Mark’s story starts out a little different then the others I’ve interviewed. See, mark found out about my little project from a facebook post about it. Mark even talks about having his letter show up in the Transformers comic on a blog post he wrote entitled: The Single Most Cataclysmically Important Transformers Story, Ever.
Mark’s Letter in the 80s Marvel comic reads:
After reading the several million letters you have printed by people begging you to bring back certain characters, I feel it is time to start giving your writers some advice. They shouldn’t pay so much attention to which new toys Hasbro are producing, and -most importantly- it shouldn’t matter that Hasbro is no longer producing certain characters as toys. Just because these characters aren’t made anymore doesn’t mean you have to kill them off in the comic!
In the 55 issues so far I have seen many characters (good and bad) killed off: Shockwave, Megatron and (everyone’s favorite) Starscream, to name some Decepticons, and Jazz, Blasters and Sunstreaker, on the Autobot side. Please stop this trend before all we’re left with are Pretenders, Micromasters, Powermasters and the like!
I’d better just add this I’ve just flicked to the final page of issue #56, and seen Megatron! So perhaps this letter was unnecessary.
How did you discover the Transformers?
I *think* I saw Bumblebee in the toy store before I even knew what Transformers were, but won’t swear to it. I first became familiar with the franchise through friends at school, and through the cartoon mini-series which aired a couple of times before the series proper began.
For the most part, I either got my comics from the grocery store or via subscription (especially once I figured out that subscriptions were cheaper than getting the issues from the store!). I got every issue as it came out starting with issue #8, but did have to go back by various means to collect issues #1-7 (especially comic shops. But the closest to me was on the opposite end of town, so this was by no means convenient) I’m quite proud of having every Transformers-related comic Marvel US ever put out (with this caveat: I only have one issue of the “digests” that only collected a couple of previously-released issues, as well as only one of the “collected comics” softcovers… In this case the one that collected issues 1-3 in a slightly-edited form. I don’t know how many “collected comics” were released).
What compelled you to write to Marvel’s Transformers?
My letter itself (as well as my blog entry) gets to this fairly well. It was clear at this point in time that the Transformers toy line was focused on just a couple of line-wide gimmicks each year (at the time that I wrote, this would have been Pretenders and Micromasters. A year or so later, it was just Action Masters and Micromasters), and I was afraid that the comics would be following suit (which, to a degree, of course they were).
What was it like to see your letter printed in the back of the comic?
I was pretty excited to see my letter printed. After all, I was just 15 at the time, and this was like becoming famous!
Who are you today and are you still a Transformers fan?
I’m still a Transformers fan, and keep pretty active in the online community. Besides my blog, Blackrock’s Toybox, I’m pretty well-known on several of the more prominent message boards, where I’ve used the moniker “G.B. Blackrock” for many years now. I work as support staff in higher education, having completed almost 15 years on the staff of Fuller Theological Seminary, and now working at Azusa Pacific University for just over a year.