What can picnic supplies tell us about cars? More than we care to know! Learn how a Chevrolet made before you were born is like a pile of plates and straws and how child endangerment is like automotive engineering.
All this and a hair-brained scheme from Sunny Jim!
The January 1985 issue of Comics Feature ran a story on Marvel Productions, the company that produced the original Transformers cartoon. As part of this story, Comics Feature briefly interviewed Transformers story editors Bryce Malek and Dick Robbins, and included a piece of rare pre-production Transformers artwork. After learning of this story, I bought a copy of the magazine and made a high-resolution scan of the art, which is included in this post. This is not the first appearance of this particular piece of artwork, as it came into the hands of collector Alex Bickmore some years ago; you can see it here, where the corner isn’t covered up by part of a Pandamonium promotional painting.
Transcribed below is the Transformers-relevant part of the interview.
Dick Robbins and Bryce Malek are two story editors at Marvel. Robbins is a veteran writer from the days of dramatic radio and live TV, who since 1972 has worked almost exclusively in the animation field, and Malek is a young man who used to work in Hanna Barbera’s accounting department. It was Margaret Loesch who gave him his first writing assignment in 1980. Both Malek and Robbins came to Marvel in April of 1984, where they’ve been putting together the syndicated Transformers series ever since.
“It’s based on a toy line,” Malek says, “which a lot of Saturday morning shows are these days. They’re similar to Go-Bots and about three or four other different lines. They are robots you can manipulate into jet planes and automobiles and all kinds of things.”
The large number of characters in the Transformers series necessitated the hiring on of numerous freelance writers to get the scripts for the required number of episodes done on time.
“We normally would prefer to work with fewer writers,” Robbins explains. “If we get a good writer to do a good script for us, we know his or her subsequent scripts will be even better. But we’ve been under the gun on this one. It’s nice to have four or five writers for a series, but on this one we’ve had to have many more.”
“In this case we were required to get out two scripts a week,” Malek adds. “Twice as many as usual. We’ve had to work on several scripts simultaneously and some of our episodes are serialized. When we have a three-parter, it’s not easy farming the information out to the person who’s writing script #3 when you don’t know what’s happening with script #1. It can be pretty hectic and it gets very pressured.”
Regardless of the pressure, Robbins and Malek are enjoying working on Transformers. Because the show is syndicated, they have much less stringent restrictions on depicting violence and action then they would have if it was a network show. “We can do a lot more,” Malek confirms. “The violence is between the robots, so there’s nothing that kids can really emulate. You can destroy a robot and then fix him up tomorrow. This show’s got laser beams, crashes, explosions… it’s real violent and I think boys will love it!”
The entirety of the interview is available here. Enjoy this bit of history!
The Daimon Steering, as seen in Quiz!! Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon ~ Chiryoku * Tairyoku * Toki no Un ~ (Quiz!! Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon ~ Wisdom * Endurance * A Matter of Chance ~), a Sailor Moon arcade quiz game released in 1997. This doesn’t seem like an optimum attack pose…
Promotional artwork of Scooter, scanned from the back of a Challenge of the GoBots VHS box. It’s pretty awesome, even if the artist did draw him mistransformed in both modes.
I am Astar, a Robot PSA 1980s.
Did this ever aired outside Canada?
Robot ears are bizarre, otherworldly things.
So this is something I just got in an email from Amazon - a list of their food stores’ most-wished-for items. I’m not sure what the retail giant’s endgame is, but I have narrowed it down to two things: either getting me to confront the depths of my culinary ignorance by admitting to not know what half of this stuff is… or to cause me brief confusion by revealing that a lot of people secretly long for four solid pounds’ worth of jellybeans.
Or maybe they just want to sell me foodstuffs over the internet. I dunno.
Various SD Gundam figurines, scanned from an April 1987 issue of Japan’s Comic BonBon. I recognize… the Zaku I. Friends pointed out some of the others as the Gelgoog, the Bawoo, and the “Palace Athena”.
Gundam is full of silly names.
Can you name all of these, dear readers?
Transformers: Legends Arcee is apparently a Fuzor of Prime Arcee and G1 Arcee armed with the weapons of Animated Arcee(’s toy) and Energon Arcee. Now all she needs is the ability to turn her legs into a unicycle! … or a giant Transformer-sized unicycle on which to ride, I guess.
Images from the mobage Transformers: Legends digital collectible card game. I have no idea what franchise to tag this as, since I have no idea what continuity the card game is in.
Archie Andrews-meets-Conan cover to the February 1984 issue of The Comic Reader (#216), by longtime Archie Comics artist Stan Goldberg. According to the Table of Contents page, the artwork was provided to The Comic Reader by Robin Synder, an Archie editor and longtime collaborator of Steve Ditko.
I don’t know where Reggie is, but I imagine Cimmerians would be less forgiving of his brand of jerkery than Riverdale… ians. Riverdaleans?