Behind the Story: “Beast Wars: Enter Grimlock”
I am a huge Beast Wars fan. Before I was even aware of the boilerplate Transformers characters and franchise, Beast Wars was my Transformers—even when the full title of the show is Beast Wars: Transformers! I still love the show to this day (even its less-popular sequel series, Beast Machines) and had a decent collection of the show’s toys as a kid. All of the original toys are gone now and have been for years, much to my present dismay (but hey, it’s a story as old as fandom).
When Takara Tomy first announced a show-accurate Masterpiece-class Optimus Primal figure, my interest in collecting Beast Wars toys was piqued again. I didn’t immediately jump to get my hands on one, however perfect it looked (and is!), simply because he wasn’t one of my absolute favorite characters. But when the next “MP” Beast Wars figure was announced—Cheetor—I didn’t hesitate to preorder myself one. Cheetor is my favorite Transformers character, period, and the MP version of the toy was absolutely spot-on in its screen-to-plastic translation (pun intended).
I absolutely love my MP Cheetor figure. If you know me well enough, though, you’d know that my fan-fueled obsession comes in waves. The figure (plus another viewing of the entire cartoon series) hit me hard with a Beast Wars craving. I had to have more, but the level of detail and quality of the MP Cheetor set a pretty high standard for the kinds of collectibles I’d refill my collection with. So I caved and not only bought MP Optimus Primal, but also pre-ordered the newly announced MP Dinobot as well.
The Beast Wars craze then turned into an exploratory Transformers craze, resulting in me re-watching all of the live-action Michael Bay movies and experiencing the Generation 1 cartoon for the first time. Watching the movies again made me realize how much I liked the Bayverse Grimlock design from Age of Extinction and The Last Knight, so I considered investing in a figure of the character.
I settled on an oversized, third-party version of the recently released Studio Series Grimlock figure and couldn’t resist snapping a few photos of it interacting with my three Beast Wars figures. Then I came up with a little story about how this cast of Beast Wars characters met the mechanical monstrosity and boom! A photo fan-comic idea was born.
It took me two days to shoot the photos since I don’t have a professional setup and I was working with natural daylight. I set up a folding table in my bedroom and used a white shipping box as my backdrop. The first day involved shooting all of the scenes with the figures in their robot modes. By the time I had finished transforming them all back into their beast modes, I had lost the daylight. (Seriously, the MP figures are very intricate and involved!) I had to complete the second half of the shoot almost a week later. Then it took an evening and a half to edit the photos and insert lettering and balloons using Photoshop.
It may not be the most professional product you’d expect from an aspiring comic professional but I had a lot of fun with it and developing the narrative. I did my best to channel each character’s voice in the dialogue and to use the figures’ accessories to their fullest extent to pull off expressions and action.
I plan to make at least one more of these comics once my MP Beast Wars Megatron figure arrives because who can’t resist snapping a few photos of two Tyrannosaurus Rex-bots butting heads? And there may be a little comedic value to a short comic of a conversation between an original, yet dimwitted Dinobot and the iconic and dramatic Dinobot…