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View Full Version : The First Ever Transformers Review. (Hilarious, but real.)


Sky Shadow
9th December 2008, 06:21 PM
The following is almost certainly the first-ever review of anything from the world of Transformers (from May 1984.) For anyone who hasn't read it before, it's definitely worth a look from a cultural and historic perspective (or merely for amusement.)

Original link: http://groups.google.com/group/net.comics/msg/1cdaf7df610e0376?dmode=source&hl=en

"My vote for worst comic of the year would have to go to Marvel's
TRANSFORMERS #1. Has anyone out there seen it? I'm still trying
to figure out why I wanted to spend $.75 on it in the first place,
but any reason I may have had was inadequate.

The premise is that two groups of 'robots' evolve on a faraway planet
and start an eons long war for control of same. This knocks the planet
from its orbit and sends it spinning through our solar system (!)
The goodguy robots send an expedition out to punch a path through the
asteroid belt, where they are ambushed by the badguy robots and all end up
crashing into Earth and being suspended for ages in a volcano. Then they
wake up and start the battle again.

I had thought I had seen bad comic writing at its peak during Marv Wolfman's
tenure on MACHINE MAN (MM 10-13 in particular are classically bad comics
and can be savored as such), but I think Ralph Macchio has topped even this.
The following is typical :

"--The AUTOBOTS. Whereas life elsewhere in the cosmos usually evolved
through carbon-bonding, here it was the interaction of naturally
occurring gears levers and pulleys that miraculously brought forth
sentient beings."

In addition, both sides go through incredibly bad sequences to establish
the identity of each robot in the worst 'of course you know..' manner,
and there are gaping holes in even elementary plot logic.

First has been accusing Marvel of what ammounts to dumping. I cannot
think of any other reason for this comic to exist,and admit to being
mystified about its intended audience (esp given the price).

On a more pleasant note, many thanks to y'all out there for
plugging Swamp Thing and Summerset (sp?) Holmes. I am enjoying them.

Clear Ether
Ted Nolan"

(P.S. This is Sky Shadow again. With comics now at $3.99 I'm most amused by the fact that the reviewer was disgusted by the 75c pricetag!)

GoktimusPrime
9th December 2008, 07:04 PM
US#1 is a pretty ordinary issue with horrific artwork (although it was toy-accurate! The UK comics gave us better toy-accurate art though). It's only worth collecting/reading purely from a G1 collector's POV but it's otherwise by no means the high point of the G1 comic run. Having said that, the G1 comics were pretty successful. Originally slated to be just a four issue limited series it spanned for 80 issues in the US run - something Marvel pointed out with the caption on the top of US#80's front cover. :)

#1 in a Four Issue Limited Series
http://www.tfarchive.com/comics/marvel/covers/us01.jpghttp://www.tfarchive.com/comics/marvel/covers/us80.jpg
#80 in a Four Issue Limited Series

Toy-accurate art (US)-->http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/transformers/images/thumb/3/33/Ratchetg1first.jpg/180px-Ratchetg1first.jpghttp://www.tfarchive.com/comics/marvel/covers/uk002.jpg<--Toy-accurate art (UK)

The premise is that two groups of 'robots' evolve on a faraway planet
and start an eons long war for control of same. This knocks the planet
from its orbit and sends it spinning through our solar system (!)
The goodguy robots send an expedition out to punch a path through the
asteroid belt, where they are ambushed by the badguy robots and all end up
crashing into Earth and being suspended for ages in a volcano. Then they
wake up and start the battle again.
Yeah, I've never been a huge fan of an orbitless Cybertron in the comics. :/ I prefer the G1 cartoon's premise of Cybertron being depleted of energy and thus prompting the Autobots to leave Cybertron in search for more fuel.

"--The AUTOBOTS. Whereas life elsewhere in the cosmos usually evolved
through carbon-bonding, here it was the interaction of naturally
occurring gears levers and pulleys that miraculously brought forth
sentient beings."
Thankfully that's since been retconned by Simon Furman. Primus FTW! :D

In addition, both sides go through incredibly bad sequences to establish
the identity of each robot in the worst 'of course you know..' manner,
and there are gaping holes in even elementary plot logic.
Heh... that's true. They basically had to introduce the entire 1984 toy line in a single issue. I suspect that was under direction from Hasbro. The Rebirth Part 1 also suffered from the same thing.

First has been accusing Marvel of what ammounts to dumping. I cannot
think of any other reason for this comic to exist,and admit to being
mystified about its intended audience (esp given the price).
...and by the end of that year the Transformers had become the highest grossing debut toy line in history. :p

(P.S. This is Sky Shadow again. With comics now at $3.99 I'm most amused by the fact that the reviewer was disgusted by the 75c pricetag!)
Compare 75c in 1984 with $3.99 in 2008 though... anyone know how much petrol was per litre in 1984?

Sky Shadow
9th December 2008, 07:29 PM
Compare 75c in 1984 with $3.99 in 2008 though... anyone know how much petrol was per litre in 1984?

Rich Johnson (or one of his lackeys) did the maths - from an inflation-since-1977 POV, at most comics should be around $1.50 by now:

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=18583

GoktimusPrime
9th December 2008, 07:38 PM
I remember paying $1.70 for G1 comics around 1990/1. Hrmmm... I do agree that comic book are horrendously overpriced here. :(

Paulbot
9th December 2008, 08:46 PM
Transformers was more expensive than the average Marvel comic at the same time (not by much though).

Sky Shadow
9th December 2008, 08:52 PM
Transformers was more expensive than the average Marvel comic at the same time.

Yes... by a whopping fifteen US cents! :)

Paulbot
9th December 2008, 08:57 PM
Still made it a 'premium' comic at the time so I can understand the reviewer expecting more from it.

Sky Shadow
9th December 2008, 09:11 PM
Still made it a 'premium' comic at the time so I can understand the reviewer expecting more from it.

What?

"Please, sir... I want some more?"

More?

More than the first-ever exploration of the Transformers' mythology? More than the first appearance of the entire 1984 toyline, The Ark, Cybertron, Buster, Sparkplug, Jessie and 'O'?

Ted Nolan, Ted Nolan, never before has a boy wanted...

(No, I don't know what my point is anymore. Sometimes even I think I'm weird.)

FFN
10th December 2008, 05:28 PM
Hey, you found that on the TF wiki's Transformers timeline article, didn't you?

http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Transformers_timeline

"Henshin Sentai Transformers" ("Transformation Squadron Transformers") sounds remarkably redundant in english.

GoktimusPrime
10th December 2008, 05:36 PM
"The first title we came up with was Henshin Sentai Transformer ("Transformation Battle Squad Transformers"); it was very direct, but in my opinion it had a very weak impact, so it became Tatakae! Chou Robot Seimeitai Transformer ("Fight! Super Robot Life-form Transformers")." - Ono Koujin (Takara)

Sky Shadow
10th December 2008, 07:48 PM
Hey, you found that on the TF wiki's Transformers timeline article, didn't you?

No, I remembered it from my alt.toys.transformers days. But that's a useful timeline nonetheless - I notice the list also mentions the first usenet post about the cartoon (which I found the other day while looking for the above one) and is also worth a read:

http://groups.google.com/group/net.comics/msg/fce7a2ddb7e35a81?dmode=source&hl=en

"Transformers-- When I first saw this show my reaction was enthusiastic
to say the least. "That's Japanese!" I could tell by the use of
dramatic angles, the slightly jerky motion of twelve frames per
second, and the "patented" use of shadow colors on human figures. My
enthusiasm for the art has not died down much, but I had never thought
much of the writing. The story centers around two research teams sent
out from the planet Cybertron to find energy. One team is the
Autobots (Good guys), and the other is the Decepticons (Bad guys).
Apparently all of the self aware machines on Cybertron can transform
from humaniod robot to a useful vehicle or weapon. Well, these two
teams happened to land on earth at the same time. The patriotic
Decepticons are trying to exploit earth in any way possible to get
energy to Cybertron. If they can supply Cybertron with enough energy,
it seems, they will be able to rule it. The Autobots are trying to
stop the Decepticons. Later the show degenerates to the point in
which the Decepticons are just trying to rule the earth, or defeat the
Autobots.

The characters are standard to anyone who has read comics. We
have the stout defender of truth, justice, and a good socket wrench:
Optimus Prime. There is the evil, scheming, He-who-schemes-and-runs-
away villain: Megatron. Don't forget the token human boy: Spike.
There are also plenty of other assorted stereotypes. These are played
by some familiar voices: Peter Cullen, and Michael Bell from the
Voltrons, Scattman Crothers of various prior performances (remember
the mailman in Chico and the Man?), and Casey Kasem from American Top
Forty on radio, American Top Ten on TV. He also played Mark on
Battle of the Planets, and Robin the Boy Wonder on Superfriends. (He
also played Shaggy on Scooby Doo. ed.)

The sound track is unimpressive. mostly a replay of the original
theme you've heard a thousand times on the commercials; and that one
riff they play each time a scene changes. It gets as annoying as the
chant between scenes of "He-Man".

The animation is still nice. It's more consistent than G.I. Joe
or Mask, and seems to be the top of the line for animation that is
storyboarded in America and sent to Japan. They don't do the more
impressive tricks Mighty Orbots or an original Japanese production
would have done, like a close in on a moving ship as it whizzes by
you, or circling the main character. What they do, however, they do
well.
This is not great television, far from it, but if you like to see
some nice animation, this isn't too bad.

As a foot note, I've noticed that they took out the credit that
tells who did the animation. I think that this is a crime. I truly
doubt that the people who watch would like to know more about the
script editors than the animators. I've seen several where it
credited Toei Doga for the animation.

Transformers rates a 4 on the Flanamation Scale."

Bill Flanagan, 6/10/1985.

FFN
10th December 2008, 09:47 PM
Who were you on the ATT? Are you friends or blood enemies with the WIIGIIS? (ATT is before my time on the internet, and from what I understand, there were three types of people, enemies of the WIIGIIS, friends of the WIIGIIS and Raksha) ;) :D

Sky Shadow
11th December 2008, 07:28 AM
Who were you on the ATT? Are you friends or blood enemies with the WIIGIIS? (ATT is before my time on the internet, and from what I understand, there were three types of people, enemies of the WIIGIIS, friends of the WIIGIIS and Raksha) ;) :D

Ah, well on ATT I went by the rather unlikely username of... Sky Shadow. ;)

It's all water under plenty of bridges now, but I would have fallen into the "enemy of Wiigii" category. At times, my Wiigiiesque 'enemies' would have included Hooper X, Recharge and Brian Kilby. Other Wiigiis like Walky, Sipher, Suspsy and I were all fairly neutral and pleasant towards each other. My friends were the likes of Derik Smith, Aaron F. Bourque, Merytneith, Zobovor, Jackpot and Iacon (we were the denizens of alt.toys.transformers.fanfic).

My enmity of Brian Kilby was so legendary in 2001 that an allegorical 'Funfic' was written about it (funfics were generally written under a double-pseudonym with deliberate spelling mistakes - presumably so it couldn't be traced back to the original author - and generally took the piss out of people at ATT.):

http://groups.google.com.au/group/alt.toys.transformers/msg/6523b38eba29b173?hl=en

"SKY SHADOW: I will never do so because I WILL WIN! I AM AYSTRALIAN!"

Regarding Raksha, I once wrote some parody song lyrics about her newsgroup(alt.toys.transformers.classic.moderated) 's draconian adherance to only discussing Generation 1. It probably makes little sense these days, but the Raksha camp vehemently believed the Decepticon's ship was called the Star Drive (for hilarious reasons), that Nightbird was sentient and that Beasts were a travesty, thus Beast Wars Ravage didn't exist (but Machine Wars was okay):

*The G1 Connection.* (To the tune of *The Rainbow Connection* by Kermit the Frog.)

Why are there so many rules about posting
Upon ATTCM?
Surely the Nemesis was always the Nemesis
And not the Star Drive way back when.

Itís not that they don't understand any changes:
They know that Goldbug's Bumblebee.
Someday they'll find it,
The G1 connection:
The Prowls and the 'Screamers and me.

What is not classic about Beast Wars Ravage
When Machine Wars isn't OT?
G1 is great but thatís mainly nostalgia.
G1 never won an Emmy

(Though Robert from Everybody Loves Raymond
Was Trypticon in Season 3.)
Someday they'll find it,
The G1 connection:
The Prowls and the 'Screamers and me.

Some of us at ATT
Think ATTCM is crazy.

If things get quiet we can just mention Nightbird:
There's plenty to say about that.
Saying she's sentient is not that impressive:
I could say the same about my cat.

I just don't get those guys' personal canon
(Should that be 'continuity?')
Someday they'll find it,
The G1 connection:
The Prowls and the 'Screamers and me.
La la la la la la la
La la la la la la la la!

P.S. Raksha also believed that the Decepticons were the good guys, the Autobots were sexist, and that the Decepticons using humans as slaves was no different to us farming cows. Thus I wrote the following 'essay' considering the other option (the bizarre notion that the Autobots were in fact the good guys. Note that at the time I wrote this, I hadn't read the Victory manga so I assumed it was the [I]Zone Decepticons with the female partners, not the Victory ones. The rest should all make sense):

http://groups.google.com.au/group/alt.toys.transformers/browse_thread/thread/c2edc173d90d9ace/2af0d92dbd32ca4d?hl=en#2af0d92dbd32ca4d

roller
11th December 2008, 09:02 AM
i love crazy people on the internet

1orion2many
11th December 2008, 02:02 PM
i love crazy people on the internet

:confused:I thought you were the crazy people roller:p:D.

dirge
11th December 2008, 08:47 PM
Ah Raksha. Amongst her many notable moments, I always loved the fact she manages to smuggle a boxed Fort Max into her house and keep it a secret from those living there for well over a year.

She's out of the fandom now, breeding animals and hiding from pretty much the entire fandom. I believe her love of snakes is still there, but her devotion to Soundwave has probably waned.

I'd more or less drifted away from ATT by the time the .fanfic newsgroup began - there were so many... less desirables... far too much noise. One of the downsides of the birth of AOL - US trailer trash speaking their minds in unmoderated cyberspace.

Sky Shadow, were you around in the days of Nixtr? I suspect only griffin will remember his fall.

FFN
11th December 2008, 11:18 PM
Ah, well on ATT I went by the rather unlikely username of... Sky Shadow. ;)

It's all water under plenty of bridges now, but I would have fallen into the "enemy of Wiigii" category. At times, my Wiigiiesque 'enemies' would have included Hooper X, Recharge and Brian Kilby. Other Wiigiis like Walky, Sipher, Suspsy and I were all fairly neutral and pleasant towards each other. My friends were the likes of Derik Smith, Aaron F. Bourque, Merytneith, Zobovor, Jackpot and Iacon (we were the denizens of alt.toys.transformers.fanfic) Hey, some of those people are on the TFwiki. Derk and Jackpot are also regular wiki contributors :D

Sky Shadow
12th December 2008, 10:16 AM
Hey, some of those people are on the TFwiki.

I know... I assumed that was why you asked about Wiigii. :)

Sky Shadow
12th December 2008, 10:31 AM
She's out of the fandom now, breeding animals and hiding from pretty much the entire fandom. I believe her love of snakes is still there, but her devotion to Soundwave has probably waned.

It would be hard, as I suspect anything to do with Transformers or Decepticons would remind her of Skyflight's absence.

Sky Shadow, were you around in the days of Nixtr? I suspect only griffin will remember his fall.

Ah. I was there for the fall. It didn't do wonders for stereotyping of toy collectors (and gave the denizens of Wiigii's an entire new genre of inappropriate humour: Nixtr jokes.)

SilverDragon
13th December 2008, 08:43 PM
To paraphrase the TF Wiki:

The first ever Transformers review...and it's a complaint. This must surely have been a sign of things to come.

Also, Sky Shadow, your essay was one of the funniest TF-related things I have ever read.

roller
13th December 2008, 10:57 PM
How exactly did these Jonestown followers arrive at the conclusion that the Decepticon ship was called the "Star drive" ?

Sky Shadow
14th December 2008, 07:09 AM
How exactly did these Jonestown followers arrive at the conclusion that the Decepticon ship was called the "Star drive"?

It's because in 'Microbots', when the Decepticons go looking for the ship, Scavenger says "I'm pickin' up traces of cybertroid alloy. The stardrive is nearby!" (presumably meaning part of the ship, like a warp drive.)

Raksha and Skyflight thus (vehemently) believed the whole ship was called the Star Drive, and that - like a cattle drive - the Decepticons were going to reign in the stars. And for them, accepting that the ship was called the Nemesis was impossible, since they would have to acknowledge Beast Wars. As an example:

In a nice touch of respect for Decepticon fans, while the Decepticon ship in the G1 cartoon universe was given a name (the Star Drive), the Autobot ship was not. We're so used to calling it "the Ark," that this is a fact often forgotten. It may well have been called "the Ark" in the cartoon universe as well, but we have no way of knowing this, because the words were never spoken. "Officially," it's strictly a comics-universe term.

GoktimusPrime
14th December 2008, 09:48 AM
Ppffttt... it's called the Law of Retroactive Continuity (RetCon). As long as it comes from an official source, then it's legit. I think Raksha's refusal to accept official canonical retcons was just one of many issues she had with the fandom... there's also her rather controversial opinion about the Decepticons. I remember reading her report from attending the first BotCon UK and admitting that she got royally owned by UK fans who knew way more about G1 canon than she did.

I dunno... Raksha does cop a lot of flak from fans but I think Ben Yee put it best once when he said that no matter what you may think of her, there's no denying that she is (was) a highly dedicated Transfan who made noteworthy contributions to our fandom. I can't remember his exact words but it was something to this effect. :)

dirge
14th December 2008, 10:22 AM
I never had anything but respect for Raksha, personally. So she had an alternative view of the Decepticons? Big Deal. She single-handedly organise the second BotCon and hand painted the exclusives. 'Nuff said.

MV75
14th December 2008, 12:06 PM
Compare 75c in 1984 with $3.99 in 2008 though... anyone know how much petrol was per litre in 1984?

About 25cpl.

roller
14th December 2008, 12:29 PM
I never had anything but respect for Raksha, personally. So she had an alternative view of the Decepticons? Big Deal. She single-handedly organise the second BotCon and hand painted the exclusives. 'Nuff said.

dirge loves Rashcar :D:p;)

The Scream Man
14th December 2008, 09:09 PM
i feel like i missed a lot of history here....

And What happeend to Ben Yee. Last I looked BWTF.com was still shut down. That was my go-to site for reviews when i first got back into Transformers during Armada...

bassbot
15th December 2008, 09:00 AM
The Scream Man, your sig is awesome btw.

GoktimusPrime
15th December 2008, 10:08 AM
Ben's site is under major re-construction. :)

The Scream Man
15th December 2008, 10:16 AM
thanx :)

Guy I know said it on Fwooshnet. Cracked me up :)