Wiki Wednesday: Jesus

We here at Iacon Underground love the TF Wiki. Some of us write for it! (Others have been discouraged due to our strong but not necessarily canonical feelings on subjects such as the Aerialbots’ team dynamic and the origins of Mini-Cons.) So once a week, on the appropriately alliterative Wednesday, we’re going to highlight a page from the site.

For our inaugural post, we’ve picked someone you may be hearing a lot about this month. But just who is this character? And what is his history with the Transformers?

Jesus is presumably a human, but no facts are directly known about him or her, only other people’s claims. For example, Sam Witwicky and his teacher both agree that, if Jesus were in the teacher’s shoes, he would give the boy a dishonestly inflated grade to trick Sam’s father into buying Sam “a car.”

Click on over to the TF Wiki to find out more!

BMOG Kickstarter Almost Over – But It Still Needs Your Help!

Painted BMOGAt just just $3,000 shy of its production funding goal with 70 hours left, the Kickstarter campaign for Trent Troop’s “Bio-Mechanical Ordinance Gestalts” (BMOG) project still needs your help! Designed by longtime fan community members Troop, Alex Androski, and Greg Sepelak, BMOG is a series of animal companions for your action figures that separate into weapons and accessories for anything using a 5mm port – including modern Transformers. The Kickstarter will fund production of the first two in the series: Mantax, a manta ray, and Ursenal, a “bear made of guns” – the origin of BMOG.

The campaign welcomes pledges of any amount, but a mere $15 will get you Mantax, $20 will get you Ursenal, and $30 will get you both – but only if it gets funded! Let’s help some fellow fans make toys!

Do Transformers Stories NEED Humans?

It’s considered a given that Transformers stories will have a few Token Humans as part of the regular cast. Only the Beast series managed to avoid it. And in a lot of quarters it’s argued that, while they’re sometimes annoying and sometimes, like in the live action movies, take up WAY too much screen time, they’re absolutely necessary narrative devices to give audiences, especially audiences of children, someone to relate to.

But with a cast of alien robots who are psychologically nearly indistinguishable from humans, do we really need humans so we have someone to relate to?

Continue reading Do Transformers Stories NEED Humans?

Longtime Fandom Members Launch BMOG Toys Kickstarter

jazz-armed-for-bearThere’s been a lot of buzz about Transformers-inspired toys made by third parties over the last few years, but over on Kickstarter there’s a campaign to fund something more than just an updated Galvatron or Devestator: BMOG, or Bio-Mechanical Ordinance Gestalts, animal partners for your Transformers that break down into weapon sets!

Created by Trent Troop, Alex Androski, and Greg Sepelak, all of whom have both been active in the fandom and involved with official Transformers work for Hasbro, BMOG takes advantage of the 5mm peg size that’s lately become standard with many toy lines including Transformers. On their blog they’re keeping a running list of toy lines compatible with that size as they find them, and it currently includes mainstays like Lego and TMNT as well as some older and more obscure lines like Starriors and Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad.

The Kickstarter campaign offers the smaller Mantax toy for a $15 pledge, Ursenal at $20, or both at $30, with additional colors and options available at higher levels. And, of course, you can bid as little as $1 just to show your support.

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Fandom on the Other Side

MakotoItoEssayV2For 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…

Spoiler-Free Review: More Than Meets The Eye #22

TF_MTMTE_22_cvrAThis 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?).

Continue reading Spoiler-Free Review: More Than Meets The Eye #22

IDW Announces Retro-Styled Transformers/G. I. Joe Crossover

ScioliTFJoeAt 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.

On Retirement

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.

This Fondness For Rearranging Robots.

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.

Continue reading This Fondness For Rearranging Robots.