Monday, April 3, 2017

A to Z Challenge: Bumblebee vs. Bludgeon



Bumblebee has the distinction of being the first Transformer I ever owned. I got him as a stocking stuffer in ’83 or ’84. There were two different Bumblebees: the yellow one and a red one; the one I got was yellow. I think Christopher Dilloway got Windcharger in his stocking.
Pretty much every Generation 1/Generation 2 Bumblebee toy

In the cartoon show, Bumblebee was often paired with the humans Spike Witwicky, Sparkplug, Chip, and/or Carly because his small size made it easier for him to interact with tiny humans. He was one of the few original characters to survive the purge in the 1986 movie despite being devoured by Unicron along with Spike. In the 3rd season episode “the Return of Optimus Prime” he was badly damaged and rebuilt as “Goldbug,” one of the “Throttlebots.”

In the Marvel comic, this transition was done in the Transformers vs. GI JOE miniseries, when GI JOE killed him and he was later rebuilt. The later IDW series had Bumblebee lead a group of Autobots after the war, until he was killed by Galvatron and Shockwave in the “Dark Cybertron” story arc.

He gained new prominence in the 2007 live action movie. Like in the old cartoon he was paired up with humans only instead of a Volkswagon Beetle, he turned into an awesome new Camaro. Along with Optimus Prime, he’s the only Autobot to appear in all four (soon five) of those shitty Michael Bay movies. It was certainly a change of fortune for him to go from a puny little character to a badass.

In Transformers Prime Bumblebee looks about the same as the movie version and like the movie version he can't talk.  He communicates in beeps that only Autobots and a shrimpy kid named Rafael can understand.  In the last episode he "kills" Megatron with a big sword and gets his voice restored.  In the follow-up series Robots in Disguise, Bumblebee becomes the leader of a group of Autobots on Earth.

Besides that first Bumblebee I received nearly 35 years ago and his Goldbug version, Bumblebee also had a “Pretender” character and an “Action Master” that was like a traditional action figure with a transforming accessory. There have been plenty of other toys of him made as well, especially after the 2007 movie.

Not bad for a little guy, eh?


***

Bludgeon has far less of a history. I mentioned Bumblebee had a “Pretender” character and Bludgeon was also one of those. The Pretenders had a “shell” that was shaped like a human or monster and then you cracked it open to reveal a robot inside. Bludgeon’s shell was pretty cool: a samurai with a skull for a face. He was in the second series of Pretenders that were smaller than the first batch (like Bumblebee) and so size-wise his robot inside wasn’t very impressive. It turned into a tank for whatever reason; I mean, a tank doesn’t really go with the samurai thing, but whatever.

He came along too late for the TV show but his moment in the spotlight came in the Marvel comic’s final issues. After a huge battle with Unicron, Bludgeon took over the Decepticons and nearly destroyed the leaderless Autobots. Only the dramatic return of Optimus Prime managed to stop Bludgeon from taking over the universe. Which is probably another reason I like him, because he looks cool and he isn’t the raving, bumbling villain type.

There have been other Transformers toys with the same name, but none are as awesome as the original. I’m just saying.


4 comments:

  1. I don't know hardly anything about transformers, but in the first movie I can see the advantage in having Bumblebee not be able to talk.

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  2. Never underestimate the little guy!

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  3. I collected a few transformers when I was a kid, but I never knew any of the backstory. Who could help but be drawn in with the idea that a robot could turn into a vehicle? It was fuel for the imagination.

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  4. Those were both obvious choices from what I know of both Patrick and Transformers. And, yes, my first one was Windcharger. Still have the little guy somewhere, although he is missing a tire...long ago lost in battle on a nameless battlefield lol. Bludgeon is one of those ones that pops up every couple years to keep the copyright on the name and he usually has some kind of Samurai-type warrior thing going on in his design, although they have not come out with a Pretender shell version since the original

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