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