Where other people see lumps of cold lifeless plastic, of pins and screws and paint, we see characters, we see imaginary worlds, we see works of art, ideas and pure imagination made into three dimensional physical reality.
Transformer toys hold a unique appeal in being neither one thing, nor another, but both. A primary mode and an alt mode, and sometimes more than one alt mode.
Transformers sometimes take on forms native to the world or habitat they live in, whatever form makes the most sense within their own lore, or makes the most sense as a cool toy in our world.
Racing cars, heavy construction vehicles , military jets, engineering and emergency service vehicles are popular and practical alt modes. The more wild Transformers take on bestial forms such as the Dinobots and Predacons, their alt forms giving expression to their often tumultuous energies, more so than the restrained “civil” Transformers in more traditional post-industrial inspired forms.
Beast modes take on a different purpose in Beast Wars where Transformers inhabit a more primordial planet free of the burden of modern human civilization and industrialization. Animal, mammal and reptilian forms rather than combustion engine vehicles are the order of the day, to better fit into the environment.
The Hearts of Steel IDW comic book mini-series has Transformers awakening after “millions of years” of dormancy on earth at the beginning of – rather than post industrial revolution. Steam power is the order of the day, and the artists imaginations are allowed to run wild imagining new time and culture specific Terran alt modes for some of our favorite characters.
MANY FANS, MANY WORLDS
There are many types of Transformers fans, and sub groups within those groups.
There are the hardcore collectors with near warehouse sized toy collections and dedicated fancy beautiful displays, more living museum and cultural celebration than mere hobby.
There are the customizers who customize parts for toys, or build entirely new toys from existing parts, then there are those who repaint existing toys in new vibrant color schemes, as homages to other characters, or as entirely new characters.
Some fans draw and design technical three dimensional parts for 3D printers often giving new life to new to old toys – a more desirable head, gun or what have you.
There are fans who primarily enjoy the various animated TV shows, or the Marvel, Dreamwave and IDW comics.
Some fans are traditional artists who enjoy illustrating or doodling Transformer characters, illustrating pin-ups, making fan or professional comic art, often with a mix of traditional illustration and digital coloring.
There are those who love making videos and taking photos of toys, not just as a review, but as an artistic expression of who they are.
Some fans make stories and comics using toy photos, or their own illustrations, adding captions with simple software and sharing with online communities – while others use graphics engines and polygons to tell their stories, or create their art with Machinima style videos.
Most fans are a mix of many types. The mono-fan is rare. Most Transformers fans enjoy their Transformers across multiple media and many lines of contrasting toys.
There are uber fans who consume everything, and casual fans who may dip in and out of the various lore, media and toys.
Some are lifelong fans, others more casually interested in particular toy line, show or comic book series.
Everybody has their favourite characters, or favourite show, or favourite Lore / Transformers continuity. I love it all. Well some stuff more than other stuff.
It’s an obsession for me, and a lifelong one at that.
I find it exciting to talk with and hear ideas from fans of different Transformers media, art, toys etc. Whatever type of fan you are, the thing that binds us is not how big a collection is, how vast the scope of our nerd knowledge, but the social sharing of ideas we care passionately about, the connection to other human beings that comes from shared passions can bond people for life, and yet just as easily we can make a frien-emy (not quite friend, not quite enemy) when we got lost in silly detail oriented nerd arguments, rather than enjoying each others company and shared passion, knowledge etc for amazing cool toys made out of plastic.
WHAT KIND OF FAN AM I?
“The annoying know it all” (who does’t really know that much at all….) would be one possible description.
I don’t know.
I love bits of everything.
My favourite stuff, if I narrowed it down would be:
*The G1 cartoon + Animated movie
*All the Toys ‘What Ever Existed’
*The Marvel / Dreamwave / IDW comics
*The Fall of Cybertron / War for Cybertron & Transformers Devastation Games
*The online fan communities
*The super-fans who create places online for communities and collectives to develop, who give shy awkward house bound nerds like me a place that feels welcoming rather than threatening
*The people who create and share all kinds of Transformers related content
*The people who inspire me to boldly go where no Transformers fan has gone before! (I don’t know what that means, just like the sound of it)
What I love about Transformers is the diversity of fandom, the diversity of Lore and shows and ideas and oh… the TOYS! I hope Transformers the “global media brand” never goes away, and like Batman and TMNT, just keep getting reinvented over and over again for new generations to enjoy. You can’t bottle lightning, and to me Transformers are just magic.
Well I’m done for now, but more rambling and rumination to follow no doubt as I delve into Transformers ‘Lore’, philosophy and culture. I hope you enjoy this blog. Feel free to stop by any time, you will always be welcome.