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, 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!