Friday, February 20, 2015

Best Character Ever 2: Matt Trakker

Art owned by Izzy Medrano.

Before Mask was a bad Cher movie or a Dark Horse comic-based movie starring Jim Carrey, it was something significantly cooler. It was the coolest 80s cartoon available. Well, okay, it was actually M.A.S.K.—the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand because kids don’t need to know how to spell.

The greatest hero on the show was the lead, Matt Trakker. Let’s be honest, at least half of his coolness was the fact that he regularly drove a Delorean. And while that Delorean didn’t travel through time, it did fly. The Thunderhawk was the car that literally every child ever wanted to own. And Matt Trakker got to drive it.

Trakker & the Thunderhawk by Robert Atkins.
Trakker commanded the team and was the only member to feature on every episode (although a few forced him into a heavily supporting role.) Beyond his awesome car, he had a knack for stumbling upon criminal activity. That activity strangely always focused around the same group, Miles Mayhem and his organization V.E.N.O.M. Keep in mind, this was a guy that traveled around the world regularly only to encounter the same ten crooks again and again.

In order to combat V.E.N.O.M., Trakker and his team all wore masks that granted special powers (as did the villains, naturally.) Trakker got Spectrum, a mask that depending on the medium, could do various things. In the cartoon, it basically had the abilities of every mask. In the toyline though, it simply possessed the ability to see on every single spectrum or wavelength.

Trakker was at his finest though in the short-lived DC Comics series. A solid run mostly drawn by Curt Swan, recently removed from his position as main Superman artist, the series mirrored Marvel’s successful G.I. Joe series. It gave the heroes real motivations, back stories and depth while still keeping the fun of the cartoon. It was wear I really fell in love with Matt Trakker and his doomed love of the super-powered Jokasta. Great stuff from a DC on the rise.

Image from
Trakker has only made one appearance since the 1980s as he was recruited into the G.I. Joe team through the Specialist Trakker figure as part of the 25th Anniversary line of figures. But he still remains one of the cooler entries in the history of 80s cartoon heroes.

And one ripe for a comeback. If Jem can do it, why not M.A.S.K.? Rumors are a third G.I. Joe film might lead to a M.A.S.K. spinoff with a Matt Trakker cameo. May I suggest Bradley Cooper, folks?

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