Comic Books Posts

How Transformers Took The World By Storm

Even if you never owned a Transformers action figure, you most certainly knew of the robots in disguise who were more than meets the eye.

optimus prime comicoptimus prime figureProduced jointly by American toy company Hasbro and Japanese toy company Takara, Transformers is one of the most enduring franchises in pop culture to this day. Originally debuting in 1984, the multimedia brand captured the imagination of children around the world with its innovative toyline and action-packed animated TV Show. Though the series admittedly lost steam by the early 2000s, it would be Michael Bay’s live-action Transformers reboot that rekindled the public’s memories of the Autobots and Decepticons. Even if reviews for the recent Transformers movies have been mixed, their continuing success at the box office made us ask the most important question: how exactly did Optimus Prime and his fellow Transformers become such beloved characters to so many of us?

Like many great toys throughout history, Transformers were an indirect evolution of action figures that weren’t originally a part of the franchise. In the early 1980s, Takara innovated toys within the Japanese market with the Micromen and Diaclone series, which boasted both humanoid cyborgs and robots that could transform into vehicles. This caught the eye of Hasbro, who had in fact used Micromen technology to create their wildly successful G.I. Joe characters. Looking to follow up with another blockbuster toyline, Hasbro bought the rights to the Diaclone figures and formed a partnership with Takara along the way. With comic writers Jim Shooter and Dennis O’Neil utilizing their Marvel lineage to create the characters and world of Transformers, the franchise was destined to take off like a rocket.

optimus prime cartoonIt should come as no surprise that Transformers wound up with much greater international appeal than G.I. Joe. Yet regardless of comparisons, the direct partnership between Hasbro and Takara allowed American and Japanese audiences to be distinctly catered to while ultimately enjoying the same brand. In fact, the story of the animated canon actually diverted from the American version in Japan at certain points.

Optimus_Prime_vinylEven the United Kingdom had its own expansion of the Transformers canon, featuring the female Autobot Arcee and a 300+ issue comic book series. This unique development cycle allowed the series to grow organically wherever it was shown, and no audience would ever feel as if they were enjoying a “foreign” product.

Yet more importantly, it was the Transformers themselves that launched the brand into its superstar status. Action figures were far from new in the 1980s, but the interactivity of the Transformers figures was virtually unheard of for their time. After all, robots who could actually be bent and morphed into trucks and automobiles were a borderline spectacle compared to their competitors on the market. This gave Transformers an instant allure and brand recognition on their own merits, and we’re sure kids enjoyed getting two toys for the price of one. There has arguably never been a toyline like Transformers in this respect, even if many unofficial knockoffs have popped up over the years.

optimus prime truckCasual fans of Transformers likely hold the fondest memories of the Generation 1 era of the series, which lasted from 1984 to 1993. However, even if the brand fell off its peak of popularity, the franchise still enjoyed continued development well into the 2000s. In 1996, Beast Wars: Transformers introduced new characters while putting a unique spin on the series, and 2001’s Unicron Trilogy brought back 80s style animation with a modernized polish.

Of course, as we mentioned above, it was Michael Bay’s 2007 Transformers movie that brought the franchise back to its pop-culture dominance nearly 15 years after the conclusion of Generation 1. Even if Transformers enjoyed a healthy lifespan throughout the years, fans who originally enjoyed the series in the 80s had their nostalgia newly awakened by seeing the Autobots appear on the big screen after so many years. If nothing else, the movies served as a bridge between younger and older generations through a shared love of the robots in disguise.

optimus prime movieToday, Transformers continues to enjoy international success. The toyline is as strong today as it has ever been, and collectors have amassed personalized collections across all the different iterations of the Autobots and Decepticons. Whether you like Transformers for it’s Generation 1 series or prefer the lesser-known era in the early 2000s, there’s never been a better time to be a fan of the franchise. Just remember to avoid heated arguments about whether Optimus Prime can beat up other robotic characters from the 80s, as those debates are intensely more than meets the eye.

Take a Trip to America’s Largest Comics Store, Mile High Comics

Young Christian Braun

Musings By Joschik

Christian is one of the founders of the hobbyDB project and his musings share some of his collecting experience.

The other day I spoke to Chuck Rozanksi, the owner of Mile High Comics about meeting up.  He suggested that I should come to the Mile High warehouse, America’s Largest Comics Store- and am I glad I did!

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It might not look much from the outside but it is just enormous inside and every nook and cranny is filled up with cool stuff.

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And there are tons of things to see, like what is probably the largest Lego Minifig ever:

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The best thing is that it’s open to the public with more than a million comics to chose from…

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…as well as lots of other things such as posters, action figures, Lego Minifigs etc. – if it is comics related you can probably find it here!

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I had a fantastic time and Chuck is our kind of guy, not only is he nuts for comics; he also has an awesome collection of Native American pottery (we look forward to document those!).  I have the feeling Chuck just doesn’t do small, there are shelves and shelves full of them – and he knows the story behind every one of them!

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Take an afternoon off and venture down there!  You will find the address on milehighcomics.com.

Join hobbyDB at Time Warp Comics for Free Comic Book Day!

Time Warp Free Comic Book Day Galactus

Do you collect comic books? Action figures? Super hero stuff in general?

Have we got an event for you! Yes, Free Comic Book Day 2016 is coming to a comics shop near you on Saturday, May 7, 2016. In our case, that’s Time Warp Comics in Boulder, Colorado. In addition to all sorts of costumed crusaders, and well, free comic books, hobbyDB will be there giving demonstrations and signing people up to use our site.

In fact, sign up on your way in (there’s usually a line, which goes past our booth, and registration only takes a few minutes, so why not?) And on the way out, we plan to have another table where you can shoot a photo of your item and add it to our database. That only takes a few minutes too!

Time Warp Free Comic Book Day

Time Warp Comics is located at 3105 28th St, Boulder. Free Comic Book Day runs from 10am to 6pm, with the line forming early outside. Everything in the store will be on sale, too! See you there!

The Free Comic Book Day Survival Guide

With Free Comic Book Day around the corner, we’re sure you have some questions. We at hobbyDB are glad to help…

free comic book day time warp 1 What is Free Comic Book Day?

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Glad you asked! Free Comic Book Day is an international event that takes place during the first Saturday in May, and some fans like to think of it as the official start of summer. Many stores turn FCBD into a massive event, complete with special guests, vendors, and costume contests. Others keep it simple with a small set up. Regardless of how your local shops celebrate the day, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. First things first, here’s an answer to a common question that will save you a lot of weird looks from your local comic shop employee:

“So, all of the comic books in the store not free?”

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No. NO! NOOOOOO!! Despite what the name of the event says, not every book in your lovely comic book store is up for grabs. However, there are free comic books! Lots of them, in fact! Almost every comic book publisher puts out a select few titles that give new readers a taste of what comic books they put out. Publishers will often try to tie it into whatever comic book movie is coming out that summer (Marvel has a Guardians of the Galaxy comic this year, and DC will have a Wonder Woman special). Other times companies will have special issues of major upcoming events or their best selling titles as a way to draw in new readers. Heck, there are even some shops that will put out extra comics for free as well.

The list of FCBD books grows every year, so it’s wise to take a look at what books will be available that day and figure out which ones you want. A lot of stores will put a limit on the free books to ensure that everyone gets what they want. Having an idea of what books you are interested in not only helps you feel more prepared for the day, it also helps the line move faster, which will make you a hero in the eyes of the people working the event.

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Any other tips?”

Just like going to a convention, you should plan on wearing comfortable shoes and bringing snacks and water so you stay hydrated as well! Many shops have lines extending outside their doors, so you’ll be waiting quite a long time at points during the day. And while you are waiting, be nice to the people working the event! Lots of stores have people that are volunteering their time to their local shop, and they aren’t getting paid. So while you may be hot or cranky, try your best to not be rude to the people working (unless they’re rude first, then all bets are off).

Lastly, wherever you go for FCBD, consider purchasing something at the shop you visit. Even though the event is called “Free Comic Book Day,” the stores still buy the books that they are giving away for free. So while you are taking in all the costumes and free books, consider also buying a comic, trade, toy, or game at the shop you are visiting!

Keep all of these tips in mind, and most importantly, have fun! This is the day to celebrate the one thing that’s keeping all of your favorite movie studios afloat: COMIC BOOKS!

The Most Valuable Marvel Comics Are Worth More Than Your House

Marvel Comic booksKnowing the worth of your collection is half the fun of collecting comics. The most valuable Marvel Comics are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases. The value of these comics is truly something to Marvel at….get it? ‘Marvel’ at? Okay, back to the issues!

Captain America 1Captain America #1 (1941)

Everyone’s favorite patriotic hero, Captain America comes in at number 5 on our list. Not only does this comic introduce his plucky sidekick Bucky, but it also has a cover of the Cap punching Hitler. That’s hands-down the best way to make an entrance into comics if you ask us. If you find one of these in your basement in perfect condition, you could get as much as $343,000 for it. Take that, Nazis!

incredible hulk 1Incredible Hulk # 1 (1962)

This comic introduces our favorite angry green…well, gray…hero. Hulk didn’t get his trademark green color until issue #2. For the first issue, the Hulk was gray (but please don’t mention it or you might make him angry). We don’t think it’s quite as fetching as his usual green, but the price tag doesn’t seem to agree! In fact, you could find yourself holding a lot of green if you have a copy in good condition. It sells for as much as $375,000.

x men 1X-Men #1 (1963)

Everyone’s favorite mutants had to start somewhere. This comic is as hard to find as Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. The original team was much smaller than the current cast and only had Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Angel, and Iceman in its ranks. Did we mention this issue also introduced Magneto? It’s a pretty stellar start to one of the biggest teams in Marvel. If you can find this superpowered first issue in good condition, you might spend as much as $492,000 to add it to your collection.

marvel comics 1Marvel Comics #1 (1939)

This is the beginning of the Marvel Universe. Okay well, the company wasn’t called Marvel yet– they went by Timely back then. Semantics aside, this issue kickstarted the brand we know and love as Marvel. This issue also has the first appearance of the Human Torch…well not that human torch. This one was an android, but he obviously inspired the Human Torch from Fantastic Four. This rare piece of comic history in great condition has sold for as much as $557,000.

amazing fantasy 1Amazing Fantasy # 15 (1962)

Just talking about this comic makes us tingle a little. How cool would it be to own Amazing Fantasy #15? Too cool! This is the most valuable comic Marvel has ever produced, and that’s because it’s the first appearance of Spider-Man. This issue really isn’t as rare as many Silver Age comics, but collectors love it. It’s also one of the top three most valuable comics in the world. The best condition copy known (so far) sold for an amazing $1.1 Million!!! We have to admit, he really does deserve the title ‘The Amazing Spider-Man.’