Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better

Transformers News: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better

Saturday, July 1st, 2017 9:28PM CDT

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Every 2 weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a top 5 list related to all things Transformers, usually written by william-james88, but for this special list of which characters are better in the comics than the G1 show, it was best to call on a friend to these lists, fellow Seibertronian Optimutt (Rob Queen). These are opinions of one person, so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and we hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.


Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better


This is a list that looks at certain Transformers characters from the G1 era that appeared in cartoon form but were not done “right” until the talented writers of the TF comics (of both past and present) got them in their word processors. Many of these characters have reached almost a cult-ish following thanks to these comic representations.

I would like to give special thanks to Bob Budiansky, Simon Furman, Michael Higgins, Eric Holmes, Mike Costa, Shane McCarthy, Zander Cannon, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, Flint Dille, John Barber, James Roberts, Mairghread Scott, Chris Metzen, and every other writer who has contributed to these comics for the fun ride. May we keep on rolling.


5. Thundercracker

In the cartoon, his thunder booms gave Starscream a headache. In the comic, he wrote a screenplay. In the cartoon, he was proud of Megatron using his weapon. In the comic, he had a pet dog. In the cartoon, he got put in his place by Starscream. In the comic, he got shot in the face by Skywarp. In the cartoon, he was turned into Cyclonus (or was it a Sweep? Or the Armada?). In the comic, he declared humans as unworthy of Decepticon attention and took an atomic bomb into orbit, saving the day. Ultimately, though, IDW turned this generic, one-step-above-a-Rainmaker into a quirky, earthling lover with aspirations that take him far outside the simple world of Autobot! Versus! Decepticon!

Transformers News: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better

Transformers News: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better


4. Skids

You must have blinked. That was why you don’t remember seeing him in the original G1 cartoon. With his whomping three minutes of screen time, Skids was essentially the overlooked Autobot car. Yup, that guy who, in issue 20, was totally interspecies relating to the Human named Charlene, was a total nobody in the cartoon. However, this spotlight issue of interspecies love was nothing compared to what the member of Autobot Diplomatic Corps and outlier is doing on the Lost Light, in the more recent comics. In fact, Skids has become so popular that he even got a fancy new toy that blows people away with its arsenal of “hidden” weaponry!

Transformers News: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better

Transformers News: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better


3. Scorponok

The concept of Binary Bonding was deeply explored with this mighty Decepticon. When he first appeared in the Headmasters limited series, he was a true villain, who enjoyed beating up Autobots so much that he trekked across a galaxy for the chance to crush his nemesis, Fortress Maximus. Once there, he agreed to Binary Bond with Zarak, an ambitious politician. In the later issues of the comic, however, he found himself on Earth, struggling with the duality of his being: the frailty of his Nebulon brain, and the invincible warrior of his Cybertronian self. During this time, he was able to set aside his reservations and create a truce with Optimus Prime so that he could die heroically in the battle against Unicron. If you were able to read his death scene without shedding an eye, you were made of sterner stuff than the eleven-year old I was. And his role in the cartoon? Big city. But at least Zarak made his cartoon version a bit more interesting than the bore that Chromedome was. Hence his spot in the list as opposed to the out-of-continuity Honorable Mention that poor ‘Domey gets (spoilers).

Transformers News: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better


2. Shockwave

In the original cartoon (which he later reprised in TF: Animated, much to the delight of fans around the world), Corey Burton portrayed Shockwave as a cold, emotionless monster who got to rule Cybertron while Megatron was comatose on Earth. And boy was his voice awesome! What puts Shocks so high up on this list is the fact that as awesome as he was, the comics made him even better. Bob Budiansky must not have liked Megatron much, because following Shockwave’s first appearance in issue 4, the traditional Decepticon leader was relegated to second fiddle to the stone-cold tactician of a brute called Shockwave. Until Megatron blew himself up (to Cybertron, as was later revealed), the pair regularly came to blows for leadership, and boy was it satisfying to watch the two at each other’s throats. Since then, the comics have just kept making him more and more compelling, to the point of even having him be a Cybertronian Senator.

Transformers News: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better


1. Grimlock

Anyone who has ever read anything by Simon Furman knows of the author’s love for this conflicted Autobot (is Furmansession a word? It is now!). The original cartoon established him early on as being stupid, with a certain arrogance that sets him apart from most other Autobots, but as time went on, the grammatically-challenged Dinobot Leader was relegated to comic relief. Sadly, it seemed that the comic version of him would follow suit, too, with his run as an ineffectual leader. Thankfully, Furman was able to channel every fan-child’s love of this T-Rex and dove headfirst into what Grimlock could be. Over the last thirty issues of the original Marvel series, we saw him go from restless PTSD sufferer, to rebel with a cause, to a bot who managed to replace guilt with a completely different kind of guilt, to Autobot savior. Quite simply, he became exactly what fans of the cartoon were hoping for with their Grimlock: a three-dimensional badass that could munch Trypticon’s head as easily as he could lead the Autobots to salvation following the inevitable destruction of Cybertron. And it is exactly because of this fan demand that Grimlock wins out.

Transformers News: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better

Transformers News: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better


Honorable mention: Chromedome

In the Japanese Headmasters cartoon, Chromedome was the de facto main character. He was hotheaded and impulsive, and ostensibly young. Basically, he was every Hot Rod, Cheetor, Side Burn, Hot Shot, Bumblebee (Animated), Sideswipe (Robots in Disguise), and Smokescreen (Prime) that there ever has been. Despite being a lame duck plucked for a Beijing feast, at least he was far less annoying than Kicker and Ironhide (remember them? Mean of me, wasn’t it?) Thankfully, James Roberts got his fingers in him and made him forget what a tool he was. And how was it possible to do so? Mnemosurgery! Sure, being able to inject psychological failsafes in Overlord’s mind is cool and all, but that is nothing compared to just what Chromedome represents within the story: an emotional ship sailing the turbulence that comes from absolute commitment to emotions. It takes quite a special ‘bot to say the Big Three Words, and there is no way the impetuous youth from the cartoon would even consider them, let alone vocalize them.

Transformers News: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better

There are many other characters from the G1 cartoon that really got their moments of glory in the Marvel Transformers Comics rather than on the screen and you wouldn't believe how much of a real bad ass Ratchet and Blaster are until you read them. It just shows you how rich the Transformers fiction can be and what awesome potential all these characters have. There are some phenomenal stories out there with the characters you always wished to see more and if you are new to the comics or have any questions, don't be shy to visit our comic forum and ask the community.

Transformers News: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better

Transformers News: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better
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Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893707)
Posted by MagicDeath on July 1st, 2017 @ 9:59pm CDT
I've been trying to figure out how Grimlock was characterized in the Marvel comics. This explained it pretty well (never read 'em)

Also: "without shedding an eye"
...you okay?
Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893741)
Posted by Rodimus Prime on July 2nd, 2017 @ 1:21am CDT
Wow this could be a long list. Since I grew up on the G1 Marvel comics, I consider them the superior continuity to all others, therefore every character on my list will come from there. I don't consider IDW's G1 the same. There is only one original.

My list:

5. Powermaster Optimus Prime - vastly superior to Super Ginrai. The only drawback is Furman didn't work in the Apex Armor somehow.

4. Fortress Maximus - the character development Spike and Max had by the G2 comics dwarfs Rebirth and even Headmasters.

3. Ratchet - he also had a great character arc in the comics especially when he was going up against Megatron on repeated occasions.

2. Grimlock - his comic version is my favorite character in the entire continuity.

1. Shockwave - compared to the computer on legs that was in the cartoon, comics Shockwave was the perfect Decepticon leader.

Honorable mention: Scorponok - by the end he even managed a hero's death against Unicron, but considering the cookie cutter beginning he had, he could only improve.

Honorable mention: Bumblebee - went from being a main character in the beginning to his resurrection as Goldbug to being a bad ass Pretender.

Honorable mention: Soundwave - pretty much the same personality as in the cartoon, except he was always in the right place at the right time. He is the only comics character to survive from beginning to end without getting killed or even going into stasis lock.
Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893776)
Posted by Kurona on July 2nd, 2017 @ 8:07am CDT
I'm gonna sound biased if I say all of them, aren't I?

Eh, I don't care. Between IDW and Marvel, every character featured in the comics were done better than their counterparts in the cartoon. Fight me >:oP
Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893777)
Posted by avarathriul on July 2nd, 2017 @ 8:38am CDT
This was a damn good list.
Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893779)
Posted by BATTLEMASTER IIC on July 2nd, 2017 @ 9:29am CDT
I really like IDW Whirl. He's like Cybertronian Deadpool.
Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893798)
Posted by Carnivius_Prime on July 2nd, 2017 @ 12:39pm CDT
I definitely agree with Shockwave, Grimlock, Scorponok, Blaster, Ratchet but this list seems to miss out Marvel UK which many of these still featured their US characterisations but somehow better in some ways (though Blaster lost his badassery and was a lil more like the cartoon for some reason) but you also got the '86 movie characters. For example Ultra Magnus and Galvatron were much better in the M-UK comics than in the cartoon particularly their battles against each other and Galvatron was almost always depicted as a hugely powerful menacing threat who didn't even need to lead an army. I'd also rate Ravage much better in the comics, he could talk and had an actual personality. Soundwave too had a bit more of a personality than in the US stories and cartoon (whom I never really cared for despite the cool voice). I always remember the Killing Joke end reference with him and Magnus at the end of Time Wars briefly contemplating peace between the bots and cons. Springer also had nice characterisation with him feeling a bit in the shadow of Impactor when it comes to leading the Wreckers and formed a small group of bots and a couple cons with the Survivors. Oh and mentioned Grimlock but really the Dinobots as a whole were better in M-UK than the cartoon. Swoop had some great stories with the Professor Morris/Centurion stuff and the fight with Divebomb of the Predacons.

Is often why I consider the original Marvel US run of 80 comics to feel incredibly 'incomplete'. If you have the 333 issue run of Marvel UK's TF comic you have all the US stories in there plus tons more classics.
Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893806)
Posted by william-james88 on July 2nd, 2017 @ 2:01pm CDT
avarathriul wrote:This was a damn good list.

Really glad you liked it!

Kurona wrote:I'm gonna sound biased if I say all of them, aren't I?

Eh, I don't care. Between IDW and Marvel, every character featured in the comics were done better than their counterparts in the cartoon. Fight me >:oP


Well its not necessarily better than the G1 cartoon but better than any cartoon or other media. So like Lockdown in the IDW comics is not better than either the movie or animated version. And IDW Tankor isnt better than the Beast Machines version. So its not everyone.

And in any case, this is the 5 that stand out most as being superior.
Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893811)
Posted by Quint on July 2nd, 2017 @ 2:32pm CDT
I'm both bemused and amused that Prowl isn't on this list, let alone not topping it. :BANG_HEAD:

I thoroughly enjoyed Furman's insidious snide, and then Roche's development in AHM was an absolute masterstroke.

Other than that, a good job with some interesting rationale.
Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893824)
Posted by Kurona on July 2nd, 2017 @ 3:41pm CDT
william-james88 wrote:
Kurona wrote:I'm gonna sound biased if I say all of them, aren't I?

Eh, I don't care. Between IDW and Marvel, every character featured in the comics were done better than their counterparts in the cartoon. Fight me >:oP


Well its not necessarily better than the G1 cartoon but better than any cartoon or other media. So like Lockdown in the IDW comics is not better than either the movie or animated version. And IDW Tankor isnt better than the Beast Machines version. So its not everyone.

And in any case, this is the 5 that stand out most as being superior.

Oh, I simply thought this was about the G1 cartoon and none other. If we're including later cartoons, then yeah; Lockdown was much better in Animated. I don't really know why IDW and AoE shared the problem of getting wrong the very simple concept of 'creepy amoral bounty hunter', but I guess that's what happens. Though I will disagree with you that AoE Lockdown > IDW Lockdown. IDW Lockdown doesn't do much of anything, but nothing is better than whatever the movies spit out.

Though this is why I said featured. If a character is part of the main cast in one medium and just a background character we see occasionally in another, then the former is of course going to win out -- this is why I'm certainly not going to say Dinobot is better in IDW than in BW. Just main characters like Shockwave, Rodimus, Megatron, Soundwave, Sunstreaker, Prowl, Elita-1, Starscream, Windblade... all that Jazz. ... and, yeah, Jazz too :lol:
Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893826)
Posted by Carnivius_Prime on July 2nd, 2017 @ 3:44pm CDT
Kurona wrote:
Oh, I simply thought this was about the G1 cartoon and none other. If we're including later cartoons, then yeah; Lockdown was much better in Animated. I don't really know why IDW and AoE shared the problem of getting wrong the very simple concept of 'creepy amoral bounty hunter', but I guess that's what happens. Though I will disagree with you that AoE Lockdown > IDW Lockdown. IDW Lockdown doesn't do much of anything, but nothing is better than whatever the movies spit out.


Says you. I bloody love AoE Lockdown. One of my fave 'bad guys' in a long time. Looks cool, sounds cool, does cool things. Ok he kills some characters I like but that's what a bad guy does.
Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893828)
Posted by Kurona on July 2nd, 2017 @ 3:46pm CDT
Carnivius_Prime wrote:
Kurona wrote:
Oh, I simply thought this was about the G1 cartoon and none other. If we're including later cartoons, then yeah; Lockdown was much better in Animated. I don't really know why IDW and AoE shared the problem of getting wrong the very simple concept of 'creepy amoral bounty hunter', but I guess that's what happens. Though I will disagree with you that AoE Lockdown > IDW Lockdown. IDW Lockdown doesn't do much of anything, but nothing is better than whatever the movies spit out.


Says you. I bloody love AoE Lockdown. One of my fave 'bad guys' in a long time. Looks cool, sounds cool, does cool things. Ok he kills some characters I like but that's what a bad guy does.

That's cool; all the power to you -- I just thought he looked boring, sounded generic and did a whole lot of nothing.
Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893829)
Posted by Carnivius_Prime on July 2nd, 2017 @ 3:47pm CDT
Kurona wrote:

That's cool; all the power to you -- I just thought he looked boring, sounded generic and did a whole lot of nothing.



yeah i knew i didn't like you.
Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893830)
Posted by Kurona on July 2nd, 2017 @ 3:51pm CDT
Carnivius_Prime wrote:
Kurona wrote:

That's cool; all the power to you -- I just thought he looked boring, sounded generic and did a whole lot of nothing.



yeah i knew i didn't like you.

No need, dude -- this is just a discussion about characters, no need to make it personal or take to disliking someone over an opinion about a movie or cartoon.
Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893831)
Posted by Carnivius_Prime on July 2nd, 2017 @ 3:54pm CDT
Kurona wrote:
Carnivius_Prime wrote:
Kurona wrote:

That's cool; all the power to you -- I just thought he looked boring, sounded generic and did a whole lot of nothing.



yeah i knew i didn't like you.

No need, dude -- this is just a discussion about characters, no need to make it personal or take to disliking someone over an opinion about a movie or cartoon.


actually forgot the emoji to show i wasn't too serious but yeah we got veeeery different tastes in transformers.
Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893844)
Posted by Rodimus Prime on July 2nd, 2017 @ 6:17pm CDT
[quote]I just thought he looked boring, sounded generic and did a whole lot of nothing.[/quote]

Nothing?

-killed a supporting character viciously to show ruthlessness

-used the humans to do his dirty work against the Autobots

-murdered Ratchet by literally ripping out his soul

-captured Optimus Prime

-beat Optimus Prime in a fight until Bee and humans stepped in

-his voice was perfect for his character

-turned into the best vehicle mode rivaled only by Hot Rod in TLK

The last 2 are just my opinion but you can't argue with the rest as far as characteristics for an effective villain are concerned.
Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893938)
Posted by Burn on July 3rd, 2017 @ 12:52am CDT
Movie Lockdown also isn't comic related. :wink:
Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893955)
Posted by Windsweeper on July 3rd, 2017 @ 4:23am CDT
Sorry but on the subject of AOE Lockdown, his voice was terrible.

On topic, while I agree with Thundercracker, as with many things, Barber has ruined him for me. I hate the dog and the screenplay bull.

Prowl is an inconsistent mess in IDW. I prefer Budiansky Prowl from early Marvel US. He's a capable commander and more importantly not a prick.

Dreamwave Sunstreaker should have been on the list.

As much as I love the Marvel UK comics, they weren't always perfect. Springer was a whiner and I hated Furman making Prowl a prick.

While not a huge fan of the G1 cartoon, they did do some characters better: Cyclonus, Tracks, Soundwave, Starscream, Hoist, Rumble and the Stunticons.
Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893967)
Posted by Kurona on July 3rd, 2017 @ 6:44am CDT
I suppose to put this back on a positive track, I've been reading Marvel UK recently (up to #124, right before the Action Force crossover) and I've gotta say Galvatron was done better imo. He was portrayed in the cartoon as absolutely bonkers with a lot of power behind that, but in Marvel UK they take that concept and friggin' run with it. I'll always love the cartoon version, but the comic version is downright scary in how easily he dispatches everyone and how erratic he is.
Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893968)
Posted by Burn on July 3rd, 2017 @ 6:54am CDT
Kurona wrote:I suppose to put this back on a positive track, I've been reading Marvel UK recently (up to #124, right before the Action Force crossover) and I've gotta say Galvatron was done better imo. He was portrayed in the cartoon as absolutely bonkers with a lot of power behind that, but in Marvel UK they take that concept and friggin' run with it. I'll always love the cartoon version, but the comic version is downright scary in how easily he dispatches everyone and how erratic he is.

He's what he should have been. An unstoppable force, and they proved that. He couldn't be stopped with force, the only way to stop him was through deception.
Re: Top Five Transformers Characters That the Comics Did Better (1893969)
Posted by Kurona on July 3rd, 2017 @ 7:00am CDT
Burn wrote:
Kurona wrote:I suppose to put this back on a positive track, I've been reading Marvel UK recently (up to #124, right before the Action Force crossover) and I've gotta say Galvatron was done better imo. He was portrayed in the cartoon as absolutely bonkers with a lot of power behind that, but in Marvel UK they take that concept and friggin' run with it. I'll always love the cartoon version, but the comic version is downright scary in how easily he dispatches everyone and how erratic he is.

He's what he should have been. An unstoppable force, and they proved that. He couldn't be stopped with force, the only way to stop him was through deception.

Even so, it was fun to watch Magnus and Rodimus try ;)^

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