Some cartoon series in the Eighties were notable for being more a glorified TV advert for a range of toys rather than just a piece of children’s entertainment, and M.A.S.K. was no exception to this. This doesn’t mean that the cartoon wasn’t good, indeed far from it, as a poor cartoon is not likely to make kids want the accompanying toys, is it?
M.A.S.K. was a high action cartoon aimed squarely at young boys, and can best be described as a mix between Transformers and Action Force as it featured cool looking vehicles that could transform into even cooler looking vehicles, and a group of highly trained action men and women.
As the dots in the name suggest, M.A.S.K. was an acronym. It stood for Mobile Armored Strike Kommand (how Kool is that?) which was an organisation intended to fight crimes that were carried out by the also acronymed group named V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem – so no mistaking them as the bad guys then!).
Both M.A.S.K. and V.E.N.O.M. were made up of experts in various different fields, each of which drove their own appropriate vehicle. When the need arose, these special agents could don a special piece of head gear (a mask, see, the acronym works on two levels) and their vehicle would transform itself into something with a bit more oomph, whether that be in speed terms or just extra firepower.
Presumably in order to allow kids to feel that they too could be part of this world, the leader of M.A.S.K. (the very macho sounding Matt Trakker) had a son named Scott who always managed to get himself involved in the action despite his Dad telling him not too. I don’t ever recall seeing Mrs. Trakker though, probably because she would have given her husband hell each week for letting their son get into danger all the time.
Young Scott had a robot companion, which would have been nice enough for most kids I guess, but it too could transform into a funny looking Moped type vehicle so that Scott could get around.
It’s probably not hard then to guess what the accompanying toy line consisted of for M.A.S.K. Yes, it was of course the various vehicles and their drivers, so there were sports cars, planes, helicopters, jeeps and much more, most of which could transform just like in the cartoon. The range of toys influenced the cartoon though, rather than the other way around, and each series of M.A.S.K. changed to accommodate the new toys and characters which were released each year.