This was a really weird time. I loved the US G2 comic, but the UK one always felt both half-hearted and made by committee. The love and product knowledge behind (most of) the run of the G1 comic just wasn’t there. Issue 2 was the first one I bought (I had no idea it had been launched until I saw it), but I felt almost immediately that it wasn’t long for this world.
I remember around the time that they were showing the G2 cartoon on the DJ Kat Show on Sky One. I didn’t have Sky, but my friend did, and he recorded a couple of episodes for me (through the magic of the Cybernet Spacecube/video recorder). I might even still have the recording somewhere. Anyway, just rambling. A weird, weird time.
Thanks for the info on the Sky broadcast of G2, that's one vague detail cleared up.
You’re very welcome. It was Dinobot Island part 1, and The Autobot Run. So, swings and roundabouts.
Also just before the G2 comic launched, there was a competition in (possibly) the Daily M*il to win one of the Stormtroopers; I ended up winning Hydradread. I’m pretty sure it was in that period just between G1 and G2 where the faction symbols had changed by the logo was G2-less.
As someone who had Sky at the time I can confirm G2 was running on Saturdays on Fun Factory which then if I recall got replaced by KY TV (the weekend version of DJ Kat)
They obviously still had the G1 cartoon back catalogue as they used to run it at weird filler times, season 3 was on at around 6am Friday mornings and I'm wondering if someone saw that the G2 show was a re-hash of the G1 show as July 1994 saw the whole G1 cartoon re-run from Season 1 during the daily DJ Kat with the G2 cartoon bolstering things at weekends.
As a kid who missed recording many of the earlier episodes this gave me a chance to watch many episodes I missed out on, sadly the G1 show got pulled from daily showings around September circa The God Gambit episode, G2 lasted well into 1995 but given the abomination of the edits it really put me off watching it.
I didn't know until now that abandoning Marvel UK was an enforced, rather than creative decision. That at least lets Furman off the hook for that, but sadly there were lots of other things wrong with Regeneration One.
It's good to have it confirmed that Wildman was phoning in the art until a better pay day arrived. This was the overwhelming impression after the first few issues. I was actually quite hoping he hadn't simply got older and rubbish! The modern colouring also unfortunately did the art no favours whatsoever.
I would respectfully disagree about Guidi – I felt his art was even worse. I felt he was trying to copy Wildman's already ragged and clumsy style.
I think the idea of bringing Hot Rod (a Targetmaster in this US-only continuity?) to the fore was OK. As was letting Prime and Megatron settle things. As was introducing a third faction. I think all these high-level ideas were OK. A lot of the rest was nonsense, and it felt like there were lots of pages, and even whole issues, where nothing really happened.
Blaster became absolutely unrecognisable under Furman. He went from keeping Grimlock in line during the absence of Prime, to standing holding a clipboard in the background.
Expecting us to believe the Autobots had forgotten about Earth was nonsense.
Reviving Scorponok was bizarre.
Circuit Smasher was simply horrendous, and I have no idea how anybody under the age of 50 could have seen the art without bursting out laughing.
I'm going to have to disagree with your take on Guidi's art,
which after Wildman's stickfigures, was a breath of fresh air.
It was certainly less sketchy.
Guidi's art in this comic felt like he was trying to emulate Don Perlin's art on the movie adaptation, cause Magnus Kup and Hot Rod felt like they just stepped out of that three parter.
But other then Guidi's art ?
ReGeneration One is risible and a massive dissapointment.
The Generation 2 cartoon debuted on Sky One on DJ Kat spin-off KTV, which replaced the Fun Factory cartoon slot which included the original G1 series, finally putting paid to repeats of the original on Sky One.
In a possible harbinger of things to come, the very first G2 episode shown, on Sunday 25th September 1994, was actually "More Than Meets The Eye Part 2". In some listings the series was billed as "The New Transformers"
I remember the first I saw of any of the CGI created for the series, in some screencaps in Game Zone #17 (they of "The Biggest Game in '94" cover story in #13 that they reported as actually being a Generation 2 game - obviously this was a bummer when it didn't pan out).
Speaking of games, anyone else remember the Geoff Senior UK Beast Wars one-page comic ad in 1998?
I've seen mention of the ad/comic, but didn't know Senior drew it. Will try to hunt it down to cover alongside when I'm writing about the Titan Beast Wars reprints.
Here it is: http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/threads/larger-psx-beast-wars-game-ad-also-language-warning.956857/
I remember when the penny dropped that Regen One wasn’t a knowing, unsubtle, winking-at-the-audience nostlagia-thon, as I assumed at first, but was played completely straight (so to speak) without a shred of self-awareness or regard for all the tropes it stumbles headfirst into. Bloody hell.
The UK G2 comic does seem very odd... it's editorial tone seems to be skewing younger than both the story and readers are.
My first proper exposure to Regeneration One has come through the Hachette partwork (aside from the #0 - seem to recall having this as freebie on Comic Book Day) and it's ...it's... it's awful. There's no two ways about it. You've hit the nail on the head about why it doesn't work visually; Bove's bright, computer colours are too jazzy for Wildman's can't be arsed artwork when the book was crying out for that retro benday/ 4-colour thing the covers have going on. It's a better fit for Guido, whose work is excellent and is always one of those artists at IDW I'm surprised didn't get to do more work (I'm guessing being associated with AHM didn't help...).
The stories it tells are all answers to questions nobody asked and the real-time 20 year gap doesn't work, and yes, Circuit Smasher and his childish temper tantrums make me embarrassed for all involved in this fiasco.
That everyone officially involved with Transformers seems to be doing their best to deny the existence of Generation 2 these days is the saddest thing of all. And I can't understand why. It's easily one of the best pieces of Transformers comics ever and the enforced mandate from Hasbro/ Marvel of '12 issues' works in the books favour. Personally, I find it irritating because it seems to say to people who read and enjoyed the thing that they're somehow wrong, well, f**k you - I'm not, YOU'RE wrong.
Going from a Robin Smith drawn buy-these-new-toys Earth story to _the third_ Jhiaxus story with Galan-doing-Yahinger is weeeeeird indeed. The whiplash! Maybe it would've made more sense to get a 90s artist for #1 and #2, at least one of them may have been willing to take toy-comic money.
ReGeneration is utterly depressing. I KNOW Furman can do good work still because he did some shortly before this! Instead this feels like a title he didn't actually know what to do with when he got it, so he bunged in all the ideas he wasn't able to use at IDW and Dreamwave. Nefarious feels like that too, but that has the benefit of being short and a rehashed Machination isn't inherently bad for the movieverse, and To The Death was like that but the ideas being redone were _better_ ones & everyone's having a ball making it. A different Regen1 - or none - would have done his legacy better, given more the feeling that he's doing a last bow. Instead there's now the youth of today going "yaaah old guy sucks, his tropes are obvious and played out which will definitely never happen to my favourites in 30 years time".
Yeah, RG1 was the answer to the question nobody was asking. Well, nobody outside the same fans that have probably whined themselves inside-out every time something comes along that's not G1 enough. And it was never going to work, writers going back to the well 20 years later for the sake of sating nostalgia never does. Not that it didn't have some interesting ideas here and there, but they weren't really worth all the bad and badly recycled ideas that they drowned in.
I've also found that IDW often have an issue with mismatched colourists. For a curent example, Kei Zama's art is awesome, and Josh Burcham's colours likewise, but they don't work well together at all.
The best comic Stuart. The best.
Ah! So that's why Wildman's art in RG1 was so shoddy, he's a storyboard artist now who got dragged into doing a comic book he had no interest in!
There’s a theory I read once that you can tell when a company is getting desperate because they italicise their logo, and that seems to apply to the obliqued Autobot symbol in “G2.”
The “Generation 2” cartoon at least offered me the chance to see the old 1980s episodes again, albeit “Special Editionised” with unnecessary CGI. Still, I got something out of it. In fact I had somehow never seen the episode “Triple Takeover” until it re-appeared in “G2.” This was of course 10 or 15 years before decent-quality DVDs made it possible to see the whole series again, in order.
“Not wanting to do anything old fashioned or retro” doesn’t make a lot of sense when you’re trying to appeal to the original fans with a title called “ReGeneration One.”
Geoff Senior was one of the best artists but that cover (#81 RIA) isn’t his best work. Optimus Prime is all gangly and cartoony and off-model.
“The New Adventures of He-Man as drawn by Rob Liefeld” is a perfect and hilarious summary of that panel of Circuit Smasher!
Guido Guidi has done some pretty good work that, at its best, resembles the original animated series, but that cover (#81 B) doesn’t demonstrate that ability. It looks like Akin & Garvey have inked over it. If that was Guidi’s intent, as a nostalgic hat-tip to the original comic series, it succeeded.
I find it difficult to read modern comics, even the ones I like, because of the look and feel of digitally-produced comics, especially the lettering, colouring, and now even the pencilling and inking. The few artists I still follow are either young artists who work in a “flat” black-and-white style such as Paul Azaceta or John Paul Leon, or are older artists whose work can survive the digital treatment and to whom I feel personal loyalty such as Howard Chaykin. The writing style of modern comics has gone downhill as well, with its default flippant irony and unnatural “naturalistic” dialogue making everything sound like fanfic.
All of which is to say that almost nothing would get me to buy a modern “Transformers” comic even if there was nothing about it to actively dislike, but the one thing that might haul my old carcass over that hurdle is the presence of José Delbo. I hope I can track down “ReGeneration One” #0 someday.
Stuart Webb. Who knows everything about nothing and not a lot about that.
Action Force/G.I. Joe