DREAMSLAVES #4: Red Crosseson April 5, 2012 at 3:41 am
A lot of this story is common knowledge to TF fans (I even made a comic strip about it), but I’d wager plenty of people still don’t know this one.
Around the early issues of the Transformers Generation One vol.2 mini-series, something happend to Ratchet’s design, see if you can catch it in these two panels.
Transformers G1 Vol.2 #1:
Transformers G1 Vol.2 #3:
Hmm, Ratchet’s shoulder colors seem to have inverted… did the colorist make a mistake? Nope, it was very much on purpose.
At the time, Hasbro had recently been taken to court by the Red Cross for using the trademarked Red Cross emblem on the Armada Red Alert toy. So Hasbro had to make sure the red cross was removed from any toy or licensed product (like a comic) including G1 Ratchet. This is also why they changed the cross logo to some made-up gear logo for the Armada Red Alert repaint:
So, starting with TFG1 Vol.2 #2 we had to start coloring Ratchet a little differently, no big deal. When it BECAME a big deal was actually the above-shown TF G1 Vol.2 #3. During production of this issue the change was forgotten and Ratchet was colored the old way with red crosses showing. This actually happened while I was on vacation, and when I came back I saw the early print samples of the issue had just come in. After a quick review I noticed the mistake, and everybody scrambled trying to figure out what to do. I remember we tried begging Hasbro to let is slide just this once, but no go (their hands were really tied after the lawsuit). So the whole print run of the issue was pulped and reprinted. Not sure what the exact number of copies was, but it would have been at least 70,000 comics destroyed. Ouch! For comparison to these days comics, that would be the full prints runs at least 4 or 5 IDW Transformers comics.
I’ve seen the red cross pop up a couple times since then on Ratchet. There was one IDW variant cover where he had it, so I guess the Hasbro approval people aren’t as careful about it as they used to be.