant, V.E.N.O.M. agents Floyd Malloy on Vampire, Cliff Dagger in Jackhammer and Sly Rax make their attack.  

They are taken out one-by-one by our M.A.S.K. duo, whilst their compatriots back in London have to take shelter from the weather.

At the same moment, back in Wales, the control panel for the Plant starts to explode.  Snyde tries to pull the plug, but Mayhem prevents him from doing so.  As a self destruct starts to countdown, Mayhem and Snyde escape the impending danger.  Bruce and Matt run into the Plant as the countdown continues - eight... seven... six...

Matt Trakker and Bruce Sato are in Rhino facing off against Cliff Dagger in Jackhammer as Mayhem barks his orders as we start off "Danger in the Outback".  However, Jackhammer is no threat against the might of Rhino - as the M.A.S.K. team use it's Battering Ram to ram through her, rolling her over.

Mayhem and Dagger flee - Mayhem towards an executive jet as Dagger gets into Piranha's Sidecar.  Rax and Dagger attack Trakker and Sato, but Bruce uses his Lifter Mask to through a boulder at Rax knocking him clean off of his bike.  With no driver, it's not long before Dagger and Piranha crash!.

The hostages of Dr Julio Lopez, the pilots and Jerry Carter are freed - but Carter informs Matt that Mayhem not only does Mayhem know everything about the new weapon, but he has the Prototype of the Disintegrator on the nose of the Jet...

A P.N.A. (Peaceful Nations Alliance) exercise is under way in Northern Germany, with troops from various nations in "Young at Heart".  They are expecting the arrival of the M.A.S.K. team for a mock battle.

However, our team are held up due to a Landslide that will take a couple of hours to clear.  As the M.A.S.K. team take it easy, Switchblade and Vampire make an attack on the unsuspecting soldiers and unleash a gas attack.

The M.A.S.K. team mobilise to clear the Landslide - but is it too late?  We are left with an image of a General sucking his thumb, acting like a baby.

Cliff Dagger is this issues Centre Page Pin Up!

Miles Mayhem's "pet" dinosaur is on the rampage as Matt Trakker in Thunderhawk intervenes.  He drops a remote control bomb that lands beside the beast - under Mayhem's control, the beast picks up the bomb and throws it away before it is detonated.  All the time, Mayhem is in contact with his minions back at their base - unaware that the M.A.S.K. team are monitoring the transmissions to get a fix on their location.

Hondo MacLean and Dusty Hayes in Gator with Julio Lopez in Firefly make their way toward the enemy base, unaware that Scott and a reluctant T-Bob are on their tail.

As Matt continues the ruse with Mayhem to give his team time to zero in on the V.E.N.O.M. HQ, Mayhem's Minions have an in-house argument that is soon dissipated as we see clone dinosaurs hatching!

In this weeks Letters page, Arron Joseph of Littlehampton asks Miles Mayhem if he has any relations - in the reply we find out that Mayhem's father was a convict and his brothers "were all cissies".  Seems strange to refer to his brothers in past tense, what about Maximus?

Thunderhawk roars into a North African Market place at the start of our final story, "The Prize".  Rumours of V.E.N.O.M. activity have brought our duo of Matt Trakker and Bruce Sato to investigate.

As they land, we discover that the "locals" are actually V.E.N.O.M. agents who surround our heroes as Miles Mayhem, Sly Rax and Cliff Dagger survey the scene below from a balcony.  However, Matt and Bruce aren't alone as Brad Turner and Alex Sector unveil themselves.

A battle ensues until Khalid Abraham, self proclaimed leader of the area, stops the battle as his henchmen surround both the M.A.S.K. and V.E.N.O.M. agents.  Khalid suggests that Trakker and Mayhem fight mano-a-mano for "The Prize".

During the fight, Matt thinks that perhaps "The Prize" may not be something that he should win, and allows Mayhem to win the battle.  As it turns out, he was right as the prize of the eyes of 100 sheep are brought out to Mayhem and is threaten with death if he doesn't eat them all.

Another great issue of M.A.S.K. made better by the free gift of the amazing poster.

Remember to catch more on my Facebook Page and back our Bring Back M.A.S.K. Campaign.

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Monday, 2 September 2013

M.A.S.K. Holiday Special May 1987

As advertised on the back cover of Issue 14 of M.A.S.K. Comic UK - the next issue wasn't issue 15, but a Holiday Special.  The May 1987 Holiday Special is the first special based on M.A.S.K., not including the Annual from 1986.

At 70p, the Holiday Special is double the price of the regular issues so I was hoping for double the excitement, double the stories and double Mayhem trouble!

Table of Contents -

  • Front Cover
  • Two Pages - Table of Contents (B&W)
  • Six Pages - "The Golden Ghost" (B&W)
  • Single Page - Guide to Masks (B&W)
  • Four Pages - Hardware Profiles (Colour)
  • Single Page - Statement of Fact by Matt Trakker - (B&W)
  • Six Pages - "Museum of Fear" (B&W)
  • Single Page - Statement of Intent by Miles Mayhem
  • Four Pages - "Swamps of Doom" (B&W with blue tint)
  • Four Pages - M.A.S.K. Quiz (B&W)
  • Four Pages - "The Great Rock 'N' Roll Kidnap" (B&W)
  • Five Pages - MASK Art (2 Colour, 3 B&W)
  • Five Pages - "Mask to Mask!" (B&W)
  • Three Pages - Adverts (B&W)
  • Back Cover

With this Holiday Special, I wondered if the original writers/artists were on holiday when it was made as it definitely feels and looks very different from the normal issues.  That's apparent on the front cover - where you have Gator in front of Rhino but not too scale then then Thunderhawk and Switchblade in a dogfight that seems separate from other vehicles with a view of some Masks on the right-hand side.

It seems to be a mishmash of different drawings put together on a single page - not the usual standard of cover I'd become accustomed to.  There isn't anything wrong with the artwork itself, it's just the way it's all pieced together that doesn't look right!

The first two pages feature a table of contents set against a Black and White reprint of the Boulder Hill centre page spread from the Preview issue.

"The Golden Ghost" is our first story and covers 6 pages.  Unusually for a M.A.S.K. comic, the story is read over each pair of pages rather than reading each individual page separately - this allows for bigger action scenes across both pages - a bit like going from a 4:3 TV to a 16:9 widescreen TV.

The other thing you notice straight away, is the style of the art - some of the scenes look like they were drawn like a TV Cartoon - e.g. one person doing the Backgrounds then someone else drawing the Vehicles and people.  The vehicles are drawn in a very "Technical-Drawing" style and you can relate them very well with the Toys.  There is an amazing attention to detail.

Scott and T-Bob are on a tour of The Aztec Museum near Santa Marta, South America.  The recently discovered Golden Armour of Conquistador Jiminez is on display - or "Jimmy-Knees" as T-Bob incorrectly calls him.

All of a sudden there is a V.E.N.O.M. attack - comprised of Miles Mayhem in Switchblade, Sly Rax on Piranha and Cliff Dagger in Jackhammer.  As it all kicks off, we see Scott watching the case containing the precious Golden Armour being sunk into a protective underground cell.

Rax, on Piranha, enters the building and attempts to steal the Suit of Armour, but to his dismay, an unusually brave T-Bob attempts to intervene.  As T-Bob gives up the struggle, we see Rax Struggling to put the Armour into the Sidecar of Piranha.

Meanwhile, outside, Matt Trakker and Bruce Sato are in Rhino in a battle with both Jackhammer and Switchblade.  The V.E.N.O.M. team flee the scene once Rax exits the building.  Condor is soon on the scene tailing Piranha from the air whilst T-Bob....  Yes, T-Bob is in pursuit on the ground!

As Sly Rax is distracted by the "Ghost of Jiminez" speaking to him from the Suit of Armour, Brad Turner uses Hocus Pocus to project and image of a building in front them.  Not sure if he was more scared of the "Ghost" or the building he was about to crash into, but Rax is seen falling from Piranha as he brakes and the Ghost in the Armour jumps from the Sidecar.

T-Bob reunites the "Ghost" with the M.A.S.K. team and then discover that there is no Ghost - it's Scott in the suit of Armour.

On the Next page we have a "Guide to the Masks" taken from one of the previous issues of the comic.

The M.A.S.K. Comic was famed for their Centre Page Data File Spreads - in this Holiday Special, we have four pages of Data Files - instead of being drawings, we have photos of the toys.

First off, Piranha in the top half of the page...

....whilst Condor and Gator take up the bottom half.

Rhino is that big that it receives it's own page....

.....As Does Jackhammer on the next page.

Finally, we have Thunderhawk as we see her convert from Camaro to Jet Fighter!

We then have a full page "Statement of Fact by Matt Trakker"  where Matt gives us the low-down on the M.A.S.K. team.

The next six pages feature a text based story "Museum of Fear".  I'm not overly keen on these types of stories in comics.  I mean, yes there are images around the outside that illustrate the story, but I bought a comic, not a novel!

As our Story starts off, Matt Trakker, Bruce Sato, Scott Trakker and T-Bob are being given a private Pre-Opening Tour at a Waxworks Museum.  The newest addition to the Museum is a M.A.S.K. v's V.E.N.O.M. exhibition.  There are Waxwork Models of the M.A.S.K. team and their enemies Miles Mayhem, Sly Rax and Cliff Dagger.

As the tour continues we discover that this is a Pre-Tour before the President of the P.N.A. (Peaceful Nations Alliance) opens the tour up to the general public after the Bank Holiday Weekend.  As part of the display, is a video wall that projects images of Rhino and other M.A.S.K. vehicles battling it out with V.E.N.O.M.

As they all leave and the Museum is shut up for the weekend (seems strange it would be closed over a Bank Holiday Weekend as you would imagine that would be one of their busiest times??) we discover that it's not only Waxworks of V.E.N.O.M. who are present.

John Crofthouse, one of the Museums Waxwork artists who created the exhibition, has been captured and is being forced into doing the bidding of Miles Mayhem, but what do they want him to do?

It is the opening day and the President of the P.N.A. is being shown round with Matt, Scott, Bruce and T-Bob.  Suddenly, Mayhem, Rax and Dagger all appear from hollowed out Waxwork models of themselves - this is what they needed Crofthouse to create for them.

A battle ensues - Bruce keeps V.E.N.O.M. at bay with Lifter;  Scott is told to find the controls for the projector used in the display and activate it in 10 minutes;  Matt makes for the exit.

The battle continues and 10 minutes later, as ordered, Scott Starts the projector.  Initially startled by the image of Rhino attacking them, the V.E.N.O.M. team soon remember that this is just a movie reel.  That is, until, in a scene stolen and used in The A-Team Movie, Rhino comes crashing through the projected image and wins the battle for our heroes.

There is then a full page rebuttal from Miles Mayhem to counter Matt Trakker's M.A.S.K. statement.

"Swamps of Doom" takes up the next four pages - a Black and White strip with a tint of blue.

The M.A.S.K. team of Alex Sector, Bruce Sato, Brad Turner, Hondo MacLean and Buddie Hawks are being put through their paces in a Training Exercise in The Everglades under the supervision of Matt and Scott Trakker!

Suddenly, Piranha emerges from under the swamps near them and attacks. Matt attempts to get to Thunderhawk to take to the air to attack but comes under attack himself by Miles Mayhem and a group of Mercenaries.

Hondo manages to attach a Limpet Bomb full of Tear Gas to Piranha to knock out Sly and in the confusion, Matt manages to get airborne in Thunderhawk and wipes out the Mercenaries - I guess they are a bit like the Red Shirts in Star Trek - only there to be killed off so our Main Characters can survive!

Mayhem is chased into the swamp and cannot be found and Rax in Piranha also disappear!  We are left with our M.A.S.K. team looking for them but Mayhem is in Piranha making his escape with Rax holding on the outside of Piranha begging to be let in!

Four Pages of a M.A.S.K. Quiz then follow with questions that only a true fan would be able to answer - ok, these days you can Google the answers but back the 80's....

Our next four page Black and White Comics Strip is "The Great Rock'N'Roll Kidnap"!  Mega Star Rod Wilde is hosting the launch of his new album in a Manhattan Apartment - guests include other Rock and Pop Stars and the Press.

All of a sudden, Cliff Dagger and Sly Rax "Gatecrash" the party through the window - dropped in courtesy of Miles Mayhem in Switchblade.  As the dynamic duo take care of security, Mayhem uses Switchblade to throw a net into the assembled guests to capture them all.  In return for the Musicians, Mayhem demands $10 Million...  and that his single "The Mayhem Jive" reaches the number one spot.

As the M.A.S.K. team are leaving Boulder Hill HQ in search of V.E.N.O.M., we see Miles Mayhem playing his "single" to his captive's!

Not taken on by his brand of music, the hostages decide to feign interest in it in case he takes offence and hurts them.

Mayhem has the hostages in an old deserted mining town called Fork's End and it's not long before our M.A.S.K. heroes are on the scene to do battle with V.E.N.O.M.

A battle is quickly under way, and the teams are equally matched with three vehicles each - Rhino, Gator and Thunderhawk pitted against Jackhammer, Piranha and Switchblade.

The M.A.S.K. team don't take long to kick some V.E.N.O.M. Butt and free the hostages.  Once freed, the party in Manhattan continues - this time it's our M.A.S.K. team who are centre of attention!

Five pages of the infamous MASKart follows - some pages in colour and some Black and white!

Our last five page Black and White Story is "Mask to Mask!"

Matt Trakker and Bruce Sato are in Rome for a meeting with the P.N.A. when reports of an Earthquake at The Colosseum come in.  As quickly as they can, Matt and Bruce mobilise in Rhino and make their way to The Colosseum.

When they get there, one of the walls is about to collapse - they ram Rhino into the base to help steady it.  Bruce then uses Lifter to grab Steel Girders from a nearby building site to brace the wall, whilst Matt goes to investigate the source of the Quake.

To his surprise, Cliff Dagger and Sly Rax exit a sewer and he chases them into the heart of The Colosseum where he is meet by Miles Mayhem in Switchblade.  Under attack, with nowhere to run, Matt uses Ultraflash to blind Mayhem causing him to loose control and land Switchblade.

Like the Gladiators of old, Trakker and Mayhem fight Man-to-man; Mask-to-Mask!  Knowing that he can't been Matt in a fair fight; Mayhem shouts over his minions to help him.

Just as the three of them are attacking, Bruce Sato comes to Matt's aid and uses his Lifter Mask to knock the V.E.N.O.M. team against a wall knocking them out.  Before Matt and Bruce can finish taking car of Mayhem and his minions, they have to take care of the machine in the sewers that is causing the quakes.

As they come back out of the sewer, the V.E.N.O.M. team are fleeing in Switchblade.

We have a page of adverts including one to ensure you reserve your copy of M.A.S.K. at the newsagent then a two page Black and White reprint of the first every cover of M.A.S.K.

We finish the back cover off with this image -

This was neither an overly brilliant nor bad issue.  It was just, well, different I guess.

There are a few things I may have changed - such as the front cover, the text-based story and reduced the number of MASKart pages.  We were also limited to only the original "cast" from the first 8 issues.  None of the newer characters such as Floyd Malloy or Ace Riker made an appearance.

Please remember that the Campaign to Bring Back M.A.S.K. has well and truly started.  Once you have Clicked on the Link, you will open up a Facebook post.  I'd ask you all to please visit this post and do the following -

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I've never used Hashtags before so I was unsure what they did.  If you do a Google Search for #assembleMASK you will find my pages.  If you click on this in Facebook you will see all related conversations.

I need as much help as possible to highlight this Campaign and if you are as big a fan as me that I'm sure that you will.

I have a script ready to go!

Thank you for reading,