Transformers: The Marvel Years discussion

Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by MilkManX, Apr 25, 2007.

  1. MilkManX

    MilkManX TF Comicbook Fan

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    I thought I would start a whole new topic on this subject.

    As a kid I wasnt too fond of the comics. They were complex and the bots didnt look like the show for the most part.

    Later on in my Teens(Shortly after G1 and G2 Comics were axed) I re-read some and loved em.

    Recently I got All Fall Down and End of the Road and man that was great stuff! I always loved Wildman and Seniors art.

    Today I got the Titan Reprints of Target:2006,Fallen Angel and Legacy of Unicron. I just flipped through them and they look great! There is even a story penciled by what I presume is a very young Bryan Hitch!

    Now I have to get all of the trades. I have a ton of the original US issues(Almost all of them) but I love these UK stories so far!

    SO my questions to fellow TF comic fans:


    Favorite Story Arc?

    Favorite Artist?

    Furman or Budiansky?

    Which charicters were much better in the comic vs cartoon?

    Also add anything else you can think of. I just want to talk about this great era of Transformer storytelling!
     
  2. Scantron

    Scantron Well-Known Member

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    Unicron Saga, definitely (issues 60 - 75 of the US comic). There were a few issues that were clunkers and slowed the thing down (first three parts of Matrix Quest, the Neo Knights issue), but the story had a great pace, plenty of character development for the major players, high stakes and generally good art. The highlights, IMO: Issue 67, which showed the potential stakes if the TFs lost the battle against Unicron. Issue 70, mostly for the visuals on Rachetron, but some development on Prime and Kup. Issue 74, for the discussion between Prime and Scorponok. Issue 75, for bringing a perfect combination of art and writing to make the battle with Unicron a true blow-out...how it should have been handled in the movie.

    I liked a number of them. Senior handled action scenes really well and made the TFs look sufficiently robotic, but his art wasn't quite as detailed. Wildman's art was dynamic and very expressive, plus he was great for actually keeping track of damage/injuries/wear between issues, but his TFs came off too organic at times. I also liked Lee Sullivan, on the UK stuff, but his style had a lot of similarity to Senior.

    Gotta give Budiansky credit for laying the groundwork on many important characters and concepts, but I think most of his stuff is unreadable junk. He could write decent stories (issues 7 and 8, for instance), but generally didn't seem to be trying all that hard. Beyond the many ridiculous ideas, especially approaching the end of his run, he often had characters acting completely illogically for the sake of dramatic convenience. I'm not saying Furman is perfect (the over-reliance on Galvatron and Grimlock was already starting to show, particularly going back to the UK issues), but his stories were more mature, the characters at least had internal consistency and he fleshed out a lot of the foundation for TFs that is commonly incorporated today.

    All of them. Other than Prime, Megatron and Starscream, I don't think anyone in the cartoon actually had anything resembling a defined character...and even Prime, Megatron and Starscream were pretty thin. Going for specifics, I think all of the Dinobots came out better in the comics (despite the Wolverine-zation of Grimlock), Megatron was protrayed as much more intelligent and worthy of leadership under Furman, Ratchet was more interesting under both writers and Scorponok got a chance to be an actual character.
     
  3. MilkManX

    MilkManX TF Comicbook Fan

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    Yeah that is alot of the material that showed me how good a Transformer tale can be without gimmicks. I never liked Grimlock until I read Furman's version of him. It made sense to me that way.

    I really love Wildmans stuff. He's gotten even better as well! (War Within Dark Ages,Recent GiJoe vs TF books)

    Senior has a really cool look to his TF art. Almost Mignola-ish!
     
  4. Spider Striker

    Spider Striker ThisGuyWithTheYellowCap

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    The very first comic book I ever remember getting is Transformers #21 (or #24), the first apperance of the Arielbots. To this day, it remains one of my faves, and not just for nastalgia's sake.
     
  5. Gort

    Gort Klaatu barada nikto TFW2005 Supporter

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    I loved the original Marvel comics, probably because we only got the first season of the cartoon where I lived.

    I like the first arc and the Blaster oriented stories. King Grimlock was awesome as well.

    Two of my favorite stories were the scraplets and the story where Prime dies in the video game - his explanation of why he lost the game shows his amazing character and ideals.

    I loved the Headmasters mini-series. They were handled much better in the comic than they were in the cartoon.

    The comics also made Ratbat one of my favorite characters.
     
  6. Skystalker

    Skystalker Transformer Accumulator

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    Comics all the Way

    Without a doubt, you have to say that the Marvel Comic far surpassed anything the cartoon every gave us. I recently watched season three of the cartoon and apart from a few standout episodes like the one where Galvatron drives a whole planet crazy, there really was not much there.

    Budiansky gets far too much grief considering he established practically the entire mythos. He was the one who gave us a Shockwave who was compelling and interesting and not a mindless slave of Megatron. Who would have ever thought of making Ratbat a central character, not to mention one of the more successful Decepticon leaders. Ratchet had real depth as well as Blaster who was more than just a glorified disc jockey as he was on the cartoon. Some of this stuff continued into the Dreamworks run, such as the prominence of Ratbat in WW v. 2

    Of course, Furman has to be considered the king. In my mind he has still not surpassed his entire run on the US comic (56-80). Those stories are worth reading again and again, particularly for the manner in which they make Grimlock and Scorponok worthy characters in their own right. His use of Lord Zarak was superb, as was his presentation of Optimus Prime. I remember being very sad when the comic was cancelled.

    I don't understand why the cartoon gets so many props, is it just because of fond memories of watching it after school?

    Without a doubt, there would be no transformers today were it not for the compelling characterization of Budiansky and Furman. The cartoon may have been more popular, but how many 80s cartoons and toylines came and went because the show lacked depth or memorable characters. Could that have been the fate of Transformers without the Marvel Comic?
     
  7. MilkManX

    MilkManX TF Comicbook Fan

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    I recently nabbed one of those G1 Tin sets on Ebay. Man some episodes were okay but for the most part compared to the comics the cartoon was awful. The stories were very simple and one-dimentional. The comic didnt have the confines of broadcast standards(not that it ever got crazy) to limit its ability and that last few years with Furman was great. He had free reign since Hasbro at the time didnt care since the toy brand was pretty much toast.
     
  8. KidDynamite

    KidDynamite don't know nothing Veteran

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    Great topic.

    I loved the comic much more than the cartoon as a kid. The characters were more three dimensional, the stories were orders of magnitude better, and I could read any story I wanted any time I wanted. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that in my lifetime I've read the first 50 issues dozens of times each. Unfortunately I outgrew Transformers with issue 55 (a point I note with regret as an adult, since Simon Furman came in with a more serious tone literally the very next issue). I do distinctly recall reading issue 80 in a bookstore when I just happened upon it and noticed it was the final issue. Otherwise I wouldn't read issues 56 through 79 until I was in college and had a roommate who had also been a fan.

    Favorite story arc: I've repeated this mantra many times here over the years, but I think the arc in issues 4-12 is right up there among the most interesting Transformers stories in any medium right up to the present day. Megatron is defeated and serving as a lackey for Shockwave, all of the Autobots are dead except Ratchet, Optimus Prime's decapitated head is stuck on a pike, forced to give life to new Decepticons, and it's up to a medic with no fighting skills to speak of to fix all of this. It's well written, and it's equally interesting when you break the third plane and recognize the significance of what Hasbro let Budiansky get away with. Transformers was at the height of its popularity and cultural awareness in late 1984/early 1985, the comic was a promotional tool for the toys, and yet the writer was allowed to supplant one leader, decapitate the other, kill off 95% of all the good guys, and not only do it for one issue, but maintain those facts for nearly an entire year. It's almost mind boggling when you think about it.

    Favorite artist: I've never been that good at keeping track of the artists, but I generally like the UK guys like Geoff Senior and Andrew Wildman, mostly because they struck me as taking the work more seriously than some of the others.

    Furman or Budiansky: This is a tough one actually. They both have different strengths. Furman told a more mature, serious, cohesive tale. Budiansky was better at camp and humor, and also was superior to Furman IMO in terms of being able to write strong stand alone stories that simultaneously advanced the overarching, continuous story arc. Furman had the long story arc nailed for sure, but his individual issues don't hold up as well as Budiansky's for me.

    On a side note, it's always bothered me how some fans insult stuff like Car Wash of Doom, things that are clearly intentionally campy. Nerds have a particularly bad habit of assuming that campy things were always unintentional and thus worthy of derision. It's understandable if that's not your style of humor, but at least quit holding it up as one of the beacons of terrible Transformers touchpoints throughout history, because it's not BAD to intentionally try to do something completely off the wall ridiculously crazy.

    Okay, anyway, I have to say I have fonder memories of Budianky's books. So while it's a close race, and I really like both, I have to go with him.

    Which characters were much better in the comic vs cartoon?: ALL of them. But since that doesn't really inspire much to talk about, I'll single out Optimus Prime (who had all the best traits of cartoon Optimus and cartoon Rodimus...wracked with doubt in the quiet times, yet resolute in battle or when a decision had to be made), Shockwave (conniving and cunning, versus a lackey in the cartoon), Ratchet, Blaster, Ratbat, Grimlock, Scorponok, and Fortress Maximus.
     
  9. Grimlock_13

    Grimlock_13 Reformed Geewunner

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    I never really come into the comics forum, but I noticed this topic...great idea.

    As a kid I always like Grimlock because he was a TRex, and in the cartoon he and the other Dinobots were almost unbeatable. But after reading all the comics online five or six years ago I liked the character even more, even if he was the 'badass anti-hero/ Wolverine' of the TF comic universe. Other characters I really enjoyed more than their cartoon personas were Ratchet, Blaster, Fortress Maximus, Thunderwing, Scorponok, and especially Shockwave. I VASTLY prefer Fortress Maximus to being smaller and not a city-sized transformer. He had weaknesses and wasn't just a character everyone turned to as a last line of defense. I didn't really care for Trypticon's appearence for the opposite reason even if it was a cool story with the Dinobots. I also liked how powerful Megatron was...taking down all five Dinobots at once and kicking Predaking's ass were a couple highlights, and how he handled Optimus Prime's death was a cool story. Andrew Wildman is a good artist but I never really liked his organic style with the Transformers. I'd definitely have to go with Geoff Senior as my favorite artist. As for writers I think both Budiansky and Furman are great...I didn't really like some of Furman's 'We'll kill of a bunch of characters for the sake of having a genocide story' though. The Unicron saga and most of the Matrix quest was really cool, and The Underbase saga will always stand out in my mind even if it is the quinessential 'genocide' Furman story I mentioned before.
     
  10. Rodr-Evil

    Rodr-Evil Lucifer's children TFW2005 Supporter

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    Extremely COOL topic!!!!!

    For me, the original Marvel TF comics are the BEST FOREVER!! My fav. story was that one with Straxxus. I remember him vs Blaster.
     
  11. Nerroth

    Nerroth Alea iacta est.

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    Should a separate topic be set up for the UK comics, or can they be discussed here as well?

    (I wouldn't want the UK comics to be swamped by US-comic-only discussion...)


    Gary
     
  12. Nightrain

    Nightrain Senior Villain

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    Man, the comics were just wicked. I can't say they were a bigger influence than the cartoon, but I still have some crazy memories of them. Creepy shit like Shockwave keeping Optimus' head in some crazy machine, the creation of Pretenders, scraplets, Optimus' world falling apart all around him, Ratbat in control for some reason.

    I don't think I really understood what I was reading, but I enjoyed them anyway.
     
  13. Optimus

    Optimus Well-Known Member

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    Story arc: Unicron and I am kinda partial to Underbase

    Favorite Artist: Most of them looked the same to me but I have to vote Geoff Senior.

    Furman or Budiansky: I have to give props to Budiansky for creating the TF's but for writing overall, I have to got with Furman.

    Better characters: Shockwave and Grimlock definitely.
     
  14. SubotaiBaghatur

    SubotaiBaghatur Borys of Ebe

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    I quit reading G1 when the local drug store in my small town quit carrying comic books, sometime around issue 40. My freshmen year of high school I came across issue 79 in a 7-11 convenience mart and picked it up due to its wild cover with ratchet and megs joined on the cover. I immediately set about buying all the back issues I missed and also subscribed through the mail. I sat down and read all 30-40 issues I got in the mail and absolutely loved it! My family thought I was crazy spending all that money on those comic books, especially being 15 or 16 at the time, but it was great.

    Favorite story arc (US): Matrix Quest
    Favorite writer: Furman although some budiansky stuff was great like the first 12 issues and issue 25, probably my favorite single comic book of them all.
    Favorite artist: Wildman
     
  15. KidDynamite

    KidDynamite don't know nothing Veteran

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    Agreed on Underbase being a cool story, but Furman didn't write it. That was Budiansky's last major story arc.
     
  16. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

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    I loved the Marvel US run. My father would take me to some comic book store in Minneapolis (starts with an "S") every month so I could get the latest copy. I remember wanting to cry when the comic was over (1990 ish), and I spent many years collecting back-issues. Shoot, I finally read the Blaster v. Grimlock issue (in the 40s) about 2 years ago when I wondered in to a comic book store here in town (Mile High Comics).

    My favorite arc?

    Decepticon Civil War

    It was just so cool to have this underlying theme of Shockwave, still alive, teaming up with Starscream and other Decepticons that had been forgotten for 60 some issues (Runabout and Runamuck, Ravage). And the whole Mindwipe and Triggerhappy abandoning Scorponok because he didn't take charge of Starscream being back on Earth, being alive again, and joining the Decepticons, only to end up leaving anyways soon afterwards.

    And then it finally builds to a head right when Scorponok and Optimus Prime are about to create an alliance to stop Unicron, BLAM, Shockwave blows one big freakin' hole in Scorponok's underground base. Then you have the Scorponok/Shockwave battle, and that was just sweet.

    My favorite character? Had to be Scorponok. The whole human component with Lord Zarak and the struggles he had trying to be the leader of an evil group of robots from another planet, the fact he was from another planet, and the realization at the end that he wasn't a bad guy, just a good guy in charge of the bad guys. Good, great, amazing stuff. "Prime ... did I do good?" ... last line of Scorponok, brought tears to your eyes.

    Didn't like the whole Grimlock bit, though Furman made him likable in "The War Within" with Dreamwave, but I'm happy that in the current series we're getting some more characterization out of the others (Hardhead, Prowl, Wheeljack, Hot Rod, Sunstreaker, Hound, etc.)

    Also wish Megatron and Galvatron could have gone on a tear against the Autobots together. Too bad the comic had to end before it could happen!
     
  17. Omnibus Prime

    Omnibus Prime I'm too old for this shit TFW2005 Supporter

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    Pretty sure the #47-50 Underbase story was still Budiansky..or somebody else anyway. Furman didn't come on board the US book until #56. The Underbase 'genocide' was in that respect an appeasement to the toyline. A way to pretty much get rid of ANY characters that no longer would have been on store shelves. There's a line in there about how only TFs with organic components survived, 'coincidentally' limiting the comic characters still standing to -masters and Pretenders...i.e. toys that would have still been on shelves at the time.

    Like others, I was vastly more into the comic than the cartoon as a kid. I much preferred the cohesive/ongoing story to the largely standalone cartoon eps...even though I probably couldn't have phrased it like that when I was 8. Plus, erratic schedules are not a new development to TF cartoons, as the G1 cartoon in my area changed timeslots a lot and went AWOL for long (for a kid) stretches. The comic, by comparison, was easier to keep up with. Even if I couldn't actually buy all of them, I could at least read them due to wider comic availability back then.

    Favorite Budiansky-era story, now no less than then, is by far #7-8. The art and story are both amazing. We talked about this at some point before..how whoever the artist was that drew those issues never drew another. Damn shame, too.

    By the time the 40s rolled around, I was losing interest in toys across the board and the comic along with it. It seemed to be limping along at that point and I barely made it through the Underbase saga, which was damn good. Gigantor Starscream FTW. However, I balked at the 'organic TF' bit I mentioned. Realizing it was an excuse to rid the book of all the characters/toys I knew and press forward with toys I wasn't interested in, I walked away.

    Er, until #56. I happened upon it in the grocery store or somesuch. I think I had read about the return of Megatron somewhere and thus knew to check it out to see how they went about it. Didn't know Furman from Adam at that point of course...all I know is I wasn't expecting it to follow up on my favorite story from way back. Ratchet vs. Megs FTMFW. I geeked out for 4 months, bought #56-59 and promptly dropped it again with that story sort of resolved, clueless as to what I was about to miss.

    Didn't pick up #60-80 (minus a couple of stragglers) until '94-5ish. At the time they were still languishing in the back issue bin for less than cover price at $1 each. Feeling an early twinge of nostalgia, I bought the whole run for all of $20. I had flipped through #70 when it was current upon seeing the cover from across the bookstore. Given my entrenched attraction to the whole Ratchet/Megs Saga at this point, that cover was like a friggin' tractor beam. I thought that part was cool, but was rather lost about the larger goings-on, put it back, moved on to the music mags, and didn't think about TFs again until that day at the comic store some 5 years later. I read them all in one sitting, was blown away by how awesome the whole Unicron arc of the 'Back 20' was...and my fate was pretty much sealed.
    I've said it before...reading those when I did as opposed to when they were actually current played no small part in sparking my full-blown nostalgia of the mid-'90s when I went on a G1 buying binge. Quickly finishing the '84-85 and much of the '86/movie stuff, I moved on to all those '88+ toys that I shunned in toy and comic form back then, but now wanted due to Furman's G1 run. Nightbeat, Thunderwing, Bludgeon, etc., etc.

    As far as choosing between Budiansky and Furman..I agree that you have to give credit to Budiansky for a lot of the characterization that lingers to this day. A lot of which, Furman merely picked up and ran with. Still gotta give the edge to Furman though. The slow build to the showdown with Unicron that started with #60, if not #56, still stands as the best chunk of fiction in the franchise IMO.

    Never much thought about the artists involved at the time, except that guy that did #7-8. The art was by and large nothing spectacular, until the radical change that Senior and Wildman brought. I enjoyed both's wildly new/different styles, with the edge going to Senior. I just love the clean lines, very angular style, blahblah. Agree with the guy that said it was almost Mignola-ish.
     
  18. Nexus Prime

    Nexus Prime Creation is proof.

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    At first I wasn't really into the comics. TV was free. That and the voice acting in the show seemed to add personality to the characters where the writing usually didn't.

    Over the past year or two I've been re-reading through the US series (I'm on #35 now I think) and I'm able to appreciate it more than I did when I was younger. Also I've been picking up the UK reprints.

    As for favorite writer I can't really give a fair opinion because Budiansky had more restrictions than Furman did. Considering what they had to work with I think they both did well, but my favorite issues were the Furman ones 56-80. Plus the artwork seemed to pick up around then with Geoff Senior and Andrew Wildman.

    Mind you it was much easier to get into the comic then because the cartoon was finished some months before then. Which is why I started collecting it with #41. Just in time for Prime's big comeback the next issue.

    As for other artists, I also liked Derek Yaniger on Generation 2, but he didn't stick around for too long.


    One last thing. If the comic characters had deeper personalities than the cartoon ones, why was Ethan Zachary able to fit Prime's superior personality onto a FLOPPY DISK?!? :tongue: 
     
  19. Rodr-Evil

    Rodr-Evil Lucifer's children TFW2005 Supporter

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    I always loved the visions of early Cybertron in the comics.

    [​IMG]

    Things like this, provoked various dreams in my childhood.
     
  20. MilkManX

    MilkManX TF Comicbook Fan

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    No I think the UK stories can be talked about here as well. I am reading Target:2006 right now and have Fallen Angel and Legacy of Unicron on the read pile!

    Bring it!
     

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