Screenplay by Ron Friedman
Written by Sonia Black Woods
Illustrated by Earl Norem
This book was published by Marvel Books with a copyright of 1986. ISBN 0-87135-108-0.
View this book as a single web page, a CBR archive, or a PDF. For the CBR and PDF I recommend using a "facing pages" view to replicate the book's layout with text on the left and pictures on the right.
These images came to me from TF Raw, but the person who scanned them has been lost to the sands of time.
This is the story of Wheelie's life up to and including his meeting with Hot Rod and the other 1986 Autobots, but the story unfolds very differently than in Transformers: The Movie. While still "young", Wheelie and his parents (YUP) crashed their corkscrew-shaped ship on an unknown planet, and only Wheelie survived. The planet--Quintesson--was inhabited, and its natives captured him. Just before being pushed into their Sharkticon pit, Wheelie manages to escape and hide in the jungle. He becomes a badass survivalist, constantly evading capture and collecting Sharkticon teeth on a necklace, but always lonely and wishing his parents were still with him. Meanwhile on Earth, the Autobots are prepping a supply run to Cybertron. They overload the ship and end up crashing on--of all places--the planet Quintesson. Wheelie investigates the crash and protects the Autobots from a Quint ambush. The Autobots' ship is beyond repair, but Wheelie's corkscrew ship is in much better shape. After another scuffle with the Quints, Hot Rod repairs the ship and they all leave together.
- This Wheelie does speak in rhyme!
- Wheelie is seen in an early design, unlike his TF:TM and cartoon appearance. The comparison image I have below is edited from work posted to the AllSpark by D.M.
- In most sources, this planet is referred to as Quintessa, but this book and some other sources call it Quintesson instead.
- The Autobots' ship, the corkscrew ship, and the planet itself (as seen from space) are all very faithfully rendered as based on designs from TF:TM.
- On the surface, though... in accordance with the nonspecific prose, the "jungle" of Quintesson is shown with Earthlike plants and landscapes, unlike the metallic landscape seen in most portrayals of this planet.
- Like the other storybooks by Earl Norem, this one is beautiful. His books are probably the only "fine art"-style media produced for Transformers in its first few years. (OK, we can include the classic painted cover for Transformers #5 by MD Bright.)
- Like other Norem books, many pages include fully-painted red Autobot sigils on the characters that were then clumsily stamped over by somebody with black line art, obscuring the originals.
- Although Hot Rod and Wheelie are said to transform into car mode at one point, it's not shown in the art so we don't get to see the adorable little headlight-eyeballs that Norem gave his Autobots in other books.
- Five-faced Quintesson judges are described in the text, but the only Quints who appear in art are Sharkticons, baliffs, and executioners. (This is the terminology used on TF Wiki.)
Specific / page-by-page notes
- So... Wheelie had "parents". Regardless of the reproduction method depicted, Transformers stories almost never make reference to parentage in this way.
- In the cartoon continuity, the corkscrew ships were Quintesson technology that apeared multiple times. But here, the corkscrew ship belonged to Wheelie's Autobot family before he was marooned.
- The Autobots leave Earth to make a supply run to Bumblebee, stationed in a base on "Cybertron's second moon". This is all stated quite directly. No battle at Autobot City, no Unicron. Bumblebee never actually appears, he's just namedropped.
- That supply mission crashes because the Dinobots overloaded the cargo hold against Kup's direct orders. They didn't want to make a second trip.
- During the crash, Hot Rod and Arcee are posted like they're on the cover a pulp novel. (Which, admittedly, Norem painted a lot of.) It's very evocative, but... I wish Norem hadn't shaded in a buttcrack in the middle of Arcee's flat pelvis box.
- Kup recognizes the planet as Quintesson and the others all seem to have heard bad things about it already.
- While walking through the jungle, Arcee is in the weird elbows-pointed-in pose seen in her first model sheets and unproduced toy prototype.
- The Dinobots absolutely wreck a bunch of Quints in the Big Fight At The End. At least six are described receiving injuries that certainly killed them, which would never have been permitted in the cartoon. Comic characters (especially 'generics') died pretty frequently, though.
- As noted in TF Wiki's writeup of this book... the Autobots' ship appears--supeficially at least--in much better shape than Wheelie's. Plus it hadn't been sitting unused for years. Yet, they just kind of leave it behind and go and fix Wheelie's instead, and it takes like no time at all to do.
- After leading Hot Rod to his ship, watching Hot Rod repair it, and having the other Autobots show up and file in, Wheelie STAYED OUTSIDE and "waved a sad goodbye". They invite him to come along, then, but DANG. That boy who raised himself in a deadly jungle while on the run from an evil army might have some issues...