Can I have anyone's opinion?

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Aspex, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. Aspex

    Aspex New Member

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    I read this at Jim Shooter's website that had a blog for the creation of G.I. Joe w/ a theory from a Joe fan about the Transformers in one of the comments. This one has been bothering me for weeks and could anyone give any reasons why this theory of his is true or not?

    Lax Guy said…

    Wow, Hasbro could not have been MORE wrong when they said that nobody would buy the villains. Most of the best GI Joe, Star Wars, and Transformers toys were the villains. Heck the only really cool Joe from the first line was misidentified as a villain in foreign markets.
    I remember getting my first Cobra Commander in the mail... He was but the first of many favorite villains from the line. The entire Cobra army was the coolest thing ever until the DiC era gave us ridiculously big gun Vipers.
    Including women with the vehicles was a brilliant idea. Cover Girl regularly joined the fight because she had the bad ass Wolverine. Though I seem to recall my Scarlett figure being individually packaged... I always hated that the Lady Jay figure looked nothing like the cartoon/comic.
    Larry Hama pretty much created my childhood. Luckily he did such a great job that not even Stephen Sommers could destroy it.


    Marc - my theory on why GI Joe had 8x the subscribers as Transformers is that comics were a poor median for the Transformers. Think about it - the coolest thing about them was the fact that they convert from vehicles into robots. Comics could never display this with the level of excitement that the cartoon and Bay movies can. Seeing them change (and hearing the noise) gave them realism and credibility. In the comics, the Transformers were essentially just robots...


    GI Joe, on the other hand, toed the line between military and super hero. They worked well in animation because of the action, but also worked in the comics because of exposition. The characters became deeper when we could read their thoughts and dialogue. They had no device that required action to work.



    http://www.jimshooter.com/2011/07/secret-parts-of-origin-of-gi-joe.html


    I know it's ok for this guy to have his opinions, but I can't help but think he might be grossley informed. What do you think?
     
  2. Fishdirt

    Fishdirt Tin Toy Transformer

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    All I can do is give my opinion on how I live in the times.

    Joe was all about the conflict for me. What Cobra's next big plans were and how Joes would stop it. The comics, however, were about two figures. Storm Shadow and Snake eyes. The rest was written great but those two seemed to always have the curiousity thing going for them.

    Transformers...well, most kids I knew had the vehicles. The only real decepticon I noticed in demand was megs and to a point devy. Jets weren't so big as far as I knew. I had a jet and really wanted the cars, soundwave and megs. I think the amount of autobots wanted vs the amount of decepticons wanted in that first year was more towards the autbots.
     
  3. Steevy Maximus

    Steevy Maximus Movie Megs eats your soul

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    The first guy is inaccurate in his post. The ONLY woman to be included with a vehicle was Covergirl, all others were single carded. Further, Cobra was getting wacky Vipers and weapons LONG before DiC came along. Plus, "best" is subjective, though I suspect there WAS an effort on Hasbro's part to make villains "cool" because they DO have to sell them. But as with today, heroes still make up a larger percentage of product on the market

    As far as the fandom/market differences? Don't forget there was likely some age disparity on the part of the market itself.

    Transformers, even today, tend to screw on the younger side (4-7), where a cartoon would be more effective in promoting the product (which is why the cartoon is remember MUCH more by the Transformers fandom than in the Joe fandom).

    GI Joe, on the other hand, tended to skew a little older (8-12), who would be more apt to purchase a comic than a younger kid watching Transformers. And certainly by the time the DiC episodes started, kids who were into Joe in the early years would have been leaving toys, thus view the product as "childish".

    Today, you are more apt to find Joe fans who were influenced by the comic and Transformers fans were apt to be more familiar with the cartoon.
     
  4. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    I think the old GIJOE and Transformers Marvel comics both had similar problems, in that they had a HUGE cast of characters, with pressure to introduce more all the time. This forced storylines to focus mainly on a revolving set of characters, with just a couple of key players. Also neither series seemed to be able to secure particularly great artists for any prolonged period of time. :( 

    Personally (though my love for the development work Budiansky did on Transformers knows no bounds) I think Larry Hama managed the juggling act MUCH better. GIJOE not only outsold Transformers on the comics stands, but was even for a while one of Marvel's best-selling titles!

    One thing GIJOE had going for it was a Vietnam vet with a fetish for humorously hard-boiled macho dialogue and an army engineer's eye for detail. Hama's style was fun, tough and with a cynical current of black comedy running throughout... something that helped GIJOE gain a significant audience with adult military enthusiasts.

    Also, if you compare the early issues, with their mission-based storylines, to the next couple of years when Hama hit his stride, you can see how he solved the cast problem. Despite the revolving door of mustachioed, camofluaged tough guys being introduced with every issue, GIJOE did keep a half dozen memorable, regular Joes near the front (Scarlet, Snake-Eyes, Stalker). But more importantly, he shifted the focus of the ongoing plots and twists to Cobra. Cobra never had that many feature characters, and after a while, they became the real stars of the series. Cobra Commander, Destro, Firefly, the Baroness, Mindbender, the Dreadnoks... these guys got way more attention and face time than 99% of the Joes, and their internal power struggles made them way more interesting.

    And let's not forget the ninjas! Hama's Japanese heritage and background in martial arts also struck a timely chord with readers.

    These are all touchstones that were difficult to build into the Transformers series. Alien robots are already difficult to relate to, and it became even harder to find meaningful characters to focus on, as Hasbro insisted on more and more outlandish additions to the series.

    Both series had their ups and downs, no question... but I believe that Marvel's GIJOE was the stronger product by far.

    zmog
     
  5. wildfly

    wildfly Lasers, 8 O'Clock, Day 1.

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    When it comes to what's considered credible or not, the Sunbow era often gets a free pass, but the DIC era is ragged on.

    Mercenary who changes his skin color at will and a guy who can scale sheer walls with his bare hands? Plausible.

    Ecologically themed military figures. Not plausible.
     
  6. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    GIJOE always had some fringe characters, and that only got worse as time went on... titanium head disco guy, hologram disguise guy, monocle-cape-handlebar-moustache guy, dresses like a bird guy (though admittedly even in his file card it's mentioned that everyone thinks Raptor is crazy)... but in the comics, at least, there was usually some attempt to apply reason to the Cobra circus.

    Once we got to the eco-soldiers (and probably before that even) I have to say, that was pretty goofy. Or maybe it was just the increasingly pastel & neon colour scheme? :) 

    zmog
     
  7. wildfly

    wildfly Lasers, 8 O'Clock, Day 1.

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    Crystal Ball, Raptor, Psyche-Out, some might argue they came about after the heyday of the line...and that they were hardly main characters.

    Storm Shadow, Destro...fairly central. I'd contend Zartan was too.
     
  8. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    Yeah, Destro and Zartan tended to be fairly significant, as well as Mindbender. And wow... Serpentor! :lol 

    There's no questioning the colourful palette of GIJOE, especially on the Cobra side. They're definitely comic-book characters, bordering on a sort of sci-fi James Bond fantasy. But generally speaking, if you peer beneath the ridiculous costumes, there was still something semi-respectable.

    Destro's medallion, blinged out dome and open shirt were sort of cheesy, but he definitely meant business, and actually became one of the more interesting characters in the series. Zartan's powers were always vaguely defined, but seemed to involve cybernetic enhancement and sub-dermal holographic projectors. Crystal Ball... well, he was a psychiatrist and gypsy illusionist with a flair for the dramatic. Let's face it, Cobra was all drama queens. :) 

    I think that sometimes there were also conflicts between the aesthetics of action-figure design and how characters were portrayed. It always amazed me how some Joes would be pointedly ordinary soldier-boys with the most banal gimmicks, while others would look like refugees from Flash Gordon. I suspect it was part of a deliberate strategy to appeal both to kiddies and authentic military enthusiasts. But setting aside some of the more garish attire, most of the characters still treated with a hint of realism.

    Psych-out for example... ridiculous character design, with all those little radar dishes all over his body. WTF? But conceptually, he's actually a pretty cool idea. A Joe PsyOps is a great idea, but how to visualize that distinctively with an action figure? Well... let's say mini-radar dishes don't quite do it. ;) 

    zmog
     
  9. Wingnut

    Wingnut Stayin' Alive!

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    You also have to take into account the cost of both lines. Transformers were more expensive than Joes. For what it cost for a "Deluxe" size Transformer you could get yourself a decent strike team of Joes. The vehicles were cheaper too and often came with their own figures. I was more likely as a kid to have 3 bucks in my pocket for a GI Joe as opposed to 10 for a Transformer.
     

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