M.A.S.K.'s TV Debut Was Supposed To Be A Five-Part Miniseries??!!

One of the strongest aspects of our M.A.S.K. fan community is research. For years, it's been the life blood of keeping M.A.S.K. alive. Even now with an official comic book series and official word of a Hasbro cinematic universe, I still get excited the most when information about the M.A.S.K.'s origin is unearthed. 

Maybe it's most exciting because so many of us have dedicated our time and energy into preserving the M.A.S.K. animated series, toys, comic books, and merchandise. We who remember watching the show and reading the comics as kids seem to have both feet planted firmly in the past despite the news of M.A.S.K.'s long-awaited return.

Jose Rodriguez posted a 1985 NY Times article to the M.A.S.K. PNA Facebook Group recently that tells a little known fact about the animated series. The article is a report from the American International Toy Fair held in New York and details the debut of several licensed toys like Wuzzles, Hugga Bunch, She-Ra, and Sectaurs. The article also introduces us to Kenner's new "series of cars, trucks, motorcycles and helicopters" called Mobile Armored Strike Kommand!

By pushing several buttons, the vehicles transform into weapons that form the backdrop for the battles between the good forces of M.A.S.K. and the evil forces of V.E.N.O.M. - Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem. Each toy will include a small comic book and the line will be backed up with regular comic books, licensed by DC Comics. For television backup, there will be a five-part miniseries in June and 65 animated half-hour shows in the fall.

Say whaaaat? A five-part miniseries??!! Now that is 32-year old news I love to hear. So apparently M.A.S.K. was intended to begin as several popular animated shows did in the '80s. Hasbro's G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero and Transformers, Tonka's Challenge of the Gobots, and Filmation's Ghostbusters are just a few that began with a multi-episode miniseries. Even Coleco's Sectaurs began with a 5-episode miniseries which would turn out to be the only episodes ever produced.

So what happened with this M.A.S.K. miniseries that was supposed to be released in June 1985 ahead of the 65-episode first season in September 1985? Were those episodes produced and are now sitting in a vault somewhere? At this time I don't have any supporting documentation so until I hear otherwise, I'm going to pretend they were produced to fuel some research.

More facts unearthed from the NY times article is that 7 months before the release of the M.A.S.K. animated series, Kenner had already locked in 40 licensees to produce merchandise. This was more than Hasbro's Wuzzles and Mattel's She-Ra: Princess of Power. One of the merchandise examples is a M.A.S.K. lunchbox with "hidden compartments." I've only ever seen the standard plastic lunchboxes so this was also an interesting fact to me.

The fun part of research is discovering a couple paragraphs from a 32-year old article. It also can be frustrating because you don't always get the complete story! To my knowledge, DIC Entertainment never produced a show that began with a miniseries. Does that mean another animation studio initially had the M.A.S.K. series? Was there an origin story, perhaps the one in the mini comic inserts, that never made it to television?

I'm reaching out to you now, my fellow fans, for any supporting information on the miniseries that never aired and even the lunchbox with hidden compartments. If you have seen or read anything about them, please leave a comment below. In the meantime, I'm plan to do some research myself!

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  1. Morning Jason,

    I hope that you are well. In response to your post, it would be great to unearth some episodes of M.A.S.K. that have previously never been seen. It would certainly be well received within the community.

    I’d imagine that Doug, Sharon or any of the other voice actors may be able to shed some light on scripts that they worked on? I’ve reached out to someone close to DIC to see if he knew of anything.

    Being in the internet age that we are now, I’ve seen a lot of M.A.S.K. items over the past few years that I’d never seen before back in the day, mostly as they were country specific. It’s always good to see some original M.A.S.K. items for the first time and if there were 5 missing episodes, I’d love to see them.

    If there were 5 missing episodes, perhaps the reason they haven’t been shown is that maybe the storyline didn’t match the rest of the series. In the comics, we had the back story of Matt and Miles working with Matt’s brother Andy – who is killed by Miles.

    On the DVD packaging it eludes to “While investigating the mysterious death of his brother, MATT TRAKKER uncovers an international organization known as VENOM” which isn’t part of the cartoons at all. No mention of his brother or any background.

    Perhaps these missing episodes give that background that most fans of the cartoon have been seeking….

    In the meantime, though, you may want to consider this –

    In the following sentence – “Each toy will include a small comic book and the line will be backed up with regular comic books, licensed by DC Comics” the writer of this column is discussing the comics. Perhaps, the next sentence is continuing to discuss the comics in relation to cartoon series. If you add one word (in brackets) to the sentence (based on it being a continuation and just written badly) it changes the whole thought process –

    “For television backup, there will be a five-part miniseries (comic) in June and 65 animated half-hour shows in the fall.”

    Perhaps the writer is indicating that DC will be releasing a miniseries of comics to “backup” the 65 animated cartoons?

    That 5 part miniseries being the preview issue and the four parts that then came out slightly later than planned?

    Just a thought!

    1. Interesting, I guess they could have meant comics but I'm leaning more toward the TV angle. I like the theory someone had on Facebook that the end credits footage could have been part of that miniseries since it doesn't appear in the actual series.


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