I love new art of our site mascot, Botch the Decepticon Cassette-Crab. I've had some of these for a while and have been remiss in promptly posting them. I'm happy to finally share them with you!
First up is a sketch of Botch that I commissioned from Matt Kuphaldt, a TF fan who is actually responsible for some official Transformers artwork, including some Dreamwave "More Than Meets The Eye" profiles. Matt was doing sketches and selling prints at CybCon this year and I introduced myself and requested this Botch sketch:
For pretty much as long as I've been online, so has Zobovor. Back when the alt.toys.transformers newsgroup was the nexus of all online Transformers discussion, names like Zobovor and Onslaught Six and Robert Powers and Raksha were inextricably associated with Transformers fandom. It was a small group of us back then! There was no way to predict the current monstrous and many-headed Transformers online fandom. When more modern forums started springing up, many ATTers decided to stay in their small pond with the fish they knew. But anytime a familiar name pops up, it always makes me smile and fondly recall those classic days, like a Geewunner whose affection for those frail, barely articulated toys of yesteryear never perishes.
So imagine my delight when, out of the electronic blue, Zob emails me to say that he's drawn up a G1 cartoon-style Botch the Crab! Sunbow-style, you might say. I can easily see this rendering crouching low in the same frame as Megatron and Soundwave.
Do you recall when I posted the Botch art that currently graces the top-left corner of this site? It was generously commissioned by Carcass and beautifully illustrated by Laurent Libessart. Well, here comes the follow-up to that: CASSETTE MODE!
As with the original piece, the new one is AWESOME.
I love how Laurent chose to maintain the subtle fissures where the pieces separate during transformation.
You may notice this cassette is not blank, but actually labeled. That's right! He made this into a cassette for Vices & Virtues, the album of my last band, I DISAGREE. It's even got the track-listing on there for the "Vices" half!
Of course, I couldn't resist using this cassette mode as the top-left mascot for my Music page, where, by the way, you can listen to Vices & Virtues in its entirety.
So thanks to Laurent and Carcass for another fabulous piece of Botch art!
To see some more Botch art, check out the About Botch page.
A long time friend of this site, Carcass wanted some original character art of our friend and site mascot, the inimitable Botch the Crab. And apparently what Carcass wants, Carcass gets. So he commissioned Laurent Libessart to do exactly that. Laurent took alcohol markers to paper and produced the image that you see to the right.
IT IS AWESOME.
I think my favorite part is the mouth, which looks more authentically crab-like and therefore more hideous than any previous incarnation, simultaneously compelling and revolting. The eyes-on-stalks are also unnerving.
I cannot recall how my association with Botch the Crab began. As far back as March 1999 he had taken over this website and my online persona with his caustic wit and salty charms. But I cannot recall his invention. I never had an special interest in crabs growing up. When Botch comes up in conversation, the first thing people usually ask is, "Are you a Cancer?" To which I respond along the lines of, "Oh, definitely. Astrologically, too." Unsurprisingly, I've never given a shit about horoscopes and constellations. Nonetheless, I do feel a certain kinship with crabs. I like to armor myself against the world. I like leading with my claws. When given two choices as an ultimatum, I'll often move crabwise to the side instead. And crabs just look cool.
"So why would you eat crabs?" I was asked this over the weekend while sitting down with a bunch of friends to crack, scoop and dig in to some whole crabs. I'd never cleaned and eaten a whole crab before, probably because I don't like touching animals or insects or people or living things in general. (Give me a choice between lying on the sidewalk and lying on the grass and I'll probably take the former.) But crabs are really yummy, and I like to overcome my fears and aversions, so there I was, cleaning, cooking and consuming crustaceans. I would have done live crabs, but that would have involved keeping a half-dozen in my bathtub overnight, and that wasn't going to happen.
Certain services will tell you that there's an art and enterprise to Search Engine Optimization, or "SEO" as it is termed in shorthand. In layman's terms, if you're not at the top of Google's search results for your desired keywords, you're just not in the ballgame. In my experience as a front-end web developer for various companies, I've certainly had experience with monkeying and massaging pages for better search result placement, but I will tell you now what Google will tell you themselves: the best way to have high placement in their results is to simply have straightforward text content that is, in truth, what people actually want to read when they type in their keywords. With this site, I don't try to "hack" my way to the top of Google's page-ranking, and this honest reciprocity lets me take pride when this site or pages within it place first in various searches. Most notable among these first-place wins is "transformers art" (which points to the Transformers Box Art Archive, of course), but I felt similarly rewarded when I learned that "classic video game screensavers" and "donkey kong screensaver" points to my page of downloadable screensavers that I created.
Sometimes, though, this success with search result placement can have unforeseen consequences. Such is now most notably the case with my "Fuck You, eBay" blog post from last year. It would seem that my rant is placing very high in searches for "fuck you ebay" and the like, and it is receiving a steady stream of comments from disenchanted eBay users looking to vent their frustrations.
I've only recently become interested in this notion of non-official Transformers: fans repainting their figures, modifying or enhancing them with new parts shaped from other toys, or even fully scratch-built robots. It's tremendously impressive, and also enviable since I have no such talents that way. I'm a coder, not a fighter -- er, craftsman. Hell, I'm impressed with myself if I can replace a brake light in a car or fix the toilet. I can expertly apply stickers, but cobbling original Transformers is a bit beyond me. And, for whatever reason, these fan-built creations continue to get increasingly impressive every year.
What's really interesting now, though, is the emerging field of mass-produced unofficial Transformer merchandise. I already showed you the Quintessons I recently acquired, but what I got in the mail over the weekend easily tops them. It's so awesome, I've found myself randomly smiling throughout the day when I remember that he's home waiting for me on my desk.
To accompany his graphical Botch tech spec, our old friend Slim has kindly rendered graphical tech specs for Botch's cohorts, Bungle and Fuck-Up. To see more custom tech specs, check out Slim's Custom Transformer Tech Specs. Thanks, Slim!
A kitbasher with the suggestive handle of Viagra Prime was so inspired by the digital Botch renders at Iacon City that he decided to build a real, size-accurate, transforming version of it. He would want me to remind you that he's still awaiting some stickers to finish it up, but yo, here are the preliminary pics:
It's frustrating to invent and covet your own personal Transformer characters, but have neither the artistic or mechanical skills to actualize them. Fortunately, others do! Thus, finally, Botch has been rendered digitally in three dimensions! And not only that, so have his fellow cassette companions, Bungle and Fuck-Up!