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 -

  • Share the Post on your page and with your friends who you know are M.A.S.K. fans
  • Start discussions in the Comments on this Blog and on the Facebook post to help boost the pageviews and increase awareness
  • Like the Mask Comics Facebook Page
  • Tweet the page if you are on Twitter - paste the following into your tweet -
  • +1 your posts on Google - again using
  • E-mail your friends with the link
  • Make sure you Hashtag all of your comments with #assembleMASK and #Hasbro
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,


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