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  #21  
Old 24th January 2018, 02:26 PM
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I don't really remember MASK as a kid. I never watched the show and only played with the toys rarely if a friend had them but I did think it was cool.

Fast forward 30 years and I have been reading the IDW Transformer comics. I enjoyed the Revolution cross-over and that now has me into Rom, MASK, GI Joe and Micronauts. Would have been great to have a cinematic universe that captured all of them.

It is strange though as I really dislike Bayformers as it is just not Transformers as I remember it nor wish it to be. However, I have no feelings about MASK either way as I really only know the current iteration. I guess if I was as big a MASK fan from the 80s I would probably feel the same way as I think my feelings come down to a combination of nostalgia, fondness for the source material and the inherent dislike of change in any way
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  #22  
Old 24th January 2018, 03:16 PM
bowspearer bowspearer is offline
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Originally Posted by Ploughmans Lunch View Post
Default whiteness is a thing but fair enough.
Before I begin to respond to this, exactly which "whiteness" were you referring to: Celtic, Germanic, Slavic or Anglo?

But I digress. "Default whiteness" is always going to be a thing in cultures which at the time were predominantly white. If you look at franchises like Super Sentai and Kamen Rider, when white people do show up, it tends to be a more token white person (eg KyoryuCyan and especially ShinkenBrown). Should the makers of those shows be ashamed or concerned at their "default Japaneseness" too?

You're far less likely to see it with original properties now than you are say, 20 years ago. Power Rangers is a classic example of that, where casts for it are typically diverse.

However that aside, there are two ways to go about having a more diverse cast. The first is the cheap, tacky and in your face approach which people can see a mile off and which comes across as blatant diversity politics pandering. That is that you take an existing character and change some character trait, so you can say "hey we're not racist/homophobic/sexist/ableist/any other type of bigot - because look, this character is <insert label here> now".

It's cheap, it's tacky, it's condescending and it's downright paternalistically bigoted. People of a certain minority aren't just labels and acting in a manner which treats minorities like they are, is tantamount to an assertion of "they're all the same"/ "they all look alike to me".

That's not empowering people of a minority, it's being condescending to them.

The second approach, the one Dwayne MacDuffy did and there will never be enough accolades for him to give credit where its due, is to create the characters yourself, not in a way where it's like "hey here's a <insert token minority here> character", but where you have a compelling and interesting character, who just happens to be <insert minority here>.

Dwayne did it with his fellow collaborators so successfully that not only have the characters become so mainstream in the DC universe that Black Lightning is allegedly getting a show of his own in the Arrowverse, but back in the 1990s, DC had 3 animated series. The first two were Batman and Superman. The third was Static Shock. A Dakotaverse character was so successful and prominent that he beat out Wonder Woman, the Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow and every single other A-lister in the DC universe to get their own series. So don't tell me that Dwayne MacDuffy's approach doesn't work, because history shows that it clearly does. The fact that Black Lightning is set to get his own TV series shows that it's still working to this day.

Good storytelling and diversifying representations of characters don't have to be mutually exclusive. More crucially, not only does an approach which decides they are for the sake of identity politics become rejected by discerning readers who see it as a cheap and tawdry gimmick, but it becomes an insult to the very minorities it's alleging to empower.

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Originally Posted by Raider View Post
the inherent dislike of change in any way
I wouldn't necessarily say "change in any way", rather that any change which is made, should respect the source material and be compatible with the core of it.

By all means more the story into the modern age for example, but respect the identity of the original characters and make how they are - identity and actions - in line with how those same characters would react if in this present day.

Like I it ultimately comes down to two things: respecting the material and respecting the audience.
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  #23  
Old 24th January 2018, 03:43 PM
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Seraphim Prime Seraphim Prime is offline
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Originally Posted by bowspearer View Post
This is my big bugbear with IDW - it's gotten almost to the point where they've stopped seeing stories to tell for the sake of good storytelling and only care about properties as vehicles for identity politics.

In fact it even harmed the core market that was there; the cynical identity-politics-pandering only turned off fans who are purists, such as myself because they failed to respect the core mythos.
I'm sorry but I cannot understand any argument that says changing the race of a character within a story fails to respect the core mythos (unless that character's race is a key part of the story and it's conflict - eg Luke Cage)

I read nothing in the IDW MASK books that tried to turn Matt Trakker into a character that suddenly had to deal with issues of homelessness, gang violence, or historic subjugation because he was suddenly African-American.

As far as core concept -
The original Matt Trakker was a father and leader of a leader of road warriors who piloted transforming vehicles.

The IDW Matt Trakker is a son and leader of a leader of road warriors who piloted transforming vehicles.

The IDW Mask series dealt with the conflict between a global arms dealer/terrorist organisation (VENOM) and those who formed to stop it (MASK), who each pilot amazing vehicles that are capable of transforming for multi-terrain combat. It dealt with people ads leader happened to be African American.

There is nothing in the core concept that is related to race and yet this gets targeted by people who want to trash a book because they lack the empathy to be able to identify with a character that no longer looks like them.

I don't remember seeing these issues raised with the Power Rangers reboot, when they changed the race of Trini, Zack, and Billy (but admittedly I don't really follow that fanbase anymore). So clearly race didn't factor into a story about 5 teenagers being provided mystical powers and piloting mechanical beasts against a space witch.

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Originally Posted by bowspearer View Post
No it hasn't had the exposure, yet you seem to be underestimating the cult following it has in toy-related pop culture sections. In fact in countries like Germany, M.A.S.K. was pretty big last I checked. Yes it's not as well known as GIJOE or Transformers, but as a second stringer, it's even more well known than and loved than Visionaries, which is one of the brands Hasbro seem to be wanting to revive.
So we're talking about a niche within a niche property. Of which the core concept is vehicles which transform into other vehicles.

I doubt that race is factoring into poor reception any more than a lack of being able to target what MASK should stand for in a modern world, and therefore creating a touchstone for wide recognition beyond that niche market. Similar to how GI Joe ARAH struggles to define how characters largely characterised by old-school warfare are supposed to relate to a modern world.

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Originally Posted by bowspearer View Post
Ok, let's say for a minute that this was all Hasbro. Yes, the problem is that Hasbro don't really seem to understand M.A.S.K. Their approach almost seems to be to try and shoehorn it in under something else - largely GIJOE.

However that doesn't absolve Hasbro's part in all of this. Case in point, would anyone have cared about characters like Bludgeon or Thunderwing if Marvel had simply gone off what Hasbro wanted?
I can't quite tell what you're trying to say here. On one hand you're condemning IDW for making nuanced changes to character's previously stated bios and backgrounds and then praise Marvel for marking nuanced changes to character's previously stated bios and backgrounds.
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  #24  
Old 24th January 2018, 04:15 PM
reillyd reillyd is offline
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I think there is an element of truth to both your perspectives. Content (comics with large runs, cartoons that get airtime) drive sales. I loved the Visionaries comic in Transformers UK and it made me want the toys. mask cartoon made me want the toys. But nostalgia won't sell toys in big numbers (remember even GI Joe, with two movies, didn't get toys on Australian and international shelves). I don't think a live action movie is going to work with either properties,but a animated series just might.
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  #25  
Old 24th January 2018, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by bowspearer View Post
I suspect it was needlessly race-bending Matt Trakker which did it.
Easy fix, just change his name from Matt Trakker to Matt Blacker...
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  #26  
Old 24th January 2018, 05:02 PM
bowspearer bowspearer is offline
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Originally Posted by Seraphim Prime View Post
I'm sorry but I cannot understand any argument that says changing the race of a character within a story fails to respect the core mythos (unless that character's race is a key part of the story and it's conflict - eg Luke Cage)
By that absurd argument, Luke Skywalker growing up on Tatooine had absolutely no impact on the core story of Original Trilogy of Star Wars. Even if we weren't talking about one of the two most core characters of the series, the fact is that a person is a product of several things - that includes their history and their heritage.

In this case that especially holds true.

Matt Trakker was a rich white guy in the same way that Tony Stark was a rich white guy. Both were insanely wealthy and insanely powerful, with high level government connections. In fact it was that wealth, the wide reach of the Trakker Foundation and it's connections with the PNA that not only gave M.A.S.K. the perfect cover it did, but allowed the Trakker Foundation itself to serve as a front for M.A.S.K. as a trans-national anti-terrorism task force: specifically concerned with eliminating V.E.N.O.M., which was an offshoot of M.A.S.K., after Miles Mayhem betrayed them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seraphim Prime View Post
I read nothing in the IDW MASK books that tried to turn Matt Trakker into a character that suddenly had to deal with issues of homelessness, gang violence, or historic subjugation because he was suddenly African-American.
Which only goes to show how tokenistic race-bending can be. It's a cheap gimmick without substance and everything you have just said here goes to show that.

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Originally Posted by Seraphim Prime View Post
As far as core concept -
The original Matt Trakker was a father and leader of a leader of road warriors who piloted transforming vehicles.

The IDW Matt Trakker is a son and leader of a leader of road warriors who piloted transforming vehicles.
That's as much an oversimplification as stating that Transformers is about a bunch of warring robots from another planet. It also tells me that you're not as familiar with the lore of the original series as you claim to be. In fact such an approach is so sparse, that it's like saying that Gobots and Transformers are one in the same because they're both stories about a bunch of warring robots from another planet.

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Originally Posted by Seraphim Prime View Post
The IDW Mask series dealt with the conflict between a global arms dealer/terrorist organisation (VENOM) and those who formed to stop it (MASK), who each pilot amazing vehicles that are capable of transforming for multi-terrain combat.
Right so it's so poorly rebooted that it had M.A.S.K. and V.E.N.O.M. be formed in the completely wrong order. Anyone who actually knows the original mythos knows that M.A.S.K. came first and that it was V.E.N.O.M. which was subsequently created from it when Miles Mayhem doublecrossed Matt Trakker, murdered Andy Trakker and stole half of the plans for the M.A.S.K. vehicles.

So what you're telling me here is that either the IDW writers had no idea what the original lore for M.A.S.K. was or couldn't care less about respecting it

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Originally Posted by Seraphim Prime View Post
It dealt with people ads leader happened to be African American.
A change which seems to have absolutely no justification to it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seraphim Prime View Post
There is nothing in the core concept that is related to race and yet this gets targeted by people who want to trash a book because they lack the empathy to be able to identify with a character that no longer looks like them.
Or maybe it's because they respect the characters enough that they don't want them butchered for the sake of pandering - and yes, I would be just as annoyed if they'd made either Hondo MacLean, Nevada Rushmore, Julio Lopez, Bruce Sato, Ali Bombay, or anyone else I've missed, white.

Oh and given that John Henry and Cyborg happen to be two of may favourite DC characters, your argument might need more than a little bit of work here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seraphim Prime View Post
I don't remember seeing these issues raised with the Power Rangers reboot, when they changed the race of Trini, Zack, and Billy (but admittedly I don't really follow that fanbase anymore). So clearly race didn't factor into a story about 5 teenagers being provided mystical powers and piloting mechanical beasts against a space witch.
I wasn't talking about the reboot, I was talking about how as various teams have come along, they've been extremely diverse. Dino Charge was a great example of this.

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Originally Posted by Seraphim Prime View Post
So we're talking about a niche within a niche property. Of which the core concept is vehicles which transform into other vehicles.
Which justifies failing to properly respect the characters and the core mythos how exactly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seraphim Prime View Post
I doubt that race is factoring into poor reception any more than a lack of being able to target what MASK should stand for in a modern world, and therefore creating a touchstone for wide recognition beyond that niche market. Similar to how GI Joe ARAH struggles to define how characters largely characterised by old-school warfare are supposed to relate to a modern world.
I didn't say race; I said race-bending; big difference. And if it's had no effect on the book in terms of long time, more hardcore fans, then explain why Marvel's vice president of sales has come out and openly said that minority-bending characters has harmed their sales.

Are you telling me that if a publishing company as well entrenched as Marvel took a hit from minority-bending iconic characters, that IDW wouldn't with a title like M.A.S.K., whose core initial market was the nostalgia crowd?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seraphim Prime View Post
I can't quite tell what you're trying to say here. On one hand you're condemning IDW for making nuanced changes to character's previously stated bios and backgrounds and then praise Marvel for marking nuanced changes to character's previously stated bios and backgrounds.
IDWs changes to Matt Trakker weren't nuanced - they were cheap and tawdry, and according to your own argument, they didn't even respect the origins of the original story.

Conversely, what Marvel did for Bludgeon expanded on the original tech spec without contradicting it. Likewise, there is nothing in Thunderwing's portrayal in the Matrix Quest in G1, which contradicts him being:

Quote:
A two-faced, lying, cheating, back-stabbing scoundrel. The ultimate Decepticon villain.
This is especially true given that while the Decepticons thought they were destroying the Matrix, he was seeking to gain it for himself as the ultimate source of power and self-advancement.

In short, the argument you do have here, is incredibly weak.
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  #27  
Old 24th January 2018, 05:05 PM
bowspearer bowspearer is offline
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Originally Posted by MEEEGGGAAATTTRRROOONNN!!! View Post
Easy fix, just change his name from Matt Trakker to Matt Blacker...
No, if IDW were so concerned with having a black leader, the easy fix would have been to set the IDW comic as a sequel to the original story and have, say Hondo Maclean's son, as the new head of M.A.S.K.

After all, Skywatch had been around for 30 years, so it's entirely feasible that the original team could have existed in the 1980s and have been the first attempt by governments to reverse engineer Cybertronian tech.

Had they done that, next to noone would have an issue with the approach.
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  #28  
Old 24th January 2018, 05:23 PM
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kovert kovert is offline
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Originally Posted by griffin View Post
- There is a mention of "Frustration Free Packaging" specifically for Online Retailers, which could mean more toys that are not for regular retail release, just being packaged in a bag inside a brown box, like the Amazon exclusive Rescue Bots toys last year... as online retailers don't need fancy packaging, and prefer a more condensed packaging for storage.
The plain packaging idea seems logical. Online customers will buy products without seeing the packaging prior to purchase*. Therefore, the design of packaging becomes irrelevant. However, there will be customers who purchase a premium product and believe the packaging should also have a premium feel.

* Unless they've seen it in a physical store, of course!
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  #29  
Old 24th January 2018, 05:26 PM
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Paulbot Paulbot is offline
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Matt Trakker was a rich white guy in the same way that Tony Stark was a rich white guy. Both were insanely wealthy and insanely powerful, with high level government connections. In fact it was that wealth, the wide reach of the Trakker Foundation and it's connections with the PNA that not only gave M.A.S.K. the perfect cover it did, but allowed the Trakker Foundation itself to serve as a front for M.A.S.K. as a trans-national anti-terrorism task force: specifically concerned with eliminating V.E.N.O.M., which was an offshoot of M.A.S.K., after Miles Mayhem betrayed them.
I remember absolutely zero of any of this back story! I guess it's been 30 years since I've seen the cartoon though.

However I can see that you can remove the word white from that paragraph and have a rich man (regardless of race in a modern reboot) without changing anything else.

But anyway, the main thing I wanted to comment on was how I remember now of this. I misrembered and thought Matt just owned a service station in the American outback!

Last edited by Paulbot; 24th January 2018 at 05:56 PM.
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  #30  
Old 24th January 2018, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by bowspearer View Post
I suspect it was needlessly race-bending Matt Trakker which did it. He's a pretty iconic character and a live action movie with the changes wouldn't have gone down well with the nostalgia crowd the movie would be targeting.
Haha. Iconic. Yeah. I used to watch MASK as a kid and until IDW resurrected it I couldn't even remember his name. Let alone what he looked like. So the assertion that Hasbro dropped an entire property from a cinematic universe purely because a niche comic made him black, is laughable.

That'd be like saying that taking G1 Optimus Prime and turning him into a face-claiming murderous psychopath won't go down with the nostalgia crowd and won't make the movies any money...

Oh wait!

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