Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This is what I'm going to drop $300 on.

The Botcon folks have put up the first image of one of this year's convention exclusives, and as you can see above, it's Pyro! Or, well, Spark. Which is more appropriate, since the theme (as is clearly evident) is Generation 2, and Pyro's actual G2 release name is Spark. Which I didn't know until I looked it up last night.

Anyway, the short history lesson to help you understand why this violently gaudy toy is actually cool:

Transformers began back in 1984 and had a good, solid run up until about 1990. That last year offered nothing but non-transforming Action Masters (I still have Devastator/Scorpulator) and a bevy of tiny Micromasters (which I also have a lot of). After that, Transformers disappeared from American store shelves.

Well, not for too long. 3 long (well, to a kid's perception) years later, in 1993, Hasbro returned Transformers to the shelves with the Generation 2 toyline. It began, largely, with repainted (or otherwise changed, such as with new weapons) Generation 1 toys and a handful of smaller new molds (that honestly weren't much different than your average G1 toy). Thing was, a lot of these G1 repaints - like, say, Ramjet - often had very bright, neon, or clashing color schemes. A lot of these color schemes also carried over into the increasingly high number of new molds that the line acquired over the next two years before its end in 1995.

So, what about Pyro/Spark?

Well, remember that gap between the Generations 1 & 2 toylines? That didn't exist everywhere. Like in Europe, where the G1 toyline ran so long that it actually overlapped a bit with the American G2 toys. In Europe's G1 toyline in 1993, a new mold Autobot leader toy named Pyro was released. When Europe belatedly made the switch to G2 the next year in 1994, Pyro got rereleased and renamed, this time as Spark. And those two releases are the only ones he ever got.

Flash forward to 2010, and IDW has an current comic called Last Stand of the Wreckers, about some relative nobodies getting recruited into the Wreckers, the elite Autbot fighting group that engages in missions so dangerous that most Wreckers end up dead. One of these nobodies is the aforementioned Pyro (going by that name). Author Nick Roche plays up his toy's physical resemblance to Optimus Prime, basically casting Pyro as a Prime emulator/wannabe. This comic portrayal has increased his standing as a character in the fandom, and, let's be honest, that's mostly because it's his only existing real character treatment. Of course, being in the hands of Roche doesn't hurt.

So, take a character whose toy is rare and has recently stepped into the comics limelight, and the club has really got something good on their hands. So, despite how Pyro looks, I'm pretty excited to have him as part of the first (and probably only) Botcon set I'll be getting.

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