I have heard some people say one of the reasons why G1 Transformers, as a brandname, was so successful is they introduced the cartoon, comic books, and toy products of Transformers at the same time back to 20 years ago. However, i remember the cartoon was the first introduced to the market, and then they started producing TF toys due to the cartoon's popularity.
Anybody has a definite idea about the timeline of the cartoon, comics, and toys of Transformers? Please share with us.
Time Traveller wrote:
says something. and, as far as i know, the comic would have come last, since they included the first of the 85 characters in #5, "the transformers are all dead".
The comic was not last to come out....as a matter of fact it could be said that with out the comic Transformers would not have been the same.The intire back story for the TF universe was thought up and written by Denny O'Neill ,Jim Shooter and Bob Budiansky for Marvel Comics.
I'm going to post a history on how Transformers came to be.Its going to take a few post to type it all so I'm sorry if I break any number of posting rules.
Here goes.A Transformers history
It isint short and I give it to you in a few posts but here you go.
The Transformers revolutionized the toy industry and later, cartoons, comics, video games, and the dreams of teenage boys for decades." (and their perplexed parents).
Toymakers Hasbro and Takara found a way to tap into the fantasies of every child of the '80s, taking toys, robots, guns, and cars, and melding them into one amazing plaything that crossed over almost every demographic. At the height of their popularity in the '80s,Transformers let boys play with dolls and machines at the same time.
Transformable toys were new to American kids — vehicles, action figures, and puzzles all in one. Bozigian's team had lucked into a new play pattern. Something about that degree of control over the toy, about an object that became another object, made it irresistible Transformers were everywhere, and kids couldn't get enough. But where did it start? It's safe to say that, with relatively few dips in popularity, the Transformers have been a part of the global pop culture scene for a quarter of a century.
The toyline that would become the Transformers started with a meeting between Hasbro and Takara at the Tokyo Toy Show in 1983. Hasbro wanted to take the Diaclone and Micro Change toylines of Takara, a Japanese company, and turn them into the Transformers. Hasbro and Takara have subsequently worked together for decades, including up to today, on character creation and concept work for the Transformers franchise. Hasbro, so closely linked to the Transformers that they're credited before the title in the new film,Hasbro markets and sells the toys internationally, though Takara still sells "Convoy" (known better here as Optimus Prime) and the rest of the "Cybertrons" (also known as Autobots) in Japan.
The back story for the Transformers toyline was developed by Denny O'Neill and Jim Shooter, two writers for Marvel Comics at the time. Comic book writer Bob Budiansky was also responsible for subsequent Transformer character names and profiles after O'Neill and Shooter's original concept. Jim Shooter was a writer for DC Comics, created characters for The Legion of Super-Heroes and would eventually became editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics from 1978 to 1987. He helped develop the massive and enduring popularity of the X-Men during the 1980s and also revitalized The Fantastic Four and The Amazing Spider-Man under his watch. It was his connection to Marvel that would help bring Transformers to life in comic books as well as the toy aisle, an essential cross-platform marketing that helped turn the toy into more than just a plaything.
Denny O'Neill is best known for his incredibly influential Batman work (and came up with the name Optimus Prime), and Bob Budiansky helped re-define Ghost Rider before becoming largely responsible for what many fans consider the "prime" era of the Transformers. Budiansky was responsible for a large share of the Transformers legacy after the original back story by Shooter and O'Neill. Budiansky named Megatron, Ratchet, and Ravage, along with writing the vast majority of those awe-inspiring tech spec biographies that inspired every kid's imaginations from the back of their toy packages. Budiansky also developed The Transformers comic at Marvel and would write most of the entire series, which ran for 80 issues, though the title was originally only planned as a four-issue mini-series (the final issue's cover cleverly read "80 in a 4-issue limited series").
The Transformers toys first hit US markets in 1984, and their success was almost immediate. In those early days, kids became obsessed with Megatron, the Decepticon leader, who became a Walther P-38 pistol (gun + robot = immediate boy-toy success), but he wasn't produced again after that initial run because of laws governing toy guns. In other words, if you have an original Megatron that can transform into a toy gun, keep it in its packaging. For those first couple years, Hasbro essentially just remarketed and repainted the already-existing Takara line for the US market and found instant success because of their clever cross-marketing with toys, comics.Still later in 1984, Marvel and Hasbro decided to try launching a cartoon based upon the Transformers comic book and toy line, perhaps to reach a larger audience and/or to compete with the new Go-Bots cartoon/toy line. The cartoon storyline was drastically simplified in order to reach a younger and wider audience, and poor quality writing and animating were thrown together to produce a three part pilot episode, and later an entire first season (in most episodes, characters drastically change in size, color, or voice spontaneously due to fast, poor quality work). It’s hard to say whether the toys brought attention to the cartoon or the cartoon brought attention to the toys, but either way, both quickly gained tremendous popularity.
Before the cartoon even had a chance to hit its stride, the Transformers were already a sudden American success. Hasbro began adding new toys and character to the toy line. In order to do this, Hasbro pulled more toys from Diaclone (ex. Dinobots) and Microchange (ex. Perceptor). Hasbro also obtained licenses from a few other Japanese transforming robot toy lines to produce Jetfire (formerly from the Revell Robotech/Takatoku Macross lines), Omega Supreme (from the Toybox Mechabot-1 line), Shockwave (from the Toyco Gun-Borg line), the deluxe insecticons (from the Takatoku Beetras line), the deluxe autobots (from the Takatoku Dorvak line), and Skylinx (from an unknown to me Toybox line). Most of the toys were then worked into episodes in the first and second season of the cartoon, though there seems to have been a licensing problem with including the Revell Robotech/Takatoku Macross toys in the cartoon. Thus, Jetfire appears as the very different Skyfire, and the deluxe autobots and Insecticons never appear at all.If you were the right age in the mid-'80s, the Transformers were probably popular in almost every medium that you loved, making them nearly unavoidable.
Almost immediately, the TV world became an essential part of the Transformers legend. The classic cartoon started with a three-episode miniseries (later titled "More Than Meets the Eye") in 1984 and introduced kids everywhere to Optimus Prime, Megatron, and the rest of the gang. The classic show not only told cool sci-fi robot stories, but (to the chagrin of many parents) also served as 22-minute advertisements for kids who were desperate to get the toy versions of their favorite cartoon characters. As the Transformers cartoon became an unexpected success, Marvel began taking it more seriously. While neither the plot nor the animation for Season Two improved significantly, blatant animation errors became less frequent and the cartoon was given a better opening theme, with improved music and animation.
Soon after work on Season Two began, Marvel and Hasbro began planning a full Transformers movie in order to better cash in on the new success. The film would introduce entirely new toys and characters, severing Marvel, Hasbro, and Takara from their dependence on old toy lines, though Takara would still design the new Transformers. The only exception to this was the addition of Ultra Magnus, one last Diaclone toy that had previously been passed up (In fact, in early advertisements for the film, Ultra Magnus was still in his original Diaclone colors). However, after the movie had already gone into production, a late decision was made to include much of the unproduced 1985 Diaclone line as part of the 1986 Transformers line (i.e. the merge teams and transforming cities). As a result, a strange situation occurred in which many of these toys were introduced late in the second season of the cartoon, but were not included in the movie (released the following summer).
The original 65 episodes of the cartoon's first and second seasons pretty much defined the Transformers legend for a generation, and it had a catchy enough theme song to become a pop culture classic. ("The Autobots wage their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons...")
In 1986, the line Transformers evolved into something other than simply a repackaging of a Japanese toy phenomenon. That year saw the release of Transformers: The Movie, as far as Hasbro and Marvel were concerned,it was time to milk the Transformers hype for all that it was worth. Transformers the Movie was the first (and arguably last) time that any significant effort was put into a Transformers cartoon. Some of the best animation ever seen in America at the time, combined with fantastic music, well known voice talents (Orson Welles, Leonard Nimoy, Erik Idle, Judd Nelson), an adult-oriented script in which characters actually got angry, swore, and died (often senselessly), and the much anticipated final battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron, made a film that simply couldn’t be missed. This was also the first time that background information was given serious attention in the Transformers Universe. The emergence of Unicron, the Quintesson, and the Matrix of Leadership laid the groundwork for a compelling Transformers history and universe that remained mostly consistent through the rest of Generation One, Beast Wars, and Beast Machines.
The movie was a critical and commercial disaster but along with the TV series, it helped redefine what the Transformers franchise would eventually become. One major change was that the vehicles that the Transformers toys turned into became more futuristic in design, instead of the present-day designs of their early incarnations.Transformers The Movie had raised the stakes in cartoon storytelling, but the cartoon series, itself, was not prepared to live up to them.Season three was at least as well animated as the other two and worked hard to maintain and build upon a consistent history and universe, but the stories were weak compared to that of the movie, and the new characters simply couldn’t compare to the now legendary personas from the first two seasons. Added to this was the problem that the new Transformers toys were of an entirely lower quality than the originals. While the majority of the original Transformers toys were often made of die cast metal and/or high quality plastic and transformed into realistic looking objects and vehicles, the new toys were all made of a far cheaper plastic with no metal and looked like poorly drawn “future vehicles”.
Yes the toy linetoys had jumped to the future and, in some fan's minds, this marked the beginning of the end of their initial popularity. Kids liked the idea that any car driving down the road could secretly become an awesome robot and, by moving everything to the future, that novelty disappeared. The TV show followed suit,taking a cue from the movie and picking up precisely where the film left off. It became much more sci-fi driven and marked the end for a lot of Transformers fans.
While the Transformers tried to expand into video games and maintain their popular comic series during the 1980s, the franchise also began experimenting with various spin-off projects. In 1986, Marvel produced a four-issue comic series called G.I. Joe and The Transformers and another quartet called Transformers Universe. Another limited comic series called The Transformers: Headmasters and a three-issue set based on the 1986 film would also hit the market in the late '80s.