If you look back on reviews I posted on multiply.com and slangards.i.ph, you’ll probably notice that most of them are of Transformers.
I’m a big Transformers fan. Though not as rabidly obsessive as some (no, I can’t quote from the Japanese continuities or name all the members of The Wreckers), that doesn’t mean I love the characters any less. When a friend of mine first put me on to this book, Transformers Vault: The Complete Transformers Universe - Showcasing Rare Collectibles and Memorabilia from Abrams Books, I was immediately convinced that I must have it for my library (when I say library, I really mean one shelf).
I found it at Fully Booked at Bonifacio High Street for Php 1,450.00 (original list price was $350.00). A little bit of advice: take off the shrink wrap off the books and examine them before you leave the store. When I got home, I found that the copy I’d bought had already been opened and some of the pockets had been torn, the pages dog-eared. I was a bit of a buzz kill really, but it was apparently the last copy the last copy, and I didn’t want to go without, so I didn’t bother to return it. All the “Rare Collectibles and Memorabilia” pieces were still included, so it wasn’t that bad.
But I’m getting side-tracked. The book is packaged in a hard board slipcase that features artwork of the original Optimus Prime and Megatron (on the front and back respectively) by Transformers artist, Don Figueroa. I wish they’d have put some more thought to it. It really is just a drawing of Prime just standing there…
The cover to the book itself doesn’t really wow me either, being a simple cut-and-past job with various package art, CGI renders, and some more Figueroa pencils. It’s not that I was expecting anything more (I’d watched the Abrams video dozens of times at this point), but it frustrates me that they haven’t put more thought into the cover than this. There are tons of great package art from back during G1 that displayed the Autobots and Decepticons going at it in huge, pitched battles. They could have gotten Figueroa’s ok to use a bigger piece that would wrap around the cover. Hell, an embossed Autobot logo on black on the front with a Decepticon logo on the back would have killed me. There are so many things they could have done that would have made this look far more appealing.
And that’s where the rant stops. From here on in, it’s pure, delirious, fanboy joy.
The introduction is written by Peter Cullen. PETER CULLEN! I felt the need to break out my Leader Class Optimus Prime and have him belt out a chorus of “I am Optimus Prime…” Objectively, Mr. Cullen doesn’t say anything earth-shattering, but that’s not the point. This is Optimus Prime. Frankly I would not care if he was talking about this morning’s bowel movement. It would still be awesome.
From there we move on to the toys that started the franchise. Author Pablo Hidalgo discusses how the disparate Japanese Diaclone and Microman toy lines of Takara were joined by Hasbro and given a unifying storyline in order to market it as The Transformers. In further chapters, he details the way the franchise was expanded, setting up the cartoon on Saturday mornings to sell the toy line to kids, getting the comic books to continue where the animated adventures left off, and culminating in the live action movie in 2007.
The book is a great resource for any fan of the franchise, but what really got me going were the extras that are hidden in pockets or fold out from the pages. Stuff like one of the folding catalogs that came with the toys, a sheet of “tech specs” with one of the red cellophane readers, a mini animation cell from the Generation 1 cartoon, a The Transformers: The Movie (the animated film, not the one by Michael Bay) poster of art from the laser disc release, and several other goodies.
(insert fanboy squee here)
I’m not sure if the book is still available at Fully Booked. If it is, I might consider getting another to replace this damaged one. At 160 pages it’s about Php 10 per page of pure geeky goodness, which is totally worth it for someone like me.
If you have a Transformers fan in your life, I highly recommend you get one of these for them for Christmas. You can’t go wrong.
(That is unless your loved one is blind. In which case you’d be a total dick.)