When Waspinator finds himself host to the immortal spark of DECEPTICON AIR COMMANDER STARSCREAM, we learn who among the Predacons and the Maximals did their history homework as the Cybertronian Loki talks his way into Megatron’s good graces. What was the world like when Transformers was still such an obscure fandom that not even viewers of a Transformers show could expect references to Generation 1? Just how excited was that fandom over this episode? And does it still stand on its own, or, in a far-flung future where pop culture is flooded with Transformers, has it lost its novelty? Join the crew of Stasis Pod as we — and Starscream — travel back in time for Possession!
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This week on Stasis Pod we tackle the episode of Beast Wars that had the most pervasive, longest-lasting impact on Transformers lore, The Spark! And bonus points for introducing something Transformers shows have rarely had before or since: a second regular female character! Join us as we discuss the episode itself as well as the significance of the concepts introduced — along with Jen’s proto-lesbian crush on Airazor.
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The Elegant Chaos arc reaches its end here. Five million years in the past Brainstorm stands before a half-finished Megatron, finger on the trigger, as Rodimus and the others rush to save reality as they know it by saving one of the universe’s greatest tyrants. In the present Megatron, Ultra Magnus, and Perceptor can only stand by and watch as the fate of their entire timeline plays out in the past.
Just what is Brainstorm thinking? Can Rodimus’s team stop him? And is Megatron even worth saving?
Fun Publications has officially announced the dates and location of BotCon 2015: It’ll be held June 18th-21st in Chicago…sort of.
The actual location of the convention will be the Pheasant Run Resort, which describes itself on its own web site as “less than one hour from Chicago”. The “Beautiful 250 acre setting in historic St Charles Illinois” features “18 holes of championship golf including a resort course, driving range, golf academy and pro shop” but no mention of the sort of amenities the 20-to-30-something Transformers convention-goer actually wants, such as “cheap food” or “maybe a Target”.
Is this a swing at TFCon, who is holding their first US convention this weekend near Chicago at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare? Or does Brian Savage just want to get in a few rounds of golf?
When the new Arcee toy was revealed at BotCon 2014, a lot of people were surprised that Hasbro was making that version of the character. Some said they would have preferred the newer, more relevant IDW design. The original Arcee has spent decades attached to problematic art and a dismissive view of her as a token character. But for us older women in the fandom who grew up with G1, she’s the toy we’ve wanted since we were kids.
We here at Iacon Underground strongly support what IDW has done in choosing Mairghread Scott and Sarah Stone, both women, to work on the Transformers: Windblade comic. We are well aware that the othering of women that has run through the Transformers series, from the moment Hasbro told Bob Budiansky that Ratchet couldn’t be a female, is problematic, and as much as we love every iteration of Transformers we feel that not only bringing more female characters into Transformers but letting female creators define them is a huge step towards inclusivity for the brand.
What that means is that Iacon Underground is no place for the sort of misogynistic commentary that’s been rampant on other sites. If you want to criticize the need for gender among a race of giant alien robots who have never truly been anything but a race of people who happen to be giant alien robots, then you are welcome to do that over on TFW2005 – you are apparently welcome to do that in any other corner of the fan community except certain corners of Tumblr – but not here. If you want to argue that it doesn’t matter because all Transformers are genderless when you mean All Actually Your Own Gender So It’s Okay, you have no shortage of other places to go. If you want to make valid criticisms of other things, like maybe Sarah’s art isn’t your cup of tea? Go for it. But this is not the place to feel comfortable posting terrible bigoted comments. Think of it as a Bizarro Fan Site that way – we’re here so the NON-bigots can be comfortable for a change.
Let’s be clear: This site is run out of the pocket of a woman who has been involved with the fandom since G2, who is homosexual, who is non-Christian, and who is very politically progressive. She has the right to toss any comment that she finds offensive into the trash heap. She has already had to do so on this very topic. On the flip side, she is not some twenty-something guy who needs to be schooled in Gender Studies, so if you want to get attention by “calling her out” for, as in one instance, referring to “Ms. Scott” instead of just her last name because she finds the custom of referring to someone by only their last name patriarchal and only does it when formality is required, you will be schooled and/or ignored. She welcomes feedback, though, involving groups to which she does not herself belong. She loves the idea of social justice but hates the bullying some do in its name, and that is the spirit in which this site is run.
We’ve been lax with the boards here (Well, I’ve been lax. –Trixter) but with everything going on in the fandom right now we feel it’s a good time to remember why they’re needed in the first place: Because there is a need in this community for a forum that celebrates inclusivity and tries to make everybody comfortable – unless those people are assholes.
One thing I kinda miss (not really, but Nostalgia Feels) from childhood Transformer collecting was the money gathering exploits to buy my plastic robots. My family’s income…fluctuated throughout most of my childhood. My dad worked the same job since I can remember until we move to Arkansas when I was 14, my mother flipped between trying to run her own business and going back to bookkeeping/accounting for different companies, usually in the restaurant business.
I got a 5 dollar allowance for pretty much my whole adolescence, so if I wanted toys, it was buy one or two small ones maybe on Saturday or supplement/find/scrounge up cash otherwise, cause Christmas was once a year and that was pretty much my parents’ rule for the only time they would just buy me stuff (until we spent that year REALLY on the high hog, but that’s another tale). I got the occasional off-season toy purchase when my mom or dad were just feeling like it (comics were a free pass weekly from the drugstore, my parents had no issue with me reading, same for comic strip collections and regular books, just had to ask), but mostly, it was up to me. Continue reading Scrounging the Smelting Pool→
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?
There’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.