Transformers and Action Force #153.

Transformers, also using the cover titles Transformers and Action Force, Transformers and Visionaries and Transformers and G.I. Joe the Action Force at various stages during its run,[1] was a comic produced in the United Kingdom by the British division of Marvel Comics between 1984 and 1992 primarily featuring the Transformers. It was printed fortnightly for its first and last year and weekly for the years in between. It had a long relationship with Action Force, first as a vehicle for promoting the Marvel UK Action Force comic and then, after that title folded, as a home for reprints of the Marvel US G.I. Joe A Real American Hero.

In addition Transformers set the standard format for combining British originated strips with reprints of Marvel US material and non-franchise "back-up" strips together with fact files and humour strips that was followed for Action Force.

Promoting Action Force

Transformers #125.

The first promotion came in Transformers #99 to 102 which reprinted the story "Improvisation on a Theme" from G.I. Joe #44 as a back-up strip to promote the new comic which launched a week later.

Twenty issues later came another promotion when Transformers #122 contained a free mini comic containing the story "Dummy Run!" from Action Force #18. Three issues later saw the beginning of "Ancient Relics!", a special crossover story that was printed in Transformers #125 and Action Force #24 to #27.

Transformers and Action Force/G.I. Joe the Action Force

Action Force came to a close after fifty issues. As was the standard practice in the British comics market at the time the title was nominally merged with Transformers, which now had the cover title Transformers and Action Force from issue #153 onwards. In practice the effect was that the G.I. Joe reprints now took over the back-up strip slot in Transformers on a permanent basis, although the Action Force comedy strip Combat Colin replaced the existing Transformers comedy strip Robo-Capers and would remain in the title until it ended, even when Action Force was not featured.

Issue #161 contained an original story, "Road Safety - From the Air!" This served as a public safety notice to encourage children to practice better road safety, produced with help from the Department of Transport. It also contained "Battle Island", a mini-comic which had been produced for a competition at the shop W.H. Smith with entrants having to produce their own conclusion and the winning entry was printed.

Action Force would take two brief breaks from Transformers, between issues #183 & #190 and again between #213 & #219, on each occasion being replaced by Visionaries. There were also single issue breaks in issues #200, #232 and #250. The G.I. Joe the Action Force name change was explained in a special mini-comic that came free with issue #245 and took effect on the strip from issue #248, although the cover did not change until issue #249. From issue #306 G.I. Joe the Action Force was dropped from the title altogether.

G.I. Joe reprints


  1. The comic had the cover title Transformers between issues #1 & #152, on the individual issues #200, #232 & #250, and again from issue #306 to #332. The cover title Transformers and Action Force was used on issues #153 to #182, #191 to #199, #201 to #212, #220 to #231 and #233 to #248. Transformers and Visionaries was used on issues #183 to #190 and #213 to #219. Transformers and G.I. Joe the Action Force was used on issue #249 and #251 to #305. In practice throughout the entirety of the run the comic was normally called just Transformers inside its own pages and on other listings.

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