Introductory: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Part One (Marvel Comics Scale)

Discussion in 'Tutorials and How Tos' started by Cobalt Agent, Mar 7, 2013.

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  1. Cobalt Agent

    Cobalt Agent My dick kills dinosaurs

    Feb 2, 2005
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    (Original discussion thread here: ~Superquad7)

    I've spent the better part of a few months doing calculations, searching for comic scans, sifting through episodes, memorizing scale charts and TV bibles, and reading profiles for a project such as this. I've always wanted a real scale chart for the really big characters of transformers fiction. The original G1 cartoon scale charts don't include the city-bots, and the comics mostly use the same scaling for the main Autobots and Decepticons but their use of artistic license deviates once we get to the titanic characters.

    We're often told that scale doesn't exist in Transformers, and that's true to an extent. But I've gone through as much canon as I could to create a sense of consistency for each continuity and series. First up is G1 Marvel Comics. This chart includes characters from Jetfire's height upwards, so 9-10 meters and up. Let me know if you think I missed anyone.


    Metroplex- Stated height of 698 feet in UK pamphlet
    Warworld Starscream- Based on Optimus Prime and Megatron's height; Obviously Starscream is larger considering how big the War World is altogether
    Underbase Starscream- Based on Powermaster Optimus and Scorponok, though Starscream is obviously farther away than his closest foot
    Abominus & Computron- Based on relative height of humans at feet
    Menasor & Superion- Based on relative height of humans in scene
    Devastator- Stated to be 7-ish times smaller than Metroplex in UK pamphlet, comic appearance is consistent, though profile says "over 60 feet"
    Predaking- Stated height of 80 feet
    Last Autobot- Based on Action Master Optimus being the same size as his original form
    Liege Maximo- Based on nothing really... He's fucking huge and other than Rook in the foreground I got nothing to go by
    Omega Supreme- Based on height of Megatron
    Defensor & Bruticus- Based on heights of Optimus Prime and Megatron, making them consistent with standard cartoon height for combiners
    Trypticon- Based on size of Dinobots beating his ass, specifically Grimlock
    Fortress Maximus- Based on size of Spike and Cerebros
    Dreadwind- Stated height of 42 feet in UK comics
    Powermaster Optimus Prime- Based on size relative to Blaster and Spike
    Scorponok- Based on size relative to PM Prime
    Sky Lynx- Based on human crowd around
    Piranacon- Based off fight with Galvatron since I sadly couldn't find better scans
    Jetfire- Starting point, size is consistent with Cartoon portrayal

    Coming Up-
    G1 Animated Series
    G1 IDW
    G1 Dreamwave
    G1-BW-Car Robots Japanese Continuity
    Unicron Trilogy
    TF: Animated
    TF: Prime
    Video Games/Miscellaneous
    All together

    All your giants are belong to us!

    This isn't the Cartoon, just Marvel Comics. Each series is different with regards to city-bots. Metroplex is always huge, but Fortress Maximus is huge in the American and Japanese cartoons. In the Rebirth it isn't conclusive but he's clearly bigger than a combiner, but not shown next to Metro. In Headmasters he's clearly the larger of the two.

    Metroplex only appeared in the UK Comics, not the US ones. Trypticon appeared as large+ villain under Ratbat's command in the comics but like Scorponok and Fortress he was nerfed down from city sized. No Transformer is shown in their city modes in the Marvel Comics, just with bases or battle platform modes. Metroplex is the odd man out as he's shown swatting a Quintesson armada and is the core of Autobot City.

    Marvel had their problems with scale, too. Just as the cartoon had different animators, the comics had different artists. Sometimes standard sized bots like Blaster are big enough to use cars like roller skates (that happened once). Omega Supreme is notorious after his first appearance for changing size. It may be less apparent but it's there. That's why, for this, I used what little resources I had to find the best examples of artwork and consistent sizes I could. The cartoon obviously had fluctuating scale, but at least we know the size they're "supposed" to be thanks to the scale guides we have.

    Though God knows this would've been easier if after over twenty years of cancellations, people were willing to post scans of comic pages or even just frames. For the life of me, I cannot find a picture of Abominus fighting Computron on Nebulos, or Piranacon lifting Scorponok's ship, etc.

    Well absolutely artistic license was taken. That's a given. Sometimes it's to a ridiculous level.


    Though Bumblebee is likely the most consistently exaggerated. Bumblebee is stated 15 feet in the original miniseries but is later matched to the cartoon scale of being roughly 9-10 feet (KID FRIENDLY).

    As for style matching scale... yeah. Sometimes characters are drawn so out of scale they can fit a human in the palm of their hand, and usually the worst scale is frankly from the worst artists. Ironically lazy artists can prove to be better with scale since they copy right from the character model.

    Oh sure. That's what would be called an outlier. If one issue or artist by style or accident has Optimus the size of the Empire State Building when he's pretty consistently 6.1~ish meters, it clears things up a lot.

    Think of it like this- the cartoons were never perfect but think how much better they'd be if you ignored AKOM? If you just took the story of Carnage in C-Minor without the *horrific* errors and discrepancies it wouldn't have been nearly as bad as say... B.O.T. You don't have to account for why Constructicons can fit in Ultra Magnus' hands. Regardless, without those horrible scale problems Devastator, Ultra Magnus, et cetera are all back to being relatively consistent.

    The same applies to the comic. Obviously exclusion based on context and rational observations has to take place. There's just no other way. You have to approach this from the standpoint of "That makes sense, this doesn't". Outliers. Exception that proves the rule.

    If I had the time I could do it. I did try to for a couple examples (Devastator, Fort Max, and Piranacon). The problems being- resources (people don't post scans), time (these take time to make), and overall competence (I just match pictures together with prepared grids to find heights, but I suck at depth perception).

    Yes, I'd say the artists that didn't suck were fairly consistent at the end of the day. I'm sure any artist though will tell you that. Like riding a bicycle I guess. In my searches I've noticed fairly consistent sizes, again with the exception of shit art or situational scaling.

    Another problem with the ranged bar thing besides access to scans, time and wizard status in dimension-scaling -- is the limited character appearances. Like the cartoon the comics were for toy purposes. Other than the leaders or niche characters nobody really sticks around the whole story. Sunstreaker was dead pretty much the whole time. As I mentioned, I couldn't find much of Piranacon because he had two appearances. Optimus Prime would be easy enough, sure, as would "master" characters binary bonded to human-sized beings. But I'm limited in ability here which is why I'm glad I got so far.

    If I had the cash I'd buy all the comics myself but I just can't. And those with comics don't have the time to scan them or they feel scared or guilty about sharing 30 year old comics online for non-profit purposes which is just weird to me but there you go. It'd be a pain in the ass, but, yes I could do it.

    I would like to know the Warworld's actual size. If stated. I can't find any scans stating so, but I'd been on a site once claiming it was "moon-sized" which would help in a future chart I'm making on planet scale. If it's just a really big ship then it doesn't matter but if it's the size of a heavenly body I'll include it for reference.

    Again, any appearances of Abominus and Computron (their fight if possible) in Love and Steel!. Devastator's appearances in All Fall Down and The Next Best Thing To Being There. Honestly ANY information Liege Maximo's size would help. I couldn't really scale by Rook's size because of the distance between the two, but I've read that in the *non-canon* story by Furman that he's planet-sized which is a lot bigger than how *seems* in the G2 comic.

    Any issue with Scorponok fighting Shockwave. Shockwave has always been a problem because originally he was larger than Prime and Megatron, then switched to his cartoon-scaled subordinate size, then went toe to toe with Scorponok (albeit not as big as him).

    Lastly, Piranacon's appearances in Cold War and Enemy Action.

    Gestalts in Dreamwave.


    How big is Optimus here? I've never read Dreamwave but it's hard to come by scans of combiners next to humans or even standard Transformers next to humans. Dreamwave'll likely be the hardest since it's newer than Marvel but not in circulation like IDW. I know combiners are shown ridiculously huge, as is Omega Supreme. If I can get a sense of scale between normal bots and humans, then normal bots and giants then I can get a sense of general scale between giants and humans.

    IDW: So far only 4 combiners have shown up: Monstructor, Devastator, Menasor and Superion. I have no good scans of any of them except Devastator. Devastator is with Omega Supreme and both match the Statue of Liberty/Liberty Island but the others I can't work. Monstructor has few appearances I can find where he's scalable. Menasor too. I have a real nice picture of Superion's first appearance, but he's with Ironhide and the Dinobots and I don't know the relative scale of general Autobots to humans so I can't put a size to Superion yet.


    Any size calculations for IDW would be welcome. I remember Megatron crushing a tank under his fist and swatting jets, but then he's the same size as a modestly 20-30ish ft. Optimus. Scale is inconsistent in every series.

    Classics: Crossing Over Part III. This shows Devastator's Energon-based classics body in work and I'd like a visual understanding of Classics scale in comics to see if it carries over from Marvel's original run.

    Well damn. How would you rate the art of Piranacon? Better than his small size against Galvatron? I might refer to that portrayal over the one I used since it should at least make him a few heads taller than Jetfire . . . .

    Galvatron should be the same size as Megatron regardless of which Galvatron he is.

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    Click here to move on and keep reading with Part Two!

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