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Dark Horse Day Series: Why The Mask’s Magic Is Possession

 

DARK HORSE DAY

The Mask (1991) #1. Dark Horse Comics.

IN RELIGIOUS WARFARE

INTRO

In 1994, The Mask movie became a pop sensation and propelled Jim Carrey into super-stardom. Really, it perhaps defined the decade in movies and showed Hollywood at its best.

With a cocktail of gags, fun, romance and PG-13 violence the movie wowed audiences worldwide. Indeed, worldwide, we all dreamed of donning the fateful Mask and gaining super powers and the instant cool factor!

Though the movie was certainly successful it clearly presented the comic villain as a hero or anti-hero. In fact, it even led to the successful The Mask animated series.

However, it is clear that the Mask is an artifact that amplifies its wearer’s own penchant for violence and destruction. In our first series article, we ask: Is The Mask #possessed?


Flashback FM



#HERO OR #VILLAIN?

Across media, the Mask’s portrayals vary from anti-hero to villain. Popularly, the Mask movie portrayed the character in a more familiar light, as an anti-hero.

In the film, Stanley Ipkiss is the first Mask: a disgruntled employee, bullied and romantic, Stanley stumbles upon an ancient mask, wears it and becomes the Mask.

For the most part, he wants lots of money, have fun and win the heart of his impossible love, the girlfriend of Coco Bongo gangster named Tina.

However, the comics presented the character as a villain who despite having a girlfriend, is bullied by mobsters.

When he finds the mask, he puts it on and becomes the Mask: bloodlusted, he causes mayhem, deaths and destruction.

So our series should help us answer: Is the Mask a #villain or a #hero? Let’s look at comics and film.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

OUR POLL

So far, the Twitter audience has not given any votes.

Let’s look at four elements of The Mask and how the artifact may actually make him #possessed.

 

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IS THE MASK #POSSESSED?

#POSSESSED: BLOODLUST (COMICS)

Notoriously, in Mayhem (1989) #1, one of the central effects of the Mask is to increase its wearer’s bloodlust. When Stanley dons the Mask the first time, he cracks his first gag: “But First…” After some mishaps, he ends up at the biker gang that attacked him earlier. In search of payback, he completely murders the whole gang, leaving their whole shop in flames. In many cases, the possessed display Peak Human to superhuman strength. At the end, he leaves laughing maniacally.

Likewise, in The Mask Returns (1993) #3, we learn the origin story of the Mask. Originally, the Mask was a shamanic artifact that was part of cult rituals. In fact, it fed on death and often increased its wearer’s bloodlust. Indeed, it needed the death of the wearer for the ritual to continue. In the comic, when Katherine puts on the Mask she kills Stanley Ipkiss, her boyfriend. Definitely, the Mask makes its wearers #possessed. Indeed, the bloodlust and the superhuman strength indicate possession.

#CRIMINAL: MAYHEM (FILM)

In the film, the Mask is more often a comedian and a flirt. In fact, he rarely kills and many of his violent outbursts are jokes. At the end, he kills only Dorian the main antagonist in order to save Tina.

At the same time, his penchant for destruction and mayhem causes him the attention of the police. Certainly, the big dance scene with the police force is a highlight of the movie. Definitely, Stanley Ipkiss may be #possessed and not a #criminal.

#POSSESSED: MAGIC (FILM)

Perhaps, the most controversial aspect. Normally, the #possessed exhibit superhuman strength and arcane knowledge. In addition, they may be visited by supernatural or paranormal phenomena. In the movie, it is revealed that the Mask was created by the Asgardian god Loki in order to spread chaos on Earth. On multiple occasions, the Mask uses magic or supernatural power.

For example, he induces mass hypnosis by making an entire police force dance on the streets. Also, he creates a siphon in the pond at the Coco Bongo by painting on the tree where Tina is chained. Other powers are his super speed, and his super strength. At the same time, this is not typical of the #possessed and actually reflects magic or supernatural power. Definitely, the Mask is a magician or sorcerer.

#CRIMINAL: GUNS (COMICS)

In the comics, the Mask frequently uses guns. In fact, his bloodlust and his magic cause him to seek revenge and kill people. In the first appearance, the Mask uses guns to kill the biker gang that bullied him.

Certainly, the use of guns is not necessarily criminal. However, here, it is for the purpose of committing crimes. Definitely, the Mask is also a #criminal.

 

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THE MASK IS A #MAGICIAN

Across media, the Mask is certainly #possessed. In fact, his superhuman strength and his reliance on the artifact indicate a form of shamanic possession.

At the same time, his use of magic reveal he is also a magician. Definitely, the power of summoning objects is arcane or sorcery. Moreover, the question remains about whether the Mask possesses Stanley.

In Behind ‘The Mask,’ Kyle McGovern looks at the origins behind the pop movie. Originally, the Mask was a metaphor for human impulses and how it amplifies its aggression.

“You see a guy who’s downtrodden, he’s got issues, he feels like the world has kicked him a bunch,” says comic book artist Doug Mahnke, who worked on Mayhem and several other miniseries featuring the Mask. “All of a sudden he has this chance to get away with a bunch of —-.”

Definitely, we are closer to the answer that the fact he may actually be a #villain, and not an #anti-hero.

DARK HORSE DAY SERIES: WHY THE MASK IS A #VILLAIN. JUNE 2ND.


LINKS

Behind ‘The Mask’ in The Ringer.

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