I’m on a bit of a MANTA Force kick at the moment as you might have gathered. Inside the box of Vile Stinkhorn’s Bog Rocket I found a delightful comic! Now I will share this archive material with you. I hope it is as magical to you as it is to me.
I’ve not been about much, you can blame the daily grind of work for that. But I’ve got a few exciting things I’ve been working on, fear not! In the meantime, I’ve been finding some really funky covers for German Transformer comics which I present for your enjoyment. I’ve not got them all sadly, and any information on them at all would be welcome. Most foreign Transformer comics just reused the US artwork, but in Germany, oh-ho, no they did not!
We kick off with issue 1, which is sadly the most boring of the lot. The cover is just a reprint of the cover for ‘Warrior School’, and I’m going to assume it is the same story within (how German fans were supposed to keep up with the selection of stories that the covers would indicate, I’m not sure). Notice Buster Witwicky though, the Germans seems to really like him… › Continue reading
I’ve seen the new Transformers film, so what do I think?
For a start, it measures up (or down) to the first film. Nothing in it particularly surprised me which was a shame, but there was nothing that had me wanting to gouge my eyes out either. The pace is faster than the first, and there are less ‘boring bits’ but at the same time there’s no genuinely rousing moments, such as the ‘Arrival of the Autobots’ from the 2007 installment. The plot is wafer-thin, an excuse for the characters to go chasing around the world and shoot things. I shan’t spoil it since I don’t really believe in spoilers, but there’s also not that much that can be spoiled. The Decepticons and Autobots both want a doo-hicky, the Decepticons also want Sam, they have a fight in the desert, the US Army is awesome, join the army. › Continue reading
It’s always nice to know how things begin. Why Optimus Prime doesn’t like Megatron. Where those freaky holograms from the Visionaries came from. Why I was in the ditch that morning wearing the chicken suit.
He-Man never got any sort of beginning or attempts at an explanation though. The audience was just thrown straight in to the crazy world of a big semi-naked man wrestling a blue skeleton. And to be fair the franchise was aimed at five-year-olds, so creating a complex back-story wasn’t really on anyone’s mind.
There was always that niggling question though – just who was Skeletor? Why was he so powerful, and what was his motivation besides ‘being a huge jerk’? There were no answers forthcoming in the classic series, though we did get close.
He-Man toys had the added value of a minicomic packaged with them, which helped advertise the toys and show how amazing they were. They really helped my little child-brain love He-Man, and I kept them all neat in my secret cupboard! (Ever kid needs a secret cupboard). The 1987 line of toys came with what is perhaps the most interesting minicomic produced – The Search For Keldor! › Continue reading
I must confess that this was probably the collection I was looking least forward to reviewing, but upon re-reading it found that it contained some of the strongest stories in the UK run, the highlight of course, being ‘Salvage’. With a pair of short stories set in the present day continuing the Galvatron plot, and then the main event, Space Pirates, there are plenty of touches to keep even the most hardened cynic happy.
Salvage begins with two Mechanoids being dredged from the River Thames – namely Megatron and Centurion (how they got there is covered in the Transformers / Action Force crossover, and I have a feeling rights issues means it can’t be reprinted, sadly enough). Hilariously enough though, it is a certain Richard Branson doing the dredging. Bless him and his little smile!
Of course, Shockwave has other plans. Looking for a weapon he can use against Galvatron, he steals back Megatron himself and has a psychoprobe attempt to snap him out of his cataconic state, a task involving sending Megatron into his own nightmares, facing both Prime and Straxus. › Continue reading
Now I shall gear up into exploring another of the Titan Transformer trades, in this case The Legacy Of Unicron which collects two storylines set in the future, and two smaller stories set in the present that continue the tale of Galvatron
The Legacy Of Unicron
We kick off with Headhunt, a very cool two-parter set in the future and featuring everyone’s favourite homicidal killing machine, Death’s Head! Last we saw him, Rodimus Prime forcibly transported him back to the future to prevent him killing Galvatron, but more importantly in Death’s Head’s eyes, cheating him out of his bounty. Death’s Head is a robot, so I’m not really sure what he spends all this money on, but I would like to think that it is on cheap whores. Or hoovers, whatever the robot equivilant is. › Continue reading
So we continue this whistlestop tour of some of the best Transformers collections with one of my favourites – Fallen Angel, which collects the return of Galvatron and the Fire On High storyline. And of course, the introduction of Death’s Head!
On a similar note, I absolutely love the cover art for this trade paperback. Remember, these things are larger than usual graphic novels because in the UK comics were A4 sized, so it looks really really nice.
Galvatron, at the end of Transformers the Movie, is hurled into space by Rodimus Prime. And thats where the comic and the cartoon diverge (the UK never really got the third season, you see). In the comic, he has kept his time travel device from Target: 2006 and uses it to travel back in time to present day Earth (and crash landing at high speed). › Continue reading
It seems I got a decently positive reaction from my last piece, so I’ll continue by looking at Prey. Now in an attempt to encourage people to buy the trades, I’ll look at the other story in the Prey TPB as well, Grudge Match.
Both of these were favourites when I was little. And one of the best things was that coming back to them as an adult (and a postgraduate student in English literature) was how fantastically well they were written, how well Furman can write both touching characterisation and epic plots interwoven in the same story, with just a tiny page count to do it in.
Aren’t I nice to you all!
So, without further ado…
We open with Optimus Prime reviewing the events of Target:2006, and worrying quite profusely. Namely that the first thing the Autobots did without him to let Megatron lead them, which given that he is commander of the Decepticons probably wasn’t the sanest thing do to. And now there is the added crisis of the Decepticon’s fully-operational spacebridge sending constant reenforcements. And shoud he die, what will the Autobots do then?
So he sets upon a… rather macabre plan – he will get Wheeljack to create a duplicate of himself so he can pretend to be dead and see how the Autobots will react, and at the same time as everyone believes he is dead, destroy the Decepticon’s spacebridge. Prime, you scally, its almost like reality TV! › Continue reading
The New York Comic Con has been raging on, and one of the more interesting pieces of news coming out of it is that IDW, flush from the success of all their miniseries have commissioned a new Doctor Who ongoing comic. I was lucky enough to be able to catch up with begoateed British writer Tony Lee who is on the project to answer a few questions.
But Voord fans (yes both of you) will be disappointed…
Tony has in the past had a lot of success, not only writing the acclaimed Doctor Who miniseries The Forgotten, but also Starship Troopers, X-Men and an incredible amount of original work. It is said that if he ever stops writing then the world will blink out of existence.
On Mr Tony
1 – Have you ever dressed up as a giant pink Care Bear?
Yes. I have. Move on, Marshall › Continue reading
Recently there has been a surge of interest in Transformer comics generally, from the ill-fated Dreamwave era, to the steady IDW era. But how did it all start? What about the ones in the eighties? Surely they were just for little kids, and not worthy of a read by serious comic readers? Here, I plan to show you guys some of the best Transformers comics, and heck, comics period, that I have read. Prepare to be educated.
One of the defining points of my childhood was this thing. A little bit of background though first. The US Transformer comic was… mediocre at best. But when it came to porting it over to the UK there came a problem. UK comics were half the size pagewise of the US versions, but came out weekly (and boy, do I miss those days). So someone had to write more tales. Enter Simon Furman
Mr Furman didn’t just write filler stories to tread water until the US tales came out. He wrote massive, sweeping epics, small personal tales, which more importantly, didn’t contradict the US comics but made a massive universe. It actually became a story about this huge civil war fought by gigantic robots. And since they were robots, Marvel UK didn’t really care what he did. Some of my childhood nightmares were full of beheadings, eye-gougings and that one issue where the Autobot Micromaster military patrol were captured and dissected alive. Little Matty-Boy didn’t sleep much that week. › Continue reading