Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Okay, I’ve never been to ‘Bot Con’. But I’m a big enough Transformers fan that I’d probably fit right in. If I dug deep enough, I bet I could name all six Constructicons. I might even be able to tell you who was what- a leg, the torso, whatever.

But no, I’ve never been.

But now? I’ve learned something. Something that has SO exceeded my expectations for such a gathering that I can BARELY contain myself. As most people know, there’s often tons of con-only schwag given away at these things. A tradition that goes back to the days when role playing game conventions would run Dungeons and Dragons tournaments; so you know, there’d be some dungeon distributed to convention guests only.

Transformers and comic books have an interesting history.

Believe it or not, before I ever picked up the pages of X-Men, I got really into Marvel Comics Transformers series. I almost collected the entire series- it ran an impressive 80 issues (think about it- that’s around six years worth. You think other licensed comics did as well?). The book had some neat overlap with the show, but it also had some cool twists that made the comic it’s ‘own’ continuity.

A couple of high points- Shockwave (the other guy who turned into a big gun) was HARDCORE (like, overthrew Megatron like he was yesterday’s unpaid bills, hardcore), Blaster was much less laid back and much more the driven lone-hero type (unlike his radio disk jockey counterpart on the show), and in a truly, TRULY rare moment of bizarreness, the Autobots unanimously elected Grimlock to be their leader after Prime died.

So yeah, there was some weird stuff going on- some revision. But probably what a lot of fans of this comic always loved was the deathly serious tone of it. It’s sort of like the comic took license to get crazy in all the ways that you always knew the cartoon wanted to but couldn’t QUITE get there. (At least until that movie came out- the old one, I mean. Wow. Tell me you weren’t freaked out when Brawn just ATE it on camera in the first ten minutes of the movie. It had never occurred to you that the Transformers could DIE- had it? Yeah, that blew your little over-caffeinated-fan-boy mind when you were twelve.)

There’s actually been a couple of great forays back into comics for the Transformers- really, you get the sense that these are written by fans of Transformers FOR fans of Transformers. All of the old, generation one characters, get their ‘due’ in these books but there’s plenty of attention to building on the grander Transformers mythos: Cybertron, Unicron, the Quintessons, the Matrix- all that jazz.

Speaking of the mythos- did you know Starscream came BACK as a GHOST in the last season of the show?? Well- of course you did. Because, you know, it’s not like there are that many ‘casual’ Transformers fans out there. If you even knew what I was talking about, you were a big enough fan to know, right? Hell, Transformers: War for Cybertron is really kind of the culmination of the last decade of this whole ‘the fan’s grew up and write it themselves, now’ thing, if you ask me.

But anyway- if there’s one PROBLEM with Transformers and comics…it’s all this licensing business! Somebody just needs to HANG ON to it for a few years- get the continuity going and not pass it off to someone else.

Well, I’ve digressed enough. Time to get to it. These Bot Cons? They pass out a comic series- written by the ‘Official Transformers Collectors Club’, I might add- called ‘Timelines’. Now, ‘Timelines’ is sort of the ‘hard liquor’ of Transformers comics. Ready for this? Alternate realities starring the Transformers you know and love. So this gets into all SORTS of weird wacked out stuff- like you know, heroic Megatron leads the Decepticon forces in a war against the Tyrannical Autobots and their villains leader, Optimus Prime (who’s blue).

Oh, but that’s just the obvious story though. There’s all sorts of whacked out stuff in here. But here:

There is a Transformer’s “Timeline” comic in which six Go-Bots travel from an alternate universe to warn the Autobots and Decepticons of an impending cosmic cataclysm (a la Crisis on Infinite Earths). Yeah, you read that right- GO-BOTS. The redheaded, ripoff stepchild of the Transformers’ merchandise, Hannah Barbara’s Go-Bots had their own (way WAY dorkier) show. They even had a spinoff series: the Rock Lords…they were rocks. They weren’t robots. But like big rock people. Who…turned into rocks. And they all had names like- ‘Boulder’ and “Magma’ and stuff.

But do you understand what I’m SAYING??

When you were a kid- and you decided, how about we just throw the Go-Bots into this too- let’s see Optimus Prime slam through a couple Go-Bots just to make this fight ‘epic’. Someone grew up and MADE this HAPPEN. They decided to write a comic with Leader One, Little Foot, Cy-Kill, Turbo, Cop-Tor, and Crasher (I have to confess- even I couldn’t remember most of the names.) duking it out with Autobots and Decepticons.

So like I said- the prospect of this kind of dedication to somehow recreating the kind of backyard-Saturday-afternoon mayhem you acted out as a child and somehow crafting an epic STORY out of this adolescent experience truly, TRULY has me on the edge of my seat. This comic must be obtained and read, if only to say that I have. I think I’ve said all I needed to say in this column.


  1. Found out about it back in the mid '90's and have wanted to attend a BotCon ever since. I've always considered myself a die-hard fan but I'm kind of afraid I'll find the true meaning of "die-hard fan" when I show up to the 'Con.

    And Starscream's ghost was one of my favorite storylines on the show.


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