There sure has been a lot of radio silence coming out of Branded this year.  Sheesh.  I have been working on a project that I’ll hopefully be able to talk about soon, but in the meantime I thought I’d throw out an update on two of my favorite 80s cartoons getting the royal treatment on DVD, G.I. Joe and Transformers.  I’ve mentioned recently about Shout! Factory acquiring the rights to release a bunch of Hasbro owned properties and how excited I am about finally getting affordable releases of my two favorite cartoons.  This whole process has been rather transparent on Shout!’s end, with Brian Ward inviting fan input on both shows during the DVD production via the company’s community forums (Transformers thread & G.I. Joe thread.)  Though I’m not nearly as well versed in the minutia of the cartoons, knowing the various differences in broadcast versions vs. the original masters, all the little sound and picture errors, etc., I’m glad there is a community of dedicated fans who are and that, that knowledge base was tapped in the creation of these new DVDs.


Well, we’ve finally gotten around to seeing the fruit of Shout! Factory’s labors with the Transformers season 1 set finally hitting store shelves this past week (I’m still eagerly awaiting my copy from Amazon as I type this.)   The season 1.1 set of the G.I. Joe cartoon is just around the corner as well, which should be available for purchase on July 21st.

Well, one of the aspects of this whole push to re-release these shows is that Shout! Really is concerned with "getting it right" so to speak, and they’ve taken a cue (I believe) from Time Life’s Complete Real Ghostbusters set, in that in tandem with the announcement of the season 1 DVDs they’ve also put the wheels in motion on two complete series sets for both shows.   Unlike Time Life (which has only released the individual season 1 set of the GB cartoon), they’ve also committed to releasing the full run of each series in separate individual sets, giving the casual fan, the strapped-for-cash fan, and the uber fan buying options that best suit their needs.

So on July 13th you’ll be able to pick up the complete Transformers G1 series on DVD in a very nice set that really looks like it’s going to outshine the original Rhino releases in terms of packaging and special features…

Besides being packaged in a slipcase designed to look like and open like the Autobot Matrix of Leadership, there’s also a 60-page book, a bunch of archival toy commercials and PSAs, galleries featuring concept and fan art, as well as a couple of Autobot and Decpticon magnets.  The set also includes five featurettes on the series (including two which are unique to the complete series set, an interview with Bob Budiansky, and a cast reunion with Jack Angel (Ramjet), Michael Bell (Prowl), Gregg, Berger (Grimlock), Aurthur Burghardt (Devastator), Corey Burton (Spike Witwicky), Richard Gautier (Rodimus Prime), Neil Ross (Slag), Frank Welker (Megatron).)  The complete set clocks in at 16 discs (with what appears to be alternate disc art from the individual releases) with all 98 episodes for $140 (shipping included) and is available for preorder.  Click the image below for a nice enbiggened version…

The set that I’m really looking forward to is the Complete G.I. Joe seeing as Rhino lost the rights before completing the original run of DVDs back in the early 2000’s.  This will be the first time that a good chunk of the series will be released on DVD, and even though I was skeptical of what sounded like a boring "footlocker" package, I’m really impressed with the presentation…

This set is also available for pre-order ($145, shipping included) and will be released on July 22nd.   Click the image below for a nice enbiggened version…

Again, this set comes with a lot of special features including a 60-page book, a 1gb dog tag shaped USB flash drive (which includes two silent comics, which I’m assuming are akin to CBZ versions of the comics), all the "Knowing is half the battle" PSAs, 25 archival toy commercials (though it looks like the Marvel Comics commercials missed the cut, which is a shame since they were the origin of the animated series), and a couple of rub-on tattos.  Also included are 8 featurettes, again including two which are exclusive to this set (a conversation with Larry Hama and a voice cast reunion featureing: Jack Angel (Wet Suit), Michael Bell (Duke), Gregg Berger (Spirit), Arthur Burghardt (Destro), Corey Burton (Tomax), Richard Gautier (Serpentor), Neil Ross (Shipwreck), B.J. Ward (Scarlett).)  I’m surprised Frank Welker didn’t sit in on this one as well seeing as he shows up for the Transformers session and voiced Wild Bill.

I’m probably going to end up picking up the complete series for G.I. Joe if for nothing else than aesthetic reasons as I’m a huge fan of the original toy packaging artwork which is used exclusively in this set for the disc art.  I guess I’m just goofy that way.  Besides, knowing my luck something will keep the full run of individual sets from being released again and I don’t want to miss out on any of the episodes this time around.  Also, both sets will be available for purchase at San Diego comic con this year, if you’re attending and can afford it.  If nothing else, I hope that these sets move a bunch of units as I’ve love to see enough profit generated so that Shout! Might consider licensing and releasing some of the other Sunbow shows that Hasbro recently re-attained the rights to including Jem, the Visionaries and the Inhumanoids.  Hell, I’d also be happy if some of that cash could go to pushing second releases of some of the other 80s cartoon properties that Shout! Already holds like C.O.P.S. and Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, but that seems like a pipe dream.