Transformers Review Issue 15: I, Robot-Master!

Youseph-Cover-15With Megaton on the loose trying to retake leadership of the Decepticons and a government plot to subdue the people amid rising fears of Transformers presents on earth comes issue 15, ‘I, Robot-Master!’

The cover of issue 15 is a comic book cover on a comic book cover. The comic is black with a white and blue Transformers logo at the top. The cover depicts another comic on the cover called ‘Robot Master’ with Megatron, Bumblebee, Soundwave and several other Transformers in the background. At the bottom is the Robot Master himself, Donny Finkleberg. On the left side of the comic reads in bold black lettering “THE MAN BEHIND THE MACHINES!”

Transformers-Issue-15-CoverIn this issue Megatron is scowering across the land looking for fuel. Eventually his body powers down in a Wyoming Coal mine like some great statue. His mind the only thing still functioning.

The Intelligence and Information Institute (I.I.I.) searches for a way to explain the Transformers tot he public that will be calming and prevent a wide spread panic. In a I.I.I.’s meeting to discuss options, G.B. Blackrock tries and fails to convince the governmental agency that the Autobots are earth’s friends and the Decepticons are everyone’s enemy. At the end of the agency’s meeting everyone is sent home to come up with an explainable cover story and not to return without some ideas.

Walter Barnett, a Triple I agent trying to come up with a cover story finds one while flipping through a copy of his son’s comic book, Robot-Master. Walter flies out to Marvel Comics’ head quarters to meet Robot Master’s Writer, Donny Finkleberg who has just lost his job. Walter takes Donny out to lunch where Walter discusses bringing Robot Master to life. Donny accepts the job offer.

Issue-15-TVOn TV the next day the whole country’s Television programs are interrupted by Donny Finkleberg dressed up like Robot Master. He states that all the Transformers are under his control. The Autobots who see this  are confused and ask G.B Blackrock for help understanding what is going on.

The following day a second broadcast shot at the Wyoming Coal mine uses a disable Megatron for Robot Master’s backdrop. This time the broadcast not only catches the attention of the Autobots but also the Decepticon, Soundwave. He goes out to find Megatron and refuel him. The Autobots know that Megatron could still pose a threat so they Transform and roll out. This is the first issue to have Optimus Prime actually utter the phrase “Transform and roll out”.

Issue-15-PrimeThe Autobots arrive at the Wyoming coal mine, but the human military reacts negativity to their presence. They don’t seem to understand the difference between Autobots and Decepticons. Soundwave, Laserbeak and Ravage arrive at the mine with fuel for Megatron. Once consumed he becomes active again. The four Decepticons start destroying everything around them and the Autobots are to damaged by the human military to help stop them. So, they retreat.

Megatron wants to kill the “Robot-Master” for claiming control over him during the TV broadcasts. But Donny Finkleberg convinces Megatron that continuing to tell the humans that the Autobots are as much of a threat to the them as the Decepticons on TV, the Autobots’ effort might continue to be stopped. Finkleberg’s life is spared for the time being.

No letters to Marvel in this issue.

ISSUE 15′s Ads

Brennan’s Texas Comic Book Wall


Recently I was contacted by Brennan from Texas. He sent me a picture of his new comic book wall using the directions from my IKEA comic book hack. Brennan had the following story to share with us about this comics and his new comic book wall.

After most of my comics got destroyed in a flood about 6-7 years ago, I stopped collecting. But my parents found a box of stuff I stashed away in their garage and it turned out, most of my favorite issues and cover art were inside. Growing up, I was a bigger fan of the B-list Marvel heroes, guys like Dr. Strange, Moon Knight, Iron Fist, Black Panther and Black Knight. So naturally, I wanted a relatively inexpensive way to display them. After doing a little online research, I came across Youseph’s site and liked the results I saw.

There’s an IKEA near where my folks live in Dallas and I bought 16 frames for under $40.00, picked up some black card stock at the Hobby Lobby and some Command Picture Hanging Strips, so that there wouldn’t be any damage to my walls. I chose 16 of my favorite covers from the 40 or so books I had left in my long box and my girlfriend helped me hang them up in the office.

She loves them, I love them. The result was perfect. Now we’re thinking about hanging up 16 more in another part of the house! If it wasn’t for Youseph’s site, we’d have probably spent a lot more money. Thanks for the smart and effective tip!

If you have a comic book wall using the IKEA hack found here, please contact me. I would love to see how it turned out for you.

TransMissions: Jeb Hoge

Jeb Hoge and son Andrew
Jeb and his #1 Transformers fan, Andrew.

Back when I started my reviews of the original Transformers comic books, I wanted to do something different then what I was seeing on other web sites. I decided one thing I could do differently was post the letters kids wrote to Marvel about the comic books. At the time these where called, TransMissions.

As I sat copying these letters from each comic book into my post I couldn’t help but think how cool it would be if one of the kids who wrote these letters so many years ago found my post and tried to contacted me about it. Well that very thing happened to me just recently.

Jeb Hoge, was one of those kids who wrote into Marvel Comics back in the 80s. On my review of Transformers issue 5, Jeb wrote in to me and commented:

Cracked me up! I was using Google to look for some old things I’d published online and saw my name show up here. Yes. I did write that letter to the editor in 1985. Never thought I’d run across it here. :-) And I think I still have this issue.

Marvels Comics' Transformers Issue #5: The New Order
Marvels Comics’ Transformers Issue #5: The New Order

Praising Marvel on Transformers, Jeb’s original letter from the 1980s read:

Dear Marvel, I would like to compliment you on TRANSFORMERS. I have two of them and they are terrific! Hats off to you! – Jeb Hoge, Tullahoma, TN

Communicating with Jeb since he contacted me about the post, he recalled how excited he was to see his letter printed in issue 5 of the Transformers comic. The cover of issue 5 is so iconic now, I can’t think of a better issue to have your letter published in.

Jeb was kind enough to do a quick interview with me about the Transformers comic book, his life since he wrote that letter and if he is still a Transformers fan today.

Youseph: How did you discover the Transformers?

Jeb: I was born in 1974, so that put me right in the target market when Transformers first came out. I’m not sure if I found the toys or the cartoon first, but I do remember having to go to a friend’s house to watch the cartoon. I also had the first four TF comic books, and then the fifth. I’d say Transformers were in my top three of all toys, along with Lego (naturally) and GI Joe.

Youseph: Where did you get your Transformers comics from?

Jeb: I first started getting comic books at a local drugstore that just happened to have them. My favorite was “GI Joe,” which started up right around when I was just old enough to get into comics and “big kid toys,” but when “Transformers” hit the racks, I started buying them too. Later, I found a proper comic book store in town that was fun, but I never got hugely invested into comic books as a medium.

Youseph: You found my website because I republished a letter you wrote to Marvel about the Transformers comic. What compelled you to write to them? What was it like to see your letter printed in the back of the comic?

Jeb: The letter I wrote to Marvel was just the kind of thing that an excited, avid comic book reader did at the time. I’m sure my mom encouraged me to write it, too, but you’d never expect to get it published. So when I saw my name in Issue #5, it made my year. I showed it off to everyone, I think.

Youseph: Who are you today and are you still a Transformers fan?

SoundwaveJeb: Now, I’m almost 40 and I’m a married dad of three little boys. Two of them are old enough to be Transformers fans too! They watch the original cartoon series thanks to Netflix streaming. I wish I had the old toys to share with them, but those are long gone. I do tell stories about when I had them and how I played with them, so it’s a really nice connection between my kids and my kid-at-heart self. My oldest has even gone online to look at pictures of the original series of TF toys and I’ve given thought to seeing what they go for on eBay, just to surprise him with an old-school Soundwave (“See, son, they used to have these things called ‘Walkmans’…”). Sometimes I get quizzed on different Transformers’ abilities, but mostly they just like them for what they are, and that’s good enough.

As for what I do, I’m a technical writer in Richmond, VA. That’s not terribly interesting, though. :-)

Thank you Jeb, for taking the time to do this interview with me. It was a pleasure to meet you. I hope I get to hear from more of you out there who may have written into Marvel back in the day.

Root For The Bad Guy

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s there was a great band located in Oak Harbor, Washington that went by the name of Wearing Black. My own band at the time, Kira’s Modern Mourning, was occasionally lucky enough to play gigs with them in and around the Oak Harbor area.

Wearing Black originally consisted of two acoustic guitar players and an electric bass player. Their music was amazing and it was guaranteed that whatever venue they where playing at, they would fill it up.

‘Root For The Bad Guy’ was one of Wearing Black’s’ popular songs. People at the time loved to hear it and would sing along with the band when they played it. The song is an anthem to all evil doers and bad guy in fictional genres.

The band eventually disbanded leaving only a few recorded songs on-line for their fans. About a year after the band broke up it’s lead singer and guitar player, Saul Nathaniel McCartney, recorded a solo version of ‘Root For The Bad Guy’. Well, I really liked the song a lot. So, over the last 8 months I worked on a type of music video for it and uploaded it to YouTube. I hope you all enjoy it.

Happy New Years

I had a pretty amazing 2011 and I hope you did too. I would like to spend this blog post reviewing some of the amazing things that I have gotten to do and experienced over the last three hundred and sixty five days.

  • I Lost 30 Pounds!

2011 started off with a book, ‘The 4 Hour Body‘. This book had a huge impact on me. Because of this book I have lost thirty pounds and I have kept it off! This is amazing to me because my weight is something I have struggled with my whole life. Now, I don’t feel like I am struggling anymore. I feel like I have it all under control.

  • I Got Married!

As far as importance goes, my marriage should be the first thing on my list. But I have decided to do my 2011 list in chronological order rather than importance.

In April, I got married to my beautiful wife Hannah, and I can’t think of another person I would rather spend the rest of my life with. After being together for seven years we had an amazing wedding with our family and friends. We can’t thank everyone enough for showing up and supporting us on our special day. But please know we are thankful and grateful for each and every single one of you.

  • I Wrote My First Book

In 2011, I wrote ‘All That Matters’, my first book.  I wrote it and self-published it all in the same year. Its now available on and Barns & Noble. From start to finish creating this book was an amazing process that I have learned so much from. I am eagerly working on my second book which I hope to have out soon.

  • My Most popular Blog Post

In 2011 I wrote a blog post entitled ‘Ikea Comic Book Photo Frame Hack‘ which has become the most popular post on my blog. Its pretty impressive that something I wrote on how to display comic books cheaply has become the most popular post on my whole blog in less than a year.

  • 2012
2011 was an amazing year with memories I will carry with me forever. I have nothing but great hopes and dreams for 2012 and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Thank you all for taking the time out of your busy days to follow my little blog. I hope you have found it entertaining, if not useful. I wish you all lots of luck and happiness for the new year.

More Framed Books

I recently got a great e-mail from Anthony James, who stumbled upon my ‘IKEA photo frames hack for comic books‘ post. In this e-mail he wrote:

I recently had a chance to meet Scott Snyder at the Midtown Comics in lower Manhattan for the launch of Batman 1. I bought a copy of Batman as well as Swamp Thing and had him sign both. I also bought a copy of American Vampire 1 signed by Scott on Ebay.

After getting home I realized I didn’t want them all sitting in a long box in the closet so I looked up framing solutions online. They had to look nice in order to get my girlfriend to approve hanging them in the hallway, so at first all I searched was Amazon. After giving up because I needed 3 frames which would be very costly, I searched Google and came across your site.

We went to Ikea in Brooklyn (just a short 15 minute drive so I can do this all the time!) and I picked up the frames. One thing your site doesn’t mention is that the store has different colors so I went with a white frame for American Vampire as it’s primarily a white cover. They have other colors as well but the black was the best fit for Batman and Swamp Thing.

One thing I did different was I used white card stock behind the comics to make them almost appear like they are floating. I also used foam mounting tape on the edges of the frame which keeps the flush with the wall. The comics don’t pinch at all in the frames which is great.

Again, thanks for the awesome tip. It saved a lot of money and left me with a nice exhibition in my hallway!

Thanks for writing and sharing your photos Anthony!

Comic Book Frames

I got a great e-mail from Hamp Freeman this last weekend who read my post on IKEA photo frames hack for comic books and decided to drive 3 hours to his nearest IKEA to pickup a set of these photo frames for his own comic book collection. He was kind enough to share with me some great photos of his comic now proudly displayed on his walls. Check out his e-mail to me below.

I’m from Raleigh, North Carolina, where I went to NC State to get a Master’s of Industrial Design. Comics were a minor interest as a kid, but came out even more when I went to the College of Design. I found it really interesting to see how they have affected entertainment and popular media through their design over the years, especially within the past few years. Recently, I fell into some rare comic books (my girlfriend’s father gave me a few of his old comic books when he found out how interested I was in them, and they happen to be some of the earliest issues of The Amazing Spider-Man) and this got me very excited to not only collect these amazing covers, but find a way to show them off. I never wanted to be “that comic book guy” who hides his collection in boxes to keep them safe. I was proud to own these books, and wanted to share their history with those that came by.

I scoured the internet one day, looking up “how to frame comic book covers” and like you, found that most of the products out there are pretty expensive, something a recent college graduate couldn’t afford, especially not in the mass quantity I wanted. I finally came about your blog post (drawn in by the mention of IKEA) and became really excited about the idea of a D.I.Y. IKEA solution that was affordable. I had to drive to Charlotte, NC to get them, but it has made all the difference in the world. I bought 16 while there, and plan on getting another batch soon.

Your solution is incredibly effective. Not only for its affordability, but also because the IKEA frames allow me to quickly change out the covers to show off different collections in the same area. I have a few different sets of collections going right now and I plan on switching out different collections to keep my room’s art always changing. Right now I have three collections going at once. The first are classic issues of my favorite Marvel characters, chosen by their cover designs. The second are homage covers to Spider-Man #1. I really find the concept of “paying tribute” to past covers by recreating the design with updated characters to be very interesting and visually stunning (something that can’t quite be completely understood until you see them all up together). My final set of collections are the “Marvel Zombies Homage Covers paired with their originals”. Basically their is a comic book artist, Arthur Suydam, who created amazingly painted covers for a yearly series “Marvel Zombies” where he took classic covers recreated them to have zombies in them. You can see the Spider-Man#1 zombie counter part in the previously mentioned picture, but also the 2nd picture shows the classic “Spider-Man Wedding” matched its zombie counter part. Suydam’s covers are really interesting and you can find a list of the covers at his wikipedia page.

So that pretty much sums up the whole process. I apologize for getting a bit long winded, but finding your solution really rebooted my interest in comics, and I’ve been incredibly excited to show off everything.

I think it is so great when people like Hamp share stores like this with me. I hope this becomes a thing on the Internet where more and more people take pictures and share their comic book photo frames with me. Feel free to contact me if you have done a project like this. I would like to hear about it.