Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers

Thursday, May 8th, 2014 5:30PM CDT

Categories: Cartoon News, Comic Book News, Site Articles, Editorials
Posted by: Dr Va'al   Views: 85,662

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Thirty years ago on this day, 8th May, the very first issue of Marvel Comics' The Transformers #1 appeared in shops, with Bill Mantlo and Ralph Macchio plotting and planning the war on Cybertron, Frank Springer, Kim DeMulder and Nelson Yomtov bringing it to vivid page life, sounded out by Michael Higgins and Rick Parker (all overseen by the watchful Bob Budiansky). The cover? A gigantic Bill Sienkiewicz-drawn Optimus Prime.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers



That was all the way back in 1984, and that was in the US. Across the pond, Jerry Paris created a different cover for the first issue of something that was going to be a much longer and tortuous series, reaching 332 issues in total (compared to and including the 80 of the US run).

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers


A series which eventually introduced British writer Simon Furman to the Transformers universe, after Bob Budiansky on writing and other duties since issue 5, left with issue 55. A series which was initially so badly received it was only meant to reach four issues. A series that introduced the Autobots and Decepticons to pop culture around the world, taking a handful of toylines and creating a loosely hanging narrative that would increase their sales. A series that was flanked by its TV counterpart in the animated The Transformers cartoon.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers


Fast forward to two years later, 1986, when the Transformers appeared on the big screen for the first time, still in their animated selves. Leaders were killed, moons were eaten, planets became robots, hearts were broken, fanboys and fangirls started complaining, and even more toys were produced. And comic adaptations, of course.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers


Marvel Comics resumed its robot stories in 1993, with Furman's revamping of the Transformers in Generation 2, as Hasbro sought to bring back the toyline again. Across the other side of the other pond, meanwhile, Japan was hard at work with the vaguely mecha-style stories of the Transformers, continuing the cartoon series where the US left off after Generation 1: The Headmasters, Super-God Masterforce, Victory, Zone. Which also had their comics and manga adaptations!

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers


Skip forward again to 1996, and we reach a massive overhaul in the concept: the Transformers no longer become vehicles, but animals - in Beast Wars. Cue outrage, cue new influx of fans, cue growing fondness, cue cartoon series and even more toys, cue the two Japanese sequels, Beast Wars II and Beast Wars Neo. And yet we're still in the universe set by that 1984 series, both TV and comics wise.

Enter Dreamwave Productions in 2002, with a complete (well, sort of) reimagining of the Transformers universe, trying to combine elements of the Japanese manga and the well-loved Marvel and Sunbow fictions, both aesthetically and story-wise. And it included a prequel! We saw what Furman thought of what was happening on Cybertron before 'bots and 'cons disappeared into the universe, with the War Within storylines and Don Figueroa's designs and Andrew Wildman's take on them.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers


Dreamwave unfortunately did not end well, and stories were interrupted mid-issue in some cases. It's 2005, and IDW Publishing picks up the license from Hasbro. We have another redesign, retake and reimagining, once again at the hands of Simon Furman and his universe spanning -ations, Stormbringer and Maximum Dinobots, followed by Shane McCarthy and Guido Guidi's earth-bound, politically paced All Hail Megatron and the arrival of the first live-action Transformers full-length cinematic feature in 2007, with Michael Bay in the director's chair - and John Barber, Andrew Griffith and Alex Milne adapting it into its comic counterpart and expanding it, too.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers


Come 2010, another live-action film in the bag, IDW Publishing continues its Transformers storyline more or less succesfully, redesigning its characters to capture the Michael Bay and Paramount aesthetics and potentially new readers, in Mike Costa's The Transformers ongoing series. Something clearly worked, as the series brought into the franchise talent such as James Roberts, Nick Roche, Mairghread Scott, Mike Johnson, Andrew Griffith, Alex Milne, Sarah Stone, E.J. Su, Joana Lafuente, Robby Musso, Josh Burcham, John-Paul Bove, Josh Perez, Casey Coller, Priscilla Tramontano, Ken Christiansen, Chris Mowry, Brendan Cahill, Tom Long, Shawn Lee, Matt Frank, and many many many more, all under the watchful eye of editors John Barber, Carlos Guzman, Chris Ryall, and after the 2011 final (or so we thought) film in the Bay trilogy, Optimus Prime died. Again. But not really.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers


Two ongoing series spawned from that moment, neither involving Earth: More Than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise. We looked at Cybertron's past again, after Chaos Theory, after Megatron Origin, after the Spotlights, Flint Dille, one of the original cartoon series writers, Chris Metzen, and Livio Ramondelli dug deep into the past of the planet and its leaders with Autocracy and Monstrosity, as IDW Publishing ventured into digital-first and motion comics.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers


Now, thirty thrilling years later, here we are. A fourth live-action movie opening in June, innumerable toys based on the same and reinvented core cast, three currently (more or less) ongoing comics series with IDW publishing with the addition of Transformers: Windblade, the last issue of the original Marvel US run hitting last March under ReGeneration One and, as far as we can tell, many many more stories to come.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers


This was a celebration of the Transformers comics. This was the abridged, incomplete story of some the Transformers fictions. We may have left out parts, some intentionally, some less so. There is a lot more to be found in the Transformers 30th Anniversary Collection edited by Jim Sorenson.

But all of these are also just facets of the whole story - what is yours?

Till All Are One
-The Seibertron.com team
Search Got Transformers News? Let us know here!
Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1572376)
Posted by XDMan on May 8th, 2014 @ 6:53pm CDT
This post made me shed a tear.
Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1572388)
Posted by Sabrblade on May 8th, 2014 @ 7:42pm CDT
Here's to 30 years of awesome:



































































































And to what is to come in the future:



Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1572421)
Posted by Noideaforaname on May 8th, 2014 @ 9:51pm CDT
That cover with Soundwave fighting Optimus makes you wonder what it'd be like if Soundwave was Deceptcon leader...
Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1572425)
Posted by quickmixed on May 8th, 2014 @ 10:15pm CDT
A nice short walk down memory lane. :APPLAUSE:

For all the sh!tstorm that surrounded Dreamwave towards the end, I felt they were still putting out quality work. The first 6 issues of their final ongoing (the whole Sunstorm vs Jetfire vs Starscream) is still some of the finest TF interior artwork and covers Ive seen. Don Figueroa will be remembered as one of the best artists to tackle the franchise.


Va'al wrote:
Fast forward to two years later, 1986, when the Transformers appeared on the big screen for the first time, still in their animated selves. Leaders were killed, moons were eaten, planets became robots, hearts were broken, fanboys and fangirls started complaining, and even more toys were produced. And comic adaptations, of course.


Spoilers!! #-o :lol:
Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1572427)
Posted by Sabrblade on May 8th, 2014 @ 10:20pm CDT
Wow. I didn't realize the image amount in my previous post totaled to 101. Yikes!

Happy 30th!
Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1572436)
Posted by Nemesis Destron on May 8th, 2014 @ 11:10pm CDT
Oh c'mon Sabrblade no Mr. Potato Head love?? :P Just kidding and that's some hardcore work! :APPLAUSE: :VEHI:
Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1572458)
Posted by Downbeat on May 9th, 2014 @ 2:01am CDT
Noideaforaname wrote:That cover with Soundwave fighting Optimus makes you wonder what it'd be like if Soundwave was Deceptcon leader...

Well, he's co-leading with Galvatron in Robots in Disguise, that's something.
Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1572472)
Posted by MightyMagnus78 on May 9th, 2014 @ 5:04am CDT
Happy Tran-iversary everone! :PEACE:
Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1572489)
Posted by Sabrblade on May 9th, 2014 @ 7:52am CDT
Nemesis Destron wrote:Oh c'mon Sabrblade no Mr. Potato Head love?? :P Just kidding and that's some hardcore work! :APPLAUSE: :VEHI:
Well, as it was a movie product, consider it (and every other movie product) represented by the movie pics themselves. ;)
Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1572493)
Posted by Rodimus Prime on May 9th, 2014 @ 8:06am CDT
Wow, that was a great article! :APPLAUSE: :APPLAUSE: :APPLAUSE: :APPLAUSE:

I freakin' love this pic:



So much so, I'm contemplating making it my new sig pic...I'd have to crop it...
Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1572495)
Posted by ctrlFrequency on May 9th, 2014 @ 8:09am CDT
Oh wow, that commercial took me back to the day. ;)

I'm just glad Transformers are here for my kids like they were for me, and have evolved into what they have. I gotta thank Hasbro for that!
Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1572502)
Posted by Dr Va'al on May 9th, 2014 @ 8:16am CDT
Thanks for the comments, people who liked it! It was fun to pick out things to write about. :D
Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1572540)
Posted by MINDVVIPE on May 9th, 2014 @ 9:58am CDT
The G2 Artwork from the gate fold Optimus face comic is the best of them all. Can't beat how badass all of that artwork looked.
Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1572568)
Posted by Noideaforaname on May 9th, 2014 @ 10:49am CDT
Downbeat wrote:
Noideaforaname wrote:That cover with Soundwave fighting Optimus makes you wonder what it'd be like if Soundwave was Deceptcon leader...

Well, he's co-leading with Galvatron in Robots in Disguise, that's something.

Well yeah, but I'm thinking of the franchise as a whole. When you think about it, a monotone-voiced "faceless" villain who at any time has a small army in his chest is far more intimidating than Megatron could ever hope to be. Imagine if Soundwave was the one Starscream was always trying to stab in the back, that Lugnut was damn near worshiping as a god, that Sky-Byte was trying to eke out a single iota of praise out of, that Tarantuals was throwing darts at a picture of, that never bothered to know Optimus' name until the very end, that got rebuilt by Unicron...


*half expects Sabrblade or someone to whip out examples of exactly that happening*
Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1572621)
Posted by ScottyP on May 9th, 2014 @ 1:59pm CDT
Dude, Sabr, we have to all work together to scrub Animorphs from history, not post pictures of it :lol:
Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1572623)
Posted by Sabrblade on May 9th, 2014 @ 2:01pm CDT
ScottyP wrote:Dude, Sabr, we have to all work together to scrub Animorphs from history, not post pictures of it :lol:
Aw, you no like? Took me a good long while to find that pic. ;;)
Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1572702)
Posted by Mindmaster on May 9th, 2014 @ 8:25pm CDT
So Va'al and I discussed this briefly yesterday, and I thought I'd open it up to you fellas: would you all be interested in a similar article about the cartoons? The first Generation One episode aired 17 September, 1984. If you guys liked this, would you like us to do an editorial in September as well, something to commemorate the cartoons?
Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1572717)
Posted by Sabrblade on May 9th, 2014 @ 10:48pm CDT
Mindmaster wrote:So Va'al and I discussed this briefly yesterday, and I thought I'd open it up to you fellas: would you all be interested in a similar article about the cartoons? The first Generation One episode aired 17 September, 1984. If you guys liked this, would you like us to do an editorial in September as well, something to commemorate the cartoons?
Yes.

Though, for me personally, I'd also enjoy a multimedia-based article that spans many fictional mediums. Comics, cartoons, movies, anime, manga, books, video games, etc., since there's been so much of all that that's had an impact over years. :-B
Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1572753)
Posted by Dr Va'al on May 10th, 2014 @ 5:36am CDT
Sabrblade wrote:
Mindmaster wrote:So Va'al and I discussed this briefly yesterday, and I thought I'd open it up to you fellas: would you all be interested in a similar article about the cartoons? The first Generation One episode aired 17 September, 1984. If you guys liked this, would you like us to do an editorial in September as well, something to commemorate the cartoons?
Yes.

Though, for me personally, I'd also enjoy a multimedia-based article that spans many fictional mediums. Comics, cartoons, movies, anime, manga, books, video games, etc., since there's been so much of all that that's had an impact over years. :-B


We're trying out different things, we'll see what sticks!

I wasn't going to just focus on comics, but halfway through I realised I was, as it's more my area. We're also considering some toy/character retrospectives, both in their plastic and fictional selves.
Re: Seibertron.com Editorial - The Truly Thrilling Thirtieth of The Transformers (1607045)
Posted by ScottyP on September 17th, 2014 @ 3:46pm CDT

The Other Truly Thrilling 30
Sunbow's Transformers Cartoon Series Turns 30




The day is Monday, September 17th, 1984. The 18th Prime Minister of Canada, Brian Mulroney was sworn in, and Reggie Jackson of the California Angels hit his 500th major league home run, becoming only the 13th person at that time to have done so. Not a very exciting day for most, but for some, this would be a day forever remembered.

You're going to see and be able to read a lot of articles today on the internet, specifically in the Transformers Fans' corner of it, and these will be about a certain birthday happening today. This is one of those articles. You're going to read about perspectives from people that were, with a fairly good chance of likelihood, about 5 to 7 years old on that date, who were captured by the premiere of a new cartoon series for the fall season called "The Transformers" on a Monday morning or afternoon. They'll talk very factually and sequentially about the history of the show and where it came from. They'll write well and give good reference for history down the road. This is not entirely one of those articles.

First, some of that base history but not too much, just to give some background. Marvel Comics' run of Transformers books had started in May, 1984, and had seen two published issues with a third to be shortly on the way in October. This was, of course, one channel through which to support the newly imported, rebranded toyline of the same name. The other was a joint production between Marvel Productions and Griffin Bacal's Sunbow Productions, a cartoon series designed to capture the attention of the children in Reagan's America with lots of action, little plot or continuity, and over the top, fun characterizations of the toys they could go have their parents buy on the local store shelves.



It was a simpler, peaceful time, when children ran through quiet streets with gumdrop smiles and wealth trickled down to the middle class and, and, um, wait a minute. I wasn't born yet. What the hell am I writing about?

This is not your typical retrospective, because it can't be. I wasn't born until almost a year after this cartoon premiered. I can't pretend to know what it was like when it came out. Suffice it to say, by the time I was aware of what a Transformer was and could follow along with any sort of cartoon or comic, the show was meandering the random scheduling of syndication and the toyline's only fictional support was in the form of the latter quarter of the Marvel comic run. So how on earth would someone that only hit the rough target age for "The Transformers" in 1990 fall in love with the franchise on a level so deep that close to his own 30th birthday, he still spends countless hours collecting toys, absorbing fiction, and writing long form articles about the brand? How could this happen when things like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were new, hip, and vying for attention? The answer's quite simple: home video.



Through the magic of FHE's home video releases, over and over again even children like me born well in the middle of the heyday of The Transformers' success could relive the spectacle of 24 minute long toy advertisements. Given the rushed production schedule, the efforts of now legendary (within our hobby, at least) names such as Flint Dille, David Wise, Wally Burr, George Bloom, Floro Dery, Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, and countless other voice actors and production crew will never be forgotten by, well, probably anyone reading this site and almost definitely anyone bothering to read this article!


That picture perfect low-res reproduction, right in your own home.



The first season enjoyed by so many through either broadcast or VHS gave us some of the most memorable and joyful characterizations of fan favorites such as Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream, Ironhide, Bumblebee, Soundwave, Grimlock, the Constructicons, and so many others. For a very young child like what I was at the time, with undeveloped reading skills, these characterizations from the original animated cartoon will always stand out as the original and archetypical examples of those characters within my memory and subconscious.


Right, wrong, or both, my brain instantly says "Rumble" because of the cartoon.



Of course, the show went on for a good while and eventually would come the event that changed everything, at least at the time. This event is also a fond VHS memory, and yes, it's the first Transformers Movie released in 1986.



Having a copy of this amazing work only brought my interest in Transformers to a fever pitch, as between it, VHS copies of nearly all of season one, the continuing toy line, and the comic I had just begun to be able to understand, a fan for life was born. Regardless of your path, or what kind of fan you may be today, some significance can be found by tracing back to 30 years ago today.

Transformers, of course, has continued on persistently in some new animated form ever since, barring the time from 1988 through the start of Beast Wars in 1996 where only repackaged episodes of the original show were still used for various purposes. Even these new evolutions of the brand borrow heavily in spirit from the original show, with characters reusing lines, traits, and sometimes even actual voice actors.


Treacherous, has a crown, flies, yep. It's Starscream.



Even now if we look ahead, 2015 will bring us yet another cartoon series and the second one to be titled "Robots in Disguise", and this will surely be the crux of the franchise's focus next year. Transformers has taken many branching paths and become a multimedia force in Hasbro's brand stable, with never ending toy releases, ongoing comics, frequent video game releases, and of course live action movies. Despite all that, the brand persists on as big and as well as it does because of the cartoons and their influence. Television is a powerful medium, and it's unlikely that The Transformers will ever divorce itself from that medium for very long every again.



I'd be remiss to not also remember some of the fantastic voice contributors to the original cartoon that we've lost over the years, here on a day where we learned the sad news that Buster Jones, the iconic voice of Blaster, is no longer with us. Here's to also remembering the good times brought to us all by such amazing artists as Chris Latta, Scatman Crothers, Casey Kasem, Orson Welles, and others that I may have forgotten.

The legacy of the first Transformers cartoon is undeniable. Hopefully in another 30 years, I'll be back to write another one of these as a crotchety old man, still surrounded by rotting 60 year old plastic toys.

Tell your story in the comment thread below. Why did you, and why do you still, enjoy the original cartoon? Maybe you hate it, that's ok too. Either way, there's no denying the impact it has had, which must have been so unimaginable 30 years ago to the day.

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