Tuesday, September 05, 2006


The other day I made the mistake of describing Transformers as a “dumb cartoon.” Here’s the quote:

“While writing a lengthy post about his intention to boycott Michael Bay's Transformers movie because it doesn't slavishly replicate the dumb cartoon he watched as a kid, lightning strikes and merges a pizza-eating fanboy into his computer. Gifted with techno powers and an enormous sense of entitlement, Deathblog travels the Internet flaming all those who disagree with his petty, hypersensitive ranting.”

Some folks out there took offense and I received some feedback from Dave’s Long Box readers. Skip Jordan offered the most lucid response:

“I was with you until you called the Transformers "dumb". He-Man was a dumb cartoon. Thundercats was a dumb cartoon. Transformers was not dumb. In fact as far as kid's cartoons went it was one of the smarter ones. And speaking as one of those fanboys, I can say we're not upset about Michael Bay and Don Murphy for not "slavishly replicateing" the old cartoon (nobody was doubt (everybody was expecting some changes), but for that hack Michael Bay turning it into a generic crappy sci-fi movie bearing little resemblence to the original movie, all while altering the characters beyond the point of recognition.”

I can dig that. Hey, I bitched up a storm after suffering through Batman & Robin.

Skip seems like a passionate but rational person. But of course, for every Skip there is a j*******@ gmail.com, a person with a rapier wit and some issues with homosexuality who thinks that I am “gay” for “hating on the Tarnsformers [sic].” j*******@ gmail.com also suggested that – and this hurt – nobody cared about “my gay Red Rockets” and that haters like myself should fuck ourselves.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I am not a big fan of Transformers, GI Joe, He-Man, Thundercats, or any of those cartoons that existed solely to market toys. (I don’t object to the commercialism, I just don’t dig the content) I was more of a Legend of the Overfiend kid.* Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

I will say that Transformers was by far the least dumb of all of them, and the Transformers animated movie was actually pretty kick ass. I can't diss anybody for liking Transformers - look at all the goofy crap I like. I review bad comics from my collection because I have paid money for many, many bad comics.
I certainly don't mean to imply that anyone who has some trepidation about Bay's movie is a hysterical fanboy; far from it. But I can't get behind "fandumentalists" who feel personally insulted or attacked when their favorite comics, cartoons, or whatever are changed or translated into another medium. They lack perspective and decorum and exhibit a sense of entitlement that borders on pathology. Many of them are dicks.

As with any social movement or sub-culture, there is an extreme fringe whose views are not shared by the majority, or at the very least not shared with fanatic intensity. Fans are no different. A common and recurring theme in fandom is a rigid devotion to a “classic” model of their obsession. Any deviation from that model, any disruption of the status quo, is a personal attack against the fandumentalist.

You know the guy: “I’m boycotting the Super Mario Brothers movie because John Leguiazamo doesn’t have a moustache. As far as I am concerned, if they don’t have moustaches, they’re not the Super Mario Brothers, they’re the Super Gay Brothers! It’s just a slap in the face to the fans!”

A good example is the reaction that some fans of the show Firefly had to the character Wash’s death in the movie Serenity. SPOILER! Man, I’ve got to get better with my spoiler timing. I read some super-pissed LiveJournal posts about that. People were genuinely hurt and pissed off at Firefly creator Joss Whedon for killing off “their” character. To paraphrase, Wash’s death was “a big fuck-you to the fans” and soured some people on the whole Joss Whedon Experience.

"They lack perspective and decorum and exhibit a sense of entitlement that borders on pathology. Many of them are dicks."

Then there are the Transformers fans, some of whom are very upset about the upcoming movie from the eternally shaking camera of Michael Bay. Some pictures of the Transformer robots have been leaked on the Internet, provoking some negative reactions. I gather that some folks feel that the robot designs suck. I’ll grant you, the movie version of Megatron looks like The Guyver, but Bumblebee (is that his name? The yellow one?) looks pretty cool.

It goes on. The murder of Blue Beetle in Countdown to Infinite Crisis. Greedo shooting first in the revamped Star Wars. Hulk Hogan becoming Hollywood Hogan. Star Trek: Enterprise. The rape and murder of Sue Dibny in Infinite Crisis. Iron Man blowing his secret identity by saving a cat. Batman ice skating. There are lots of different ways to piss off loyal fans.

And you know, all the stuff I just mentioned kind of pisses me off to some degree as well, except for the Hulk Hogan thing. I think my biggest fanboy wig-out must have been when I watched Tim Burton’s Batman movie. I didn’t mind that Batman couldn’t move his head or that Alfred let Vicki Vale into The Batcave or that Commissioner Gordon was like a keystone cop. What I hated most was the killing, specifically the scene in which Batman drives the Batmobile into The Joker’s Smilex plant via remote control and drops a hubcap bomb, killing all his henchmen. Batman doesn’t fucking kill people, Tim Burton!!! That’s just missing the whole damn point of the character! Man, that pissed me off to no end. I was ranting in the movie theater parking lot afterwards.

But that was it. I’m not going to boycott a company or start a petition or an Anti-Ice Skating Batman Club or personally insult those involved or flame anybody that disagrees with me. Why?

Because it’s not my character. Sadly, I don’t own Batman.

Sure, I have a metric assload of Batman comics and more than a few toys and I’ve seen all the movies and own the Animated Series and I would consider myself a fan. I happen to think Batman is cool and I feel a certain connection to the character. In my mind, the classic model of Batman would be the Marshall Rodgers version mixed with the Neal Adams version. That’s what I read when I grew up, and for me Batman will always have a blue cape and cowl and that bright yellow emblem on his chest. That is Batman.

But guess, what? Warner Brothers owns Batman, and they can give him nipples or ice skates or replace him with Azrael or give him a car that drives up walls or make him into a condescending ass or make Ballroom Dancing Batman figures or do whatever the hell they want. And me, the fan? I just have to sit there and take it.

It’s cool, though, because there’s a ton of Batman shit. The movie Batman and Robin doesn’t make Year One or Batman and The Monster Men any less cool. They can make Polar Disco Batman figures for all I care, I’ll always have the Neal Adams issues. So now I pick and choose what Batman stuff I want to get and ignore everything else. I understand and accept that Warner Brothers has to make money off of Batman in order for me to keep enjoying select Batman products.

What it comes down to is I think fandumentalists labor under a lack of recognition of economic reality, an inappropriate sense of ownership, and a weird sense of entitlement.

Let’s just take Transformers again. The studio and Michael Bay want – need – that movie to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, not just the hard-core fans. You can just see the meeting:

“OK, we need a human in there as the audience’s eyes into the world of these giant fucking robots.”

“Like in Thunderbirds.”

“Right. We can’t have these giant goddamn robots on the screen the whole time, we have to have a person. Preferably an annoying child. We’ll spend most of the movie on the annoying child to keep the budget down. And we’ll create a bunch of new Transformers for merchandising, make ‘em look like those Chinese giant robots.”

“Japanese, sir.”

“Those, too. What about a girl Transformer? Get a little robot ass up there.”

“I’ll talk to Hasbro, sir.”

I’m just saying, in a roundabout and ha-ha-aren’t-I-funny way, that the giant inhuman conglomerate that owns the Transformers is not interested in them for sentimental reasons, they want to pull in some cash. They can’t alter the property too much or there’s no brand recognition and thus no brand loyalty, but they must alter it to meet their needs, and they will. This frequently pisses off purists, but it’s unavoidable.

The late, lamented Fanboy Rampage sifted through the message boards and blogs to find nuggets of hostile, histrionic hissy fits from overzealous fans. As a fan of Fanboy Rampage, I was frequently appalled but never shocked by the spectacular heights of indignity and spite that a fan can achieve.

Lest anyone think I am picking solely on militant Trekkies (sorry: Trekkers) or rabid Nightwing groupies or any obsessive fan of genre media, I should put in a disclaimer and a defense of fandumentalists.

Fanboys don’t riot and kill people when their favorite comic book or TV series gets cancelled. They react not with violence, but with communication. Sometimes they communicate like assholes, but it is communication regardless. Sure, the fandumentalists among us may overreact to developments in their favorite fictional world, but let’s put it in perspective. I’ve never seen people burning cop cars out in front of ComiCon. “What!? They cancelled Birds of Prey? BURN, SAN DIEGO!!!

If you want to find true pathological behavior you’ll have to look among the millions of sports fans for those fanatical few who lack a sense of perspective (i.e., “It’s only a game.”) and like to go totally batshit loco when their team wins/loses. Because really, nothing celebrates a World Series win like an old-fashioned riot. Go Sox!

As I draw this post to a patronizing finish, I would encourage everyone to maintain a degree of perspective and civility. The anonymity of the Internet makes the need for civil discourse even greater. Do you really need to get in a flame war with some 13-year old who thinks Mike Mignola sucks? Because that kid’s an idiot, fuck that kid.

And even if you violently disagree with some chump about the best Stargate: SG1 episode or something, what the hell, at least you are communicating with another human being instead of beating on his dumb ass.

And that’s something at least.

*I’m kidding, Mom! I was more of a StarBlazers and Speed Racer kid.


Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

Galaxy Rangers all the way, man. Galaxy Rangers.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarity, Dave. That was a refreshing dose of...uh...refreshment.

The beautiful thing about America is that anybody can churn out whatever they damn well please, and we, the consumer, can choose whether or not we want to cough up the dough for it.

It's not like there's a German guy in a grey suit beating anybody with a baton, screaming "You WILL read All-Star Batman and Robin, cringing dog!" No sir, this is America.

By the way, I love All Star Batman and Robin. I know I'm a minority in this, but I do. Flying Batmobile? Thug Batman? I eat it up. I will contend that All-Star Superman is better, but that one has Grant Morrison penning it, so there’s really no contest...

I'm sorry, what was I talking about?

Anonymous said...

nuff said dave!

thanks for articulating exactly what i think to a broader audience than i could ever hope to reach...

i wonder if any of them will listen

Greg said...

Ah, Star Blazers and Speed Racer. Throw in Battle of the Planets and I'm there! My wife and I got together partly because of our shared love of Star Blazers.

If they ever made a movie and made Derek Wildstar gay, I would riot. That would totally blow, man!!!!!

You're right, though - sports fans are FAR more obnoxious than geeky fanboys, probably because sports are more mainstream and they can call radio shows and rant.

Spencer Carnage said...

This is coming from the guy that dissed Deathlok's nose? I am both appalled and shocked that we can flame on comics but not flame on each other. Flaming on each other is exactly what comics taught us! How else will the Dr. Doom inside me feel satsified if there is no Reed Richards for me to flame upon?

Scipio said...

"Ballroom Dancing Batman figures "

I want six.

Anonymous said...

To those fans that are bitching about the new movie I give this
fandamentalist abstain; it'll shatter your soul

Anonymous said...

Dave, well put and you syill managed to be funny.

But, yeah, lay off Deathlok's nose. Rich Buckler was a god.

Marc Burkhardt said...

Personally I was an Ultraman guy when I grew up! Something about a big silver alien fighting plastic Japanese monsters sends a chill up my spine to these days.

And I agree with your post 100 percent. I'm not entirely thrilled with Marvel these days, and will be mighty annoyed if they off Mary Jane.

That said, however, there's plenty of old comics and other media that feature MJ prominently, so it's really just a matter of voting with my wallet and buying what I like.

What a concept!

Plaidstallions said...

Couldn't agree more and I also wanted to note that many of the hardcore purists also can't separate their always negative opinion from fact.

On my own message boards I've had to start a lot of sentences with "No you think Superman Returns is the worst Superman movie ever."

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Michael Bay might suprise us with the movie, but I doubt it.

At least Optimus Prime won't have nipples.

Jon said...

Oh, God, thank you for including the IT'S STILL REAL TO ME, DAMN IT guy. I love him so and picture him whenever anyone says any director anywhere is raping any part of his childhood.

Adam Reck said...

Kudos Dave for giving that anonymous fanboy a good reaming. I would suggest that anyone whining about the Michael Bay take on Transformers actually go back and look at the franchise since the 80's animated film. Hasbro has consistently created new and increasingly awful versions of the toys and animated television shows that bear only the slightest resemblance to the original cartoon. Every single reincarnation fails miserably. They tried "Beast Wars" with computer animation and animals. That didn't work so they tried adding anime kids. That didn't work so they tried cel-shaded computer animation. At least fans got a Unicron action figure out of that last one. As a lightly nostalgic Transformers fan (having once owned - and since sold - all 80 issues of Marvel's comic adaptation), I can't be offended about the new movie just for all the reasons you stated. The bottom line is that when anyone heard, "Michael Bay," they should have given up on the project immediately. And moved on to something important like the heinous Nicolas Cage Ghost Rider movie.

James said...

Thanks for this Dave. As a reformed fandamentalist who has gotten his fanties in a wad on more than one occasion this had me rolling.

Dean Trippe said...

sorry to hear about your recent e-hassling. like a lot of internet nerds, i too am upset about the visual direction of the new transformers movie, but it's not like the original series was freaking shakespeare. i mean, i borrowed the first seaon from a friend and couldn't even get through it the plots were so dumb. worked for me when i was a kid anyway.

i'm disappointed in the decisions that make it a weaker visual experience. a voltswagon that transforms into a robot is way more fun than a muscle car that does the same. optimus looked cooler on the original series than he does in michael bay's version. but i'll probably enjoy the movie in that 'hey at least there are giant robots that turn into cars in it' kinda way.

ah well. maybe we can get some better revamps going on project rooftop. transformers count as superheroes, right?

Kingmob said...

You make a lot of valid points in your post, Dave. I think one of the problems people have with regard to comics, movies, or movies based on comics is that they seem to forget that every product isn't going to be a masterpiece. Expectations grow too high for many projects, but it just seems like the law of averages dictates that more than of few of them are going to just suck. I think we've all been let down on occasion by projects that sounded awesome on paper but turned to shit in execution. Hell, when Frank Miller (aka God) can turn out utter shit like DK2, then you know sometimes even the greats miss the mark. I don't think creators set out to piss people off. Some do, but the majority don't. I think they want people to like their work. Sometimes it just doesn't work out that way.

Anonymous said...

So,talked to any furry fans lately?

Chris Sims said...

Lest you forget, Dave, reacting with poorly-worded death threats was what finally got Chuck Austen out of the biz. So it's not like there isn't a precedent of reinforcement for the technique.

Also, you know what? The Transformers are stupid. Now those badass cars from MASK, on the other hand...

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU. Somebody had to say it, and say it you did.

The Foos said...

Nice post, Dave. As for the subject of the Tim Burton Batman, how about having the Joker kill Bruce Wayne's parents? WTF?

Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah, that was total bullshit. The whole point of Batman is that Crime killed his family. Word.

Anonymous said...

I almost caused a riot when "Nth Man" was cancelled! (OOOWWWWW!!!!!)

Anonymous said...

You really do have to wonder how many Annie Wilkes there are out there, ready to cripple the men and women responsible for their favourite movies/books/tv shows for the horrible crime of taking a character they admire someplace they don't want to see them go.

Based on the average online fan forum you would think there were thousands of them out there.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Dave, Bravo! Though "I just have to sit there and take it" isn't quite correct; not buying or watching or whatever is definitely what I'd call action.

(Personally, I thought Beast Wars was better than any Transformers series before or since. Beast Machines went over the edge into navel-gazing, tho.)

Anonymous said...

Michael Bay's sucks.

McGone said...

Thanks for this Dave - it needed to be said.

Now, even though I read this site and Sim's Invincible Super-Blog daily (well, at least Chris's, since it updates daily - I KID!), I'm not a fanboy, just a fan. I know this because I didn't punch out the projectionist as I sat in the theater and heard George Clooney say he never leaves the Batcave without his Batcard.

Seriously... I heard people around me actually having aneurysms.

Anonymous said...

"Nth Man"? You are joking, right, SJP? Hey Dave, do you have any of these in your collection you want to review for us?

Anonymous said...

...rabid Nightwing groupies...

I know one of those. But her lust for him is kind of hot, so it's ok

But I am sure she loved the shout-out.

Oh and Dave? Word to the Nth (Man) Degree on that post.

Troy D.

Anonymous said...

You have earned a Fuck Yeah!, sir.

Tho, really, have you guys watched those old 80's Transformers cartoons lately? I mean really watched them, not read revisionist comics or watched Beast Wars or the movie? Go get the DVD set and pop a disc in. You'll find it's not nearly as good as you seem to remember it is.

The actual series that ran on TV was, in fact, really dumb and poorly-made. It was not the best merchandising cartoon of the 80's, it just had the best toys attached to the marketing. To this day, most hardcore TF fans are more about the toy collecting than anything else.

I think this is fueling a lot of the rage over the movie Prime and Megatron; those designs are going to make shitty, shitty toys. They don't even look like they transform into anything.

Anonymous said...

Dave, dont' pander to these guys. Transformers WAS a dumb cartoon. Just like GI Joe and allthose others; ALL OF WHICH I LOVE... but I'm not going to pretend they're intense, thought provoking drama for anyone over the age of six.
Case in point, I recall one episode where Optimus was defeated by the Decepticons, so they dismantel him, and turn his corpse into a big robot alligator, which the Autobots have to defeat without damaging too much. Of course, their main problem is that the Decepticons have raised their huge tower base to the surface, and have attached the ultimate weapon to it.... Optimus's arm and gun!
That's right, his flaccid, dead arm is strapped to the top of a tower and is their main weapon. That's like sawing off my arm, putting a Luger in my palm, and nailing it to the top of my apartment complex as a defense system.
Anyway, Autobots ride up the walls and get it back, or something. Optimus is fine.
So how he gets killed by a gunshot to the abdomen in the movie *Spoiler!!* Is beyond me. Of course, we're talking about a show where one robot, who is the same size as all the others, can turn into a jet large enough to fit them all on his back, and then, later that episode, they all fit in the cockpit...so I guess physics don't really mean a damn.
Yep, that's one smart cartoon.
Don't mistake nostalgia for quality, fanboys. Even I realize that 90% of by beloved spider-man comics are terrible filler between the good arcs.
And seriously, does it matter that Megatron looks like the Guyver? Hasn't he been through like 8 redesigns over time, anyway?
A good post though, Dave. Your image selection was perfect.

Anonymous said...

Timely and wise post Dave, I'm about to go to not only my first Trek convention and my first convention period, and as a Kiwi I'll be suffering triple culture shock. I am very much looking forward to seeing the fandamentalist in it's natural habitat.

andy ristaino said...

it's true michael bay sucks. starblazers rules!!!!

Anonymous said...

Ooops, nope - first used in late 2004, apparently. Shaem, it's a beauty!

Anonymous said...

Er, Dave, in one of the comment pages, back some days ago, I was the first one (I think) to say that I don't like Mignola's art. But I didn't say anything more than that! Just that I don't like it, I didn't want to start no quarrel about it. This in case you were referring to me in this post.


S Bates said...

What complete rubbish! Dave - what you wrote there is a steaming pile of c...

Just kidding!

Great post. Probably won't change anything but great post anyway. The more people who realise that it's all about money the better.

Although sometimes I wonder about the people who adapt comic books (or whatever) into movies. They have a character or group of characters and various storylines that are obviously very popular with readers (and thus potentially popular with non-readers as well). But then they decide to change a 'few' things for no real reason. *Sigh*

And Battle of the Planets was friggin' Airwolf. Though not as good as Dungeons and Dragons (the cartoon). IMO, of course :)

Anonymous said...

Heh, what's funny to me is that all the marketing decisions in that little dialogue happened literally decades ago.

The toy line was based on Japanese toys, and the original cartoon introduced both Arcee the girl transformer and Spiek Witwickt(sic?), the kid sidekick. The only difference is that in a cartoon, it costs just as much to show the kid as it does to show the robots.

Hell, the robots are probably cheaper if you factor in the fact that a lot of them have no mouths, so they don't need to be lipsynched.

And let's face it, the cartoon sucked ass. Sure, the concept and toys were about as fun as could be, and compared to other 30 minute commercials from the 80s, it was pretty good, but really, is anybody going to seriously suggest that it compares to, say, Justice League Unlimited, or the Max Fleischer Superman cartoons?

Or hell, even its contemporary, Inspector Gadget?


David Campbell said...

Francesco! Don't worry pal, I wasn't thinking of you when I wrote the bit about Mignola. Although I love Mignola's stuff, I can accept that not everyone does. Don't worry, I wasn't dissing you!

Anonymous said...

WAAH! I was away a couple of days and so everyone else has already commented how sage and witty Dave was this week and I wanted to be FIRST because I am SPECIAL!

So Dave, ignore all those other jerks who say you're sage and witty, because I'm SHOUTING about how sage and witty you are. See?

Anonymous said...

I'm always a little disturbed by how rabid extremist fans of ANYTHING can get. Can you imagine we comic book fans having the equivalent of sports or political talk radio? Can you imagine hearing the crap you read on message boards out loud? Brrr...

David said...

Very well said.

joncormier said...

I think we need to find this 13 year-old and beat some sense into him with his Essential Wolverine Collections until he reassesses Mr. Mignola's chiarascuto shading technique.

Mark said...

I have to admit that I get my fanboy nickers in a bunch on occassion (The Green Goblin slept with the virginal Gwen Stacy? WHAT?), but then I remember I still have to pay the phone bill and I calm down.

I still love that NWA wrestling kid who screamed, "It's still real to me, damn it!"

Dweeze said...

Iron Man blowing

I thought you were going someplace completely different with this...

Tom said...

Wait wait wait wait wait.

Batman killed those guys in the Joker's chemical plant? Where are you getting that from?

Sure, he sent the Batmobile in with the grenades and the napalm and whatever else he had cooked up, but that was only used to destroy the plant and Joker's harmful chemicals.

I think Burton did a good job indicating that Batman didn't kill anybody by showing the Joker and a few henchmen (like Bob, and the pilot) in the helicopter.

The Joker knew he was coming, man! His guys had already abandoned the plant!

I'm not crazy. Right?


P.S. Sunbow GI Joe rocked. One of the highlights include the parallel universe story arc that served to "kill off" a few of the older Joes so they could bring in some new guys to merchandise. They did it classy, and intelligently. And the voice work was AMAZING! I can't believe you didn't mention the voice work at all. Transformers had some kickass voices. Optimus, Megatron, Starscream, and the MicroMachines guy. (I know, I know, it's Blur). Plus (help me out fans) the ambulance and the jeep. (Ironhide?)

It was only the DIC GI Joe that sucked.

Anonymous said...

Kudos, Dave, kudos. A witty and
cogent article. However...Transformers fans? Bleh! Galaxy Rangers was the best show out there, and I blush to confess that I had a crush on Tomax from G.I. Joe.

Anonymous said...

First off Dave, F#@% YOU!!!!

I LOVE Transmogrifyers!
They are what made my world worth living when I was young!

Transmogrifyers rule!!!!



Bah! Those SUCKED ASS!

THAT was good stuff.


Just funnin' ya.
(except Beast Wars WAS worthy enough to make me a viewer. I actually WANTED to watch that. Then, it went back down to Sucksville; USA for the next incarnation.)

However, as far as cartoons based on toys are concerned, there was no ROM cartoon, and thusly the entire genre is bullshit.

But I HAVE to know... what is the deal with that "crying" guy pic?

Is that from a con?

Is there video to go with that?

Any link to that little tableau of fanties-in-a-bunch cerebral meltdown would be MUCH appreciated.

C'mon...give it up.

oh..and Transmogrifyers are AWESOME!


Anonymous said...


The interweb is amazing.

I found it in like 3 seconds.

Here is a link for anyone else who might want to see this:


It. Is. SAD.


Anonymous said...


The interweb is good.
The interweb is fine...
And it keeps on giving.

Here's a permalink to today's PVP strip that is ABOUT the Transformers moview (with some Thundercats love in there too).


If anyone doesn't LIKE PvP...I'm sorry.
I like it.



David Campbell said...

"I think Burton did a good job indicating that Batman didn't kill anybody by showing the Joker and a few henchmen (like Bob, and the pilot) in the helicopter."

Actually, Batman wipes out about six guys. Here's what happens: the Batmobile drives into the warehouse and goes into armadillo-mode while the Joker's goons shoot at it with handguns from close range. A round bomb pops out from the Bathubcap and lands between the legs of one of the goons. Uh-oh! Ka-BOOM!

Am I wrong? I haven't watched Batman in years but that's how I remember the scene. Can anybody confirm? Dan Coyle?

Russ said...

I agree totally, but I just wanted to comment on the guy wearing the old-school National Wrestling Alliance T-shirt. HILARIOUS!!!!

Anyway, fanboys are about the lowest form of life in the United States for making the statements that they do... not the entire world, but at least here in this town (or at the comic shop when I'm there).

Anonymous said...

Ok, good job and all that, but I need my Fanboy moment.....

Who the $#&*%(#$^( thinks killing Wash was bad?!??!?!

I LOVE Firefly! I honestly think it is the best non-sitcom show that has ever aired. I LOVE Wash! I've loved him since his opening scene with the dinosaurs.

Killing him in the movie was BRILLIANT! By timing it right after the non-fans have a chance to like him ("leaf in the wind"), and right before the big fight was incredible!

Every other movie you watch, people only die at the very beginning or in a tragic sacrificial way. To have him just snuff out at that moment, allowed you to REALLY worry about everyone. As a watcher, you actually thought that anyone could die, no one was safe. How many movies have you watched that made you actually worry about the main characters?

To quote PVP: Joss Whedon is my Master, now.

jblackstone said...

"Now those badass cars from MASK, on the other hand..."

Sorry Sims, but Transformers > MASK. Why, because badass robots who are also cars > cars.

Jamie Ott said...

Great post Dave but you shouldn't have given them the time of day.

What you should have done was link the entry to a definition of satire, because apparrently not everyone recognizes it when they see it.


jblackstone said...

Oh yeah. Good post Dave. However I'm still not convinced the redesigns were all that necessary. As if the general public has an idea of what the Transformers should look like? I think the original boxy/utilitarian look is coolMegatron may have been through several redisgns, but they all stuck to the core elements, and the fusion cannon.

And allow me my fanboy moment: it may have been created to market the toys, but you can't top the episodes, which were as entertaining as could be. Personal favorite is the season three episode "Webworld" where Galvatron gets sent to a freaky Alien Sanitarium

S Bates said...

I think Burton did a good job indicating that Batman didn't kill anybody by showing the Joker and a few henchmen (like Bob, and the pilot) in the helicopter.

But then later, Batman is in the Batwing machine-gunning Joker's parade in central Gotham. I'm assuming the machine-guns kill one or two of the Joker's henchmen (unless Batman is a really bad shot).

Burton's Batman was waaay too violent.

Big AL said...

the Mighty Orbots.

Nuff said.

Mayumi H / Bonusparts said...

Female Autobot ass? Don't get me wrong: I loved seeing Elita I and Chromia and Moonracer - and especially Arcee - in the cartoon, but the whole thing just doesn't make much sense. Why create female versions if the robots don't reproduce in the (fun) way that we understand it?

Anonymous said...

What do you have against fondumentalists, Dave? I mean, anyone who can read the mind of a vat of melted cheese surely deserves some respect.

Anonymous said...

An excellent post Dave, but...

1) you have to admit that if omitting Soundwave from the upcoming TF film is not considered blasphemous, then what is?


2) the violence in the '89 Burton film is very similar to the early Bat comics from the late '30s.

Katherine said...

"Always five, acting as one! Dedicated! Inseparable! INVINCIBLE!"

Sorry. Every time I, or anyone else, mentions Battle of the Planets, I have to do that. It's a nervous tic and I am seeing a therapist.

Seriously, though... I am always a little anxious when I watch some old cartoon series I used to love as a kid on DVD, because there's a better than even chance it's going to suck. Recently I re-viewed BOTP, and it sucked. I still loved it, but in that camp, ironic "oh my God can you believe this dialogue" way. Dungeons & Dragons, on the other hand? Well, it wasn't pure gold from start to finish -- a lot of episodes were basically filler -- but man, when it was good it was good.

Anonymous said...

"Actually, Batman wipes out about six guys. Here's what happens: the Batmobile drives into the warehouse and goes into armadillo-mode while the Joker's goons shoot at it with handguns from close range. A round bomb pops out from the Bathubcap and lands between the legs of one of the goons. Uh-oh! Ka-BOOM!

Am I wrong? I haven't watched Batman in years but that's how I remember the scene."

Yup, that's pretty much exactly as it occurred. The thing that always drove me crazy about that particular scene, though, was when the car enters by shooting the garage door open and you can clearly see the pre-cut seam in the door as it starts to fall open. But I guess shoddy effects work is a Tim Burton trademark.

I do like to think I'm above a lot of the nostalgia for those old 30 minute toy commercials, partly because I'm just not very nostalgic in general and partly because even as a kid my favorites were the classics like the old Looney Tunes and Popeye cartoons. God, I sound like such a snob...

jblackstone said...

Female Autobots were the dumbest thing ever.

I think the Quintessons, who created the Autobots to be consumer goods. Logically, then, a female-styled robot would be visually and culturally more acceptable to perform certain tasks for the purchaser (perhaps a housemaid or a nanny). This also helps to explain the complete lack of any female Decepticons in the cartoon, since they were made to be military hardware, a function that would have little use for a female-styled form.

I always saw the fembots as a cheap way to inject a crappy romantic subplot into a sci-fi/action cartoon where it wasn't needed. However, I can't call them a marketing ploy because no toys were ever needed. They were just a bad plot device.

I always thought that UK Marvel comics provided a good explanation in their Transformers Series by having Arcee being the first female Autobot. She was the result of an attempt by the Autobots to better understand the human concept of gender, and to appease human protesters. I guess a bunch of uppity feminazis didn't like thaqt there were no girls.

Dan said...

I think that when you've arrived at the point of making death threats to creators (a la "Hal's Emerald Advancement Team" and Ron Marz), you've lost any "at least you're communicating instead of rioting" cred you may once have had.

Anonymous said...

I think people who make comments on the interweb are total idiots!! And I mean it!!!

BIG said...

Don't puss out and take it back. Transformers IS a dumb cartoon. So, what's wrong with that? Why are you people acting like it's some sort of freakin' sacred cow (Disguised as a Buick)?

Michael Bay will be great. Go watch the car chase in Bad Boys 2 and tell me it's poorly shot. You'll be a liar. A no good lousy liar.

I give exactly zero shits about the Transformers' feelings or story arc. Give me robots blowing shit up for ninety-five minutes.

Blowing hella shit up.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave, it's me Skip. I just signed up for Blogger Beta, and for some reason they won't let me post in a non-beta blog.

If you're not sure that's it's really me, click on my name for one of my previous posts.

I wrote a reply to the post on my blog. I'll even add you to my blog roll!

Big, the fact that you liked "Bad Boys 2", proves you have no taste.

Anonymous said...

Fandamentalists? Fuck 'em. Nobody gets a free pass from ever having to deal with differing opinions. And the people who haven't figured that out yet need to feel the cold hard slap of reality upside their heads ASAP.

Sure, we've all seen things that we like get butchered artistically, and nobody's ever happy about it. But most of us don't take it personally, which I think is the real problem here. Anyone who does that needs to leave the womb and grow the hell up.

Ragnell said...

I’ve never seen people burning cop cars out in front of ComiCon.

Well, they haven't cancelled Birds of Prey or killed Nightwing yet...

Anonymous said...

Ahh to hell with all that guff. Got anything about The Fantastic Four? maybe some She-Hulk?

David Campbell said...

Ask and ye shall receive, Mikey

Tom said...

Thanks for the clarification on the Burton Batman executions. It's been a while since I've watched it.

Also, it might be remiss not to point out that the Transformers cartoon was good enough to create fans. When they killed Optimus in the (real) movie they got absolutely blasted by the fans. And that was before the internet.

Try to kill off your main guy to promote a new cool guy just to sell the next year's line of toys? Wrong move.

The public outcry was of such a scale that they were forced to cancel the theatrical release of their other two animated shows: GI Joe and My Little Pony, and release them as five part story arcs on tv.

In fact, they'd already finished the GI Joe movie and had planned, scripted, and animated a similar "death of the leader" scene for it (remember Duke getting Serpentor's lance through the heart? Remember? It was supposed to kill him!) But at the last minute the writers/advertisers/execs said "wait, we can't kill him! look what happened when we tried to kill optimus prime!"

So they redubbed a couple of Doc's lines ("He's in a coma" instead of "He's dead, Scarlett") and threw in a one-liner at the end just to remind everyone that Duke's ok.

Pay attention next time you watch it. After Duke gets speared he's not shown again. Just a quick fix in dubbing to save the day.

Sure the toys were cool (Soundwave, duh), but come on, there's got to be something more that Transformers has. I don't think anybody would have been that broken up if Gem had gotten herself killed off.

Anonymous said...

Well said Tom.

Anonymous said...

Dude you had me cracking up with the Birds of Prey comment. BURN SAN DIEGO, LOL

Anonymous said...

Tim Burton's Batman has always bothered me, too, because of the killing.

But not everyone really mentions that Christopher Reeve's Superman is almost as bad. He totally executes the phantom zone criminals at the end of Superman II. Way out of character, not just for the comic but for the movie.

And I have to mention that while the G.I. Joe and Transformers cartoons were pretty much crap, their comic series were very good and have aged really well. Especially Larry Hama's work on G.I. Joe.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the cartoons were cool and all, but the comics were better. Especially since the Joes and the Transformers never crossed over in the cartoons like they did in Marvel comics. As wicked awsome as Larry Hamma's G.I. Joe comics were, nothing compares to Simon Furman's UK Transformers run.

Anonymous said...

It's really sad that posts like this even need to be made.
The anonymonity of the internet clearly is too tempting a situation for some people to abuse--- people that are insecure, lack authority and responsibility, and are too chicken-s#!t to make a statement and stand behind it.

This is why I no longer frequent message boards.

God bless Dave and his Box that is Long.

Bully said...

As long as I can still keep writing Mission: Magic fan fiction, I don't care what the internet says about cartoons.

Anonymous said...

Well said.

Two things:

1. I always found G.I. Joe to be much better than Transformers. Those old Larry Hama comics were superb.

2. The big, unspoken elephant in the room that nobody ever wants to talk about is that many people in fandom are serious social cripples, people for whom Asperger's would be an improvement in their social skills, and for these emotionally disturbed people, it really is beyond their capabilities to understand or enjoy that sometimes a story is told in a different (sometimes better, sometimes worse) way. They have, for lack of a better word, a fetish for these characters, and it is deeply upsetting to see them in any way other than the idealized one in their head.

I don't see anything wrong with adults or late teens appreciating or enjoying comics, sci-fi, anime, etc. It doesn't even have to be ironic, detached enjoyment. You can get genuinely excited to see Batman save the day.

But the advent of the internet seems to have revealed an awful lot of people stuck at an emotional age of six.

Anonymous said...

1) No way was GI Joe better than the Transformers. Something made them better than GI Joe,
GoBots, and the like. The show had life. On the outside,
the Transformers may have seemed kiddish and silly. But, taken
as a whole, the Transformers is an extremely in-depth universe,
nearing the scale of Star Trek in its infinite complexity. The comic books did a better job of representing this then the cartoon. The
Transformers evolved a mythos of its own, and it became a
universe of endless possibilities. And what the other guy said is true, Furman's Transformers > Hama's GI Joe. Furman had an epic way of writing that turned the whole thing into a giant space opera. Not to mention that Transformers was always cooler because it was about robots from space. I'm sorry, but I've never been that impressed by Snake Eyes or Stormshadow. Ninjas are overrated.

2) You can't honestly tell me that the badly dubbed StarBlazers and Speed Racer were smarter than Transformers.

3) Never cared for Thundercats. Something unsettling about a muscular furry running around with a sword and a singlet.

Anonymous said...

Transformers will always be the best. Better cartoon, cooler character characters, better comic than the rest.

And most importantly, the toys were cooler!

Cyn said...

What you said is true though.. You never see someone burn down an office building because a comic or a show is cancelled, they may bitch and treaten, but they do not storm the streets carrying tourches to "burn the bastards who killed my beloved hulk" or whatever they're pissed off about. Communication is key....educated communication, will get you somewhere!

BIG said...

Skip - I'm pretty sure that I didn't say I liked Bad Boys 2, but noted that the car chase was expertly shot - something you didn't deny. Sorry I'm not losing sleep over your stupid Gobot movie.

Don't be douche-bag.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Mr. Campbell. But you neglected to mention the rich vein of crazy that the Cass/Batgirl fans have become. Apparently, the only acceptable Batgirl to them has to be swaddled in glorified bondage gear and to hell with anyone who prefers the Silver Age Bat-gals.

Although, I know how Transformers fans might feel, if on a slightly less psychotic level. Even though I'll be the first to admit it's a dumb show, She-Ra is still one of my favorites, and the thought of someone revamping it into a pseudo-anime series where she & her friends are high schoolers makes me scared. Don't think someone's not pushing for it.

Anonymous said...

Well Big, since it doesn't appear that you were paying attention when you posted your first obnoxious little post. First of all, that car chase was shakey and drawn out. Michael Bay is going to make this movie suck. If you've seen a Michael Bay movie, you know what to expect. You can expect loud action scenes full of quick shots of stuff exploding loudly and people running from loud explosions and things not making sense and more loud explosions. These scenes will occasionally be interrupted by scenes of people talking about stuff exploding or things about to explode and still not making sense, all filmed with the same quick jarring cuts and zooming around cameras used in the action scenes. And the average camera shot will last about two to five seconds before a jump cut to a different angle. Michael Bay can't direct, and to expect any different is absurd. And shame on people like you for encouraging him!

It's going to be a generic dumb action movie. With robots. The classic elements that made people like the show in the first place will be thrown away just so Mr. Bay can make a dumb movie he can understand.

BIG said...


It's going to be a generic dumb action movie. With robots.

I'm sorry - was there some sort of depth to the Transformers; the alien robots who just happen to be able change into cars and planes?

Honestly - it's alien robots that can turn into cars and planes. They look for batteries and fight other robots that turn into cars and planes. They fight them for duracells.

One might say to themselves, "Okay, we're making a movie where the only thing we have going for it is pretty pictures of shit blowing up. Who do we call?"

Renny Harlin or Michael Bay.

Jim Cameron's too expensive.

You're really making a dwarf planet out of a mole-hill.

Anonymous said...

Man, I could have sworn that Dave's post was about the concept of Fandamentalism in its many different incarnations, not about whether the Transformers TV show represents the crowning achievement of Western civilization. Give it a rest. I watched the show. I liked the show--it was dumb fun entertainment. A guilty pleasure fondly remembered.

You won't, however, find me calling for a jihad because someone figuratively pissed on my shrine to Optimus Prime. I'll leave that to Skip "It's All About Me" Jordan and the rest of the Cult of Transformerism. Way to demonstrate beyond all doubt what social rejects fandamentalists are. Bravo. Now go back to spanking to your kid's toy show.

Anonymous said...

I'm sort of surprised that no one has pointed out that there's actually a qualitative difference between the example you give from Star Wars and all the others. The whole "Greedo shot first" hoopla is a result not of revision to the mythology or reinvention of the characters in later versions, but of actually changing the original artefact.

I'm not claiming Lucas didn't have the right to do it--it's his property and he can piss on his fans if he likes--but I consider it a less artistically defensible act. Once the work is in the publis sphere, the artist should have the sense to leave it alone; revision is done before release, not after. I have a lot more sympathy for Star Wars fans who get their fanties in a wad over this than I do with all the other hoopla mentioned.

And screw He-Man; Herculoids owned!

Anonymous said...

I note that the anti-fandamentalists are being equally as annoying in here; fanaticism is unchanged no matter which side you're on.

K.Fox, Jr. said...

that was wonderful. Solid, man, solid. F'in A!!!

Anonymous said...

Transformers all the way! The robot factor certainly made it cooler than GI Joe, and the comics had a cool "space opera" feel to them, espically the "Matrix Quest" issues Yes, there was depth for those who remember the comics.

I actually think the anti-fundamentalists are more annoying too. "Haha! You really like a show and/or comic book! That gives us license to act like total cocksuckers and say how much it sucks and how stupid you are for enjoying it!"

"You won't, however, find me calling for a jihad because someone figuratively pissed on my shrine to Optimus Prime. I'll leave that to Skip "It's All About Me" Jordan and the rest of the Cult of Transformerism. Way to demonstrate beyond all doubt what social rejects fandamentalists are. Bravo. Now go back to spanking to your kid's toy show."

And making fun of people on the internet proves you're not a social reject? Seriously man, eat a dick. Eat ten dicks.

I haven't seen any Transformers fans calling for a jihad or even throwing a hissy fit in the comments section until anti-fans started acting like total shitheads. The only self-obsesed assholes I see are people like you who talk about how much better you are that everybody else. Fuck off and die!

Anonymous said...

Well, now you're telling someone to die on the Internet, so that's going too far as well. `.`

(Note I said *equally* as annoying. Not more annoying. Both sides = annoying.)

David Campbell said...

"Fuck off and die!

Gah! Enough! The fact that this has degenerated into a flame war about Transformers sort of proves the point of my post. There are hundreds of places on the Internet to rant and insult people who don't like the same cartoons as you - this isn't one of them. Go play elsewhere, please.

Anonymous said...

You know who else should go play elsewhere? Your Mom.

(Just wanted to, you know, lighten the mood a little.)

BIG said...

Dave - nice blog. Really. It's absolutely great. Poignant even.

I appreciate your sober countenance for us jerks that get out of hand. I just can't help myself.

There's no love for Michael Bay anywhere on this crazy dubbya-dubbya-dubbya, but it seems like Bay's most vicious critics are painfully well steeped in his filmography and lore. This means they've actively supported his career and thus encouraged his bosses to hire him for more and more gigs. It's very perplexing to me. Like Tina sticking with Ike. I don't think the guy's the Christ of celluloid or anything, but he can take pretty pictures of things exploding. I want to see robots blowing shit up - I don't know about you.

But that aside. Mighty Orbots does, in fact, rule and rule hard. Sadly, it only ruled for one and a half episodes. Like Winston Churchill said, "A kite flies highest against the wind..."

Keep scribblin'.

Anonymous said...

"This means they've actively supported his career"

Once, long ago and in a distant Internet-free galaxy, this may have been true.

Anonymous said...

Gentlemen, please take it outside. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.

BIG said...


Anonymous said...

Dude, this is the most lucid, most true, most common sense approach to internet fandom I have read since "95 Theses Against Fandumb" (and this beats the pants off of it).


Something else I would add though, is that we have this amazing ability to believe that the appeal, and value and quality of pop culture "stuff" should and will last forever: comics, movies, you name it.

I don't think it's possible for ANYTHING to maintain its appeal for very long. Pop culture, hell even "high" culture has a shelf-life people! There's plenty of stuff on the dustbin of history already, including a lot of stuff that I like that just plain ran out of steam. I think most of the "classic" comics are getting there. The fact that Superman, et. al have last as long as they have and have managed an overall pretty good track record is impressive, but to sit here and think that 100 years from now, writers will still be turning out stories that are any good for a character that old...yeah right.

After a while, you need to let things go. Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, ancient myth - it's all still there and still read and stil important, but you don't see much in the way of entirely new content, at least huge masses of it...

Just some thoughts.

Tom said...

Dear Dave,

Kickass comment thread you started here. Congrats.


Anonymous said...

Just found out this article. Talk about hitting a nail on the head. Agree 100%

Markus said...

There are hundreds of places on the Internet to rant and insult people who don't like the same cartoons as you - this isn't one of them. Go play elsewhere, please.
Very well, but please not that this is merely a preference as well.
I for one see no reason why I should not direct some bile towards creators whose decisions strike me as fundamentally flawed. I might refrain from doing so out of politeness, but otherwise these people mean nothing to me. I owe them nothing and if I happen to think their product/decision is stupid to the point where it reflects poorly on them as a person, why should I hold back that opinion?
Maybe I'm more judgemental in this than others. Then again, who does not know people who continuously (or once in a major way) make dumb decisions and who hasn't derided them (in their presence or without; depending on severity of consequences)? I certainly have and see nothing wrong with it.
On the other side, I do get angry when someone consumes a resource that was carefully built up over time to make a quick buck or themselves look good. Superheroes are certainly among the least important resources to be burn in this way, but then again sometimes it's the attitude behind it that annoys and a rant on a message board isn't really expending a lot of energy on the matter. Even if those criticising the rant might want to believe one otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I know this post is from almost six months ago. But I'm just getting caught up on my blog reading (yeah, crazy, huh?), and I thought it was the best post I've read so far this year. :) You may never read this comment, but if you do, know that I send much kudos on a well-drafted post, and that I eventually plan to link it and talk about it on my own meager blog. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...


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