Saturday, April 20, 2013

Headmasters! Brainstorm!

First, thanks again to Eric from Til All Are Mine for testing out our podcast waters. If you haven't heard it yet, click on that link.

Now for something less important. Or very important. While sittin' behind the counter at Quake a few weekends ago, I noticed G1 Brainstorm. It was in pretty good shape but at $100...sorry. I'm already over budget. But I took some pics anyway.

By the time the Headmasters and Targetmasters rolled around, I had lost interest in the Transformers. I had heard about Prime's death in the cartoon movie (which I didn't see until ten years after it came out) and these new robots seemed weird to me, so (as a kid) I stopped getting them. I think the last figures I ever got were G1 Skids, Wheelie, and Pipes. I also had only seen "Webworld" from Season 3, and though that episode is actually enjoyed by many people, I thought it was weird and weird looking and didn't see any more episodes.

I knew of the Headmasters and Targetmasters from commercials and some comic books, but didn't pay attention. I thought that was even WEIRDER. The comic book of the TF ripping his head off...what is up with THAT?

I didn't SEE any of these figures until YEARS later. Like, maybe a few years ago, when I saw Hardhead at Quake, and when Classics Cyclonus came with Nightstick. I thought Hardhead was kind of clunky looking. But the transforming head figure was actually pretty neat looking, better made than the robot he becomes a head for!

The American (cartoon, comic book) story is that the TFs meet some people on the terribly sci-fi named planet of Nebulos. For whatever reason, it's logical on the TFs part, both Autobot and Decepticon, that they make themselves extremely dependent on their new friends by letting Nebulos characters form their heads and weapons. So, if the Nebulos partner has to go to the bathroom during a battle, you are totally slagged.

This makes NO sense to me. It really puts the robot in a bind. you have to have this pilot or weapon around you at all times. So much for being an Autonomous Robot. What if one of the Nebulos has a heart attack or dies of old age?** I can't imagine Megatron EVER approving such a pact, even with equally evil Nebulons. Was this part of the original plans for Car Robots/Diaclone? Make really good use of the original pilots? I think this was developed after as a new gimmick; when I find a resource that proves such I will link that info.

The Japanese cartoon, starting with Headmasters, has a different approach, and this makes much better sense: smaller robots fled Cybertron, and then returned much later with a Russian nesting doll approach. I transform, and then my VEHICLE transforms, and now me and my car make one badder ass robot.

How do you like THAT? Huh? Let me show you how much trouble you're in when I show you my STATS, right on my chest!

(The stats thing is still pretty strange. Was this to encourage some sort of rock/papers/scissors activity for kids playing with these? "Oh yeah? Well, your robot might be stronger than mine, but mine is SMARTER! They will settle this with a game of CHESS!")

I think I like the Japanese cartoon approach the most, and sadly it wasn't transferred to the current comics continuity. There were "Headmasters," and it was limited to Scorponok and, seriously, Sunstreaker. SUNSTREAKER. The G1 Headmasters are regular characters in the current books (More Than Meets The Eye making the best use of them, though they are not Headmasters), and Hardhead hung out on a planet Nebulos, but so far the actual Headmaster treatment was kept to humans forming the heads of Scorponok and Sunstreaker clones. I'm not sure if this will change anytime soon, but there could have been a chance to show tiny robots lookin' to challenge the regular status quo by building vehicles to transform into their new bodies.

** Watch "The Rebirth," or try to (you can see the series on Netflix instant...). It's the bizarre and poorly animated 3 part finale (intended or not) to the (American) G1 cartoon. None of it makes any sense.

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