Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Transfandom

I've always been a Transformers fan. To be honest, I'm not sure how I've gone so long on this blog without mentioning them more often. I watched the cartoon as a kid, had several of the toys (mostly Autobots and Micromasters; I get the feeling that TFs were fairly expensive back in the day), and I've followed the series progression ever since. I don't know, maybe I just thought that despite spending all my time talking about comic books and science and such, people might think me just a little too geeky if I started talking about '80s cartoons on top of it.

Or, it might be that I've just fallen out of the loop a little with regards to Transformers and my first '80s-cartoon love, He-Man. The end of the He-Man toyline and the cancellation of the excellent Dreamwave Transformers series put me into something like '80s-cartoon hibernation.

But man, before that? I spent Junior High doodling Autobot and Decepticon insignias in my notebooks and printing out reams of information on the Japanese Transformers series from the Internet. I watched the Movie every day for a month. I wrote fanfic--and lots of it. It took a little while for me to get into Beast Wars, but once I did, I dove in all the way. My first couple of years of High School saw me writing long and involved treatises on the history of Cybertron, the physics of Subspace (the apocryphal place where Transformers shunt their excess mass, weapons, and trailers, or draw more mass when they transform), and the nature of Sparks (Transformer souls). I ended up becoming something of a Transformers connoisseur. I turned my nose up at the Marvel comics for their art and their departures from the cartoon; I worshiped Beast Wars but hated Beast Machines. Robots in Disguise drew me in with the toys, and I warmed up to the cartoon pretty quickly once I decided not to take it seriously. I've grown to demand fairly high standards from my favorite giant transforming robot series, standards that aren't often met.

So, naturally, I've got a lot to talk about: ranting and raving. This week represents two years of repressed Transformers blogging being released like the wisdom and power of the ancients when Optimus Prime opened the Matrix of Leadership to eradicate the Hate Plague.

It begins.

So, to get to the point of this post, I'm declaring an open thread: share your Transformers-related stories and memories. Ask questions, and I'll take them to Vector Sigma for the answers. Comment on your favorite series, favorite moments, and whatnot.

And I swear, the first person to say that the Generation 2 cartoon was their favorite incarnation of Transformers gets slapped with a dead Sharkticon.

11 comments:

--J-- said...

When I was a kid my parents, in their infinite wisdom, got me an Optimus Prime truck Transformer. How I loved that thing! It had everything: it transformed into Optimus and had a voice box that would say these phrases. I took it to school and I would use it when I didn't want to talk to people. Optimus was my hero.

I also had some random rock Transformer knock-off. He transformed into a rock and I made up all sort of cool powers for him when my friends came over with their cooler Decepticons and Autobots. My green rock guy rocked harder than any of the Autobots until I got Optimus; then it was all over.

Tom Foss said...

I can say with some certainty that your Optimus was the Generation 2 reissue of the original figure, with a black trailer (instead of the original gray) and the kickass voicebox.

As for your rock-dude, I suspect that he was probably Boulder of the Go-Bots spinoff "Rock Lords." Alternatively, he might have been Stoneheart or Tombstone from the same line.

Sadly, aside from looking up the names of the Rock Lord figures (I own Boulder myself, but haven't known his name since the '80s), I pulled all that off the top of my head.

NeverAsk said...

I used to have an original Megatron that I used to take with me everywhere until it finally fell apart. I didn't have many transformers, but that Megatron is one my fondest childhood memories. Pity they are such a pain to find these days.

And "Rock Lords?" Geez, that takes me back. I had the gold one (Nugget?) and lost it, as would be expected from a toy shaped like a rock, after chucking it across the yard.

Matt said...

I was always aware of Transformers, and I've always dug the idea. However, I can't honestly recall if I ever watched the show with any kind of frequency, which unfortunately suggests to me that I didn't. I know for a fact that I've never seen the movie, and I know that I always thought it was silly that Megatron just transformed into a gun (it was a gun, right?).

That in mind, I have to say that I absolutely loved Beast Wars. To this day they're my favorite incarnation of the Transformers - perhaps it's because they were my first REAL exposure to the concept or because it makes more sense that machines would become animals instead of other machines; I have no idea. As an impressionable youth, I quickly elected Cheetor as my favorite for his irreverent nature and his badass 'tude.

I don't remember Beast Machines much, but I do remember that I loved the concept of the Transmetals (even though I now know that it defeats the purpose of 'robots in disguise' somewhat). Cheetor can be a ROBOTIC cheetah? What's better than that?

I enjoyed the film enough to be interested in the franchise again, but I'm not sure if I'm interested enough to spend $200+ on box sets for something I really want for nothing other than some kind of faux nostalgia.

My history with the Transformers, boiled down into a few brief paragraphs.

-M

Tom Foss said...

neverask: aside from the furry Rock Lord animal things, Nugget was the only other figure from that line that I had, and the only one whose name I remembered. I'm sure both of them are still in my basement with all my other toys.

Matt: Beast Wars was a great time to be a Transformers fan. The Beast Wars cartoon easily remains the best of the many Transformers TV series, and is just a good show besides.

While the G1 DVD sets are out of print (and thus ridiculously expensive), the three season sets of Beast Wars are relatively cheap. A quick look at DVDpricesearch.com shows that you can get all three for around $60.

googum said...

I started with the Marvel comic. It was supposed to be a limited series, but went on past issue #4. I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the book, since it had more characters than the fricking Legion of Super-Heroes, and don't think I stayed on much past #17 or so.

As a toy junkie, I've built up a few over the years. I've liked various parts of all the series of seen, but remember Beast Wars as the high-water mark.

My son has a ton of the toys, including mine that he's stolen, and my youngest gets some of the younger-geared ones.

Anonymous said...

Got any of the classics guys?

Jetfire, Bumblebee and Grimlock all rule.

New cartoon looks neat too, IDW comic is swell, (spotlight Kup is the best so far). Life is good.

Tom Foss said...

Googum: the last issue of the Transformers series has one of the best cover blurbs in the history of comics: "#80 in a Four-Issue Limited Series."

Anonny: I do have the classics, though I'm kicking myself for not getting a Megatron when he was still more available. I've got Prime, Bumblebee, Grimlock, Mirage, and Starscream, and I can live vicariously through my brother's Cliffjumper, Rodimus, and Megatron. I hope the line continues; I like the Movie designs, but the figures thus far don't seem quite as cool as the Classics.

Anonymous said...

Good News:
It will!
In late 08.
And Jetfire is, quite probably, the BEST TRANSFORMER IN THE WHOLE LINE!
Seriously, it rules.

LurkerWithout said...

In re: Dinobot's final stand against all the Predacons in defense of humanity.

SO FRICKEN AWESOME!


While I enjoyed Dreamwave's Transformers books, I'm actually grooving pretty well on IDW's relaunched stuff. The spotlight issues are kind of hit or miss though...

Matt said...

IDW seems to be pretty hit or miss in general, I've found.

-M