Back in May, we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Transformers franchise. But why stop there? Tomorrow, October 27, 2009, is the 25th anniversary of the first appearance of the Dinobots, in the episode "S.O.S. Dinobots" (Yes, although the comic hit the shelves before the cartoon first aired, the cartoon was decidedly earlier than the comic in depicting these characters. And that was by a couple of months, even by the most generous of estimates). In honor of this occasion, I am declaring this to be "Dinobot Week" here at Transforming Seminarian, with a full week of daily posting!
Back in 1984, the Transformers were still a pretty new thing, and although I enjoyed seeing the occasional cartoon (still airing only once a week at this point in time), I did not possess very many Transformer toys of my own. Much of what I would learn about the franchise came from when friends would bring their toys or comics with them on the school bus. When I first saw the episode "S.O.S. Dinobots," I don't think I fully comprehended that the purpose of the cartoon was to sell toys, the obvious fact of the Transformers toyline's existence notwithstanding. So when new characters like the Constructicons and the Dinobots were being introduced, I was somehow still surprised to soon discover that my fellow schoolmates actually had toys of these characters.
Kids have been fascinated with dinosaurs for forever, so it makes sense that someone would have thought to incorporate them into the transformable robots concept (the Dinobots, like most early Transformers, were actually created for a Japanese toyline—Diaclone, in this case—and brought over to the Transformers line when Hasbro decided to have Marvel put together a storyline concept to go with those toys). The fusion of dinosaur and Transformer was so successful, in fact, that hardly a Transformers line has gone by without some kind of an homage to the idea (it might even be easier to name the lines that don't seem to have such an homage, but that would require defining terms far more pedantically than I care to at the moment).
Even though the original Dinobot toys (being somewhat larger than the typical Autobot cars) were generally outside of my price range at the time, I still found them to be fascinating characters. So what if Slag, Sludge, Snarl, and Swoop got almost no characterization in any of the official fiction (Grimlock really was something of a glory hog, wasn't he?). They transformed into dinosaurs! How cool is that? I think that I can safely say that it was the Dinobots that provided my first real connection into becoming a Transformers fan (in fact, the first Transformers comic I ever purchased was issue #8, but more about that tomorrow).
Having established that the Dinobots, both as a concept in general and talking about the Generation One team in particular, have had an enormous impact on the Transformers franchise, here's is the schedule with which I'm looking to honor them for the rest of the week: