Tuesday, 14 June 2016

M.A.S.K. 1985-2016 - RIP Part 1

On my way to bed last night (I'd already fallen asleep on the couch so was half asleep) I checked my phone to see that I'd been tagged by Jose Manuel Rosario Rodriguez in a Facebook Post regarding IDW's new M.A.S.K. Comic.

It's an interview with the new writer and artist of IDW's re-imagining of M.A.S.K. on the Newsrama Website.  This gives us more information on their vision and some images of the characters to come.

There are a few issues that I have with this article and what is being said - EG they are called "Masks".  Yes, we know they look like helmets and you wear them like a helmet - but the property is called "M.A.S.K." and they wear "Masks" - so please use the correct terminology!  I thought you were both big M.A.S.K. fans?

As much as the characters look great - they look more Slugterra than M.A.S.K.  The artist has taken time to develop them and I think the only one that isn't to my liking is Miles Mayhem; sorry, Manheim.  He doesn't look as well thought out or as polished as the rest of the characters - but we'll discuss him more soon.

Their fatigues certainly have the colour schemes from M.A.S.K. - but, they aren't M.A.S.K.

Ok, it's difficult to make a judgement from a few images, and the new Ghostbusters has lost a lot of interest due to it's crap first trailer.  But, it may yet redeem itself.

However, there is one big problem that I have with this new M.A.S.K. that can't be overlooked - Matt Trakker is now an African-American.

Why is this a problem?

M.A.S.K. has always been very diverse.  We already have the African-American Hondo MacLean and various other diverse characters such as Bruce Sato, Julio Lopez and even, during the cold war of the 80's, Boris Bushkin.

There has been a lot of chatter recently about whether we will see characters such as Ali Bombay or Nevada Rushmore.  Back in the 80's, these characters were introduced to make M.A.S.K. diverse - even before diversity was even a thing.

Looking at these characters now, they could be taken the wrong way.  80's diversity was in its infancy and it was great to see these characters, but their names now may cause some offence.  Of course, this was the naivety of the 80's - no malice intended.

Fast forward to 2016 and we have a new Bio for M.A.S.K. leader Matt Trakker - who seems to have had an experiment go wrong that has merged him with Hondo MacLean.  So, as Miles Mayhem has been given the new name of Miles Manheim, shouldn't this Matt/Hondo hybrid be given a new name?  Matt MacLean or Hondo Trakker Perhaps?

When Matt was white - he was rich, well adjusted, a philanthropist and a loving father.

According to this new Bio, Matt MacLean/Hondo Trakker is a "delinquent" who "gets himself into some serious trouble" and is black.

Is this the intention?  Racial Stereotyping?  Hondo Trakker is now a delinquent and troublemaker and therefore black?  I really hope that this is just an unfortunate coincidence and not a deliberate act.

I know that I certainly wouldn't want anything to do with a comic, cartoon or toy series that would do such a thing.

But enough about Matt MacLean, I mentioned earlier I'd discuss Miles Manheim, so I will.

First of all, we have to discuss his name change - Manheim.  Why?

Many of you will know that I wrote a script based on M.A.S.K. that I was hoping to get to Hasbro with the intentions of making it into a movie.  I considered for quite a while about Miles surname of Mayhem.  Should he have another name at the start then change to Mayhem as he turns into the evil character that we know?  Should I consider using his surname as a device during the story line that maybe his name is French (or similar) and he has to explain that it isn't pronounced Mayhem and he has to keep repeating himself?

Instead, I just accepted - that is his name.  Many superheroes alter-egos and other charcters have strange names and it is just accepted, so why not Miles Mayhem?

Based on the name they have chosen to replace Mayhem with, I'm guessing that he is now of German decent.  I'm not sure if this is Hasbro's or IDW's decision.  This is echoed in style of the uniform - especially the trousers (pants).

Clearly, the design of his trousers (pants) is similar to those worn by the Nazi's of World War II.  Is this really the direction that we want our V.E.N.O.M. Leader to be going down?

I have mixed feelings about the new comic and what's to come in future movies and the toys that Hasbro are planning.  I know that it will be popular, maybe for the wrong reasons, but I think the real M.A.S.K. is well and truly dead.

Such a pity.  Such a waste.  You were well loved, RIP.


  1. Excellent write up, totally agree.
    If they want £0 revenue (toy, comic and show) and to completely kill the franchise, then they should carry on down this road.

  2. I'm absolutely agree! Matt Trakker african-american is a short-sighted and unjustified choice, a slap in the face to fans. There was so many things to say and to tell, so many interesting aspects that the cartoon had left without a conclusion ... well, for me this was a missed opportunity. And I'm disappointed.

  3. Unfortunately we live in a world of remakes where movies, films, comics that we hold in the highest regard are regurgitated by people who have little or no regard for the original fan base that has kept the properties alive all this time. The Evil Dead remake went south when the chose to remove the central protagonist. The Robocop remake was sole less and removed Clarence Bodiger. The only thing I have seen recently that did the original justice was the Netflix reboot of Voltron, which if you haven't seen it is well worth a watch.

    1. Hey Rob,

      Good to read your comments. I was never into Voltron so I wouldn't be able to comment on it. I must admit, I do normally like a lot of remakes.

      Battlestar Galactica was done, The A-Team Movie was brilliant and for the most part I enjoyed Transformers.

      I think that M.A.S.K. feels more personal to me as I got into it when I was 13 and at that awkward age. I understand why they need to change it - Hasbro don't really have much in the way of rights as far I can see. The cartoon rights seem to be fragmented from region to region and that, of course, where the back stories and character profiles come from.

      It's a shame. A straight up reboot with modern vehicles would've been great but they are changing it too much.