1. How did you get to Transformers and how long have you being here?
Twas 2001 and my university house mate brought home Dreamwave's Transformers #0. We read that thing to death before he admitted to owning the Animated Movie on DVD and we sat and watched that. From there, it was a gradual snowball effect, starting with buying the blindpack SCFs and WSTs before buying my first 'real' Transformer since I was a kid, Alternators Smokescreen in Argos for the princely sum of £5. That must have been around 2003? I also picked up and watched the G1 releases from Metrodome as they happened. From then I was gifted Masterpiece Optimus Prime as well as slowly picking up the Alternators and eventually Binaltech line. I started reading the comics around 2007, starting with Megatron Origins, Stormbringer and Beast Wars: The Gathering. Then later that year I made the mistake of buying Classics Bumblebee and things really spiraled out of control from there.
2. When did you realize you weren't leaving?
I don't think I've ever had the mentality of never leaving, I honestly think I could easily drop everything and disappear from the interwebs if I wanted to and it's got to that point a few times; the more active you are in the fandom, the harder it is to actually enjoy it and the more open your are to abuse and people looking to take advantage. Not saying it's all bad! I've met some great friends through this hobby and wouldn't change the experience for the world. As it is now, I've taken a dramatic step back from a lot of what I did before and I'm certainly enjoying being a more silent consumer at this point in life.
3. What series / comic / toyline would you say is a good starting point?
Tough one, kind of depends what you are looking to get out of the franchise. If you've seen toys you like, buy them, doesn't matter what line they are from if they look cool! If you enjoy them and want to find out a bit more, go and watch the associated media, whether it be cartoon, movie or comics. From there you'll start to get an idea of the various different areas of the franchise and what might appeal to you. You'll probably end up seeing the majority of the tv shows and movies because they are the easiest to access with very little financial out lay. You've got to be pretty hardcore to shell out on the likes of Beast Wars Neo! To be honest, if you like a toy, or a movie, or cartoon, or a comic, don't feel obliged to try something else just because it's transformers, you can like that thing just because it's awesome! For me I would say steer clear of Generation One and Beast Wars cartoons, comics and toys unless you have the rose tinted specs of nostalgia firmly on. If you want to try one thing as a newcomer I'd go with Transformers Animated for cartoons, the current comic title from IDW which was Robots in Disguise until a couple of months ago and is now just 'Transformers' and have a play with the Alternators toy line; hugely detailed, massively fiddly but ultimately rewarding transformatons, 1:24 scale official car alt modes and because of their low cost on the secondary market, they represent great value for money, especially when compared to current toy lines!
4) What advice would you give to get someone into the transformers universe?
Start slow or you'll find yourself lost and retracing your steps a lot. That's especially true of the comics. Spend the time working out reading and viewing orders, I found getting stuff out of sync early on really put a dampener on my enjoyment. Also, don't be afraid to use things like the TFWiki for guidance or contacting some of the more friendly members of the community on Twitter for advice. Most people are happy to talk about thing hobby for hours and are more than willing to pass some of the years of built up knowledge on.
5) Name your highlights of the franchise and fandom
Franchise highlight for me will always be Animated. It was the cartoon that got it tonally right for me with a good dose of humour setting off the hugely violent and depressing themes of Transformers in general. Plus the toys were filled with character and pose-ability. Fandom wise would be Auto Assembly 2009 and 2010. Formative years of the show and the years where the friends that make a lot of what goes on in the UK fandom really got to know each other and create bigger and better things. Oddly, it's probably Skype that's the most important thing in the fandom; without it most people would only see/talk to each other once a year, podcasts wouldn't exist and the international community wouldn't feel anywhere near as close. The internet normally brings the worst out of people so I wouldn't highlight forums or YouTube as a good place to go to get your TF fix but Skype really has made a lot of this happen.
Matt "King Grimmy" Messenger has hosted the Underbase podcast for five years, and can be seen every Auto Assembly at the Kapow Toys store, selling you eveything. He is also obsessed with Kreons, an can raise ou up. And break you.
He alo may have a G.I.Joe figure that looks too close for comfort like him...