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Transformers 101...  


Marvel Comics

The Transformers story was initially co-created by Marvel Comics (Denny O'Neil originated some names and then Bob Budiansky did the bulk of the work afterward). Sunbow Animation, which was affiliated with Marvel, originated a similar story in their cartoon.
    Marvel Comics started the Transformers comic initially as a four issue limited series (the first issue had a cover date of September 1984). When the series proved popular, it was extended into an ongoing series. Several writers and artists did the mini-series before Bob Budiansky (who had edited the mini-series) took over as the full time writer, doing most of next fifty five issues before Simon Furman replaced him with issue #56 and continued the series to its conclusion in issue #80.
    During Marvel's run, there was also the initial G.I.JOE vs. Transformers four issue mini-series; Transformers Universe (four issue who's who style comic); Headmasters four issue mini-series (a spin-off concept that eventually merged into the main series with issue #38). Also, a Transformers: The Movie three issue limited series in 1986 (adapting the initial animated movie).

Marvel UK

At the same time as the Marvel Comic, the UK branch of Marvel started its own Transformers title. It ran a total of 332 issues and was published weekly (rather then the U.S. monthly style). The Marvel UK comic adapted the main U.S. comic stories and also did stories that happened in-between the main stories, focusing often more on characters then the U.S. title got a chance to and even giving rise to some fascinating storylines such as Time Wars, Target: 2006, Prey, etc. Most of the best UK comics were courtesy of a young writer named Simon Furman. Once the main U.S. title's writer Bob Budiansky left the title, Simon
Furman took over that as well while continuing to do UK exclusive stories. One could enjoy the added aspect of the UK stories or read the American title without being aware of them and still have it make sense.

Blackthorne Publishing

In 1987, Blackthorne Publishing released The Transformers in 3-D, a comic book series that ran separately from the Marvel Transformers comic book series. The series had three issues, with 28 pages per issue. The comic was not widely distributed, affording the collection to be a rare item. The series is set in the post-The Transformers: The Movie era, featuring characters like Galvatron and Ultra Magnus.

(Generation 2)


When the toyline was brought back into existence in the early 90s, Marvel did a new comic series entitled Transformers: Generation 2 (like the accompanying toyline). This series was written by Simon Furman, who picked up where he left off in G1 but also tried the make the comic more edgy and adult. It also spun out of the ongoing G.I.JOE comic at the time. The G2 series only lasted twelve issues before being canceled. Aside from Simon Furman, this series is noteworthy for the dark and angular artwork of artist Derek Yaniger.

Fleetway UK

The Marvel G2 series was reprinted in the UK by a company called Fleetway. The first two issues were original Furman stories (since the Marvel one started off in its G.I.JOE comic which the UK company didn't have the reprint rights to). Thus, the first two issues established how Megatron was back, etc. before linking up with the rest of the Marvel storyline.


Japan had G2 mini-comics that came with each action figure in the series and which formed a simple storyline throughout (basically, Megatron attacked the Autobots with his new forces and they retaliated). The mini-comics went for 17 parts. (These had nothing to do with the Marvel comics, incidentally).  These comics are compiled and translated to English at:

The Marvel run at a glance...
The Transformers #1 - #80 (started as four issue limited series, changed to ongoing series. 1984 - 1991)
Transformers Universe #1 - #4 (limited series. 1986)
G.I.JOE vs. Transformers #1 - #4 (limited series. 1986)
Transformers: the Movie #1 - #3 (limited series. 1986)
Headmasters #1 - #4 (limited series. 1987)
Marvel UK Transformers #1 - #332 (ongoing series. 1984 - 1991)
Generation 2 #1- #12 (ongoing series. 1993-94).
New Avengers/Transformers #1 - #4 (limited series. 2007)


In 2002, Dreamwave Comics got the rights to the Transformers concept and started producing various series (many of which have since been reprinted in Trade Paperback form by the current publisher, IDW Publishing). DW's first series was a six issue mini-series (written by Chris Sarracini and drawn by Pat Lee). Sales were very good, prompting another six issue mini-series (written by Brad Mick) and then an ongoing G1 comic (written by Brad Mick, aka James McDonough and Adam Patyk) that lasted ten issues.
    Dreamwave was also responsible for the Armada/Energon comic (it started as "Armada" to support the then-current comic and then became "Energon" with issue #19) before going up to issue #29. It was started by Chris Sarracini, who wrote the first five issues before Simon Furman took over the writing for the remainder of the series (various artists, including Pat Lee, James Raiz, Don Figueroa and Guido Guidi).
    Perhaps Dreamwave's most famous series was called The War Within and scripted by Simon Furman (with Don Figueroa as artist on volume one. Andrew Wildman was artist on volume two and Joe Ng did the three issues of volume three). The series chronicled Cybertron long before the Earth years and at the beginning of the Great War. War Within ran for two complete series and three issues of a canceled  third series. Volume 2 was sub-titled The Dark Ages and volume three's sub-title was The Age of Wrath.
    Dreamwave also published More Then Meets the Eye, an eight issue limited series which emulated Marvel's old Universe series by doing profiles on all the existing G1 characters. James McDonough and Adam Patyk wrote the profiles and various drew the accompanying artwork. There was also a sequel MTMTE series featuring the characters of the Armada concept that went three issues (same writers).
    Additionally, Dreamwave did a six issue Transformers/G.I.JOE crossover series (and one issue of another series before going bankrupt). They also did a Micromasters mini-series (four issues) and a one-shot Summer Special, featuring Generation 1, Energon, Robots in Disguise, and Beast Wars stories.

Dreamwave at a glance...
Transformers #1 - #6 (2002. First mini-series).
Transformers: War and Peace #1 - #6 (2003. Second mini-series).
Transformers #1 - #10 (2003-04. Ongoing series)
Armada/Energon #1 - #29 (2002-03. Ongoing series)
Micromasters #1 - #4 (2004. Limited series)
(G1) More Then Meets the Eye #1 - #8 (2003. Limited series)
(Armada) More Then Meets the Eye #1 - #3 (2004. Limited series)
Summer Special #1 (2004. One-shot)
The War Within #1 - #6 (2002-03. Limited series)
The War Within: The Dark Ages #1 - #6 (2003. Limited series)
The War Within: Age of Wrath #1 (2004. Intended to be limited series. Canceled with only one issue released).
Transformers/G.I.JOE #1 - #4 (2003-04. Limited series).
Transformers/GIJOE: Divided Front #1 (2004. Intended to be limited series. Canceled with only one issue released).

IDW Publishing

Dreamwave went bankrupt in early 2005 due to alleged bad management practices (such as not paying their staff) and IDW Publishing acquired the license. IDW's first comic came out in October 2005, an issue #0 that previewed their first series, called Infiltration (six issue mini-series written by Simon Furman and drawn by EJ Su). The series was a success and later followed by Escalation, Stormbringer, Devastation and finally Revelations. The main continuity has now been giving an ongoing series, Transformers, written by Mike Costa.
    Additionally, there is Transformers Spotlight a regular series spotlighting various characters that take place in the mainstream IDW continuity. Maximum Dinobots, Megatron Origin, All Hail Megatron, Bumblebee and Last Stand of the Wreckers also take place in the main continuity.
    Evolutions: Hearts of Steel (four issue series by Chuck Dixon and Guido Guidi); Beast Wars: The Gathering, Beast Wars: The Ascending and Beast Wars: Sourcebook are alternate continuity material. So are the movie continuity comics, such as Reign of Starscream, etc.

IDW had the Transformers license from 2005 - 2023. They produced a HUGE volume of work in that time and unfortunately we haven't had the time/inclination to catalogue every single series here.

IDW/Marvel (TF/New Avengers crossover)

A crossover with the original holders of the Transformers license, Marvel Comics, this series takes place in both Marvel's ongoing continuity, (pre-Civil War), and IDW's G1 continuity, set in between Infiltration and Escalation. The 4-issue series is written by Stuart Moore and drawn by Tyler Kirkman. Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine, and Spider-Man all appear, as well as many of the Transformers cast of Escalation.

IDW at a glance...
(mainstream and non-movie continuity is first).
Transformers #0 (preview one-shot. 2005)
Infiltration #1 - #6 (mini-series. 2006)
Escalation #1 - #6 (mini-series. 2006-07).
Stormbringer #1 - #4 (mini-series. 2006)
Devastation #1 - #6 (mini-series. 2007-08)
Revelation (published within the Spotlight series. Spotlight: Cyclonus, Spotlight: Hardhead, Spotlight: Doubledealer, Spotlight: Sideswipe. 2008)
Transformers Spotlight (ongoing. 2005 - present).
Transformers: The Animated Movie #1 - #4 (limited series. 2006)
Evolutions: Hearts of Steel #1 - #4 (limited series. 2006).
Beast Wars: The Gathering #1 - #4 (limited series, 2006)
Megatron Origin #1 - #4 (limited series. 2007)
Beast Wars: The Ascending #1 - #4 (limited series, 2007)
Maximum Dinobots #1 - #5 (2009)
All Hail Megatron #1 - #15 (the last four issues were unofficially entitled AHM: Coda. Limited series. 2008-2009)
Transformers #1 - #31 (Ongoing. 2009-2011.)
Bumblebee #1 - #4 (limited series. 2010).
Last Stand of the Wreckers #1 - #5 (limited series. 2010).
Ironhide #1 - #4 (limited series. 2010).
Drift #1 - 4 (limited series. 2010).
Transformers Infestation #1 - #2 (limited series. 2011).
Heart of Darkness #1 - 4 (limited series. 2011).
Transformers: The Death of Optimus Prime (one shot. 2011).(Note: This issue was sold as a one-off story but was the wrap up story to the ongoing "Transformers" comic. It could also be considered Issue #32 of that series).
More Then Meets The Eye #1 - present (ongoing series. 2012).
Robots In Disguise #1 - present (ongoing series. 2012).
Autocracy #1 - 12 (digital only, limited series. 2012. Released later as collected TPB).
Monstrosity #1 - 12 (digital only, limited series. 2013. Released late as collected TPB).
Transformers Infestation II #1 - #2 (limited series. 2012).
Transformers Regeneration One #80.5 - #100 (2012 - present. IDW continuation of Marvel G1 comic. Limited Series.)
Transformers Regeneration One #0 (2013. One-shot tie-in to the regular series above).
Transformers vs. GIJOE #1 - present (ongoing series. 2014).

( TF Prime continuity)
Transformers: The Fall of Cybertron (2013. released as a digital only series then later as a TPB).
Transformers Prime: Rage of the Dinobots #1 -4 (2012. Released as a digital series then later a comic limited series and TPB).
Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters #1 - 8 (2013. Limited series).

(live action movie continuity).
Transformers, film prequel #1 - #4 (Limited series. 2007)
Transformers movie adaption #1 - #4 (Limited series. 2007).
Reign of Starscream #1 - #5 (limited series. 2008).
Alliance #1- #4 (limited series. 2008-09)
Defiance #1 - #4 (limited series. 2009).
Revenge of the Fallen movie adaption #1 - #4 (limited series. 2009).
Tales of the Fallen #1- #6 (limited series. 09-10).
Nefarious #1 - #6 (limited series. 2010).
Rising Storm #1 - #4 (limited series. 2011).
Foundation #1 - #4 (limited series. 2011).
Dark of the Moon (movie adaption) #1 - #4 (limited series. 2011).

In 2022, it was announced that IDW would no longer have the publishing rights to Transformers (starting in 2023) and that Skybound Entertainment had picked up them up instead. Skybound's TF run began with the appearance of Jetfire in Void Rivals #1 and now there is a regular Transformers series running as well (it began in the fall of 2023). (Pictures coming soon).

3H/Devil's Due/Fun Publications

3H Enterprises

In 2001-2004, the Official Transformers Collector's Club (owned at the time by 3H Enterprises) did several comic series, such as Transformers Universe and Transformers Universe: The Wreckers. These series often followed club exclusive toy characters/repaints from the conventions, as well as classic TF characters. They did not relate to the Dreamwave comics of that era and the stories were arguably badly written (a matter of opinion, of course).

Devil's Due Comics

Devil's Due held the G.I.JOE comics license for several years (until IDW acquired it in 2008). During this time, Dreamwave did one crossover series between G.I.JOE and Transformers (and planned another) while Devil's Due successfully published several of their own crossover comics (that did not directly relate to the DW ones).

G.I.JOE vs. Transformers, volume one (6 issue mini-series, 2003), GIJOE vs. Transformers II (four issue mini-series, 2004), GIJOE vs. Transformers: The Art of War (5 issue mini-series, 2006) and finally GIJOE vs. Transformers: Black Horizon (2 double-sized issue mini-series, 2007).

Fun Publications

The company behind the Official Transformers club has done several mini-comics in its bi-monthly magazine (the first collected volume was Transformers: Cybertron: Balancing Act). They are also responsible for several convention comics since 2005, usually entitled Timelines, that focus on that year's convention toy exclusives.
Additionally, the fan club newsletter ran an ongoing comic serial throughout its publication history.

As of 2016, Fun Publications no longer has the licensing rights to hold Transformers conventions or produce story content.

NOTE: There is/was also a more recent UK/Europe comic series but it's not currently included here as I do not have specifics on it. It may be added at some future date if I can acquire information for it.