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

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.

Transformers Macbook Pro Decal

The Finished Product

I used to be one of those people who took really good care of his possessions. Everything I owned had to be cleaned and put away back in its proper place. I was verging on the edge of obsessive compulsive. Then something changed and I am not totally sure what it was.

Reading books like Timothy Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek and David Allen’s Getting Things Done have really changed how I look at life and day to day living. I find myself trying to live more for the now then to save and anticipate for a hard and unknown future. To be honest I feel it has payed off greatly. I am a lot less stressed out and more aware of what is going on around me with family and friends.

My Desktop Pictures and iPhone Vinyl Sticker. This Photo Does Not Do The Desktop Pictures Justis

I recently purchased a new 15″ MacBook Pro. A computer I use all the time and take with me just about everywhere I go. It truly is a powerhouse work horse for me. When I got the computer I new right away I wanted to sticker it with some cool Transformers art. I had seen a few photos of other Apple users who had put Ironman or Snow White vinyl stickers on their Macbooks. Both stickers are really awesome and I wanted to do something smiler with my Macbook Pro and Transformers.

I ended up searching on Etsy and finding Rob who makes vinyl stickers for MacBooks. I sent Rob an e-mail asking him if he could make me a vinyl sticker for my new Macbook Pro. For the next two weeks we worked together over e-mail to come up with just the right Transformers image I wanted displayed on my computer.

I really wanted to find and image that worked with the Apple logo on my Macbook Pro  much like the Ironman and Snow White images did. I was sent a couple mock ups of  Optimus Prime with the Apple logo in his hand. It was a great image but I was not happy with that rendition of Optimus Prime. So we both went back to the drawing board. I finally came up with three images I sent in and asked Rob what he could do with them.

Autobot Matrix of Leadership

The first image was of the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. I was soon sent back a render of the image with the Apple logo in the center of the Matrix. It’s a great graphic and I ended up using it on my older 15″ Apple Powerbook.

Getting Ready To apply The Vinyl Stickers

The second two images I sent in came from IDW Transformers posters. One of Megatron and one of Optimus Prime. I ended up having vinyl stickers made out of these posters and I ended up placing them on my Macbook Pro.

When I got the stickers in the mail they came in a large envelope between to peaces of cardboard to prevent them from getting bent or damaged. Inside the envelope where some simple instructions on how to apply the vinyl stickers along with a couple of Popsicle sticks to smooth out any air bubbles that might happen to form.

Wet Erase Marker
Wet Erase Marker

Putting the vinyl sticker of the Matrix on my Powerbook was pretty easy for the most part. I just lined up the Apple logo in the center and smoothed it out. The Optimus Prime and Megatron Vinyl stickers where a little bit harder to apply because they didn’t incorporate the logo. There was a lot of adjustments I made to make to make sure the images where level and centered. Once I had the image placed on my MacBook Pro just the way I wanted them I used a green wet erase marker from my Dungeons & Dragons battlemat to outline the stickers. That way when I picked up the stickers and remove the backing from the sticky side I could align it back up correctly before sticking them to my computer.

I am really happy how this little project turned out. I had a really great first experience with etsy and everything went so well. Rob no longer has a store front on etsy. He does however have an eBay page and he can be e-mailed here. He still makes custom vinyl stickers for computers and he is really great to work with.

I show off my computer every chance I get. You might just catch me with one of my laptops at PAX Prime this year. You never know.

So, I Saw Transformers 2

TRANSFORMERS
This is supposed to be Optumis Prime

Yup, I saw Transformers 2, and it was a cinematic abortion. A phrase I have used on Twitter, and Facebook when asked about the sequel to the first live action mistake that Micheal Bay directed in 2007.

Now I know I have said I would never pay to see Transformers 2. I started saying that shortly after seeing the first film. Truth be told I didn’t. A good friend of mine paid for my ticket to see the movie. Partly as a joke. Partly because of the friends we went with like to see me rant and rave about it. But mostly to celebrate the birthday of a good friend.

The movie so rudely, and blatantly went against the 25 year history that Hasbro has with Transformers. Micheal Bay probably can’t tell you a thing about the Transformers mythology. Rather then reading up on it, he reinvented it, changing just about every single aspect of the Transformers story line. He would talk on his website, and forum, explaining his process of auditioning a couple of the original voice actors for the movie parts. It came off as if he was doing all the fans of Transformers a huge favor. As if auditioning them, and giving the voice actgers a roll in his movie would make all his  re-imagining of a 25 year old beloved mythology, acceptable to the fans.

I think not.

With the release of Transformers 2 I can easily say I am not the only one who was disappointed with this movie. Professionals in the industry are also not happy with it.

…a horrible experience of unbearable length.”  “The day will come when Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will be studied in film classes and shown at cult film festivals. It will be seen, in retrospect, as marking the end of an era. Of course there will be many more CGI-based action epics, but never again one this bloated, excessive, incomprehensible, long (149 minutes) or expensive (more than $200 million).” Roger Ebert

Transformers 2 has a shot at the title Worst Movie of the Decade. Peter Travers of Rolling Stones

for the uninitiated, it’s loud, tedious, and at 147 minutes, way too long. Ray Bennett of the Hollywood Reporter

it is Bay’s worst-reviewed movie, topping Pearl Harbor. The Washington Post

As I have said before I hope that these Transformers movies bring some interest to people to go back and read and watch the original stories. I hope before I die someone comes along and makes a Transformers movie that should have been made.

Fake Michael Bay Is Better Then The Real Michael Bay

One of the things I really like about Twitter is the user Fake Michael Bay. Since the real Micheal Bay has ruined Transformers, and lost me as a fan of his work, I find my self constantly laughing over fake Michael Bay. I woke up this morning to a tweet from user Michael_Bay that said:

If your not following him on twitter, you should.

Jack-O-Lanterns

Hannah and I went to carve some pumpkins tonight. She recently got me a Flip Camera for my birthday, so I thought this was a good chance to test it out. I would video tape the nights events and see how the thing works. Hannah made a really cool Autobot pumpkin!

When we took the Jack-o-lanterns outside it was so cold that you can see the hot air rising from the them.

Transformers Ornaments

Today my desk got just that much cooler. While at Fred Meyer this weekend I spied a Transformer Christmas ornament. This just begs the questions; why is anyone selling Christmas ornaments in October? I guess the answer is because people like me buy them.

The Transformer ornament was of the evil Megatron. He goes great on my desk next to my Optimus Prime ornament I got last year around this time. So now, whenever I look over my laptop screen I can catch the two Cybertron learders fighting it out.