Monday, 20 August 2012

#9: Venom (1985)

Pre-1984, Takatoku Toys had a toyline that they called "Armored Insect Battalion Beetras", which was basically a line of transforming insects, pretty similar to the Insecticons' first release in Japan as Diaclone toys. The toyline can't have done too well, as Takatoku went out of business in 1984, and Hasbro bought a whole load of their toy moulds to use in the Transformers line. One of these was Beet-Zeguna, a black and brown coloured cicada toy, which Hasbro gave a much less muted colour scheme to, and released with two other toys as the Deluxe Insecticons.

Venom was released in 1985, and seems to have been an instant hit. So much so, that it would appear that people plyed with it to death, or just don't want to part with it, because it's impossible to find on the secondary market, at least for as decent price. They toy does look really cool though.

The other sad thing is that because Takatoku was bought up by Bandai in Japan, then the Deluxe Insecticons were never portrayed in the G1 cartoon. They weren't given any love in the G1 comics either, although they did appear in a Kid's Stuff record and book (Slave of the Insecticons, if anyone's interested), and they eventually turned up in Dreamwave's comics (and I believe are in the current Regeneration One comics as well). It's a shame that they were largely ignored in the fiction, because I think that Venom in particular sounds like an amazing character. I mean, come on. He's the leader of the Deluxe Insecticons (and possibly the Insections as a whole unit) but trusts absolutely no one because he's incredibly, incredibly paranoid? That's always going to be an interesting character flaw in my book. It's nigh on Shakespearean. The fact that he just loves to use poisons and toxins also works for me. Just think of the carnage he could cause.

I always found it interesting that although they had little to no fiction, and that they were really only a footnote in the Transformers history, that Hasbro saw fit to include them in the back of the box art for 1985. So they're always there, they're always watching, but you never really notice them. They're like the monsters that you can only ever see out of the corner of your eye.

Sleep well, kiddies. Don't have nightmares.


  1. The Deluxe Insecticons feature in the Decepticon Mayhem Attack Squad(?) in UK Transformers c #200

  2. True, but it was pretty much blink-and-you'll-miss-it.