If you were a kid around 1994, you probably saw The Mask. For me, it was one of the few films I saw with my mom in a theater, so I remember it pretty well. I had always been a big fan of Tex Avery and his very particular style in Looney Tunes and MGM cartoons. The film was like one of Tex's shorts brought to life, full of wacky nobody-really-gets-hurt violence and innocuous lechery. Which made the comic that inspired it surprise me all the more.
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Mayhem #2, Dark Horse Comics, June 1989
I've been reading the old Mask comics recently, and the fact that they inspired what is, for all intents and purposes, a kids' movie is staggering. Instead of the film's wacky, mischievous, the comic's Big Head (as the papers covering his murders call him) is a serial killer with a twisted sense of humor, more akin to the Joker than anything from a cartoon. The big change for the film was that, as Wikipedia states, while they “had problems coming up with a script that could show violence that was comical, but had more success with a story that had comedy that was violent.” As a genuine fan of cinematic violence, I never thought this would be a good thing
Honestly? From what I've read of the comic so far, it turns me off. The 80s were a period faulted by dark-for-the-sake-of-dark. The Mask comes off as indulgence with nothing to hold it up. As far as the IP goes, I'll stick with this: