Sunday, 28 April 2013

Interview with Darren - A M.A.S.K. Fan!

One of the key aspects of my site is getting to you; the readers of my blog and Facebook Page.  It's great to find out about what others like about M.A.S.K. and interact; rather than just discussing my point of view.

Recently, Darren posted a link on my  M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page to a great Facebook Page all about Artist David Pugh.  David is responsible for much of the greatest artwork in titles such as The Eagle, 2000AD, Judge Dredd and, of course, M.A.S.K.  There are many original works and I recommend that you have a look and like this fabulous page.

I contacted Darren to see if he would be interested in a little Q&A session and he said yes.  Not only was this a great interview session, but Darren has a great wealth of knowledge about the Artists that created our favourite Comic!

Who are you?

My name is Darren Gregson, and I am thirty 'something' years old.

I am originally from Nottinghamshire in the UK. I have recently moved to the US marrying my American fiancee.

My background is in Art and Design, and I worked as a Graphic Designer for 10 years in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

I am now currently in the process of planning and setting up my own business as an Artist Designer Illustrator.


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

I have several distinct early M.A.S.K memories.

The first is watching a TV commercial for the toys that aired during Saturday morning television.  The advert was for Rhino. This would be in the run up to Christmas 1986.  To this day, I still recall the feeling of excitement I experienced seeing the TV commercial for the first time.

My second memory is finding the first issue of the UK M.A.S.K comic on a newsagent shelf shortly after.  It was actually my brother Paul (who is four years younger than me), that collected the first few issues (specifically issues 1, 4 and 7).

My next memory is receiving Jackhammer for Christmas that year.  Paul had Gator.

From then onwards, we were both officially hooked.  Toys, comics, cartoons, books, sticker book and any other related merchandise.

Did you collect the comics growing up?

I started collecting the UK comic from issue 8 (the one with the cover and poster 'joiner'), and collected every issue until number 80, before it merged with Eagle. I also acquired issues 1,4 and 7 from Paul. (I would say for a fair swap, but he may disagree). In addition to the regular comic, I collected several holiday and seasonal specials. I remember Paul had the 'Action Special' too (which was hardback like an annual).

Even at that young age I was a collector, and had to track down those missing early issues for my collection. I remember obsessively asking my school friends to sell me their copies of issues 2,3,5,and 6. I even recall paying 60p for an issue (which was a lot of pocket money for me in 1987). Eventually I was able to complete my run.

I was only slightly aware that there was an American comic. My friend had the first issue (purchased from a car boot sale I believe), but the quality of the artwork was inferior, and I never looked for those until I was older.

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

I do still have my M.A.S.K comic collection. As you may expect, my original collection was neglected during my middle teenage years. However, around fifteen years ago after contemplating the nostalgic value of my childhood, I sealed them all into mylar comic bags and stored them in a comic box to keep them safe. The early issues are far from perfect, but from around issue 14 onwards, they are all nearly as new (except when the free gift was removed from the cover and my surname was written on the back for paperboy delivery).

In September/October 1988 when M.A.S.K merged with Eagle, I was so disappointed that I stopped collecting the comic totally. It just wasn't the same. I then went on to collect Wildcat (a UK sci fi comic), Marvel UK's Transformers, The Real Ghostbusters and any other comic that looked new and interesting.

Many years later, I did regret not collecting the Eagle issues, and when I discovered Ebay, I quickly purchased the full run and additional copies of my damaged early issues from 1986-1987. I also purchased the Grandreams UK annuals (which contained reprints from the American comic), the actual DC comic mini series, and the M.A.S.K comic preview issue, which I didn't know existed until then.

What was your favourite aspect of the comics?

The artwork without a doubt. I loved vehicles of any description, I loved to draw cars, and the comic was a perfect combination of everything I enjoyed at the age of nine and ten. It was also at this point that I started to understand that comics were created by an artist. It was a job and they were paid to draw. Although the illustrators were never officially credited, I would see names signed within the panels, and begin to recognise certain artist's work from their style.
.
I no longer wanted to be a Ghostbuster, I wanted to draw comic books.

I even drew two issues of my own M.A.S.K comic and took them to school for friends to read.  They were terrible, but I wish I still had them.

I loved the fact that the stories were multipart with a definite conclusion (it even said conclusion on the final episode). At the time I had looked through some Transformer comics, and the stories just seemed to continue. At at that early age, I didn't want that, I wanted closure.

Every fortnight, then every week, Paul and I would obsess and debate over what new vehicles would be introduced into the stories, and more importantly, what was going to be on the poster. That also added to the excitement.

How do you think the comic compared with the toys and the cartoon?

I collected the comic, I played with the toys, and I watched the cartoon.  I enjoyed all three immensely. But if I had to pick one now, I would say my favourite would be the comic.

Certainly when I compare the comic to the cartoon, the stories have more depth.
They had more impact on me. Especially in the early issues.  They also fuelled my love of reading comics and reading in general.

And even though there were comedic moments in the comic, I always felt that Venom were dangerous.  Certainly more dangerous than in the cartoon.

If you collected more than one variant, which is your favourite?

The UK Comic was my favourite.

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

I can only really compare the comic to other licenced comics from the 1980's.

I would say the first thing is the quality of the artwork and storytelling. It was far superior to anything I had seen at that time.  The comic was 100% M.A.S.K (no random back up stories), and contained five or six stories to read per issue.

I think one of the things I took for granted at the time was the continuous front and back cover illustration. Most comics, licensed or not, would use the back cover for advertising. A wraparound cover would be a 'special gift' for the majority of comics I collected. But M.A.S.K had one every week. And a fully illustrated poster too.

You recently shared a link to the David Pugh Fan Page, can you tell us more?

As I mentioned earlier, I had a hunger to know the names of my favourite M.A.S.K artist's.
My two favourite M.A.S.K illustrators were Ron Smith and David Pugh.  I would read their stories first.

Ron had a very distinctive style, and his characters were always very expressive. There was an energy to his M.A.S.K vs VENOM battle scenes that engaged my imagination.

David's work was ultra realistic. The most detailed of all the artist's. His drawings looked exactly like the toys, but he somehow made them look real and placed them in real world locations.

There were others that I liked too, but I didn't always know their names, or their full names (some work wasn't signed, or only signed with a surname).

As I got older, I came across the comic 2000ad, and began to make connections as the stories were officially credited.  The internet helped too.

Ron and David both illustrated comics for 2000ad too (they also worked on Wildcat).

During the latter part of my degree (I studied Visual Communication in Birmingham, 1995-1998), I was fortunate enough to be able to correspond with Ron (this was before the rise of the internet and email). He gave me information on his background. He had been working as a comic illustrator since 1949. When he was illustrating M.A.S.K, he would have been in his early sixties.

Ron also helped me with my dissertation and gave me feed back on my artwork (I still wanted to draw comic books at this point).

In 2003, I asked Ron if he had some of his original M.A.S.K artwork, and if he would sell some to me.  His reply was that basically Kenner owned the artwork, and he never got it back.  I was disappointed and assumed that all of the other artist's were in the same position.
(I imagined a warehouse somewhere full of this artwork, forgotten and just rotting away).

Ron kindly signed some pages from spare comics that I had.  They are one of my most treasured parts of my M.A.S.K collection.

Always polite and a gentlemen, I am eternally grateful for Ron's help and positive contribution to my life.

With the rise of the internet, I have managed to piece together gaps in my knowledge, and last year I found David Pugh's Fan Page.  And too my amazement, he had some of his original M.A.S.K artwork for sale?!  I couldn't believe it!

We began to correspond, and I asked him questions regarding his work and M.A.S.K.

He told me that in the early 1990's, he was asked if he wanted his artwork back before it was all destroyed.  David and his wife had to travel to London at the weekend, and basically grab as much as they could before everything was incinerated on the Monday.

David and I agree that it is likely only his work has survived (Although I hope I am wrong about that).

If anybody is interested, the following is information I have gathered regarding M.A.S.K comic artist's over the years.  Some of it is from childhood memories, personal correspondence and of course the internet.

Ian Kennedy.
Ian illustrated the origin story, 'The Beginning'.  Ian is semi retired, but still creates cover illustrations for DC Thompson's Commando comic.

Ron Smith.
Ron Illustrated stories such as, 'Project Dinosaur', 'Operation Vandal' and 'Doomseed'.
Ron retired in 2003 due to failing eyesight. He would have been seventy nine!

David Pugh.
David illustrated many stories such as, 'Kamikaze', 'Maelstrom Mayhem', 'Ice Station' and 'Funnsville'.  David no longer draws comic books and has set up a charity called Bus Fare.

Please note that Kamikaze and Maelstrom Mayhem were written by Peter Milligan.

Carlos Pino.
Carlos (a spanish artist) illustrated the colour stories including, 'The Great Head Robbery' and 'Amazon Mystery' in addition to a couple of black and white stories.

John Cooper.

John Colquhoun.
John is most famous for illustrating a seminal 1970's war comic story called, 'Charley's War' written by Pat Mills.  John passed away in 1987 during his work on M.A.S.K.

Kim Raymond.
Kim illustrated 'Double Trouble' in the early issues, and later 'Hogan's Gang'.
Hogan's Gang was a story about M.A.S.K and Venom toys that came to life.
(Sorry if that's a spoiler).  Kim now works as a painter/fine artist.

Anthony Williams.
Anthony drew the later episodes of 'Hogan's Gang' as well as 'The Adventures of Cliff Dagger' strip.  Anthony also worked on Marvel UK's The Real Ghostbusters, 2000ad and many more.
Anthony still works as a commercial artist.

Sandy James.
Sandy illustrated the majority of the covers and posters for M.A.S.K comic.
He also illustrated one story possibly in printed in issue 16. (My comics are stored in the UK therefore I cannot check).  It is likely that Sandy illustrated himself as part of the Venom cover to issue 28 (the artist with the beard).

I believe Sandy passed away recently.

What was your first M.A.S.K toy?

Jackhammer. It is also my favourite.



How big was/is your collection?

Combined, my brother and I had around 17-18 vehicles (he actually had more than I)
Unfortunately some were broken through excessive play and therefore thrown away (I should never have taken Switchblade to school for 'bring a toy' day).



Our collection varies in condition, with many complete and some in almost perfect condition (particularly toys from the later Racing Series). By the time the 'Split Second' series was released, we had moved on to other things.

To this day, I will never be able to explain why as a teenager I decided to take Jackhammer apart. First with a screw driver, and then by force. I always regretted that.

Quick Fire Questions.

Gloria or Vanessa?

I always wanted Shark (didn't we all), but I did love Manta.
I would have to say Vanessa.

Spectrum or Ultraflash?

Spectrum.

Hurricane or Firecracker?

Hurricane (but only just).

M.A.S.K, G.I Joe or Transformers?

M.A.S.K!

Scott Trakker - Love or Hate?

As a child I didn't have a problem with Scott.
As an adult.....Ugh!

Thunderhawk or Switchblade?

Thunderhawk.

You may know that I've written a script, what are your thoughts on a M.A.S.K movie?

A M.A.S.K movie would be awesome.  A new comic would be equally cool.  IDW publishing are you listening? (Highly unlikely).

Which characters and vehicles would you like to see?

In the first movie I would love to see all of the original vehicles and characters from series one.

Transformers came under fire for changes to many of the vehicles?  What are your thoughts on vehicles for M.A.S.K.?

A variation of original designs and some updates would work well.

Seeing Jackhammer as an original 1980's Black Ford Bronco (in which the toy was based) would be much better than a modern 4x4.

But a modern rig would be cool for Rhino.

I think Switchblade would need to be updated/changed.  Really when you think about it, a helicopter than turns into a plane isn't that exciting.

However, like the Transformers live action movies, there would ultimately be a sponsorship deal made with vehicle manufacturers, and that would determine what vehicles were used.

Thank you very much for your time Darren!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Sneak Peek of my Script

Re my last post, as a thank your for all of your support over the last few months, below is an excerpt from my M.A.S.K. script.  This scene takes place around midway through the script and features part of one of the many battle scenes in my script and shouldn't give too much away.

I posted recently that Bandicoot is a new vehicle that I'd created for my script - in this scene you find out it's drivers name and her Mask.

I apologise for the formatting - for some reason Blogger won't allow me to keep the original formatting.  I hope that you enjoy and I look forward to your comments and remember to keep up-to-date on my Facebook Page.


CUT TO:



41 INT.MAYHEM’S WEAPONS PLANT.DAY.DAY 41 

In a dark corner, there is a Flash and ANNALIESE ZIEGLER
appears. From her position, she can see BUDDIE HAWKS
bound and hanging from the ceiling by his wrists. CLIFF
DAGGER is beating him. There is a lot of activity in the
background as PLANT STAFF are packing everything up.

ANNALIESE ZIEGLER
(Continues into her comm)
MATT; BUDDIE’s in trouble. I
can’t use RECON to get closer or
I’ll be putting us both in
danger; you need to get in here
now!

She moves out of the corner to get closer. SLY RAX and AL
MURANO are in the office having an argument.

AL MURANO
You can’t do this!

SLY RAX
Can’t I?

SLY RAX leaves through the office door with AL MURANO
following closely behind.

SLY RAX
(Continues)
Has he said anything yet?

CLIFF DAGGER
Not yet!

CLIFF DAGGER hits him once more in the stomach.

SLY RAX
Are you ready to tell me what I
want to know?

AL MURANO
RAX, I’m pleading with
ya... BUDDIE’s on our side. He
would never rat me out...

BUDDIE HAWKS
Save your breath, AL... I don’t
think your new friends are
believing you.

CLIFF DAGGER
Can I hit him again, RAX?

SLY RAX
Go for...

SLY RAX’s speech is cut off by a loud crash from behind
them. RHINO uses it’s battering ram to power through the
Garage Doors, followed by FIRECRACKER and JACKHAMMER as they open fire.

Mayhem all around as some of the PLANT STAFF pick up
weapons to return fire; others clamber into the vehicles
and start them up. Minor skirmishes ensue.

ANNALIESE has her sidearm ready and rushes into the
Fray. She takes out a few of the PLANT WORKERS but one of
them manages to knock her to the ground with the butt of
his machine gun and then points it at her and laughs...

ANNALIESE ZIEGLER
RECON; on.

She disappears in a flash. The PLANT WORKER looks around
confused. There is then another brief flash and ANNALIESE
reappears - this time astride BANDICOOT in it’s Action
Mode, guns pointing at the PLANT WORKER.

PLANT WORKER 1
Shi...

He is cut off as ANNALIESE fires her weapons at him.
Some of the PLANT STAFF make their escape on their
vehicles, ANNALIESE ZIEGLER and HONDO MACLEAN chase after
them in BANDICOOT and FIRECRACKER.

AL MURANO seizes the opportunity to attack CLIFF DAGGER to
help his friend BUDDIE HAWKS. DAGGER strikes back and
SLY RAX enters the fray - a gun goes off and AL slumps to
the ground.

BUDDIE HAWKS
AL...

RAX and DAGGER make their way to the back of the building
- MATT TRAKKER exits JACKHAMMER and fights his way through
to BUDDIE and the stricken AL - in the background all of
the enemy vehicles have either been destroyed or
escaped. We can see BRUCE SATO, ADAM TRAKKER and ALEX
SECTOR out of their vehicles using their "MASKS" - LIFTER,
LIGHTNING & JACKRABBIT respectively - to fend off the last
of the PLANT STAFF.

MATT cuts BUDDIE down and he slumps down beside the
stricken AL who moans lightly. In the background an oil
drum explodes causing parts of the roof to fall in.

ADAM TRAKKER
MATT! It’s starting to get
unstable in here!

MATT nods over to acknowledge his brother. BUDDIE is now
holding his friend AL in his arms.

BUDDIE HAWKS
AL! Who’s behind all of this.

AL looks into BUDDIE’s eyes, takes one last shallow breath
and then fades away. The moment is rocked as another oil
drum explodes - this time closer causing the ceiling above
MATT and BUDDIE to fall down. BRUCE comes to their aid.

BRUCE SATO
LIFTER; on!

The falling debris hangs in the air as LIFTER takes
effect. BRUCE makes a small motion and the debris is
easily thrown to the side.

BUDDIE HAWKS
They knew MATT! Some how they
knew I’m working for you.

MATT TRAKKER
We’ll worry about that
later... We need to get out of
here.

Another explosion; BRUCE again uses LIFTER on debris as
MATT and ADAM help BUDDIE into the back of RHINO. The
team make their exit from the building.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

A Big Thank You - 5,000 Page Views

Recently, I posted on my Facebook Page that I'd managed to reach 100 likes.

Today, my blog reached 5,000 pageviews - and growing.  Ok, some of these views would've been me checking to make sure things look ok on my blog once I've posted.  Nevertheless, from starting off in September last year to 5000 views today I feel that it has all been worth it.

It's great to read your comments on Facebook and would be keen to have some of you make more use of the blog to post some of your own comments, so feel free to add your own point of view.

As a little treat, I will be posting a sneak peak of my script on my blog (for a limited time only) some time within the next 7 days.  I hope you enjoy!

Here's to 10,000 page views.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

G.I. Joe - Retaliation Review

Tonight, I managed to get around to going to the cinema to watch G.I. Joe - Retaliation.  As there are similarities between G.I. Joe and M.A.S.K. I thought it would be a good idea to give a quick review on the movie - don't worry, I'll try not to spoil the plot for you if you haven't seen it.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that it was far better than I expected and in many ways better than the original G.I. Joe movie.  As many of you will know, I've written a script based on M.A.S.K. and I've always imagined that if when it is made, that it should look, sound and feel as real as possible.

In the original G.I. Joe, much of the movie was CGI.  I'm not anti-CGI, per say, however I do feel it was overused in the original and overshadowed the whole movie.  In this movie, there isn't anywhere near as much - or if there is, then it is of such a quality that you don't notice.

Although not entirely real - there were still a few CGI moments - many of the vehicles were real 
and this helped bring the movie to life in a way that the Submarines, for example, in the original didn't.

The Cobra Hovercraft and Roadblock's Tank were just amazing and I sat there thinking "yeah, I want one of those".

The weapons were great and all of the action worked well and fitted with the story line.

Obviously, this was G.I. Joe 2 - a sequel to the first movie - but there were times when it didn't feel completely like a sequel.

Let me explain -

The G.I. Joe toy line has been around in one way or another in the US for a number of decades - so Americans grew up with the tag line "An American Hero".  The feeling of this movie has moved back, in my opinion, to the G.I. Joe's being American rather than the Multi-National Group it was in the first movie.

I'm not saying there is anything bad with it being an American Fighting Unit but it's a big change that may not go down very well in some markets.

One of the great things about M.A.S.K. was the Multi-National team and not all of the action took place in America.  This is why I believe it was as popular as it was and still is on an International level.  The fact that the UK comic lasted 80 issues before merging with The Eagle plus all of it's holiday specials is testament to it's reach and longevity outside of the US.

The other reason it seemed like a completely different entity from the first is the lack of recurring characters/actors from the first movie.  If I'm honest, the only two characters I remember from G.I. Joe from when I was younger are Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow (who I always mixed up with Shadow Dancer from the Arcade Game of the same name) so as long as these Ninja's are in the movies - I'll continue to watch and enjoy them.

The acting was good and the story line was great - apart from a few discrepancies/issues - but this didn't detract from my enjoyment of this great movie.

If you haven't already seen it, I'd highly recommend it!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Charley Corbiaux M.A.S.K. Tribute

Yesterday Morning I woke up to find a link on my Facebook Page from Charley Corbiaux to his Youtube Video.



From the first few few frames (above) there is no doubt that we are about to watch something M.A.S.K. related with the six images of the M.A.S.K. logo.

As the video continues, we then realise that each of the logo's is a separate video feed.



Each video feed represents one component of the M.A.S.K. them tune - Vocals, Backing Vocals, Lead Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, etc.  Each component has been filmed individually and then cleverly editing together building up not only the complete Theme Tune but also producing a very creative Music Video to  complement.

As you will see from the video, Charley is the musician behind all of the component parts.

If you haven't already viewed this excellent video...  What are you waiting for?  That's me done!!

Link to Music Video, Click here!



Tuesday, 9 April 2013

David Pugh Fan Page on Facebook




Many of you who also check out my Facebook Page on a regular basis may have seen the recent post by Darren sharing a link to the David Pugh Fan Page on Facebook!

The work of Artist David Pugh adorns the pages of many famous UK Comics including The Eagle, 2000AD, Judge Dredd and, of course, M.A.S.K.  If you are regulars of my blog, you will already have seen some of the images created by this genius and I'd recommend that you have a look at this fantastic Facebook Page.



In the last Comic Review of Issue 10, we saw the conclusion of Kamikaze.  The image above is from the Facebook page and is an original piece of artwork that formed part of that issue.  From the looks of things most of the pages from Kamikaze are present.

From issue 10 to issue 11 -


Recently, you may have seen a couple of images appearing on my Facebook page - these were little tasters of what's to come on my next review of Issue 11.

Above is an original piece from the next issue that I'll be reviewing.  There are many more on there.  Images like this are part of my inspiration for writing my M.A.S.K. script - wouldn't it be great to have David Pugh illustrate my script into a comic?

So, there you have it!  A little insight into what is a great Facebook Page - so what are you waiting for?  Get on there, getting liking and check out the full collection of Images for yourself.

If you used to collect UK comics I'm sure you will see something that brings back memories and if you are new to the UK comic scene you will be taken away by these amazing images.

Thank you David Pugh and the rest of the team for bringing all of my favourite M.A.S.K. (and V.E.N.O.M.) Characters to life!

Feel free to leave your own comments below on your memories of the artwork of M.A.S.K., share my page on Google+ and remember to like and share my Facebook Page with all of your friends.  I recently hit 100 Likes on Facebook and looking forward to 500!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Interview with Bill Faries of matt-trakker.com






Following on from my previous interviews, I was recently in contact with Bill of matt-trakker.com fame.


maskcomics: Who are you?

matt-trakker.com: My name is Bill Faries (Ferris). I’m 30 years old, live in Moorestown, New Jersey. I was born in Philadelphia but grew up in North Wildwood, New Jersey. If anyone lives in the area, feel free to reach out to me if you ever wanted to meet up and talk MASK.

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

matt-trakker.com: I first got into M.A.S.K. after watching the cartoon. The 80’s was all about the show and the then the toy tie in. It was the greatest time for both action figures and cartoons.

maskcomics: Did you collect the comics growing up?

matt-trakker.com: I did not collect the comics growing up. I recently got a few from my wife this past Christmas. I’m a big DC / Marvel fan as well. Still no comics but lots of other items.

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

matt-trakker.com: My collection was a causality of me being a kid. I beat my toys up pretty bad when I was younger. Out of my original collection, I had a Matt Trakker figure, broken down Bulldog and Jackhammer. As of today, I have a complete collection of the vehicles and action figures (Loose). Thanks to Kevin Mills for randomly helping me track down pieces and thanks to Brent Scarano for helping me with some empty boxes.

maskcomics: What was your favourite aspect of the comics?

matt-trakker.com: When I did get to take a look at them, I liked that the stories were completely different for the most part. It’s like looking at little pieces of art on each page.

maskcomics: How do you think the Comic compared with the toys and the cartoon?

matt-trakker.com: As stated earlier, I wasn’t too big into the comics when I was younger. From I have seen though, they tend to hold to the main characters but go in different directions with their story lines which I like.

maskcomics: Are the toys the main focal point of your collection?

matt-trakker.com: Yes, the toys are the main focal point of my collection. I started with just getting the figures back at first (over 10 years ago) because of space issues. I can now say proudly that I have a complete (loose) collection. I also managed to track down two of the rare black Collider masks in my travels.

maskcomics: How do you think M.A.S.K. toys compared to others of the time e.g. Transformers and G.I. Joe?

matt-trakker.com: MASK was always my favorite but not always the case with everyone else. I feel that because of the whole who owns the copyright issues that have taken place over the years, it has made it much harder for the generations that grew up with it to get back into it. GI Joe, Transformers, He-Man, Voltron, etc… all had multiple variations over the years to keep the thought alive.

maskcomics: Are there any toys missing from your collection?

matt-trakker.com: Some random Argentina figures and prototypes like Ramp Up and Thunderball that were never released.

maskcomics: How excited would you be if the fabled Shark toy existed?

matt-trakker.com: It would be great. I never understood why it wasn’t made. It was a staple of the show and sure, Gloria was a girl character and I would imagine that most of the viewers and toy owners were boys but still, it kind of leaves a sour taste that it was never made.

maskcomics: As a Matt Trakker fan, do you think the recent Specialist Trakker M.A.S.K./G.I. Joe crossover toy worked?

matt-trakker.com: I was really happy to see this come out. I was never a big fan of GI Joe but I had to own this. I’m not a fan of all the extra weapons (that make it GI Joeish) but I feel that they did a great job with the figure (and hopefully, more will follow in the future).

maskcomics: Tell us about your website, Matt-Trakker.com?

matt-trakker.com: The website started out as a way for me to teach myself web design/development. It then quickly helped me regain my love for MASK and start my collection back up. A lot of time has gone into it since 2001. We have interviews with the cast and crew, a very large message board and some really good information about the cartoon and toyline.

maskcomics: What draws you to the character of Matt Trakker?

matt-trakker.com: When I was younger, Thunderhawk was the first toy that I got from the MASK line. It became my favorite pretty quick.

When I was trying to come up with a name for the website, boulder hill was taken and I didn't want to confuse people with the Jim Carey movie so I picked the name that people remembered the most to help identify the site.

maskcomics: What plans do you have for the future?

matt-trakker.com: Well, we just launched a new version of the message board which was a long time in the making. Hopefully everyone enjoys it. I will be tying it directly into my main site soon so it won’t open in a new page.

I hope to track down a few more interviews from cast and crew that I haven’t been able to get in touch with yet.

We have a charity auction coming up soon to benefit the Red Cross. Stay tuned for that. 

maskcomics: We certainly will and thank you very much for taking the time to answer a few questions.

Keep up-to-date at Matt-Trakker.com and on Facebook.

And remember that Mask Comics is also on Facebook.


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

M.A.S.K. Comic Issue 10


Issue 10 of M.A.S.K. Comic UK dated 28th February - 13th March 1987.

Table of contents -
  • Front and Back Wraparound Cover
  • Five Pages - "Venom Virus" (B&W with Pink Tint First Cell)
  • Four Pages - "Stop The Falls!" Part 1 (Colour)
  • Five Pages - "Project Dinosaur" Part 3 (B&W)
  • Centre Page Spread - Vampire
  • Five Pages - "Kamikaze" Conclusion (B&W with Blue Tint First Cell)
  • Single Page - Advertisement
  • Single Page - Letters Page
  • Single Page - MASK Art
  • Single Page - Backlash Mask Cut Out
  • Four Pages - "UFO Over Africa" Part 1 (B&W)
  • Single Page - Preview of next issue/advertisement
At last, the Fortnight wait is over!  Issue 9 of M.A.S.K. UK Comic gave us a brief glimpse of a new V.E.N.O.M. Agent and this issues cover delivers us with the answer - Floyd Malloy!

On the back page we are told he is "Shifty, Sneaky - and Dangerous!" - a bold character statement on V.E.N.O.M.'s newest agent to their ranks.  On the front cover we see his steed, Vampire.

"VENOM Virus" is our first story this issue and we get our first glimpse of Firefly in action after it's Centre Page appearance in last issue.

Searching for missing botanists in the Amazonian Rain Forest are Matt Trakker in Tunderhawk, Julio Lopez in Firefly, Bruce Sato and Alex Sector in Rhino with Buddie Hawks in Rhino's ATV, Brad Turner on Condor and finally Dusty Hayes in Gator.  Only Hondo MacLean is missing from our M.A.S.K. line up that we have encountered so far in our Fortnightly comic.

Using a Surveillance Bomb from Thunderhawk, our heroes manage to find the botanists campsite which is in a state of disarray.  They also discover diseased trees all around.

As they survey the site, a figure on a motorcycle parks up and watches them from a distance - Floyd Malloy on Vampire.  He turns tail to warn Miles Mayhem and the rest of the V.E.N.O.M. team, as he does so, Matt and Alex hear his engine and Alex is dispatched to investigate.  Using his Jackrabbit Mask, Alex reports back to Matt.

Fearful that Alex may be detected, Buddie Hawks is sent to covertly follow Malloy using a combination of his Penetrator Mask and Rhino's ATV allowing him to easily drive through the dense forest.  When his prey gets back to base, we find out that Mayhem has kidnapped the botanists to create a virus that kills trees and is set on using it.  

Now that M.A.S.K. are on the case - V.E.N.O.M.'s plans have to move swiftly - and they get ready to move out.  M.A.S.K. are quickly on the scene to intervene.  As Firefly and Thunderhawk attack, Bruce uses his Lifter Mask to attempt a rescue on the Botanists.  However, Floyd Malloy uses his Buckshot Mask on Bruce and puts paid to his plans!

As Lifter disengages after the assault of Ball Bearings, the Botanists land unconscious into a Vat of the Virus.  Mayhem seizes the opportunity to use this to his advantage telling Matt that unless he and his team lays down his arms then the Botanists won't receive the Antidote!

Cliff Dagger foils his boss's plan by bringing up his incident of falling into the virus and Mayhem telling him it doesn't harm humans....  The V.E.N.O.M. team about turn...

Miles Mayhem has V.E.N.O.M. troops on the banks of the Zambezi River battling against a Gunboat in "Stop the Falls!".  Switchblade being out of action, his back up comes in the form of Cliff Dagger and Sly Rax in Jackhammer which quickly dispenses with the Gunboat.

As we find out Mayhem's plans to divert the Victoria Falls, and hold her to ransom, we see Matt Trakker and Bruce Sato watching the scene unfold...

Following on from the last instalment of "Project Dinosaur", Jackhammers cannons derail the Russian Train carrying the precious Dinosaur Eggs.  As Cliff Dagger gloats, Sly Rax is soon on the scene on Piranha and reports back to Miles Mayhem in Switchblade.

Buddie Hawks, disguised as a Russian General, gives orders to his "Comrades" in the Russian Army not to intervene - to give his fellow team mates the opportunity to resolve the V.E.N.O.M. incursion with no outside interference.

As Dagger and Rax load up the Dinosaur Egg's, Matt engages Miles Mayhem up above.  His team on the ground, Dusty and Hondo in Gator, however are blocked by some Russian tanks on manoeuvres - will they survive....?

Vampire, V.E.N.O.M.'s newest vehicle, features on the centre page spread this issue.


A formidable fighting machine!  Piloted by Floyd Malloy when wearing his Buckshot Mask that fires Ball Bearings.

In the Conclusion of "Kamikaze", Miles Mayhem is attacking Matt Trakker and Bruce Sato in his Switchblade helicopter.  His former cohort, Hidetadi, begs with him to stop this dishonourable attack.

As the attack continues, the behemoth, Kamikaze, manages to recover from under the wreckage he was trapped under to help protect his Master.

We see Kamikaze grab a hold of Switchblade to take care of Miles Mayhem as we see one of the best drawn images from the M.A.S.K. series.

Whilst Matt and Bruce rescue the rest of the M.A.S.K. team, Cliff Dagger in Jackhammer and Sly Rax on Piranha attempt to rescue their boss.  However, they come under attack from the Savage Sumos who are helping their "brother", Kamikaze, in protecting their Master.

Mayhem converts Switchblade to jet mode and manages to shake off his attacker.  As Kamikaze falls to the ground, he lands on his Master killing both of them.

We finish off with the Savage Sumos rebuilding what they once destroyed.

After last weeks V.E.N.O.M. takeover of the Letters and MASKart page, Matt Trakker takes control this week.

We have a cut out of Dusty Hayes Backlash Mask!



Our last story, "UFO over Africa", does what it says in the title!  We see a UFO attacking a Game Reserve in Africa - or is it?  Perhaps not when V.E.N.O.M. are involved.

We finish off this story with an invitation to "meet Bruno Sheppard" in the next issue.

Overall this is another great issue of everyone's favourite comic!

However, I think it would've been better to have have introduced Malloy as an unknown agent to the M.A.S.K. team and the artwork in the last story is very dark - a lot of shading involved which is quite different from the norm.

Catch up with more on M.A.S.K. Comics and more on my Facebook Page!