TransMissions: Peter Frank

My eight response to the 100 letters was from Peter Frank. Peter’s Orginal Letter to Marvel’s Transformers appeared in Issue 40: Pretender to the Throne!

“This is possibly the most bizarre message I’ve ever received in my life, haha! Your project is fascinating, and I’m honored to be a tiny part of it.”

Peter’s Letter in the 80s Marvel comic reads:

Dear Transmissions,
I think I have a No-Prize coming. In issue #21 of the TRANSFORMERS, Jetfire dropped ol’ Danny Finkelberg about 6,000 ft. up and then caught him at about a hight of 10ft. Of course there’s a considerable amount of distance between those two points and ‘Finky’ must have gained a lot of speed in the time he fell. Now, the mistake: Since Finky was falling at a tremendous rate of speed, how could he fall into supposedly metal hands without breaking every bone in his body? The explaination? Easy; Wheeljack considered the possibility of the Autobots handling humans often, so he designed a special material which feels soft no matter how hard it is hit. Prime made sure every Autobot had hands coated with this material, so humans would be safe when touched or held by and Autobot.
I hope I have met the qualifications of a No-Prize, which are: to point out a mistake and then provide an explanation that “saves your dignity.”
Make Mine Marvel!
Pete Frank
Erie, PA

Peter gave me the answers to my questions via e-mail. So, here is Peter Frank, 3o-ish years later.

How did you discover the Transformers?

In May of 1984, I was nine years old. I remember it took a while for those letters to be published, so, I can’t believe I was so young to actually write a letter like that.

At 41 today, I have a five-year-old son and one-year-old daughter, and seeing them now, with their relative experience (or lack thereof), it makes this observation of myself all the more crazy.

I remember a couple things about that letter:

The publisher would reward people if they came up with a good resolution to a perceived flaw, and I remember I really, really thought I’d nailed it.

I was so devastated (no Transformers pun intended) to “disappoint” them that I don’t think it ever occurred to me how incredible it was to actually be published in the back of one of these comics that I cherished so deeply. Your bringing this up really has me seeing it with a different perspective. I’ve never felt lucky to have been published, but I feel like I should, now.

I vividly remember reading their response and lamenting I hadn’t thought through my explanation more thoroughly.

Another funny thing I remember: people often ended their letter with a witty “Until _________, Make Mine Marvel!”, filling in some sort of clever play on words, like “Until Prime tells a lie, make mine marvel…

I’d included my own, though it was edited from the printed version. (I’m sure you’ve read several of these plays on words in reading these letters throughout the issues.)

My horrific attempt at humor was “Until ice box – Make Mine Marvel!”

Obviously I wasn’t able to conjure the level of humor I was hoping to!

It’s a tiny thing, but it’s funny I remember that detail so well.

As far as your questions…

Discovering the Transformers… I cannot remember whether I saw the cartoon or the toys first. There was plenty of both in my life during this time.

I remember my first Transformer toy – Skywarp, a Decepticon plane that wasn’t often in the cartoon. Black and purple, and beautiful, haha.

I had those “friends across the street” whose parents were divorced and so these kids seemed to get everything they wanted. I’d be so pumped about my one awesome toy, and then they’d have a dozen, and all the really good ones.

(Although I did get the Omega Supreme toy one Christmas, which for a little while made me coolest kid on the block.)

It was with those friends that I went (all the way across town, to the “shady movie theater”) to see Transformers: The Movie when it was released.

I’ll never forget the kids in front of us, who every time a new character was introduced (like Soundwave’s new tapes) would yell, “Oh I have that toy! I have that one too! I do!” Hysterical to remember, now.

Where did you get your Transformers comics from?

I grew up (and still live) in a relatively quiet suburban area, however we were close to one of the busier, main roads in the area. About six blocks up the road, at an intersection with another major route, there’s a corner store – Kelly’s Corner Market.

I’d take back roads as far as I could, and then risk the one block along the main drag to get to the store.

Amidst the other comics (and uncovered porn), I’d check for the latest issue of Transformers.

I also got into Hawkeye and Batman, I remember.

That store was my main source, until I figured out I could order subscriptions.

You ask “Who are you today”, but honestly I have no time to even think about that, haha. I imagine a lot of it comes through in this message anyways.

Finally – “Are you still a Transformers fan?”

I’ll say I remain a devoted fan of The Transformers of my time. I don’t pay attention to any of the new incarnations, really.

I learned recently about that company that’s re-releasing the cartoons in high-def, and some release of the movie coming out again soon? I’ll definitely buy that, just to have it.

I may or may not buy a set of the cartoons for my kids. I’ll probably find some episodes online and see how they take to them, when I think they’re old enough.

I wouldn’t invest for myself, however. I have enough hobbies as an adult, and I cherish the memories of that time in my life, enough to not have to go re-experience it all.

If my kids were to get into it, however, I’m sure I would really, really enjoy going through it again, with them.

All that said, I do watch the first Michael Bay movie every once in a while, even though I hate it. “It’s still Transformers”, right?

My take on the live action movies was that they blew it when they made the stories centered around the human characters rather than the robots. I’ve said to many – “I don’t give a shit about the people – the story is supposed to be about the robots!” (which sounds hysterical to rationalize, as an adult).

With the comics – though the box is covered in dust in my basement – I’ll say I’m proud to still have Transformers issues #1 through #55 or so, all bagged and backed. I just opened the box a year ago or so, and they remain in great shape.

I also have a few acquaintances with whom I share our love of the story (usually centered around the movie).

Just today we had an exchange on Facebook about Vince DiNicola’s score (and how incredibly good it is).

I’m going on and on here, but I hope this is somehow fulfilling for you.

Again, I can’t believe I received something in the mail from someone about the letter in that comic.

It’s been great to think about all of this, and to share it with someone who appreciates it like this. Thank you very, very much, for reaching out.

Best of luck with all things!

Many thanks goes out to Peter Frank for his time to respond to me. I really enjoyed his answers.

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.

100_stamps

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.

transmissions_logo

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.

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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.

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

“Hello? Is anyone home?”

A Tale Of Two Sketch Covers

Yesterday, I received two sketch comic book covers I had commissioned. I thought sharing these covers along with the process I went through to get them would compliment my last two YOSHICASTs. (Blank Comic Book Covers and Blank Comic Book Variants)

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A few weeks ago, I set out to find the last missing comic book from my Transformers: Regeneration One, collection. Issue 81. A blank cover. It’s a cover I’ve never seen in a store or online.

Regenone81blank

I started my search at the Transformers Wiki. There I learned this cover was to be used for “Unique hand-draw sketches by Dan Khanna“. I hadn’t heard of Dan Khannah before that search. It turns out Dan is a comic book artist who’s worked for Dreamwave and IDW. Currently he does work for Soap Studios figure series, the TF Imaginarium statue line, and Hasbro.

From the Wiki, I was able to find Dan’s website. I E-Mailed asking if he had any of the blank Regeneration One covers.

“I’m long sold out of covers for regeneration 81.”, he wrote. “believe I have a few blank covers for regeneration 1 issue 93 with rodimus prime in the corner box, which I could draw up a few sketch covers for you if you’d like.”

This was a no brainer. Of course I’d love to have sketches from an artist who worked on Transformers!

Two days and four e-mails later, Dan and I agreed on two sketch ideas. One would be a brand new Transformer. An Autobot named Coil, designed from the TESLA Model S. The other would be a homage to the original DOOM box art.

The Sketch of Coil was the easiest from my point of view. “I would love to have a brand new Transformer drawn in the G1 style.”, I wrote him. “This one does not exist. I would like to see a Tesla Model S and it’s bot mode. Autobot. On the cover I would like written (if you can) “Introducing Coil!” In a later e-mail I added, “With the TESLA sketch, I want to make sure to see the TESLA logo in car mode and in bot mode if it works out along with the Autobot insignia.”

new-tesla-model-s

 

The sketch turned out damn near perfect. Obviously it’s missing the Autobot insignia. Let’s chalk this mistake up to experience. Don’t rush sketch request. Really think it out and spell it out in one clear E-Mail. The more back and forth you have the more likely something wont turn out the way you picture it.

Coil_Front_View_001

The DOOM Box art homage required the most back and forth. “G1 Optimus Prime in place of the center character on the box art.”, I wrote Dan. “Deceptions clawing up at him and another Autobot running up from behind.” I even went so far as to list which Decepticons and where I would like them to be in place of each of the hoard of Devil spawn.

DOOM-Original-Box-Art

Dan kindly told me that was a bit much. We both ended up agreeing on the final design you see here.

Prime_Doom_Front_View_001

It’s worth noting that if, I didn’t like how I thought the sketch would turn out, I would have told him not to do it.

So, for a grand total of $135.00, I got two unique and fantastic sketches from a true Transformers artist. The Tesla Autobot named, Coil and an homage a truly fantastic game, DOOM.

YOSHICAST #009: Blank Comic Book Covers

Thanks for checking out episode #009 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, Yoshi explores the topic of Blank Comic Book Covers and why he collects them.

Show Notes:

  • INTRO:
  • What are blank comic book covers
  • What to expect in a future episode.

YOSHICAST #003: Transformers Classic Comic Reviews

Thanks for checking out episode #003 of the YOSHICAST! If you want to comment on what you’ve heard on this episode please send an e-mail, leave a comment, Facebook me, or call me up and leave a voice mail. I’d love to hear from you. (360) 610-7047.

Youseph-Marvel-Transformers-1-YOSHICAST

This episode of the YOSHICAST is different. With permission from my co-hosts over at the TransMissions Podcast, I’ll be sharing with you a never before seen project I’ve been working on. The Transformers Classic Comic Reviews.

Over at TransMissions, we hear from people who miss the Classic Comic Reviews segment. What you’re about to listen to is an effort we made to bring that segment back, but for one reason or another we just didn’t feel the time was right to being it back or how we should bring it back.

Take a listen to this and let me know what you think. I’m interested in your ideas on how we might be able to bring this back into the TransMissions podcast, or maybe it should find it’s home here on the YOSHICAST.

Show Notes:

  • Introduction: 00:00
  • Classic Comic Reviews Episode 1 (CCRE-1), Intro: 02:39
  • (CCRE-1) TransMissions: Age Of Extinction Review: 03:22
  • (CCRE-1) Who Is Bo?: 04:00
  • (CCRE-1) Rapid Fire With Bo: 05:56
  • Classic Comic Reviews Episode 2 (CCRE-2), Intro:  13:11
  • (CCRE-2) Review Starts: 13:48

 

Mail Art: A Guide For Making Comic Book Envelopes

Lets start off with a list of items you will need to create these envelopes.

  1. Comic book(s)
  2. Internet Access
  3. Envelope (3-5/8″ X 6-1/2″)
  4. Sharpie
  5. Scissors
  6. Glue Stick
  7. Labels (I use ‘Avery’ labels. 1″ X 3″. I got a pack of 72 for $1.12.)
  8. Double Sided Scotch Tape

Step 1. Comics!

Mixed-Comics

Get yourself a comic book or two. You can find them in grocery stores with an average cover price of $3.99 or you can go to your local comic book store. Comic book stores often have a fifty cent bin or a dollar bin of comics books. You can find comics with great art work for cheap at these places! You could also find inexpensive, oversized art books at a used book store. I have found that these are also great for creating envelopes.

Step 2. Internet Access!

internet

Check online comic book price checkers to make sure the book you have isn’t some rare or valuable book! Trust me. You don’t want to be known as the person who cut up a piece of irreplaceable history. So, once you get home with your comics, especially those you might have gotten from the dollar bin of your local comic book store, check their value. Don’t destroy rare or valuable comics!  Chances of this happening are slim to none, but as a comic book fan myself it would be remiss of me not to suggest this. I’ve used online free services like Comic Book Realm or Comics Price Guide to help me determine if a book was valuable.

Step 3. Envelope!

Box of Envelopes

Get a box of envelopes with the measurements of 3-5/8″ X 6-1/2″. These are the square or rectangle shaped envelopes which I find work a lot better than the triangle envelopes when lining up the image on the comic book you want to be the focal point of your envelope.

rippedandcut

Once you have one of these envelopes you want to gently pull it apart at the seams so you can lay it out flat. This will be your envelope template

TIP: You can cut out the center of the flattened out envelope so you can see where your image is going to be on your new envelope. You can also use your flattened envelop template to create a stronger template out of cardboard if you would like.

Step 4. Remove Staples!

comic-staples

Once you have picked out the image on the comic book you want to be on the front of your handmade envelope you’ll want to remove the staples from the comic book and and just pull out the one page that you want to use for the envelope. I have always been able to use my finger nail to remove the staples, but you can carefully use tweezers or even a butter knife if you like.

Step 4. Sharpie!

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Trace around your template on top of the comic book page you want to be the focal point of your envelope using your pen. I would suggest using a sharpie or a marker here to make it easier to cut.

Step 5. Scissors!

comic-cut

Grab your scissors and cut around your outline.

Step 6. Folding!

comic-fold

Using your envelop template as a guide, fold all sides of your envelope. First the sides, than the bottom and finally the top flap. Once all the sides have bin folded over the ruler, remove the ruler and finish the fold my pressing down on it with your finger so it is flat.

Step 7. Glue Stick!

comic-fold2

Uncap your glue stick and apply the paste to the left and right folds. Next, lay the bottom fold across the left and right fold tabs so that it sticks. Do not glue the top flap. Your letter needs that open so it can be inserted into your envelope!

At this point I like to put the envelope under a book for several minutes to help the glue stick better.

Step 8. Labels or Stencils!

Lables

There are two ways I’ve found to address these envelopes. The easy way is to get yourself a pack of Avery labels sized, 1″ X 3″. Take two labels. On one label write down the recipients address and then apply it to the front of the envelope doing your best to not cover up important parts of the image. One the second envelope write your address. This will be applied on the back flap of the envelope.

Examples

Recently however, I’ve been using a combination of stencils, Black Sharpie Ultra fine point pens and white gel pens. (Here is a Link to the Stencils I use.) I like this method of addressing my envelopes because it does not cover up as much of the image as a label would. I still uses a label on the back of the envelope for the return address.

Step 9. Double Sided Scotch Tape!

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Once you have written your letter and put in the envelope you can apply double sided scotch tape to the flap so that you can seal the letter closed. I like to use three small strips across the flap.

Don’t forget to stamp the envelope before you put it in a mail box!

Below are several envelopes I have created.

ADDITIONAL TIPS & TRICKS!

  • Use your ruler and a pen to draw out faint guide lines on your labels for writing your address. That along with writing slowly will allow you to write a very legible address on your labels. Once the ink is dry you’ll be able erase your guide lines without smudging the writing.
  • The envelope side used in this guide is perfect for correspondence size paper, or A5 sized paper. I prefer to use paper without guide lines. My personal favorite paper to use is Tomoe River Paper.
  • Here is a great guide on how to write a letter.

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  • Sometimes you want to create envelopes of different sizes or all kinds of reasons. If that is your goal I want to suggest that you pick up the, Kuretake Handmade Envelope Template – Japanese Version. This template makes nice small envelopes for gifts as well as letter sized envelopes for mailing larger A5 paper. For me this template arrived quickly and packaged well to survive a rough trip through the mail. It’s a pretty great  solution if you want to create different sizes of envelopes.

Comics Framed In Australia

Who would have ever thought that anything I might write about on this blog would have any kind of effect on anyone? Let alone someone who lives halfway around the world from me. Well, my post called IKEA comic book photo frame hack seems to have had quite an impact on comic book fans from all over this planet. It is still the most popular post on my site.

Recently I was contacted by a gentleman named Paul from Western Australia. Paul wrote to me saying that he actually had some of these IKEA frames, but never thought to use them for comic books.

I’ve found you through a google search for comic book frames.  Liked what you had written and will be giving it a go. I’ve actually got a couple of these frames already. Dirt cheap and pretty good for the displaying our kid’s certificates and awards in their bedrooms.  I’d never thought of using it for comic books!

Shortly after getting this E-mail from Paul, he went out and pick up several more IKEA photo frames and proceeded to use them to display his comic books.

Pretty much followed your blog advice.  Only difference is that my Mylar bags are still on order, so these are their original polybags, I’ll swap them over as soon as I get them.

The other difference is that the frames here cost $5.95 each!.  Unfortunately Perth WA is the world’s most isolated capital city (the next nearest capital city to us is Singapore!) and we pay a premium for the privilege of living here.

As you can tell, I’m still a big Watchmen fan and had the full set sitting in my loft for over 20 years doing nothing but staying in mint condition.

A copy of the Graphic Novel sits on my bookshelf that I don’t mind thumbing through every now and again.

The poster in the middle is signed by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons.  I love it.

I think Paul did quite an amazing job displaying his collection. Something like this has to be a great conversation starter for family and guests when they come by to visit. Nice job Paul!

If you have seen my IKEA comic book Photo Frame Hack post and it has inspired you to display your comics, drop me a line and tell me about it. I would love to hear from you.