OTHER STORIES


As if sixty five episodes and one film of mediocre adventures weren't quite enough, Challenge of the Gobots spawned several spin-offs, notably illustrated books. While Tonka produced a mini-comic free in stores with many of the early figures, this predated the cartoon and didn't follow the same storyline. There were some other American storybooks produced later, often based on actual cartoon episodes (including these , with art by none other than Steve Ditko).

Unlike Hasbro, Tonka struggled to find anyone to take the comic licence - the only major company who really did that sort of thing, Marvel, were in bed with their market rivals. Instead, Tonka threw in with Telepictures, a company largely responsible for packaging TV shows for syndication who made a bit on the side with a small publishing arm. The resulting Official Gobots Magazine was a quarterly A4-format title, which featured a short Challenge of the Gobots comic strip along with about 25 pages of padding. It was cancelled after five issues. Another comic was produced in Argentina, retelling episodes of the cartoon in strip form - at least 11 issues were made.

In the UK, the licence for the figures was still held by Bandai, who released them under the name Robo Machine. Initially they licensed IPC/Fleetway to produce a comic strip in the Eagle weekly comic. However, the growing VHS market saw the cartoon imported, while Bandai relaunched the line as Robo Machine featuring the Challenge of the Gobots (no, seriously, someone thought that mouthful was a great name for a toyline). The print licence was then passed to World Distributors, who produced two hardback annuals and story books in their Big Looker and Superstars ranges.