THE STORY: "Incredible Change-Bots" by Jeffrey Brown - Top Shelf Productions
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Forced off their war-ravaged home planet of Electrocybercircuitron, the Awesomebots and Fantasticons continue their struggle on Earth, utilizing their advanced technology and ability to transform from robots to vehicles (and back again).
Sure, it sounds familiar — but that's intentional with this nostalgic mash-up of giant-robot adventures a la Transformers and Go-Bots. While Brown makes no shortage of references to the '80s cartoon and toy lines (Awesomebots leader "Big Rig" turns into a tractor trailer, while his Fantasticons counterpart, "Shootertron," changes into a gun), his tales have the robots treading new, hilarious ground.
WHY IT WORKS: We've all seen giant robots saving Earth, rescuing their human buddies, and doing all sorts of heroic things — but have you ever seen them awkwardly misinterpret the human language, forget to let their passengers out before they transform (messy!), or get drunk on energy and cause various acts of giant-robot destruction? Therein lies the real fun in the genre, as Brown reveals in "Change-Bots."
With elements that bring to mind some of the funniest "Robot Chicken" skits mixed with a healthy dose of sincere tribute to the shape-changing robots he (like so many of us) grew up on, "Incredible Change-Bots" manages to find the perfect balance between nostalgia and self-aware fun.
WHY IT DOESN'T: Given that whole Transformers/Go-Bots thing I mentioned earlier, the creators of some of the most famous giant robots to grace Saturday morning television aren't likely to turn a blind eye to Brown's "Change-Bots" — no matter how complimentary the source material treats its inspiration. The series will likely need an extra shot of subtlety before it gets the green light to prevent intellectual property issues, but that's really all it needs to make the leap from page to screen.
HOW TO DO IT: The "Incredible Change-Bots" comic is structured as a collection of short strips, and the series would likely find success as an animated series featuring individual episodes that include multiple, short stories featuring the Awesomebots and Fantasticons.
Low-budget production should be the target here, as anything too crisp and modern will lose the nostalgic feel of the source material. The series should have a vintage feel, with voice talent not afraid to ham it up and a healthy respect for the '80s cartoons that inspired Brown's robot adventures. The project might also work as a stop-motion series akin to the aforementioned "Robot Chicken," featuring animated, custom-made Change-Bots.
THE FINAL WORD: "Incredible Change-Bots" could find a following anywhere that fun, nostalgic humor catering to older audiences is welcomed. In fact, given the current popularity of the source material, it could find new fans among those whose only reference to the '80s cartoons and toys is the recent, CGI-filled blockbuster films.
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