Sunday, 11 December 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: Transformers G1 Ladybird Books

Ladybird Books was a British creation. The first book was published in 1914 and started with children's stories. They made a number of books all the way up until the 90s, when their decline ended up with them going out of business.

There's no denying how massive Transformers was in the 1980s. Aside from the toys and cartoon series, there were comic books, story books, colouring books and more all with the Transformers brand attached. So, in 1985, Ladybird Books jumped at the chance to make a series of Transformers storybooks and audio cassettes in their "Tell-A-Tale" line. The books are loosely based on the G1 comic continuity. The books were written by John Grant and narrated by Peter Marinker. Though fans could also buy the books without the tapes as well.

The first series contained 4 books/ Autotbots' Lightning Strike, Megatron's Fight For Power. Autobots Fight Back and Laserbeak's Fury. These 4 books mix up a little of More than Meets the Eye with the early Marvel continuity. As Megatron's "DECEPTICONS SCRAMBLE!" battlecry is heard in these books. Spike keeps a journal. The Autobots and Decepticons are repairing their own ships and trying to repower them and return to Cybertron. Rumble even acts like Starscream's hench-thug, borne out of his treacherous nature in MTMTE. In an interesting turn as well, the Transfomers are unaware of Earth based technology and phenomenon, given that they don't understand thunderstorms and lightning. Soundwave considers railway tracks to be "crude energy conductors" and Starscream is confused when his null rays don't work on an old fashioned windmill. Throughout the books, Optimus Prime is sworn to keep the war a secret and never let the humans know of their existence.

In 1986, the stories changed. To follow up on the movie, Ladybird released an adaptation of the movie. The other books however, followed the comic path. It featured the disappearance of Optimus Prime and Megatron, as well as Ultra Magnus and Galvatron time travelling back to the past, a nod to Target:2006 in the Marvel UK comics. The two books in this series were Galvatron's Air Attack and Decepticon Hideout

In 1987, Ladybird released two new books. Decepticons at the Pole and Autobots Strike Oil. In this series, the war has moved to Nebulos and they appear to have abandoned the traditional concept of Headmasters as established in the cartoon. Hot Rod and Cyclonus appear to be in command of their respective forces.

The final two books were released in 1988 and were called Autobot Hostage and Decepticons Underground. They now introduced Optimus Prime and Scorponok as respective leaders. They also had the lesser known characters of Quickswitch, Scoop and the Double Targetmasters as lead characters in these final two books.

These books have become fairly collectible now and go for around £2-3 each on the secondary market. They are worth a look.