100 Letters Project Interview On The TransMissions Podcast

I was recently interviewed on the TransMissions Podcast (episode 149. Time code: 00:56:33), regarding the 100 Letters project I started. Thought I’m a cohost on the podcast, I try not to bring my personal projects onto the show unless the rest of the cohorts ask me to. That’s just what happened here.

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It’s worth listening to because we touch on things that even I was unaware of that is directly related to the current IDW Publishing Transformers books.

TransMissions: Tori Bergquist

The Third response from the 100 letters I mailed out was from one Tori Bergquist. Tori’s letter appeared in issue 37. Among other things Tori complimented my favorite story line, ‘Man of Iron’.

Transformers-37-Cover“I received your letter from my folks, who still live on their ranch in Arizona.” Tori wrote. “Actually, until you mentioned it I had completely forgotten ever writing to the Marvel Transformers comic (or getting published) so this brings back some ancient and buried memories.”

Tori’s letter in the 80s Marvel comic read:

Dear Bob, Parkhouse, etc,

Congratulations, Mr. Parkhouse on an excellent story! The British have come and “Man of Iron” was worth the interruption on the fate of Blaster. It was especially interesting to see how you fellows overseas portray everyone’s favorite mechanical men… although I did miss the usual snide comments the Decepticons usually hurl at the Autobots during their battles.

It was also nice to see the old characters again especially Mirage and Starscream (my favorites), not to mention ol’ Op (even if it was brief). Another interesting thing about “Man of Iron” was the way the characters were drawn… they look exactly like the figures!

Okay, Bob. Where’s the Megster? He shows up all decked out in red, orange and blue on the cover of issue #33, and I begin to think that maybe he’ll return next issue, thrust into a time wrap back to the fourteenth century, and not a Cyberton at all! Since he didn’t return, I guess I can continue to make it a safe bet he’s on Cybertron, in the hands of his fellow Decepts, giving him a new “galvatronic” body?
To close off, I would like to add my name to the (hopefully) growing lists of people who demand to have you guys make the HEADMASTERS as an unlimited series. You started it, but that doesn’t mean you have to finish it! Until Shockwave learns to meaning of “personality,” Make Mine Marvel.

Tori Bergquist
Sam Simon, AZ

Tori_ Bergquist
Tori Bergquist (2016)

Now, 30ish years later we get to hear from Tori again.

Youseph: How did you discover the Transformers?

I grew up in Rural Southern Arizona, and the first Transformers experience I had was discovering a few figures, specifically Ironhide, Sideswipe and Bluestreak in a local store, the kind which later would close down as Walmart took over. The figures were amazing, and I recall cutting out the stat cards on the back. Shortly after that I discovered the first issue of the Marvel Comic, then the TV series. I collected every issue for the next seven-odd years, and recorded every episode of the TV show on VHS. I also collected almost every figure released through 1988, missing only about two or three, as I recall.

Youseph: Where did you get your Transformers comics from?

Initially I bought them at a local grocery store in the nearest “big” town (Wilcox). As my interest in comics expanded I started ordering shipments from Mile High Comics which was the best way to get a lot of obscure titles couple of weeks. Sometimes I’d grab issues, especially import copies of the UK edition of Transformers, from comic shops in the nearest big city (Tucson).

Youseph: What compelled you to write to Marvel’s Transformers?

I was doing a lot of writing projects back then, but my love of the comic and what they were doing with it was a big motivator. The TV series felt a bit “canned” to me, lots of filler episodes with an occasional cool story, but the comic was an amazing ride every issue, and I always thought of it as the “definitive” Transformers. I decided to write to them and see if I could get my letter published….I think I wrote it as carefully as I could to see if it would meet the typical criteria Marvel looked for in letters they would publish, and that paid off. Oddly, until this interview came up I had pretty much forgotten I had written that letter (and been published).

Youseph: What was it like to see your letter printed in the back of the comic?

In thinking back I recall being ecstatic. I had written other fan letters and also published a fanzine on sci-fi and fantasy gaming. I’d received at various times either no response or once even a negative response (from author Piers Anthony, who disliked that I was critical of his latest Xanth novel at the time). But the Transformers crew actually published my letter and it felt very affirming to my devotion to the series.

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

Today I am a manager for a company focused on healthcare benefits for the State of New Mexico. I am also a published game designer for various role playing games (the paper and pencil kind). I have a wife and five year old son who (you guessed it) also loves Transformers, although the shows these days are a bit different than the original. I remain a Transformers fan although I stopped collecting the figures ages ago, unfortunately. I enjoyed the movies that came out, even if they were a new revision with Michael Bay at the helm, and really love the video games that have been released in recent years, including Fall of Cybertron, War for Cybertron, Devasation and even Rise of the Dark Spark. I’m looking forward to seeing if Hasbro can turn the Transformers into a franchise series for film, too.

Many thanks goes out to Tori for his time and the information he shared with me. I have a few more of these interviews to share with you so stay tuned.

TransMissions: Liane Elliot

The second response I got from the 100 letters I mailed out was from one Liane Elliot. Someone who was very active in the fandom back in the day. “I was quite surprised to see your letter as it has been so long since my address was in the Marvel ‘Transformers’ comic.” She responded.

Her letter in the 80s Marvel comic read:

Dear Transmissions,
I am a member of a Transformers fan club called the TransMasters. The club started in 1984, and our current membership stands at 45, and we’re looking to expand still further. We have several talented artists and most every member has written Transformer related stories. We are an international club with members in the US, UK, and Canada. If possible, we’d like to open up a line of communication between ourselves and a concerned party at Marvel. I await your response expectantly.
Liane Elliot
Gig Harbor, WA

Now, 30ish years later we get to hear from Liane once again.

Youseph: How did you discover the Transformers?

Transformers was part of the afternoon cartoon lineup. I’d catch it right after getting home from school.

Youseph: Where did you get your Transformers comics from?

I originally discovered there was a comic in a shop at the B & I in Tacoma. But the shop keeper didn’t have back issues so I ended up at O’Learys’ comic shop. When it closed up, due to the health of the owner, I went to Lady Jayne’s comic shop until she closed. Then to Comic Book Inc until I became unemployed and couldn’t afford comics anymore.

Youseph: What compelled you to write to the comic?

Simply put I felt that any true fan would want to be included in a fan club so wrote in to let those fans know that one existed. It got a number of responses and every once in a great while I still get a letter, like your own. You are lucky that I’m one of those people that stick around where they grew up.

Youseph: What was it like to see your letter printed in the back of the comic?

I was thrilled to see it and looked forward to hearing from fans who wanted to be part of the fan club.

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

I’m not sure what you mean by ‘who’. I’m still me. I’m just older, wiser and all that comes from 30 years of living. Yes I am still a fan.

I asked Liane to give me some background history on the TransMasters fan club.

The history… hoo boy… this should cover it nicely I think. http://transmasters.angelfire.com/history.html
As it states in that I left the club, I cannot recall what about, but I was really ticked off enough to give up and leave. I stayed in contact with those members that joined my Survivors fan club. So named after the UK Transformers story where the remaining Autobot “Wreckers” joined with the surviving Decepticon “Mayhem Attack Squad”. I ran Survivors for a number of years along with a fanzine I called Overlord II. I stopped the fanzine and soon let the club die after feeling like my feelings or opinions didn’t matter to the Internet generation of fans. Suffice it to say there was enough trolling done on me to make me want nothing to do with the fandom and I disappeared from it for 10 years (1995-2005). Wrote them all off entirely. I was still a fan, just not into socializing with kids who were being mean and nasty to someone who should have been respected at the very least.
Here’s some FaceBook links for you.
I want to thank Liane so much for her time and the information she shared with me. I’m really amazed this letter mailing effort has worked so well. Stay tuned as I still have more letter responses to share soon.

TransMissions: Abe Smith

I’m so excited to start sharing with you all the responses to the 100 letters I mailed out. I’m starting with Abe Smith. Abe was the first to contact me. In fact it was just a couple of day after I sent his letter.

Transformers-40-Cover“Thank you for your letter.” Abe e-mailed. “I’ve wondered often if I would be able to track down which issue it was in. ”

Abe’s original letter to Marvel reads:

Dear Marvel,
The TRANSFORMERS are really neat! I’ve just finished reading #34 (good, of course), and in glancing through the letters I saw an attempt for a no-Prize. He was trying to explain the whole Bumblbee/Goldbug thing; “Right now in 1987, Bumblebee has become Goldbug. How could he be Bumblee again in 2005 (as seen in the movie)? Well, I have a simple explanation. These are Transformer Comic books, that was the Transformer movie. Who says the comic book has to do everything the movie does.
Abe Smith
Portland, OR

And Marvel’s Response:

You have a point there, Abe. Also consider that the Transformer movie doesn’t take place for another eighteen years. Eighteen years ago, we’d barely put a man on the moon. Nixon was President, Marvel was only eight years old, and no one had ever heard of Transformers. Wait a bit and see if things don’t change as much in another eighteen!

Now, 30ish years later we get to hear from Abe once again.

Youseph: How did you discover the Transformers?

I discovered Transformers by seeing a TV commercial on Sat morning cartoons. What did it was watching Soundwave transform and then the kids took out tapes that transformed into Ratchet and Lazer Beak. I was instantly hooked.

Youseph: Where did you get your Transformers comics from?

I would buy them on the wheel racks that are similar to those sunglass racks that you spin today. They used to have them in grocery stores and I’d save up. Once I started collecting seriously and finished my collection later, I bought them from Excalibur comics in Portland.

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

Today I’m a Father, musician, sci/fi fantasy enthusiast, and I like whisky. To the dismay of girlfriends and friends alike…yes I’m still a fan.
Many thanks go out to Abe for responding to my letter. I really enjoyed this and I’m looking forward to sharing all the other interviews with you later in the coming weeks.

100 Letters

I sent my messages into the past and I got replies! More replies then I could have hopped for. I’m so excited to tell you about the results.


The people who’ve contacted me as a result of mailing out 100 letters to Transformers fans listed in the Marvel Transformers comic books of the 1980s.

Of the 100 letters I mailed out a few weeks ago, 10 people have responded to me.  39 of the letters have been returned. That leaves 51 floating out in the either somewhere. (I will update these numbers as more information comes in.)


Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting my interviews with those who’ve responded to my letters. Sharing their story with you.

This was a really fun project and the fact that I got any responses is amazing to me. I’m looking forward to sharing them with you.

TransMissions Comic Penpals – 100 Stamps

I believe time travel is possible. I will prove it with 100 stamps. 100 stamps and 100 letters are all I need to send a message back to the 1980s. I think my odds are good that I’ll hear back from someone too.


I’ve just finished reading and reviewing all 80 issues of Marvel Comics’ Transformers. A comic series which started in 1984 and ended it’s run in 1991. After reading each issue, I looked forward to reading the letters section in the back called TRANS MISSONS. Fans of the Transformers comic would write in and share their thoughts of the most recent issue they had read. Many of them shared their mailing address in hopes of becoming penpals with like minded fans. A neat idea that didn’t always have the intended results.


Over the last few years I’ve posted my reviews of these comics, I also posted the letters section. Of course, I omitted peoples addresses, but that didn’t stop a few of those writers (Christine L. Leddon, Steve De Anda, and Jeb Hoge), from contacting me.

This gave me an idea. What are the chances that any of these writers (or family members of these writers), are still at these original addresses? It would be like reaching through time and asking, “Hello? Is anyone home?”

Because I was reading and reviewing these Transformers comics at a decent clip, I was able to enlist YouTube toy reviewer, Peaugh, to help me collect addresses from these old comics. Because of his help, I was able to jump on this project the moment I finished my review of all 80 issues of Transformers.


Out of the 100 address that have been collected from the backs of these Transformers comics, I say my odds are good that at least one of them will come back to me. Of course, I hope I hear back from more than one. I would like to conduct more than one interview like I had with those writers who had contacted me previously.


So with letters written, envelops addressed, and stamps applied. I send forth a message to the 1980s.

“Hello? Is anyone home?”

YOSHICAST #012 – Talking Sketch Covers With Matt Moylan

Thanks for checking out episode #012 of the YOSHICAST! If you want to comment on what you’ve heard on this episode please send an e-mail, leave a comment below, Facebook me, Send me a tweet, or call me up and leave a voice mail. I’d love to hear from you. (360) 610-7047.

On this Episode of the YOSHICAST I chat it up with comic book artist Mat Moylan at TFcon Toronto. We talk about Sketch Covers and working the convention.