Thursday, October 31, 2013

10 Transformers That Need More Exposure Part I

We truly live in a Golden Age of Transformers comics.  With Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, Transformers: Robots in Disguise, and Transformers: Regeneration One, more and more Transformers are seeing exposure beyond the supposed core cast.  Characters such as Hot Rod, Ultra Magnus, Skids, Swerve, Tailgate, Metalhawk and even Chromedome have been given great focus and characterization.  These are truly great times for the Transformer comic enthusiast.  Even with the ever-expanding cast, there are still those characters that I feel could use more exposure.  Here then, for your reading enjoyment, are the first five characters on my list, in no particular order.


Know who loves Smokescreen?  Hasbro and Takara.  Just looking at his TFWiki profile, he's had two reissues of his original figure, essentially 4 Binaltech figures,Classics and Henkei figures and he's now a hotly anticipated Masterpiece figure.  That's a lot of love.

Do you know who doesn't seem to like Smokescreen?  Writers.  Sure, he's been in every iteration of a comic published by whatever company is holding the license at the time, but it's always been as a background guy.  Fighting Thunderwing?  Better throw Smokescreen in there.  Everyone knows him, but no one's done anything to really to give any kind of personality.  Except for the TV show.

Yes, Smokescreen had an entire episode dedicated to him and it really colored my opinion on him.  Thanks to this episode, I think that this how Smokescreen should be portrayed - as an inveterate gambler.

Don't start thinking that I want an entire three issue story arc dedicated to Smokescreen in some, ahem, smoke filled room playing poker or attending robot bird fights.  Instead, I've always thought of Smokescreen as a risk taker on the outside, but on the inside he's someone that's rigged the risks in his favor so he's not really taking that big a risk.  Think Longshot from The X-Men combined with Hot Rod and Prowl.  Then again, I would like to see a scene where Bumblebee and Cosmos have to drag Smokescreen out of a casino so he can help in a battle.  I dig it, how about you?


How about that - another Datsun!  And my favorite character to boot!  Bluestreak is the bee's knees.  And like any great Marvel superhero, he has a tragic back story.

Here's Bluestreak's TFWiki profile:

Bluestreak is a talker. He talks a lot. Any subject, any time of the day, his lips are flapping while his Autobot comrades are rolling their eyes. Could be about things on Earth, could be about things on Cybertron, could be about just about anything, but the point is, y'know, he's talking. Words are coming out of his mouth in a near constant prattling stream. Some think he's vapid, that his mouth just moves a billion times faster than his brain, if his brain is moving at all. Or they imagine that he's a fool who doesn't know when to shut up, that he drones on and on and on and on because maybe he just likes to hear himself speak or something.
His friends realize, however, that his jabbering hides a deeper pain. At the beginning of the war, Bluestreak's home city was totally destroyed by Decepticons. He was the only survivor. It's as if by talking he tries to drown out his own fears and memories somehow. "There's some demons runnin' loose inside that boy," says Hound, "and sometimes I think they grab hold of him and won't let him go." He hated war, he still does, but ever since, he's hated Decepticons even more. It is odd to see a bot of peace so willingly take up arms, but Bluestreak's got a score to settle.
Talk may be cheap, but it keeps him sane. 

So Bluestreak has some sort of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?  Survivor's Guilt?  Is he Spider-Man?  That...that could work.  

Why not?
I honestly think that Bluestreak was meant for bigger and better things in the the IDW universe.  He commanded his own squadron in Stormbringer.  He did have some speaking lines during Costa's Ongoing run, but nothing really materialized.  From my understanding, James Roberts wanted to include Bluestreak as part of the Lost Light crew, but John Barber wanted to use him RiD.  This turned out to be a bad move as Bluestreak has been relegated to the background.  Ugh.  Maybe Hot Rod can take Bluestreak with him once Dark Cybertron ends.  Hopefully.


Ah, Battletrap, the perennial background character.  He's used whenever a writer or artist wants to prove that they're about more than the 1984-86 guys.  Maybe he's mentioned as a weird science project; an early precursor to the triple changing process.  But there's more...much more there, I believe.

Duocons are a nifty concept, if you ask me.  They're small scale gestalts.  And with Flywheels meeting an unfortunate end at the hands of the Decepticon Justice Division, Battletrap is the only one left.  With his huge feet.  Where was I?  Yes, interesting concept.  The amazing thing to me is that with the Duocons, both vehicles appear to be sentient beings in their own right as demonstrated by the two halves of Flywheels arguing all of the time.  But whereas Flywheels two halves fought, Battletrap's have achieved a sense of camaraderie.  If you call squishing foes together with your two halves camaraderie.

I had intended for this to be about Flywheels, as I prefer him over Battletrap, but as I stated above, he's dead.  Anyway, I think that just exploring the dynamic behind the Duocons would be fascinating.  How did the Duocons come to be?  Were they an experiment or were they constructed that way?  Are they gestalts?  Are the two halves truly sentient?  These are questions just screaming to be answered.

First off, I think that Pretenders as a whole are under represented.  From the great origin presented in Stormbringer to the first successful use of the process in Revelation, the presentation in the IDW-verse has been top notch.  But Roadblock hasn't been represented in the comics other than as a cameo.  It's time someone changed that.

The biggest sticking point in the comics, whether it's been Marvel or IDW, has been the lack of Decepticons.  While I like Jhiaxus, Straxus and their ilk, I don't really understand their inclusion.  There are tons of characters with great bios that have been produced in plastic form, but haven't been given their due.  Why?

Roadblock is a ground forces commander that uses fear to motivate his troops.  Then again, I can imagine that most Decepticon commanders are the same way.  His uncompromising disposition has caused those under his command to get promoted just to get away from him!  I'll admit that there isn't much to work with here, but there's enough.  It's not like there was a ton of characterization with Skids before he blew up in popularity.  He may not be a featured character, but maybe used in an issue to explain how a character got to his position as a flashback.  It's worth a shot.

Why is he on this list?  He's been featured plenty in the comics!  Well, he was under Simon Furman, but then he just kind of disappeared.  Not that it's a bad thing, as it made room for other characters to shine.  Still, I think there's room for him as more than a background guy now.

Jetfire is a scientist, even if his tech spec bio gives him the function of "Air Guardian".  Let's see, during the "-tion" comics, Jetfire was responsible for finding a way to beat Thunderwing when he first went insane, defeated Jhiaxus, and perfected Pretender technology.  Then he was used as an air guardian and then Apeface shot him.  

So I guess that there's only room in the group for one main scientist.  Once the Autobots returned to Cybertron, Wheeljack became the science guy whilst Perceptor became the science guy in space with Hot Rod.  Can't there be more than one science guy?  Besides, what exactly has Wheeljack done during this time?  He launched a rocket into Cybertron's orbit to help stabilize Energon flow, and got shot by a brainwashed Prowl and killed.  Maybe killed.  Surely Jetfire could have done that and a better job to boot.  I seriously doubt Jetfire would've been killed.  Then again, Jetfire did get punked by Apeface, so what I do know?

Well, that's it for Part I.  Are there any characters that you feel have been under served?  Sound off in the comments!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Anime Devastator

Have you ever purchased a figure and instantly regretted it?  To be perfectly honest, I've never regretted a purchase.  Ever.  That is until I purchased Anime Devastator, Encore 20A.  As soon as he shipped, I wanted to cancel the order, but it was too late.  It's not that it's a horrible release, not by a long shot.  I just don't see the point, I guess.

In 2011, TakaraTomy released Devastator as the 20th Encore figure.  He was apparently reverse engineered from a set of existing toys since the original mold had been lost to time.  Or KO manufacturers.  I picked up this release since it was easier to get this than to track down decent Constructicons at good prices.  Fast forward to 2013 and TakaraTomy decided to jazz up Devastator with a more yellow version of Devastator replete with a new head sculpt that better emulated his look from the cartoon.  Oh, and Mixmaster would now feature a purple mixing drum.  Imaginatively titled Encore 20A - Anime Devastator, this release seemed to be met with a solid "Ho-Hum" from everyone.  Especially me.

I'm still not sure what prompted me to pull the trigger on this purchase.  Once I got him and opened him up, I just put the decals on and combined the Constructicons into Devastator and put him with the other Devastator.  It turns out that there are quite a few differences besides the head and drum.

Above, you can check out the differences in the heads.  The newer head is up front.  It does look better, I suppose.  I guess he should be tearing down Autobot City.

 Anime Devastator features black forearms as opposed to the purple of regular Devastator.

Long Haul got some paint apps on the front of his truck grill.  He also got his headlights painted.

Mixmaster has the purple drum, plus red eyes.  The silver is absent from his forehead, however.

Scrapper has a more defined head thanks to the paint apps.

Bonecrusher has red eyes and his face is better defined thanks to the application of silver.

Ditto for Scrapper.

Hook has red eyes.  His head looks a lot better.

I think that my biggest problem with this release is that I feel as though TakaraTomy should have just done this release over the original Encore release.  It's just superfluous, I guess.  I'll be more positive on my next post, I promise.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Endgame

Think about an end you can live with
Think about an end I can give you
Think about an end that'll satisfy
Lyrics from "Think About an End" by Anthrax

I like to think of myself as a reflective and introspective person; almost overly analytical.  For over the past decade, I've been hemming and hawing about what my ultimate endgame would be in regards to collecting.  And for the vast majority of those years, that plan has shifted constantly.  It's only within the last year that I've achieved any kind of focus .

The first figure I ever bought on secondary market was Afterburner.  My original Afterburner broke, and I was in need of a replacement, so I decided to test some uncharted waters and ordered him.  That was in 2001.  Since then, I've given myself various ages to get out of the game, so to speak.  I was 24 in 2001 and I gave myself until I was 25 to get out.  Once I hit 25, I pushed that to 28.  Just a few more vintage guys, I kept telling myself.  I'm getting too old for this was a prevailing thought in my head.  This was getting me nowhere.

Here's the thing: it's not like I want to get out of collecting all together; I buy new figures all of the time.  Rather, I've always been looking at an exit strategy for vintage figures.  It's insane for anyone to think that they'd be able to get every figure made.  Especially if you're behind the 8 ball, like I am/was.  Even more so once you find out about Generation 1 figures that you had never even heard of from Japan or Europe.

Ten years ago, I figured I had maybe 100 or so figures to get.  Then about seven years ago, I found out about the Japanese exclusive figures.  My heart sank.  There was no way that I could ever hope to catch up.  In crisis, I just shutdown.  What could I ever hope to accomplish?  I decided to just stick to newer figures like CHUGS, Binaltech and Masterpiece and the Takara Reissues.  At least I could stay current with those.

My thinking started to change around the time I started this blog.  I'm not really sure what kicked it in, but I really wanted to get a nice even number with my collection and then stop.  Then I just went nuts and decided to get everything.  Now, that I've calmed down a bit, I have a very sensible and reasoned approach to my collection. Even if my wife doesn't think so.

My main goal is to finish the U.S. figures. With luck and skill, I should have that finished in two years.  Hopefully.  At my current rate of acquisition.  This is all in a vacuum and doesn't factor in announcements of new Masterpiece figures, reissues, or interesting Generations figures.  Seriously, as of now, I already have five Masterpiece figures preordered for 2014.  Five!  And based on how Hasbro started off 2013 with the horrid War for Cybertron figures, I had no clue that we'd get Trailbreaker, Hoist, Skids or freaking Metroplex.  Who saw those coming?  

I might not always know what my next vintage purchase will be, but I do at least know what my last figure will be.  

Action Master Prime was the last G1 figure I got as a present from my parents.  I sold all of Action Masters several years ago for ridiculous prices and regretted it ever since.  I think that ending on AM Prime makes sense.  Told you I had a plan.  

So now that just leaves me with the Japanese and European stuff.  It would be pointless of me to try to get them all.  I'm thinking that I may try to get a few, but with prices trending the way they are, I find that highly dubious.  I may stand pat with the U.S. stuff and hope for some Encore releases to plug any non- U.S. holes.  Hopefully.

Not in the cards.  For now.

Him either.
While I'm in no way looking to get out of the hobby, I know that one day I'll get to the point where vintage may not be viable.  Thanks to my plan, I think that I will feel comfortable with wherever I am when the day comes.  The main point with collecting, as always, is to have fun while doing it.  No matter what, I'm always having fun.  What about you?  Do you have an exit strategy?

Orion Pax

Picture it - millions of years ago on Cybertron, a young dock worker is introduced to a charismatic Decepticon named Megatron.  Megatron duped this young 'bot into giving him a tour of the dockyards.  As thanks for the tour, Megatron did extensive damage to the 'bot, nearly killing him, his best friend, and girlfriend.  Thanks to the timely intervention of a kind tinkerer, the young 'bot was reconstructed into a new, more powerful body - Optimus Prime.  Megatron had just created his own downfall.  This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as Optimus initially looked like this in his former life:

Perms aren't just for women...
Picture it - millions of years ago, on Cybertron, a young police Captain made a name for himself by battling corruption and standing up for what was right.  One of those acts was releasing a falsely imprisoned Megatron and telling him to keep up the good work.  After raising the ire of the corrupt Senate, this young policebot was befriended and mentored by an honest Senator, given an upgraded body replete with a Matrix cavity.  This would prove to be fortuitous, as this policebot would become Optimus Prime.

Riding dead comrades is one way to battle corruption
 Did you know that both of the above 'bots are one and the same?  The name of that robot who would one day rise to become Optimus Prime?  Orion Pax.  The first version of Orion Pax was introduced in the classic G1 cartoon "War Dawn" episode.  As you can see, he looked nothing like Optimus Prime.  Other than the rockin' 'do, the most obvious thing about Orion Pax is that he has a mouth.  After his evolution in to Optimus Prime, he would get a faceplate.

The funny thing about the IDW version of Orion Pax is that he starts out with a faceplate, but after some modifications by Senator Shockwave, he's given a mouth.  And then he becomes Optimus Prime and gets the faceplate back.  For reasons.

Upgraded with new and improved mouth!
Which, when you think about it, is pretty funny.  He went form looking like Optimus Prime, to getting upgraded to new body with a Matrix cavity that looked nothing like Optimus Prime to yet another upgrade that made him look like his older self.  The reason for this is, of course, is artistic gaffe or decision by IDW.  Still, I kind of chuckle when I think about it.

So, thanks to IDW and Hasbro, we know have a figure based on the middle version of Optimus Prime's evolution - the Orion Pax with a mouth.  Honestly, I had a few reservations about this figure once I saw preview pictures of him online.  For starters, he looked so small.  Frail, even.  To top it off, that head!  It was tiny!  It was as though a kid had put his dad's suit on.  Would this figure be released with such a tiny noggin?  Would Hasbro actually release a sickly precursor to the great and powerful Optimus Prime?  In short, yes, yes they would.

Here's Orion Pax as he is in package - robot mode.  You can see the similarities to Orion Pax and Optimus Prime in this figure.  First you have the obvious red and blue color scheme.  There's a window on his chest to boot.  Hmm...that rifle looks familiar as well.  Prime doesn't carry an axe, so that's Pax specific.  As are the blades on the side of the arm.  Note the miniscule head.  Still Hasbro did an amazing job of capturing the comic version's likeness. 

I did have some reservations about this figure's ability to strike a pose, as I've had with every other figure from this assortment.  After some fiddling around, I was able to get some fairly decent poses out of Orion Pax.

They aren't perfect, but I like them. The head is still a little jarring, but I can live with it.  Like the rest of his assortment cohorts, Orion Pax's head does not look up or down, only left and right.  As evidenced by the photo above, the axe that he comes with features an extremely long handle.  Apparently, like Drift, Orion Pax can hold the axe with both hands.  However, I could only get it to look like he was swinging a bat or something, not like he's about to chop off an opposing criminal's arm or head.
Did you know that Orion Pax transforms into a truck?  I find it hard to believe!  A version of Optimus that's a truck?  Innovative and out there, I know.
Here's a bit of a top-down view for your enjoyment:

I really do like this mode.  It's a reminiscent of the War for Cybertron truck mode.  Man, is it sharp.  In the included Spotlight: Orion Pax issue that accompanies this figure, Orion at one point hauls a trailer.  This has, naturally, led to a 3rd party company creating said trailer.  I'm good with just the cab.  I think that the trailer will also come with a new head of ol' Pax as well. 
See the hole on the side rear of the truck?  There's another one on the opposite side.  Unlike when I was a kid, Hasbro has been kind enough to incorporate weapon storage in vehicle mode for most of it's figures.  The rifle and axe can attach to these ports for an attack mode.  I'm not too fond of how the axe looks when it's attached, but that's just me.
When I first saw the preview pictures of Orion Pax online, I was troubled with a lot of things about him.  Small head, articulation, mouth, and figure size all made me doubtful that this would be a decent figure.  After playing with him for quite a bit, I think that he may be my favorite figure of the assortment.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Top 10 Transformers Artists

I can't believe that I live in an age where I can actually do this.  It was unfathomable during the Marvel runs that I could even conceive of ten different artists working on the Transformers in an official capacity.  Thankfully Transformers have proven to be so popular that a lot of people have worked on them.  Just to get this out of the way, this is my list based on those who have officially worked on the Transformers, whether through Marvel, Dreamwave, IDW, or Fun Publications.  There are many great artists out there who have done Transformers art, such as Benjamin Galley, or GrungeWerX, or Blitz-Wing, to name a few, but they haven't worked on anything in an official capacity.  Here, then, I present to you my list of the top ten artists.

10.  Hidetsugu Yoshioka
I'm a relative newcomer to this artist.  I first discovered this art on the E-Hobby "Solar Requiem" comic that came with the Shattered Glass Soundwave VS Blaster set. His art, while it does bear a Derek Yaniger influence, is expressive and fluid. 

Picture from TFWiki
Since I'm not too familiar with everything Yoshioka has done, I'm eager to find more.  I know that he's been working on Transformers related things for Takara since the 80's, so I'm sure that there is more out there.  He doesn't have a deviantart page that I can find, so for now, if you'd like to read up more about him, check out his TFWiki profile here.

9.  Josh Burcham
I was first introduced to Josh Burcham on the old Dreamwave message board.  At the time, he was primarily a fan artist, but he eventually found his way to being employed by Dreamwave as a colorist.  As a matter of fact, most of his official work has been as a colorist.  He's colored for IDW and Fun Publications.  However, he did provide actual art for the latest Botcon comic "Termination".

Picture from
As you can see, Burcham's art is a mixture of Skottie Young and Geoff Senior.  It's hyperkinetic, and stylized.  I really like it.  Burcham is someone that I wish would do more penciling duty from IDW, but so far that hasn't materialized.  You can check out his deviatart page here.

8.  Makoto Ono
Another great artist who hasn't done a lot of official work, his art is still amazing.  I first found out about him thanks to this picture:

It's an amazing piece of work.  It's what I imagine the G1 cartoon would look like if it was done in the comics.  This is the kind of fluidity and detail I wish the cartoon had.  Makoto Ono is just brilliant.  It's his lack of official work that keeps him from going up higher on the list.

As far as official work goes, Ono (also known as Makotron) has done work mainly for 3H and Fun Publications.  He did do some art for the Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye profile series that Dreamwave put out, but his style was sublimated a bit to conform to Pat Lee's house style.

Picture from
On a personal note, Makoto Ono did the picture that I use of Optimal Omega as my avatar.  It was a great commission that he did for me almost a decade ago.  As it stands now, it's the only thing I've ever paid someone to do for me.  If you'd like to see more of his great art, and I suggest you do, check out his deviantart page here.

7. William Johnson
Some of you may be scratching your head over this one.  Maybe some of you don't know who he is.  Maybe this will jog your memory:

This was the first Transformers comic I read as a kid.  Back in the day, you could buy multipacks of comics at store like Hills or Roses.  The art in this issue had a lasting impression on me, especially as I was later exposed to the art of Jose Delbo for so long when I started buying comics on a regular basis.  Johnson only penciled two issues of this comic, issues #7 and #8, but they were beautiful to look at.

Picture from

A lot of the early Marvel Transformers artist get dismissed, and rightfully so.  The artwork for the early issues seemed to be done by staff artists on the downturn of their careers.  But something about Johnson's work spoke to me.  It was lively and actually good!  Sure, there may have been an error here or there, but it looked much better than this:

Picture from
I can't find any kind of page for William Johnson, but I did find a page where you can look at and maybe purchase his art.

6.  Alex Milne
If I had written this list 8 years ago, Alex Milne would not have been anywhere on this list.  He would have maybe been on my list of the worst Transformers artists of all time.  That just goes to show two things: 1) how pervasive and horrible the enforced Dreamwave house style was and 2) how much Milne has rid himself of this and become his own artist.

Dreamwave influenced puffy art.  Pic from
Alex Milne is and will probably always be inexorably linked to Pat Lee and not just because of the house style that Lee enforced.  For those who aren't aware, not only does Lee owe Milne a few thousand dollars, he also owes him credit for the penciling all of those pages of the Cyberforce comic that Lee took credit and money for.

I was genuinely shocked and dismayed whenever IDW announced that Milne would be handling art chores for the Megatron Origin comic.  When I read it, the Lee puffiness was gone, but it still didn't look that great.  Imagine my surprise when he kept getting work from IDW for the live action comics (which in all fairness, I haven't read).  I think that his speed had one thing to do with it.

After not seeing his work for a few years after Megatron Origin, I was pleasantly surprised to open up issue #2 of The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye and, after reading and checking the credits, realizing that Milne had done the art.  The line work was much tighter, and it was pleasant to the eye.  I truly enjoy his art now so much that I'm disappointed when he doesn't pencil and issue of MTME.  His art has progressed to the point that Hasbro are basing figures from his designs, such as the upcoming Skids release in the Generations line.

Milne's real style
 If you'd like to see more of his work, check out The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye and his deviantart page.

5.  Geoff Senior

Here's the thing about reading the Transformers comics in the 1980's: you couldn't read it for the art.  Sure, William Johnson did two great issues, but that was about it.  That changed with issue #61, for in that issue, we were treated to Geoff Senior.  His art was stylized, blocky, powerful, and robotic.  In short, it was awesome.

I know it's not from issue #61, but it's still from
If you lived in the UK, then you were already familiar with his art.  Senior had already done a fair amount of work on the Marvel UK Transformers comics, but I had never heard of him until issue #61.  Senior's art, coupled with Simon Furman's scripts, made the Transformers comics the first comic I read when I got my comics each month.  Unfortunately, Senior only did a handful of US issues before pursuing other things.  He did briefly return for some issues of the Generation 2 series.  He's also done some covers for the Regeneration One comic and provided a couple of pages of art for 0 issue.  How great is Geoff Senior?  When I think of Unicron, I picture this:
Yeah, that's the stuff.  Geoff Senior has a webpage here.

4.  E.J. Su

My introduction to E.J. Su came with the "-tion" comics from IDW, but he had done some Transformers work for Devil's Due for their G.I. Joe vs Transfomers comics.  When I read Infiltration, I was blown away by the art.  The robots were detailed, yet still a little cartoony and the humans looked like humans!  This had been a problem during the Dreamwave issues.  The humans all looked weird for some reason.  Su had done some redesigns on a lot of the characters in the arc and they looked fantastic.  It was certainly a breath of fresh air.

E.J. Su cover art
That's some great stuff, right there.  What really pushed Su up the charts was his work on the Revelation series.  He did all of the connecting covers and inked and colored them himself.  He also provided art for issues #1 and #4.  When he inks and colors his own work, it looks painted.  And this painted quality it fabulous.

I can see this on a canvas.  Click to see the full size.
Sadly, the end of the "-tion" series of comics, coupled with IDW's soft reboot, pretty much spelled the end of Su's work on the Transformers.  Around this time, Su's wife gave birth and he pretty much retired from freelance work to get a corporate gig as an industrial designer in his homeland of Taiwan.  He's popped up a couple of times providing some art or a cover, but I don't see him coming back full-time, which is sad.  I believe that he still updates his deviantart account, which you can check out here.

3.  Nick Roche

As sad as it was to see E.J. Su leave, it paved the way for another great artist to come aboard - Nick Roche.  Roche basically broke into comics by landing work on Spotlight: Shockwave.  His art is very stylized and on first glance, you know it's him.

There's no way that image above could have been drawn by anyone else.  Roche's art style is adaptable to any given script, which is a bonus.  His art has grown in leaps and bounds, as well.  Compare the Cyclonus image above with this one from Last Stand of the Wreckers:

The characters all have their own distinct personalities that you can discern just from looking at how Roche drew them.  Just look at how solemn Perceptor is, how bulky and in charge Springer looks; it's just amazing how he's able to pull this off.

You know the other great thing about Roche?  He's a writer as well!  He has written some of the better received issues of the IDW comics.  Spotlight: KupSpotlight: MegatronLast Stand of the Wreckers?  They were all written and drawn by Nick Roche.  The man's influence in this continuity is strong.  Because of this, he was approached by Hasbro to design Sandstorm, and in turn Springer for the Generations line, two of the most hotly anticipated and beloved figures released this year.

His output for IDW is surprisingly limited, but considering that he needed extra artists to finish Last Stand of the Wreckers and he only penciled the first issue of The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, I wonder if it's because of deadline issues?  Who knows.  I do know that he will be working for Marvel on their Death's Head II series, so I'll be picking that up for sure.

2.  Don Figueroa

The DON.  His influence has permeated the Transformers brand for a decade now.  Don't believe me?  Have any Titanium or Classics figures?  How about the new Generations Megatron?  Guess what?  They were designed by Don Figueroa.  Well, he didn't design all of the Classics figures, but he either outright designed or helped to design a big chunk of them.

Like everyone else, I was first introduced to Don Figueroa's work through his Macromasters online comic.  For those who haven't read it, you can check it out here.  Not only was the art top-notch, but Don even created custom figures from scratch based on these designs.  This lead him to Pat Lee's doorstep and he was eventually hired to pencil their The War Within miniseries.  This led him to being hired by Hasbro, and essentially becoming Dreamwave's go-to guy for Transformers, which suited everyone fine because then we didn't have to look at Pat Lee's work anymore.

After Dreamwave folded, Don worked for Devil's Due where he kept trying to get them to let him write a G.I. Joe/Transformers crossover.  For some reason, they kept balking at it.  Their loss, but I'd still like to see it published one day.  From there, he went to IDW and penciled quite a bit for them, including the Transformers: Ongoing series where we were introduced to this:


Yes, Bay movie inspired designs.  Eww.  At any rate, Don tired of doing Transformers and took a break.  Now he's working on a project called Armarauders which looks fantastic.

Don's art has quite a few traits that never seem to change.  The eyes are wide, teeth are present, the characters all seem to be broad shouldered and look impossibly strong.  Don's Transformers are detailed, but not overly so.  The most telling characteristic?  The vents on the hands.

You can check out Don's deviantart page here.

1.  Andrew Wildman

And here we are, at number 1!  Why, you ask, did I pick Andrew Wildman as the greatest Transformers artist ever?  Simple: his work is super expressive.

Andrew Wildman has caught a lot of flak for his art in the past.  There are those who have thought that his Transformers aren't really robotic.  They looked cartoonish.  They had teeth!  None of that matters to me.  His art is what I think about when I think of the Transformers.  Wildman's ability capture emotion with giant robots helped to sell Simon Furman's scripts.  Sure they always seemed to be wet for some reason, but that's fine.  Even though I had no idea who Andrew Wildman was, or where he was from, his Transformers always looked British to me.  I can't really explain why, but when I was 13 years old, I took one look at his art and said "I guess the Transformers are from Britan."  I had never read a British comic in my entire life.

Seeing Megatron fused with Ratchet in issue 70 made me pee my pants a little.  That's the effect that Andrew Wildman had on me.  His ability to make Optimus Prime look sad and Kup so angry just floored me.  Notice how Prime has parts just falling off?  That's another thing that I love about Wildman's art - the little details.  These Transformers weren't always in tip-top condition; it looked like they were always in need of repair.

Optimus Prime, dry for once during Wildman's run
When Optimus Prime dies in issue #76, Wildman hit a homerun.

And he's wet again.
After the Marvel Transformers comics ended, Wildman worked on G.I. Joe, Spider-Man, and a few other things for Marvel.  He then kind of disappeared before reappearing providing art for The War Within: The Dark Ages for Dreamwave.  He's popped back up at IDW, first providing some alternate covers for the Infiltration and the Ongoing series.  Wildman jumped back into the interiors game with Regeneration One.  Sadly, he's since left that series, but I understand that he'll be returning to finish off the series.  Seeing his art on these newer issues, I can tell that he hasn't lost a step.

Well, there you have it.  All 10 of my favorite artists of all time.  Agree?  Disagree?  Let's talk about it in the comments section!