Today’s update is going to be a quick one, but just because it is short does not mean the quality is lacking. We have a beautiful piece of fan art from Will Ruzicka, a very talented artist. His work was originally posted on his deviantart page (this link will take you to the original page) and he was kind enough to allow boulder-hill.net to add it to our collection of fan art. You can also click to visit his deviantart home page. Will’s work also includes other 80s faves, including Silverhawks, G.I. Joe and Inspector Gadget. If you would like to see a larger version of this piece it can be seen on the Artwork page of boulder-hill.net, just scroll down to Vanessa – Draw a Day.
If you were really observant you noticed the M.A.S.K. logo has been slightly altered, periods have been added after each letter in ‘MASK’. That is because this was a new trademark application, by Howard Bollinger, former employee of Hasbro, senior vice president of product concepts.
Here is a quick history lesson for people who might not be intimately aware of M.A.S.K.’s lifespan. In 1987, Kenner, the company where M.A.S.K. originated was purchased by Tonka (famous for it’s toy cars and trucks) and became a division within the company. This lasted for a few years. In 1991 Tonka, and all it’s subsidiaries, was acquired by, you guessed it, Hasbro. So, coming full circle, Mr. Bollinger is working for Hasbro, which now owns M.A.S.K.
Unfortunately, the exact dates of Bollinger’s employment are not easily discovered. However, he was definitely working at Hasbro in 1999 (he’s quoted in a Wired Magazine article, which you can check out here). Which means he was certainly working for Hasbro at a time when they were the owners of the M.A.S.K. license.
Fast forward a few years, to 2006. Howard Bollinger no longer works for Hasbro, he has started his own company, Bollinger Associates, LLC. The company is based out of North Carolina, but is filed out of Florida, the reasons are unknown to us. Bollinger Associates has filed an application for a trademark, and it has been granted. That trademark is the one you see above. In mid 2006, Hasbro lost M.A.S.K.!
At some point Hasbro realized they had messed up and let their trademark slip away. However, paperwork and proceedings do not appear to have been filed until 2010. In February, Hasbro finally got its act together and started filing papers to get back their property. Lawyers got busy and wrote up a bunch of hard to read documents. Essentially, Hasbro’s people claimed that Bollinger clearly knew that M.A.S.K. was the property of Hasbro and had no right to use it. Bollinger’s stance was that Hasbro had lost the right to the trademark due to lack of use and because the logo he submitted is different, his has the periods after each letter.
Following the available paper trail, this went on for several months until Hasbro’s lawyers withdrew their petition to terminate Bollinger’s trademark. This might sound like Hasbro gave up, but the story is not over yet. Looking at current trademark documents, M.A.S.K. is listed as being registered to Hasbro once again. How did Hasbro get M.A.S.K. back? We can only speculate. Maybe they decided to buy the trademark back from Bollinger, maybe Bollinger’s lawyer told him he would never win the legal battle. Either way, Hasbro once again has control of the M.A.S.K. license. Hopefully, Hasbro will be more careful with M.A.S.K. in the future.
If you would like to look through documents surrounding this they can be viewed for free on the United States Patent and Trademark website, specifically at this link. It is interesting to note, that the Agent Trakker figure released within G.I. Joe shows the year 2008 on the packaging. This would seem to indicate that Hasbro, unknowingly, released the figure without a legitimate trademark.
Today we will be adding a couple new pieces to the site. The first, is one that followers of the MASKast Podcast will be familiar with (MASKast uses it as the lead-in to each episode). Our addition is a cover version of the M.A.S.K. theme song, performed by the (now defunct) band Video Micro. The song is now in our Media library, but it can also be found on Video Micro’s MySpace page. The band has also recorded a cover of the theme to Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors – for those who do not know, Jayce and M.A.S.K. actually shared quite a few sound effects!
Our second piece takes us to the United Kingdom and back in time to the 1980s, December, 1988, to be specific. The holiday issue of Eagle featured a six page M.A.S.K. story and a fantastic cover showing Miles Mayhem dressed up as Santa Claus! Readers will notice some marked differences between this comic and the cartoon. Particularly, VENOM being aware of Scott Trakker and his connection to M.A.S.K. Also, the normally cowardly T-Bob shows more courage in this one instance than in all the episodes of the cartoon combined. To check out the full story, click on over to the Comics section and enjoy.
For those who REALLY have their M.A.S.K. trivia down, the title of today’s article should tell you what it’s all about. When Opportunity KNOX! is the title of the first issue of the M.A.S.K. comic series from DC Comics. And that is exactly what we are adding to boulder-hill.net today! The entire story can now be found over in the Comics section of the site. That is TWENTY-TWO pages of M.A.S.K. and VENOM going at it, plus a special Boulder-Hill blueprint page! We will hopefully be adding the entire original, four issue, run of M.A.S.K. to boulder-hill.net very soon (for those who don’t know, there was another nine issue series that followed that). Further, the comics section will also be getting a redesign to help make things a little more organized.
Scott from M.A.S.K. Comics also listened in on MASKast 28 and had some great info to share in regards to M.A.S.K. comics, particularly the ones published over in the UK, here is an excerpt from Scott:
“…In the UK the comics were published by IPC/Fleetway – technically the same company but the name Fleetway was used after part of the company was sold off.
The Eagle was another comic by the same publishers and quite often other comics would be merged with it probalby due to a decrease in sales – whether this was due to flagging sales of the Eagle or the other comics I’m not sure. It was a dark day when M.A.S.K. merged with the Eagle and I know that I kind of lost interest at that point – even though I used to buy both comics prior to this.
The back story in the mini-comics was a great insight into the M.A.S.K. universe. Strangely, on the cartoon DVD package it states that “When investigating the mysterious death of his brother, MATT TRAKKER uncovers an international organisation known as VENOM” – however there is no mention of this in any of the cartoons.
As you so rightly point out, in the comic Matt and Miles worked together but in the cartoon Miles doesn’t know who the M.A.S.K. team members are – until the racing series. (With one episode exception but he forgets who they are after the Crystal Skull is destroyed).
In the UK Comics, the back story has Joe Trakker as being Matt’s brother – who is subsequently killed with the rest of the original M.A.S.K. team in an ambush by Mayhem. Therefore, in the UK comics each team know their opponents…”
Thanks for the great insights Scott. For those who have not made it over yet, Scott has his own website M.A.S.K. Comics full of great images and info.
Jason and Wyatt of the infamous M.A.S.K. movie script were great enough to bring me on their show again. This time to discuss the three mini comics that were included along with M.A.S.K. toys. This link will take you over to their website. For those who want to read along or just refresh their memory on the M.A.S.K. mini comics, you can jump to the Comics page on boulder-hill.net.
We will also be adding some more comic content to the site in the near future, so check back soon!
As promised in the last post, this time we are going to cover two new awesome topics. The first, is how to restore and repair your battered M.A.S.K. vehicles. The second, is a new site on the internet that deals exclusively with a very cool area of M.A.S.K. mostly left untouched. Brace yourself for our longest post ever!
There are a variety of tools, tricks and techniques to employ when fixing up a M.A.S.K. vehicle (for the record, a lot of these tricks will help with any vintage toy). Here are three products that can add a LOT of new life to a tired toy:
- NOVUS Plastic Polish
The first product on our list is the NOVUS Plastic Polish. This is a line designed specifically for the care of plastic. Available in either 2oz. or 8oz. sizes, each package comes with three bottles; step 3 for heavy scratches, step 2 for fine scratches, and step 1 for polish and shine. The NOVUS line can be used to remove or reduce scratches and scuff marks on M.A.S.K. vehicles, but it is particularly effective on one specific area. M.A.S.K. vehicle windshields are one of the easiest to scratch, and the NOVUS line quickly and easily restores them. To use the polishes, first clean the area you wish to polish, then apply a small amount of polish three, gently buff the area then wipe it clean, repeat the process with polish two and one, then clean the area again. If the area still seems to have some scratches you can repeat the process. For those of you restoring M.A.S.K. vehicles the 2oz. bottle set is more than enough to fix up your collection. You can read more and explore NOVUS’s products on their website.
Some people may have heard of the Retr0Bright process already. While not exactly a product, Retr0Bright is a method for reversing the yellowing that can occur with older plastics. The basic idea is that you mix Hydrogen Peroxide (available from any drug store) with a small amount of “Oxy” laundry booster. You then submerge your yellowed plastic into the solution and expose it to an Ultra-Violet light for a few hours. This will reverse the yellowing effect dramatically. Proof of the process and a more detailed walkthrough can be found at the Retr0Bright website. Know that the method is mostly meant for light colored plastic (think Boulder Hill, Collector and Meteor!). One obvious limitation is that any decals on the plastic will have to be removed prior to the process, so keep that in mind before you toss your whole collection in a Hydrogen Peroxide bath!
The final product group should come as no surprise to any reader of this site. For years now, boulder-hill.net has endorsed StickerFixer.com (the link is already on the right!) for their amazing replacement decals. Not much explanation is needed for these wonderful guys. They produce high quality replica labels for vintage toys, including M.A.S.K. Currently, they offer six different vehicles; Condor, Firecracker, Firefly, Gator, Stinger and Thunderhawk. But these guys never stop, so if the vehicle you need labels for is not available yet, do not lose hope and check back occasionally, or contact them to ask about upcoming releases.
Next, we will offer some tricks and techniques that can also help you get a few more miles out of your busted or beaten toys.
A trick almost any kid knows is that you can take the working parts of one toy and use them to replace the broken parts of another. Thanks to the internet, and especially eBay, this has become an even more practical method of restoration for a M.A.S.K. fan. Lots of broken or beat up toys show up every day on eBay for very reasonable prices. This can be a great way to complete or fix an otherwise good condition vehicle.
The second trick is also obvious, but frequently overlooked. Clean your toys. The amount of dirt, dust and grime that can build up over twenty plus years is staggering. We suggest using a slightly damp cloth to wipe down most of the surfaces. Then use some cotton swabs to get into the smaller areas and corners. Remember to clean inside the cabin/cockpit of your vehicle as well!
Our final trick is not for everyone and we recommend you practice before jumping in. Sometimes you have a piece that is broken but still has great labels, these labels can still be utilized, with care. By carefully heating up the decal (actually the adhesive under it) you can peal the sticker away and (quickly) reapply it. This method can be used to transfer labels from one piece to another, or to reapply labels that were not put on correctly the first time. For a heat source, we suggest a hair dryer on the low setting. To pick up and move the labels a tweezers works very well for that delicate work. Please try this on a label you do not care about for your first run, it is very easy to mess up and ruin the label you are attempting to salvage.
Whatever method or style you use, remember that things can often be saved. Trying to turn that trash into treasure can be very rewarding, so give it a second thought before giving up on an old toy.
Now on to the much more exciting part of today! There is a new kid on the block, and his name is William Scott Crawford. Scott has recently started his own M.A.S.K. blog, dedicated to the M.A.S.K. comics. For those who do not know, M.A.S.K. had some limited comic release in the United states, less than twenty issues in total. However, in the United Kingdom M.A.S.K. enjoyed a great deal more success in this medium, lasting over EIGHTY issues! William was kind enough to talk to boulder-hill.net and give us some info on himself and what he is doing.
Scott’s website is dedicated to the M.A.S.K. comics published in the UK. It is called, appropriately enough, M.A.S.K. Comics. We asked him a few questions and this is what he said:
b-h.net: So, who are you?
WSC: I’ve lived in Kippen, a small village outside Stirling in Central Scotland, all of my life. Married to Heather, we have little boy called Reece. I attended Kippen Primary School and then onto Balfron High School. Over the years I have had a few jobs and I currently work in the Vehicle Repair Department for Enterprise Rent-a-car. I’m going to be the ripe old age of 40 in January next year.
b-h.net: When did you get interested in M.A.S.K.?
WSC: I first got into MASK in October 1986 when I received a free Preview Issue of the MASK comic with my regular comics and it all started from there. At the time, I wasn’t aware of the toys or cartoon – but I soon found out as much as I could about them.
I collected all the comics (80 issues), all of the holiday specials and annuals until it merged with The Eagle comic. As soon as a comic merged with The Eagle this sounded the death knell and wouldn’t be long until the MASK comic strips would be diluted and eventually disappear.
b-h.net: What draws you to M.A.S.K.?
WSC: The comics allowed my imagination to run amok. The Editors page encouraged you to send in your letters and drawings and it wasn’t long before I’d come up with ideas for new vehicles and Masks. It got to the stage that I studied Art & Design and Technical Drawing with a view to a career as a Toy Designer – perhaps following in the footsteps of Bruce Sato? This career path died for me around the same time the MASK comics, cartoons and toys stopped.
There are many lasting images that I have of MASK from my youth. The Cover Art and centre page posters were unique in comparison to other similar comics of the day. The classic style of the Black and White comic strips had some of the best artwork of any comic and far exceeded it’s American counterpart. But then, this comic is from the same stable as 2000 AD and Judge Dredd that were famed for their Artwork.
Despite my love of other genres such as Action Man (G.I. Joe in the US), Star Wars and Transformers, I feel that MASK was less known and highly underrated. MASK toys had the advantage of being to scale - which can’t be said of the 12″ Action Man toy range or Star Wars toy range where the vehicles were scaled down and always felt out of proportion. This helped make the MASK toys more “real”.
b-h.net: You also mention a M.A.S.K. script on your site, tell us about it.
WSC: A few years ago, stuck in what seemed like a dead end call centre job, I started writing a script. I revisited it a few years later and rewrote the script based on feedback I’d received. I caught the scriptwriting bug and suddenly MASK sprung to mind. What with Transformers movies, G.I. Joe movie, The A-Team to name but a few, MASK seemed like a logical choice to make a comeback.
I started writing the script in September 2009 and by January 2010 I had approximately 80 pages written. My little boy came into the world on the 7th of January 2010 and around the same time my Father’s health deteriorated and my plans were put on hold. After my Father passed away in May, I’m now committed to completing my script. Currently at 122 pages, I need to complete it and then work on getting back down to around 120 pages.
Working to strict rules, the Vehicles and Masks will only have the functions as described on the toy packaging. This was my only complaint with the comics and cartoon that functions would be added to suit the story so the mission could be completed. By restricting what they can down adds a sense of realism and vulnerability – humanising the story and characters.
As well as well loved characters, I have added in a couple more bringing in some interesting Masks and Vehicles into the world of MASK.
b-h.net: Do you have anything planned for the future of your site?
WSC: I’m looking to review all of the British comics first, then move onto the US comics and books, etc. Once I’ve finished my script, I’m hoping to write some short storys that will come after the movie and post them on the site. I’ve already started the first of these which centres around Matt Trakkers Jungle Challenge Adventure Pack.
That about wraps up this massive post. We want to thank Scott for taking the time to answer some questions. A link to his website can now be found on the right hand side as well. Hopefully some of this info helps our readers out there reinvigorate their collection.
First and foremost, boulder-hill.net wants to remind our readers to subscribe to MASKast if you have not done so already. For those who do not know, MASKast is a podcast entirely devoted to, you guessed it, M.A.S.K. The show comes out several times a month and is always a total blast. It is hosted by two great guys, Jason and Wyatt who really put a lot of time and effort into each program. You can click over to their website for more info.
Next on our agenda, we are going to get you up to date on the toy collecting app we talked about last time. Since the initial review the app has been completely overhauled. The creator, Zack Fisher, of Three Brothers Apps, has really put a lot of work into this new version, including the gorgeous new icon. In fact, boulder-hill.net reached out to him and we were able to give some input and provide a lot of new images for the M.A.S.K. section of the database! This new version is definitely worth checking out, even if you already tried out the original. Besides M.A.S.K., the app features a lot of other toy collections as well; such as Star Wars, Battle Beasts, Hero Clix, and many more. The app is still free and can be found in the iTunes Store. Below are a few images from the M.A.S.K. portion of the app:
Next time we are going to talk to you about restoring your M.A.S.K. collection so that it sparkles like new. We will also reveal a great new M.A.S.K. fan site with some really fantastic and original content!
In this update we’re going to take a look at a couple of M.A.S.K. related iPhone apps.
The first app to cross our radar is is from Rocket Splash Games Inc. As you can see from the icon, the application is a game full of trivia from all of your favorite 80s cartoons. The program is fairly simple in it’s setup. You launch the game and it asks you how many questions you want in your round, either 10, 25 or 50. Once you have selected the game begins, the player has twenty seconds on each question to select the correct answer from the multiple choice list. The app is definitely not flashy and does not contain a lot of options, but still fun. Some basic features that would really kick the game up a notch include: multiplayer support, high score list and images accompanying the questions. Nonetheless, for less than a buck you can have access to a large library of great trivia, definitely worth picking up for any 80s animation fan. For those interested in, you can click here to go to the iTunes app store.
The other app we are excited to share with our readers is Collection (Vintage Edition), created by Three Brothers Apps. As the name suggests, this particular application is designed for toy collectors. The app of course has M.A.S.K. toys, but it also includes Battle Beasts and Transformers. It includes information, pictures, and quality. It also supports creating a ‘wishlist’, for collectables you have yet to add to your collection. One thing we’d love to see is computer integration, a way to export to the computer and perhaps view on a webpage.
Collection (Vintage Edition) can also be installed on the iPad. The application actually seems to fit better on the larger screen, since with as large a list of toys as M.A.S.K. has, the extra screen real estate is very helpful. However, the app could use a resolution upgrade for the iPad and include higher quality pictures and thumbnails. The ability to sync a collection list from one device to another would be a great addition as well. One of the best parts about the app is the price point, Collection is 100% free! The author, Zach, has promised a big update coming soon so this is definitely a program to keep an eye on. You can track info and changes on the Three Brothers Apps website, or click over to the store to grab the it.
Today we have something for readers that is not only a great M.A.S.K. update, but also good for the world. Comic book artist, David Pugh, worked on M.A.S.K. comics published in the UK. He is now making that original art available to the public with the proceeds going to Bus Fare, a charity created by Pugh himself. Here is an excerpt from Pugh’s page:
“Bus Fare is a charity set up to help refugees and migrant workers visit their families, who have been separated by either political or economic necessity. It can also provide some pocket money to compensate for loss of wages, while they are travelling.”
It’s a great cause and boulder-hill.net is very happy to help spread the word. You can check out Pugh’s charity at Bus Fare, or view the Facebook page for it. And if you want to go directly to the artwork for sale (not just M.A.S.K., for the record), click here. The pieces are selling for £45 and £50 (approximately $70 to $78) plus shipping and packaging.
The other day the fine folks over at the M.A.S.K. Movie project invited me to participate in their podcast, MASKast! I have to say it was a blast, getting to reminisce about M.A.S.K. with other real fans is always a treat. The episode runs a little over half an hour and can be found here, on their website, and over on iTunes. If you have a chance, it’s definitely worth a listen. If you enjoy the show, remember that there is a nice backlog of episodes already done by those great guys.
There is also another small update to the site today. An observant reader noticed that under the photos of the M.A.S.K. board game there was a glaring omission; there is no picture of the board! Somehow when the photos of Raid and Rescue were added to boulder-hill.net that one got lost in the shuffle. For that we apologize, the mistake has been corrected. If you want to check out the gorgeous artwork done for M.A.S.K.’s very own board game click through to the Merchandise section for a look.