Sunday, February 27, 2011

3 of a 4 issue limited series!

Bill Sienkiewicz, Michael Golden, Mark Texeira and the covers they did for Transformers 1, 2 and 4.

I'm back from Wizard World Miami 2011 which ended just a few hours ago and I would like to thank everyone who made this show such an absolute blast for me. I have to thank Jerry Milani at Wizard PR who treated me like a legitimate member of the media although I'm just some guy who likes old toy robots, amazing sketch card artists Mike "Locoduck" Duron and Rhiannon Owens for letting me interview them, Renee Witterstaetter of Eva Ink Artist Group and all the artists she represents for being wonderful people, J. David Spurlock who really makes other artists shine in the panels he moderates, Scott Thompson creator of Danny Husk:The Hollow Planet for being mind-blowingly funny (and giving me free stuff) and especially Michael Golden for taking the time to talk to me about Star Wars, Micronauts, storytelling and collecting toy robots. I had an incredible time.

Pictures, stories and of course the audio from the interviews I did with Mike, Rhiannon, Renee and Michael will be up later this week. Right now I have to study for midterms so the podcast and putting up pictures will have to wait but thanks to all you guys out there for reading my blog and listening to the show. Without you I wouldn't be able to trick vast media entertainment empires into letting me into their conventions and convince comic artist legends that I'm somebody important enough to talk to.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


When I was a little kid in 1985 I had a hard time liking the cartoon genre I call "bitchy Japanese space princess superspaceship war stories". These were sci-fi cartoons from Japan that usually took place in highly advanced civilizations where robotic war technology was light years beyond what we had in the 1980s. The most common of these settings were a) outer space future, b) post-apocalyptic earth future, or c) Japan 1999. The stories focused on heroes with crazy hair that flew around in superspaceships and other fantastic fighting vehicles (that may or may not have been robots) while they fought some sort of alien menace. Those might sound like the makings of a mega awesome sci-fi franchise, but even all of that awesomeness would get negated by the presence of every show's bitchy space princess character! They all had one! If she wasn't actually a spoiled space princess she'd act like one and ruin everything! The last thing I wanted to watch when I was a kid was some icky space girl crying a lot and kissing people (which is what they did when they weren't being bitchy). Battle of the Planets, Star Blazers, Robotech and even Voltron are all bitchy Japanese space princess superspaceship war stories. Voltron was probably the most unbearable of all because of that bratty Princess Allura and all her drama and crying and cutesy pet mice, but the lesson here is that if you put a giant robot made of space lions in it I'll put up with anything.


Pre-adolescent me just couldn't appreciate the added dimensions of intrigue and romance that are unique to a bitchy space princess story and it killed my enjoyment of what were otherwise great sci-fi cartoons. Star Blazers I loved but I found Robotech boring, Voltron barely watchable and didn't even give Battle of the Planets a try. I always thought it would be awesome if someone would do a bitchy Japanese space princess superspaceship war story but just cut out the bitchy Japanese space princess and concentrate on the superspaceship and the war and the fantastic vehicles (that may or may not have been robots). Then in 1993 a cartoon came out that did just that-ExoSquad. ExoSquad had all the elements that I loved in an outer space alien war cartoon but without the bitchy space princesses. It was the superspaceship war story done exactly as I always wanted. I loved it immediately, which of course is the kiss of death and it got canceled after the second season. Suddenly I knew for whom the bitchy space princess cries.


In 1993 I was 19 and at the end of my comic book collecting phase but I still have a lot of comics catalogs and order forms from that time. What's weird about me when I was a comics fan was how the amount of comic book related material I accumulated outweighs the amounts of comics I collected. I guess I have always liked marketing hype more than product. This is fortunate because it was in late '93 that there was supposed to have been an ExoSquad comic book mini series released by Topps comics. They made an issue 0 but nothing else and sifting through my collected rubble of comic catalogs that chronicled ExoSquad's demise and digging on the internet revealed no real answers as to why the book got canceled. This is on my mind because this weekend at WizardWorld Miami I'll have a chance to meet Renee Witterstaeter, who was the ExoSquad comic's editor. Just for fun I dug out my old issues of Previews and I found the solicitations for ExoSquad #0 through 3 so hopefully I can have a somewhat informed conversation with her about the comic and ask her some questions. Because when it comes to this book there are quite a few questions to ask.

The earliest solicitation for the comic was issue #0 from November 1993, which means it would have shipped January 1994. ExoSquad's first cartoon season ran from September to December of '93 and it would return in fall '94 so the series wasn't dead by this point. Strangely enough, #0 was the only issue ever produced and it was a lot different from what was written here. This ad describes the story as a prologue to the cartoon, but the actual issue zero is almost a direct retelling of the events from the first one and a half episodes of season 1. So in reality there was no prequel ever published and the only place it's talked about is in these promo blurbs. It's interesting to imagine what the prologue story would have been and luckily the ads for the next few issues describe where it would have gone.

With the solicitation for issue one in December '93 it became clear that the book was going to be a 3 issue limited series not including the zero issue. Len Wein (the writer who created Wolverine along with artist Herb Trimpe) was credited with scripting the ExoSquad prequel and he did write issue 0 even if it was almost a direct translation of the cartoon narrative at times. A truly original story scripted by Wein would really have been great. It looks like the ExoSquad comic was going to focus on the formation of Able Squad, J.T. Marsh's band of fighters from the cartoon. I'd never heard the name Mace Corbitt before so that was a bit of a mystery. At first I thought he may have been a team leader who was replaced by J.T. Marsh later on in the story but I'm thinking Corbitt was just an early name for the J.T. Marsh character until they decided to change it. I believe this would have been the cover to issue #1. There is a little uncertainty as to whether issue 1 got published or not. Online comic shop Mile High Comics lists it on order forms (but I have never seen one in stock there) and other stores don't know for sure if it came out but leave it a possibility on their lists.

Issue two sounds like it would have been a lot of fun with Nara betraying the team and going over to the pirates, which feels out of character based on her cartoon characterization. I wonder if that was just going to be a fake out and she was playing double agent all along? J.T./Mace gets taken captive by the Neosapiens, who shouldn't be waging war on humanity yet since this is a prequel to the cartoon set after the first Neosapien uprising. That the Neos have space battalions actively attacking members of Exofleet confuses me since the Neo's military capabilities were supposed to have been a surprise they unleashed at the beginning of the war. At any rate, the promo for issue two mentions that Michael Golden's association with the book as cover artist doing special blue line covers. The blue line process was a way artists in the 80s and 90s would be able to create covers that looked like they were painted waaay before photoshop came along. I believe this would have been the cover to issue #2.

Issue three's description indicates that all out war is being waged between the Neosapiens and humans at this point despite my doubts that that's possible in a prequel to the cartoon timeline. Maybe it could be taking place during the first Neosapien uprising which occurred 50 years before the cartoon story but that would make many of the characters way too old for how they look. The artwork in this ad did make it to the cover of issue zero and the awesome cover of Phaeton in his exo suit crushing the Earth intended for issue three can usually be found at this page (but it hasn't been working as of late). The ad mentions 52 new episodes of the show were in production and that makes the demise of the comic all the more mysterious. Later issues of Previews would report the cancellation of books 2 and 3 so I'm fairly certain those did not get published but I'm looking forward to asking Renee what the real story behind the demise of this comic mini series was.

Everything kind of came full circle near the end of ExoSquad when the toyline began releasing old Matchbox Robotech toys under the ExoSquad banner. It was these rereleases that got me interested in those old Japanamations I used to cringe at when I was a kid. I will always remember ExoSquad fondly because it was the last new sci-fi series I liked before I went back in my twenties and gave those bitchy Japanese space princess superspaceship war stories a try. Being older I was a little more mature and better able to survive cartoons about going on dates with Lynn Minmei that filled the lonely minutes between the robotical action I was really interested in. But just barely. I always kind of wished somebody would make another ExoSquad. Or just go ahead and do Robotech again but please, hold off on all the icky kissing!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Tonka 1984 toy catalog, aka: THE GOBO-NOMICRON!

One rather interesting aspect of Tonka marketing was that they didn't add character profiles to the GoBots' toy packaging like most every other action figure line was doing in the mid 80s. The very first GoBots hit the shelves with no individual personality profiles on them and the same was true for the next few years' worth of individual figure releases. The packages did tell the general story of the GoBot conflict but just didn't bother with a character write up for the GoBot you were buying. Larger vehicles like the Boomers had origin stories but still were nothing like the Tech Spec profiles on every Transformer. What's not very well known is that Tonka did actually have character profiles written up for the very first few assortments of GoBots and they used them in their 1984 retailer toy catalog. Here then is a transcription of those profiles and most everything else from the GoBots pages from that book.

(The profiles for Cy-Kill, Leader-1, Cop-Tur, Turbo, Crasher, Scooter and Fitor were later modified and included as liner notes in the GoBots Book and Record set "Target:Earth". A transcription of those later, more cartoon accurate versions can be found at Overlord CyKill's Renegade Headquarters under the "Character Profiles" section.)

Tonka Shapes tomorrow with GoBots: Mighty Robots that turn into Mighty Vehicles.

From the planet GoBotron in a distant galaxy come the GoBots. Enemy GoBots escaping from imprisonment and headed by the evil Cy-Kill are out to take over the earth. But never fear, the Friendly GoBots, with the help of kids across the country, are fast on their way to capture the Enemy GoBots and save the world. To disguise themselves on earth, each GoBot turns into a different vehicle, from helicopters and fighter jets to cycles and turbo racing cars. So be prepared. This major new line of male action action toys is ready to capture the hearts and minds of kids all over America and take over the market. Arm yourself for the takeover with cases of these Mighty GoBots. Because very soon kids everywhere will be storming your store for them.
  • Each GoBot Assortment contains both Friendly and Enemy GoBots.
  • GoBots come in 2 sizes: 3 1/2 inch and Super GoBots that stand over 5 inches tall.
  • All GoBots are made of die-cast metal and high-impact plastic.
Stock up now and turn GoBots into mighty sales for you!

GoBot Assortment No. 7200

Cy-Kill Enemy Robot Leader
Notorious Cy-Kill, the evil GoBot mastermind who turns into a menacing motorcycle, is the leader of the pack of Enemy GoBots. He plans to take over the earth.

Turbo Friendly Robot Racer
Leader 1's right hand GoBot., Turbo loves life in the fast lane. He enters himself into sports car races as a red-hot racer.

Tank Enemy Robot Destroyer
Cy-Kill's right hand man, Tank, is a lumbering dumb oaf with a body that's not only built like a tank-but actually becomes one when necessary.

Hans-Cuff Friendly Robot Police Car
As police sergeant of GoBotron, Hans-Cuff is well known for his detective handiwork. He proves the hand is quicker than the eye when he turns himself into a police car.

Fitor Enemy Robot Jet
Always looking for a fight, Fitor is the GoBot who will fly Cy-Kill and the enemy GoBots to planet earth.

Dozer Friendly Robot Bulldozer
Dozer would rather take a nap than waste time leveling the Enemy GoBots. But when the good guys need him, he's up and ready to flatten each and every one of the evil doers.

Pumper Friendly Robot Fire Engine
Dumper's twin brother, Pumper, pumps a lot of iron at night to keep in shape. When he turns into a fire truck, he pumps a lot of water putting out fires started by the Enemy GoBots.

BuggyMan Enemy Robot Car
Everyone's heard of the Boogeyman-well, BuggyMan's just as bad. And when he turns into a dune buggy he's a real mean machine.

Loco Enemy Robot Train
As crazy as his name, Loco loves to turn into a locomotive and send his enemies into locomotion.

Spay-C Friendly Robot Space Ship
Spay-C is not an airhead, he's an inventor fascinated with outer space. His way-out inventions include a plan to send Enemy GoBots into permanent orbit.

Dumper Friendly Robot Dump Truck
Although he's always getting dumped on, Dumper doesn't mind-he's strong enough to handle loads of work and determined to destroy the Enemy GoBots.

Cop-Tur Enemy Robot Helicopter
Cold-hearted Cop-Tur has a sharp mind and an even sharper rotating propeller arm. He secretly plans to send Cy-Kill into a tailspin and take over the Enemy GoBots.

Ages: 5 and up
Master Pack: 24

GoBot Assortment No. 7201

Royal-T Friendly Robot British Jet
A true blueblood, Royal-T comes from GoBotron's royal family. Loyalty to his planet and a sense of adventure led him to join the Security Force.

Spoiler Enemy Robot Sports Car
Spoiler's beautiful, but she's no lady. She loves to spoil a good time. She can't wait to get her hands on Pathfinder and deactivate her forever.

Pathfinder Friendly Robot U.F.O.
As an Undercover Female Officer, Pathfinder is invaluable to the Security Force. Her laser locators and top-secret scientific devices aid the good guys in detecting Cy-Kill's whereabouts.

Rest-Q Friendly Robot Ambulance
More efficient than a pair of medics, Rest-Q is affectionately known as a repairman because he's an expert at repairing GoBots.

Screw Head Enemy Robot Drill
There are no screws loose on this evil mechanical genius. Screw Head invents wicked weapons for Cy-Kill's criminal cohorts.

Crain Brain Enemy Robot Crane
Crain Brain thinks he's clever, but he isn't. Even the Enemy GoBots call him Lame Brain behind his back. But his strength is no laughing matter-he can change into a crane capable of lifting a zillion pounds.

Road Ranger Friendly Robot Long Haul
Road Ranger's in the battle for the long haul. When the GoBots land on earth, he plans to set up a convoy to capture the enemy and put them back in jail where they belong.

Leader-1 Friendly Robot Leader
All Friendly GoBots hail the fearless Leader-1, the leader of the Security Force. Leader-1 is as brave and intelligent as they come. He has an arsenal of weapons in store for Cy-Kill's evil gang.

Scooter Friendly Robot Scooter
The youngest of the Friendly GoBots, Scooter would love to scoot in and out of all the action. But he's usually left behind to spin his wheels and man the Command Center.

Crasher Enemy Robot Race Car
In the war between good and evil, it's a race to the finish and Crasher will stop at nothing to win. When Crasher races against good guy Turbo, he breaks all the rules and the race becomes a demolition derby.

Blaster Friendly Robot Rocket Launcher
Nicknamed Rocket Man, Blaster disguises himself as a mobile rocket launcher to protect the earth's military bases.

Geeper-Creeper Enemy Robot Off-Road Vehicle
Geeper-Creeper has a mean streak that gives anyone the creeps. Cy-Kill's loyal thug, Geeper Creeper sneaks around disguised as an army off road vehicle.

Ages: 5 and up
Master Pack: 24

Super GoBot Assortment
No 7202

Zeemon Friendly Robot Street Machine
Totally awesome and awfully strong, Zeemon is prepared to fight to the bitter end. He's not about to let the enemy GoBots rule the earth-or any other planet.

Herr Fiend Enemy Robot Sports Car
His dark past is a secret that only Cy-Kill can reveal. With fiendish relish, he awaits the total takeover of planet earth.

Destroyer Enemy Robot Attack Tank
With a mind bent on destruction, Destroyer cannot wait to reach the earth and proclaim all out war. He worships Cy-Kill and believes him to be the next ruler of the universe.

Bug Bite Enemy Robot Roadster
Herr Fiend's best friend, Bug Bite's no love bug. Cold-hearted and wicked, he loves to "sting" his victims and give them the Bug Bite "itch" with his deadly laser guns.

Baron von Joy Friendly Robot Sports Car
A distant relative to Royal-T, the fun loving baron was hired by the royal family to secretly protect their son from harm.

Psycho Enemy Robot Show Car
A terrifying foe. Psycho is crazy and unpredictable. All the Enemy GoBots fear him. And only Cy-Kill can control his demented mind.

Ages: 5 and up
Master Pack: 12

GoBot Zod Monster no 7241

All good GoBots fear the wrath of Zod, the Enemy GoBot's ultimate weapon. The incredible Zod is the part animal, part robot monster that wreaks havoc on the planet GoBotron. He lurches recklessly,-trampling and feeding on Zod fearing Friendly GoBots. Even though at times it seems Zod is everywhere-the good guys do have one chance. They can deactivate him by thrusting a weapon deep into his vulnerable nerve center.
Zod is a motorized monster with:

  • Movable shoulders and
  • An opening and closing, ferocious hinged jaw.
  • As Zod lurches, he rolls forward, rears up, stands erect, returns to a horizontal position and repeats.
  • Zod roars mechanical sounds as he moves, and
  • Comes with a lance so kids can deactivate him by poking his vulnerable nerve center.
  • Requires 3 "C" batteries.

  • Ages: 5 and up
    Master Pack: 6

    GoBot Command Center
    No. 7240

    The Friendly GoBots supreme weapon is the GoBot Command Center-the mobile fortress that can turn from robot into an earthly vehicle and into a space ship. When they reach planet earth, the Command Center is the Friendly GoBots' link to home. This is where all the action takes place, where the Friendly GoBots capture and deactivate Cy-Kill and his gang.

  • Mobile Command Center is the playset for all GoBot Action.
  • Kids can transport GoBots to 5 work stations at different levels of the fortress with its remote control elevator.
  • Sound the alarm for battle.
  • Refuel and maintain Friendly GoBots and
  • Identify, imprison and deactivate Enemy GoBots with its two alien detectors.
  • The Command Center has a revolving head with L.E.D. eyes,
  • Alarm sound systems, and
  • Chromatic scanners that actually identify evil GoBots.
  • The GoBot Command Center doubles as a portable storage case and holds up to 12 GoBots.
  • Requires one 9 volt battery (not included).

  • Ages: 5 and up
    Master Pack: 6

    Saturday, February 19, 2011

    The Pre-WizardWorld Post-Lauderbrutal 1985 RoboEnvironmental Disaster Party

    The twenty-second seal of the Roboplastic Apocalypse erupts like an underwater oil well spewing tremendous amounts of flaming oily 1985 toy robots into the gulf of Mexico. Yes it's a RoboEnvironmental disaster as I realize that in my carelessness and zeal to exploit the natural resource that is 25 year old pop culture, nobody noticed I used up all the 1985! Weep in joyful terror as the Nostrodomatron predicts a horrifying future where there are no more vintage toy robots newspaper ads left for future generations to bore themselves to death looking for at the library. Plus other deeply profound preponderances of great philosophical importance like why do the terrorists hate us for our toy robots and what's the best Micronaut thing to get Michael Golden to sign at a comic book convention. It's all here and more in this "I'M NOT WASTING MY PRESENT BY LIVING IN THE PAST, I'M RECYCLING PERFECTLY GOOD 1985" edition of the Podcastalypse!

    Or download it directly

    Service Merchandise 11/03/85

    Sears 11/06/85


    TRU 08 September 85

    Sav-On 01/30/85

    • The heartwarming sense of self worth gained from ruining something good
    • The downtown Fort Lauderbrutal library and the dangers therein
    • It's hard to usher in the Roboplastic Apocalypse with reduced library hours
    • Discovery channel Christmas lights maniacs and their misguided priorities
    • Toy robots newspaper ad maniacs and their justifiably misguided priorities
    • Lazy librarians from 25 years ago impacting my hobby
    • Way more than anyone wants to know about Playworld circulars
    • Michael Golden at WizardWorld Miami
    • Crash course in Pallisades Acroyears variants
    • Blanking on Blinky
    • My Podcastalyptical effect on the secondary market value of ExoSquad comics
    • break-Bucky O'Hare
    • South Florida libraries are the Bermuda Triangle of Playworld newspaper ads
    • The negative psychological impact of repeated exposure to 1985
    • 1985 GoBot Trapper Keeper ad makes me wonder if I am paying attention in life
    • How much 1985 is left out there?
    • There is still lots of 1985 to go around now, but will it be there for future generations?
    • Is my blog an environmental 80s robots disaster?
    • Should we leave some 1985 for our grandkids?
    • 1985 didn't end, it got put into little boxes at the library
    • 1985 toy robots newspaper ads are a non renewable resource that I collect like baby seal furs
    • The coming cheap labor based Roboplastic Armageddon
    • Hopefully Vietnamese toy laborers don't shop at TRU
    • Finding alternative hobby fuels
    • Collecting not robots of toy robots but pictures of toy robots
    • Spending most of my 2010 in 1985
    • Reliving cool moment historical highlights of 1985 like serial killings and plane crashes
    • Recycling 1985 responsibly
    • break-Takara Microman Giant Acroyear
    • Is that a Megatron in your mouth or are you wearing robot pajamas?
    • Is this a Convertors toy robot ad or am I working in a robot assembling factory in Vietnam?
    • Wizard World Miami pre-game highlights
    • Landos and Batmans and DeLoreans oh my!
    • The Podcastalypse procures a press pass
    • Michael Golden and Bill Sienkewicz panels
    • G4 at MiamiWizardWorldCon
    • GoBots auction recap
    • Learning to use the Robofacial Bookocalypse
    • Don't Rocket Punch your friends!

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    MONSTER cyborg dollhouse GARAGE: Gobotronian househunters don't care about how many bedrooms you have because they can always sleep in the driveway

    I once commented over on PlasticCrack that since toy robots were essentially Barbie dolls who turned into cars they should be called Carbie dolls or Carbies or something like that. (Forget calling them "action figures". I've always seen toy robots as a very distinct offshoot of action figure that shouldn't be lumped into the same category as He-Mans or Star Warses or Ninja Turtles.) By logical extension the only real difference between the play patterns of little boys and little girls is that Carbies turn into Volkswagens and dinosaurs or whatever. So since we are all little girls inside it is no wonder every kid in the 80s wanted dreamy mansions for their Carbie dolls. The trick was to give us Carbiedoll houses without making it feel like we were playing with Carbiedoll houses. I felt a little silly playing with Castle Greyskull and the Millenium Falcon because no matter how hard they tried to disguise that they were actually dollhouses, they were still very dollhousey with their little chairs and tables and places to entertain friends and have tea time. But toy robots that turned into Volkswagens and tanks didn't have enough leg articulation to get into a sitting pose and this is why the toy robot playsets ruled! Transforming Carbie playset engineers in the 80s focused on creating environments that combined the best design elements of mad scientist labs, prisons, gas stations and the most manly room in the house-the garage. There were no girly little chairs to sit in-just a lot of fuel pumps, crazy looking computer screens, ramps and jail cells. The designers knew that boys obsessed with toy robots just wanted to play with dollhouses like little girls but they didn't want to have any furniture to remind them that's what they were doing.


    Luckily the GoBotronian real estate market was exploding in the 80s. Tonka understood this and made a lot of playsets since GoBots were the perfect size for interacting with dollhouses. They had the GoBot Command Center, Thruster the Enemy GoBot Headquarters and even licensed out for production a cardboard playset called the Guardian Headquarters. But perhaps the most sought after and rarest (if it even exists at all) was the GoBotron Fortress. It was decked out with everything a transforming robot sports car could want for recreation-ramps, a periscope, big screen display monitors and even an Astrobeam Chamber for teleporting off to exotic vacation destinations. This stood in stark contrast to the Gobot Command Center which had a cafeteria, strategic command room and trauma and interrogation centers. The Command Center was more like the place they worked. What a cyborg Lamborghini really needed was a place to crash! The pictures here that convey the awesomeness of this ultimate GoBot crash pad are from the 1986 Tonka Toyfair catalog. SuperToyArchive also has a scan of its appearance in the '86 GoBot pack-in catalog. But what's really crazy about it is nowhere will you find an actual picture of one in somebody's robot collection because nobody knows for sure if it was ever released! Alex from the SuperToyArchive believes they do exist and that's good enough for me. This raises the question of what its value would be on the secondary market if one were to ever pop up for sale. Unfortunately the GoBotronian real estate bubble burst in '87 and that's probably why very few of these GoBot machineman caves were ever bought.

    GoBotron Fortress No. 7258
    • Now kids can get the Guardian home base featured in the "Challenge of the GoBots"!
    • 9 different action features including: trap doors, periscope, and Astrobeam Chamber.
    • High-tech detailing and graphics
    • No batteries required
    Ages: 5 and up
    Master pack: 4


    The GoBotron Fortress exists halfway chronologically between those other two great robot fortresses-Robo Force's Fortress of Steele from 1984 and the Transformers' 1987 playset Fortress Maximus. Back then all the robots were trying to out-fortress each other I guess. Toy robot real estate buyers must have had a lot of money to spend in the 80s because I don't remember anybody wanting to settle for a simple 1 Bedroom Maximus. Tonka's most direct robot housing competition in 1986 was Hasbro's transforming robot garage Metroplex. While the Gobotron Fortress was like the ultimate tiny toy robot bachelor pad, I have to give the edge to Metroplex for being able to actually turn into a robot. Yet from a practical standpoint I can see why the GoBots went the route they did because it must be kind of hard living in a house with its own cyborg brain, especially if he doesn't like the same television shows you do. Unless you turn into a television yourself you'll never get to watch any. And forget privacy in the bathroom.


    I would love to find an ad for the GoBotron Fortress in some old newspaper from 1986 but so far I've been unable to. This is not because of that pesky little possibility that they don't actually exist but more because I haven't spent as much time in 1986 as I would like to. If an ad exists somewhere out there I hope one day to find it. As for the GoBotron Fortress itself I doubt I'll ever see one in my lifetime but I'm okay with that since what my family needs in a robot house has changed a lot since '86. If my son ever wants a straight up dollhouse I think I'll buy it for him without it having to be in some super macho robotic disguise with jail cells and laser beam turrets on the roof. I've come to terms with my Carbie loving side and I don't hide it anymore or manifest it as a hatred of real Barbies. I doubt GoBot Carbies ever were jealous of Barbie because of the extravagant lifestyle she led with her dreamy mansions and Lamborghinis and Porsches. They had the Lamborghinis and Porsches angle totally covered. OKAY MAYBE THEY WERE A LITTLE JEALOUS OF THE DREAMY MANSIONS.

    Monday, February 14, 2011


    The twenty-first seal of the Roboplastic Apocalypse breaks like your heart after Leader-1 dumps you for a younger, sexier Volkswagen in this VALENTINES FROM GOBOTRON edition of the Roboplastic Podcastalypse! Yes it's another all GoBots show where I discuss to myself the return of GoBots to DVD, a GoBots writer who's selling storyboards from the old cartoon, ads for GoBots kites & beach towels from 1985 newspapers and other ways I know Cy-Kill loves me. You'll scream like a little girl falling off a red robot motor scooter as you listen to 65 minutes of me trying to decipher hidden secrets of the universe contained within tiny little numbers printed on the corners of GoBots packaging from 1984. (Either that or you'll fall asleep.) Yeah I know Valentine's Day sucks but Leader-1 was bald anyway and there are plenty of other F-15s in the sky so enjoy these love letters from cyborg murdercycles and other GoBotronian enchantments in this latest Gobotastic Podcastalypse!

    Or download it directly

    15 September 1985

    15 December 1985

    Cheetos 13 October 1985

    Target 03/24/85

    Target 06/23/85


    Saturday, February 05, 2011

    We now return to Challenge of the GoBots...

    Rarely in life does an event of such epic proportions occur that it shakes the very foundation of one's own worldview and understanding of the nature of existence while reaffirming a man's faith in the cosmic balance of justice in the universe. Yes, I'm talking about Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch being released on DVD back on January 25th. And just when the world's religions were recovering from that absolute proof that god drives a talking Volkswagen, another shock to the belief systems of all humanity came to pass when Shawn "Branded in the 80s" Robare broke the news to me this week that Challenge of the GoBots was coming to DVD. I was floored. Absolutely blown away. Because this means that obviously not only does god's Volkswagen talk, but he also has a thing for transforming red robot scooters. Either that or god's just a really big fan of vehicles voiced by Frank Welker. AREN'T WE ALL, GOD. AREN'T WE ALL.

    Los Angeles 04 April 1985
    TV Guide Chicago (date unknown)


    Every time I found an old ad for the GoBots cartoon in some old newspaper I got a little sad because I could never find a way to blog about them without it reading like an obituary for a robot show long gone. But the news that the Warner Archives is going to put out Challenge of the GoBots on DVD is just the Baron Von Joyous occasion I was looking for to break out this stuff in celebration of this most significant of American cartoon robot shows. The two ads above use the same graphic but the text is slightly different, with one of them implying boldly that every other cartoon robot show was a ripoff of GoBots! Voltron definitely had the jump on CotG and depending on where you lived the Transformers may have aired first, too. I love how this ad tries to make up for that by using the popularity of the other shows as a gauge by which new viewers can estimate their love of GoBots (even though all GoBots really had in common with other robot shows was the element of transformation). I don't have a date for the one on the right because I got it from an eBay seller who goes through old TV Guides and clips out the ads, then puts them up in lots arranged by theme. Consequently all I got was the ad with no date information on it. It is interesting to note that in Chicago the five parter was shown over five Sundays, while in Los Angeles they ran it all in the space of one week.

    Houston, TX 11/07/85

    Now I don't know who was directly responsible for putting GoBots ads in TV Guides and local newspaper entertainment sections but they did a good job. It may have been the show's distributor or Tonka's advertising agency Jordan, Case & McGrath that handled this sort of advertising-I don't know. In any case, the show got a lot more advertising in Sunday papers than I've been able to find for the Transformers or Voltron. And what fun ads they were! I've never seen anything quite like the one to the right from a paper in Houston, Texas where Crasher and Cy-Kill are having an argument over his addiction to the GoBots cartoon. Shawn's blog Branded in the 80s also has another TV Guide Challenge of the GoBots ad from September 16, 1985 where Cy-Kill is daring the viewer to watch the show. Such fourth wall breaking is unusual in toy robots ads but it's not entirely unheard of. There was one September 11, 1985 Voltron ad in entertainment industry publication Variety where the non-lion Voltron characters talked about the upcoming Voltron season. Then again, Voltron the robot never talked or watched television like Cy-Kill. These GoBots ads are still unique for being the only place I've seen robot characters talking to viewers and each other about the show.

    Variety 27 March 1985


    Speaking of Variety, from 1985 through 1987 the worldwide distributor for the Challenge of the GoBots cartoon ran a couple of ads that stand out as some of the coolest GoBots related stuff I've ever seen. Initially the ads featured an often used GoBot promotional image of Leader-1, Scooter and Turbo flying over the CotG logo. In subsequent years as the GoBots became part of the Hanna Barbera family of cartoon characters, Leader-1 was occasionally seen alongside classic characters like Yogi Bear, the Jetsons, the Flinstones and even Space Ghost. The first time I saw these "cartoon character parade" ads with Leader-1 hanging out with the other Hanna Barbera greats I was surprised because I'd never seen any GoBots depicted as part of that lineage. I didn't think Hanna Barbera considered their licensed cartoon characters part of the family so much as they were disposable entities to be erased from all memory once their popularity on the toy shelves faded. But here we had Leader-1 towering above all others just like he was one of the gang, proudly carrying the flag representing great American toy robot cartoon storytelling. I cannot express how awesome it feels to know that once again Leader-1 and the GoBot gang are receiving a bit of recognition and acceptance amongst the other gone-but-not-forgotten Hanna Barbera classics with the upcoming DVD on demand release of Challenge of the GoBots. Somewhere in heaven Cy-Kill is firing up his DVD player.

    Variety 30 April 1986
    Variety 15 April 1987

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    Evil King Macrocranios was voted king by the evil peoples of the Kingdom of Macrocrania. They listen to Iron Maiden all day and try to take pictures of ghosts with their webcams.