2.04.2015

M.A.S.K. Color Guides Posted Online Reveal Original Mask Names!

Following up the blogpost I put together last week on M.A.S.K. concept art, I've found some color guides posted online that really bring the orignal drawings to life! Our friends at M.A.S.K. EIRE posted a few of these recently on Facebook and I was "wowed" even more so than when I saw the other concept drawings. It wasn't just for the color either, but that most had been updated from the original drawing we discovered last week. But what I really wasn't ready for was that these images revealed even more into M.A.S.K.'s origins with the original names of some of the masks!

These images come courtesy Rasoul's Toys, a blog that mainly highlights the Kenner Super Powers collection. But posted earlier this month, Rasoul showcased these color guides which he notes were purchased from the family of the late DC Comics & Kenner artist Bob LeRose. Rasoul also states that these "were used as an original color guide to provide the coloring schemes of the action figure toy line and all have color notations handwritten in either pen, pencil, or marker."

76 total scans were posted to Rasoul's blog of which I'm very grateful for his willingness to share with other M.A.S.K. fans. For the sake of space here, I'll be posting some of my favorites and also link to images for reference. Let's dive in!!!
Included in the image set are 31 drawings of characters. Most have an image similar to the one above that shows a sketch and then a colorized front and rear shot of the character. LeRose likely used a color chart common for DC comic books to note the colors for each part of the drawing. You can also see the matching pantone colors written above to match the chart notations.
The female agents seemed to be a point of focus as Vanessa Warfield and Gloria Baker have larger full page drawings that none of the other agents have (among Rasoul's images posted.) Their facial features seem a little different, but their masks are nearly identical to the cartoon.
As with the characters, several mask drawings feature three poses while others have awesome full page drawings. What are special about the mask drawings is that several give insight into their original names and capabilities! For instance, the drawing above which we know as Spectrum notes that this mask was originally called "Superscanner". Plus, did you notice that the page is titled "Trakker II"? It seems that Spectrum and its matching flight suit was intended to be the 2nd option for Matt Trakker. The "Trakker I" mask image is what we know as Ultraflash, but the original name "Freefall" is scratched out! Of course, I won't leave you hanging there as I scanned each for more tidbits. Miles Mayhem's Viper mask was originally called "Superscope", Buddy Hawkes' Penetrator mask was called "Bodyguard", Bruce Sato's Lifter mask was titled "Penetrator", Ace Riker's Ricochet mask was titled "Boomerang" and Nash Gorey's Powerhouse was titled "Samson." Man, I feel like a fly on the wall in the original design room at Kenner!
Among the 27 mask images, you'll find several large drawings which contain 3 different poses of the mask. Most are clean and do not have the color notations which are left for a similar black/white drawing. If I had to guess, these might have been used specifically for comparison to the toys as the color drawings show the open top part of each mask, but the b/w drawing is closed. I would speculate that LeRose and others were aware of choking hazard standards and is why these were drawn this way and why the series 1 figure masks were changed during re-manufacturing. All the full page mask images are series 2 and include Gulliver (pictured above), Streamer, "Boomerang", Mirage, "Samson", Magna Beam, and Buckshot. There are also images of Vanessa and Gloria with their Whip and Aura masks, but no names are shown.
The 21 vehicle images comprise of color and black/white drawings. All are series 2 drawings except for Manta and Shark which might be debatable as series 1 or 3. Reason being is both are similar to the vehicles used in the TV series and with Shark not being released and the Manta toy having a different design than pictured above, my guess is these were intended to be released early but for some reason never were. What I also noticed is some of the color vehicles sketches like Scorpion are identical to the drawings we found on eBay, but updated b/w drawings for Scorpion are also featured with the corrected transformations. The color drawings for Firefly, Raven, Slingshot (headline image), Volcano, Outlaw, and "Vulture" are all recognizable designs from the toyline.
One final image of note is the V.E.N.O.M. snake logo that never seemed to materialize very well. Most vehicles seemed to just have a sticker with the word logo or the under-utilized V.E.N.O.M. logo that appeared most notably on the side of Switchblade and on the V.E.N.O.M. Strikes Back video game cover. The logo shown above is cool, but I still think a simpler snake hood logo would have looked nice on the vehicles.

To view all the images, please visit Rasoul's Toys and leave a comment showing your appreciation!

All images courtesy Rasoul's Toys

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