Most adults who grew up with the original Transformers line probably remember them best from the toys and the cartoon, produced by Sunbow. While the die hard fans or at least comic fans remember the comics the majority are probably not as connected to them. I remember there was a time when Transformers fans would try to merge the comics and cartoons (thanks to the movie adaptation) into one continuity but that doesn’t work because they follow two different paths. Toon humans accepted the Autobots easily as their allies against the Decepticon assault while that’s never happened in any Transformers comic I’ve read. Origins and other histories are different, as are personalities at times.
While Transformers fancomics are rare, at least compared to prose fanfics, a couple have continued on past the cartoon, with art very much inspired and one fanartist, whose work looked like a high-quality still from the cartoon, ended up with a career making Transformers comics for a while. (He was one of the guys screwed over by Dreamwave, as I recall.) I have a printout of it somewhere and if I can find it online I’ll do a review. Another is one I’ve reviewed here before. It is possible to make a Transformer comic with the look and feel of the old TV show. And someone is petitioning current license holder IDW Publishing to do just that.
This petition by Youseph Tanha isn’t asking to end the current IDW titles but create a new one, separate from the current IDW continuity and based on the cartoon rather than the Marvel comic (which they tried with Regeneration One, which longtime readers know I was NOT a fan of).
Recently, sentiment has been building among Transformers fans on social media for a new Transformers Generation One comic. A book that takes place within the original 1980’s Transformers Cartoon universe. Both John-Paul Bove and Casey Coller have expressed a personal interest in working on such a comic book.
Bove’s Twitter conversation with Tanha is in the link in that quote and he says he worked on season 2 & 3 stories. I can’t find a credit. However the conversation also notes being sad Regeneration One, the continuation of Furman’s first run on the US Marvel comic ended, so based on that I don’t know if he’s quite the one I’d point to for continuing the cartoon. Furman’s tone, and the art and coloring (Bove was the colorist) was so far removed from the cartoon I can’t see him shifting that differently. I wouldn’t be surprised in this day and age for Bove or some other writer to “improve” the cartoon with darker themes or something closer to what IDW is doing now, with Robots In Disguise being a political tale and More Than Meets The Eye being, last I read it before Megatron turned good and took over the mission to find the fabled Knights Of Cybertron, about a group of mentally unbalanced people living together in what I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be comical or not. And while Coller is a good artist, the sample pic she posted didn’t look like the cartoon either.
If they were to continue the cartoon, whether they continued where “The Rebirth” or the Japanese shows ended (since I don’t know who saw the Japanese shows, even with the videos currently available, I would go with “The Rebirth”) I would want the tone and look of the show. I’ve seen it done by fans in both comic and prose forms so I know it’s possible to tell a good Transformers story in the show’s style and set in that universe. If it’s one or the other it won’t be a proper G1 toon comic. That doesn’t mean it would be bad but it won’t be what I see the intended product to be, a continuation of the original cartoon, as we’ve seen with Buffy The Vampire Slayer and The Six Million Dollar Man, for example. (Although I’ve noted that Six Million Dollar Man Season 6 suffers from too many plotlines at one time.)
Who would I choose? Well, I know Don Figueroa, who did some work for IDW at one point, has wanted to write a Transformers story. Macromasters, that comic I reviewed before, was well done, but he also separated humans and Autobots, which I wasn’t happy about, especially now that you can’t find a Transformers story with Autobots allied with humans openly anymore, unless it’s a small group of humans like the current Hub shows. Still, he can do a good job of upgrading Floro Dery‘s character models so that’s a good choice and maybe he can write a closer to toon story.
Hey, I found that comic I was talking about earlier. Harry Beejam wrote Diversion, a three-part story that is straight out of the G1 cartoon. (Sadly only part one is online at the new home on DeviantART along with a new “Season 1.5” version with full color that isn’t as toon-looking as the original part 3.) He would be the perfect artist and maybe he and Figueroa could work together on plot. It works for the Godzilla and Ninja Turtles comics.
Of course I’d be remiss not to recommend BW Virtual Mentor Jerzy Drozd. He’s a huge fan of the classic series and would do justice to either art or writing. Above is only a sketch in the toon’s style but I’m sure he could pull it off.
But if you want the perfect colorist for that G1 toon feel with the advantage of being a comic instead of a daily cartoon, you want Matt Kuphaldt on coloring, no question. He also drew the picture above and it was my desktop background for the longest time. With these three as your art team and a good letterer you’d have a great G1 toon style comic. Setting it in the toon’s continuity is not enough. The look, feel, style, and tone should be there or this will not be the project it should be. I know plenty of artists and writers who could make good Transformers comics but to do it in the style of the classic show these are the best choices I can point to based on what I know of their work. (So don’t be mad, anyone else. Prove me wrong instead. That’ll learn me. 😀 )
Still, if a G1 toon-based comic sounds like a great idea, support the petition. They need 4,669 signatures and as of this writing they have 331 supporters. And yes, that includes yours truly.