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So, what's your "definitive" version of the Transformers story nowadays?
Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:43 pm
Or do you even have one?
I remember a lot of (mostly) good-natured comic vs. cartoon back and forth back in the day, and most people tended to view one or the other as the real story at the other as a throwaway diversion. That's died down a lot in the intervening years, I think, with so many other versions of the tale being told. But I'm curious how many of us still look at one corner of the franchise or another and say "that's the real Transformers tale right there".
Do newer fans tend to grab on to the Movieverse or IDW as "their" Transformers? Or does the fact that are so many different versions of the story out there mean that they're more likely to just pick and choose what they like?
And what about old fans, like most of us here? A lot of you have read and watched the new content, but do you think of it on the same level as the old stuff? Or do you classify it as just another alternate universe, even if you enjoy it?
For my part, honestly, I still look back on the Marvel comics as the real thing. Between the stories themselves and the deep personality that most of the cast was given through the TFU profiles, it created a deep, coherent universe that I don't think any of the later works have managed (not even Beast Wars, which I loved, but which was a very different, tightly-zoomed-in type of story). It's also the universe that established most of my favourite characters (or my favourite versions of them, when we're talking about characters with broad exposure like Shockwave, Grimlock or Prowl), and I'd be lying if I didn't say that played a big part.
While the IDW books have always aspired to that level of depth, they've suffered badly from different creative visions that pulled the universe in very different directions. And while they've been doing much better on that front lately, the Hasbro-mandated multi-brand crossover nonsense is a real enjoyment-killer because I don't care, at all, about any of the other properties that Transformers now has to share that universe with. And also -- while this is a matter of taste -- I think they've diverted so far away from the "broad strokes" of what Transformers should be that it's not something I can really think of as definitive in any way.
Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:53 pm
Warcry wrote:I remember a lot of (mostly) good-natured comic vs. cartoon back and forth back in the day, and most people tended to view one or the other as the real story at the other as a throwaway diversion.
There's never been anything good-natured about it. It's the UK comic and I'll cut anyone who says otherwise.
But no, seriously. The tech specs are the actual proper official default original continuity and everything else is an alternate reality adaptation thereof. Legit.
The original comic's my favourite story, but the original cartoon is the one that's made the biggest impression about how I think of each character. And these days I'm happy for people to prefer whatever they want, so long as they're not fobbing off another continuity as "not real Transformers" - there's been so many different official iterations that the term has even less merit than it did fifteen years ago.
I'll still cut you if you mention Dreamwave though.
Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:30 pm
Brendocon 2.0 wrote:There's never been anything good-natured about it. It's the UK comic and I'll cut anyone who says otherwise.
I tend to alternate between thinking of the UK books as their own thing, and considering them along with the US stories and G2 as all part of one gigantic story.
I was introduced to the UK books a lot later than you Brits would have been, so I was an adult when I first read them. And that probably colours my impression of them some. But honestly, I find the weird early stuff (Man of Iron, Enemy Within, Wrath of Guardian, etc.) a lot more interesting than the big Target: 2006 to Time Wars era that everyone seems to talk about when they're heaping praise on the UK book. I enjoy that stuff, don't get me wrong, but I adore the early UK strips because they give so much love and attention to the '84 characters, Dinobots and Constructicons, characters that were mostly ignored in both the US and later UK books. There's so much stuff out there with Rodimus Prime, Galvatron and Ultra Magnus as the stars, but where else will you find so many stories starring the likes of Windcharger, Brawn, Ravage or Swoop?
That era of the UK book also produced some of the best Soundwave writing of all time.
I also enjoy the Earthforce stories, spotty as they are, for the same reasons.
Brendocon 2.0 wrote:The original comic's my favourite story, but the original cartoon is the one that's made the biggest impression about how I think of each character.
I understand where you're coming from, because the cartoon did a great job of creating a baseline of awareness for all these guys in a way that the comics never did. A comic reader would be forgiven for not even realizing that, say, Air Raid or Powerglide or Dirge even existed, something that you can at least partly thank Nel Yomtov's lazy ass for. Whereas even a couple lines in one episode of the show could be enough to make them stick in your mind, because the presentation was flashier.
But whenever I've rewatched the show I'm always struck by how little character most of these characters have. Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron, Starscream, Rodimus, Galvatron, Magnus, Cyclonus and, surprisingly, Swindle of all people are pretty well fleshed out, but almost everyone else is just an accent or vocal tic away from being completely generic. Even the likes of Jazz or Ironhide or Soundwave, who I would have sworn before were important characters with a lot of personality, are really just fancy wallpaper. Highly memorable for exactly one thing but completely hollow otherwise.
Brendocon 2.0 wrote:I'll still cut you if you mention Dreamwave though.
I'll always have a soft spot for them because of how many Micromasters and Actionmasters they gave proper personalities to in their profile books, but I think Dreamwave is mostly forgotten these days.
Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:45 am
I have my own head canon which is an amalgamation of what parts from all sources that I think works best. It leans heavily on the Marvel Universe profiles and the G1 cartoon.
Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:14 pm
I guess at heart I'm still a Marvel guy, though I'd hasten to call any version of Transformers definitive.
I suppose what's interesting with IDW over the last few years is--as we've discussed before--their main continuity has really become a mish mash of everything, sometimes gleefully (cameos for Marvel characters like Flame), sometimes with a gun to the head to promote something else ("My name is Beast Machines Tankor and I must speak!") in a way that's hard to call G1 now, even with that term always having been nebulous. So I suppose that comes as close as possible to being objectively the definitive take on Transformers as it's all in there.
(Definitive isn't the same as "Best" of course, Sean Connery is the definitive James Bond, but that doesn't mean you can't think Sir Roger or Dalton are better)
Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:57 pm
Marvel for me too, particularly the UK stuff - and like Warcry I've warmed to the early UK stuff very much, especially Man Of Iron for a proper 'alien' take on Transformers. Bob's Profiles in the original Universe are still a phenomenal undertaking that remain impressive to this day, even if the Movie entries are a bit lack-lustre. Beast Wars I adore for cementing so much of what is great about Transformers and expanding on their physiology and society (even its the boring sci-fi cliche of dull,distant 'councils' ruling over all.with beards.probably), Beast Machines for being a grand experiment and its message of tempering technological and industrial progress with a respect for the environment and life. And G2 for being a grand 12 issue onslaught.
Everything else just feels alternate universe to me. Even the mighty MTMTE, which as pointed out above, feels slightly hobbled by being tacked onto IDWs sprawling and chaotic Universe/ Hasbro mandated toy nonsense. Excusable in the '80s Marvel comic when kids bought comics instead of doing videogames and selfies, less so in a marketplace that largely caters to teens and up. But y'know, branding and that...
Generally the stuff that I like and sticks out is the stuff that pushes Transformers on.
Posted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 5:05 am
I made these really cool BW finger puppets once, and a couple of them fell over when I took them off, so I decided that they had been killed by an explosion. I was traumatised for days. And now I just can't accept them in anything, they are literally dead to me.
Posted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:04 pm
Sades wrote:I made these really cool BW finger puppets once, and a couple of them fell over when I took them off, so I decided that they had been killed by an explosion. I was traumatised for days. And now I just can't accept them in anything, they are literally dead to me.
But is it canon?
Posted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 7:35 pm
1: chunks of Marvel UK, an oblique look at Earthforce and US G2, TF@TM, tech specs, Uncle Bob, Eugenesis.
2: select parts of the IDW clusterf*ck.
Both could realistically include and are keyed around something like State Games, and both also have some of the flippant nihilism of Peace.
All involves a lot of cherry picking, of course.
Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:46 pm
inflatable dalek wrote:I suppose what's interesting with IDW over the last few years is--as we've discussed before--their main continuity has really become a mish mash of everything, sometimes gleefully (cameos for Marvel characters like Flame), sometimes with a gun to the head to promote something else ("My name is Beast Machines Tankor and I must speak!") in a way that's hard to call G1 now, even with that term always having been nebulous. So I suppose that comes as close as possible to being objectively the definitive take on Transformers as it's all in there.
I don't think I'd agree with that. IDW's universe has become very inclusive of characters and ideas from other sources, but the basic framework is still G1 with other stuff conspicuously bolted on. When done right, it does a good job of freshening up the original concept. When done badly, it's no better than Dreamwave's tendency to draw popular non-G1 characters in crowd shots to try and elicit squees from the fanboys (Tankor probably being the best example, a toy they were forced to cram in and who occasionally shows up as part of a long-running joke, but is in no way, shape or form Beast Machines Tankor).
Or to put it another way, I think it's probably a lot easier for a G1 fan to look at the IDW universe as a definitive take than it would be for a Movie or Unicron Trilogy or Animated fan, because there's still a lot more of "our" stuff in it than anything else.
Skyquake87 wrote:Marvel for me too, particularly the UK stuff - and like Warcry I've warmed to the early UK stuff very much, especially Man Of Iron for a proper 'alien' take on Transformers. Bob's Profiles in the original Universe are still a phenomenal undertaking that remain impressive to this day, even if the Movie entries are a bit lack-lustre.
I don't think the importance of Bob's profiles can be overstated. Even the stripped-down for space versions that appeared as part of the tech specs gave the G1 characters more of a personality before they ever appeared in any fiction than 90% of their subsequent generations' cast got even after
I don't think Budiansky did the movie profiles, though. They were written in an entirely different style than all of the ones that we know he did write.
Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:45 pm
I happily go for MTMTE by IDW. Yes, there’s the old Hendrix argument that it wouldn’t exist without the original comic (and G2), cartoon & movies but I think its far and away better than all of them. The stories seem to reveal more concepts and ideas the more you reread them, Alex Milne’s art is awesome. It has the best versions of Prime, Megatron and Prowl, and everyone else its fleshed out are hugely intriguing. Some complain of the small cast, but I don't mind. I love Chromedome, Rewind and the rest.
The 1980’s comics can compete with Warrior School and The Smelting Pool especially. Then there's State Games, In The National Interest, Prey and so on.
But if I had to convince anyone of Transformers, I would only show them MTMTE. Its been that good a five year run.
... And perhaps Wreckers, but that is one grim story. So perhaps a sick bag to go with it.