(40th Anniv.) Ranking the 100 Marvel (US) G1/G2 Comic Covers: #45-41

Magnusblitz

Active member
Citizen
MarvelUS-01.jpg


40 years ago today, May 8, 1984, the first piece of Transformers media - Marvel Comics' The Transformers #1 - was released. Although the cartoon would prove the more impactful of the two in the public consciousness, the comic was integral to the formation of the franchise as we know it today (we should probably all be glad that Marvel Productions' initial treatment was shot down!) Bob Budiansky developed most of the characters and background for the beginning of the franchise, and as editor, his work helped make the comic popular enough to graduate from a 4-issue limited series into an ongoing, eventually lasting 80 issues until 1991, four years after the cartoon had finished. And while it was short lived, the comic was revived for a brand-new 12-issue run for Generation 2, while the cartoon would only get reruns with Cybernet Space Cube window dressing.

I have a fond nostalgia for the comics, though, full disclosure, I was a 90's kid who first got into Transformers during G2 - so, even as a child, the original 80s run of comics had an aura of bygone history and mystique for me, even for some of the sillier stories and concepts. And while they say not to judge a book by its cover, a comic book's cover is definitely an important part of the package - it's the first thing you see, may largely decide if you buy the issue, and often feature striking images that last in your memory beyond the interior pages.

To that end, I thought it'd be fun for the anniversary to rank and discuss all* 100 covers of the Marvel US comic. I'll post my own ranks in batches of 5 or 10 every couple days or so, but please feel free to discuss in this topic however you'd like - share your own favorite (or least favorite) covers, wax poetic on the halcyon days of 80's coloring, tell me how I'm wrong and the cover to #55 is actually the greatest TF cover of all time, whatever! As art, this is of course, highly subjective, and just one fan's opinion, but I hope to spark some fun discussion.

Boring details in the process if anyone cares, spoiler boxed for space:
Issues Considered: This list covers the 80 issues of the Transformers run, the 4 issues of G.I. Joe and the Transformers, the 4 issues of Headmasters, and 12 issues of Generation 2. I decided to leave out The Movie (because it's an adaptation) and Universe (because the covers are constrained by the format). I also limited myself to the US run, partially for time/space constraints (adding in the UK covers would probably triple the list), and also because I'm just simply not as familiar with it and don't have the same personal connection to it outside of the few trades I've read. This isn't to criticize, there are some real bangers in there, but it just wasn't feasible.

I went back and forth on whether to include G2 or not, as there was a bit of a shift in style, but ultimately decided it wasn't too big of one, and only being separated by the end of G1 by a little over two years (far less than the seven years separating #1 and #80!) Also, it's nice to have an even 100.

Methodology: To help me initially rank the images, I brainstormed on what makes a good comic cover? From the company perspective, whatever gets you to buy the issue is the chief concern. Of course, bait covers are a thing, and might eventually turn off readers long-term if they keep buying comics where the covers lie, so that should be a factor as well. As a purchaser (and someone who cares enough to wax poetic about comic covers decades later), I think a more general 'overall quality' of the art is the most important factor.

So, I ended up scoring each cover in a few different categories:
Overall Quality (1-5) - how well the characters are drawn/detailed, composition of the image, if it just looks "cool" or not. Includes stuff like the characters being colored correctly, which for anyone familiar with the G1 comics, is a factor that crops up quite often.
Eye-Catching (1-3) - does the comic stand out, catch your eye on the shelf? Color contrast is big here.
Interest (1-3) - once I'm looking at the cover, does it make me want to buy it? A good cover should stir the emotions.
Accuracy (-1, 0, 1) - I detest misleading comic covers. Outright misleading covers (i.e., characters who aren't even in the book) get -1, while stuff like generic team shots or sorta-bait covers get a 0 (with some leeway for issues where it makes sense, like #1 issues). Thankfully, this is much more of a problem for current day comics; most of the books here got a 1 with no problem.

Admittedly, these factors are not the be-all end-all, and this was just a rough framework to help me organize the initial rankings (and thankfully, the overall scores ended up in a decent bell curve). Some issues got moved around in the final rankings, and I often would use gut feelings to break ties (especially since some of the factors really tended to clump around the middle grades).

For each cover, I'm referring to the artists as listed on the wiki - the penciler should always be listed, but I think sometimes the inkers weren't credited. And I'm assuming Yomtov was the colorist for all issues except G2, so I won't bother listing him.

With all that out of the way, onto the rankings! (Links to each post to be updated here):
#100-96, #95-91, #90-86,
#85-81, #80-76, #75-71,
#70-66, #65-61, #60-56,
#55-51, #50-46, #45-41,
#40-36
 
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Magnusblitz

Active member
Citizen
#100: The Transformers #58 - "All the Familiar Faces!"
Jose Delbo

MarvelUS-58.jpg


I went back and forth between this one and the next one for the dubious honor of the worst cover, but in the end, had to go with the one that's little more than a giant, all-red Optimus Prime head, zoomed in so far his whole head doesn't even fit. The eyeballs especially give it some unintentional comedy, as (to steal a joke from someone smarter than me on the wiki) it seems like Prime is just glaring angrily at poor Spider-Man in the corner.

Admittedly, it's certainly eye-catching from afar, and the background makes a nice contrast I suppose, but that's about all it's got going for it. The blurb is is somewhat misleading as well, as Optimus was 'out of control' last issue, but he also realized as such and calmed himself down by the end of that issue as well. In the end, this cover feels like a deadline got missed, or something else went awry, and this was a last-second scramble. A good one to pull out for a laugh.



#99: The Transformers #33 - "Man of Iron! (parts 1-2)"
Charles Vess

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There's really no ignoring the elephant giant robot in the room, and that's the hilariously miscolored and shoddily drawn Megatron on the cover. Not only is he cast in colors that would make anyone this side of Action Master Thundercracker wince, but the artist forgot to give him eyes. The cover is also highly misleading, as Megatron isn't even in the story, and the medieval setting is limited to two pages of backstory while most of the story takes place in present day. Orange text on a green bubble is also nigh unreadable. That said, I do like a couple of the flourishes here, such as the UK flag behind Grimlock in the corner box, and the knights are pretty well drawn. But there's no getting away from the giant clown robot.



#98: The Transformers #51 - "The Man in the Machine!"
José Delbo, Danny Bulanadi

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Clearly I'm supposed to feel like Fort Max is in dire straits, but something about the awkwardness of how the scene is constructed this scene keeps me from feeling that. Instead, I get the sense that Max is just bumbling around - like "oh silly me, what an unfortunate time to get tangled up in these ski lift cables and drop my head, right as this giant wolf and warthog attack!"

I'm generally a bit frosty on Delbo's art, but I think Yomtov shoulders a fair amount of blame for this one, as Fort Max is miscolored (despite having been a main cast member for a year now, so no excuse) and the general color scheme is flat and bland (except for bubblegum pink Prime in the corner box). It also feels like a bit of a missed opportunity, as the meat of the story (Spike's nightmares and grappling with himself) could be mined for a much more creative cover image than just copying the obligatory robot fight.



#97: The Transformers #46 - "Ca$h and Car-nage!"
Frank Springer

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"The Sparkabots battle the Roadjammers!" was never going to be a strong hook, but having the focus of your cover be a giant unidentifiable magneta robot crotch certainly doesn't help. I guess I appreciate trying something different, but I think this one didn't work.



#96: The Transformers #52 - "Guess Who the Mecannibals Are Having for Dinner?"
José Delbo, Danny Bulanadi

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On average I find Delbo's work underwhelming if passable, but this is a notch below his usual. The Mecannibals aren't too bad, if a bit goofy, but Landmine looks extremely silly here (even taking into account that the inner Pretender robots don't give much to work with). To be honest, I think a large part of it is the pupils - Delbo loved to give his robots little dot pupils, with the end result of almost always making me think of googly eyes.
 
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Magnusblitz

Active member
Citizen
#95: The Transformers #56 - "Back from the Dead"
Dan Reed

MarvelUS-56.jpg


Dan Reed was a frequent artist on the UK books, and was the first one from that title to work on the US book, getting to do the cover of Furman's first US issue (he also did interiors for issue #64). Reed's UK work is somewhat infamous for its curvy, 'organic' style, including some rather toothy growls.

This cover reins his style in though, appearing almost somewhat Delbo-esque. Unfortunately, the end result is rather blah IMO - the robots aren't really that interesting (and the two jets are very oddly shaped), the colors are subdued, and there's ultimately not much calling me out to make me want to buy/read this issue. It's hard to make the Micromasters interesting, but it's certainly an inauspicious start to Furman's run.

#94: G.I. Joe and the Transformers #4 - "...All Fall Down!"
Tom Morgan
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This cover is a perfect example of the "generic team shot" cover that's become far too prevalent in modern times, but was thankfully much rarer back then. To be somewhat fair, it's not a totally random selection, as these are the characters (minus the Decepticons) that feature in the issue. But everyone is standing around in a strangely composited design, and the Transformers are especially stilted and awkward looking crammed in the back. A disappointing final cover for the climax of the miniseries.


#93: The Transformers #22 - "Heavy Traffic!"
Herb Trimpe
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For the 25th anniversary of Marvel (going back to the 1961 release of The Fantastic Four), all the Marvel books released in November 1986 shared the same cover design, with a close-up portrait of a major character surrounded by the border filled with Marvel's biggest superheroes. X-Men got Storm and Wolverine, GIJOE got Snake-Eyes, etc.

But for some reason, instead of say, Optimus Prime or Megatron, Transformers got... Menasor? While it's a well-drawn robot face, it doesn't even particularly look like Menasor, but more like a Menasor/Motormaster mashup with the shortened crest and purple face. In any event, while Menasor does at least feature in the story, but Prime and Megatron do show up too, so it's a very befuddling choice.

And while the theme is cute, it ultimately doesn't make me interested to read the story inside (though I suppose it might've spurred collectors to buy it along with the other 25th Anniversary covers). I don't hold this one against Trimpe, I think he did a decent job with the rules he was given, but the constraints don't make for a good Transformers cover. He'll have some much better ones later though...


#92: The Transformers #11 - "Brainstorm!"
Herb Trimpe
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...Okay, but not this one. One positive is that it does create some immediate emotion that the Autobots are in trouble (unlike say #51 above). But there's a lot of problems here. Jetfire is extremely poorly drawn and off-model (and he's got a really cool jet model, so it's extra-sinful). Bluestreak and Bumblebee are miscolored as Hound and Cliffjumper. And while I do typically appreciate bright colors for contrast, here everything is a bright color, either red, yellow, or green, creating an eyesore.


#91: The Transformers #8 - "Repeat Performance!"
Mark Bright, Kyle Baker


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I expect this one will garner disagreement, and a lot of people will say "what, that Dinobots cover is awesome!" Admittedly, there was a bit of a separation between the last 9 and the next set of issues, and I agonized a bit over which one to join the bottom 10, before eventually deciding on this one. Highly subjective, but it hits just a few too many pet peeves for me. One, it's a generic team shot, that attracts interest solely on your desire to see the characters (though, for Dinobots, that's probably not a bad bet in the same way the Airstrike Micromaster Patrol is). Two, they're drawn in a bit of a weird style, a little too "adorable" for my tastes. Third, what's up with that weird lime green rock? And fourth, where are Swoop and Snarl? Bad enough they had to wait to debut in the cartoon, but this issue came out in May 1985! I will not abide Dinobot caste division!
 

Shadhausen

Active member
Citizen
#98: The Transformers #51 - "The Man in the Machine!"
José Delbo, Danny Bulanadi

MarvelUS-51.jpg


Clearly I'm supposed to feel like Fort Max is in dire straits, but something about the awkwardness of how the scene is constructed this scene keeps me from feeling that. Instead, I get the sense that Max is just bumbling around - like "oh silly me, what an unfortunate time to get tangled up in these ski lift cables and drop my head, right as this giant wolf and warthog attack!"

I'm generally a bit frosty on Delbo's art, but I think Yomtov shoulders a fair amount of blame for this one, as Fort Max is miscolored (despite having been a main cast member for a year now, so no excuse) and the general color scheme is flat and bland (except for bubblegum pink Prime in the corner box). It also feels like a bit of a missed opportunity, as the meat of the story (Spike's nightmares and grappling with himself) could be mined for a much more creative cover image than just copying the obligatory robot fight.
Interestingly, Fortress Maximus color scheme here and on the cover of The Headmasters #1 seem to be based off a red and gray/tan prototype that can be seen here.
 

Magnusblitz

Active member
Citizen
#90: Transformers: Generation 2 #12 - "A Rage in Heaven!"
Derek Yaniger

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As you could probably guess from my avatar, I'm a big fan of Derek Yaniger's style, and it's probably one of the most memorable aspects of Generation 2 in general. It was perfect for the XTREEEME vibe that mid 90s comics cultivated, and at its best (for example, his interiors for #1 and #6) still remain some of my favorite Transformers art. Unfortunately, Yaniger seems to have trouble keeping up with deadlines, as while he did do all 12 covers of the book, after the first issue he fell into doing the shorter halves of the books, before eventually being replaced by Geoff Senior.

As for this cover? As much as I like Yaniger's style, I feel this is several steps below his usual output. Prime is fairly simplistic (by his standards) and has a red crotch for some reason. I also don't think the Swarm effect is rendered very well here (is it the black? the white?) All in all, compared with the other 11 covers, this one sticks out in a bad way, and is a of a disappointing note to go out on for the series.



#89: The Transformers #34 - "Man of Iron! (parts 3-4)"
Tom Morgan, Ian Akin, Brian Garvey

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Back to complaining about the Man of Iron covers! I actually do really like the shot Prime taking the brunt of blasts to protect the human behind him - a very heroic picture. Unfortunately, the rest is a bit wonky - the kid is too big compared to Prime, and the Decepticon jet is WAY too small and has very odd proportions. And, as will be a theme for a lot of the following covers, this cover is quite misleading - while Optimus does show up, he doesn't do any fighting, so sorry kids who bought this issue wanting to see their favorite Autobot Commander show his stuff. And, sadly, they didn't carry over the UK flag corner box from last issue.


#88: The Transformers #26 - "Funeral for a Friend!"
Herb Trimpe

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After losing Optimus in #24 and Megatron in #25, this issue features an emotional funeral send-off for Optimus (and Ratchet grappling with his grief), with the B-story of Ratchet tussling with a human villain opportunistically taking advantage of stolen Autobot tech. So of course rather than focus on Prime's funeral, the cover focuses on the guy in the jumpsuit with a 5 o'clock shadow. I do appreciate how well Trimpe drew the Autobots piled up in the background, but there's just no getting past that a cover centered on The Mechanic just isn't a draw.



#87: The Transformers #57 - "The Resurrection Gambit!"
José Delbo, Danny Bulanadi

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This one suffers a bit from the Delbo wonkiness, such as Megs being off-kilter and having part of his leg disappearing. That said, I do kinda like the action of it. The problem? That action is also misleading, as (much like #34 above it) Megatron doesn't actually do any blasting in this issue (apart from a generic Autobot in a flashback). This might well be me overrating the 'misleading' factor, though.



#86: The Transformers #48 - "The Flames of Boltax!"
José Delbo, Dave Hunt

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In many ways, the companion piece to the one above. I really do like the way this one is composited, with a pretty intimidating Megatron (in full color), surrounded by underlings and standing victorious over Prime (mono-shaded to let Megs stand out), all against an ominous red sky. Even the Delbo pupils and Megatron's little Grinch smirk don't ruin it.

But what does ruin it for me is that its one of, if not the most misleading covers - Megatron hasn't returned at all, the whole thing is just a holographic flashback. I wonder how many readers, bamboozled by this cover, bought #57 with some trepidation at being potentially misled again.
 

Magnusblitz

Active member
Citizen
#85: The Transformers #59 - "Skin Deep"
José Delbo, Danny Bulanadi

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This one rounds out the (imaginary) trio of Delbo-drawn potentially misleading Megatron covers. Still a bit wonky, but I think Delbo drew a decently cool Grimlock here. I also like the way Megatron is storming in like Hey, what in tarnation is going on in here?! The background gets more confusing the longer I look at it, but the coloring is good, especially the nice reds at the top contrasting with the dark grey-ish blues below.

As for the blurb, it's argubly misleading (as Ratchet turns out to not actually be dead), but I think it's also a tongue-in-cheek jab at an old 60s trope so it inherently comes with a grain of salt.



#84: The Transformers #43 - "The Big Broadcast of 2006"
Herb Trimpe

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Trimpe did a lot of the covers early on in the series, with this being his only one after issue #30. Like Delbo, his covers were often takes on scenes lifted directly from the interior art, though this one is especially on-the-nose, being a clear re-draw of the top panel on page 18. This one is ranked low simply based off the quality of the pencils, which IMO are rather rough. Rodimus looks like he has a Princess Leia hairdo, Galvatron's legs don't look like they attach, Galvatron's missing his arm cannon and both characters are missing their back kibble.



#83: The Transformers #9 - "DIS-Integrated Circuits!"
Mike Manley

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Manley's only work on Transformers was penciling this issue, both cover and interiors. While his interiors are probably mostly remembered for two things - the full-page panel of Circuit Breaker, and the mid-transformation Wheeljack meme panel - his pencils are actually quite good for the most part, and I wish he had gotten to work on Transformers more.

But, this is a ranking of the covers, and the cover is not the greatest. I do like the overall setup of the cover (with Starscream looming ominously behind CB, hand outstretched like a Pat Lee creation), but Starscream himself is oddly drawn, with an especially weird helmet and chest design, as well as floating with his feet obscured by clouds (?) Just kinda awkward.



#82: The Transformers #54 - "King Con!"
José Delbo, Danny Bulanadi

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I originally had this one in the bottom 10, as I just don't think the obvious King Kong reference (with Iganus of all robots) would attract many readers. The Delboriffic Micromasters don't help, and the giant red arrow taking up the bottom fourth of the cover to point them out is certainly a choice. Buuut the homage does work, and Iguanus is decently drawn, so this one gets bumped up a bit. Though I bet if this was crowd-sourced it'd probably be a lot lower than some in the last batch.



#81: The Transformers #19 - "Command Performances!"
Herb Trimpe

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Like the Dinobots cover in #8 above, I think this is another one where a lot of people would probably say they love this cover - it's Omega Supreme kicking ass, what's not to love? While I do love the way Starscream is getting mangled, the rest of it is shoddily drawn, especially Omega's lower half, as well as the scale issues (Frenzy comes up to Omega's hips?) Just feels like this one should've been oh-so-cooler.
 

LBD "Nytetrayn"

Broke the Matrix
Staff member
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#84: The Transformers #43 - "The Big Broadcast of 2006"
Herb Trimpe

MarvelUS-43.jpg


Trimpe did a lot of the covers early on in the series, with this being his only one after issue #30. Like Delbo, his covers were often takes on scenes lifted directly from the interior art, though this one is especially on-the-nose, being a clear re-draw of the top panel on page 18. This one is ranked low simply based off the quality of the pencils, which IMO are rather rough. Rodimus looks like he has a Princess Leia hairdo, Galvatron's legs don't look like they attach, Galvatron's missing his arm cannon and both characters are missing their back kibble.
This one drove me nuts as a kid.

We finally get Rodimus Prime and Galvatron in an issue, and for the cover, we get... this?!
 

Magnusblitz

Active member
Citizen
Apologies, been swamped recently.

#80: The Transformers #38 - "Trial by Fire!"
Frank Springer, Dave Hunt

MarvelUS-38.jpg


After being introduced in the parallel-running Headmasters miniseries, Fort Max, Scorponok and friends leave Nebulos, making their first appearance on Earth (and in the main book) with this issue. I'm a little surprised there's no call-out of this on the cover (such as "from the pages of Headmasters!" or the like) but I'm not sure if that's a plus or minus.

What IS a big negative is that both leaders are miscolored here, with Max having all his purple/white/red bits colored grey, Scorponok being colored blue instead of green. Also, you might think they're fighting in a swamp, but they're actually fighting over magma, which should be red-orange not green-white. It's a shame because Springer's pencils here are actually pretty decent, but the coloring sinks it.



#79: The Transformers #40 - "Pretender to the Throne!"

José Delbo, Dave Hunt

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This is another one where I think the pencils are okay, but the coloring holds it back. The monstrous forms of Bomb-Burst and Skullgrin's monster shells seem a lot more up Delbo's alley than his robots, though Finback(?) is drawn like an Autobot Pretender for some reason. Optimus being tucked away in a mono-colored screen feels like a sin, though, and overall it's just really busy and not very eye-catching.


#78: The Transformers #14 - "Rock and Roll-Out!"

Bob Budiansky, Mike Esposito

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One thing I was surprised to learn while putting this project together was that Budiansky actually did some artwork for Transformers as well as all of his conceptual/editorial/writing duties, penciling six covers and part of the interiors for his final issue (#55).

Overall, I think he's actually pretty decent, but this one rates low for me because it's just sorta boring, with a random Seeker attacking Hoist at a concert. The humans are well-drawn, but Hoist is pretty awkward, and unfortunately the falling scaffolding is largely hidden by the title (I remember thinking Hoist was just grooving out when I first saw this one). It's not bad, but we've hit the point where little things differentiate the big morass of okay covers.


#77: Transformers: Generation 2 #4 - "Devices and Desires!"
Derek Yaniger

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TF #8's grittier, edgier brother - and like the last cover, this one isn't bad, just kinda boring (I'm usually not one for generic group shots). I think it's also a bit misleading, as while the Dinobots are part of Grimlock's crew in this story, the story is pretty light on dinosaur action (and Sludge doesn't even show up).


#76: The Transformers #37 - "Toy Soldiers!"
José Delbo, Ian Akin, Brian Garvey

MarvelUS-37.jpg


At first glance, I was a bit surprised this was Delbo, as the robots don't seem as wonky as usual. But, the pupils give it away, as do the relatively toy-model Predacons, especially Rampage, who doesn't look like he should be able to do anything but run in a straight line. I do kinda like the way the 'shot' is set up here, though the lack of context for the toy cars saps some impact. Is that the sort of thing that entices a reader to buy the book and find out what's going on? For me at least, it's a negative. Also, either blurb would've sufficed on it's own, two is overkill. (And you'll probably never see the words "Suburban shootout!" on a mainstream comic book cover again)
 

LBD "Nytetrayn"

Broke the Matrix
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Citizen
Apologies, been swamped recently.
Don't worry about it, real life happens.

Feel free to drop a quick post letting us know when you think you'll be able to update, though, if you feel so inclined. =)

though Finback(?) is drawn like an Autobot Pretender for some reason

I thought that was Landmine back there.

TF #8's grittier, edgier brother - and like the last cover, this one isn't bad, just kinda boring (I'm usually not one for generic group shots). I think it's also a bit misleading, as while the Dinobots are part of Grimlock's crew in this story, the story is pretty light on dinosaur action (and Sludge doesn't even show up).

And let's not even get started on the toys being different colors than these, besides!
 

Magnusblitz

Active member
Citizen
#75: The Transformers: Headmasters #2 - "Broken Glass!"
Frank Springer, Ian Akin, Brian Garvey
MarvelHeadmasters-2.jpg


This one's not bad... it avoids the usual pitfalls of being miscolored, and the Nebulons running away give Scorponok a nice imposing sense of scale. And I do like the unique corner box with Galen and Zarak. That aside though, it just sorta bores me, and feels like it could've been slapped onto almost any comic that has Scorponok attacking.



#74: The Transformers #64 - "Deadly Obsession"
Ian Akin
MarvelUS-64.jpg


Ian Akin generally spent more time as an inker than penciller, but he did pencil four Transformers comics, with three coming during the Matrix Quest arc.

The content is a bit silly, which is sometimes tough to balance - the artist isn't the writer and doesn't get to choose, but when thinking about "does this cover make me want to buy it?" or "is this something cool I'd want to display?" it's tough to separate. Moby Dick with robots is definitely a bit silly, but I think this cover does a decent job of making it work. The dark-colored sky and blood-red robots contrast well and give a nice sense of forboding, and the faces on the side and the blurbs feel like a throwback to an earlier comic era, which also goes along with the classic lit theme. The actual faces are a bit derpy though, and it's a weird choice to have the three blurbs in three different colors.



#73: The Transformers #73 - "Out of Time!"
Andrew Wildman
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It speaks well to my like of Wildman's artwork that his lowest-rated cover is the one where he doesn't really get to draw giant robots. It's also a bit of a strange choice, as the vanishing occurs at the very end of the book, with the result that the cliffhanger is featured on the front cover. As far as what's here, though, it's not a bad effect, though Prime in the center is drawn oddly, with the angle giving him a weird pot belly. And I do like the little touches with the title, such as having the "Transformers" logo be transparent, as well as the cheeky "LESS than Meets the Eye" heading.



#72: The Transformers #44 - "The Cosmic Carnival"
Frank Springer, Dave Hunt
MarvelUS-44.jpg


This is another one where it's artistically fine, just sorta boring? Which might be sorta weird to say about Optimus and Sky-Lynx fighting an alien circus, but it's more in the sense of "I'm not interested" than nothing going on. I think Optimus is a bit hidden here between the attackers and the giant text box, which is a bit of a shame - you brought him back for a reason, Hasbro/Marvel!



#71: The Transformers #63 - "Kings of the Wild Frontier."
Ian Akin
MarvelUS-63.jpg


The first four Matrix Quest issues all homaged a well known piece of media or genre, and I really like how this one captured the Western theme, especially the hanging plank sign for the logo up top. Thunderwing is drawn decent well here, though the shoulder-resting gun is an odd choice (the toy has two blasters, could've given him something approximating hip-holstered revolvers!) Unfortunately the rest of his gang is drawn very shoddily, with Spinister being oddly proportioned and Needlenose and Crankcase (who's not in the story) being drawn extremely blocky and stiffly. And Needlenose appears to be holding up a laser-light sigil or something? Very odd.
 

Ookalf

New member
Citizen
And Needlenose appears to be holding up a laser-light sigil or something? Very odd.
Given the whole "Old West" thing, it's probably supposed to be a high-tech branding iron, like you'd use to mark a horse or cow. It does look odd, though, I'll grant you that.
 

Magnusblitz

Active member
Citizen
#70: The Transformers #79 - "The Last Autobot?"
Andrew Wildman

MarvelUS-79.jpg


The next Wildman cover on the list is another one where he doesn't really get to draw much robot, just an extreme close-up of Galvatron's face (so close it's hard to even identify it as him) as a somewhat stylized Spike floating in front. It's admittedly quite an eye-catching cover IMO with lots of white space, but it's not one that necessarily holds my attention afterwards. The title question is also a bit overdramatic since the reader knows the Autobots are alive and well (they're just not on Earth).



#69: The Transformers #49 - "Cold War!"
José Delbo, Danny Bulanadi
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Like a lot of Delbo's covers, this one is a case of good idea, meh execution. Starscream taking advantage while others fight - classic. But I think it was a mistake to fully color only some of them while background shading the rest - should've just been all of one or the other. Starscream also looks quite wonky with the Delbo pupils, no upper left arm, and (as was typical for Delbo misreading the reference art) only one "ear".



#68: G.I. Joe and the Transformers #2 - "Power Struggle"
Herb Trimpe

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I originally had this one much lower, but the more I reviewed things it grew on me. My main misgivings are that the scene with the Joes defending the boat is somewhat wonky, with a lot of questionable angles and perspective. But I really dig the way the Decepticons are framed around that screen, bathed in red light as if they're stuck in a movie submarine. The use of text on covers is always subjective but I think this one made a good move in staying silent and letting the art tell the story.



#67: The Transformers #47 - "Club Con!"
Bob Budiansky, Kevin Nowlan

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One thing that's interesting is seeing how different artists handle drawing robots, as it's usually something outside their usual experience (as most comic characters are humanoid). Budiansky's covers in particular tend to feature humans, and the Transformers that do appear aren't the typical sort (Ratbat on #31, Skullgrin on #45, a somewhat human-looking Blaster head on #29). He also might be one of the hornier TF cover artists, with this one featuring a shapely Jessie in a bikini (#31 and #45 also have a bit of sex appeal, arguably)... though in that regard likely nothing beats out Jim Lee. But that's a topic for later...

Aside from that, this cover's alright. The underwater color scheme is nice, and I like the (over)detailing of all the mechanical bits inside Overbite's mouth. On the negative side, all of the Seacons are miscolored, and Overbite's limbs look a bit dippy.



#66: The Transformers #66 - "All Fall Down"
Ian Akin

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Pretty sure this is the final work (inks or covers), chronologically speaking, that Akin did on Transformers. As far as the pencils go, I think it's one of his better works, certainly better than the way he drew Thunderwing on #63, and really playing up his "oni" face design. Got a nice action pose going as well. But it's got a weird design where a lot of the characters' bodies are missing in space, and the coloring doesn't quite work for me (yellow background with Thunderwing's yellow face, blandly pale purple Matrix). For the final issue of the Matrix Quest, and given how cool some of the scenes inside are, I feel like this one is a missed opportunity.
 

LBD "Nytetrayn"

Broke the Matrix
Staff member
Council of Elders
Citizen
#70: The Transformers #79 - "The Last Autobot?"
Andrew Wildman

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The next Wildman cover on the list is another one where he doesn't really get to draw much robot, just an extreme close-up of Galvatron's face (so close it's hard to even identify it as him) as a somewhat stylized Spike floating in front. It's admittedly quite an eye-catching cover IMO with lots of white space, but it's not one that necessarily holds my attention afterwards. The title question is also a bit overdramatic since the reader knows the Autobots are alive and well (they're just not on Earth).
I do feel like the question did play into the whole thing Hi-Q was talking about.

And on Earth, Spike/Fortress Maximus pretty much was the last Autobot, regardless.
 

Magnusblitz

Active member
Citizen
#65: The Transformers: Headmasters #3 - "Love and Steel!"
Frank Springer, Ian Akin, Brian Garvey

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While the "capture them in bubbles" idea is a bit silly, and the text is a bit misleading/overly dramatic (one might think the Autobots are actually trying to kill the poor trapped Nebulans), I like the composition of this one quite a bit. But it's let down by a few glaring errors, such as For Max having Cerebros' head (a not uncommon mistake given how many new character models existed for this series, poor Frank Springer) and Hardhead being completely miscolored.



#64: Transformers: Generation 2 #7 - "New Dawn"

Derek Yaniger

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Jhiaxus is in top-shelf Yaniger form, and I really dig the coloring of this one (especially the nice flame-colored logo against the deep purple) so why so low? For one, Megatron is weirdly drawn, with his tank chest being rather short/non-existent (though this did vary quite often), and his leg(?) feels like it's way too big and/or misplaced. but my real complaint is that terrible foot pun in the top caption, which mercifully is not repeated in the actual fight scene inside.



#63: The Transformers #61 - "Primal Scream!"

Don Perlin, Vince Mielcarek

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Don Perlin was one of the most prolific pencilers on the original series (second only to Delbo), doing 19 issues' worth of interiors between issues 13 and 35, but only two covers. The concept behind this one is great, and doing Primus' face as negative space is an interesting take (and, personally, I far prefer it to Senior's Hot Rod-esque face for Primus inside). That said, I'm not wild about the way this was colored and composited, and I think more could've been done to make it stand out a bit.



#62: The Transformers: Headmasters #1 - "Ring of Hate!"
Bob Budiansky, Ian Akin, Brian Garvey

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Another Budiansky cover, and, yup, using those humans to help cover up some rather slapdash Fort Max legs. The characters are also somewhat miscolored, though Max and Scorponok might be based off early color schemes. But I do like the sorta 'movie poster' vibe (side characters looking off, jets flying over head), especially apropros for a #1 issue, and the focus on Max ripping his head off is a pretty interesting hook.



#61: The Transformers #68 - "The Human Factor!"
Dwayne Turner

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Turner's sole contribution to Transformers was the entirety of this issue, cover and interiors. His style is somewhat interesting, sort of a proto-Wildman with a very definite "humans in suits" look (especially the hands). The cover has a decent amount going for it - Starscream's head is very nicely drawn, and there's definitely a good sense of scale displayed. But the coloring lets this down, as not only both Thunderpunch and Rapture in the wrong colors, but I think the rainbow palette detracts a bit, with nearly every color present - the green title was probably overkill (and the green/brown cornerbox Prime quite odd).
 

LBD "Nytetrayn"

Broke the Matrix
Staff member
Council of Elders
Citizen
While the "capture them in bubbles" idea is a bit silly, and the text is a bit misleading/overly dramatic (one might think the Autobots are actually trying to kill the poor trapped Nebulans), I like the composition of this one quite a bit. But it's let down by a few glaring errors, such as For Max having Cerebros' head (a not uncommon mistake given how many new character models existed for this series, poor Frank Springer) and Hardhead being completely miscolored.
I think that was deliberate -- or at least thought it was -- despite the occasional inconsistency, if I remember correctly.

Think back: Originally, Fort Max was a more normal-sized guy. Later, they up-sized him, and created Cerebros as a sort of intermediate mode between Galen and Fort Max.

Ergo, if Galen becomes the head of Cerebros, then it makes sense that when he became a Headmaster, his head form would look like Cerebros.

That's the meta explanation. In-universe, I have no idea why he was the only one to get a different head. But, it makes a certain amount of sense.
 


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