Before I begin, I want you to understand that I have no reason to lie to you. I don’t care about alienating the companies I’ll be attacking in the following article because they have nothing to offer me.
The comic book industry I dreamed about being part of since I was a boy is dead. It’s never coming back. It will never recover.
As an “underground” artist, I go broke often. Sometimes I have to sacrifice comfort or nourishment to pay my rent.
Sometimes, I’m broke because I’m a total assclown who takes public transportation across town to see a $22 popcorn movie, alone. (I didn’t have enough for actual popcorn.)
Even while facing the consequences, I have no regrets.
I don’t know what the hell Al Gore had to do with the history of Transformers, and I don’t want to know. I had to sit through the trailer for his second bullshit global-warming scare film, and he can go fuck himself with an iceberg.
DIY stands for “do-it-yourself”. You knew that, right? It was once a point of pride in music production. People love DIY, because it lights that little bulb in the mind that signals “I can do that”.
Ideally, you should feel that way about anything people do, aside from brain surgery or bomb disposal (and you can learn how to do those). Shoot, you could change your gender if you set your mind and wallet to it, but that’s a personal matter, and not something you want to capitalize upon. Still, there’s a lot to be said for taking a grass-roots shot at an admittedly lofty goal. For example, producing a homemade movie.
Previously, I remarked upon how those of us who were children in the 1980s “knew disappointment by name”, thanks to the deluge of new toy lines leaping at us from store shelves, most of them doomed to two-year lifespans and discount-bin futures. Companies were just beginning to learn how the lack of a Saturday morning cartoon could put an ugly dent in their profits. The hunt was on for the next best gimmick, the hook that would bring in the kids and establish the next He-Man or GI Joe. Not coincidentally, those lines were also infusing gimmicks circa 1987 in a losing battle to stay on top.
Transformers, arguably the decade’s most popular toys, were expensive to produce. The supply of repainted robots that comprised the line’s first few years had run dry, leaving Hasbro no choice but to design the toys themselves, an extra step that was not only also very expensive, but resulted in the far simpler Pretenders and Firecons. Few, if any, will argue that either was a high point in quality. For the uninitiated: Firecons used the same sparking mechanism as Doc’s DeLorean from Back To The Future, and that was a Happy Meal toy. (It was recalled because “kids” could chew off a rear tire and choke on it, not because of the sparks as you might assume. I have two of the worthless things.)
So it was that in 1987 Hasbro began to try some new tricks. Here is but one example of something they threw at the wall with the greatest effort, and try as it might, it just didn’t stick. Ladies and gentlemen of the Internet, I give you Air Raiders.
In 1986, the greatest animated film based on a toyline in history premiered. It had celebrity voices, stunning visuals, and in the years following, it became an unstoppable cult classic.
A few months prior to that, Hanna-Barbera produced a cheap, ugly little movie, as is their wont, this time about warriors that turn into rocks. It had “celebrity voices” and the same discount animation they always used, and was quickly (and deservedly) forgotten. It was called GoBots: Battle of the Rock Lords.
aka “Gaybots, Babble of the Cocklords” (Petey, 6th grade)