Saturday, 30 July 2016

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

IDW are the Guinea Pigs.

A lot rests on them now - the success or failure of their new M.A.S.K. Comic will have repercussions for years to come.  Brandon Easton, the writer of the new comic, has stated that he hopes his vision of the comic will be the foundations for what has to follow.

Get it right - and it could be.  Get it wrong and Hasbro will need to rethink the re-imagining of M.A.S.K.  And I believe that this is Hasbro's plan.  Get IDW to produce the comic and test the waters before investing in the Movies' and toys.

Reading other posts and listening to various Pod Casts, there is no doubt that there are many M.A.S.K. fans out there - each with their own point of view.  There has been some division recently as some fans aren't happy with the new M.A.S.K. and many are looking forward to it.

There have been a few people who have attacked others for their own point of view.  That is wrong.

Everyone is entitled to their own point of view.  Everyone is entitled to express that point of view without any "Backlash" directed towards them.

Some people are coming out and stating that people can't be "Real Fans" just because they have a differing view and don't want to buy into the new M.A.S.K. coming out.  Some people judge their "Fan Status" by the amount of toys in their collection.

We are all fans.  We are all the same.  Let's just stop the fighting.

But, what I want to explore in this Blog Post is - What is M.A.S.K.?  And why MUST the new M.A.S.K. be different.

You have Albert Penello's M.A.S.K. page which is all about the toys.  Unfortunately, despite being one of the oldest sites and a great reference page for M.A.S.K. fans, there haven't been any updates on this page in years.  Come on Albert, I want to hear from you!

You have Jason and Wyatt's Agents of M.A.S.K. page that reviews the Cartoons.  Initially set up to promote their movie - they do reviews of the Cartoons and have widened up their approach to encompass all aspects of M.A.S.K.

Then you have my M.A.S.K. Comics Blog Post that you are reading now and my M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page.  I guess, like Wyatt and Jason, I also needed way of getting my Script to people.

When it comes to M.A.S.K., we have the following components -
  • Toys
  • Cartoons
  • UK Comics
  • US Comics
  • Books
  • Other Merchandise
Much of the emphasis on the internet clearly relates to the first two items in the above - the toys and the Cartoons.  But, for most, it is the culmination of everything that defines M.A.S.K.

The Toys, by Kenner, were the starting blocks; the foundation of M.A.S.K.  From the toys we know what the characters, vehicles and Masks are called and what they look like.  We know what weapons the vehicles have and what abilities the Masks have.

The Cartoons, by DIC, then add the voice, the character, the personalities, the backgrounds and stories that we have come to love about M.A.S.K.  

We all know that Brad is a Musician by day; Buddie is a master mechanic; Bruce designs Toys whilst Dusty makes Pizzas - but, who owns these backgrounds?

If you look on the back packaging of any M.A.S.K. figure, is this information there?

Or, are these the back stories that were created by DIC for the cartoons.  If they are and DIC (or whomever owns them now) are not part of the revival, then can these backgrounds be used.

I would've thought not.

Then you have Duane Kennedy and the P.N.A. (Peaceful Nations Alliance). They played a prominent part in the US DC Comics - who created them?  Was it DC Comics and if so, then they can't appear in the IDW comics.

Although many people are familiar with the backgrounds of our favourite Cartoon Characters, the UK Comics didn't share the same backgrounds.

M.A.S.K. agents were M.A.S.K. agents.  We had no alter-egos.

So, whilst we are being told that we are getting a reinvention of M.A.S.K. for a new generation, M.A.S.K. is having to evolve because everything that was M.A.S.K. can no longer exist.

Which is a shame.  Apart from the DC Comics, that didn't last very long, the rest of M.A.S.K. succeeded very well - especially outside of the USA.

Brandon Easton has eluded a number of times to why M.A.S.K. was successful - you have the characters, you have vehicles and then the masks that give each agent a special power.  He likens these powers to superheroes.

But what does every superhero need?  An Alter-ego - a secret identity.  That is part of what the original M.A.S.K. did well with each M.A.S.K. character have a life and job outside of M.A.S.K.

But then, if the UK Comics didn't need the alter-egos, maybe, just maybe....

Instead of these backgrounds, our M.A.S.K. team are now being referred to as "drivers and pilots" in a "Fast and Furious" style comic!  What does that even mean?  We don't want the return of the Racing Series.

One of my concerns still surrounds the Trademarks and whether Hasbro have enough protection of the property.

We all know that the Trademarks all cancelled Circa 1991.  I have contacted Hasbro on numerous occasions to see if they are interested in my suggestions - no response.

So, where does this leave Hasbro, IDW and Paramount?  Not in a very good position, in my opinion.

If I have come up for a solution to the Trademark problem, I'm sure there are many other people out there who would be able to come up with the same or a similar solution.

What would happen if I or someone else Trademarked all the characters, masks and vehicles?  This is very much a concern. 

Would all the plans that Hasbro have go into meltdown?  Let's not forget, it was a Former Hasbro Employee who set the ball rolling by Trademarking "M.A.S.K. - Mobile Armored Strike Kommand".  Yes, Hasbro have since acquire that Mark, but what about the rest?

Maybe I should start a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds so that I can buy all of the Trademarks?  Maybe then, would Hasbro would sit up and take notice?

One thing is for certain, the M.A.S.K. that we knew and loved is truly dead - replaced with "M.A.S.K. - Mobile Armored Strike Kommand".  Even the ideas I have for the knew Trademarks would change the way we look at M.A.S.K. - slightly.

We will never get M.A.S.K. back - it will just live on in our childhood memories; our collections and, more importantly, in our hearts!

#assembleMASK #MASKComics #Hasbro
#MASKCrusade #DIC

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