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.
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?
Jeb: 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.