The Transformers are returning to comics this October courtesy of Robert Kirkman and Skybound Entertainment, but the franchise is keeping things classic by sticking to its G1 roots. In an interview with Skybound, new writer/artist Daniel Warren Johnson explained that he, “can’t help but go back,” to the G1 era as he crafts the new series.
Skybound and Johnson’s Transformers will reboot the series, bringing into the company’s shared-continuity, the the Energon Universe. While there are decades of mythology and material to draw from, for Johnson the choice was simple. “Those designs just completely captured me,” he told Skybound of the original G1 Robots in Disguise.
Daniel Warren Johnson Keeps Things Classic With Transformers G1 Designs
The term “G1” originates from Hasbro’s relaunch of the Transformers toys in the early 1990s, dubbed Transformers: Generation 2. Fans began to use the term G1 to refer to the classic versions, first launched in 1984. The “G1” label stuck around long enough that it was eventually adopted by Hasbro itself as a way to brand the original toys from the eighties which continue to hold a prominent place amongst the nostalgia-driven collector’s market. Although there have been several successful iterations of the Transformers franchise, there’s no doubt that the classic G1 designs are the most iconic, and are easily the most beloved by fans.
Skybound’s Transformers Will Appeal To New And Old Fans Alike
“I was born in ‘87, so I missed obviously the debut of the cartoon, and the movie,” Daniel Warren Johnson told Skybound, explaining that despite being born after the release of the G1-era Transformers, he “loved the toys when [he] could get them,” but that “they were very expensive,” going on to explain that he became familiar with the cartoons in reruns, and that he learned to draw Optimus Prime from an ad for the VHS version of Transformers: The Movie. It does speak to the power of the original line that, even now, almost forty years after the toys came out, those G1 designs are what stick with fans both young and old.
Although he was disappointed by his early efforts to draw Transformers, Johnson uses that experience to fuel his work on the new series, and at this stage in his life, he is more confident in his abilities as an artist, saying:
Thankfully, now I’m at a point in my career and in my ability level that I’m able to bring out what I’ve always wanted to do. It’s almost like there’s been this like caged beast inside of me that is finally free to have the time and resources and the push from Skybound and Hasbro to go and make something that I can get excited about.
For Johnson, the choice to stay true to the visual design of the classic G1 Transformers toys was what got him excited about the work in the first place: “There have been many iterations of Transformers since the G1, which I’m very knowledgeable of, but it just felt like the right move for me as a creator to do what I’m most excited about.” By sticking closely to the G1-era, the new Transformers by Daniel Warren Johnson looks to be the perfect reboot for the Energon Universe era, with something to grab hold of long-time fans of the franchise, as well as new, contemporary audiences looking for a jumping-on point.
Transformers #1 is on sale Oct. 4, 2023 from Skybound Entertainment