Friday, September 13, 2013


Art by Bill Sienkiewicz
In 1984, Marvel Comics launched a toy tie-in series called TRANSFORMERS. Originally planned as a four issue limited series, the comic's sales were successful enough to warrant an ongoing run instead. TRANSFORMERS ran for a total of eighty issues, ending in 1991, years after even the popular syndicated cartoon had finished its run.

The majority of the comic's issues were written Marvel editor Bob Budiansky, and it is Budiansky who is credited with creating the names and personalities of many of the first few years' worth of Autobots and Decepticons (one very notable exception: Optimus Prime was named by legendary writer and editor Dennis O'Neil, best known for his long association with the Batman over at DC).

While Budiansky was chronicling the Transformers' adventures in the monthly Marvel series for a U.S. audience, Marvel U.K. published a weekly Transformers series. As was their standard practice, the U.K. division reprinted stories from the U.S., but even printing half an American story in each British issue left the U.K. office with a need for original material.

Simon Furman, himself an editor at Marvel U.K., became the British series' equivalent of Budiansky, writing the majority of U.K. stories. And when Budiansky stepped down as the American Transformers writer with issue #55, Furman took over for him.

Where Budiansky had been primarily concerned with showing the Transformers' conflict from a human perspective with smaller, "slice of life" type stories, Furman's approach was to craft a long-term storyline moving the focus firmly onto the Autobots and Decepticons. Furman's 25 issues of Marvel U.S. are more-or-less one long epic, culminating (but not ending) with the united Transformers' final battle against Unicron, the planet-eating god-robot introduced in 1986's TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE.

Art by Wildman & Baskerville
Following the battle with Unicron, the short-lived alliance between Autobots and Decepticons fractured. The Decepticons stranded their enemies on Cybertron, the Transformers' homeworld, which they believed to be on the verge of self-destruction. But when a legendary being called the Last Autobot rose and joined the Autobots' ranks, the heroic Transformers escaped Cybertron, confronted the Decepticons for one last battle on the planet Klo, and sent their ancient enemies running for the last time.

In the aftermath of the battle, Optimus Prime revealed that the Last Autobot had restored Cybertron to its past glory, and the Autobots were free to finally return home. It was a happy, albeit hastily assembled, ending for the heroic Transformers...



*I honestly wish I could say the pun in the title of this post was intentional, but sadly -- it wasn't at the time I first wrote it.


  1. I honestly wish I could say the pun in the title of this post was intentional, but sadly -- it wasn't at the time I first wrote it.

    I got it covered: "You might even OPTIMUS Primer!"

    I've never read any of the Marvel UK Transformers stuff. One of these days I intend to, both because I gather it features a lot more of the movie stuff (which I love), and because I much prefer Furman's "Transformer's perspective" approach over Budiansky's "human's perspective".

  2. Thank you, sir. I appreciate your assistance.

    I haven't read all of the U.K. stuff, but I have about six oversized trade paperbacks that were published by Titan and released maybe eight or ten years ago, collecting the majority of the time travel stories with Galvatron. It's really good stuff. I believe IDW is reprinting the stories currently as well, so if you have an opportunity, you should check them out.

    1. I picked up a few of those oversized trades years ago, but I don't think I got them all. That, combined with their size and my passion for archival projects, has me thinking I may get IDW collections. Even though I know I shouldn't buy twice something I haven't yet read once. But I'm anal like that...

  3. Me too. I've bought things in trade then sold the trades and upgraded to hardcover before reading the trades. I've tried to get away from that practice in recent years, though I still upgrade on things I know I like.