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.

TransMissions: Brendan Crispin

My fifth response to the 100 letters I mailed out was from one Brendan Crispin. Crispin’s letter appeared in issue 63, entitled: Kings of the Wild Frontier.

Transformers_issue63_coverBrendan Crispin, responded to my letter for an interview by saying, “My mother forwarded the letter you sent to my old address which you found in the fan letters page of issue #63. Yep, my mother still lives in the same house. It’s wild to think you are contacting me more than 25 years after the Transformers comic book published my letter.”

Crispin’s letter in the 80s Marvel comic reads:

Dear Transmissions,

For a long time I’ve felt that the Transformers series was somewhat disappointing, while at the same time being full of potential. In the last few issues I’ve perceived crucial changes that lead me to believe you’re finally tapping that elusive potential. And best yet, it’s leading somewhere! Megatron’s revival, although not captivating for me, was an essential step in your progression. And now that Megatron’s revival, although not captivating for me, was an essential step in your progression. And now that Megatron’s overseeing the restoration of Starscream–this is almost too much! Optimus Prime unleashed? Never! Really? I’d love to see Prime kick Megaton into the next time zone.

One Suggestion: I’m sure a lot of Transformers fans would like to contact others, including me. So why don’t you devote a page each issue to addresses of TF fans who’d like to correspond? Give it a try, eh?

Brendan Crispin
Madison, WI

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

Youseph: How did I discover Transformers?

My cousin who was a few years younger than myself came over to my house and brought his Constructicon Bonecrusher figure with him. I remember how eagerly he told me about Bonecrusher. I don’t remember specifics, but I imagine he told me about the character’s quotation and info from Bonecrusher’s profile as printed on the back of the toy packaging. Probably also that Bonecrusher combined with other Constructicons to form a larger robot. I was about 13 years old then. I quickly became enamored with Transformers.

Youseph: Where did I get my Transformers comics from?

I started collecting the original Transformers comic book series from very early on. I don’t remember which issue was the first I bought, but I’m pretty sure it was one of the first 8 issues and that I bought it at a Waldenbooks which was a mall-based bookstore chain. I don’t recall if I ever paid for a subscription to have the comics sent to me in the mail, but I would’ve bought issues at various comic book stores and other stores that sold comic books back then such as grocery stores, drug stores, KMart and maybe even gas station convenience stores. I did buy the first several issues of the series which I had missed, and I collected the entire series till the end.

Youseph: Who are you today?

No one extraordinary, but I wish I could once again experience the anticipation and thrill of discovering new Transformers characters in the TV cartoon and when the new season’s toyline was released.

Youseph: Are you still a Transformers fan?

Yes and no. I’m not an ‘active’ fan, but I still strongly and fondly remember my teenage years as a Generation 1 Transformers fan. If new Transformers toys and cartoons were still being produced in the style of Generation 1, I’d undoubtedly still be buying some figures and watching the cartoon. :D But sadly, G1 went down an unfortunate path leading to Pretenders and Action Masters.

A huge thanks goes out to Brendan Crispin for his time to respond to me. I really enjoyed his responses to my questions.

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.

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.

returned-letters-1

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.)

returned-letters-2

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.

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.

100_Stamps2

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.

Stamps_Cosmos_2

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

“Hello? Is anyone home?”

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

 

4:30AM

I woke up at 4:30AM this morning. I did this because I want to make a creative change in my life and I want to stick to that change. That’s why I’m here telling you about it. It gives me a sense of accountability moving forward.

Flip-Clock-10

The reason for this change in my life is because the work I’ve done over the last two years Podcasting for TransMissions and creating entertaining videos for Team Power Awesome Team has been really fun and creative. I haven’t felt this creative since my first job as a graphics monkey for a game developer before the dot com bubble burst. Just a few months ago, I got to attend TFCon Toronto and meet my TransMissions Cohosts for the very first time. This is not something that would have normally happened to me. And I liked it. A lot. And like some kind of really amazing drug, I want to do more of it.

So, here I am. Feeling more creative then I’ve felt in years. All I want to do is keep Podcasting and creating these fun YouTube videos and whatever else all of this creating may lead me to.

But there is a problem. I have a growing list of all kinds of things I want to do for these projects, but I don’t have the time to work on them. My lack of time has become a roadblock for my creativity and productivity. I’ve got to find more time.

One option would be to quit my job. Just like that, I could have an extra 8 hours a day to get things done. I would love to do that, but it’s not realistic. At least not yet. TransMissions and Team Power Awesome Team do pull in a little money, but not enough for me to quit my job just yet.

So, the next option is to wake up really early. Before anyone else is awake. 4:30AM kinda a early. This will give me a couple of hours each morning, to myself, to work on projects. I plan to alternate my mornings between working out and working on my list of things for TransMissions and Team Power Awesome Team.

This being my first morning, I worked out. It sucked. I’m groggy and out of shape, but I’m going to stick with it because in the long run it’s going to help me wake up by 4:30AM. I’ll alternate each day between working out and working on projects.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll focus on a Transmissions video project that’s been on the back burner for months now. Eventually, I’ll also get caught up on Yoshi’s list, Transformers Comic Book Reviews, and other creative projects that have been on stand-by because I haven’t had the time to do them. Wish me luck as I try to make this change in my life to be more creative and produce more content.