I present myself at age 10, on Christmas Day, being utterly inscrutable with my new Punch/Counterpunch and Race Car Patrol. Why was I lining the Micromasters up along the top of Punch’s box? The world may never know.
For an American, knowledge of the Transformers fandom outside of the United States in the ’90s was fairly limited; not so surprising when one considers how limited the information about the line itself outside the US was, mind you, but the twin barriers of language and fledgling global inter-connectivity made foreign communications rather dicey all around. In particular, Japan was a cornucopia of mysteries, with brief English episode synopses and thumb-sized pictures of the country’s various toy offerings being the norm.
There was, however, a contingent of Japanese fans who made regular sojourns to the North American BotCons of the era (among them Fumihiko Akiyama), and through a process I can only guess at, eventually a pair of Japanese Transformers fan comics – doujinshi – ended up for sale in English at BotCon 1998. One of these was “Epoch of the Cybertron” by Makoto Ito (who is not Makoto Ono), a fan whose art had previously made a trip across the Pacific for BotCon 1995. Included in this fan comic is an essay I’ve always found fascinating, describing Ito’s dissatisfaction with the domestic handling of the property circa the late 1990s. For your viewing enjoyment, I’ve reproduced the essay above.
Unfortunately, I did not scan Ito’s survey when I scanned the essay, and at this point I’m not entirely sure where my copy of “Epoch of the Cybertrons” is. Well, always something to dig up later, I guess…
This issue of More than Meets the Eye is a bit of an anomaly. It’s not a continuation of the issue before it and I am not quite sure if there is anything in it that relates to the Dark Cybertron story which will be the main storyline in both MTMTE and RiD until next spring. What it is though, is a light-hearted bit of relief from the darker plots and emotional shock therapy that we’ve had before. It’s been called “More than Meets the Eye – The Movie” for a good reason. Not only is it the last chance to see the core group from the Lost Light together for one last adventure, but it is also a fictional movie, as the premise of the issue is that at the beginning of their journey Rodimus asked Rewind to make a travelogue about their quest, giving him full access to all the cameras on board, so most of the issue is supposed to be this movie played back for us (or is it just us?).
At NYCC13, IDW announced a new Transformers/G. I. Joe crossover to be drawn and co-written (with John Barber) by Tom Scioli. There have been enough crossovers between Hasbro’s big 80s “boys” franchises that yet another one would really have to bring something new to the table, but Scioli, known for his heavily Jack Kirby-inspired art on Image’s Gødland and his own webcomic American Barbarian, looks like it definitely has something new to say.
You can check out the full story-so-far over on ComicsAlliance.
There’s a really good blog post over on TFSource that takes an in-depth look at giving up toy collecting from several different perspectives. The article struck home with me, being a former collector myself, so I thought I’d share my story here.
Like most people who grew up with the brand, I had a pretty nice pile of shapechanging robots as a kid, but largely gave up toys as a teenager. In college, I got into Beast Wars and wanted to pick up a toy or two to commemorate favorite characters. When Beast Machines came around, I was in full-blown collector mode, buying damn near every Transformer I could get my hands on. I also dabbled in the collectible market, buying toys from McFarlane, Moore, and others… Basically, whatever looked cool to me. Hell, I still remember selling back a couple of my old college textbooks so I could grab RiD Prime and Magnus.
Eventually, as work and dating and other interests consumed more of my life, I bought toys less and less. I realized that I’d lost the passion for collecting that I once had. It didn’t help that the supporting fiction in the ’00s was almost uniformly abysmal.
I still pick up the occasional tiny robot. I still keep up with some of the fiction, too. (The Boss Lady has recently shown me how good the IDW comics have been. Wow!) Overall, I don’t miss collecting. I don’t miss driving all over the place and lurking in Wal-Marts and Targets at 2 AM, hoping to find that one rare robot I need to complete a set. I definitely don’t miss the expense.
Do I regret it? Not for a second. And neither should you.
Fandom. The word refers to a subculture characterized by fans of a certain thing, be it something as relatively broad as video games, to a certain animated series from Japan. A fandom grants you a safe haven to express yourself, even if your family or friends don’t share your passion or interest and also gives you the feeling of belonging somewhere, a group label that you can always put next to your name. Two of the oldest and most well-known fandoms are those that have a passion for George Lucas Star Wars and the people who have referred to themselves both as Trekkers and Trekkies at one point in time, the Star Trek fandom.
I have belonged to several fandoms in my time, both short-term and in the longer term; but the fandom I have subscribed to the longest celebrates its 30th anniversary next year:
The Transformers fandom.
WizKids, Makers of the HeroClix collectible miniatures game, have posted the full card and dial for the upcoming Death’s Head mini that’ll be part of a soon-to-be-released Iron Man series. For those who don’t play the game, rest assured that while he’s not 30 feet tall, his card and dial indicate he’s still quite the character to be reckoned with.
Has the notoriously nerdy staff at The Weather Channel been queuing up Generation 1 on Netflix? Though this year’s list of winter storm names was compiled with the help of a high school Latin class, ruling out another batch like last year’s Winter Storm Gandalf and Winter Storm Orko, it looks like a few names still manage to have geek cred – if you’re a more-than-casual Transformers fan. Most noticeable is the entries for consecutive letters O and P, Orion and Pax. According to the Weather Channel’s post about the new list:
Cleon, Gemini, Ion, Nika, Pax, Seneca and Yona were names substituted into the list because the name submitted by the Bozeman students for each of those letters was either retired by the National Hurricane Center, had alternate meanings or were difficult for English-speakers to pronounce.
So while the students suggested Orion, following it with Pax was a decision made by the Weather Channel staffers. And while Dion is explained as “Short for Dionysus; Greek god of wine and winemaking, among other things,” we also know him as Orion Pax’s old dock-yard buddy.
We see what you did there, Weather Channel nerds.
Big Bad Toy Store has announced that Takara’s MP-22 is Masterpiece Ultra Magnus “Perfect Edition.” This version is the newer MP-10 Convoy mold with an all-new trailer that transforms into Magnus’ classic battle armor. BBTS doesn’t have any photos up as of yet, but we’ll be sure to post any that emerge from ethical sources.
The toy is available for pre-order on BBTS for the low-low price of $290, with the toy expected to arrive in August of next year.