And now for some navel gazing.
Whilst going through stuff left from earlier incarnations of myself in this life, I came across my collection of MASK vehicles. MASK was cool, and dominated my world for a couple of years or so. Between me and a friend we had them all. The tagline was “illusion is the ultimate weapon”. Think normal looking vehicles which turn into odd heavily armed vehicles, cars into planes, jeeps into boats, that sort of thing, with human drivers who put on masks with weird powers. MASK fought VENOM, bad guys with similar technology bent on Evil.
I looked it up on the net. (There was no net back when I was into it. I was figuring they could be worth some money to a collector, and they probably are, though a touch battered.) And I discover that the entire line was a spin off from a cartoon series which I never saw or knew existed. Which is surreal, though it makes perfect sense, and helps explain why all the later series of vehicles were so odd – the second cartoon series was a “racing” series, so it makes sense to have say a billboard that turns into a flying weapons platform.
But the thing is, I never knew the characters as they were intended to be. I created a whole world of personalities and relationships and rivalries based on the action figures, masks and vehicles. They were such a perfect vehicle for that sort of imagination; they lent themselves to story. Probably the biggest effect is that Matt Trakker, the obvious cartoon hero and leader of MASK, always struck me as lame, and (as it turns out) minor characters were my heroes, because they were cooller looking, and had cooller vehicles; similarly Miles Mayhem, leader of VENOM, mostly seemed lame, except for one figure.
The vehicles themselves were wildly improbable and unlikely, and all the cooller for it. I mean, a motorcycle with sidecar that turns into a submarine? That’s psychedelic, man. And you could transform them partially, so a car could suddenly have jet afterburners or an ejector seat or lasers shooting out of its headlights. Like a fleet of James Bond vehicles.
Woo ha. I’m half tempted to track down the rest of them…