Does anybody really buy these anymore?

| 6 Comments

Evebird mentioned something at lunch about Transformer comics and I've got to tell you, since Dreamwave ceased publication of their G1 and War Within series in 2005 I just don't give a shit anymore about Transformer comics.

I've been, or should I say Giga, has been picking up IDW's Beast Wars: The Gathering for me but really I'm only interested in the pretty pictures of Don Figueroa. I couldn't care less about Simon Furman's stories for this thing. Hell. I don't even care about the characters since they are all basically one dimensional "calling it in" kind of characters. Hell. They didn't even appear in the original Beast Wars animated show and only really existed in toy form for the most part. (And no, I'm not counting the Japanese anime here.)

IDW's G1 revamp storyTransformers: Infiltration is about as substanceless as you can get for a license property based on toys.

And I just don't get the retread horror that is the "multi-cover" bullshit. This is the kind of bad business publishing that caused comics to tank in the 90s and both Dreamwave, and now IDW, are pulling the same old multi-cover shit on the property and this kind of crap only appeals to the most deprived of fan boys. (Of course, DC and Marvel still are no better on this!)

Hell. There are 7 fucking covers on Infiltration #2. Seven!!! There are 4 "regular" and 3 "incentive" covers for a book that can't be selling all that well.

The general comics buying geek doesn't really care about Transformer comics. And with those who do care, the percentage of readers just doesn't seem to be able to support this kind of licensed property anymore.

Transformer comics just seem to be an anachronism.

What we need is a Ron Moore type of reimagining of Transformers. It can be G1. Car Robots. Hell, it can even be Armada-based.

But it really is utterly without soul anymore.

Then again, I don't think it ever really had it.


6 Comments

Strangely enough, my friend Rob's former roommate collects the comics-but for the toys, only Alternators. Which always seemed kind of ass-backwards to me. The toys stand on their own, for the most part.

I haven't followed the series (I don't want to get in to Furman's weird reimagining hell, and I've been irritated by Furman ever since he killed Smokescreen just to teach Grimlock a lesson in G2.) but I do think it's kind of neat they involved Magmatron and Lioconvoy despite that not making any sense at all.

i agree with out about the infiltration comic. i went overboard and bought all the covers to #0 despite how crappy the cover arts were but that's the end of it. The storyline and art do nothing for me. i do enjoy reading the BeastWars comic though.

Imagine this scene, which occurred sometime at IDW in 2005:

"We did it! We landed the Transformers license! This will bring our comics company into the mainstream! With a premier franchise like this, we're all gonna be rich!"

"OK, but what are we gonna do for the books?"

"Well, for our flagship titles, let's produce one based on Beast Wars, and one based on G1."

"Good idea! Beast Wars hasn't been featured on TV or toy shelves for 8 years! It's about time somebody gave forgotten secondary characters from a long dead toy line their due!"

"Absolutely, the public has been deprived of fiction focused on the iconic basics like Razorbeast and Japan-exclusive molds for far too long. What else?"

"Well, we should probably do G1 as well, it sure worked for Dreamwave!"

"I agree. But I want to break new ground...let's reimagine G1, so that our comics don't line up with any existing toys or fiction, past or present, OK?"

"Well that's a tall order...but I'll give it a try. Where do you suggest we begin?"

"Well, we need to start with a bang...obviously the first book shoul revolve around Ratchet, that's like a no-brainer."

"Agreed! And as long as we prominently feature everyone's favorite Decepticons like Runamuck and Runabout, there's no way we can fail!"

I want to know who's in charge at IDW.

Alex-

1) Furman and Figueroa were all set to go ahead on a BW comic for Dreamwave along the same lines. I figured they convinced IDW that since they already knew what they wanted to do with it, IDW gave them the go-ahead. There was even a preview in the DW Summer Special. Thankfully, I don't think Optimus Minor made it into the IDW series. And Magmatron WAS released domestically, as part of the Dinobots line that ran alongside Beast Machines. He's one of my favorite Beast Saga toys ever, but his combined alt mode just looks. . . wrong. Besides, Beast Wars is so cut and dried, with no real passage of time between seasons, that it'd be hard to have any kind of real, epic, deeply affecting story involving those characters that didn't rip up the space time continuum. So in order to keep it from being a side-story "let us never speak of this again" kind of affair, they had to use non-show characters, primarily.
2) Would you REALLY want to step into the minefield that is G1 continuity? We've had the debate on here before, as to what from G1 can be used or can't, because so much of it (comics, cartoon, tech specs) is contradictory. Any story you write from within established continuity will require some kind of map or backstory saying "Despite what you know, THIS is what actually happened." Considering the audience for these things is composed of people who already know the characters, Almost all of them are going to come in with pre-conceived notions of what G1 is. It saves them a lot of nasty fanboy letters (and of course creates a few others, but whadayawant, they're fanboys) saying "Megatron couldn't have done that because of blah blah blah. . . "
3) Ratchet was far more pivotal to the comics than he was to the cartoon. It seems like a nod to the G1 comic that Ratchet was important early on in the IDW series.

Their decision making process isn't THAT crazy. Runabout and Runamuck, tho, I don't have any answers for. Those guys always irritated me, and didn't make much sense. "Hey! Now that most of the autobots can fly, let make some cars! That'll confuse 'em!"

First, even if the BW Series was ready to go, that still doesn't mean publishing it made any sense from a business perspective, particularly as they tried to re-launch the TF brand. That series was not going to make money under any conditions...why get off on the wrong foot? Are you shocked that the sales of this tile have been lackluster?

Second, I didn't specifically say Magmatron wasn't released domestically (I bought him at Target). I thought I read the series featured Lioconvoy as well. Either way, these are still completely esoteric figures from years ago. Wouldn't it make more sense to do an Alternators comic? Then at least you'd be cross-selling available toys.

Third, even assuming that releasing a BW-based story made any sense in 2006, I completely disagree they couldn't have done a meaningful story featuring core characters. How about a story about Megatron recruiting the Preds and stealing the golden disk while Primal and crew were chasing Protoform X? At least then you'd marginally tie into the Anniversary/Cybertron toys. Again, as a business decision, the use of the characters they chose makes no sense- there is no fan base for them, and no toys to sell by featuring them. It reeks of fan fiction.

Fourth, I'm not ragging on them for jettisoning G1 "continuity" at all. By all rights they should. I just think that a) it's crazy to focus exclusively on long-dead toylines (or, in this case, toylines that never even existed) when there are actual TF toys on the shelves; and b) If you are gonna do a G1 reboot, why focus on Ratchet with the first story arc? Is their goal to appeal to as narrow an audience as possible? Trust me, I still remember issue #7 and how he pulled the Dinobots out of that tar pit while Shockwave played Hamlet with Prime's head. But how many of us could there be? 2,000? Tops? How you launch a Transformers Issue #1 without Optimus Prime on the cover is just completely beyond me. Even Marvel got that part right.

Finally, appreciate the history lesson but try to keep in mind that I didn't just fall off the Transformers turnip truck :).

Speaking of turnips, the Better-Than-Mediocre Chinese Buffet in Columbus serves these really awesome warm little turnip cakes! Really good!

The art in issue #7 of Marvel Transformers is my favorite Marvel TF art of all-time!!!

I've never been much for the Marvel stuff though. I really can't read that level of comic about any subject matter.

I gotta say though, I am shocked that Hasbro isn't trying to do a Cybertron comic like they had Dreamwave do with Armada and Energon.

Those two books (well, Energon only had a few issues though) were heads and tails about their cartoon counterparts in terms of story.

I didn't think they needed to do that stupid "Crisis on Infinite Cybertrons" during the end of Armada but on the whole. I really liked how the minicons were presented in that. There was decent story and art for the most part.

You'd think that a Cybertron comic would be something Hasbro would license but obviously there's no market. The toyline is aimed at kids and kids do not buy comics. They haven't in close to 20 years. I don't see most 30+ year old comic book readers picking up Transformers comics period so I don't see them picking up a "current line" one.

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This page contains a single entry by Nala published on March 21, 2006 3:16 PM.

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