The 1980s were a great decade for children’s television and toy franchises – Masters of the Universe, My Little Pony, ThunderCats, Transformers and Care Bears, for example, were just some of the iconic franchises that the decade produced – and one of the most popular was undoubtedly M.A.S.K. As well as an animated television show and a toyline, M.A.S.K. spawned a plethora of additional merchandise that children went crazy for.
As well as being, arguably, the greatest example of shameless acronym shoehorning in the history of this planet (“Mobile Armoured Strike Kommand”, really?), M.A.S.K. was also a brilliant combination of G.I. Joe and Transformers – taking the strong points of both and removing most of their flaws – as it featured relatively ordinary vehicles, manned by soldiers wearing masks of varying powers, which could change into powerful mobile weapons.
As popular as M.A.S.K. was (and indeed is, as its fan-base is still very prominent – particularly online – to this day), there are undoubtedly many things that most people don’t know about the franchise. This article will list 10 of those things…
10. It’s Going To Be Incorporated Into The G.I. Joe Movies
The G.I. Joe movies have been quite successful to date. With stars like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Bruce Willis, that’s no surprise. 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra grossed $302 million and 2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation grossed $376 million.
But there’s a vision to make the franchise even bigger. Paramount plans on building a shared universe – like that of Marvel’s movies, for example – that will also feature the characters and concepts of fellow Hasbro toy brands Micronauts, Visionairies, ROM and indeed M.A.S.K. Matt Trakker is set to feature in the next instalment and the expansion will start from there. How exciting!
9. There Was An 80-Issue Comic Book Series
When most people think of M.A.S.K., they tend to think of the television series and the toyline, whilst forgetting that there was actually a very prominent comic book series, published by none other than comic book giants DC Comics.
The weekly M.A.S.K. comic books lasted for eighty issues before they merged with the second incarnation of Eagle. Of course, there were also the Kenner-produced mini-comics that came with the toys – but pretty much everyone knew about those by virtue of that fact that the M.A.S.K. toys were so damn popular – but DC soon picked up the rights when they saw how huge the franchise was.
8. New Toys Are Said To Be In Development
That’s right, M.A.S.K. fans! The dream could become a reality, as there have genuinely been talks about revitalising the franchise for the modern era with a brand new toyline (OMG, right?!).
Hasbro – the original manufacturers of the toys back in the 1980s – submitted several trademark applications back in December of 2014 that suggested they were intent on producing new toys. It does make sense, given that M.A.S.K. is set to appear in mainstream pop culture again in the aforementioned G.I. Joe movies, but the fact that they have missed the franchise’s 30th anniversary in 2015 definitely seems like an opportunity wasted.
7. Cultural References
Such was (and indeed is) the popularity of M.A.S.K. as a franchise that it has been seen, referenced and parodied in and on countless other sources over the years. Most prominently, Robot Chicken have spoofed the franchise on several occasions to hilarious effect, but that’s not all by any means.
In 1988’s Halloween 4: The Curse of Michael Myers, a school kid was seen wearing a M.A.S.K. costume. M.A.S.K. has also been referenced in Saturday Morning Krusaders, Unmasking MASK, Good Bad Flicks: Masters of the Universe, Saturday Morning RPG, Toy Hunter: Toy Touchdown and The Night Before. Feel free to look them all up!
6. The Second Series Was All About Racing
When most people think of M.A.S.K., they think of a battle between the titular peacekeeping organisation and V.E.N.O.M., the criminal organisation they aimed to stop. However, an entire series of the show was devoted to mere racing, as opposed to that battle.
Season two focused solely on a series of races between the kind of transforming vehicles associated with the franchise. Granted, the races were violent and whatnot, but it was a far cry from what you expect from the franchise. It was much shorter than season one, which was sixty-five episodes in length, at a mere ten episodes, which probably explains why it’s so easy to forget.
5. All M.A.S.K. Music Was Produced By Haim Saban & Shuki Levy
Haim Saban and Shuki Levy are hugely successful television producers, writers, directors and music producers who have famously partnered together on various projects. Perhaps most prominently, the pair are responsible for producing the Power Rangers television series but, between them, they have also written the music for the likes of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Inspector Gadget, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors and Mysterious Cities of Gold.
However, they were also responsible for ALL of the music in M.A.S.K. – the theme tune, the score and any other music associated with the franchise. No wonder it was all so good!
4. It Influenced An Electronic Record
Torn Hawk is an electronic instrumental pop project setup by the experimental guitarist Luke Wyatt. Back in 2014, he released a song and accompanying video that took its name directly from M.A.S.K.
It was called “Because Of M.A.S.K.” and, in spite of its name, really had absolutely nothing to do with the popular 1980s franchise. The music is weird to say the least and the video follows a girl with a sword. The final scenes of the girl show her drooling a white substance out of her mouth and the video ends with a man sprawled out on a bed. Very “un-M.A.S.K.-like,” but the title has indeed been confirmed to have taken its name from the franchise.
3. V.E.N.O.M. Were The Underlings Of A BIGGER Bad
The M.A.S.K. comic books go into more detail than the television show ever did about the origins of M.A.S.K. and V.E.N.O.M. as organisations. They explain that M.A.S.K. is sponsored by a company called P.N.A. (Peaceful Nations Alliance) but, even more interestingly, they explain that V.E.N.O.M. are merely underlings for a “bigger-bad” called Contraworld.
While very little was ever explained about Contraworld, the reveal that Miles Mayhem, Vanessa Warfield and the rest of V.E.N.O.M. were actually being controlled by a higher organisation is quite the shocker – and not one that many people are aware of, even to this day (note: more recently, Contraworld has been merged into the G.I. Joe line and has been explained to be a part of Cobra).
2. Matt Trakker & Miles Mayhem Used To Be Pals
Matt Trakker is the rich philanthropist who leads the M.A.S.K. team against V.E.N.O.M. In turn, V.E.N.O.M. are led by the criminal mastermind Miles Mayhem. But did you know the whole thing stemmed from a partnership between the pair?
That’s right, prior to being mortal enemies, the two worked together (along with Matt’s brother Andy Trakker) developing the superpowered masks that they now use to fight against each other. They worked together at times and were even friendly, but Miles Mayhem became resentful of the fact that Matt Trakker was getting all of the recognition for the masks, so he rebelled and turned against him.
1. The Lyrics To That God-Damned Theme Tune!
M.A.S.K. had one of the most memorable theme songs of any cartoon of the 1980s. Or did it? Sure, the tune was catchy, but barely anyone could ever claim to definitively know all of the words.
Well, for your viewing and listening pleasure, here they are. Never again will you be singing “SPECTRUM’S GOT SUCH SUPERSTITION!”
Masked Crusaders, Working Overtime,
Fighting Crime, Fighting Crime!
Secret Raiders Who Will Neutralize,
As Soon As They Arrive, At The Site
Trakker’s Gonna Lead The Mission,
And Spectrum’s Got Such Super Vision!
Is The Mighty Power That Can Save The Day!
No One Knows What Lies Behind The Masquerades!
Always Riding Hot On V.E.N.O.M.’s Trail!
Come See The Laser Rays!