In the 35 years the franchise has been around, the Transformers have found international fandom. Starting out as toys that can be manipulated into a robot or a vehicle, they took off to become cartoons, comics, even live-action movies. Transformers: A Visual History is a truly massive book of Transformers art that comes in at just over 400 pages, and is a must for big fans.
It opens with an introduction from artist and storyboardist Ken Christiansen, who started out as a fan of Transformers as a child in the 80s and grew up to work in the franchise. When he first learned he could work in Transformers, his inner ten-year-old “started doing cartwheels.” And that’s mainly what this book is for: letting the inner ten-year-old out while also enjoying some very colorful, detailed and sometimes-hard-to-find Transformers art.
From there, author and Transformers fan Jim Sorenson takes over. The book is set up into sections, (packaging, animation, comics, video games and movies) and each section starts with a couple to a few pages on the history of Transformers in this medium. Each section is mostly chronological, and a few images that don’t quite fit in any section are placed between them. Odds are even the biggest Transformers fans will see some images in here that are new to them. Other neat tidbits are in there, too, like the beginning of Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter’s treatment letter explaining the story for the comics. You can really feel the love for Transformers on each and every page, and the book does a good job of showing the scope of this huge franchise.
Transformers doesn’t show any signs of disappearing any time soon, and Transformers: A Visual History would be great for fans and collectors. Who doesn’t like bringing out their inner ten-year-old?
Writer: Jim Sorenson
Publisher: VIZ Media
Danica Davidson, along with Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya, is the author of Manga Art for Intermediates. In addition to showing how to draw manga character types in detail, the book describes how professional Japanese manga creators work, including common techniques and what drawing utensils they use.