» Blog Archive Monday Morning Quarterback: Transformers #3 -
The Big Kahuna Comic Book News

by Todd Matthy

In 1984 Marvel Comics released The Transformers comic book and it was a success. However, Marvel was initially weary of the new concept and decided to give the series a shot in the arm by having Marvel characters guest star in an issue. This practice was not new; such licensed books as Micronauts and Shogun Warriors often had guest stars or made guest appearances with Marvel characters. Transformers number three is one such comic and it guest stars none other than the Amazing, Spectacular, and Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

The issue continues the story from the last when the father of the Autobots human friend Buster, Sparkplug Witwicky, is captured by the Decepticons. Megatron wants Sparkplug to build a contraption to turn fossil fuels into Energon, the Transformers source of life. The Autobots prepare a rescue mission while the Decepticons steal fuel. The Decepticons shenanigans attract the attention of Peter Parker, who is on location for the Daily Bugle. Peter turns into Spider-Man and with the help of Gears, the most crotchety Autobot since Kup and Ironhide, (Watch the episode “Changing Gears” to see Megatron turn him “nice”) rescues Sparkplug before learning that the mechanic gave Megatron what he wanted.

So what makes this issue a buried treasure? Other than it’s the first meeting between the stars of two of the biggest film franchises ever, this issue features cameos from Nick Fury, J. Jonah Jameson, and Robbie Robertson. Combined with the Dinobots crash landing in the Savage Land, this issue has sparked many a debate about whether or not the Transformers are part of the Marvel Universe. But what really makes it a treasure is it cannot be reprinted.

Marvel gave up the Transformers license in 1994. In 2005, IDW picked up the license and proceeded to reprint the entire series, except number three. Why? Ol’ web head, of course. The only Transformers fear more than Unicron is an army of Lawyercons, and Marvel’s Lawyercons would not hesitate to issue a cease and desist order to a rival company…or have them pay a fee. In other words, unless Marvel decides to reacquire the Transformers license, the only way to read this story is in its 22-page periodical format. (Although it may have been reprinted in Titan Book’s out of print trade, Transformers: Beginnings) So, roll out to your comic book store and scour those back issue bins.

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