My first contact with Transformers was, like for many people of my age, in my childhood around the end of the 80s. I can’t remember what exactly came first, but I know that I hardly watched anything of the cartoon at the time. My only exposure to the cartoon was when I visited a school friend’s home who had a MASSIVE collection of TF toys. There we watched some episodes in a foreign language that I didn’t understand. In the early days I had a few of the toys and a sticker album that contained some TF profiles, a group shot of multiple TFs in battle and abbreviated summaries of a few G1 cartoon episodes, with screencaps being the stickers (the group shots and profiles were put together by several stickers).
I also had some of the comics. The German comic releases were rather weird though, as they didn’t stick with translating just one of the main comic releases, but started with a few of the US comics and then switched over to the UK ones (after that switch was when I discovered them), skipping a lot of issues as they went along. The covers were also notorious for mis-colorings and generally having nothing to do with the actual content of the issue. My first issue was #8, which included reprints of the UK comic issues #98 and #99. This lasted until issue #24 was released in 92 (which was issues #172 and #173 of the UK comic series – see what I mean with skipping issues?).
When we were shopping, my grandmother bought me an audio cassette that had 2 episodes of the cartoon on it with added narration. The episodes were both from the second season: The Autobot Run (where the Autobots take part in a charity race and the Decepticons use a device to block the transformation) and Auto-Bop (where the Decepticons use mind-control in a dance-club). Generally not the best episodes, but for some reason through the adaptation I really liked them, cheesy as especially Auto-Bop was…
Over time, my toy collection of the G1 toys grew quite nicely and with the help of my relatives over there I also collected the Hungarian release of the comics, which was a direct translation of the US comics (2 issues of the US comic bundled into one comic book). In the end I was only missing a few non-essential issues of that run.
At some point my interest in TFs cooled down, or rather I was more interested in other things (video games/computers mainly). Now and again I caught the broadcast of a Generation 2 cartoon episode (effectively episodes of the original cartoon with some effects and editing added), but besides that, I didn’t spend my time on TFs anymore. Quite some time later the first season of Beast Wars was aired over here and I watched that repeatedly. It was quite entertaining, but it wasn’t until much later that it really re-ignited the spark of interest in me… (To be continued)