I missed Transformers. I missed everything, actually. I was born in 1982, and grew up mostly disconnected from popular culture. (I’ve only met a handful of other people who grew up as far out of touch as I; most were raised in strictly religious households.) I started school without the shared frame of reference that lubricated first-grade friendships, and it became a self-propagating cycle. Trends passed by in my peripheral vision; I never fixated on Transformers, or the Mario Brothers, or Jem and the Holograms.
I went to college in 2000 without ever having watched a Saturday morning cartoon, played a platformer, or seen most of the movies that together make up the informal shared lexicon of my generation. The years since have been a serious of catch-up cram courses, curricula set by incredulous friends (“What do you mean, you’ve never seen–?") and professional urgency (“You want me to edit what?). Even now, I’ve got some pretty big gaps. Which is how I end up on my living room floor with a bunch of cartoonists, surrounded by action figures.
My ultimate plan is to wade back through my generation’s pop-culture canon one franchise at a time, but Transformers comes first for a few reasons. It’s perennially popular. It’s tech-oriented. It has a large and intimidatingly passionate fanbase—I’ve come close to starting bar fights over Marvel continuity, and Transformers fans scare the hell out of me.
Most importantly, though, Transformers looks fun. There are plenty of series I haven’t seen that don’t really interest me—I don’t really get the surface appeal of G.I. Joe, for instance—and a bunch more that seem better tailored to the 5-8 demographic, but I can dig giant space robots who turn into cars. Some things are rad whether you’re three or thirty-three.
Keep on reading here!
What did you think? Did it resonate with anyone? Any memories brought up?