Transformers: Toy Stories

July 4th, 2011

There are many, many reasons why I might be considered an idiot, but if you were going to make a list – and believe me, I’ve made a few such lists in my time – then I’ve got a fair idea of what the top three should look like.

I’ll spare you numbers one and two for now, but number three is easy. You see, I must be an idiot, because I don’t think I understood mortality until I watched Transformers: The Movie for the first time. Yeah, Transformers, “robots in disguise” that turned into planes and cars and tanks, and had their own crappy TV show. That was where my first intimation of mortality came from. Told you I was an idiot.

The realisation that all of this would one day stop had never sunk in at Sunday School, where the focus was more on old stories than on the possible absence of narrative. It hadn’t made any impression on me when various distant relatives had died – they had seemed like minor characters in my story, and their deaths didn’t truly register with me at the time. It didn’t even really occur to me in the early parts of Transformers: The Movie, despite the fact that whole planets were being destroyed and beloved characters were being gunned down like so many extras (with all weapons having been switched from tickle to mangle between TV series and movie, naturally). But OPTIMUS FUCKING PRIME, my favourite toy and childhood hero, dying on-screen, in an astonishingly drawn out manner? Yeah, I felt that, and it scared the living shit out of me.

See, here? One day your sentence will be up. Full stop. Story over. The end.

Don’t worry, we’ll get to Simon Furman in a minute!

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Occasionally, certain men of a certain age will run out of things to say to each other. Conversation grinds to a dry halt, and the only course of action is to resort to a comfortable zone of the collective consciousness, and wallow in the soft haze of nostalgia, of endless Saturday mornings in pyjamas, and Robots in Disguise. Let us call this place the Transformers Room. If you crack the door open and gently peer in, you can see the Mindless Ones sitting around, comparing their first Transformers and touching their winkies with excitement. Awwwwww! Come on, let’s go and join them…

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A weekly strip by Fraser Geesin

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The book Dream Date by Tim Leopard and Fraser Geesin is available from Running Water Press or from Amazon.

This would be a good death

December 16th, 2009

Here in Mindlessland our habits and schedule are all over the queue-crammed shop at the moment. At this time of year half of us are likely to be so drinkfucked that, instead of being busy at our blog-desks we’re far more likely to be found sleeping underneath the pier, the night tide slurping away at our feet, kindly come to take us away from the brain-pained horror of waking up again. So with that in mind, all conventions merrily abandoned in the name of seasonal silliness, there’s no Tuesday Reviewsday nonsense tonight. What could have been a dispirited  recap of the (byrne-stolen, sorry) SWORD #2, I thought instead I’d concentrate on taking one of the characters from the issue, and nostalgically telling the world about why he is so ace, why British comic readers of a certain age are so giddily stupid when it comes to the galaxy’s deadliest freelance peace-keeping agent, Death’s Head.

What follows is an account of his finest moment. Better than when he went toe-to-toe with Galvatron even after having his arm ripped off. Better than when he took out the entire Incinerator Jones Clan. Better even than his first appearance, when he killed that barman for asking him to pay for his tab. Yes – it’s Death’s Head vs. Shockwave.

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Look at Galvatron’s mental face! Calm down!

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The Marvel UK Transformers comic occupied a special part of my young heart for a fair while back in the 80′s (I often think all boys of a certain era were actually built with a small Transformers shaped compartment in their heart) The weekly adventures of the Robots in Disguise came somewhere between Battle Action Force (UK GI Joe to you colonials) and 2000ad. What could have been a shonky toy cash in title had a unique flavour all of it’s own, mainly thanks to the stalwart work done by premier Trans-scriber Simon Furman. Under his guidance the Transformers mythos grew into something rich and strange. And violent. Very very violent… Alongside such Brit comics luminaries such as John Wagner and Pat Mills, Furman was one of the most prolific writers of the 80′s carving out a niche writing for Marvel UK, taking the Transformers mythos and running with it. Once the animated movie was released the strip really hit it’s stride, with the addition of Galvatron, Cyclonus and Scourge and the rest of the 2006 mob. Not to mention a certain freelance peace-keeping agent…yes?

Along with Transformers, Furman also created the wonderful robot bounty hunter Death’s Head, as well as the super violent futuristic sports mercenaries Dragon’s Claws. For a while Marvel UK became a hotbed of fun new comics that provided a well of young British comics talent the chance to cut loose.

Soon after Furman started working in American comics for Marvel, IDW, Dreamwave and Dynamite. He has also worked in animation, computer games and continues to write Transformers to this day. An extremely personable chap, with an extensive knowledge of exploitation movies, Simon kindly agreed to do a Mindless interview. Read on…yes?

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Toymageddon

January 23rd, 2009

 

A hell of day-glo plastic after the jump