"Optimus Prime, a lorry-cum-robot"
ahahaha i’m so sorry
The rest of the article is a genuinely fascinating look into the UK Transformers marketing of the time, though. No mention of The Transformers: The Movie or Rodimus Prime at all… but a vague allusion to the events of “Target: 2006,” where Optimus disappeared and both Ultra Magnus and Galvatron showed up.

"Optimus Prime, a lorry-cum-robot"

ahahaha i’m so sorry

The rest of the article is a genuinely fascinating look into the UK Transformers marketing of the time, though. No mention of The Transformers: The Movie or Rodimus Prime at all… but a vague allusion to the events of “Target: 2006,” where Optimus disappeared and both Ultra Magnus and Galvatron showed up.


Seems reasonable, go on. 

This is incredible on so many levels that I can’t begin to count them.
It’s got to be public domain by now, right…?


Seems reasonable, go on. 

This is incredible on so many levels that I can’t begin to count them.

It’s got to be public domain by now, right…?

It’s a recording of the Aaron Archer Q&A panel at TFCon 2014 by Internet Personality Vangelus!

If I’m honest, I wasn’t expecting Batman: Knight Force Ninjas to be among anyone’s top choices for a creative outlet, but I suppose we all find passion in our own things. Come to think, I did own the Riddler from that line… and I can’t argue that the solid bright green Knight Star Batmobile didn’t stand out on a shelf. (Too bad those kinds of colors stopped seeing their way into Transformers after, like, 1994.)

Another bit that stood out to me: a note in the slideshow that Aaron brainstormed for Micronauts, the Kevin Smith Superman movie, and Saban’s Los Luchadores. The latter, in particular, reminded me that a friend once said the cast of Los Luchadores was at Toy Fair one year, even though the show didn’t have an accompanying toyline. I’d assumed they were at a Bandai booth, but if a Los Luchadores toyline was in consideration at Hasbro… huh. I wouldn’t have expected Saban to branch out with their partnerships, but I guess Kenner did handle the VR Troopers line…

Anyway, the video is a fascinating watch (or listen). I recommend giving it a go!


A set of wonderfully Engrish instructions to a knockoff Macross 7 Valkyrie.

A collection of contemporary reviews of The Transformers: The Movie.

Hey, everybody! It’s your favorite live-action Masters of the Universe movie character, Saurod!

You know, Saurod? Played by Pons Maar? Shot sparks out of his mouth as a toy…?

Yeah, me neither.

Art by William Stout. Scan from the Lost Worlds by William Stout trading card set. This is the last bit of Masters of the Universe art in the series, unless there’s a piece or two hidden on the backs of unrelated cards (like how He-Man had a Flesh Gordon poster on his). I’ll have to check them at some point… also, there are apparently more card sets devoted to Stout’s artwork, but I don’t own them.

I never met Mark Gruenwald, but by reputation, you two strike me as having similar creative bents- either tying up old continuity or using it to springboard new plots. At the same time, Gruenwald masterminded the "Scourge of the Underworld" storyline, killing off a ton of low-level villains and, seemingly, any creative potential they might've had. It feels like there's a dissonance there? Am I missing something by mulling over this some 30 years after the fact? Anyway, would love your thoughts.


I don’t know that I’m the best person to speak for Mark Gruenwald — but I think at some point after the Scourge storyline he reconsidered the idea, coming to the conclusion that it had been a mistake to kill of a bunch of characters he didn’t see much potential in, since other creators might see things he didn’t.

As a storyline, though, it certainly generated a lot of interest and excitement, and is doubtless pretty defensible on that front, even if the idea of cleaning house of lame characters wasn’t the best of ideas.

I liked that Mark valued the rich history of the characters and wanted to build on it. Where I disagreed with him, I think, was that he occasionally tired to be a caretaker or gardener (or even janitor) of the Marvel Universe, trying to neaten it up to make it more orderly and sensible, rather than just ignoring the bits he didn’t think worked.

For instance, I’ve been told that Mark didn’t much like the concept of the Cat People who were tangled up in Tigra’s origin. And as a result, he kept trying to fix or eliminate them, explaining away or getting rid of a concept he just didn’t care for. But as a result, he wound up writing or commissioning more pages of Cat People stories than had ever existed before he got there.

That strikes me as counterproductive — probably better to just ignore the Cat People, unless you can use their existence as the basis to build something cool and interesting and compelling.

But then, in the wake of Scourge’s bloodbath, many of the characters turned out not to be dead, or were revised by having someone else take on the identity. So it’s not as if lasting damage was done to the creative potential of those particular concepts. And Marvel did build something cool and interesting out of the Scourge idea.

So was it a good idea or not? As with anything else, it’s in the eye of the beholder. It’s fun to play around with the history of these characters, to work with all this pre-existing context and texture, rather than treating the characters and their world shallowly. If the audience likes the results, great.

On the other hand, if it just feels like continuity-spackling, then it feels like wasted potential all on its own. So you’d better get a good story out of it.

I don’t actually remember how that first Scourge thing ended, but that would be the real test: Did it end well, in something that felt like it was more than just eliminating a bunch of lame villains? If so, then it was probably worth the journey.

My own experience with the Scourge storyline extends to a) the Marvel Handbook entries for the victims and b) buying the two-part conclusion in Captain America out of curiosity long after the fact. I didn’t experience the story “in the now,” which might be part of my fascination with it - “huh, wow, all these guys dead at once? Wait, the legendary continuity king was behind it…?” So my view is kind of off-kilter - and, ah, I don’t feel I’m qualified to talk about the quality of the conclusion, because I never actually read any of the build-up. That’s the burden of coming in to the Marvel Universe through quarterbin-scrounged back issues of the Handbook and trading card biographies, I suppose… conclusions with none of the questions.

I think there was a Mark’s Remarks column where Gruenwald did a back-and-forth with Byrne on the planned use of obscure villains in She-Hulk that contains him having an epiphany similar to the later reconsideration you describe, Kurt. I’d remembered its existence before deciding to send along my question, but I was still interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject as another knighted Master of the Obscure.

Thank you very much for your time, and for entertaining my question.

Marvel Age cover and article about The Saga of Crystar, a property Marvel developed in-house with the intent of selling to toy companies (a similar situation to the later Brute Force miniseries). Unfortunately, the group that took Marvel’s bait was Remco, nobody’s favorite toymaker, and the franchise was dead after one wave of product (I think) and 11 comic issues. Though, check out that black and white art - how impressive is it that this medieval fantasy world developed the perm?

Cover art by Walt Simonson(!), character models by John Romita, Jr., interior artwork by Bret Blevins. The article about the creation of the Marvel handbooks was previously posted here.


Blip embeds may still have problems, so here’s the direct link.

Are you worried about the effects of nuclear fallout on your livestock? … you are? Really? Wow. Uh… we had a joke here, but you kind of threw us off with that admission. Huh. Hoo. Yeah.

So uh… Starchibald and Sunny Jim… say things… over this series of civil defense TV spots aimed at the rural inhabitant. So… ummm… we guess you’ll learn something?

*edges away slowly*

Man, how did you guys not compare Rural Squarejaw McPuppety to Race Bannon? ‘cause that is totally Puppet Race Bannon. No wonder he took the Quest assignment.

So, here’s a case of being at the right place at the right time, and its surprisingly awesome aftermath…

At BotCon 2014, I was hanging out at the Hasbro booth’s big table, chatting with some other fans and the designers while they did sketches. A group of TakaraTomy staff walked over to see what was going on, including (I think) a male and female marketer and designer Hisashi Yuki. The wiki doesn’t have a photo of him, but one of the Japanese fans at the show described Yuki to me as being “Japan’s Steven Seagal,” which was not inaccurate (though Yuki is much thinner).

I ended up chatting with the male marketer - whose name, unfortunately, I cannot recall - who was impressed that Western fans were aware of Japanese-original characters like Star Saber and Ginrai when he pointed out that Yuki was the designer of the upcoming Transformers Masterpiece Star Saber. (I tried to sing a snippet of the Transformers Victory themesong to him, only to realize later the “Vee-Vee-Vee” intonation I was using was actually from the Combattler V opening, a different series entirely. Oops. Well, outwardly he seemed to appreciate the effort…)

Anyway, by this point the Hasbro guys invited Yuki to hang around and do sketches with them, and I ended up first in line by dint of where I was standing. Since Yuki was designing a new Star Saber, I thought I’d be cute and ask for his appearance in the Victory ending sequence, as a little kid with a cape and skateboard. This took a little while to get across, until the male marketer realized “oh! deformed Star Saber!” (as in SD/Super Deformed, etc), and Yuki produced the first sketch seen above. Honestly, it was amazing just to see in person the way he picked out the lines on the paper.

A few days ago, I got the picture scanned up, and tweeted it over to Yuki’s TF Twitter account, calling it a BotCon treasure. To my surprise, he apologized for the crudeness of his original sketch, and tweeted back the bottom image! I was really not expecting that, happy as I was just to have the first drawing. It’s comforting to know there are such incredibly nice people who work on the Transformers brand, on both sides of the Pacific…

1,400th post. Huzzah.