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Cartoon Car Spotlight: M.A.S.K. Had Cooler Vehicles Than The Transformers

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M.A.S.K. animated television show cartoon cars military DIC Kenner toys transforming vehicles flying

Photo: DIC Entertainment

Everyone had their favorite cartoon in the 1980s that they collected all the toys for—GI Joe, The Transformers, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles being the most popular. For a handful of kids, though, the property of choice was M.A.S.K., a short-lived animated show produced by DIC Enterprises that was based on Kenner’s line of toys.

To casual observers, M.A.S.K. merely mimicked G.I. Joe and The Transformers; but to dedicated fans, it delivered a wealth of action and excitement that was arguably better than its predecessors. One fact is certain about M.A.S.K.: in its two-season run from 1985 to 1986, it featured the coolest animated vehicles on television.


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M.A.S.K. animated television show cartoon cars military DIC Kenner toys transforming vehicles clip

Photo: DIC Entertainment

M.A.S.K., an abbreviation of Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, was not only the title of the television show but the name of a special task force fighting to protect the world from the nefarious organization V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem). It was a simple set-up that typically involved V.E.N.O.M. stealing mystical artifacts that granted special powers or led to a secret treasure with M.A.S.K. then rallying to stop them.

M.A.S.K. animated television show cartoon cars military DIC Kenner toys transforming vehicles title

Photo: DIC Entertainment

While the name of the show also refers to the super-powered helmets worn by the heroes and villains, most fans remember M.A.S.K. for its cars. Indeed, a highlight was the cavalcade of hi-tech vehicles that both sides operated, which were equipped to fire lasers, morph into different forms, and practically defy gravity. Most episodes would culminate in a high-speed clash between the squads.

Of course, the coinciding merchandise that brought these dogfights home were hot stuff. For instance, Hurricane was a 1957 Chevy that could turn into a laser-shooting command post. Firecracker was a pickup truck that housed a detachable dirt bike. M.A.S.K.‘s own logo was Rhino, a gigantic semi-truck.

Most episodes would take place in or pertain to a different location around the world–from Singapore to the Panama Canal–so it was also a good way for kids to learn about foreign places while staging battles in a variety of environments.

While M.A.S.K. was an entertaining children’s show, it admittedly was running out of ideas by the second season. If you’re still a fan of M.A.S.K. as an adult, though, check out IDW Publishing’s brand new series of comic books that bring the vehicle battles back to life.


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M.A.S.K. animated television show cartoon cars military DIC Kenner toys transforming vehicles truck

Photo: DIC Entertainment