Free Comic Book Day 2012 has come and gone, and judging by the crowds of excited people I saw at every store I went to (5 over about 4 hours that morning) it was a pretty big success. But how were the comics that were given away? Well, I managed to come home with a pretty big stack of them, so let’s take a closer look.
Yes the Cybertronians were victorious, but in the aftermath were some of the grayest, bleakest stories I had ever read as the Transformers struggled to find purpose again. Furman got to tell stories that didn’t require introducing new toys and could focus on the characters. Wildman, who if I recall was a pretty divisive art choice at the time, was my favorite TF artist ever, able to draw alt modes and robot forms equally well and distinctly. What really set him apart were the distinctive (and dare I say, human) faces with spittle frequently flying and battle damage showing they may be robots, but they’ve clearly been to Hell.
Together they got away with telling some truly weird stories. Galvatron travels to kill his past-self before realizing he would cease to exist. Megatron and Ratchet fuse into a Two-Face robot. And then five issues after defeating the ultimate evil they were gone.
Their run based my entire opinion of what Transformers COULD be. Even though it’s been a while since I’ve gone back to see how they hold up, make no mistake: I know full well that most of the comic series was pretty bad, not to mention some truly awful cartoon episodes. But those issues…well they showed a lot of growth and potential for more.
Wildman and Furman have teamed up many times since that series end, even on Transformers, with Armada. Those darker issues seem to have inspired other approaches to the characters as well, but none of them have worked for me. The names and characterization are roughly the same, but the Armada or Energon Optimus Primes just aren’t the
same to me like the G1 Prime is, just like Alan Scott is not Hal Jordan is not Kyle Rayner.
Now here we are, 21 years after that series ended, and Furman and Wildman are back, picking up where they left off. Or rather, 21 years after they left off. They do so fairly seamlessly. Furman’s story could have been more linear rather than bouncing around, but we’re definitely going to get back to the original (and if I may be so bold, my) characters. And Wildman’s art returned to exactly where I remember, without all the overly-angular jagged faces obviously inspired by the movies. This is a very good comic, and I’m really excited to see where they take us.
(Now after having written all this, I feel like I’ve done Geoff Johns a disservice by my griping about him turning DC into what he loved most as a kid.)
* Yes, they’re all promotional items, but the point of Free Comic Book Day is, you know, a free comic book.
And that was my 2012 Free Comic Book Day. I think it was a raging success, even if not every book was. I hope you found some great comics out there and have maybe been inspired to track down a few new things. And only 11 months until next year’s!
While looking up Transformers on the Internet earlier to day, Toys R Us happened to conveniently prove (one of) my point about the movie Transformers being hideous and dumb monsters. I kindly draw your attention to two pictures below. One is of a robot that is obviously both humanoid and airplane, so well constructed that both are obvious and yet neither mode imposes itself upon the other. The other image is of some sort of triangle with spindly legs attached somehow, a disaster of modern engineering.
Seriously, why would we prefer the Bay designs over the classics?
If you’re able to explain the appeal of these designs, hit us up in the comments section and share.
With a sneering laugh,
The windows violently shake,
Fear his sonic doom!
The robots in disguise aspect is played up to strong effect in this arc, as the Decepticons really use their alternate modes to strike terror into the human population, coming from nowhere to strike their targets. This gets back to the core concept which is all-too-often ignored.
Volume 2 is a fairly straightforward continuation of the story from v1, as the Autobots escape from Cybertron and start defending Earth from the Decepticons. We find out who the Autobot traitor was (and why) and learn that Optimus and Megatron once had similar motivations. The Autobots inevitably win and defeat Megatron (or more accurately, convince him that he won’t win), but he gets in a strong monologue with Starscream explaining that Starscream will inevitably take leadership from him (as that is how leadership is always transferred), but it won’t be that day.
What we have this week for you cats and kittens is a list of Autobot and Decepticon names/ concepts that never made it past the Hasbro offices. Of course a few gems slipped by and we ended up with names like Hun-grrr.
Today’s post is brought to you under the auspices of the embodiment of this idea: Wheelie.
Meowtron – Maximal kitten
Tangerine, Nectarine, Clementine, Mandarin, and Kumquat combine to
form the gestalt Citrussor
Blowhole – a naval vessle
Brik – transforms from a phony computer terminal to an empty energon cube. An Autobot spy.
Secondhand – a cantankerous old warrior
Mecharobotimus – transforms from a robot to… another sort of different robot.
Hosor – the Canadian Transformer
Jump in and give us some of your gems. It’s pretty easy: think of a verb and add -or, -ator, -bot, or -con to the end.
The cold metal hands,
Gently craddle the scared child,
His great fuel pump warms.
In Blackest Night, Geoff Johns pulled a giant deus ex machina out of his hat when he revealed that each “New Guardian’s” ring can create one additional ring. I’m sure Johns picked DCU characters he thought would be cool and fit the story, but what if he wasn’t limited to the DCU? What if any cartoon or comic book character was available to him? I imagine if that was the case we’d see a much, much different alliance. One that would look something like this.
Hulk – The Hulk is all about rage: the madder he gets, the stronger he gets. There’s even a red one out there running around these days, busting things up and acting like a jerk. Just picture him constantly vomiting up blood and you’re already there.
Runner Up: Yosemite Sam
Ash Ketchum – Ash is the greedy little kid determined to capture one of every animal (excuse me, pokemon) in the world, to the detrimtent of every relationship he’s ever been in. That describes avarice much better than a mad scientist who wants to rule the world because Superman made him lose his hair when he was a boy.
Runner Up: Bender
Gargamel – The Scarecrow is a terrific if obvious choice for the yellow ring. Much like Parallax is the only thing to scare Green Lanterns, there’s only one thing Smurfs fear, and that’s Gargamel. He takes delight in capturing them, either to eat them or turn them into gold. That’s fairly scary if you’re Belgian.
Runner Up: Starscream
Hank Hill – Have you ever met one of those people who seem like they can do anything by sheer force of will? Hank Hill is that guy. Slap a ring on him and as long as you assure him it’s a military weapon and not hippie jewelry or an improv prop he’ll get the job done.
Runner Up: Panthro
Superman – Of all the characters Johns had to play with, I can’t believe he didn’t go for the obvious choice to represent Hope: Superman. If Barack Obama had a cape, superpowers, had saved the world hundreds of times )and the universe dozens), then MAYBE he could sit in on a lecture Superman gave on how to give people hope. Superman could be caught with a live boy AND a dead girl and people wouldn’t lose hope. He’s like Michael Jackson and R. Kelly wrapped up in a cape and with heat vision, that’s how much people believe in him.
Runner Up: Charlie Brown
Optimus Prime – Optimus Prime’s only weakness is his compassion for all living creatures. Being part of the Indigo Tribe would allow him to turn that into his greatest strength. Of course, a giant metal robot covered with tribal tattoos and holding a tiny stick wouldn’t be very imposing, but it would be compassionate.
Runner Up: She-Ra
Tenderheart Bear – Wikipedia says “Tenderheart Bear helps everyone show and express their feelings and helps his fellow Care Bears be the most caring they can be. In the 1980s movies and cartoons he was the leader of the Care Bears. He is orange (originally brown) and his tummy symbol is a big red heart with a pink outline.” That sounds about right. What do I know about Care Bears?
Runner Up: Hello Kitty
Those are my thoughts. Did I get someone right? Or very, very wrong? Hit us up in the comments sections.