Tuesday, 31 March 2015

M.A.S.K. Comic UK Issue 18

Issue 18 of M.A.S.K. Comic UK came out the 20th of June to the 3rd of July way back in 1987.  The front cover of our favourite comic has Sly Rax and Cliff Dagger hanging on to the skids of Switchblade for dear life!

On the back cover we see an erupting volcano from which our V.E.N.O.M. Rogues are trying to escape.

This is another great example of the excellent artwork found on the UK version of the M.A.S.K. comic - vibrant and strong.  Twenty Eight years later and this issue looks as vibrant and fresh as the day it was printed.

Table of Contents -
  • Front and Back Wraparound Cover
  • Five Pages - "Operation Vandal" Part 2 (B&W with Pink Tint First Cell)
  • Four Pages - "Royal Rescue" Part 2 (Colour)
  • Five Pages - "Island of Death" (B&W)
  • Centre Page Spread - Floyd Malloy with Buckshot
  • Single Page - Advertisement
  • Four Pages - "Young at Heart" Part 4 (B&W)
  • Single Page - Half Advertisement, Half V.E.N.O.M. Letters Page
  • Two Pages - Half Advertisement, Half MASK Art
  • Five Pages - "Inside the Volcano" Part 2 (B&W with Blue Tint First Cell)
  • Single Page - Advertisement

Floyd Malloy on Vampire is causing carnage in London - destroying all sorts of Historical and Cultural Monuments - including Tower Bridge - as we start Part 2 of "Operation Vandal".

Meanwhile, Sly Rax surfaces in Copenhagen using his Piranha Sub to blow up "The Little Mermaid".

Matt Trakker and his team have set up at temporary base of operations in a disused Airfield in East Anglia, England.  Alex Sector believes he has intel on a V.E.N.O.M. base not 20 miles away.

As Alex is left to babysit Scott and T-Bob - Matt heads off in Thunderhawk with Dusty Hayes and Hondo MacLean in Gator.  Our M.A.S.K. team make a dramatic entrance to V.E.N.O.M.'s secret hideout - but they are long gone.  Conveniently, there is a map showing Mayhem's trail of destruction with a clue to another base located in France.

As more monuments across Europe are destroyed, we find out the true nature of Mayhem's plan - to blackmail the US for $10 Million - or they'll move their operations to America and destroy National Monuments.

Matt Trakker makes his way to France flying Thunderhawk - unknown to him, Miles Mayhem is also in the air in Switchblade - behind him!

Attempting a "Royal Rescue" of the kidnapped Prince Sabana, Matt Trakker and Bruce Sato in Thunder hawk with Brad Turner on Condor make their way to Switzerland.  They soon come under fire from Cliff Dagger and Sly Rax in Jack hammer.

Thunder hawk swoops down and fires an aerial bomb - causing an avalanche behind Jackhammer.  As Jackhammer lies engulfed in snow and ice, Matt decides they should land and take Rax and Dagger prisoner.

However, Brad notices they are heading into a trap as V.E.N.O.M. soldiers come out of the snow to ambush them - out heroes withdraw from the fight.

They make their way to the town of Alpdorf which is going to play host for the rest of their mission.  All of the residents have been evacuated from the town.

Unbeknownst to our team, a single V.E.N.O.M. agent is lurking in the town and aims an RPG at Thunderhawk and Condor as they come into land.  Luckily, Buddie Hawks is on hand - he uses his Pentrator Mask to come through a wall and take the agent by surprise.

Matt enters the fray and uses his Spectrum Mask to disorientate the enemy.

A plan is hatched and M.A.S.K.'s Master of Disguise, Buddie Hawks, is sent undercover as a V.E.N.O.M. agent to the still stricken Jackhammer.  The two agents guarding Jackhammer let it slip that Prince Sabana is being held in the castle.

Miles Mayhem and Sly Rax turn up and see through Buddie's ruse.  A couple of darts from Rax's Stiletto mask coated with a Knockout Solution disable our hero....

A Witch Doctor has summoned all of the residents of the Tropical Island of San Justo to a ceremony at the base of an Extinct Volcano in our next story "Island of Death".  He tells them that the Volcano Gods have been angered and points out a man in the crowd responsible.

He pulls out a Voodoo doll and puts a pin through the chest.  As he does so, the man collapses and dies.  The Witch Doctor then demands the residents brings him gifts the following day to prevent the Gods further anger.

The Witch Doctor is greeted back at his hut by Cliff Dagger and Sly Rax.  As he removes his mask, we discover the Witch Doctor is none other than V.E.N.O.M. Leader, Miles Mayhem.  

We discover that the Voodoo doll was all a trick to instil fear in the residents, as a man comes to the door of the hut looking for payment for poisoning the victim!  He won't live long enough to spill the beans on Mayhem's plans as a venomous Marsh Snake has been hidden with his payment.

V.E.N.O.M. soldiers stand guard at island's quay as a small fishing boat heads their way.  All of a sudden a car drives through the cabin and quickly converts into a jet as Thunderhawk takes flight.  The soldiers surrender as Matt fires upon them.

However, Mayhem and his team are made aware of M.A.S.K.'s presence just moments before Brad Turner on Condor makes his attack.  As he flies over the mouth of the Extinct Volcano, we discover V.E.N.O.M. have been busy and built a base.  Heavily manned with various weapons and vehicles visible.  Condor and Thunderhawk make their attack.

Unfortunately for heroes, they come under heavy fire and both vehicles take hits and are forced to land.  Mayhem and his assembled minions make their way to victory over M.A.S.K.

However, it appears that the volcano isn't quite as extinct as first thought and starts to erupt.  The V.E.N.O.M. agents flee as we see Dagger and Rax cling onto Switchblades skids - the scene from the front cover.

V.E.N.OM. Agent Floyd Malloy takes pride of place in this fortnight's issue.

A man with hair so big his mask comes with a sunroof to let it all out!  But, seriously, Floyd is a fantastic character.

His black and red fatigues and mask are just simply stunning.  His wild hair suits his wild personality.

Buckshot is a well designed mask - one of my all time favourites - and suits Floyd so much.

I used to have to travel about 10 miles each day on a bus to high school.  One of the bus drivers we used to get reminded me so much of Floyd.  From the blonde hair and strange ears he is sometimes shown with.

Even back then I had dreams of a M.A.S.K. movie and hoped that someone that looked like this guy could play Malloy!

Part four of "Young at Heart" sees Matt Trakker being chased by Miles Mayhem, Sly Rax, Cliff Dagger and Floyd Malloy as he tries to rescue the stricken Bruce Sato.  Bruce has succumbed to V.E.N.O.M.'s gas and his mind has reverted back to that of a small, helpless child.

High above the scene, Brad Turner in Condor and Julio Lopez in Firefly provide support for our heroes below.  They cause a tree to fall on top the V.E.N.O.M. troupe, giving Matt precious time to reach Bruce.

Trying to get Bruce's Lifter mask back on to protect him from the gas, Matt realises he's far too late as Bruce sits sucking his thumb and talking childish gibberish.

The four V.E.N.O.M. agents, now free of the tree, use all of their masks - Stiletto, Torch, Buckshot and Viper - to unleash their combined fire power on Matt Trakker.  Julio drops a "Superstun Atomiser" bomb that soon sends the villains fleeing into the sewers.

Mayhem makes plans to grab a stockpile of his dreaded gas and unleash terror on mainland Europe.  We see Mayhem in Switchblade and Malloy on Vampire flying over the English Channel towards France.

Meanwhile, Alex Sector contacts Matt to inform him that he has made an antidote.  He his using his Jackrabbit mask to make his way to Matt's location from Germany.  Halfway over the English Channel, he runs into trouble as he comes under fire from Vampire and Switchblade - will he survive?

We have an unusual double page spread this issue -

As an advert for a water pistol takes up the bottom half of the two pages - I guess to highlight the distance that it can fire water - the top half of the two pages is reserved for MASK Art.

The Leaders of both M.A.S.K. and V.E.N.OM have been lured into a trap by J. J. Kinsale and have been thrown together in a battle to the death - mano a mano.

As Mayhem uses his Viper mask to fight Trakker; Matt fights back with his Spectrum mask.

Neither of them willing to give nor gives no quarter.

All the time J. J. Kinsale sits and watches as flying cameras transmit all of the action back to him on large screens.

There is a brief interlude in the fight as Trakker and Mayhem exchange "pleasantries".

Matt then hears a distant rumbling as over-sized robotic elephants with robotic hunters enter the fray.  Slowly, Matt and Miles have to start working together to fend off a common enemy.

Mayhem uses his Viper mask to spit venom at the leg of one of the elephant causing it to topple over.

Matt then shows what he is made of as he uses his Spectrum mask to disrupt the marauding attackers.

However, there are too many of them and Matt and Miles are forced towards the rocks surrounding them to flee their impending doom.

As they do so, a truce is formed between to two enemies - who were once such close friends and colleagues.

We close off this issue with Matt and Miles surrounded by guns - what is their fate going to be?

As expected from the UK M.A.S.K. Comic this is another great comic.  Plenty of action, great stories and artwork.

#assembleMASK #Hasbro #MASKComics

Sunday, 1 March 2015


After posting a couple of images on my M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page over the past few days that had some good hits, I thought I continue on from a previous post - MASKart!

My son and I were doing some drawings.  I drew the above image of Firefly, then printed a copy of it.  The copy was lighter than above, but that allowed my son to draw over it to get some practice.

Then, yesterday, I lightly sketched an outline of Rhino to give Reece something to work with and this is what he came up with -

He's only 5 years old - so It's a good start!

MASKart was a regular feature of the M.A.S.K. UK Comics.  Between the comic strips, the centre page spreads and MASKart, there was plenty of inspiration for me to come up with some ideas.

During my teenage years I drew a number of concept drawings for M.A.S.K.  I had a lot of ideas running through my head and need to get them down on paper.  My Father was a car mechanic and his garage sold and maintained Saab's - so I drew a lot of inspiration from there - 

"Viggen" was my first attempt.  A four door Saab 900 Turbo Saloon.  Like Thunderhawk, Viggen (taken from the name of the Saab Viggen Jet Fighter) is a car that converts into a jet.

It was a fairly subtle conversion - so subtle, I had to draw a top view of the wings coming out so you would know that it had actually converted!!  The idea was that black side mouldings are where the wings are hidden - on the side view it doesn't look like much has happened.

The rear spoiler rises up as a tail wing and the there are machine guns in the front headlights.

My next vehicle - not sure if I actually gave it a name at the time, so we'll call it "Draken" (yes, another Saab Jet Fighter) - is a three door Saab 900.

One thing you will notice about many of my ideas, is that they draw inspiration (steal) from existing M.A.S.K. Vehicles.  Draken was very much a Car version of Condor.

Not a great design - but at least it has a bit more going on that the Viggen concept!!

So far you'll see a theme of Saab's, so you'll be please to know that my last Saab idea is below!

Ok, so this is a poor sketch at best.  Anyone familiar with Saab's will know that the Bonnet (Hood) is hinged at the front of the vehicle.  This lends itself well to becoming a "Shield" for a sort of tank.

We had an Irish Setter at the time and I came up with the idea that M.A.S.K. should have their own Setter.  Other 80's heroes of the time had their "pet" sidekicks - there was Brain in Inspector Gadget and Battle Cat in He-Man.  I felt that a dog, with a Mask that allowed him to talk, would be good.

Of course, V.E.N.O.M. need their own Canine Agent -

Not too sure if these dogs would add anything to the stories or just be a crazy idea.

Where would we be without a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am!  One of the icons of our generation!

Clearly, this vehicle is simply called "Firebird".  It's just really Raven, but without the ability to land on water!

I used to watch a lot of US shows in the 80's and drew from them.  One of my favourites, that no one seems to remember, was The Highwayman starring Sam Jones (Flash Gordon).

I guess the trucks in The Highwayman had a big influence on "Magnum".

The image above isn't very clear - drawn on green paper.  But loosely based on The Highwayman's truck and an image from a book about the future I've had since I was a small child.

Being a large vehicle, it's a bit more complex than some of my other designs.

The trailer section detaches to from a mobile command centre with an anti-aircraft turret.

The front section the becomes a futuristic version of Rhino - even with it's own ATV!

My older brother, Alan, had a toy Recovery Truck when we were growing up!  It was a great toy - I was a bit jealous that it wasn't mine!

I didn't do much to it - I guess I could've done a lot more!

I guess the guns would get in the way of opening the doors!

I guess as ideas go - a Milk Tanker is a bit of an unusual one!  I live in a small village and there are a number of Dairy Farms around the area.  Within our village, there was a company with a fleet of Milk Tankers.

Like some of my other ideas, there is plenty more that I could've done with it!  I guess I didn't want it to be too much like Outlaw!

Speaking of Outlaw - a couple of weeks ago, this design for Outlaw emerged on the internet -

This is a great concept and there was something a bit familiar about it!

I couldn't quite put my finger on it at the time, until I came across this design that I worked on in my teens - 

The concept for "Tornado" was taken from a toy tanker that I had as a kid.

I guess that with some of the ideas that I had, I already had an idea of what I was going to do with it.  Some of ideas came to me as I was drawing them.  As with the Outlaw concept above, Tornado is a Semi-Tractor Unit with a Tanker Trailer.

The Conversion is complex - but maybe not as complex as "Outlaw" above.

As I said above, I "Stole" many of my ideas from existing M.A.S.K. creations.  The Jet in the Tanker is very much like Slingshot.  The hydroplane coming out of the Tractor Unit is very much like Gator.

I'd like to think, due to the smokestacks coming done and being weapons on the ATV, that I improved Rhino's ATV design - just slightly!

This is just a silly drawing (a bit like the third Saab vehicle above) that I threw together when I had a few minutes to kill.  It was a Monster Car, that turned into a Hovercraft - a bit like Bandit - but had the added bonus of a jet hidden within.

The Ferrari Truck below was another toy of my brother's that I drew - I'm not sure what I was going to do with it!

I'm sure that whatever I was going to do with it - it was going to be awesome!

But, of course, M.A.S.K. isn't just about the vehicles.  There are also Masks.

When I looked out these images to post, I found list upon list of vehicles and Masks that I had ideas for.  All of the Masks were listed with their names and respective functions.

I only drew a few, however.

I guess I was kind of working my designs around the existing Masks so that they would fit in within the M.A.S.K. universe. 

Ok - so these REALLY AREN'T GREAT but don't judge me too much.

You'll be glad to know that NONE of the above, made it into my script!

I should have some more pictures - I'll maybe leave them for another time!

#assembleMASK #Hasbro #MASKComics