It was the year 2005...no wait, that's not right at all. My earliest transformers memory is playing with a Bombshell toy which was a hand-me-down from my brother, must be about 1985. From there that was all I cared about for a good few Christmases and birthdays. I still distinctly remember one year getting Jazz, Ironhide and Inferno. It was around 1998 that I searched for Transformers on the World Wide Web and stumbled upon TFArchive.com
During that '98 hey day I had been dabbling in web design and with another member of the forum at TFArchive.com we came up with the idea to create a website of our own known as Crystal City (ugh) I set to designs and graphics and quickly realised I was doing a lot of work myself with little/no input. So I set out with what I had and adapted that into TFmausoleum (Geocities FTW!) I started getting decent content, but without a viable way of getting my own .com domain there was no way it was gonna be what I wanted it to be. So I approached Brendan (TFArchive.com's boss monkey) and offered to recreate TFMausoleum as a new and improved TFArchive.com -- he agreed and about 3 months later the site changed and has never looked back, even bearing marks of my design to this day even though I've been detached from the site for 5 years or so.
It's fair to say Transformers was a massive part of my life from incredibly young age into my early 20's, it was only when I moved out of my parent's house that my disposable income went on things like "bills" and "rent" and my collecting dwindled.
It would be hard to ignore G1 but as a starting point, perhaps not. Every medium is totally unique and with the ever expanding Transformers universe it would be hard to pick out a bonafide starting point.
Series wise, I would have to go with Beast Wars, especially the 2nd and 3rd series' where it finally realises who is watching the show and hits its stride.
Toyline is a tough one. G1 will always hold a special place in my heart for the little bricks that could (not conceivably convey what was on TV). BW took a good shot at complexity and design but didn't always manage both well. I think the pinnacle of fun toys (articulation, accuracy, complexity and poseability) for me has to lie at the door of Robots in Disguise. A lot of them were great toys; they brought in combiners and the like and really captured the spirit of previous series in their designs.
Comics...there can only be Marvel G1 (UK run if you've got the time of course)
4) What advice would you give to get someone into the transformers universe?
If Michael Bay was your initiation then you're in for a treat, cos everything else is awesome by comparison.
Try not to go too much too fast. There's a lot of stuff out there, some good, some bad. Get into one of the communities. I know TFW and Seibertron are going strong and there are some other great communities there if you know where to look *ahem*TFArchive.com/Old Oil House*ahem*
"Tell my tale to those who ask..." Dinobot, BW. Man, that episode...pitches perfect right up to it and beyond.
Personal highlight would have to have been the glory days of TFArchive being top of the Google search for transformers.
Conventions were always good fun too, TransForce in 2000 and 2001 were awesome, met loads of great people and creators. I still have my signed Lee Sullivan sketch and comic board from "Big Broadcast 2006" hanging proudly on my wall.
I've likely been more privileged than some to see the hype around the various incarnations and was blessed to once run the then largest Transformers site on the web.
Matt Phillips has ben lurking on the Internet for almost as long as there has been a Internet. A former heavy lifter at TFArchive.com an life long-long Skywarp fanboy, Matt also uses his beard to strain krill. Much like a whaleman.