Incredible Change-bots by Jeffrey Brown

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Incredible Change-bots
By Jeffrey Brown
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Jeffrey BrownWith a contemporary popular so entrenched in the marketing of youthful nostalgia, it’s almost difficult to imagine flaws in the entertainment of our childhood. Sure we’ve seen our share of superhero-based satire, but the style’s primary source of punchlines are tropes as old as the genre itself.

The past decade has seen a glut of spoofs based on sitcoms and films of the 60s and 70s, meanwhile, the truly resonant powder kegs of our childhood fantasies, franchises like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and of course, The Transformers, have been the subject of contemporary projects that have attempted to heighten the cloud of retrospective mysticism with which the originals are viewed—a phenomenon, which surely owes a lot to dreams of market merchandise to a new generation of wide-eyed youths.

Much of the success of Jeffrey Brown’s Transformers spoof, Incredible Change-bots, is owed to its relatively untread subject matter. Where Brown’s superhero satire, Bighead, found little new to say about the genre that hadn’t already been said by the likes of The Tick, and its ilk, there’s a sense of playfulness in Change-bots that feels as if the author is discovering new aspects of the style to make fun of, as he’s going along, from the ‘bew’ of the lasers, to robot names like ‘Old Timey’ and ‘Hoser,’ to the ad for the honest-to-god Incredible Change-bots fan club that adorns the book’s final pages–there are even a few pokes at contemporary politics in the book.

Brown discovers plenty of material in the style to populate the bulk of the book with hilarious moments, even as he embraces some cringeworthy punchlines, which may or may not be tongue-in-cheek.

Somewhere along the way, however, Brown clearly becomes engaged with his own story line, the Transformers jokes taking a backseat to the familiar story of warring robot factions that he has concocted. It’s an interesting quandary. There’s certainly something noble in the pursuit story-telling over one-liners, as everyone from Jonathan Swift to Brad Bird can surely attest. At the same time, however, the Incredible Change-bots storyline, perhaps doesn’t warrant the 130 pages it is allotted.

Ultimately, Incredible Change-bots showcases an author who has learned a good deal about satire since his early mini-comics—the one thing he seems to have lost site of is that old adage: sometimes less is more.

–Brian Heater

No Comments to “Incredible Change-bots by Jeffrey Brown”

  1. André | August 10th, 2007 at 9:47 am

    With a contemporary popular so entrenched in the marketing of youthful nostalgia

    the 60s and 70s, meanwhile, the truly resonant powder kegs of our childhood fanta

    the likes of The Tick, and its ilk, there’s a sense

    make fun of, as he’s going along, from the ‘bew’ of the

    At the same time, however, the Incredible Change-bots storyline, perhaps doesn’t warrant the 130 pages it is allotted.

    I don’t usually say this sort of thing but… you really need to edit more. Watch those erroneous commas! Otherwise I thought this was pretty well written– I wouldn’t have said anything if it wasn’t.

  2. Victor Hugo | October 10th, 2007 at 5:17 am

    Just a few pages of these Changebots were enough to make me laugh to tears, really, this is how you use to play with the little Transformers and variations.

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