The Transformers Classics—Volume 1

transformers classics volume 1 cover marvel comics
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 7/10

Fun classic '80s nostalgia

Some so-so stories and art

Comic Info

Comic Name:  The Transformers (Marvel)

Publisher:  IDW

Writer:  Bill Mantle/Ralph Macchio/Jim Salicrup/Bob Budiansky

Artist:  Frank Springer/Alan Kupperberg/William Johnson/Mike Manley/Ricardo Villamonte/Herb Trimpe/Don Perlin

# of Issues:  13

Release Date:   2011

transformers #4 cover spider-man megatron

The Transformers #4

Reprints The Transformers (Marvel) #1-13 (September 1984-February 1986). The Transformers, mechanical warriors from the planet Cybertron, crash on Earth during a battle between the heroic Autobots and the terrorist sect called the Decepticons. Remaining trapped in their ship the Ark for centuries, the Autobots and Decepticons have been awakened to continue their battle on Earth with humanity caught in the middle. With the help of a boy named Buster Witwicky, Optimus Prime and the Autobots must find a way to convince the world that they are good and stop Megatron and the Decepticons.

Written by Bill Mantle and Bob Budiansky, The Transformers Classics—Volume 1 is an IDW reprint of the classic Marvel series.  The collection features art by Frank Springer, Alan Kupperberg, William Johnson, Mike Manley, Ricardo Villamonte, Don Perlin, and Herb Trime.

The Transformers was starting right when I started collecting.  With the series and the toys, The Transformers was a must.  Originally the series was conceived as a four issue limited series but soon its popularity expanded to a regular series that ran eighty issues (the last issue indicated #80 of a four issue limited series).

The series originally had a very different start. Denny O’Neil (of DC’s Green Lantern/Green Arrow fame) got the first crack at it. I don’t know what exactly his proposal was, but the entire idea was scrapped, but he did give Optimus Prime his name. The editor (and later writer) Bob Budiansky really developed the Transformers that are now famous.

transformers #5 cover shockwave

The Transformers #5

The series is radically different the TV series (though they had a similar set up) and it soon developed into its own with entirely new story arcs. That is why I can recommend the comic to all fans since many might not have seen the direction that this series went. It is a fun read and the really clean great transfers in this book make it easy to collect the hard to find issues.

Another weird thing about The Transformers is that it was a Marvel Comics title. In issue #3, they had Spider-Man appear in his new black costume. I was surprised to actually find it reprinted here since it sometimes it is edited out of reprints. The reason they reveal Spider-Man was used was that the makers felt he wouldn’t be as recognizable in his black costume, but his black costume became one of the hits of the ’80s and a defining aspect of the character itself. Also seen is this issue is Shockwave’s trip to the Savage Land which resulted in the Dinobots being based on dinosaurs from that area of the Marvel Universe, and Circuit Breaker who was created by the Beyonder in the second Secret Wars series.

The Transformers is a fun read and will take you back to childhood if you were a fan of the toys. The stories aren’t always the best, the characters often have no personality (especially early on), and sometimes the art is so-so (I think it would be really hard to draw robots). I read them when I was young and still have fun reading them now.

Related Links:

The Transformers Classics—Volume 2

The Transformers Classics—Volume 3

The Transformers—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Transformers—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Transformers:  The Movie (1986)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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