Thursday, 3 May 2018



Where does the time go, eh?  Here we are already summing up April and the eighth month of photos of my Transformers comics collection from Marvel UK.  Okay, so there's still another 69 to go but we're in no rush.  For new readers, this is the monthly roundup of the few photos I've shown every Thursday on my personal Instagram throughout the previous month.  Each issue's post pops up there on the date of its original release, showing off this epic collection's artwork, scope, features and covers, and what a month April 1986 was:

Four issues kept the action and adventure flowing, from both the American and British creative teams.  The latter also had their very first story collected together in a newly coloured bumper special, the start of a new trend for the Collected Comics seasonal editions (of concentrating solely on the British entries), which would continue throughout the series.  So this month we had Megatron and Shockwave both claiming superiority over the Decepticons, Bumblebee suddenly finding himself alone and personally targeted, Buster Witwicky developing nicely and I even chose a couple of Robo Capers from Oink!'s very own Lew Stringer too.

What a bumper month!  So let's not waste any more time, here's your monthly catch-up.

5th April 1986

#56: Another 'Throwback Thursday' on Instagram and there's two issues of UK Transformers reaching their 32nd anniversary.  I, Robot-Master concludes with Megatron reanimating and remaining cool and calm as per usual.  Love the mouth mechanisms from these early issues (and the recent movies), drawn by Herb Trimbe in the strip and Robin Smith on the cover.

Though if you were the artist how pissed would you be with that colouring of the Autobots there?  Par for the course with Marvel's US strips back then.

The ad for the Marvel specials includes the other comic I'm photographing today, so check below.

Also, there's the first video of the cartoon, which I've clear memories of renting and my whole family watching it for movie night (my dad had tricked me into thinking he'd rented something else and I huffed until it came on, realising the joke had been on me).

Cover by Robin Smith
I, Robot-Master: Part Two pencils by Don Perlin, inks by Keith Williams and colours by Nel Yomtov


CC#3: Another throwback today for UK Transformers fans because on this day 32 years ago #56 and Collected Comics 3 were both released.

This third special reprinted the absolute classic Man of Iron story written by Steve Parkhouse, with sublime artwork by both John Ridgway and Mike Collins.  But(!) now it was all in full colour and what colour work it is from both Gina Hart and Josie Firmin!  It was definitely worth revisiting.

Plus, how many (or how few) of those shops in the advert for the Tell-A-Tale set still exist?  "Action, adventure and sound effects"?  I'm in!

Cover by John Ridgway (from #2)
Man of Iron strip art by John Ridgway (Chapters 1 & 2) and Mike Collins (Chapters 3 & 4), original colours by Gina Hart (final two panels above) and Josie Firmin (recoloured panels 3 & 4 above)

12th April 1986

#57: 32 years ago the powerful Shockwave was hunting the teeny, tiny Bumblebee.  The big bully!  Loving the toy design popping up on the title page by Eliot Brown.

I'm also loving the freeform artwork from Graham Nolan and Tom Morgan, which reminds me of Dan Reed who would join the UK Transformers team later in the run.  It works particularly well for the inner monologue scenes.  The rough, sketch-like drawing with an inky finish adds a really dramatic feel to this character-driven story.

Elsewhere, Rocket Raccoon is introducing us to more weirdness and it's just sublime silliness!

Cover by John Stokes
Plight of the Bumblebee: Part One pencils by Graham Nolan, inks by Tom Morgan and colours by Nel Yomtov
Splash page design and art by Eliot Brown
Rocket Raccoon: Animal Crackers pencils by Mike Mignola, inks by Al Gordon and colours by Christie Scheele

19th April 1986

#58: On this day all those years ago the world was put to rights with not only an editorial about the botched Robo Capers printing in #51, but the strip itself got a second chance and Soundwave was also on the warpath over it!  Lew Stringer's importance in the world was obviously not to be sniffed at.

In the main story, apart from a few panels all the Transformers are in their alt modes and it makes for a great romp!  They're meant to be Robots in Disguise after all and the comic stuck to that for a lot longer than the cartoon did.  A fun issue.

Cover by Herb Trimbe
Plight of the Bumblebee: Part Two pencils by Graham Nolan, inks by Tom Morgan and colours by Nel Yomtov
Robo Capers by Lew Stringer

26th April 1986

#59: 32 years ago today Buster Witwicky became the Robot Buster (nice play on words) in his own robotic suit and there's plenty of excellent scale, excitement and genuine dramatic moments thanks to Barry Kitson's artwork.  What starts as a silly idea turns into one of the best stories up to this point!

We also get the promised conclusion to the Robo Capers printing error "storyline" thanks to Lew Stringer and Soundwave and the final Who's Who, which sums up the terrific human characters who sucked us into these fantastical stories.

Finally, some 80s CGI courtesy of an anonymous reader.

Cover by Geoff Senior
Robot Buster: Part One art by Barry Kitson, colours by Josie Firmin
Robo Capers by Lew Stringer

As ever, this blog post has been published on the same day as the new month's first Transformers comic has appeared on my Instagram.  So "roll out" and get yourselves over there to check it out, it's an absolute feast of superb Barry Kitson artwork!  Of course if you're reading this post in the future just click on the link below, which will appear at the beginning of June 2018, to go to month nine of the roundups to see what I'm talking about.

In the meantime, remember The Oink! Blog & Beyond also has its own Instagram account now too, so give that a follow while you're there (or just bookmark it in your browser if you don't have an Instagram account, it's a public profile).  Until next time, folks.

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