Paul's Web Space: Transformers: Book Guide: Colouring Books

Colouring Books

Pretty simple really, black and white pictures of Transformers with accompanying text at the bottom of each page telling a story. Get out your colouring pencils and colour them in. Many also were activity books, meaning that they had the occasional puzzle to do as well, such as dot-to-dot drawings. Each had a self contained and somewhat basic story. I've not counted the G2 colouring books that you could at a stretch say featured a story. Also I'm Australian, so I'm sticking with Australian spelling of 'colouring', not the American 'coloring'.

Search for Treasure Under the Sea

Author: Dwight Jon Zimmerman
Artist: Carlos Garzon and Joe Giello

The Heroic Autobots: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Wheeljack, Cliffjumper, Brawn, Hound
The Evil Decepticons: Megatron, Starscream, Thundercracker, Ravage, Laserbeak, Soundwave, Rumble

Megatron plans to collect gold from sunken ships on the northwest coast of America in order to buy human factories and produce armies of Decepticons. However his plans have been overheard by Bumblebee. The Autobots travel the seas on a boat Wheeljack has built to stop them. Ravage attacks Spike abaord the ship, after getting close on an iceberg, but retreats when attacked by Hound. Bumblebee is sent to retrieve a treasure chest from the bottom of the sea but is tricked and captured by Soundwave and Rumble, and taken to Megatron. Optimus Prime and the Autobots come to his rescue, but Megatron has planed for this and Starscream and Thundercracker counterattack from above. Rumble tries to stop the Autobots by creating an earthquake, but it swallows up the Decepticons.

Say it again: Optimus Prime: "Time to change, Autobots! Fight back on four wheels!"

Where in the World: The ships carrying gold from the Alaskan Gold Rush have sunk somewhere along the northwest of the United States

Not evil enough: Why does Megatron want to buy the human factories? He's evil, he should just take them over!

Puzzling: Match the faces of the characters to their names (a little tricky with the similar looking Starscream and Thundercracker); unscramble Hound's message; name the items under the sea; a maze; a dot-to-dot; unscramble Bumblebee's message; match the Autobots to their vehicles modes.

Continuity: Some of the characters look like the toys (Soundwave, Rumble, Bumblebee and Brawn) while others look like the cartoon versions (Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream). A character that looks like a lot like Buster is called Spike. Sparkplug also looks like his comic version.

Comments: Robots in Disguise works well in this story. Bumblebee stops to collect a tape player and cassette tape for Spike, guess who they are? Megatron also plans to use a nearby truck trailer (with an Autobot logo on it!) to store their loot. It also has to be asked why the Decepticon headquarters looks like a house. Bumblebee is literally in the bushes spying through the window! One of the things I really like about this (and also Bumblebee to the Rescue!) are the introductory pages that highlight the characters in both modes.

Bumblebee to the Rescue!

Author: Dwight Jon Zimmerman
Artist: Steve Ditko and John Tartagliona

The Heroic Autobots: Optimus Prime, Sideswipe, Bumblebee, Bluestreak, Gears, Trailbreaker
The Evil Decepticons: Megatron, Starscream, Thundercracker, Laserbeak, Ravage, Soundwave, Rumble

Megatron has built a prision to hold the Autobots. Starscream and Thundercracker use nets to put Bluestreak, Sideswipe and Sparkplug to sleep. Rumble tries to trap Optimus and Gears under an landslide, but Optimus's combat deck destroys the larger boulders. As the two Autobots try to escape, Ravage attacks Roller and Soundwave stops Gears. Optimus surrenders. The Autobots are taken to the Decepticon prision where they find Trailbreaker has also been captured. Bumblebee remains free but Megatron doesn't consider him to be much of a threat. Fooling the Decepticons with a replica of a giant Autobot, Bumblebee sneaks in and frees the Autobots. The freed Autobots quickly defeat the Decepticons.

Say it again: Optimus Prime: "Time for me to split into three parts!"

Ravage: "Growl! I got you!"

Not evil enough: Instead of destroying the Autobots, Megatron is happy to hold them in jail.

Puzzling: Match the faces to the names (in which one character is named Blue Streak); a dot-to-dot; a maze; another dot-to-dot; a scrambled message; pick the different door (hint: it has an Autobot symbol on it)

Continuity: Spike and Sparkplug look like their comic counterparts Buster and Sparkplug. Most of the robot characters are rounded out and again some look more like toys then their cartoon representations.

Comments: Could the Steve Ditko that illustrated this coloring book be the same Steve Ditko famous for drawing Spider-man? I don't have a clue, but it's possible. There's an interesting pic of a half transformed Sideswipe and Bluestreak having a small fight, in which both are headless and armless! Roller (called simply "scout car") and the similarly seldom seen Combat Deck make appearances. Soundwave stops Gears by pulling his plugs out! Like many other stories the smallest Autobot (the kid) comes to the rescue of the big ones and is made the hero.

Decepticon Patrol

Author: Dwight Jon Zimmerman
Artist: Charles Nicholas and Phil Lord

The Heroic Autobots: Optimus Prime [and apparently] Bumblebee, Mirage, Ratchet, Huffer
The Evil Decepticons: Megatron, Starcream, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Ravage, Laserbeak

The Decepticons are looking for a factory with which to build an army of Decepticons. They look in the oceans, in space, in the jungles and snowy mountains. Laserbeak sees an automobile factory and thinks it is an Autobot factory. This gives Optimus Prime an idea. He has Mirage create an illusion of an Autobot factory. The Decepticons attack it but can't damage it. Ravage finds Mirage and attacks him which ends the illusion. The Autobots are able to defeat the Decepticons, with Optimus Prime throwing Megatron and Starscream into orbit.

Say it again: Skywarp patrols the sea: "I see only ships."

Ravage under attack from Mirage: "Ouch! Those electric balls really hurt!'

Puzzling: Match the Autobot faces to the vehicle [the vehicle's I recognise, not the faces!]; match the Decepticon faces to the vehicles [the jets look different but they don't usually so how am I supposed to know which is which?]; dot-to-dot; scrambled message; another scrambled message, maze, dot-to-dot, find a word;

Too evil?: Instead of destroying the "Autobot Factory" why not capture it and have it produce Decepticons? If it can make Transformers, why waste it?

Comments: Who are these people??? The most bizare looking depictions of Autobots and a few Decepticons ever. While Optimus Prime looks like the Autobot we all know and love, the other Autobots are given total makeovers. It's not even a case of the characters being drawn more like the toys. Their heads and faces are all completly different, their bodies look little like the usual representations, and nothing like the toys. Ratchet still has the chest windscreen but a tiny waist, and points of his shoulders. Bumblebee seems to have the front bonnet of a VW on his chest rather than his feet. He also has bug eyes. Mirage looks in no way like the toy/cartoon at all, instead he looks like a nondescript robot. Huffer is drawn without the truck cab behind his back, and a huge chest to match the super-strong description. The Decepticons all look normal, though Skywarp and Thundercracker have been tweaked to look different from Starscream and each other. Both have lost the 'ears' that Starscream retains, lost the small back wings in jet modes and given different looking legs. I've got no idea why the characters were drawn like this and it's very confusing. Several pages of this book are reprinted in other colouring books, but when they are, the characters have been redrawn in the traditional style. See "Forest Rescue Mission"

The plan to use a fake factory to trap the Decepticons is similar to the illusionary rocket base in the cartoon episode More Than Meets The Eye part 3. Ravage is shown walking through a jungle, and he is huge! An elephant in the foreground is not even as big as his foreleg! Pages from this book, minus the text, were reprinted in a small pocket size coloring book that came in three packs. There is a note on one page to explain what a mirage is when Mirage creates one. Usually Hound creates holograms but it is an interesting idea and fits in with the name Mirage better than his usual trick of turning invisible.

The Deadly Fuel Shortage

Author and Artist: Not credited

The Heroic Autobots: Optimus Prime, Bluestreak, Hound, Cliffjumper, Sunstreaker, Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Brawn, Prowl, Wheeljack, Gears, Ironhide
The Evil Decepticons: Megatron, Starscream, Thundercracker, Rumble, Soundwave, Skywarp, Laserbeak, Ravage

The Decepticons capture Buster and Sparkplug and the Autobots come to their rescue. Sparkplug helps the Autobots by repairing Autobots injured in the battle. The Autobots track the Decepticons to Hoover Dam where a battle takes place. Fortuntely the Autobots are able to stop the Decepticons from causing too much damage.

Say it again: Optimus Prime: "We won the battle, but we must also win the war to come if we are to rid the earth forever of these evil Decepticons."

Where in the World: Hoover Dam [That's in California isn't it? I don't know for sure.]

Puzzling: Make words out of the name Optimus [Pot, Sit, Mop etc]; unscramble words; find the two Autobots exactly alike, dot-to-dot; another dot-to-dot; which is Cliffjumper?

Continuity: Buster Witwicky isn't named Spike for a change.

Comments: On only one page, Sunstreaker is called Spin-Out. He is clearly named Sunstreaker on all others (except the dot-to-dot page where he is named Sideswipe!) According to a Marvel Age article before the first issue of the Transformers, Spin-Out was the original name for Sunstreaker (and Blow-out was Cliffjumper's.). Somewhere in editing this one case of the original name was overlooked. It's also been suggested that logically Sunstreaker's text spec belongs to the Red car and Sideswipe's to the Yellow car, most obviously because the weapons and jetpack belong to the other. Therefore the mistake of naming the yellow car Sideswipe on the dot-to-dot page is also understandable. Pages of this book were reprinted, minus text, in a midsize coloring pad included in three packs.

Forest Rescue Mission

Author: Dwight Jon Zimmerman
Artist: Brad Joyce

The Heroic Autobots: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Hound, Ironhide, Jazz
The Evil Decepticons: Megatron, Starscream, Ravage, Laserbeak, Skywarp, Soundwave,

Megatron and the Decepticons clear a forest to build a factory where a Decepticon army could be built. However it is the same Forest that the Autobots have gone to for a vacation. Hound discovers what the Decepticons are up to and a battle breaks out between the two forces. The Decepticons retreat and the Autobots repair the damage that had been done to the forest.

Say it again: Butch: "The forest is back to normal! Thank you, Autobots, you're the greatest friends the earth could have!"

Continuity: Just when we thought that the Buster/Spike confusion was enough, along comes the third son of Sparkplug: Butch Witwicky. He looks just like Buster by the way.

Comments: We've seen all this before! Literally. Pictures that look pratically the same as in "Decepticon Patrol" include: Bumblebee using his telescopic eyes to see a deer; Megatron shouting with arm raised and Starscream behind him; Megatron leading a march of two seekers and Laserbeak; Megatron watching two jets take to the sky; Optimus Prime standing by a creek that a deer is drinking from; Megatron leading two jets in to battle; Ravage standing on a cliff smelling an Autobot; Optimus Prime telling Megatron to surrender; Megatron vowing revenge; Laserbeak in profile; the two pages where Bumblebee traps Laserbeak with a net. In most cases only little things have been changed, such as Bumblebee being drawn more correctly.

Whats more is that the art accompanies dialogue that is also pretty much word for word:

Decepticon Patrol Forest Rescue Mission
Bumblebee has telescopic eyes. He can see things very far away! Bumblebee has telescopic eyes. He can see things very far away.
And, like the other Autobots, he can change his identity. Bumblebee can become a small car! And, like the other Autobots, he can change his identity. Bumblebee can become a small car!
"This is the Day of the Decepticons!" shouts Megatron "This is the Day of the Decepticons!" shouts Megatron
"Patrol every inch of the earth!" says Megatron. "Find a factory we can use to make an army of Decepticons!" "Patrol every inch of the Earth!" says Megatron. "Find a spot we can use to make an army of Decepticons!"
"Then we can smash the Autobots and rule the world!" shouts Megatron. "Then we can smash the Autobots and rule the world!" shouts Megatron.
"It is too peaceful today!" says Optimus Prime. "I bet the Decepticons are planning trouble!" "It is too peaceful today!" says Optimus Prime. "I bet the Decepticons are planning trouble!"
"This electrified net will short your circuits and stop you cold, Laserbeak!" says Bumblebee. "This electrified net will short your circuits and stop you cold, Laserbeak!" says Bumblebee.
"Awk! I can't move," says Laserbeak. "Awk! I can't move," says Laserbeak.
"Surrender, Megatron!" says Optimus Prime. "Never!" says Megatron. "Surrender, Megatron!" says Optimus Prime. "Never!" says Megatron.
"We'll wreck that factory with our bare hands!" shouts the super-angry Megatron. "Attack!" "We'll wreck that forest with our bare hands!" shouts the super-angry Megatron. "Attack!"
"Growl! I smell an Autobot trick here!" growls Ravage. "I smell an Autobot here!" growls Ravage
"The next time we meet, the Decepticons will win and the Autobots will lose!" says Megatron. "Then Earth will be ours!" "The next time we meet, the Decepticons will win and the Autobots will lose!" says Megatron. "Then Earth will be ours!"

Also one of the silliest Transformer pictures ever is of Optimus Prime giving a cartoon rabbit a carrot. All this, plus the one and only appearance of Butch make this the worst of the Transformer colouring books.

A Message From Outer Space

Author: Suzanne Weyn
Artist: Frank Springer

Continuity: The recap of the Transformer's origin fits with both the cartoon and comic continuity.

Comments: This is most likely the same Frank Springer that drew the original Transformers limited series and the Headmaster series. The name Suzanne Weyn also sounds familar and I suspect she is an editor for Marvel.

Another case of we've seen it before. But nowhere near as bad as "Forest Rescue Mission".

The Autobot Smasher!

Author: Dwight Jon Zimmerman
Artist: Steve Ditko

The Heroic Autobots: Ratchet, Mirage, Gears, Sideswipe
The Evil Decepticons: Soundwave, Rumble, Thundercracker, Ravage

Not evil enough: The Autobot smasher will destroy all the Autobots. But it was nice for the Decepticons to throw in a couple of cushions to make sure the Autobots are comfortable.

Comments: I'm still unsure if this book's artist Steve Ditko is same one famous for the original Spider-man comics, but he does good work on this book. The characters are spot on representations of the comic/cartoon versions. IMHO this has some of the best art of the coloring books so far. The book is also rare as it doesn't feature either Optimus Prime or Megatron, at all! Not even the regularly used Bumblebee makes an appearance! If it wasn't for the silly plot device of a car smasher hidden in a car rest stop complete with fluffy pillows, this would be the best Transformer coloring book.

Bumblebee's Dangerous Mission

Author: Suzanne Weyn
Artist: Carlos Garzon

The Heroic Autobots: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Gears, Bluestreak, Sideswipe, Huffer, Prowl, Mirage, Bluestreak, Hound, Brawn

Continuity: Bluestreak and Sideswipe are still racing each other as they were in Bumblebee to the Rescue!.

Comments: This issue's story is in ways similar to issue #16 of the comic book, with Bumblebee feeling useless, then spotting the Decepticons with his enhanced optics while sitting on a mountain. The Decepticons attacking a hologram which they can't damage was also a plot device in "Decepticon Patrol!" and as in "Decepticon Patrol!" the same definition of what a mirage is is used.


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