Autobot/human relations: Single biggest difference between TF cartoons and comics?

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Nevermore, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    I've noticed a general trend in Transformers cartoons on the one hand and comics on the other, which might be the biggest difference between TF cartoons and comics in general.

    In the cartoons, Autobots are usually friends with humans, either work with them secretly or openly, and may even be hailed as heroes by the general public. The worst thing that could happen would be the Autobots hiding their existence, fighting their battles in secret, and when exposed to humans, they're usually able to prove their sincerity. "The Autobots are evil" is usually a story direction resolved at the end of the episode and exposed as a Decepticon plot.

    In the comics, meanwhile, the humans either think Earth would be better off without the Autobots, because they've brought their war to Earth, or they're flat out unable to tell the difference between good and bad robots, and for dramatic reasons have a tendency to always attack the wrong ones (i.e. the ones not fighting back, because they're an easier target than those actually attacking humans).

    The movies are a mixed bag, starting out with "unable to tell friend from foe", then shifting towards "humans secretly cooperating with Autobots, but some still think Earth would be better off without them".

    Thoughts? Is there anyone actually bored by each medium usually sticking to the same basic concept?

    And why the difference between mediums anyways?

    NOTE: Comics explicitly set in universes with other "main" mediums (Animated: The Arrival, movieverse comics) are exempt from this.
     
  2. Fit For natalie

    Fit For natalie tfwiki nerd

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    Movies seem the most realistic representation of human-Autobot relations, because I've always thought in comics humans would need to be INCREDIBLY THICK if they still can't tell that the Autobots are the good guys after all of these attacks by the ones calling themselves the "Decepticons".
     
  3. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    Well, to the humans in comics, there are often only "robots". They don't know there's different factions, and for some reason they can't tell the robots are fighting each other either.

    And they're also extremely dense whenever an Autobot is trying to help or save someone. "Look, the building is crumbling and for some reason the robot is rushing there to do something with it! SHOOT HIM!"
     
  4. Coeloptera

    Coeloptera Big, bad beetle-bot

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    Yeah, I have a real problem with that as well. Part of military intelligence is identifying factions among a population so your forces can differentiate enemies from potential allies.

    There is no way, after a few run-ins where both factions were present, someone in the government or military wouldn't notice the differentiation and the behaviors that set Autobot apart from Decepticon.

    I mean, you see 2 groups of alien war-machines battling. Okay, there are at least 2 factions since combatants are very consistent about fighting specific foes or groups and not just targeting any and everything nearby (okay, a few 'cons are like that, but you see my point).

    They move and fight in units. Some seem to defer to others, indicating some sort of organizational structure.

    At least one of the observed factions seems to be highly aware of collateral damage and several members of that faction have gone out of their way to protect humans from their foes.

    And oh yeah, they speak English so we can actually understand them when they talk.

    I don't care what sort of mongrel idiot you are, there's no way to miss what say...Bumblebee did in AHM #16 and misinterpret it after examining what occurred during the incident.

    "Well sir, we came across some civilians camped out in one of these buildings and ordered them to evacuate. While we were dealing with that situation, one of the alien machines was located and we engaged. During the battle the building was damaged and the machine proceeded to hold the structure up, unable or unwilling to defend itself, until the civilians were safe. Then it was rescued by several much larger machines, one of whom stated 'You will leave him alone.' but did not actually attack or harm any of us."

    I don't even care if the particular troops on site totally miss the implications, someone will read that report and have the thought, "It might be better to only have to fight half of these alien robots instead of all of them.".

    Any opportunity to make the fight easier will at least be explored.

    I don't imagine it will be easy or smooth, but frankly, it's almost impossible to imagine that humans wouldn't notice and at least try to make peace with the Autobots, even while making plans as to how to handle them if it fails.

    - Coeloptera
     
  5. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    I think part of it is born out of Transformers comics starting with Marvel.

    Spider-Man is often mistaken for a villain, humans hate all mutants alike and think the X-Men are terrorists just like Magneto, etc.

    Transformers comic stories under Bob Budiansky worked in the same tradition of humans not trusting, or being unable to recognize those trying to help them.

    It's just that storytelling has matured over the years, and some plots that worked in the Eighties with maybe a young teen demographic in mind don't quite work anymore in the 2000s with a mainly twenty-something audience.

    Human military being dense is one of those things.

    Lennox in the first movie was the best example of a military guy being capable of noticing the existence of factions.
     
  6. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    Sorry for the double post, but...

    You KNOW how this report is going to read in comicland:

    "Well sir, we came across some civilians camped out in one of these buildings and ordered them to evacuate. While we were dealing with that situation, one of the alien machines was located and we engaged. During the battle the machine was occupied trying to destroy the building and kill the civilians, thereby unable to defend itself. We tried to seize the opportunity and destroy the machine, but unfortunately several much larger machines showed up, threatened us and rescued their companion. Fortunately for us, we were able to make it out alive. We were prepared to write off the civilians as collateral damage, but fortunately all of them survived too."
     
  7. Feralstorm

    Feralstorm I ship Nick & Judy TFW2005 Supporter

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    The "all robots bad" comic human mentality is especially bothersome considering the Autobots always have a few human friends/allies, who usually yell at the military or whoever to stop shooting at the good guys, and are also usually not listened to. ("Don't listen to him! He's got Stockholm syndrome or something!")

    But then there's always the other extreme of the G1 cartoon, where any random human scientist can seemingly get on the Batphone to Optimus Prime, asking to help defend some new invention the Decepticons might find interesting.
     
  8. Optimus Sledge

    Optimus Sledge Yar har fiddle di dee

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    The comics are incredibly badly written. That pretty much explains it.

    Scientists being able to contact Prime in the cartoon makes sense. MTMTE establishes that humans aren't total fuckwits, and can see the Autobots kept stopping the Decepticons' nefarious schemes. When the Autobots ended up remaining on Earth, it seems reasonable that people with sufficiently high security clearance would be able to contact the Autobots,, especially if they're working on something likely to interest the Decepticons.
     
  9. Magnus' Mate

    Magnus' Mate Well-Known Member

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    I couldn't disagree with you more. You blast the comic and then have the cheek to extol that the crappola-fest of a cartoon makes sense!? :confused: 

    I think most human reactions in the original (better written, or at the absolute very least as well-written-as-the-cartoon) comic series made sense. Even as a kid I thought the cartoon series rather simplistic "all humans love robots, and Prime's their best chum who comes a-callin' whenever their shoelaces are untied" was naive at best. And then these same humans turn on all the Autobots after Megatron offers them some suspect video "evidence"!!

    You had a range of human reactions in the comics, and that makes most sense to me: Buster, Spike (whose reactions to getting caught up in the war were really well presented IMHO), Charlie Fong, Blackrock, Circuit Breaker, Joy Meadows, the girl that Magnus gets all cute on etc etc.
     
  10. Optimus Sledge

    Optimus Sledge Yar har fiddle di dee

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    Disagree all you want, you're wrong.
     
  11. Sage o' G-fruit

    Sage o' G-fruit Critics gonna critique

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    ...

    Our great leader hath fallen...
     
  12. The Madness

    The Madness News Credits: -13

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    Each media followed different precedence. The alienation factor is pretty established in superhero comics, likewise the naive focus on teamwork/ interaction with cool characters cliches were commonplace in cartoons.
     
  13. Magnus' Mate

    Magnus' Mate Well-Known Member

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    For me to be wrong, that would make you right.

    And the universe would be a sick, desolate, unholy place if you were ever right.

    So therefore, YOU must be wrong sir :wink: 
     
  14. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    It depends on how it's written. It has bothered me for a long time that people in comics often seem so dense that they can't tell friend from foe in BLATANTLY OBVIOUS situations.
     
  15. Coeloptera

    Coeloptera Big, bad beetle-bot

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    Yeah...that sort of habit of "stretching" the truth would probably be noticed because if someone goes that far to distort a situation, it's unlikely that's the only time the NCO (I'm assuming) in question has done it.

    Military personnel also usually notice when a target never shoots back, or so I've heard. Heck, an examination of the battlefield would show a single trace of an alien weapon being fired (Prime's) and obviously fired as a warning.

    Also, those civilians would be questioned incredibly thoroughly. There's no way the military would let their first-hand accounts go unrecorded.

    I have to agree, it makes the armed forces look kind of stupid. I've never been in, but I seriously looked into it after being scouted by the Navy in 2002 (also had relatives that were in the Navy) and have known enough people to know how thoroughly and clearly the military in general can do "detective work". When "Sergeant Hyperbole's" account doesn't square up with the civvies' or the evidence on the scene, he's likely going to be questioned again.

    Not to get political, but while the reasons for any conflict can be affected by political concerns, when the military has no political stake in the outcome (again, having to only fight half of the alien machines would sound like a great damn idea to most), they usually do a good job of determining what really happened.

    Oh yeah, in addition to the "speaking English" thing, they also wear coloured badges. I'd imagine the order "Shoot the purple badges!" would be given at least once, somewhere.

    Heck, several people in the armed forces in the IDW books know for a fact about the factions and that all of them aren't a threat. It would be criminally negligent for Colonel Witwicky to not make the fact known that many of the alien machines won't harm humans unless directly attacked (and sometimes not even then) because then he's directly risking the lives of troops by not passing that info along.

    Again, I don't see this as being as simple as the cartoon made it, but really, humans aren't so single-minded that they wouldn't eventually notice that maybe not having to fight half of the powerful, alien war-machines might not be such a bad thing.

    There would absolutely be mistrust, some paranoia, some calls for extermination, and so on, but once the notion that many of the alien machines aren't killers and threats got out, it would be debated on TV, on the internet, books would be written, and all of that.

    Oh and again, the big question, "Are we alone?" has been answered with a resounding "Nope!". Many humans would be irrationally predisposed to trust the alien machines simply because they are aliens. Good for the 'bots, bad when they end up trusting some 'cons.

    - Coeloptera
     
  16. Lunar Archivist

    Lunar Archivist Well-Known Member

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    While the idea was quietly dropped later on, one early G1 episode showed that humans had actually developed and were mass-producing anti-Transformers weaponry for use against the Decepticons, so they weren't complete fuckwits.

    Like the military general who thought that dressing up a comic book hack writer/artist as the fictional supervillain of his cancelled, second rate title and claiming mastery over all of the giant robots was a good idea? :D 
     
  17. The Madness

    The Madness News Credits: -13

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    If groups of Hippopotamuses (Hippopotami) roamed your city fighting each other, I'd guarantee they'd all be shot in the interest of public safety. Regardless of whether they are the type with a red pimple on their forehead that appear less hostile to non-hippos, or the ones with longer ears that seem to attack everything.
    Human beings will always want to put their house in order personally. Having control is what makes us feel safe.

    In the case of Transformers in a comic book, the reader has the luxury of being able to identify with the robots, as they are privy to motivations, and other relateable aspects of their personalities. Most people aren't however, and would likely treat all with suspicion.
    All things considered, G.B. Blackrock [sic] eventually came to a realisation based on his continued exposure to the robots.

    Personally I find the Marvel comic's portrayal ( reaction, not actual RAAT units) far more realistic than the movie's with its idealistic NEST cooperation, as opposed to a power struggle.
     
  18. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    Unfortunately, in comicland, everyone will totally believe him, and everyone who was there will back it up because all they saw was "giant scary robot doing stuff".

    In a comic where a robot who is larger than a tank is "too small to hit" for humans, nothing surprises me anymore.
     
  19. Coeloptera

    Coeloptera Big, bad beetle-bot

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    I must completely disagree with your hippopotomus comparison.

    Hippos don't use technology or have a language. Hippos are also (somehow) less dangerous than Transformers would be. A war against 2 "factions" of hippos isn't one we'd be worried we might lose, despite hippos being pure evil.

    [​IMG]

    - Coeloptera
     
  20. Gingerchris

    Gingerchris Telly-headed Tyrant

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    The hippo part of it wasn't really the point. Unless they're advanced alien hippos with robot modes.
    So far we've not encountered anything battling on our planet other than humans and animals and generally we understand the motivations of both and know how both tend to act. Giant alien robots going at it would be something we have no knowledge base to go from and I'd imagine the natural human reaction would be to (attempt to) kill everything we're not familar with. Even now one group of humans will lump another group of humans together based on a few attributes or sterotypes. Having something as out of the range of knowledge comfort as giant rampaging alien robots would probably make the humans that control the armies and weapons of this planet to see the robots as all one force of threat.
    I would say the only point humans would start to look for a way to get on the good side of the robots would be once we've had our arses severely handed to us by them and we have no choice but to look closer at them. Initially I bet we'd be taking a 'shoot first ask questions later (or never)' approach. Of course how trying to make peace after being trounced goes would then depend on if we tried to make contact with the Autobots or the Decepticons first as one side is far more likely to not shoot us right away than the other. I'm sure in that case there would be some kind of threat assessment of which robot to approach, but I doubt we'd be doing that based on the assumption that one group is good and the other evil, more just hoping we can find a less dangerous individual robot we might be able to make a connection with. How long that would take to happen would depend on how long the human leaders take to realise humanity and its weapons aren't as all-powerful as their egos think.
     

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