If you’ve been here long enough you already know about my love of Transformers. While the Michael Bay films were disappointing, the IDW stories aren’t my cup of tea but not necessarily terrible, and I don’t know what people see in Simon Furman’s Marvel run–especially Generation Two, The Transformers multiverse remains my all-time favorite fiction, and my favorite toys (though I do also throw in the GoBots and any other transforming robot toy of that ilk). There’s just something about the concepts that find enjoyable.
When the shows and comics first started coming out a lot of information was not revealed to the public…because the public didn’t care. We just wanted to play with the toys, watch the shows, read the comics, and in some cases read the books and play the video games. Now we live in the Information Age and are filled with 80s nostalgia, so here’s something that recently came to light. Did you know that Transformers and GoBots almost ended up NOT being the first transforming robots on US shelves? That another property potentially had a comic and cartoon? Knickerbocker’s Mysterians: The Hidden Force is an interesting tale, and could have been the early Transformers, or something called Car And Cable. And this was not an import like their Cybertronian and Gobotronian counterparts. These warriors from Mysterion would have been completely original toys.
Now some of you may be asking why the storytelling review site is focusing on this? It’s barely in qualification for The Clutter Reports, my other site that has featured Transformers and GoBots toy reviews. Well, there’s that whole licensed media aspect. Chris McFeely, the man behind Transformers: The Basics, brought together all the toy and media information and presented it in a virtual panel for the TF Nation online convention (another victim of the death plague quarantine). Learn how both DC messed up their shot, how Marvel Comics and Marvel Productions didn’t get along, how one comic series had their named changed because of the Marvel connection, and one creator’s obsession with dogs, plus how Transformers almost ended up being a CBS Saturday morning show instead of the syndicated series we know and love. And it was all started by a keychain robot train and a fake toy cigarette lighter robot. It’s all quite fascinating.
Catch updated info and more Transformers history on Chris McFeely’s YouTube channel.
Some random thoughts:
- Blaster/Blastor is a popular name for transforming robots. Both the Autobots and friendly GoBot Guardians had their own Blaster.
- I’m kind of surprised the guy living in the UK and doing a virtual version of a UK convention didn’t make a Captain Scarlett joke that people living in the US thought to make. (I’m not the only one who saw episodes of Captain Scarlet And The Mysterions on Sci-Fi Channel.)
- I know I’d like to see this DC Comic (apparently they didn’t realize they were doing a kids comic–I thought that was a DiDio thing) and the story pitches and bibles for these shows that never happened–especially this CBS pilot script for Transformers.
- I didn’t notice the M until it was pointed out in this video. While my G1 Minicars are currently packed away I did look up pictures on TFU.Info and they are there.
One has to wonder how different the transforming robot landscape would have been has Knickerbocker not be bought out by Hasbro or if Hasbro continued this project instead of importing from Diaclone and Micro Change. Or if CBS had aired a possibly more sanitary version of Transformers with a very different car handing with the kids, or had been called Car And Cable. It’s all rather fascinating and hopefully we’ll learn more about this lost period of our favorite robots in disguise. And who else wants a transforming Muffy toy now?