Friday, 29 March 2013

World War Z

A little change from my normal blog!

As many of you will know, there is a little movie coming out soon called "World War Z".  What many of you may not know is that some of the scenes were filmed in Scotland.  As a fan of movies, hence why I wrote a M.A.S.K. Script, I thought it would be good to go and see the "set" for myself!

So, my wife, son and I went to have a look to see what all the fuss was about! 

Above is an image from Google Maps - just search "George Square, Glasgow" for your own interactive look.

Some of the movie is set in Philadelphia and Glasgow was chosen due to it's likeness in architecture.  The whole of the area above in the centre of Glasgow was shut down for several days to allow the filming to take place.  Although not at the filming itself, we went a few days afterwards as the "set" was left as a sort of tourist attraction and I'm guessing that they may have wanted to make sure they had all of their shots before taking everything away.

There were many American Vehicles shipped in for the filming including Emergency Vehicles, Trucks, Buses, etc. as the vehicles we have in the UK differ immensely from those over the pond.

This shot taken on South Frederick Street shows the holding area for some of the vehicles - two ambulances, couple of Police motorcycles and in the back right a camper van (RV).

Confirmation that the scenes filmed in Glasgow take place in Philadelphia.

This American Police car was found on Cochrane Street.  As part of the "Set Dressing" there are some Newspaper Dispensers in the background of the shot - a familiar sight in the US but not in the UK.

A little pic of my wife (Heather) and my little boy (Reece) in front of a US Fire Engine.

This shot is taken in George Square itself, in front of the Glasgow City Chambers.

Being a fan of many movies, seeing vehicles like these in real life was a bit of treat!

Not very clear in this picture, but there is a Ford 4*4 (SUV) Police Car sitting on the pavement.

Another shot in front of the City Chambers on George Square - this time a S.W.A.T. vehicle.  We have a clue that we are on a movie set as you can see the green tape marking it's position on the ground.

Not the most exciting of vehicles but nevertheless it's noteworthy!

A few Army Hummers were also present so I assume that the S.W.A.T. team couldn't manage to contain the situation!!!

Moving away from Emergency and Army vehicles, we also have some more common vehicles such as this US Taxi cab which looks like it needs a bit of TLC.

In the background there is a Saab 9-3 and in other shots you'll see the likes of a Ford focus and other vehicles that are familiar sights in the UK.  There were also Jaguar XJ's and other European vehicles.  

I'm guessing to make the movie budget go further they used a number of vehicles that are available both in the US and in European markets.  Especially if Left Hand Drive vehicles were required but I did notice some of them were Right Hand Drive - not that you'd notice when watching the movie itself.

The Volvo above is sitting a cradle - I'm assuming to make it easier for it to be moved about the set.  From watching the Trailer for World War Z, I think this might be the vehicle that the main character, played by Brad Pitt, and his family are driving.

From what I can tell, the majority of the filming took place on Cochrane Street (the road running East to West) on the bottom of Google image above and in George Square.

Above, one of three Jamboree RV's scattered about.  I assume plenty were brought as pivotal to the storyline.  In the trailer we see Brad Pitt and his family taking possession of these vehicle.

This isn't the only vehicle to have had a doppelganger present though as the next few images clearly show -

When I saw this box van I knew I had to get a picture of me and my wee boy with it as it does have our Surname on it after all!

This vehicle was on the North side of George Square.

This Bin Lorry (Garbage Truck) was on the South side of George Square.

To the left of it is another of the Jamboree RV's and in the background you may see some damaged vehicles - see below for some better views.

The image above shows an identical Garbage Truck crashed on through an identical Crawford Brothers Butcher box truck.  The vehicles even have the same number (license) plates.

At the bottom of the shot you can see a metal plinth held down by some concrete blocks - this is part of the set dressing again and this is an American Style Street Sign.  Below you will see some more shots of the above carnage.

And no, the picture below ISN'T the result of me sitting in the back of this car!!

Obviously, things in the UK are different from the US so some set dressing was necessary from Intersection Road Signs to traffic lights to make it more realistic.

The final two pictures above were both taken near the "A" pinpoint on the Google map image above.

I thought it fitting that the posters mention the word "Mask" as I was writing my M.A.S.K. script at the time and thought this would tie in well with my blog!  It was an interesting day out to see behind the scenes and there are some great videos on Youtube; including some shots of the sequence that results in the Garbage Truck crashing.

I'll post the complete set of the images I took on my Facebook Page.

Thank you for looking and normal service will resume soon with my review of Issue 10 of M.A.S.K. Comic UK.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Interview with Mark - A M.A.S.K. Fan

A little while ago, I asked on my Facebook Page if any of my readers would be interested in sharing their thoughts on M.A.S.K.

As we all know, M.A.S.K. is a great concept and there are many fans out there - whether it be fans of the Toys, Comics, Cartoons or all all aspects.  I asked Mark some questions on his experience of M.A.S.K., please see the Q&A session below.

maskcomics: Who are you?  

Mark: My name's Mark, I live in the UK (South West to be precise) and I'm 34 years old.

maskcomics: What first got you into M.A.S.K.?  

Mark: My memory's rather vague but I think it was the cartoon first, then the toys (my first being Condor) and then the comics. 

maskcomics: I didn't collect many toys, but Condor was my first also - and I think a popular first toy for most collectors!   Did you collect the comics growing up?  

Mark: I certainly did.  I collected the UK comics from first issue to last along with all of the various specials they produced.  I wasn't even aware at the time that there was any American comics.  

I remember getting that first issue very clearly.  I'd seen it advertised on TV and I pestered my Mum to buy it for me one Saturday morning.  I expected it to be like the Transformers comic that I was also collecting at the time so I was quite surprised at how big it was compared to the smaller Transformers.  I was also surprised that most of MASK was in black and white.  I was used to my comics being in full colour.

maskcomics: If you saw the comic advertised on TV I assume you missed the Preview Issue?

Mark: That's right, I had no idea that there even was a preview issue until recently. 

maskcomics: Do you still have your collection and have you added to it?

Mark: I do although I don't currently have easy access to it.  It's in the loft at my parent's house.  Many times in the past my parents have asked if they could throw my comics out but I've managed to put them off.  I've no idea what condition the collection is in now.  Some of the earlier issues  were in a pretty poor state when they went up into the roof so I hate to think what they're like now.  Also, I must confess that I used to colour in some of the black and white strips in those early issues.  So I'd never be able to sell them even if I wanted to!

As far as I know the collection is complete so I've never felt the need to add to it.  Having said that, although I did also collect the issues of Eagle that included MASK I'm not sure that I kept them all so perhaps I might want to add those at some point.

maskcomics: What was your favourite aspect of the comics?

Mark: For me, it's the earlier issues that are probably the most memorable.  Those are the ones that I would read and re-read so I have good memories of a lot of the stories from those issues.  My favourite stories were usually the ones illustrated by an artist called David Pugh.  Recently you've been reviewing one of his earliest stories, 'Kamikaze' and it's stories like that which really stand out in my mind.  I don't think it was just his artwork I liked, the stories he illustrated always seemed to be the most exciting ones. 

One other story I also really liked was 'Hogan's Gang' which was a bit later in the comic's run.  For those who don't know that was a long running strip about a boy called James Hogan whose MASK toys came to life.  I can imagine that a lot of kids read that strip and imagined their own toys coming to life. 

The one other I liked about the comic was the letter page was usually split between MASK and VENOM  so, depending on where your loyalties lay, you could write to either Matt Trakker or Miles Mayhem.  It was nice that the editors of the comic acknowledged that some people might actually prefer the bad guys!

maskcomics: The split Letters Page was a great idea.  Did you ever have anything published?

Mark: Sadly no.  I would have loved to have come up with a new vehicle or a new mask and get that published but unfortunately I can't draw at all.  My friend, who was quite a good artist, come up with a few ideas of his own but, as far as I know, he never sent them in.

maskcomics: How do you think the Comic compared with the toys and the cartoon?
Mark: On the whole I preferred the Comic over the cartoon mostly because it was my main source of MASK stories.  I did watch quite a few episodes of the cartoon but I don't think it was on TV all that much whereas the comic was there week after week . 

I've recently bought the complete series on DVD so I'm slowly re-watching  all of the cartoons.  They actually stand-up pretty well after all these years but the stories seem so short compared to the ones in the comic.  A lot of the stories in the comic seem bigger and more epic.  The comic also does things that the cartoon would never do, like having a story where MASK toys come to life for instance. 

One other thing that the cartoon lacks is any kind of back story or motivation for why these two teams are fighting each other.  Other cartoons of the time like Transformers or Thundercats have backstories which helps you to understand the characters and their world.  The MASK cartoons doesn't have any of that as far as I can tell.  What sets the comic above the cartoon is that it does provide something of a backstory.  At the time I read it it was something of a revelation.  I'd had no idea that Matt Trakker and Mile Mayhem used to be friends! 

As for the toys well I loved those!   My favourites were Condor, Rhino and Iguana.  Between myself and my best friend at the time we had quite a sizeable collection of MASK toys.  I'm not sure if you can really compare the toys to the comics or the cartoon because they're very different.  The comics and the cartoon are telling you the stories but with the toys you can do what you want which obviously was part of the appeal.  Sadly I can't remember what stories I used to come up with using my toys but I'm sure they were brilliant. 

maskcomics: You seem to be clued up on the Artists, did you do a lot of research?

Mark: Not really no.  At the time that I was reading MASK, I was also reading a lot of other comics, most of which were also produced by Fleetway so I saw a lot of the same artists' work appearing in these other comics.  Sometimes those artists got credits on their other work so I was able to put names to  their work.  Since then I've picked up odd bits of information on these people, mainly though the Internet but also the odd book.  But I've never really actively researched the artists or the writers for that matter.  It might be an interesting thing to do though.  

maskcomics: How do you think M.A.S.K. compared to other comics of the time or now?

Mark: Nowadays most comics in the UK and the US at least seem to be aimed at either older teenagers or adults whereas, back in the day, comics like MASK or Eagle were aimed at readers aged between about 8 (when I started reading MASK) and the early teens.  There aren't many comics around like that now.  In fact I can't think of any UK comics that are aimed at that age group any more which is a bit sad really.

Compared to other comics of the time like Eagle or 2000 AD, I think MASK stands up pretty well.  Bearing in mind that the comic is based around a toy franchise you would think that either the writers or the artists would slack off a bit but that doesn't seem to be the case.  Admittedly I think the quality did drop off a bit towards the end of its run - far too much T-Bob as I recall - but, for much of the time it was all good quality stuff.  

maskcomics: Are you still a collector of comics, if so what are you into these days?

Mark: I still collect comics and enjoy them a great deal although I can't afford to indulge in it as much as I'd like to.  In terms of regular titles, I restrict myself to collecting a few Marvel and DC titles like The Avengers and the Justice League.  I did collect 2000 AD for a while and then lost interest in it.  I have collected some of the Judge Dredd Casefiles comic strip collections as well as the hardback collections of the classic British strip Charley's War which is probably my all time favourite comic strip.  

maskcomics: Now for a few quick fire questions from my Facebook page

maskcomics: Vanessa or Gloria?

Mark: Gloria

maskcomics: Spectrum or Ultraflash?

Mark: Spectrum

maskcomics: Hurricane or Firecracker?

Mark: Firecracker

maskcomics: M.A.S.K. or Transformers or G.I. Joe?

Mark: I think MASK but it's close between that and Transformers.  I was never interested in G.I. Joe.

maskcomics: You may be aware I've written a M.A.S.K. script, what are your thoughts on a movie?

Mark: Given how many revivals of 80s toys/cartoon franchises there have been in the last few years, I'm a bit surprised that there's been no MASK revival of any sort.  I think MASK would work really well as a live-action movie, or as an animated movie come to that.  My only question would be: should it be a reboot or a continuation?  There's a part of me that would like to see what had happened to MASK and VENOM in the 25-odd years since we last saw them but I'm not sure how well that would work for a general audience who may never have heard of MASK before.

maskcomics: What Characters, Vehicles and Masks would you want to see in a movie?

Mark: Brad Turner, Alex Sector and Bruce Sato are my favourite MASK characters so I'd like to see them in it.  Rhino and Condor are also two of my favourite vehicles so that works out well.  For VENOM my favourites are Cliff Dagger and Sly Rax so I'd like to see them with Jackhammer and Piranha respectively.  And I'd like Lester Sludge and Iguana to be in there somewhere too.

I noticed that you'd come up with some new vehicles for your movie which I think is a great idea.  There's always room for new blood. 

maskcomics: Transformers came under criticism for changing many of the vehicles, what are your thoughts on updating the vehicles in M.A.S.K.?

Mark: Quite a few of the vehicles in MASK had a fairly futuristic look at the time they first appeared so I'm not sure that there's much need for an update.  Switchblade for instance would still work well today with only minimal tinkering.  Some of the other vehicles, like Rhino and Thunderhawk, are such classic designs that I wouldn't want them to change.  If you change them too much they might as well be different vehicles. 

maskcomics: I agree, many of the vehicles would look as good today as they did back in the 80's - Piranha and Condor looked fairly futuristic as well.  Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions!

Ok, so there you have it.  If any more readers would be interested in sharing their experiences of M.A.S.K. feel free to PM me on my Facebook Page or E-mail me.

Mark has also agreed to add some more content to my blog in the future when he has some time so we'll look forward to that in anticipation!

On a movie note, as well as my script, you can keep up-to-date with Wyatt and Jason on their blog and if you haven't already been there you will be able to catch up on all of their old blogs as well!

I'd like to say a big hello to all of my new readers, including a number of you from the Indonesian Facebook Group!  Glad to have you onboard!

And one last little thing to end on - if you are a UK reader and you haven't already bought the M.A.S.K. collection on DVD as of today (20/03/13) you are getting a good deal on for the full collection - as cheap as £4.99 plus £1.26 delivery from one of their Marketplace Traders.  If yo don't have this collection - get it now before it goes up in price.  Beware of idiots trying to charge £100 for the same item in other places!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

M.A.S.K. Issue 9

Issue 9 of M.A.S.K. UK fortnightly comic dated 14th-27th of February, 1987.

Table of contents -
  • Front and Back Wraparound Cover
  • Five Pages - "Project Dinosaur" Part 2 (B&W with Pink Tint First Cell)
  • Four Pages - "Amazon Mystery" Conclusion (Colour)
  • Five Pages - "Attack on Boulder Hill" (B&W)
  • Centre Page Spread - Firefly
  • Five Pages - "Kamikaze" Part 5 (B&W with Pink Tint First Cell)
  • Single Page - Advertisement
  • Single Page - MASK Art
  • Single Page - Letters Page
  • Single Page - Stiletto Mask Cut Out
  • Four Pages - "Double Trouble" Part 4 (B&W)
  • Single Page - Preview of next issue/advertisement

With it's striking red colour, this issue of M.A.S.K. has one of the best covers to date.  Or, should I say, V.E.N.O.M.?

Miles Mayhem and another V.E.N.O.M. agent attempt to switch the M.A.S.K. banner for their own.  This type of cover is typical of our favourite comic to have a bit of humour and not take itself overly serious - but at the same time giving us some of the best Artwork of any comic in the newsagents!

Bold; Striking; Vibrant - just some of the words to describe this cover.

But who, you might ask, is this mysterious V.E.N.O.M agent helping the V.E.N.O.M. Leader, Miles Mayhem, in taking over this cover?

I didn't collect the M.A.S.K. toys (I did manage to get some later) and the cartoon series was only in it's infancy on the TV.  Therefore, I had never seen this agent before and I was intrigued and excited - in equal measures!

I read through the comic from cover to cover and still never managed to find out who this was.  This was my first glance at a new agent since the comics began - I guess I'll have to wait to until issue 10 before I find out who he is.

Carrying on from last weeks issue, Matt Trakker in Thunderhawk is plummeting towards the ground at breakneck speed after being hit by Miles Mayhem in Switchblade in "Project Dinosaur".

Miles Mayhem gets a nasty surprise as he attempts to follow Thunderhawk to finish the job off as Cliff Dagger on the ground in Jackhammer opens fire nearly hitting his leader by mistake.  Matt Manages to pull up in Thunderhawk and nurses her back to Boulder Hill for repairs after a job well done in preventing Mayhem from stealing the precious Dinosaur Eggs.

On his return he is greeted by his adopted son, Scott, T-Bob and Bruce Sato.  It's not long before Alex Sector, Buddie Hawks and Brad Turner are on the scene.  It is decided that the team have go to Russia as they believe Mayhem's next play will be to go after the Eggs again.  

Sure enough, we cut to Miles Mayhem flying to Archangel Naval Base in pursuit of the precious Cargo.  As he comes under fire from the full might of the Russian Navy, the Dinosaur Eggs have already been loaded onto a Freight Train and on the move.  His minions Dagger and Rax attack the Train...

Matt Trakker in Thunderhawk and Miles Mayhem in Switchblade are locked in a deadly dogfight as the conclusion of "Amazon Mystery" starts.  As Sly Rax is about to fire the Disintegrator at the City of London, Matt Drops a Magnetic Bomb and blows it up saving the day yet again!

The Artist for this strip, Carlos Pino, has signed his name on one of the cells.  A Spanish Artist who worked on M.A.S.K. and many of it's stable mates.  For more information on this great artist click here.

Brad Turner is out for a test drive on Condor but unknown to him, plans are afoot for an "Attack on Boulder Hill".

Buddie has done an overhaul on Condor and as Brad takes her out he feels this is a bit of a mundane task.  To liven up his test drive, he uses his Hocus Pocus Mask to project images of a racetrack to allow him to drive against some well known Bikers in a Grand Prix.

All of a sudden, an alarm sounds as a Fuel Tanker is on collision course with Brad!  As he swerves to avoid it, he drives over a cliff - luckily his Motorcycle can convert into a helicopter!  As he comes into land, he is ambushed by Sly Rax and knocked unconscious.

The tanker rolls up to Boulder Hill and as Buddie Hawks advises the driver he hasn't ordered a delivery of fuel, the driver turns out to be none other than Cliff Dagger - he subdues Buddie with his Torch Mask and starts pumping 500 gallons of Nitro-Glycerine into Boulder Hill's Tanks.

As Mayhem lands in Swtichblade, Matt and his team head out to confront him.  Mayhem uses a detonator to blow up the Nitro-Glycerine and Boulder Hill with it - only to find that although stricken, Brad Turner has managed to use his Hocus Pocus Mask to create a Holographic Replica of Boulder Hill.

As Mayhem flees from the scene, Buddie Hawks in the turret of the real Boulder Hill manages to blow up Switchblade.  We then find out that the plan was Cliff Daggers and Mayhem didn't trust that it would work and sent in a doppelgänger in his place!

After last issues 4 page wraparound cover/centre page spread, we are back to normal service with a centre page Vehicle Spread.

Firefly, a new vehicle with a new Pilot, Julio Lopez and his Streamer Mask.  Like the mysterious figure on the front cover, this combo don't appear in any of the stories in this issue but it gives us a good insight into what we can expect over the next few issues.

UK M.A.S.K. fans had a brief encounter with Dr Julio Lopez and Firefly in the M.A.S.K. Annual at Christmas time see my review here.

On this page we have the name Campion as being the Artist.  The Wiki Page has more information on the artist who created this great image.

In part five of "Kamikaze", Matt Trakker and Bruce Sato are in the Hidetadi's arena fighting for their lives - and the lives of their team mates.  A long battle ensues and Bruce sustains a serious injury to his leg, preventing him from continuing in the fight.

Using his  Spectrum Mask, Matt discovers a weak point in his advisory - an artificial nerve centre at the base of his neck.

As the behemoth lifts Matt high above his head, Matt manages to use Spectrum on his Achilles Heal, causing the beast to go on a rampage; knocking himself out.  Miles Mayhem enters the fight piloting Switchblade - how will it end?

Not only have V.E.N.O.M. attempted a coup on the front cover, they have managed to take over the letters page and MASK Art page.

In MASK Art, we have a collection of drawings - one in particular by Kirk Wilshaw of Birches Head of a vehicle called Vampire.  It wouldn't be until the next issue I would find the link between this vehicle and the mystery man on the cover.

Sly Rax's Stiletto Mask is this weeks cut out.

In the Conclusion of Double Trouble, Miles Mayhem is using the disguised Buddie Hawks for protection.  As Mayhem orders Dagger to get their hostage into Switchblade, Brad Turner uses his Hocus Pocus Mask to create numerous images of Miles Mayhem to hide Buddie from harm.

V.E.N.O.M. escape - but at least Buddie is unharmed.

This is one of the best issues to date.  A lot of it is down to the tremendous cover but I think the main reason I enjoyed it so much was the introduction of some new characters - although not used in any of the stories it was great to see.  Left me looking forward to the next issue!

Remember and leave your own feedback and join my Facebook Page.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

G.I. Joe Retaliation

The release date for G.I. Joe Retaliation has been confirmed as the 23rd of March.

Like M.A.S.K. and Transformers, G.I. Joe was big in the 80's and if a successful movie and sequel can be made from this Franchise then there is no reason why a M.A.S.K. Movie couldn't make a successful return for the brand.

Starting off as a 12" Figure, G.I. Joe, or Action Man as he was known in the UK, had been around for decades before he was reduced in size to the more popular format made successful with the Star Wars Toyline.

12" Action Man/G.I. Joe Figures
In the U.K. the initial release of the smaller sized toy came under the name of Action Force and featured various Forces based on the previous 12" Figures.  Later the toys moved into specialised forces such as the SAS, Z Force, Q Force, etc.

Action Force Figures
Soon, the range changed to G.I. Joe - this would be the first time the name was used in the UK market place.

A revamped Action Man made a return years later, both in the UK and US markets.

So, with three Transformers movies under their belt and the upcoming release of the second G.I. Joe Instalment isn't it time that M.A.S.K. made the jump the big screen?

So, how can you help?  As you know, I've written a script and I'm looking for an agent with ties to Hasbro.  

Please share this site, like my Facebook Page and spread the word.  Most of all, enjoy my site and the chat; and get involved.  Share your comments and thoughts on all things M.A.S.K.

And remember my friends over at M.A.S.K. Movie who also have a script and a great site.

Catch up on my previous blog for more information - M.A.S.K. Movie - a Tale of Two Scripts

Sunday, 10 March 2013

M.A.S.K. Issue 8

M.A.S.K. Issue 8 dated 31st of January - 13th of February 1987 - still only 35p.

Table of contents -
  • Front and Back Wraparound Cover
  • Five Pages - "Kamikaze" Part 4 (B&W with Blue Tint First Cell)
  • Four Pages - "Amazon Mystery" Part 3 (Colour)
  • Five Pages - "Oil Strike" (B&W)
  • Centre Page Spread
  • Five Pages - "Project Dinosaur" Part 1 (B&W with Pink Tint First Cell)
  • Single Page - Advertisement
  • Single Page - Letters Page
  • Single Page - MASK Art
  • Single Page - Penetrator Mask Cut Out
  • Four Pages - "Double Trouble" Part 3 (B&W)
  • Single Page - Preview of next issue/advertisement

This issue of M.A.S.K. broke from the normal format.  The Centre Page Spread is normally set aside to give us cool pull out poster of a vehicle with technical specs on the weapons, the pilot/co-pilot and their Masks.

So far, seven issues and seven vehicles featured in the comic - for M.A.S.K. we have Thunderhawk (there has been debate on another website as to whether it is Thunderhawk or Thunder Hawk - can anyone help??), Rhino, Gator and Condor.  For V.E.N.O.M. there has been Switchblade, Jackhammer and Piranha.

All of that means no more vehicles to be featured in our Centre Page Spread (or does it?) - so this issue features a 4 page giant wall poster!  The idea is that you take off the front cover and the centre pages and join them together to make a large poster for your wall.

So the Front cover the of comic forms the right hand side of the 4 pages and features many of our favourites - the rest are on the Centre Page that joins on to the left of the above.

So, all of our vehicles are present and although we don't see Bruce, Buddie and Alex, I assume they are all hiding away somewhere in Rhino.  These images are great examples of the Artwork that we've come to expect from our favourite comic.  I especially like the detailing on Rhino and Thunderhawk - I wish I could draw as good as the artist behind these fantastic images.

That being said, I was slightly disappointed at not having my usual "fix" in the centre pages.

Matt Trakker and Bruce Sato are surrounded by the Savage Sumos as part four of "Kamikaze kicks off this weeks issue.  Using Spectrum and Lifter, they do their best to fend off the hordes of Sumos as they make their attack.

As it looks like they are making an impact on their foe, there is a sudden explosion as Miles Mayhem attacks from above in Switchblade.  As they are being overrun in their attempt to get back to Thunderhawk, the cavalry arrive in the form of Brad Turner on Condor, Buddie Hawks in Rhino and Hondo MacLean & Dusty Hayes in Gator with Alex Sector flying overhead using Jackrabbit.

During the conflict that follows, Hondo and Dusty are captured and the rest of our M.A.S.K. heroes have to give themselves up.

In the Court of Hidetadi, it is decreed that as Matt and Bruce are brave warriors, instead of being killed they are allowed to fight Kamikaze to the death - the survival of their friends depends on them!

The "Amazon Mystery" starts to make more sense as the captive Cliff Dagger informs the M.A.S.K. team that the weapon he is guarding is only a mock up - the real weapon is smaller and portable - and there are six of them.

Hondo MacLean is left in charge of the prisoners as his colleagues head out after the weapons.  Brad Turner on Condor is the first to strike it lucky as he comes across a convoy of two of the weapons and quickly takes care of them.

Dusty Hayes in Gator then manages to dispatch another of the weapons as Matt Trakker zeroes in on a fourth weapon making short work of it.  The M.A.S.K. team are in luck as Brad Turner finds one of the weapons has taken a wrong turn into a swamp.

Leaving the last weapon to be found, Matt finds it but before he can strike against it, Miles Mayhem in Switchblade finds him and engages - who will win the aerial battle?

Cliff Dagger and Sly Rax in Jackhammer manage to overrun the guards of an oil well in North Africa in the one off story "Oil Strike!"  As V.E.N.O.M. minions fill up oil tankers with the precious black gold, Dusty Hayes and Hondo MacLean are close by in Gator.  Before they can make their assault, they are attacked from behind by Jackhammer.

Unfortunately for Rax and Dagger, their attack comes to a disastrous end as Jackhammer comes a cropper upside down.

Miles Mayhem is overseeing the oil being loaded into the tankers as Gator comes crashing in to thwart their plans.  During the battle, oil is spilt everywhere and as our heroes are about to take Miles Mayhem captive, Rax and Dagger turn up.  The dimwitted Dagger uses his Torch Mask which ignites the oil almost killing Mayhem but the fire is between them and M.A.S.K. allowing them to escape.

Russian Scientists on the Arctic Ice Cap are busy loading dinosaur eggs they have found preserved in the ice as part of "Project Dinosaur".  Miles Mayhem in Switchblade and Cliff Dagger in Jackhammer make their attack to steal the eggs - just as Matt Trakker in Thunderhawk intervenes.

As the V.E.N.O.M. agents pursue Thunderhawk, a Russian Submarine breaks through the ice and manages to rescue the scientists and the eggs.  However, Thunderhawk stalls mid-air - will Matt Trakker survive?

One of the Adverts that featured regularly in M.A.S.K. UK.

Below, reader Peter Freeth's vision of a new vehicle called Sea Hawk.

Below is the cut out of Buddie Hawks' Penetrator Mask.

One of the reasons why you have to be careful when buying second hand copies of the comics as some people will have cut this out.  What a waste of a great comic!

In part three of "Double Trouble" Miles Mayhem unmasks Buddie Hawks as his doppelganger.  Mayhem commands Dagger to attack Rhino as he hypnotises Buddie into taking orders only from him - what will the outcome be?

All in all, another great issue.  Like I say, disappointed at no centre page vehicle but the artwork on the 4 page poster is amazing.  There is something that confuses me on the cover, however.  Sly Rax is riding his Motorcycle but the sidecar sub is in the water firing at Gator - so who is piloting the sub?

Feel free to add your own comments below on your own thoughts and remember you can catch more chat and information on the Facebook page -

Saturday, 9 March 2013

M.A.S.K. Movie - a Tale of Two Scripts

A number of years ago, whilst working in a Call Centre, I came up with an idea.  This idea lead to myself and a friend writing a script - "The Halls".  In 2009 I revisited this script adding more depth, humour and drama.

When I finished this script, I found myself looking for the next challenge - inspiration came to me in the form of M.A.S.K.  During my teens, I collected all of the UK Comics and Books (hence this blog) watched most of the cartoons (have now seen them all on DVD) and have collected all of the US Comics.

Two regular features within the comic were the Letters Page and MASK Art - which encouraged budding Artists to send in their pictures of not only existing Characters, Vehicles and Masks but to create your own.  My imagination ran wild and I started creating one vehicle after another along with M.A.S.K. and V.E.N.O.M. agents and Masks.

Instead of sending my ideas to the comic, I thought it best to send them direct to Kenner - the makers of the toys.  Based on their response, I ended up taking Art & Design and Technical Drawing as the prospect of becoming a sort of Bruce Sato, Toy Designer Extraordinaire filled the rest of my school years.  With the demise of the M.A.S.K. toyline, comics and cartoon my aspirations died with them.

So, in September 2009 my thirst to write another script combined with my love M.A.S.K. I started writing the first few pages.  However, in the back of mind I was concerned at what I was going to do with my script when it was finished.

What I've learned from my experience of my previous endeavours with a script and various ideas for TV Programmes is that companies don't like you approaching them.  I then started chatting with someone whose friend was the daughter of the CEO of Hasbro - the company who bought over Kenner.

I thought, that's my way in!

Writing continued on my script until the end of 2009 by which time I had written approx 80-90 pages.  Progress slowed over the Christmas period and then my son, Reece, was born on the 7th of January 2010.  Around the same time, my Father's health deteriorated and my plans were put on hold.  I guess part of me was glad as I had worked hard on the script and had come up against a bit of writers block.

Although I didn't do much work on my script over 2010/2011; in my mind I was always working on the script.

One of the guys at work new I was writing my script and mentioned he was also into M.A.S.K. when he was younger and told me that there were already plans to make a movie.  My heart sunk!  I checked out the IMDB website as suggested by my colleague only to find out he was kidding.

However, every now and again I would search "M.A.S.K.Movie" in Google, Bing and Youtube.  Eventually, I started getting results for a movie trailer but it was clear it wasn't a studio made trailer.  Then I came across the following site -

Again, my heart sunk.  Not only did I have competition from across the pond in the form of Jason and Wyatt, but they had already finished their script and had started promoting it.

I was even more determined than ever to finish my script.

I contacted them via e-mail and mentioned that I, too, was writing a script.  In their response they mentioned a piece of free software called Celtx (Download Here).  I downloaded and installed at the earliest opportunity and set about porting my script over onto this format.

As I did so, I made some changes to improve my script.  I then got back into writing.  When my father passed away in May 2012 my determination to complete the project grew.

I still had a bit of writers block.  I've created a couple of new characters and a new vehicle that I wanted to introduce.  Bandicoot is based on a Can-am Spyder Motorcycle and would be instrumental in the battle I was trying to write.

I knew the basics of the next scene I wanted to write but it hadn't clicked in my mind how I was going to move forward with it.  Part of the issue was I didn't know how the new character and vehicle would fit in.  Nor did I have a name for her Mask (yes she's a female agent - can't say too much but she's from Germany) or it's ability.

Inspiration eventually hit me on my drive into work one day.  I heard a song by a British band called M People - hadn't heard it in a while.  It's one word title is a French word that has found it's way into the English dictionary.  Suddenly my mind went crazy - I thought of another French word that is used in everyday English; shortened it to become the name of her Mask; came up with an Adventure Pack that she uses in conjunction with her Mask and Bandicoot; then the storyline all fell into place.

Within the time of a four minute long song I had written a whole battle scene in my head.

Thinking about it; had I tried to write this back in 2009/2010 I know that this scene wouldn't be as good as it is today - I'd even say it's the best scene in the script.

I then worked when I could and managed to finish my script.  So far, only one other person has read it and he has given me some pointers, but overall liked it. 

I made contact with Hasbro but as of yet to no avail.

Many people out there will be wondering why, if I call Wyatt and Jason, the competition why do I mention them in my blog?

Simple, the guys have done a great job and their website has excellent material on it.  As I've mentioned before, if their script is as good as their blog then I have some serious competition on my hands.

However, the word "competition" is used affectionately- I'd like to think we have mutual respect for each others work.  I have no doubt in my head that at some point a movie about M.A.S.K. will be made.  I think given the work that Jason, Wyatt and myself have put into our scripts, I'd rather see one of these be made into a movie rather than some stock writer who doesn't know much about M.A.S.K.

I hope that someone from Hasbro will eventually read my script and like it.  Until then I'll promote my script and help promote Jason and Wyatt's script also - as they say, the most important thing is that we get a M.A.S.K. movie.

I have made a small start on the sequel to the above but I'm also working on some other projects as well as work on my blog and Facebook page.

On a final note; I wrote my script to entertain.  In the unfortunate event that my script isn't made into a movie, I'll make my script available for all to read on my blog.