Sunday, 26 June 2016

M.A.S.K. 1985-2016 - RIP Part 2

Like all M.A.S.K. fans, when I heard of it's upcoming return, I was excited.  That excitement has wavered as more information has come to light about the new comic.

One piece of information that has come out is that the new M.A.S.K. is going to have a "Fast & Furious Spin" with the writer going on to say that F&F is a highly successful movie franchise.  I'd agree that F&F is successful, yes, but are they the greatest movies ever made and that's why the are successful?  Should we be using this as a template for M.A.S.K.?

There is a car made by Ford called the Focus.  One of the best selling cars in the markets it sells in.  Is it one of the best selling cars because it's the best or cheapest or fastest or most economical or largest, etc. - No.  There are plenty of other cars that beat it on one or more of these categories.

It's one of the best selling cars because it's an Average - an average of what most people look for in a car therefore meeting the demands of many.  F&F is the same - it's by no means the best series of movies in the world (for die hard fans, of course, it will be.  I mean no disrespect) but it is an average of what people expect in a movie - action, adventure, fast cars and a bit of romance (ok - hot, scantily clad women).

For most M.A.S.K. fans, looking at the characters and plot lines in F&F there is very little in the way of a connection that would link F&F with M.A.S.K.  I mean, can the cars in F&F convert into fighting machines?  Do they have cool Masks that gives them abilities?


So why are we putting a F&F spin on M.A.S.K.?  I have a theory.....

....There were these two dudes who found out that M.A.S.K. was making a comeback.  They needed a job and when they were asked; they lied and said they were the biggest M.A.S.K. fans in the whole world - believing they could bluff their way through and learn all about M.A.S.K.

DUDE- 1 - "So, what do you know about M.A.S.K.?
DUDE - 2 -   "Nothing, I thought you knew all about M.A.S.K.!"
DUDE- 1 -  "Nah, I think I watched a couple of episodes when I was a kid...."
DUDE - 2 -   "So, what do we do now?
DUDE- 1 -  "I guess we could watch the old cartoons - get a feel for it?"
DUDE - 2 -   "Cool.  How many episodes are there?"
DUDE- 1 -  "75...  I think...."
DUDE - 2 -   "Hmmm...  How about we just watch the last ten?  Save a bit of time"
DUDE- 1 -  "Sounds good."

Ten Racing episodes later....

DUDE - 2 -  "So....  Basically, it's just about two teams who race each other?  I thought there was more to than that."
DUDE- 1 -  "Yeah.  Me too.  It was just really The Fast and The Furious.  There didn't even seem to be any African-Americans in it - not very diverse."
DUDE - 2 -    "I'm sure we could change the leader - no one will notice!"
DUDE- 1 -  "Anyway...  why did they call it M.A.S.K. - they all wear Helmets?"
DUDE - 2 -   "Who knows!"

Ok, I jest of course.  But going down the whole F&F route, does sound like the comics are being based on the 10 racing series episodes - the least favourite of all M.A.S.K. fans.

It is true that F&F is all about the characters and the vehicles.  M.A.S.K. has great Characters and even better vehicles - because the can convert into fighting machines.  So, there may be some similarities - but surely if you are a F&F fan, wouldn't you rather have an F&F comic?

Surely, F&F should be it's own thing and let M.A.S.K. be M.A.S.K.!  To attempt to merge the two into one comic, seems a bit foolhardy.

I mean, it's bad enough that M.A.S.K. is being shoehorned into the same universe as The Transformers, G.I. Joe, ROM, Octonaughts and Action Man, without having F&F similarities thrown into the mix.

Speaking of G.I. Joe and Action Man.....

I've said in my blog many times now, that in their 12" forms, G.I. Joe and Action Man were the same toy - just made for different markets.  When G.I. Joe was made into the smaller scale toys, my understanding is that Duke was the scaled down G.I. Joe/Action Man.

Why would I say that?  Well, Action Man/Joe was famous for having a trademarked scar on his face and guess which of the Joe's had that same scar?  So surely Duke is Action Man?  How can you have a crossover between the Joe's and Action Man when Action Man is a Joe?  (I'm starting to get a headache just writing this - I hate to thing what you as the reader are thinking about).

Someone who read my script said that the story line was a bit contrived in order to make it work.  I'm thinking that using the word contrived to describe Revolutions is somewhat of an understatement.

Action Man was originally made by Palitoy when I was growing up - as were Star Wars Figures (in the UK).
Palitoy became a subsidiary of the same company that owned Kenner Parker - as we know, Kenner was later acquired by Hasbro through their purchase of Tonka.  In the 90's, Hasbro reintroduced the Action Man range of toys - more as an Adventurer.  Eventually he would be given the the name of Alex Mann.

Hasbro have already made a success of the reintroduction of Action Man - despite being completely different from the original - this is mostly due to the fact that 90's and 00's kids wouldn't know any different from the classic age of Action Man.

I fear that the same treatment will happen to M.A.S.K.

Which is a shame.  From what I've seen so far, I'm more interested in Mike Quakenbush's vision of a M.A.S.K. Comic that the one coming from IDW.

Feel free to leave comments below or over at my M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page.  Remember to like and share everything and hashtag -

#assembleMASK #MASKComics #DIC #IDW
#MASKCrusade #Hasbro

Monday, 20 June 2016

M.A.S.K. Revolutions - the real Revolution has begun

When IDW decided to call the reboot of their Hasbro Comics “Revolutions”, I wonder if they knew they would have a real Revolution on their hands….

When the initial details came out about IDW’s new M.A.S.K. Comic – the M.A.S.K. Community went into meltdown with excitement. Then the details about Revolutions and the Community started to split. The feelings were mixed about having M.A.S.K. as part of a larger Hasbro Multiverse.

With the last information and images emerging, many of the fans are enraged at the prospect of some the changes – the main one being the change in Race of beloved M.A.S.K. Leader, Matt Trakker.

We don’t know as yet whether the images provided are just concept drawings or whether these are the finished article.  The reason for this uncertainty is due to a difference in uniforms in various pictures.

In the example cover art that has come out, the uniforms are very similar to the M.A.S.K. we all know and love.  In the new images, they are significantly different.

This could be part of the plot line, however, the Revolutions story line is based on a seed from 2005 when IDW started The Transformers comics.  Will part of the story start off in 2005 and then bring us forward in time?  Do we start off with one vision of M.A.S.K. based on the "Real" M.A.S.K. and on on the new vision from IDW?

One thing is for certain, the revelation that Matt Trakker is now an African-American has caused some anger within the M.A.S.K. Community.  Please refer to my Blog Post "M.A.S.K. 1985-2016 - RIP Part 1" for my thoughts on the matter.

One M.A.S.K. fan, Brett Slakoff, has taken things into his own hands and started his own revolution.  He's started a Campaign to petition IDW to bring back the Matt Trakker we know and love.

So, what are your thoughts on the issue?  Feel free to leave comments below or over on my M.A.S.K. Facebook Page to vent or share your thoughts.

Whilst I'm here - the only chatter I've heard so far is from M.A.S.K. fans.  What do Transformers, G. I. Joe, Action Man, ROM and Micronauts fans think about the whole shared Multiverse and the rebirth of all the comics?

#assembleMASK #MASKComics

 #MASKCrusade #IDW #Transformers #ROM

#Micronauts #actionman #GIJoe

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.