TFWe Issue 01 - May 2011

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Kickback, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

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    Welcome to the very first issue of "TFWe", an online E-Magazine for TFW2005.COM Transformers collectors!

    It's important to mention how all this came about. For a long time now, some of you may remember what we used to do with the Radicons section (Radicon of the Month), Fan Art of the Month, and going even further back, "Discussion of the Week" and the "Sound-Off!" polls. None of those had a schedule, really, and they were always done "when we had time" or when it was a slow news day. They always proved to be popular, but there was never really a home for them ... they simply floated from update to update.

    Now they have a home.

    TFWe (clever, huh?) is about the TFW2005 community. We're going to talk about topics that concern you, we're going to have editorials that will get you involved (in ways that make you happy and ways that really tick you off), we'll touch on the hot topics for collectors, we'll have interviews down the road, and most importantly, we're going to have fun with it. This is our first issue, so it's probably a little rough around the edges, but it'll smooth itself out over the next few months as we come up with a working formula to give you a visually appealing presentation and an easy to navigate method that allows you to immediately jump in the conversation going on.

    We have a great staff working on this (on a volunteer basis) and I hope you'll check out the bio's they wrote up on themselves at the end of the issue. I want to give a very special thanks to shibamura_prime (aka Silas Zee) for the awesome cover artwork and all the little intricate graphics you see floating around. I want to recognize Joe Moore for helping out on some of the technical details on some of the graphics, and of course, Big Papa Tony Bacala for giving this project a chance and dealing with my random text messages regarding coding and forum technicalities.

    Check out all of the great articles below and we really, really hope you enjoy everything we've put together for you. I'm also pleased to debut an online webcomic by shibamura_prime and DeeFuzz entitled "As the Fandom Turns", which will become a regular feature here on TFWe!

    Issue 01. Took a little longer than anticipated to get it going, but it's here, and we hope you enjoy. Thank you for reading! And we do appreciate feedback, both positive and negative, and will take it all to heart.

    - Kickback
    TFWe Editor-in-Chief

    ---------------------------

    As the Fandom Turns...

    [​IMG]
    Written by Silas Zee and Dan Sheehan, art by Silas Zee

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    Main Content

    [​IMG] - 11 Years of TFW2005 Part One, written by Kickback
    [​IMG] - 11 Years of TFW2005 Part Two, written by Tony_Bacala
    [​IMG] - Hall of Fame Round-Up, written by Sol Fury
    [​IMG] - Gimmickry, written by Secretcode
    [​IMG] - Winning! A Tribute to Ex-Transformers Designer Eric Siebenaler, written by Kickback
    [​IMG] - Meet the TFWe Staff! - written by everyone!

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    Editorials

    [​IMG] - "I Am Transformed", written by Secretcode
    Secretcode looks back on Beast Machines and explains exactly why he thinks it is one of the greatest Transformers series ever! Nightscream fans need not apply.

    [​IMG] - "Collecting to Invest", written by Kickback
    Ever think to yourself, "Dang! I should have bought another one if they were going to be worth THAT much!" ... Kickback is here to help with a brief how-to in determing what to buy doubles of to sell later, and what to avoid. Is it "investing" or is it "scalping"? You decide!

    ---------------------------

    Previews

    [​IMG] - A Look At: Sky Striker Starscream, written by Shin Densetsu

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    Reviews

    [​IMG] - IDW Transformers Comic Application for iPhone, written by Kickback

    ---------------------------

    Community

    [​IMG] - Digilaut, Fan Artist of the Month!, by Shin Densetsu

    ---------------------------

    Credits

    Editor in Chief: Kickback
    Editor: Shin Densetsu
    Editor: Sol Fury
    Associate Editor: Secretcode
    As the Fandom Turns: shibamura_prime, Deefuzz
    Contributors: Tony Bacala, Joe Moore, Tim Formas, SydneyY, Deefuzz
    Cover Art: shibamura_prime
    Cover Layout: Joe Moore
    Technical Stuff: Tony_Bacala

    ----------------------------------------

    NEXT ISSUE!

    Join Kickback, Sol Fury, shibamura_prime, and Deefuzz as they recap everything that happened at this year's BotCon in Pasadena, CA! Go beyond the news and find out all the fun stuff that doesn't get frontpaged - like after-hour-parties, embarassing stories of your favorite TFW2005 staff and members, and experience In'n'Out as TFW2005 abandons BotCon for an hour of greasy, delicious fun!

    Dark of the Moon is almost upon us! Toy reviews, toy previews, and the TFWe staff sits down to discuss our feelings, hopes, and fears about the Dark of the Moon movie! Movie fans, don't miss this one!
     
  2. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

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    TFW2005.COM Turns Eleven, Part One
    Written by Kickback with credit to Tony Bacala, Joe Moore, and Tim Formas

    On April 20th, 2011 our happy little home of TFW2005 turned ELEVEN YEARS OLD. Let that sink in for a little bit. ELEVEN YEARS OLD. Feeling your age yet? I remember when I first joined up on TFW2005, I was a freshman in college and was excited to finally get a chance to converse with other Transformers fans. I had figured I was the only remaining Transformers fan on the planet, as no one my age even showed remote interest in Transformers other than a quick “Oh yeah, those were cool!”. Granted I did start a little movement thanks to the Rhino Entertainment VHS 3-pack releases (I think I watched “The Return of Optimus Prime” a billion times). None the less, I stumbled upon a little website that called itself Transformer World 2005 and signed up on their message board as “Dark Prime”.

    As if fate somehow knew, an untimely board issue resulted in everyone user having to re-register. Figuring the name “Dark Prime” was too cliché, I decided to name myself after my favorite Insecticon character – Kickback. A little over ten years later and my most recent roommate was referring to me as “Kick” and anytime someone says “Kickback” or even “Kick” I turn my head as if I’m being spoken to. I have more nicknames for my online alias than I do my actual name. But it was all thanks to the incredible community I joined.

    TFW2005 and its founder, a guy we know as Tony Bacala, got their start doing something that was pretty revolutionary for its time – he was encoding episodes of the Japanese Transformers series entitled “CAR ROBOTS” (or as it was referred to at times TRANSFORMERS 2000 … which was never an official name by the way) and streaming them on the website. It created a stir of interest and activity over this “anime” of Transformers that featured Autobots (or Cybertrons) fighting against Predacons (or Destrongers). Because of TFW2005, Transformers fans learned the names “Fire Convoy” and “God Magnus” and “Gigatron” and they became instantly recognizable. Online toy stores even imported some of these figures and couldn’t keep them in stock – due in part to the exposure that CAR ROBOTS was getting via TFW2005.

    I even was able to get the one figure I had always wanted as a kid – Fortress Maximus (or “Brave Maximus”) – thanks in part to the fact the show had increased stateside popularity. I swore to my parents (it was a Christmas gift) that I could finally die happy as the one and only toy I wanted more than anything was finally mine. Haha, suckers.

    A bit of trivia – the series bible for ROBOTS IN DISGUISE, the English dub of the CAR ROBOTS series, actually contains screen captures from the videos that TFW2005 had put online for streaming purposes. It was a neat little thing that made us smile – to know that the powers that be were actually watching TFW2005 back in 2001 and used our stuff for their all-important series bible.

    By 2002, TFW2005 and its message board, the 2005 Boards, had joined up with the online sites “The Matrix Annex” and “Transformers News” to create what was billed to be the “ultimate Transformers fansite” … Transfandom.com. Having talked my way on to the boards as a moderator (yes, that actually worked in the early days) and been given a chance as a news guy for the site’s front-page, I felt as if my childhood interest was paying off in some sick, twisted way. Transfandom.com was a huge success, and the popularity of the site exploded overnight.

    But as we all know, “to all good things…”

    Without going in to much detail out of respect for all parties involved, there was a breakdown in the upper management of the site in the direction that it should go – one side wanted to focus more on media and site development, the other wanted to focus on text-related development (think of it as a very early attempt at something akin to a Wiki). In the end the differences were irreconcilable, and the decision was made to split The 2005 Boards from Transfandom and to restart TFW2005.

    There were a lot of cool things that happened via The 2005 Boards while it was a part of Transfandom that shouldn’t go ignored. We had the honor of having a senior Hasbro designer, under the name “Orson”, share so much insight in to the design process and decision making process of the Transformers brand in Hasbro. It was the first and only thing of its kind where fans were able to ask questions and get answers directly from someone responsible for creating the things they adored so much. Through “Orson” we even organized the interactive poll with the fan community where the fans got to voice up on what they wanted the 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime figure to come with accessory wise, what the overall look should be like, down to the details of what the rubber tires should say. Being able to help organize that whole thing is one of my own greatest personal achievements in being involved with this community.

    TFW2005 even has official, licensed merchandise with our name and logo on it. Our very first entry in to "real world products" was the Blaster versus Soundwave lithograph, sold by Dreamwave (who remembers them!?) and featured artwork by Guido Guidi.

    [​IMG]
    Blaster vs. Soundwave Lithograph by Guido Guidi

    The website also held a contest many years ago for people to design a “Super Deformed” statue. The winner would have their design turned in to an actual mini-statue. A company called “Fun-4-Figures” sponsored the contest, and the winning entry was a “SD Ultra Magnus”, frowning, while holding a broken Matrix of Leadership. The box the item comes in has our website logo and name featured on it – a first for any Transformers fansite. Check out the poster featuring all the entries, the artwork for the winner, and a picture of the statue and the box below!

    [​IMG] | [​IMG] | [​IMG] | [​IMG]
    Contest Poster, Winning Artwork, Statue Image, Box Image (with TFW logo!)

    We’ve given away thousands of dollars worth of toys and exclusives over the years in the various contests that we’ve held. No other site can come close to saying that. We look at the site today and compare it to ELEVEN YEARS ago, and it’s been a complete, unimaginable ride. We went from 20 users online to over 1,500 at any given time of the day or night. We’ve had so many exclusive breaking news stories – from the first CGI designs of the first live-action Transformers movie, to the first toy pictures of the Revenge of the Fallen movie, to being the first site to reveal the name of the final movie in the trilogy, Dark of the Moon. We broke your heart with the announcement that Transformers Animated was coming to an end, and we covered, extensively, the fall of Dreamwave and 3H Enterprises.

    Eleven years of striving to be the best. Eleven years of trying to give you the ultimate destination for everything you want or need when it comes to Transformers. Eleven years of memories, conventions, message board drama, website drama, watching families be created and mourning the loss of all those who passed in that timeframe.

    Thanks again for the last 11 years! We hope you'll be here for the next 11! Please share some of your memories in discussion!

    - Kickback
    TFWe Editor-in-Chief
    TFW2005.COM Administrator
    Follow me on Twitter @rankal and always follow @tfw2005 for the latest in Transformers news!
     
  3. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

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    TFW2005 Turns Eleven - Part Two
    written by Tony_Bacala


    Hmm, where to begin. Kickback asked me for a write up on TFW2005 from then to now. That's a lot of history, good and bad to cover. Two paragraphs my ass. So, let's go.

    TFW2005 started out as a cheesy Angelfire site that I used to play around with as I was learning HTML. Playing around in Photoshop with Beast Wars and Beast Machines artwork, doing crappy music mixes using sound clips I pumped into my computer mic jack from RCA-out plugs of a VCR, 30 seconds at a time. It was something for me to do after work when I was young, bored and broke. But I liked knowing that so long as I spend time learning something, I can do it. So I did, and met some folks who also dug Transformers and playing around like that, so we putzed around on the internet together. Eventually, we got a hookup on a server, a sub-folder of another domain, and someone with more skills than I put together a layout (sup Spiderbo!). Next, of course, was to get a domain name. Everything at the time was XYZ2000.com, cuz you know, 2000 was the future. But I thought that was whack, so I started looking for other things to append to "Transformer World". 2005, yeah that's it! Cuz that was NOT cheesy, like 2000 was. :) . (It is ALWAYS the year 2005, mofos!)

    For those that don't know, 2005 was the year the 1986 Generation 1(G1) animated movie took place in. When you were 10 in 1986, the year 2005 was the future. And it was awesome.

    I provided some content and the music stuff. Car Robots came out, and that stuff blew my mind. Beast Wars was on track, especially late season 2 and season 3. Connected to G1, what I really liked, and all that. But Beast Machines just went hard left, and bleh (at the time, I actually kinda dig it now). So I started poking around and found some guys in Japan that would record the episodes in high quality, then ship them over here every couple of episodes. There was no YouTube - I had to have a guy record it in Japan on a VCR tape, ship it to me every 4 weeks, I had to then hook my VCR up to a computer, using a 300 dollar in-between piece of hardware, record in real time, then re-convert to a file under 5MB each, because, we were all on 56k or lower. 5MB was like a half hour of download time.

    So, that's what set TFW2005 off, it was the "Home" of Car Robots for the fandom. We focused on it a lot, and did the music mixes, profiles, etc etc. My other partner in crime was BMGFX (formerly Unicron on the sites). He was/is way better than I am at Photoshop, and did up some layouts, and handled the G1 sections, called "Unicron's Realm". We eventually joined up with some other sites to form a "joint message forum". I think it was called the Nexxus or something. That ish didn't work out, everyone wants to be the Big Boss. So, we got a copy of vBulletin 2.1 I think, and off we went. The 2005 Boards were born. Did that for a while, max 10 people online each day. Grew and grew, but was very small, chill.

    Eventually I met a guy locally, who ran a newsletter magazine styled thing (kinda like this, go figure). We did media, he did magazine stuff, and Zac Shipley (currently runs Powet.tv), whom he knew, did news. A protégé of Zac Shipley - our very own Tim Formas. They did "Transformers News", really the first online to handle news the way the major Transformers sites handle it today. After a bunch of talking back and forth - we decided to merge and create the ultimate Transformers site - Transfandom.com.

    We kept the 2005 forum active though, but on a new domain, 2005boards.com. During that time, Dreamwave came out, and I tried my hand at retail, selling the Dreamwave comics wholesale and retail. Started off using TFW2005.com as the domain for that store, then eventually moved that to 2005store.com. Failed miserably, bankrupted myself (without the benefit of going bankrupt). Also during this time, we had some interaction by folks at Hasbro on the forums. At first unknowingly to anyone, then unknowingly to fans, then knowingly to fans. Other sites complained, and that got shut down. I reacted publicly with a potty mouth. I understand a bit more why other sites complained now, looking back. But, it was still sucky that had to stop. BTW - At some point in here Kickback showed up and finagled his way up to Administrator. How, I don't know. (j/k Kick). :) 

    Continued the Transfandom thing for a while, didn't work out. Staff from each area tended to stick together, never gelled. Lots of arguments and infighting on direction and everything else. Eventually the "2005 guys" convinced me to split back off. I did, and TFW2005 was reborn.

    We were now into the Armada/Energon/Cybertron era. Tim Formas came along and handled news like a pro. Eventually, Joe Moore - whom I met again locally in Philly through another local friend - J.E. Alvarez, jumped on to do news. He also killed it like a pro. Down the road - Super_Megatron came on board, and slaughtered it. Those three guys doing news in their prime was nuts, back to back as lead with a little overlap. Things you didn't even know was news became news because they were scouring for more stuff to post. Not many other fandom-based sites handle news like they did. It spurred competition with other Transformers sites, and to this day, not many other fandoms have such a dedicated set of sites attacking news like this. This grew our user base, because people knew were the news would be. The 2005 Boards grew, not as rapidly as it has in recent years, but steadily upward from 2003-2006.

    Then, the movie era began. 2006 forward. Oh my. Explosion. People talk junk on the movies, but bottom line, the exposure it has brought to the brand has bumped us from under 10,000 members pre-movie, to over 50,000 now. 10,000 members in 6 years, 40,000 more in less than 4. Less than 500 online any given time pre-movie, 1,500 at night now. Millions upon millions of page views a month. We used to have a page view counter on TFW2005, and when it got over 10,000, that was awesome-sauce. It's been a wild ride. It brought a lot of new fans in, who remember G1, or love classics, or flat out just dig the movie stuff. There is now a more diverse set of fans. There are now multiple age ranges of real fans as well. There are fans that weren't even alive when G1, or G2 for that matter, was on TV. And it causes a lot of strife. But when it doesn't, it's cool to sit back and watch. It's not the little community with my roommates and five other guys anymore, laughing at each other for even being online talking about Transformers at 2AM in the first place. It's a community, with a common denominator - Transforming robots.

    And that's what I dig the most, the community. Even when Transformers bore me, I still like coming to TFW2005. The people, good and bad, the discussion, the bullsh*t, and the jokes. Lotsa funny folks on TFW2005. It's pretty much the sole reason I go to BotCon. For the people. So I can drink and chill with the people I read - every day all year. Regular members, and the kick-ass staff. Sol Fury has kicked all types of ass with the Resources section. The Radicons continue to stay busy with the work Redline and Superquad7 put into it over the years. The Photo staff knocks out consistently good work, though we take our time with that :) . And the moderators, past and present, do the day to day grunt work to keep this place in order. I don't know how they do it, personally. Our current news staff, staying on top of all the different angles, is great too. There is just so much Transformers stuff to cover, it's not like back in the day when we were lucky if there was one piece of news a day, if that. And the podcast guys, nuts. Awesomely produced, consistent, and good. TFW2005 is bigger than I ever expected, and it's now beyond me. It's a machine that I just try to keep going, so that everyone can do what they like to do, to unwind and contribute and have fun with. Like I did with Car Robots episodes and music remixes 10 years ago.

    So, that's about it. We've gone from 2000 - 2011, in my mind, just off the top of my head. I've enjoyed the last decade of internet fun here, and hope to do it another 10. Now that we also have HissTank.com, Thundercats.ws, and ToyArk.com, I think I'll be busy. :) 

    Just remember - this place is supposed to be fun. Enjoy it while you can!

    -- Alex
    --- aka Tony Bacala (which is not my real name, BTW, but that is another story for another time) ...
    TFW2005.COM Founder, Owner, and Administrator
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2011
  4. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

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    [​IMG]

    The Transformers Hall of Fame 2011 – A Rebuttal
    Written by Sol Fury

    The Transformers Hall of Fame 2011 – fan vote nominations – have been and gone, and with them a whole lot of controversy over the characters nominated. On the one hand, you have those who feel that character X is a dead cert for the future, therefore is a wasted vote on getting them in now. On the other hand, you have those arguing that same character should already be there and that therefore a vote for them is correcting the mistake of not being a dead cert from day one (looking at you, Grimlock!). Then there are the beloved niche guys, silly characters like Erector who’re completely unknown outside the fandom, who come over like a joke vote to all except those who proposed them in the first place. For their nominators, these characters are an important part of their childhood, an important representative of all their era represents. Let’s take a look at each character and why they are worthy of your vote, or not, as the case may be.


    Erector

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    Two words – penis joke. Erector’s name is supposed to be a reference to construction, to “erecting” new structures, but between the name and the huge cannon that makes it look like he is compensating for something, the double entredre of the name is inescapable. A vote for Erector to the detractors is a vote for all that is silly and immature in the fandom, and not unjustifiably so. We are better than that. But then, so is Erector.
    Erector hails from 1989, the twilight of Generation 1 Transformers. An era when Transformers was fading out, and becoming increasingly gimmicky. Masters of one thing or another were everywhere – Action Masters, Pretenders, Micromasters. Micromasters were, in my opinion, the greatest evolution of the original concept – while Action Masters did not transform, and Pretenders fit into bigger shells of human or monster disguises, Micromasters were robots that turned into vehicles like the classic Transformers – they were even semi-real vehicles again! They were just really, really tiny and simple toys.

    Getting back to Erector then – he’s probably the best known of the Micromasters. Yes, he’s well known for being a joke, but he’s probably the only widely known Micromaster. There are other Micromasters who have better designs, who have better names or cooler bases, but thanks to his name, Erector is the best known of the bunch. It’s not just a vote for a silly name when you vote for Erector – it’s a vote for the whole era of Micromaster Transformers, a vote for all that was good and cool of that era of Transformers toys. And dare I say – a vote for that period of childhood innocence when things were simpler, when yes we laughed at the name, but we enjoyed the toy for its own benefits all the same.


    Grimlock

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    He’s Grimlock! He’s one of the best known Transformers outside of what is already in the Hall of Fame! Because of that, he’s a shoo-in, for automatic induction in the future, right? Right? Why vote for a character who is so definitely getting in automatically down the line, his detractors argue.

    Here’s the question though – is Grimlock going to be automatically added in future? Transformers has moved away from mechanical beasts in recent years. Grimlock’s not been in a mainstream Transformers series for years. His last mainline toy, other than the amazing Masterpiece Grimlock, was the Animated Grimlock. Before that was the Classics Grimlock in 2006 and the 2004 Energon Grimlock. Animated Grimlock was a minor character in the show at best, in all fairness. Classics and Energon? Neither one had any sort of mainstream fiction usage, and were only there as a bone to fans. For a character who was so important in Generation 1, either as the caveman talking Autobot brute from the cartoon or the speech-impeded military genius of the comic, Grimlock has really fallen out of favor with those creating the Transformers line, perhaps because the vision for the series has moved away from big mechanical dinosaurs in favor of more realistic vehicles.

    So can you really say that Grimlock is a dead cert for the future? Sure he’s an important figure in Generation 1 – he’s just not done very much since. A vote for Grimlock is a vote to get him where he belongs in the Hall of Fame, a proactive move to put him where he belongs rather than holding out on a potential auto-addition that may or may not be happening any time soon.


    Jazz

    [​IMG]

    Jazz! Loyal, reliable friend of Optimus Prime, in the latest origin retcon, the original friend of Optimus Prime back when he was Orion Pax. A major character in recent shows like Transformers Animated and one of the five Autobots picked by Michael Bay and Paramount for the Transformers live-action movie. With a pedigree like that, Jazz is another dead-cert for the Hall of Fame in years to come, right?

    Well, not necessarily. Sure, Jazz is important in supporting material, but like Grimlock, he’s fallen on hard times in recent years. Animated Jazz was a great supporting character, but at best he was a regular guest star. He fared better than Grimlock, even so, he was only really in the first live action movie to crack off a few one liners and then die. He did not get a Classics toy until very late in the series after many other, arguably less important characters, had already been and gone. Even in the War for Cybertron game Jazz was a bonus character and downloadable content, not a part of the main cast.

    So don’t bet on Jazz’s importance either! Just because he’s had some more use in the main lines, does not mean he is viewed as an important legacy character. When Jazz gets used, he’s supporting cast every time, not main cast. Animated Season 4 would have fixed that, but that is something that never was. Like Grimlock, voting for Jazz is voting for an important legacy character who arguably deserves a lot more recognition than he is getting.


    Shockwave

    [​IMG]

    Shockwave. Cold. Logical. Ruthless. A classic Decepticon in Generation 1, especially in the comic where he was a badass commander who took matters into his own hand and not a yes-man sitting on Cybertron all day long. But since Generation 1, what has he really done? Sure we got Shock"blast" in Energon who was a bloodthirsty, insane Decepticon, and Animated Shockwave who was a double agent (voiced by Corey Burton, Generation 1 Shockwave’s Voice Actor, no less). Shockwave is also set for the upcoming Transformers Dark of the Moon. He’s been no more prominent in the fiction in recent years than Jazz, so assuming he’ll be an auto-inductee in future is another case of wishful thinking. We’ve got no idea what Shockwave’s role in Dark of the Moon will be – for all we know it might be all of four scenes like The Fallen in Revenge of the Fallen. And unlike Grimlock and Jazz, Shockwave’s not even had a Classics toy yet. He’s only got one announced toy for Dark of the Moon.

    What I am getting at, don’t assume Shockwave is going to be a dead cert for the Hall of Fame in future years. He’s been getting more love in recent years but like Grimlock and Jazz, he’s never been a major character since Generation 1. And like Jazz, he was only a downloadable / preorder bonus character for War for Cybertron. So he’s as worthy of your vote and your recognition as anyone else.


    Waspinator

    [​IMG]

    Waspinator is shaping up to be this year’s Beast Wars nominee. While Dinobot is an excellent representative of all that is serious and dramatic about Beast Wars, Waspinator represents all that was fun and humorous about the series. He was the Kenny of Beast Wars, his whole thing was getting blown up or destroyed in increasingly funny and creative ways.
    And he survived Beast Wars! He’s the only other Predacon to pull off that feat next to Megatron. That has to count for something.

    There’s not much else to say about Waspinator. If you’ve ever watched Beast Wars you’ll know all that is awesome about the character and why he is deserving of your vote.



    What I have tried to express in this little write up is the true nature of the Hall of Fame fan's choice vote. The point is not to decide which character is likely to get automatically inducted and tactically vote for those who have no chance of getting in. Because as i have explained, nothing and nobody is guaranteed. The point of the poll is to vote for your favorite character who you feel deserves recognition. If you want Grimlock or Shockwave in that Hall of Fame, you’ll have to vote for them. Make the choice, take the proactive option. Because while good things may come to those who wait, equally good things come to those who take positive, proactive action.




    Bonus – characters to watch


    As a quick bonus to round up this article, here’s some characters to watch for future years. I’m sure we’ll be seeing some of these guys in future polls or future auto-inductions:



    Arcee

    [​IMG]

    The first ever recurring female Transformer (yeah, Elita-1 and other came first. Though Arcee may have been created first and she definitely was the first to get a regular role). Arcee has been growing in popularity for the last few years, getting more roles in the shows, and bigger roles when she does show up. A minor character in Energon and Animated, Arcee was planned for the first Movie and actually appeared in the second. She’s now a part of the main cast for Transformers Prime, and she’s the best fighter the Autobots have after Prime himself. Arcee’s on the rise, and she’s likely to be here to stay with Prime already confirmed for 52 episodes and more potentially on the horizon. With another year’s worth of Arcee on her screens, her popularity is only going to grow, so I am sure even though she’s missed out on our final five this year, we’ll be seeing Arcee on a Hall of Fame poll really soon.


    Rodimus

    [​IMG]

    Rodimus aka Hot Rod aka Rodimus Prime aka Rodimus Major aka Rodimus Minor aka Rodimus Convoy aka Hot Rodimus aka Rodimus of the many names. You get the idea. The guy’s had as many names as appearances. Rodimus is the great also-ran of Transformers fiction. He was the original attempt to replace Optimus Prime as the main hero of the franchise, and he was a really interesting character with great development with it. He got a major role in Transformers Energon, and got a cameo in Transformers Animated voiced by Judd Nelson. Granted, he’s had so little exposure that he’s going to need a fan vote to get in, but he is a significant part of Transformers history and has a real fan following. Plus his Masterpiece toy, while a little flawed, is still awesome. He missed out on our final five this year by one place (he came sixth) so I’m sure we’ll be seeing him on a Hall of Fame poll in years to come.


    Beast Wars Megatron

    [​IMG]

    The most evil Megatron of all time. And possibly, the most successful. Masterfully voiced by David Kaye, Megatron was a smooth villain with some real diabolical moments. He went into the Beast Wars with a plan, and he got closer to accomplishing it than any Transformers villain before that time, and perhaps closer than most others since. Then came Beast Machines, and Megatron proved himself supremely evil by conquering all of Cybertron and enslaving everyone on it. Again he had a plan. He got even closer to accomplishing it on that occasion. It took Optimus Primal, hero of the Beast Wars and Beast Machines, sacrificing himself to bring down Megatron.
    Beast Wars era Megatron – supremely evil, excellently voiced, and possibly, the best villain from Transformers ever. Some had more evil moments, some had darker moments, but Beast Wars Megatron was the complete package. He pulled it off so perfectly well. He’s completely deserving of the recognition that the Hall of Fame brings with it.


    Devastator

    [​IMG]

    The first combiner. The most recognizable too, arguably. He was an also-ran last year, and he nearly made it onto the final eight this year. Devastator’s always the combiner that Hasbro reach for when they want to use a combiner. Between the distinctive mix of vehicles and the instantly recognizable colors of green and purple, every part of Devastator is classic. Sooner or later we’ll see Devastator on the Hall of Fame poll, or inducted for sure.


    Bulkhead

    [​IMG]

    Yes, Bulkhead. A newly created character for Transformers Animated, Bulkhead is a lovable big bruiser of an Autobot. The name’s existed in Transformers history before Transformers Animated, but Bulkhead took the name and made it his own. He was main cast for Animated, and he has stuck around for Transformers Prime, again providing the muscle and lighter relief of the team. There’s also persistent rumors that Bulkhead might make it into the Classics series of Generation 1 characters or one of the Movie universe toy lines, like Lockdown and Lugnut before him. Bulkhead is a dark horse choice – he’s a new character, but with a main cast spot in two mainline series, set to total more than 80 episodes of screentime if he continues to stay on as a main cast member in Transformers Prime, means that Bulkhead is a potential up-and-coming character who may well be the first “modern” Transformer to break into the Hall of Fame.


    Simon Furman

    [​IMG]

    The Transformers Hall of Fame is not just about the robots, but also about the people who have made the franchise great, and to my mind second only to Bob Budiansky in the creation of the rich mythology we have come to enjoy for the Transformers multiverse is Simon Furman. Simon Furman started out writing Transformers with Marvel UK in 1984-5 doing filler strips for the UK comic when there was a lack of US comic material to republish, and during the 323 issue run of the Marvel UK comic he introduced some of the lasting concepts of the Transformers mythology including the character of Primus, the concept of Unicron and Primus as creator gods, and in his later work on the Generation 2 series he also introduced the concept of the original 13 creations of Primus, all of which have become the foundations of the modern Transformers origin story. But Simon Furman’s involvement with Transformers goes far beyond the UK comic, because when Bob Budiansky decided to leave Marvel US, Simon Furman was his choice to take up the reins and complete the final 30 issues of the ongoing series. Furman has also written for all of the other Transformers comic license holders at one point or other. While some find his work to be formulaic and focusing on a narrow range of preferred characters, there is no denying that Simon Furman has done much for the origins and mythology of Transformers, and has played a vital role in developing a deep and grand mythology for our favourite robots in disguise.


    David Kaye

    [​IMG]

    With rumors abound that Frank Welker may be honored this year for his work as Megatron, an award richly deserved (although I feel a “lifetime achievement for services to cartoon animation” would be an equally worthy award) I feel it is only fair for the other distinctive voice of Megatron to be honored. David Kaye first became involved with Transformers through the Beast Wars series, where he voiced the magnificently evil Beast Wars Megatron. There is no denying that David Kaye’s excellent voice work contributed to the legendary status of this Megatron as a villain, as well as his iconic “yesssss” ad lib that became so closely identified with the character. David Kaye went on to voice Megatron throughout the Unicron trilogy of shows, his excellent voice work frequently compensating for the below-par quality of the shows. For Transformers Animated, David Kaye switched things up and voiced Optimus Prime instead, creating an excellent rendition of the character whose personality fit the nature of the show perfectly. He also voiced Grimlock in that same series, providing a performance worthy of Greg Berger himself.



    I could continue onward endlessly naming people who have been involved with Transformers or characters who I feel are worthy of the high honor of being inducted into the Transformers Hall of Fame. To my mind, all those involved in the series are deserving of full recognition for their great achievements for the brand, and the characters all bring something unique and special to the table. No character is any more a dead cert than another after all, and just because we as fans feel a character absolutely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame does not mean that those in charge of picking the auto-inductees will share our point of view.
     
  5. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

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    [​IMG]

    Throughout the years, gimmicks have been the lifeblood of the Transformers toyline. Among the gimmicks that existed, only one has evolved consistantly as the toyline itself moved on. That gimmick, dear readers, is the Targetmaster. In fiction, Targetmasters were a group of Nebulons who were Binary-Bonded to their larger companions to augment their abilities in battle, and Targetmasters themselves became what were more or less living weaponry.

    I've always felt that the gimmick has been simple enough to more or less guarantee a perfect tiny robot and weapon mode without screwing it up. Like the idea was so perfect that it was impossible to screw up. Despite that, the Targetmasters have a long and impressive history of change and variety as the years went by.

    EVOLUTION

    The gimmick was originally launched in the 1987 Transformers line. Of the eleven toys that were released in the Targetmaster line, five were remolds of older toys with enlarged fist holes to allow them to hold their new Targetmaster companions (as well as any of the standard 5mm Peg Weapons.) The concept was further enhanced the year afterwards with the smaller "Double Targetmasters". Packaged with two Targetmasters, the larger toys could wield them as two seperate weapons or combined them into a larger weapon. The concept was then again reinvented with the Seacons, with each member not only able to combine with Snaptrap, but also weilded as a giant Targetmaster weapon. And as soon as they came, they were gone. Targetmasters disappeared officially until the 2008 Universe Line, where a new mold of Cyclonus was released, with a new mold Nightstick alongside.

    [​IMG]

    Within 20 years, the Targetmasters were in a state of inactivity, but the concept itself would remain in the line. Retroactively added as Targetmasters, Action Masters (1990) were packaged with robotic companions, most of which were able to turn into weapons themselves. In 1999, Beast Wars lived on in Japan with the series "Beast Wars Neo". Two toys in the line (Notable shellformers, Break and Stampy) were functionally Triple-changers, with having Robot, Beast, and (You guessed it) weaponry modes!

    In spirit, the concept was also held onto by Minicons (which are considered by many as the successor of the smaller "Master" Transformers) in the somewhat controversal Armada toyline. These Minicons were technically triple changers by still having their vehicle modes (or other modes, when it comes to Rollout and Knockout.) Some of these Minicons were also reused in various future lines such as Universe and Energon, or even revisted in Cybertron (See Vector Prime's minicon, Safeguard.) The Minicons being used in a Targetmaster style (And Breastmaster. And in some cases, Powermaster) has also returned lately with a little line called Power Core Combiners.

    OPINIONS

    As I was a Beast Wars kid, the Minicons were my first true experience with the Targetmaster/Little Robot Companion concept. I'll admit it right now. I. Love. Minicons. They're great little toys for the most part, and I consider the weapon ones to be a bit of a Transformer guitly pleasure of mine. The thing that really cemented my love for the concept? Power Core. Blame PowerCore for my love of the little guys. If it wasn't for the fact that there are so many other Minicons with weapon usage that I've yet to get, I'd be first in line to mourn the end of PowerCore, but that's a rant for another day.

    But the main thing that continues to amaze me is that through the years, the basic concept remains nearly as constant as the idea of transformation itself, and it's never truly regressed, even in it's introductory years. And I really do appreciate that. I really do enjoy having gimmicks that continue to pop up every now and then, especially the ones that don't feel like it's just a one-time line-wide thing. Consistency helps to evolve the toyline, the fiction, and basically the brand as a whole. Not to mention the constant expansion on playability of the toys themselves as time goes on.

    And going on it shall. Starting in the Dark of the Moon line, a new subline is coming. Based on the Human Alliance idea, the new Basics are not just Human Alliance toys, but they ALSO continue the Targetmaster idea (with Chainsaws, Chainguns, Giant Plasma Pistols , and a giant missle rack) to insane degrees. I personally feel that this may not be the next logical step, but at least it is following in what I think is the core theme of the Dark of the Moon line: Absurdly Huge Weaponry. But more on that next time...

    And what about the standard Targetmaster idea? Will it come back? Who knows. If Hasbro does return (It's more of a when than if) to the Classics style, they are starting to run out of 1984/1985 Generation 1 characters, and might have to resort to more of a 1986/87 grouping for a few toys. I wouldn't put more Targetmasters out of the equation. I mean, c'mon. We got a Classics Thunderwing and Straxus. STRAXUS. NOTHING is out of the question at this point. Which is for the better, as Targetmasters are quite possibly my favorite gimmick in the line as a whole.
     
  6. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

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    Winning! - A Tribute to Former Transformers Designer Eric Siebenaler
    Written by Kickback


    In February of 2002 at the annual Toy Fair event in New York City, the Transformers fan community (recently revitalized with the success of the ROBOTS IN DISGUISE franchise) sat with anticipation for the first pictures to be uploaded of the latest Transformers saga - Transformers Armada - and were curious about the latest (and arguably what would become the most popular) gimmick - Mini-Cons.

    But as any member of the TFW2005 community can atest, the "fandom" as a whole can be very unforgiving with their opinions and are often quick to judge - usually with little to no facts and armed with only anonymity and a mountain of speculation at their disposal. Evidence to the point would be the hatred and anomosity that grew for a certain toy that, to this day, is still considered (by a select few at least) one of the worst Transformer toys - Armada Laserbeak.

    [​IMG]

    But in reality, the Armada Laserbeak toy was innovative for Hasbro at that time and, in my opinion, can be thanked for a number of toys that followed it years later. The first thing collectors notice is the bright orange and red coloring. "Why would they ever color a toy like that!?" some of our younger collectors may ask. The simple answer is this - the toy was marketed that it could transform in to a "blaster" weapon (aka A GUN!) and Hasbro, like any company, wants to represent itself in the best light to families, especially the families that buy Transformers for their kids. To meet safety regulations (guns must have an orange-tipped barrel and clearly be distinguishable as a toy) the toy was colored as it was. Don't forget - Armada Laserbeak was also the first "role-play" toy for Transformers in a decade. You can't walk through the toy-aisle now without bumping in to an interactive role-play accessory for Transformers. Since that time, obviously, Hasbro has found their nitche in anything interactive that resembles a weapon.

    But this article isn't about Armada Laserbeak, role-play toys, or toy-gun safety laws and regulations. This article is about the man responsible for Armada Laserbeak, the Cybertron and Animated series, and countless toys over the last decade, and can be creditted as helping turn Transformers from a "semi-popular brand" in to the "mega-brand" that it is today - Eric "Siebass" Siebenaler. The timing of this article is bittersweet, as we can also announce to the Transformers community that Eric is no longer working for the Transformers team. More on that later.

    :( 

    I remember the first time I had the opportunity to meet Eric. It was the Thursday night before BotCon 2006 in Lexington, Kentucky. A mutual friend connected the two of us and we were able to chat before the convention and planned to have a drink or two during the show. I can't recall the situation entirely (a few drinks in), but I'm pretty sure I called him to convince him (with the help of Simon Furman and Don Figueroa) to quit working on his PowerPoint presentation (for a panel) and come join the party. While he can look intimidating at first, he's actually one of the friendliest, most down-to-Earth, and pure-hearted individuals that one can meet.

    [​IMG]

    This article started with the bit on Armada Laserbeak for a reason - it was actually the first Transformer that Eric ever designed. He was fresh out of college and had caught the eye of the infamous Angry Archer (Aaron Archer for those who miss the joke). Thanks to the tutelage of Archer, and a determination to continue to grow as a designer, Eric blossomed from a rookie-level designer in to a manager-level veteran who has been involved not just in product design but also the entertainment development side including all three live-action Transformers movies, Transformers Animated, and Transformers Prime. For those (like me) who love Powercore Combiners, you can give credit to Eric for those toys as well.

    [​IMG]
    Just some of Eric's many creations

    For those fans who still aren't over the abrupt ending to Transformers Animated, Eric was the other half to Derrick J. Wyatt's character designs, and the two of them together are responsible for the amazing characters you fell in love with in the animation and the toys that are lined up on your shelves. Derrick came up with ideas for how characters should look, and Eric showed Derrick how to take those designs and change them so that they could translate to physical toys. No one can argue the fact that the two of them created one of the most enjoyable series the franchise had seen in years.

    [​IMG]
    Just some of Eric's Animated creations

    Siebass started with Armada Laserbeak, but he leaves behind a legacy of Transformers toys, television programs, memories, and his own tutelage to the designers that are the future of the Transformers brand. The rockstar bachelor toy designer is all grown up now, and has transitioned to the happily married, smarter, and more practical toy designer. I am very happy to share that Siebass is also expecting his own little Decepticon in the coming months. Congratulations to the both of you! And for everything that you've done for this brand, on behalf of TFW2005, thank you for your hard work, your dedication, and all your contributions. I'm sure the Transformers fan community will agree - you will be missed.

    So, Eric is no longer part of the Transformers design team. What's he working on now? What brand did he go to? Why did he leave? These are all great questions - and you can ask him yourself! We're pleased to pass word along that Eric Siebenaler will be attending BotCon 2011, June 2nd through June 5th, in Pasadena, California! It will be his last BotCon as a Transformers designer - so be sure to make a point to find him and thank him for everything he's done over the last 10 years.

    There is a (and nowhere near complete) list of Transformers toys that Eric has worked on over the years, thanks to the folks at TFWiki.net. Unfortunately the list doesn't include the more recent Transformers that he's worked on, and we were unable to obtain a more updated list at the time of publication. Nevertheless, you can bet a great number of "Revenge of the Fallen", "Dark of the Moon", and the first couple waves of "Transformers Prime" toys will be added in the future!

    [UPDATE!] The joy of writing something ahead of time and then having developments circulate forcing you to make changes! We now have an updated list of what Eric has done for Transformers, beyond what the folks at TFWiki.net have put up. Enjoy this exclusive look at his more recent work!

    Enjoy the list below!

    Toys Designed by Eric Siebenaler, post Animated:

    Power Core Combiners Two-Packs
    Power Core Combiners Five-Packs
    Transformers Prime (unreleased)
    Revenge of the Fallen
    Dark of the Moon
    Whew!


    - Kickback
    TFWe Editor-in-Chief
    TFW2005.COM Administrator
    Follow me on Twitter @rankal and always follow @tfw2005 for all your Transformers news!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2011
  7. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

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    A Look At: SDCC Exclusive Starscream Sky Striker
    Written by Shin Densetsu

    [​IMG]


    Arguably one of the hottest exclusives to hit San Diego Comic Con this year will be the Starscream Sky Striker, seen recently at JoeCon 2011. This highly anticipated item made its debut at Toy Fair 2011, and comes with Cobra Commander and Megatron in gun mode. This set will cost $80* at the con.

    *Hasbro has now lowered the price to $50

    As most likely intended by Hasbro, the debut of this set, set off a chain reaction of mixed reactions from the fandom. The box even has a cover for Transformers And GI Joe #5, paying homage to the 4 issue Marvel Comics series of the 80's.

    [​IMG] l [​IMG] l [​IMG] l [​IMG] l [​IMG] l [​IMG] l [​IMG]

    Numerous media outlets even gave the Starscream Sky Striker the spotlight, such as AOTS and MTV. Amidst the fandom was quite a buzz. Why? Well first off, G1 Starscream was an F-15 Eagle.

    [​IMG]

    The Sky Striker is an F-14 Tomcat-based fighter. Secondly, there is another popular Transformers character who is arguably more fitting for a Sky Striker alt mode; Jetfire!

    [​IMG]

    Now G1 Jetfire is a repaint of the Takatoku/Bandai 1/55 VF-1S Super Valkyrie from their Macross line, with the cockpit of the VE-1 ELINT Seeker (the former was a single seater, the latter was a 2 seater but had a blunt randome/nose, which was used for Jetfire). Macross creator and designer of the VF-1 Valkyrie, Kawamori Shoji, incorporated some elements of the F-14 Tomcat into his VF-1 design, as well as the F-111 Aardvark and F/A-18 Hornet.

    Hence why Jetfire would be a more fitting character for the Sky Striker to be painted as. However, be that as it may, Starscream is a more popular and more notorious character. Combining the most popular GI Joe jet ever created with the most popular Decepticon Air Commander (and most popular flying Transformers character) would surely get people talking, and it did the minute the exclusive was unveiled.

    Perhaps this was the result that Hasbro intended to yield. Fans are already worried that they may not be able to acquire one. They're already worrying about Hasbrotoyshop.com crashing...and wondering if the Starscream Sky Striker will even make it there!

    [​IMG] l [​IMG] l [​IMG]

    Through the years we've seen some Transformers toys pay homage to GI Joe, and vice versa, but never an official crossover item, until the Starscream Sky Striker. Now the question is, will there be more, and if so, will there be transforming items? Hasbro has something similar in the works with their Human Alliance subline of the Dark Of The Moon line. In addition, the human driver figures are in a similar scale to the Sigma 6 Mission Scale figures. Could Hasbro finally make an official Transformers VS GI Joe line at 2.5" scale with transforming GI Joe vehicles, that turn into Transformers characters?

    Who knows if the Starscream Sky Striker is a sign of things to come. What we do know is that this summer, one of the most unique Hasbro exclusives will be available at San Diego Comic Con.

    What this unique exclusive presents, is also a rather neat surprise. Be it intentional or inadvertent coincidence, the Sky Striker used for the Starscream Sky Striker is actually more than meets the eyes, it's a new mold in disguise, literally!

    Yes, the original Skystriker XP-14F mold was actually lost years ago. Back in the early 2000's Hasbro had planned to reissue the Skystriker exclusively at Toys R Us, for the GI Joe VS Cobra line. GI Joe VS Cobra was the mass market relaunch of the GI Joe 3-3/4" line with predominantly new molds. The 1st commercial showed CG Skystrikers towards the end.

    The Skystriker ended up getting replaced by the Conquest X-30 retooled with Sound Attack parts. Why? Initially, it was rumored that Hasbro could not find a way to retool the Skystriker to accommodate Sound Attack parts. Then came word that the Skystriker did not pass the drop test, the sinister test which killed off the US release of Fortress Maximus from the Transformers Robots In Disguise line.

    It was one consecutive reason/excuse after another. Yet what truly amounted to being stomped on the balls was something that happened overseas. The commonly known reason for the Skystriker's absence was that the mold, when loaned to Funskool for production in India, was cleaned using salt rinsing which eventually wore down the mold and led to the degradation of the steel. This rendered the mold useless/destroyed. Years later when the GI Joe Q&A's started, Hasbro said the mold was lost/unusable. This did not stop fans from asking for it during the entire duration of the GI Joe 25th Anniversary line. I was one of them. What can I say, I'm one hopeful ass fan.

    [​IMG]

    Alright, back to the return of the Sky Striker. So while the new Sky Striker XP-21F mold looks like the original, it's actually all new and substantially different. While the mold is based on the original, it features more removable parts (presumably for safety purposes, like passing the drop test) reinforced wings and connection points. Those are to be expected for modern toys, however, there's more differences.

    The main identifiable difference between the Skystriker XP-14F and Sky Striker XP-21F, is that the Sky Striker XP-21F is a one-seater, with a substantially more detailed cockpit. With the new detailed cockpit interior, there is no space for another figure/seat. Will fans like this more than the substantially less detailed 2-seat cockpit of the original? Time will tell. If anything the fandom was pleasantly shocked when they heard the news at Toy Fair 2011, that the mighty Sky Striker would be returning to retail shelves.

    [​IMG] l [​IMG]

    What misled many fans was that the Starscream Sky Striker, thus far, has been shown as a 2 seater, when in fact, it won't be a 2 seater. The initial images shown in Hasbro's Toy Fair 2011 panel were of painted vintage Skystriker samples. The Starscream Sky Striker on display at JoeCon was of a painted vintage sample. See below for the differences:

    [​IMG] l [​IMG] l [​IMG]

    So in way, a 1-seat Sky Striker actually ends up fitting for Starscream. On another note, perhaps a Cobra/Decepticon Sky Striker isn't so shocking after all. Would Cobra Commander really have the audacity of using the Joes' best fighter jet against them, and would Starscream have the audacity to use the Sky Striker as an alt mode?

    [​IMG]

    Conclusion: Yeah, they'd do that s%^&
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2011
  8. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

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    Review of IDW Transformers Comics Application
    written by Kickback

    Before I begin this review, it is important to note exactly what hardware I am using, as you may experience something different depending on the hardware that you own. For this review, I used an Apple iPhone 3GS 16GB model via AT&T. You may have a different experience when using an older or newer iPhone model, or with any phone utilizing the Android software.

    Let’s go back fifteen years in time. How many of you can remember walking, or having a very short distance to travel, to get to your nearest comic book store? There’s a good chance the store also sold trading cards, a variety of newspapers, and of course, that section of the store that was roped off with a sign that said “18 AND OVER ONLY”.

    Fast forward back to the present and ask the same question. The fact of the matter is, comic book stores have really become a thing of the past. Sure, there are some comic book stores that thrive because of their history, because of who owns them, or because they’ve created a business model that allows them to order only what they know they can sell, thus eliminating as much loss of overhead as possible.

    For those of us who don’t want to drive 25 miles out to spend $15 on four comic books, we were left with some tough moral decisions – download illegally or find an online store that would be able to supply us our comic demands. While there’s nothing that can really be done about the first option (shame on you!), and the second option still means you’ll have to wait an unknown period of time (at times) to receive the book you ordered.

    Those days are over.

    Introducing the “Transformers Comics” application brought to you by Idea and Design Works, LLC (or, as they are more commonly known as, IDW Publishing). The application utilizes a program called “FlowCover” for everything comic-related in the application. A full list of credits can be found below.

    [​IMG]
    Application Credits

    As with every other comic application available on any network, whether it be Apple or Android, the first thing they tell you is that just by downloading the application you will receive a small number of FREE COMICS. The application is free, and there’s free stuff! This application is no different, so let’s just get straight to the freebies.

    TRANSFORMERS: ALL HAIL MEGATRON #1
    TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED: The Arrival
    TRANSFORMERS SPOGLIGHT: Shockwave

    For all the criticism that the fan community has given the “ALL HAIL MEGATRON” series, it continues to be listed as a “TOP SELLER” in the application’s “TOP SELLER” category. That, along with anything even slightly movie related. For all intents and purposes, SPOTLIGHT: SHOCKWAVE is probably the best written and most enjoyable of the three comics. I’m a fan of TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED, but this comic series was more of a tie-in to the animated show and could leave those who didn’t enjoy the show out of the loop, so to speak.

    When you first open the application, you’re taken to a “Main Menu” of sorts, with a varying degree of options available. You can search through their filtered selection of “NEW RELEASES”, “TOP PAID”, or “FREE TITLES” (listed above). The other set has “FEATURED” (which is the default load-out screen), as well as “STORE” (allowing you to browse the entire offered selection), “MY COMICS” (to see what you’ve already purchased), “SETTINGS” which allows push-notifications, and “MORE” which gives you the credits. Pretty basic and easy to navigate, always a plus.

    [​IMG] | [​IMG]
    Main Page and Store Views

    The selection you’re given to download is quite hefty. Just about everything that IDW has published you can download (with the exception of “BEAST WARS” ironically enough). The cost ranges from $0.99 (for those ancient Marvel and Marvel UK comics) to $1.99 (the standard pricing) and sometimes $2.99 (very rare, usually for “double” issues). A recently released “graphic novel” of “LAST STAND OF THE WRECKERS” takes the cake at $7.99 (which is cheaper than buying each comic separately).

    [​IMG]
    "My Comics" horizontal view

    With the iPhone you have two options of how to read the comics – you can keep your phone vertical which displays the entire page as it was created, allowing you to zoom in to each panel. Or you can choose to rotate your phone horizontally and go frame by frame with their magical editing powers so it flows properly (example: multiple speech bubbles from a panel are erased or the “camera” moves around the panel to follow the flow of the scene). My preference is horizontal as it follows, basically, what your eye movement would be if you read the physical comic. It’s important to note that with the older Marvel and Marvel UK stories, the digital age wasn’t around back then, so the “panel by panel” viewing actually focuses more on camera-movement than the newer comics which can actually have speech bubbles removed then added back in. So when reading a Marvel Comics Transformers comic, you will see all the bubbles or parts of it based on the camera view than the newer comics which they can edit (as one assumes they have blank pages and insert the speech bubbles in for each “screen”).

    [​IMG] | [​IMG]
    Full page view versus panel view

    So then this review is a pretty solid A+ right? Unfortunately that’s not the case. For starters, this application has absolutely zero scheduling on new releases. Sometimes they are pretty close to what you find at the comic store, other times they are anywhere from two to three months behind. Second, not EVERY comic is available … and some odd ones are left out. As stated prior, the entire BEAST WARS selection is not available, as are a small (maybe 2 or 3) SPOTLIGHT issues. Other comic applications have a feature that allows you to browse by storyline (where a story takes place over a number of issues and titles) … that feature is not here, so the stories that started in the various “-ATION” storylines and carried over to SPOTLIGHTS are unidentifiable, and you either have to do your own research to see what ties in to what, or just buy everything and hope to get lucky.

    Application updates only occur (for iPhone users at least) when Apple releases a new version of the OS. Some crashes happen when loading comics or switching your views in the “MY COMICS” section. Viewing the comic while your phone is vertical does not give the best resolution (my assumption is to deter pirating for others) so those who like to zoom in close will be disappointed. Horizontal view, on the other hand, works great! Check out the comparison shots below.

    And I shouldn’t have to mention this but in this day and age you should never assume, but for those lacking a WiFi connection you may find download speeds to be incredibly slow, even on a 4G network, simply due to the size of the comic and the rather slow speed that it downloads. If you are connected to WiFi, your download only takes about a minute or two tops. It’s so slow without WiFi that I tried it once, long ago, and never tried it again.

    The best way to end this review is to ask yourself three very important questions:
    • Do you have a comic book store near you?
    • How important is it to have the new thing as soon as possible?
    • Do you even care enough to pay?

    TFW2005.COM does not support or advocate piracy of any sorts, but we do recognize that it happens and that a number of you are taking part in it. We do encourage that you support the official licensees of the Transformers brand so they can continue to put out great work and keep the brand strong for a long time to come.

    If you don’t have access to a comic book store and you’re interested in the comics that IDW Publishing puts out for Transformers, then this application is a great thing to have. Be warned! It can be very addicting to just push a few buttons and have a number of comics at your fingertips. But the iTunes bill does show up eventually, and then comics on this application is over $20.00 USD. It may not seem like much, but it adds up and adds up fast.


    4 out of 5


    Pros:
    • A large selection of Transformers comics only a few button-pushes away
    • A great way to view the comics, either by page or by panel
    • Great attention to detail on the panel viewing
    • It’s quick, fast, and easy!

    Cons:
    • New releases aren’t new by the time the application gets them
    • Requires WiFi … download speeds way too slow without it
    • Freezing and crashes occur without warning, to the point the app must entirely be restarted
    • The titles left out are actually ones you want to read!

    There you have it! We hope you enjoyed this review. If you have any further questions about this application, please direct them to our discussion thread included in this article!

    [UPDATE!]: By the time we published this article, the IDW Transformers Comics App has now started to include the older issues of the IDW Transformers, including the Devastation, Escalation, and Maximum Dinobots series! Still awfully slow on the new releases though.


    - Kickback
    TFWe Editor-in-Chief
    TFW2005.COM Administrator
    Follow me on Twitter @rankal and always follow @tfw2005 for the latest in Transformers news!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2011
  9. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

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    [​IMG]
    Name: Kickback
    Function: Editor-in-Chief
    Motto:"Someone asked what the 'e' stood for in 'TFWe' ... I didn't have an answer."

    Kickback started collecting toys at the ripe, easy-to-market-to age of four when he received his very first Transformers toy - Grapple. Because his love was purely materialistic as a child, he amassed a collection of numerous 80's properties including Transformers, Thundercats, G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K., GOBOTS, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Twenty-five years later, Transformers and Thundercats are still on the list, and if Hasbro were ever convinced to bring back M.A.S.K., it'd be added to the shelves.

    Kickback joined TFW2005 as staff in the Fall of 2001 and has remained active and on staff since that day. He has been to eight Transformers-related conventions since 2002, was a volunteer in two of them, and will be attending his ninth convention with BotCon 2011. He worked as a Store Manager for two years at (RIP) KB Toys, and briefly in Hasbro's retail division before, during, and after the release of the first movie, and is really looking forward to sharing his insight and knowledge through TFWe.

    [​IMG]
    Name: Shin Densetsu
    Function: Editor
    Motto: ???????

    Shin Densetsu has collected transforming robot toys since the age of 3. As the years progressed, 2 constants stood out; full articulation, and aircraft. Transforming aircraft are his favorite type of robot toys, especially those arrived from the F-14 Tomcat. It is no surprise that he has had a fascination with Jetfire and Macross since childhood. These days, what gets his attention is the engineering advancements utilized in Transformers toys.

    Shin has always enjoyed discussing toys, which is why the TFWe magazine was an ample opportunity to discuss toys further. What would a magazine seem like, online? TFWe, is it. With more toy magazines ending print publication, the very magazines he enjoyed reading are now gone for the most part. His goal behind TFWe, is to literally create, what he enjoys.

    [​IMG]
    Name: Sol Fury
    Function: Editor
    Motto: "Squeeze the cheeks ... I dare you!"

    Sol Fury started collecting Transformers when they were first released in 1984 and was one of the original "ages 3 and up" generation of kids to grow up with Transformers. A lifelong fan, he also enjoys console RPGs, the Brave series, and science fiction / fantasy in all its many forms. He joined the TFW team in 2004 as a reviewer / "content guy". He currently collects the majority of new releases although has scaled back due to the shear amount of material coming back, and can often be found looking fondly on one part or another of his collection, when he is not furthering the cause of distributing Transformers news and information.

    [​IMG]
    Name: Secretcode
    Function: Associate Editor
    Motto: "Is 'Gimmickry' even a word?"

    Secretcode is a 22-year-old college student that lives in Kentucky. He has been a Transformers fan for the majority of his life and joined the fandom after his senior year in High School after getting his first laptop. His collection habits are basically "Collect anything that looks worth a purchase" and "Buy more Bumblebees." When not into Transformers or prowling around for news, Secretcode is usually found obsessing about gaming and Tokusatsu.

    Secret was brought into this project mainly because of Sol Fury, who swung him this way when he asked if there was anything he could help with on TFW2005. Don't know how that happened, to be honest. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Neither do we! -KB)

    [​IMG]
    Name: shibamura_prime
    Function: Resident Artist (Cover, "As the Fandom Turns..."), Contributor, the "Hey, do this" guy
    Motto: "You want me to draw WHAT?!"

    Shibamura Prime's been hooked on Transformers since the tender age of four and joined TFW back in 2004 where he tries to make sure people are playing nice and not biting each other in TFGD. Besides Transformers, his nerdy hobbies also include animation history, the occasional comic book and drawing not-so-realistic ladies.

    [​IMG]
    Name: Deefuzz
    Function: Associate Editor, Writer ("As the Fandom Turns...")
    Motto: "I didn't even know I was a part of this until last week. Seriously."

    Deefuzz has been a fan of Transformers since his first introduction to the franchise back in 1984. He has been a member of TFW since 2001, and has worked in various staff positions for the site since 2006. He is also a big fan of Battle Beasts, G.I. Joe, MOTU, GoBots, and Lego. He juggles much of his free time between his passion for gaming and being a family man.

    Not pictured but most certainly a part of this whole thing - Tony_Bacala and Joe Moore
     
  10. CZ Hazard

    CZ Hazard Sons of Unicron PTT

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    This is an awesome idea!
     
  11. Mechafire

    Mechafire Veteran TFW2005 Supporter

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    This is pretty cool. Kudos to everyone who worked on it.
     
  12. knook

    knook Let the Virus Consume You

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    Amazing! I actually really love this. Maybe make it a downloadable PDF though
     
  13. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

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    In the works post-BotCon and post-DOTM ;) 
     
  14. Secretcode

    Secretcode Keeper of Encarta Veteran

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    It was fun to work on, that's for sure.

    But seriously though. Screw Nightscream.
     
  15. taterx

    taterx Lurkin since Transfandom

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    I'm very excited to see this. About to read through this immediately. One more reason this site is the best. Keep on kicking tailpipe and taking names TFW:) 
     
  16. moreprimeland

    moreprimeland Optimus told me to do it! Moderator TFW2005 Supporter

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    Absolutely love it!! Great job everybody!!

    Great way to give us 11 years of info..love the layout and artwork! It's vibrant and exciting to read.

    Kudos to one and all!!
     
  17. Mechafire

    Mechafire Veteran TFW2005 Supporter

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    Damn, Eric Siebenaler left? Bummer. :( 
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  18. Waverider

    Waverider Supreme Dude TFW2005 Supporter

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    Awesome! It's another thing to look forward to. Thanks for the time and effort in releasing this.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  19. knook

    knook Let the Virus Consume You

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    Awesome, I really appreciate all of the work you guys put into this.
     
  20. artiepants

    artiepants Just over here punching Unicron.

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    Love it! howzabout an iPad app?
     

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