Let’s face it, we live in the era of the reboot. No moderately successful franchise will be left to wallow in the mid-eighties/nineties, unknown and unloved by Gen Z and in a recent interview with Forbes, Mike Richardson (founder of Dark Horse Comics) discussed the possibility of remaking The Mask.
The Mask was both a successful comic book series and a successful film, though the two incarnations differed wildly in tone. In the 1994 film adaptation, the protagonist Stanley Ipkiss is portrayed by Jim Carrey. Ipkiss is a kindhearted, down-on-his-luck bank teller leading an unremarkable life until he finds a wooden mask near the harbor. When Stanley wears the Mask (created by the Norse trickster god Loki), he becomes a bright green, manic version of his former self with few inhibitions, no fear to speak of, and the power to warp reality. With his formidable new skill set, he defeats the gangster Dorian Tyrell (played by Peter Greene) and woos the woman of his dreams, Tina Carlyle, played by Cameron Diaz in her feature film debut.
The film was both a critical success and box office smash hit. Jim Carrey was nominated for a Golden Globe award, and the film scored an Academy Award nomination for best visual effects (which it lost to Forrest Gump).
Now, as I mentioned before, the comic series varies greatly from the beloved comedic adaptation. Created by Doug Mahnke and John Arcudi,The Mask was a limited series published in three installments from 1991-1995, based on the character created by Mike Richardson in 1982. In the comic, the Mask gives the wearer incredible power: reality warping, energy projection, psionic abilities, and much more. But the moment the mask is donned, the wearer loses their mind in exchange for (or because of) these godlike abilities. As a result, The Mask is not a superhero in the Dark Horse universe. All wearers in the original comics were vengeful antiheroes or murderous villains.
So what would a reboot of The Mask look like more than 25 years after the success of the first film? More importantly, after the resounding success of grittier films like The Dark Knight and Deadpool could we get an adaptation truer to the comics? Creator Mike Richardson is optimistic and resolute that this time around, he’d like to see a woman in the role. Women have worn the Mask in the comics (see Emily Tuttle in “The Hunt For Green October” storyline), so it’s not as though we’re dealing with a gender specific accessory. Richardson even has a particular actress in mind, but he’s reluctant to name drop.
At its core, The Mask is a franchise about absolute power and all the corruption and insanity such power can wrought upon the wielder. The 1994 film was a comedic romp riddled with cartoon graphics, and I absolutely adored it as an eight year old. As an adult who has weathered many a reboot, give me a fresh take and a darker tale the second time around.