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Nerdiest yet: Comparison between TFG1 reprints

As you might have noticed by now, if you’ve been here before, I am a bit of a nerd. Oh really? Yes, really. One of the things that make me a nerd is my somethines slightly-more-than-healthy interest in large robots, particularly of the transforming kind. I’ve been a Transformers fan for as long as I can remember. Owned a lot of the toys and all the comic books (in Swedish).

Well, it turns out a lot of other people really liked Transformers too. And now we’re all grown up. OK, perhaps not completely grown up – as you might have surmised from the aforementioned unabated interest in robots that transform – but grown up enough to have Real Jobs and a Steady Income. And of course, some of us then decide we want to revisit the same comic books, and toys etc, that we enjoyed when we were younger.

And this brings us to the subject of this post: I’ve been trying to figure out which of the various reprints of the original (American) G1 comic is the best. At first I tried using the powers of teh Internets, but I didn’t find the information I needed to make a decision. The Decision is, of course, which of these reprint series I’m going to complete. Mixing them won’t work, since they split the original comic in different ways. And besides, I really like the uniform look of multiple albums of the same series in my bookcase.

So, I bought the first album of each series, and can now make an honest comparison. And of course I felt like I needed to share, so here goes: my quick and dirty look at the first volume of the three reprints of The Transformers, Generation 1.

All three covers of G1 reprints
All three covers

Titan Books: Transformers Beginnings (2003)

Issues: 1-6

Things I like: It’s hardcover. It includes the infamous #3 where Spiderman makes an appearence. It has nice, glossy paper that really makes the illustrations stand out. Extremely crisp illustrations.

Things I don’t like: Production quality, aside from the hardcover and paper quality, seems a bit shoddy. Might be because my book was slightly damaged, but I don’t really care for the layout either. It’s not horrible, but it’s not great either. I don’t really like how they present the original comicbook covers – what’s wrong with just displaying them full-page? It collects merely 6 issues, despite costing about as much as the others, making this the most expensive choice. Also, not the greatest availability.

IDW: Classic Transformers, volume 1 (Second printing, 2009)

Issues: 1-16, excepting 3 and 9

Things I like: Good, glossy paper quality (like the Titan books reprint). Very nice layout and graphical elements; the table of contents looks very professional.

Things I don’t like: It has an ugly, “mosaic” style cover. It displays the original covers as very tiny thumbnails. It does not include #3 (spiderman) or #9 (Cirtcuit Breaker). Its illustrations, while printed on nice paper, seem a bit smudged and blurry.

IDW: The Transformers Classics, vol.1

Issues: 1-13

Things I like: The cover is really gorgeous. Optimus, done in IDW style, and a black background. This book will look absolutely fabulous in my bookcase, since it and the following volums have such nice, uniform spines. It includes both #3 and #9, so both Spidey and Josie Beller have their rightful places. It displays the original covers at almost full size, which is nice.

Things I don’t like: Ugly, matte paper. All illustrations look washed-out. They also seem to be even more blurry than the first line of IDW G1 reprints.

Some visual comparisons

How the different versions present the original covers
A high-res look at the difference in art/smudginess
A small detail, again to show blurriness/smudginess.

In conclusion:

This is not an easy choice, since each iteration has something going for it. The biggest problem for the two IDW reprints is the fact that the illustrations look blurry. As comics depend quite a lot on its illustrations, this is a bit problem. The Titan Books reprint’s biggest issue is that everything except the illustrations seems a bit shoddy.

The first IDW reprint series has the nicest layout and feels very professional. But it is not an option, since it excludes #3 and #9. I’m not prepared to miss out on Circuit Breaker. So the decision is between the second IDW reprint and the Titan Books one. And, despite the extremely good-looking cover of the IDW reprint, its shoddy paper quality and blurry/smudged illustrations make it a no-no.

The only problem now is availability and price – the Titan Books reprints aren’t as widely available and they’re a bit expensive if you factor in how few issues are collected in each album. Also, they won’t look nearly as good on the shelf…

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