After the Japanese Micro Change and Diakron toy lines were bought by Hasbro and released as The Transformers in the US, they needed something to make all the kids buy the action figures. In addition to the animated series, the US and UK comics were given birth by Marvel Comics. In addition to the 80 regular issues, special magazines such as Transformers the Movie and Headmasters were released.
In 1992, after the Transformers' popularity faded, Hasbro made an attempt at resurrecting the phenomenon with Transformers: Generation 2. The Gen 2 comic only lasted for 12 issues.

For me, Marvel's TF comics were the thing when growing up. Most of the appeal was probably from the cool machinery and action, but a part of it certainly came from the fact that you never knew what could happen next. There were always new characters to introduce, and conflicts between enemies as well as allies to solve. And unlike many "safe" kids' comics, the good guys could get their asses seriously kicked once in a while for a big dramatic impact.
I now naturally realize that most of the plot twists were just created to introduce new toys for us to buy. But I never spent my parents' money for more than a couple of the action figures, while never forgetting to get the latest copy of the magazine. The comics still make quite entertaining reading, if not taken too seriously.

The Original Marvel Comics Series

Issue 1: The Transformers
Issue 2: Power Play!
Issue 3: Prisoner of War!
Issue 4: The Last Stand
Issue 5: The New Order
Issue 6: The Worse of Two Evils!
Issue 7: Warrior School!
Issue 8: Repeat Performance!
Issue 9: Dis-Integrated Circuits!
Issue 10: The Next Best Thing to Being There!

Issue 11: Brainstorm!
Issue 12: Prime Time!
Issue 13: Shooting Star
Issue 14: Rock and Roll-Out!
Issue 15: I, Robot-Master!
Issue 16: Plight of the Bumblebee!
Issue 17: The Smelting Pool!
Issue 18: The Bridge to Nowhere!
Issue 19: Command Performances!
Issue 20: Showdown!

Issue 21: Aerialbots over America!
Issue 22: Heavy Traffic!
Issue 23: Decepticon Graffiti!
Issue 24: Afterdeath!
Issue 25: Gone but not Forgotten!
Issue 26: Funeral for a Friend!
Issue 27: King of the Hill!
Issue 28: Mechanical Difficulties!
Issue 29: Crater Critters
Issue 30: The Cure

Issue 31: Buster Witwicky and the Car Wash of Doom
Issue 32: Used Autobots
Issue 33: Man of Iron part 1&2
Issue 34: Man of Iron part 3&4
Issue 35: Child's Play
Issue 36: Spacehikers!
Issue 37: Toy Soldiers!
Issue 38: Trial by Fire!
Issue 39: The Desert Island of Space
Issue 40: Pretender to the Throne

Issue 41: Totaled
Issue 42: People Power!
Issue 43: The Big Broadcast of 2006
Issue 44: The Cosmic Carnival
Issue 45: Monstercon from Mars!
Issue 46: Cash and Car-Nage!
Issue 47: The Underbase Saga part 1 - Club Con!
Issue 48: The Underbase Saga part 2 - The Flames of Boltax
Issue 49: The Underbase Saga part 3 - Cold War!
Issue 50: The Underbase Saga part 4 - The Electrifying Conclusion

Issue 51: The Man in the Machine!
Issue 52: Guess Who the Mecannibals Are Having for Dinner?
Issue 53: Recipe for Disaster!
Issue 54: King Con!
Issue 55: The Interplanetary Wrestling Championship!
Issue 56: Back from the Dead!
Issue 57: The Resurrection Gambit!
Issue 58: All the Familiar Faces!
Issue 59: Skin Deep
Issue 60: Yesterday's Heroes

Issue 61: Primal Scream
Issue 62: Matrix Quest part 1 - Bird of Prey
Issue 63: Matrix Quest part 2 - Kings of the Wild Frontier
Issue 64: Matrix Quest part 3 - Deadly Obsession
Issue 65: Matrix Quest part 4 - Dark Creation
Issue 66: Matrix Quest part 5 - All Fall Down
Issue 67: Rhythms of Darkness!
Issue 68: The Human Factor!
Issue 69: Eye of the Storm
Issue 70: The Price of Life!

Issue 71: Surrender!
Issue 72: ...All This and Civil War
Issue 73: Out of Time!
Issue 74: The Void!
Issue 75: On the Edge of Extinction!
Issue 76: Still Life!
Issue 77: Exodus!
Issue 78: A Savage Circle
Issue 79: The Last Autobot?
Issue 80: End of the Road!

November 13, 2001
Yes, I'm still in the middle of noding them.
I will tell you if I decide to quit and hand this project over to others (which I won't).

The following are the other United States comic releases, arranged in chronological order of introduction. The original series listed in break's writeup precedes all of these.

It should be noted that the Marvel-produced Transformers comics are not considered part of the Marvel Universe. While originally conceived as a four-issue limited series, it proved to be popular enough to spawn a full series. However, the events depicted in the comics conflicted heavily with the rest of the Marvel Universe, and Marvel decided to place the Transformers in another reality.

G.I. Joe and the Transformers - Marvel Comics
Issue 1: Blood on the Tracks
Issue 2: Power Struggle
Issue 3: Ashes, Ashes...
Issue 4: ...All Fall Down!

Secret Wars II - Marvel Comics
Issue 3: This World is Mine!

Transformers: The Movie - Marvel Comics
Issue 1: The Planet-Eater!
Issue 2: Judgement Day!
Issue 3: The Final Battle!

The Transformers: Headmasters - Marvel Comics
Issue 1: Ring of Hate!
Issue 2: Broken Glass
Issue 3: Love and Steel!
Issue 4: Brothers in Armor!!

Transformers in 3-D - Blackthorne Publishing
Issue 1: The Test
Issue 2: (no title)
Issue 3: (no title)

G.I. Joe - Marvel Comics
Issue 139: Realignments
Issue 140: Goin' South
Issue 141: Sucker Punch
Issue 142: Final Transformations

Transformers: Generation 2 - Marvel Comics
Issue 1: War Without End
Issue 2: All or Nothing / Ghosts
Issue 3: Primal Fear! / Old Evils
Issue 4: Devices and Desires / Tales of Earth, Part One
Issue 5: The Power and the Glory / Tales of Earth, Part Two
Issue 6: Tales of Earth, Part Three / The Gahtering Darkness
Issue 7: New Dawn / Tales of Earth, Part Four
Issue 8: Tales of Earth, Part Five / Escalation
Issue 9: Swarm / Tales of Earth, Part Six
Issue 10: Total War! / Tales of Earth, Part Seven
Issue 11: Dark Shadows! / Tales of Earth, Part Eight
Issue 12: A Rage in Heaven!

Optimus Primal & Megatron Toy MiniComic - Kenner
Beast Wars

Tales from the Beast Wars - 3H Productions (Botcon)
BotCon 1997: Ground Zero
BotCon 2000: Reaching the Omega Point

Transformers: The Wreckers - 3H Productions (Botcon)
Issue 1: Departure / Primeval Dawn

You are free to do writeups for the comics indexed in this writeup. All I ask is that you preserve the format and style template that break has set, for consistency.

The 21st century is a great time to be a Transformers fan. The Marvel comics have been and are currently being reprinted into trade paperbacks by Titan Books. If the sales hold steady, we will likely see the entire run of American comics collected by the end of 2004. If you'd like to pick up the story from the start, the list goes like this:

  1. Beginnings (#1-6)

  2. New Order (#7-12)

  3. Cybertron Redux (#13-18)

  4. Showdown (#19-24)

  5. Breakdown (#25-30)

  6. Treason (#31, #32, #35-37)

  7. Trial by Fire (Headmasters #1-4, Transformers #38, #39)

  8. Maximum Force (#40-42, #44, #45)

  9. Dark Star (#46-51)

  10. Last Stand (#52-55, #43, #33, #34*)

  11. Primal Scream (#56-62)

  12. Matrix Quest (#63-68)

  13. All Fall Down (#69-74)

  14. End of the Road (#75-80)

  15. Dark Designs (G2 #1-6)

  16. Rage in Heaven (G2 #7-12)

*Issues #33 and #34 were a reprint of a UK TF story. Issue #43 was an adaptation of an episode of the cartoon. None of these three fit into US Marvel continuity.

MEANWHILE, Titan is also collecting the UK Transformers issues Simon Furman scripted before he was brought across the pond. The British Transformers comic was a strange beast; as it also reprinted American issues, Furman had to be careful to craft backup stories that would not interfere with US continuity. He started out with mostly side stories highlighting underused characters, which felt a little awkward. After Transformers: The Movie came out and he realized Marvel US was not going to touch this new wealth of future characters, he incorporated time travel into all his story arcs, and he had an absolute ball.

(These collections are listed here in chronological order of continuity, or as close as one can reasonably get. The numbers in bold indicate the mixed-up order in which they were printed.)

  1. Dinobot Hunt {7} (#45-50, #74-77, 1986 Annual)

  2. Second Generation {9} (#59-65, #93, #145, #198, 1989 Annual)

  3. Target: 2006 {1} (#78-88)

  4. Prey {8} (#96-100, #103, #104, #135, #136, 1987 Annual, 1989 Annual)

  5. Fallen Angel {2} (#101, #102, #113-120, 1987 Annual)

  6. Legacy of Unicron {3} (#133, #134, #137, #138, #146-153)

  7. City of Fear {6} (#132, #164-171, #188, #213, #214)

  8. Space Pirates {4} (#160, #161, #172, #173, #180-187, 1987 Annual)

  9. Time Wars {5} (#130, #131, #189, #199-205)


(These numbers do not reflect the order in which the books were released, but rather the order in which they should be read.)





AS IF THAT WEREN'T ENOUGH, brand new Transformers comics are hitting the shelves these days, published by DreamWave. The art is pants-wettingly fantastic - the artists are now old enough to have been in love with these robots their whole lives - and the stories, while they might not always be dead on in terms of characters, are packed with references for the uberfan, drawn from the US Marvel line, the UK stories, the movie AND the cartoon.

But DreamWave continuity is not tied to any of these others. It is free to stand on its own. Which is kinda weird when you think about it - these stories are not promoting anything except themselves. (Unless you count white market sales of twenty year old toys, driven by conventions and fueled by eBay.) The two books below collect the two 6-issue miniseries(es?). The title is now ongoing, thanks to massive sales, and I'd be surprised if it shut down anytime soon.

ALSO, two MORE miniseries are telling stories set before the Transformers ever travelled to Earth, that is, four million years ago. Which means, Cybertronian vehicle modes! Megatron as a tank! Grimlock as... a different tank! Trypticon as... well, I don't know what that thing is, because they don't have them on our planet, but it's friggin' COOL, man! Simon Furman, with his prodigious knowledge of TF history, was the ideal choice to script these.

ON THE OTHER HAND, Hasbro's contemporary toy line, Transformers: Armada (which recently morphed into Transformers: Energon), is also represented by Dreamwave in comic form. Just like back in the day, the comics are much better than the cartoon. This series is ongoing as well - Armada was retitled Energon after Issue #18, and retained its numbering system. The titles for the collections below, which come from Amazon.com, do not seem to make much sense to me.

I bet that you think that is all. But THAT IS NOT ALL. There was an 8-issue miniseries titled More Than Meets The Eye which was a reprinting of Budiansky's original character ideas (Profile, Abilities, Weaknesses - you may recognize this format as being identical to Marvel's four Transformers Universe issues) with new Dreamwave-style art. A few of the bios were rewritten by other characters - Kup giving his thoughts on Hot Rod, etc. - I found this more annoying than useful. A parallel miniseries for the Armada characters is also forthcoming.

Lastly, and possibly of greatest interest to you "I Love the 80's" diehards, 2003 saw not one but TWO more crossovers, six issues each, pairing the TFs with their old Hasbro cohorts - no, not My Little Pony, you ass! - G.I. Joe.

G.I. Joe Vs. Transformers was published by Image Comics, who has been pumping out Yo Joe stuff for a while. Predictably, it's brightly colored and full of action. It isn't a merger of the existing titles, though, it's in its own continuity - a parallel universe where Cobra discovered the crashed Ark and converted the dormant Autobots into HISS tanks! This was pretty novel for a while, but eventually lost steam.

Oh, but the other one, Dreamwave's Transformers/G.I.Joe, was magnificent. Seriously. It's set during World War II, which could have been ridiculously cheesy, but Jae Lee's sharp, shadowy art frames the story with smoky despair. This is a fairly radical interpretation of these giant robots we feel we know so well. Plus, Snake Eyes busts some amazingly cool ninja skillz.

I will update this node as needed, when new collections and miniseries are announced. TILL ALL ARE ONE!

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