I don't understand the G1 Comics popularity

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Thundercrackers, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. SMOG

    SMOG Vocabchampion ArgueTitan

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    Short answer...

    I've always been more of a comic book guy, and definitely someone who weighs the Tech Specs and original profiles over the cartoon depictions in most instances.

    That said... the G1 Marvel comics are really uneven. The UK line definitely manages to be a bit better overall, but in general the Marvel line is full of stupid stories and WTF moments. Even at the time, as a kid I tended waver about every new issue, wondering if I should drop the title. For every great UK story or apocalyptic crisis or apotheosis of a minor character into the spotlight, there's a Carwash of Doom, a clumsy product placement or page after page of awful art.

    So yeah. I'm not sure really. It's a paradox. I love Transformers, but both the cartoon and the comics have never been consistently more than mildly mediocre.

    zmog
     
  2. Magnus' Mate

    Magnus' Mate Well-Known Member

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    One thing the OP may not have realised/appreciated, is just how much the Marvel UK material ADDS to the Marvel Transformers story; you didn't mention any Marvel UK stuff in your post, so you may not be aware of just how awesome it is.

    To me, the cartoon is terrible - even ofr 1980s syndicated kids programming, it's dreadful. Forget the animation errors, but the storyline and characterisation is so much poorer than other equivalent series (e.g. Thundercats).

    The comic - and note, I'm talking about the WHOLE "Marvel Saga" (e.g. the UK continuity, which incorporates the US material into it) has so much going for it. Here are three things off the top of my head:

    * A genuine PROGRESSIVE story. There is very rarely the "reset" button that was a staple of the cartoon. You know, over ten years, we got an evolving Transformers saga the likes of which we've never seen in any other media.

    * Real characterisation: Sure, not every bot got their due (they didn't in the cartoon either), this is just down to how many characters are in the franchise: But come on: Shockwave, Blaster, Ratchet, Nightbeat, Ultra Magnus, Galvatron, Goldbug, Grimlock... so many characters really did become "definitive" representations during the Marvel years.

    * Continuity!: Because of the nature of comic storytelling, we were allowed plots and sub-plots that could be picked up, played with, put down, and then picked up again twenty issues down the road. Galvatron originally time-travelled back to 1986 in #78. He was finally destroyed in #205. The issues in-between don't all deal with him, but that sub-plot is always there.

    In terms of some of your criticisms - I never understand why "Carwash of Doom" gets so much hate: It's almost as if readers DON'T UNDERSTAND it's supposed to be a spoof! It's not supposed to be taken seriously! It's a joke. You know the movie "Temple of Doom"? Yeah? Well... come on, people; you're free to like/dislike, but let's not start from the assumption that Budiansky was trying to script another "Smelting Pool" or "New Order" masterpiece here. He was just having fun.

    Grimlock: Yes, the characterisation of Grimlock in the US comics was a marked difference from the buffoon of the cartoon. And even within the US comics, his characterisation varies wildly. I think the UK comics actually help to nuance this, and fill in a lot of the "wha?" gaps.

    But the storyline of his leadership can be defended: He was a terrible leader! He realised this in the end - grudgingly. He was so desperate not to be like Optimus Prime (knowing that Prime's way ultimately got him killed) he went too far the other way. But let's face it, he did some good things too (when he wasn't bashing around his own troops): Squaring up to Megatron in "Ancient Relics", getting the Ark space-borne again...

    I can happily post for ages as to the superiority of the comics, and why I love them so much!

    Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. I prefer a more saga-like approach to the franchise, with multiple sub-plots, characterisation that spans years, and a truly "epic" feel to the stories being told. In that sense, the comics genuinely can't be beat! They have their faults, but the good things far outweigh the bad.
     
  3. Aernaroth

    Aernaroth <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and Veteran

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    I think I also liked that, as cheesy and ridiculous as the animated series got at times, the comics doubled-down on the crazy and we got insane things like Optimus Prime killing himself over a videogame in Afterdeath and Buster building Jetfire with his MIND.
     
  4. D-Unit

    D-Unit #1 Heel

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    It's like other people say "I don't understand the appeal of __________________ Transformers". To each his own. The comic was entertaining, but not great. Neither was the cartoon. Everyone has different tastes, that's all. It's like that with anything, not just TF's
     
  5. Snake_eyes1975

    Snake_eyes1975 Well-Known Member

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    I'm currently re-reading all of them. The storys are solid. I love the characters. If I had to pick ONE either G1 goons or my marvel comics.....is have a real hard time with that.

    Edit...and the "man of iron" 2 shot...possibly the best transformer comic story....
     
  6. Quixote_Prime

    Quixote_Prime is missed.

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    I prefer Uncle Bob's daffy to G1 Cartoon daffy.

    And daff both can be. Really daff.
     
  7. Ikkstakk

    Ikkstakk Well-Known Member

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    Bob Budiansky invented these characters. The way he wrote them is the truest interpretation of who they were meant to be.

    Also: we were all kids, or most of us were anyway, and Transformers was a brand-new thing. I, for one, was desperate for anything Transformers, and more than willing to overlook any subpar attributes the comic had. It's not like today when we not only have a film, an animated series, several toylines and several comic book series, we also have 27 years of other films, cartoons, toylines and comics to pick and choose from.

    After a while, I had seen all the cartoon episodes, but every month there was a new comic book out. They often featured characters who weren't in the cartoon at all.

    I hate to get melodramatic, but it's like falling in love. It doesn't matter what his/her shortcomings are, if you're in love you don't even see them. And even if the love dies after a while, and you can see those flaws, you can still remember the feelings you had in the beginning.
     
  8. Killamarshan

    Killamarshan Iacon Tourist

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    It's always going to be subjective opinion amongst individuals. For me I loved the G1 comics and they provide my definitive iteration of G1 ... great characterisation, some epic stories and just in general more intelligent narative than the cartoon.


    You good sir are a man after my own heart.
     
  9. 1984forever

    1984forever Banned

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    I loved the comic as a kid, but it got really bad after issue #12.

    Bad art

    Worse coloring

    Bad writing after issue #4

    The tech specs were a good idea, too bad Bob Budiansky was drunk when he did the chart portions. For example, Cliffjumper is one of the fastest Autobots, but nearly every Autobot is rated a 7 in speed. Or Hot Rod and Kup losing points in strength, rank and speed upon becoming Targetmasters.
     
  10. Hot Shot.

    Hot Shot. Well-Known Member

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    You...can't be more wrong about that.

    -Compared to the first issues, the art was a DRASTIC improvement.

    -The coloring actually got better in spots.

    -I-...wha? Seriously? You think the whole Shockwave arc was bad? Even that aside, the last 20 issues or so written by Simon Furman were pretty damn good. And I'm just talking about the US run. The Marvel UK run was at least twice as good.


    I honestly don't think you ever gave it a chance.
     
  11. Autobus Prime

    Autobus Prime Transit Former

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    1984:

    The midpoint stuff may have soured you on the art; you might like what came later. There was some great stuff in the comic when Grimlock was out shopping for Nucleon, or Ratchet and Megs had their last, uh, team-up.

    Everything in the pictures was either glowing, dripping, or on fire. It was such a fine mess. I think Wildman was penciling.
     
  12. Abrogate

    Abrogate Nondescript Former Poster

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    The series as a whole isn't perfect, to be sure. Stuff like the Micromasters taking up pro-wrestling I can do without, the long-winded introductions explaining everything a character can do when you first meet him were a bit too conspicuous, and I'll agree with you that Circuit Breaker was always annoying. But it's still less embarrassing than the cartoon. When the comic is good, it's DAMN good, it really draws you in to stories that, I felt, were world-shaking. The cartoon couldn't do that even at its best; though the fact that those neat character models could now move around was sufficient to capture a 7-year-old's interest.
     
  13. Thundercrackers

    Thundercrackers Cybertonian Scholar

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    Read the UK stuff through the Titan Reprints. I like about half of it, but I despise all the time travelling stuff and alternate timeline headaches.

    There are good characters and concepts that came from the comics, to be sure. But I just didn't like how the stories in the comic were written. I never really cared for Budiansky and Furman's takes on the characters(though I do respect Budiansky for basically creating TF). Always liked how Buzz Dixon and his team wrote the characters better. Yes the cartoon had Singing space elves, mer-folk and thier magic transformation pool, green nebulans, and crazy animation errors- but I'll take that over crazy horror-style fused together Ratchet and Megatron. *shivers*

    Again, if you like that stuff, I have nothing but respect for you. It just isn't to my tastes, and it's really all a matter of opinion.
     
  14. Star Saber

    Star Saber Cybertron 5th Commander

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    I think the comic got really good during the last few story arcs, and that's what pretty much catapulted it to legendary status among a lot of fans,. However, just like the cartoon it does have its share of bad stories, but you have to take the good with bad sometimes. The comic is also well known for introducing and popularizing a lot of lesser known characters or groups who got little (if any, in some cases) exposure on TV like the Wreckers, the Mayhem Attack Squad, Thunderwing, Primus etc as well as putting out much darker and mature stories.
     
  15. Gingerchris

    Gingerchris Telly-headed Tyrant

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    The comics got the colours of Rumble and Frenzy correct... :p 

    As someone that grew up in good old Blighty the comics were a much easier way to access TF stories than the cartoon, which hopped around schedules like a manic rabbit and dropped episodes entirely from the run like said rabbit dropping chocolate bum nuggets.
    That's not to say I disliked the cartoon. It gaves us so much. Those classic voices and that transformation sound being just two examples.
    But the comic did much more with the characters than the cartoon ever did. It explored deeper and mixed and matched characters to see how their dynamics would play out. Different threads would be started, left dangling and then later picked up, often woven into other threads, to make a nice big tapestry of tales. Indeed I cringed at some of the awful human characters, like The Mechanic and those biker fellas that hunted TFs while unwittingly under hire of Zarak, but Buster was a solid human character and he and his family did feel like they'd gotten involved in something they often wished they hadn't.

    Since I was in the UK and those UK stories were running within the US ones I had a great big adventure to explore. The universe-hopping and time travel might not have been for everyone but it was great to see some of those future characters interacting with the earlier established TF guard, something the cartoon wasn't able to do as those movie characters came along after a lot of the classics had been killed.

    Of course it's all just personal opinion, but if I had to go back and erase one of the versions of TF storytelling media from my childhood I'd be pressing the delete button on the cartoon and keeping the US and UK Marvel comics.
     
  16. Scaleface

    Scaleface Well-Known Member

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    I don't understand the hatred of Carwash of Doom. Sure it's campy sounding, but is it REALLY that stupid to have humans bring energy to the Decepticons quietly under mind control instead of staging full-on assaults against oil rigs and dams that always get stopped by the Autobots?
     
  17. Gingerchris

    Gingerchris Telly-headed Tyrant

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    It does sound like a decent plan but then if I remember correctly wasn't Blackrock under Decepticon mind control already? Why not just have him secretly regularly deliver tanker trucks of oil directly to the Decepticons?
     
  18. Incepticon

    Incepticon |-+-|

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    Even though I collected every single Marvel comic from G1 and still have all the originals, I can't say that I liked them all that much. I definitely read and got into them when I was a kid, but to me there was no contest between the cartoon and the comics. I thought the art & coloring was generally awful, many of the storylines were beyond ridiculous even compared to the cartoon, and I HATED whenever the Transformers were drawn with human faces with teeth, tongues, cheekbones and even eyeballs. They did it a bit in the early comics and then it got seriously out of control by the end - to the point that they just looked like people wearing robot costumes.

    To give credit where it's due, it was the Dreamwave comics that finally made me appreciate that medium. For the most part, they drew & colored Transformers the way I had always wished for (not counting Pat Lee's "puffyformer" style).
     
  19. Scaleface

    Scaleface Well-Known Member

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    Someone would have noticed, wouldn't they, if suddenly Blackrock diverts his oil tankers to the horde of big robot monsters? The plan was to have it disappear post-consumer, People thought the gas was used by driving. There was nothing to be missed.

    I too enjoyed the Dreamwave and Devil's Due comics. I've yet to find a liking for IDW sadly.
     
  20. Autobus Prime

    Autobus Prime Transit Former

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    Gc:

    Well, it was a bit elaborate and failure-prone, but Ratbat is an MBA, so...:) 

    However...his choice of a carwash is interesting... just a few issues of the comic past our little visit with Skids and Charlene.

    What kind of business does Ratbat think he's running, anyway? :D