Monday, January 16, 2006

MASK: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand

A fairly decent top to bottom website of what, if memory serves, was a really good cartoon .

"MASK" ran from 1985 - 1988, and was about a group of special agents called "MASK," which stood for "Mobile Armored Strike Kommand." The reason for the forced acronym is to encapsulate some of the premise into the title-- the special agents use transforming vehicles and armored "masks" to fight the machinations of the evil criminal organization "VENOM." VENOM, of course, is an acronym for "Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem," double play on the word Mayhem, since the evil commander's name is Miles. Miles Mayhem. Even though they get foiled at the end of every 20 minute episode, at least they can spell.

The wikipedia article for MASK notes that like G.I. Joe and Transformers, the cartoon worked hand in hand with the toy line; the cartoon basically "sold" both advertising as well as toys. It's funny that I have not thought of MASK more often, because off the bat, it ranks 3rd in "prominent childhood toys," behind Transformers and G.I. Joe. In fact, I get the feeling that were I to watch episodes of MASK now, I'm guessing that I might vote in favor of them over the Joes and autobots.

It must be the secret agent thing. Each MASK character has some sort of "day job," and then the MASK leader will call them into action. So the opening sequence of any episode will show the MASK agent at their job (race car driver, pet store owner, rock star), and then ditch it with some sort of lame excuse so that they can execute their secret mission. Which is kind of cool. And then, see, the "mask" part, is that when they change into their secret mission clothes, the mask is this helmet that covers their entire face, through which they can execute some sort of special power, like seeing through walls, or shooting acid, or gliding through air. And then they have some sort of accompanying vehicle that, in a more than meets the eye way, transforms into something else.

SO maybe the appeal is. Sure, I'll never be a military special agent. Or a giant robot that transforms into a walkman. BUT, I STILL grow up and maintain whatever job I want, but also be a secret MASK agent...I'll have some sort of neato helmet, and also have car that'll transform into some sort of airplane or boat. Why WOULDN'T that sort of thing appeal to a kid, or for that matter, a 22 year old "adult." Come to think of it, why persist in having the annoying kid-sidekick characters on these cartoons; they could've instead gone for the angle of- hey, you could grow up and be like this someday. Our dreams shall never die.

Like this guy. Brad Turner. Rock star by day, motorcycle/helicopter pilot by night.