Obscure TF Books
During G1, Hasbro liscened a lot of different products with the
Transformers name on them. Anything from school supplies to the famed
Optimus Prime Oral Care Station. These items are often referred to,
collectively, as "artifacts". Some of my favorite artifacts are the
various liscened books that were released. Most of them are not very
good. In fact, some of them are really terrible, but for some reason they
fascinate me. One of the reasons I like them so much is seeing different
treatments of the Transformers concept. Pretty much none of the books fit
into one of the major G1 continuities (comic or cartoon) and often books
in a single series don't even fit with each other. I also get a kick out
of the artwork. Especially for the earlier books, the characters often
appear off-model in interesting and/or funny ways. Sometimes these
inconsistencies can shed light on the behind-the-scenes development of the
So, because I'm collecting books anyway, I figured I may as well do
something useful with them, and have started scanning them for the web.
On this page you'll (eventually) find all the books that I own, some scans
that have been contributed, and links to other sites that have more
posted. Also, note that when it comes to transcribing text (for
non-scanned bits) I try to be as faithful as I can. So, for example, I
try to preserve the typos. There's really no way for you, the reader, to
know whether a typo you see is my fault or the author's fault, but
hopefully that won't upset you too much.
I must give props to Derik Smith for providing a large portion of
the content on this page. He's a scanning maniac, and I really
appreciate his help! Check out
which has lots of awesome, random, nit-picky analyses. His most
well-known feature is the "Generic TFs" section.
- It's my great pleasure to present to the world Complete Go-Bots
Power!, a coloring book created by David Willis for OTFCC 2003
that was approved by Hasbro, but never produced.
These coloring books were published by Marvel Books. There are more in
the series, but I don't have them yet. I've created a sub-page for each
coloring book to allow for some commentary. There's a lot to say about
some of them. ^_^ The color levels in the scans have been fiddled with
to improve the contrast, but the pages in the actual books are made of a
yellowish paper. You'll find a link to the scans themselves at the top of
the book's page. Below that are some of my notes about the book.
A series of G2 coloring books were also released by a company called
Honey Bear Books. These are much less interesting than the G1 books, but
they're still worth posting. The artwork is excruciatingly faithful to
the toys and/or box art (some artwork is even used more than once in a
single book, just cut-and-pasted into a different background), and unlike
the Marvel G1 books, there's not really a story to speak of. I mean, the
Decepticons show up, and the Autobots show up, they fight. Is that a
story? ::shrug:: I guess so. There's no potato deliveries or illusionary
factories to see here, though, so don't get your hopes up. Still, the
bizarre page captions are amusing enough. Most of the characters they use
were from G1, but the relatively obscure G2 Decepticon, Terradive, appears
Lastly, a very special coloring book, based on Hasbro's "Go-go-go-bots"
toys, and created for the OTFCC 2003 convention:
As far as I know, there are only two books of this type. They are larger,
around 8.5x11 or A4 size, and have hard covers. They are quite silly.
This was a series of storybooks from Marvel Books. They are smaller
than a standard letter-sized paper, so the name "Big Looker" doesn't
make a lot of sense. They are square, with text on the left-hand
pages and artwork on the right-hand pages. The artwork comes in two
varieties, as far as I've seen: very solid painted art by Earl Norem,
or very weird drawn art by John Speirs.
For presenting each of these books, I've created a sub-page with some
commentary and art samples which links to two viewing options: First is
a single long HTML page with all the pictures and a coincident
transcription of the book's text. However, because of all the images,
this might be too demanding on some fans' bandwidth. Thus you can also
look at the art pages separately (as with the coloring books), but for
the story's text you'll need to load the HTML at some point, presumably
with image-loading turned off if that's an issue for you.
Kid Stuff Readalongs
In the 80s there was a whole little industry based around these
"storybook records". Basically, it's a fairly regular picturebook,
but it comes along with a little 45 rpm record (or later, a casette
tape) on which is recorded a dramatization of the book, complete with
voice acting, music, and sound effects. A series of TF storybook records
was released by a company called Kid Stuff. Most were original works,
but a few had been previously published as Marvel Big Looker books.
Those that I have are all softcover, but Raksha's artifacts list says that
longer hardcover versions with extra pictures exist. If anybody has
one of these, I would so love to see it.
Among the five original stories I've seen, they appear to have all been
written and drawn by the same team, but the first set of three books don't
have credits so it's hard to say for sure. They share some very strange
features, such as Autobots flying around (even when not in robot mode),
extremely toy-based artwork, a highly limited cast (mainly Megatron and
Soundwave versus Prime and Prowl), and strange characterization for
Megatron and Soundwave: Soundwave is simpering and whiny, and Megs
verbally abuses him with insults like "you cassette-stuffed twerp" and
acts generally non-Megatron-like, treating his troops' ideas as his own,
passing blame that is obviously his to others, taking offense at innocent
statements, etc.. He's really much more like Insane Galvatron.
In the recordings, for the early books Megatron was voiced by Earl
Hammond, doing pretty much exactly the same voice he later used for Mumm-
Ra on the "Thundercats" cartoon. The recording of "Slaves of the
Insecticons", from the following year / batch, has an all new cast. One
of the modifications they made, though, was applying a vocoder to
Soundwave's lines to make him sound more like the cartoon version. (They
overdid it though, and he is barely understandable.) I know I've heard
the second narrator before, but I can't quite place who he is... anyone
know? Anyway, I find these oddities and changes even more odd than usual
because the first set of books are copyright 1985, not 1984. I would
expect this sort of strangeness from books that were prepared parallel to
the main TF fiction, as is the case with the coloring books, but not so
I have a lot of comments to make about some of these books, so as with
the coloring books and Big Lookers, I'm giving each a sub-page with
commentary and samples before the actual scans:
I also have an audio file for another story which, as far as I know,
never had a book. Derik sent me this recording.
- Attack of the Decepticons (mp3 format,
This story is copywritten to 1985, and was written and produced by John
Braden. All Music published by IJE Music, Inc. ASCAP. Kids Stuff
ID # KST4052.
Ladybird is a British children's book publisher. They released a
series of small, hardcover TF storybooks. These books came with audio
tapes where a narrator read the book for you. The entire series was
scanned by Derik Smith and is available for viewing at the following
Further, I now have audio for two of these books available, thanks
again to Derik Smith:
Find Your Fate, Jr.
Often referred to just as "Find Your Fate", these are technically,
according to the books themselves, from the "Find Your Fate, Jr." line.
The "Sr." FYF books were almost like a one-player game of Basic D&D.
Books of this type were also published under the brand names "Pick-A-
Path", "Choose Your Own Adventure", and (in the UK) "Young Corgi
Adventures". Basically you start off by reading a few pages of setup, and
then the book asks you what you want to do next. Depending on what you
choose, it tells you to turn to a certain page, and you continue reading
from there to see what the consequences of your choice are. This
branching story continues until you save the day or, more frequently,
foolishly lead the Autobots to their doom. The artwork in the FYFbooks
usually leans very heavily towards the toy designs.
Here are links to interactive HTML versions of a few FYF books!
Unless otherwise noted, they include transcriptions of the text, links
that allow you to "play", and scans of the artwork that was
interspersed through the books. Some of these books are available
in multiple places now. How exciting! Cybertronian Alliance currently
has the first seven books up, and will be posting the others sometime
- Book #1: Dinobots Strike Back
- This book is set roughly in season two of the original cartoon
series. Interesting notes: the Autobot's ship is named as "The Ark"
(this was its name in the comic, but it was never mentioned in the
cartoon). One of the Constructicons is named "Gravedigger".
Based on the artwork it appears to be Long Haul, but this was in fact
an early name for Scavenger. This is also one of those rare books
which uses Mirage's original tech spec ability to create illusions
instead of inivisibility. The author seems to be under the impression
that Skids is a red compact car rather than a blue van, and that
Seaspray is a destroyer rather than a hovercraft. (He also seems to
be enormous, based on the way he is utilized.)
at Cybertronian Alliance.
- Hosted here, scans and
HTML by Derik Smith.
- Book #2: Battle Drive
- Book #3: Attack of the Insecticons
- Book #4: Earthquake
- Book #5: Desert Flight
at Cybertronian Alliance.
- There used to be an incomplete version of this book on Crazysteve's
site, which had wonderful photos of Crazysteve's toys taken all
around the city of Tuscon to illustrate the story. His site is
down now, but, at some point I'll get him to send me the photos.
- Book #6: Decepticon Poison
- Book #7: Autobot Alert!
- Book #8: Project Brain Drain
- Book #9: The Invisibility Factor
Young Corgi Adventures
These books are exactly the same idea as the FYF books above.
They were published in the UK, however, whearas FYF is North American.
The art in these books is a lot more primitive.
There are currently two Corgi adventures available, thanks to the
efforts of Derik Smith:
Another of the many series published by Marvel Books, each page in a
Sticker Adventure is laid out like a black and white comic book panel with
a narration box and speech balloons. The books come with a set of
stickers which you place directly on the page in the appropriate spot. You
are instructed to color in the rest of the pictures, which look basically
like coloring book art. The color stickers consist of such fascinating items
as Sparkplug's upper body, the front surface of Prime's left upper arm,
and lots and lots of forearms and heads.
- Return to Cybertron - See the scans
on one page.
Although this book has an 84 copyright, all the characters are pretty
much drawn on-model. There are a few generics, though, who remind me
of the designs in "Decepticon Patrol". The book opens with
Prime himself working on a new spaceship (didn't know he was an
engineer), a ship which the page caption refers to as being
"mysterious". ??? Anyway, apparently the Ark crashed "centuries"
ago, "before Earth was inhabited". Soundwave makes shocking
surprise appearances on page eight and the last page (although he
apparently has red fists and carries a different gun in this universe).
There is also
a last-page reference to Prime's "power pack". Those in the know will
recognize that "power pack" is the term used for the Matrix in the
Hong Kong dubs of the Japanese "Headmasters" cartoon. Coincidence?
Well, yes, but I feel like making a big deal of it because it even
makes sense in context. These scans were provided by Derik Smith.
- Revenge of the Decepticons - See the scans
on one page.
Again, there are some weird looking interpretations of the characters,
but they are mostly in their final
On page two, the speech balloons are way off target. Don't let that
throw you. For a second, I was really hoping the deformed Huffer was
Cliffjumper, but alas. Anyway, other good bits -- Prime refers to
Sparkplug as "Mr. Sparkplug", Sunstreaker is red (possibly an artifact
of the old tech spec mixup between him and Sideswipe, but there are
enough other color errors that it seems unlikely), Ravage is
larger than usual (but not "Decepticon Patrol" large) and single-handedly
steals the Autobot's entire supply of oil barrels, and the great line,
"Even the mighty Brawn is weak!" Scans provided by Derik Smith.
- Battle on the Junk Planet - See the scans
on one page.
A year-three sticker adventure! As is the case with many 1986 books,
this appears to be set in a strange mid-movie or parallel universe movie
timeframe. The story here involves Blur, Perceptor, and Arcee crashing
on Junk and meeting the Junkions for the first time, complete with
Hot Rod and Kup interrupting the fight with a Quint spiral ship and
using the universal greeting. The art is more or less accurate, although Arcee
looks odd. The caption on page ten reads, confusingly, "But Wreck-Gar
becomes his motorcycle and his motorcycle transforms into Wreck-Gar!"
The Springer sticker on page two is terrifying. Unlike the 1984 books,
the colors in this one are pretty much accurate.
Scans provided, again, by Derik Smith. Sadly, one of the stickers is
placed incorrectly, and another appears to be missing completely.
A few odd men out, these are books which I have only have one or two of.
- Battle Beneath The Ice - See the scans
on one page.
This is a regular storybook published by Young Corgi, in contrast
to their Adventure books, found above. This book was sent by
Derik Smith. It has painted artwork which is incredibly toy-accurate,
and is set sometime between G1 Season Two and the movie. Hot Rod
and the Aerialbots are prominently featured.
- The Deadly Paradise - See the scans
on one page.
This book was published in the UK by a company called St. Michael.
I had never even heard of a series of TF books from them until this
one arrived in my email inbox. In the message that Derik attached
the book to, he said something along the lines of, "this book really
disturbs me". It is, indeed, very weird. The artwork is a bizarre,
deformed, hybird of toy and box art. It's really odd. For example,
on the first page where Sideswipe is in a human councilroom, on trial,
he is holding his gun out as if aiming over everyone's heads at a
Decepticon. The book has an unusually grumpy Optimus Prime, hordes of
semi-sentient cannon fodder, and the mysterious Madame Cee's pig
machines which don't look like pigs. The fate of Earth may well be
decided on Carob Island!
- Reusable sticker role-playing activity adventure... - See the scans
on one page.
Another St. Michael product. These scans were sent by Hotmissile.
The stickers seem to be pretty much unrelated to the rest of the book,
except that there are a few scenes included for you to place your
reusable stickers on. (They are similar to Colorforms, if you
remember those.) Otherwise, this is
more or less like a Find Your Fate book. The major difference is
that when you begin reading, you choose between character stats of
strength, speed, and intelligance. Your stats sometimes dictate
which page you turn to, rather than it being up to your free will.
Also, many of the pages have more than one block of text marked with
sci-fi themed icons. You normally only read one block at a time,
as if they were different pages. It is a movie-era
story, which means it has Hot Rod rather than Rodimus, but also
has Cyclonus and Ultra Magnus as the Autobot leader. In the
story, you are mysteriously transported to an alien world where
the Autobots' ship has crashed, and there are Decepticons in
pursuit. The art is stark black and white; while the artist clearly
had toys or model sheets to work from, he has taken a lot of stylistic
liberties. Ratchet appears in toy form on pages 6, 11, 18.
There's also an awesome Galvatron silhouette on page 19. Like
"Return to Cybertron", this book uses the term "power pack", although
it can't be mistaken as a synonym for "Matrix" this time.
- STARS Tech-Spec manual - This short pamphlet was included with the STARS
membership and playset if you ordered it from Hasbro Direct. It contains
some background info on the Transformers story, a diagram of the STARS
playset, and bios for a seemingly random (and small) selection of
- Energon birthday cards - See the scans individually.
Okay, so these aren't books, but they're neat and this seems like a
decent place to put them. Three birthday cards branded with
Transformers Energon were released in 2004. I found
these at a K-Mart in the toy department near the TFs. There are
three cards, and I've scanned the insides and outsides of each. The
files are named after the character who appears on the front of the card.
- Derik and I have cooperated to provide a new recording of
"Attack of the Decepticons". Matt Kruger pointed out that the
old one had some odd "skips" in it.
- Derik sent scans of a hardcover Marvel storybook called
"Battle For Earth".
- Added four audio-only adventures, a higher-quality Satellite of Doom
recording, and noted that Cybertron Alliance put up a new FYF book.
Also added scans of the old STARS tech-spec manual.
- Revised the Find Your Fate section links, now including more books hosted
at Cybertronian Alliance. Will probably make another minor update soon,
as somebody sent me scans of "Wheelie, Wild Boy of Quintesson".
- Added an audio-only Kid Stuff adventure called "Attack of the
Decepticons", and the coloring book "Lost Treasure of Cybertron".
- Happy Valentine's Day! A gift to you from me and Derik: Forest
- Added three books contributed by an anonymous donor: coloring books
"Bumblebee to the Rescue!" and the "Super Activity Book", and
Big Looker "Car Show Blow Up".
- Created "Sticker Adventure" section, added sticker adventures
"Revenge of the Decepticons" and "Battle on the Junk Planet", and
the St. Michael reusable role-playing adventure sticker activity
- Added the coloring book, "Battle at Oil Valley".
- Added audio for Kid Stuff book "Jaws of Terror", and Ladybird books
"Autobots Fight Back" and "Autobots' Lightning Strike".
- A major update! Four Kid Stuff books have been added: "Satellite of
Doom", "When Continents Collide", "Storms of Destruction", and "Jaws
of Terror". Satellite, Continents, and Storms come with
their accompanying audio recordings, and the recording for "Slaves of
the Insecticons" has also been added! Also, overhauls to the
writeups for "Battle for Cybertron", "Decepticon Hijack", and "The
Great Car Rally", and other misc. tweaks and reorganiations.
- Marvel Sticker Adventure, "Return to Cybertron", has been added to
the coloring books section. Also expanded the write-up for G2
coloring book, "Dinobots vs Constructicons".
- Big Looker books "Battle for Cybertron" and "Decepticon Hijack"
- Generation 2 coloring books "Autobots' Advantage" and
"Dinobots vs Constructicons"
This page created by Steve-o Stonebraker
Content last changed on 2007-December-04.