A Brief History Of Transformers Comics

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Dreamwave Productions (2002 – 2005)

It’s fair to say that almost the entire success of this short-lived spin-off from Image Comics was due to its acquisition of the Transformers license. It’s also equally fair to say that fans of the franchise had a love-hate relationship with the comics Dreamwave produced, digging the bold, larger than life art by Pat Lee, Guido Guidi and others but not always feeling as pleased with the stories.

Transformers: Generation One kind of, sort of took up the adventures of the original Transformers, though it didn’t continue the Marvel continuity. Dreamwave enlisted the help of Furman to do Transformers: The War Within, which delved into the conflict on Cybertron before the Autobots and Decepticons brought their eternal conflict to Earth. That mini-series also marked the first appearance of The Fallen, who went onto a starring role in the second Transformers movie, a.k.a. the one many fans would most like to forget about.

Later Dreamwave books included Armada and Energon, which were based on but didn’t strictly follow along with the animated shows and toy lines with which they shared names. Alas, even though the series always seemed to sell pretty well, especially for comics that weren’t produced by Marvel or DC, they weren’t enough to keep Dreamwave from going under, and the company closed its doors in January of 2005. The wait for the Transformers to pop up again wasn’t as long this time, as another studio quickly snapped up the license.

IDW Publishing (2005 – Present)

With the help of that guy Furman again, IDW has gone in two separate directions with takes on the familiar Generation One characters. The first was a succession of limited series beginning with The Transformers: Infiltration that allowed Furman and various artists to do a complete reboot. These books presented flipped the script by giving the Autobots a past as a corrupt group of law enforcement officers and the Decepticons as a terrorist group that incites a Civil War that leaves Cybertron a lifeless world. Both factions still end up on Earth battling over Energon, so the basics remain the same even if some of the details are very different.

IDW also gave Furman a chance to go back and finish the story he was telling at Marvel in the pages of Transformations: Regeneration One. Taking up the numbering of the original series, the 20-issue run provided what Furman has called a definitive end to the original continuity, wrapping up in March of 2014.

Other IDW books have adapted the animated movie, the first live action movie and shined a spotlight on individual characters or groups like the Wreckers. The Transformers even returned to their roots in a way in a crossover with the New Avengers. Two ongoing series, appropriately titled Robots in Disguise and More Than Meets the Eye, carry on the saga of the current comics continuity, and they’ve shown no signs of slowing down.

That’s a lot of robots. Suffice it to say that as long as the brand remains viable — and it probably will until the day we have giant robots walking around in the real world — someone is going to be making Transformers comics. Transform and roll out to the LCS!