Back in the days of geek prehistory, a T-shirt was a signal to the world around you that you cared about your nerdy pursuits enough to fly them like a flag. Companies like Graphitti Designs contracted with movie studios and comics publishers to create shirts with our favorite characters and sold them up on the walls of comic book stores and through mail order.
This week: eleven Transformers T-shirts that are more than meet the eye.
Special bonus: until August 17, use the code GEEK25 to get 25% off of any shirt!
The visage of the Autobots iconic leader is one of the most comforting faces in the world, but Optimus Prime has gone through tons of changes in the last few decades. One of the most striking takes we e seen comes courtesy of artist Woah_Jonny, who brings a neon color palette and an explosion of texture and detail to render his face in a fascinating way. This is the kind of design that would fall apart in lesser hands, but he manages to make it work. Kudos.
It impossible to hate the cute chibi-style Transformers from Mazzlebee that cover the front of this T-shirt. While a lesser artist would have them standing in formation, they knock out a huge range of body types, postures, and personalities. It really goes to show you how expressive these little plastic robots can be in the hands of a real artist.
One Shall Stand
I love the contrasts in this design from manoystee – the alien-looking floral up against the mechanical lines of the Matrix of Leadership, accented by the hipster typography floating above but also interwoven into the overall composition. It a really ambitious and clever concept that executed to perfection. This is a rare deep cut shirt that true fans will recognize but still works as a conversation piece.
One of the coolest things about modern Transformers canon is that writers have brought a huge range of approaches to the universe, from brain-bending science fiction to more intimate, personal stories. Sure, Quentin Tarantino probably isn’s going to direct a giant robot movie anytime soon, but artist Samiel take on the iconic Reservoir Dogs cast as Decepticons makes a great deal of sense.
Trans: Off The Roll
There are few logos more iconic in this world than the Autobot and Decepticon symbols, but that doesn’s stop clever artists from swiping from other ones. Case in point: manospd cunning take on the Vans skate shoe with an Optimus Prime silhouette. It a goofy bridge between street style and geek fashion that works remarkably well.
Even though the franchise has been going strong for thirty years, Transformers will always be an 80s thing to us. That when America got their first look at the shape-changing robots, and the characters from that time are still the most memorable. So it makes lots of sense for artist vincent021 to grab some neon-toned Miami Vice accents for their striking portrait of Megatron.
Sons Of Energon
Sons of Anarchy went pretty far off the rails in its final seasons, for better or for worse, but at least they never had any of the Harleys transform into a wise-cracking robot. Artist BiggStankDogg speculates on what the logo for a biker gang of shape-shifting androids would look like, and we dig the authentic-looking weathering and primitive drawing style he brought to the project.
Keep On Truckin /h2>
R. Men’s Lights journey Print Long Sleeve T-Shirt Crumb classic Keep On Truckin design – first published in 1968 Zap Comics 1 – has been the source of literally thousands of parodies and take-offs over the years. Toyota even offered him $100,000 to re-draw it for a car ad campaign. Starting in the 1970s, the artist tried to crack down on copyright of the image, and it been a struggle ever since. Hopefully, artist RobotGhost changed it enough to get away with it, because we love this bigfooted take on the many hues of Optimus Prime.
Rowdy Roddimus Prime
One of the most notable missteps in Transformers history came with the replacement of Optimus Prime as Autobot leader. Hot Rod was a cool car, sure, but he wasn’s ready to take up the mantle of leadership and fans just didn’s buy it. One holdout, though, is artist devilchimp, who mashed his Prime form up with kilt-wearing WWF legend 淩owdy Roddy Piper to make a shirt that cracks us up every time we look at it.
One of the best things about a franchise based on a constantly-expanding toy line is that it creates space for a ton of fascinating characters. Everybody knows the big Transformers names like Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, but real fans have soft spots for the lesser lights as well. Designer Eph illustrates this magnificently with their loving portrait of Decepticon combiner Breakdown. Everybody has their favorite 榖ot, but they don’s all get T-shirts this cool.
Let close this out with a final look at the Transformers universe most storied rivalry, the eternal struggle between Megatron and Optimus Prime. Artist Gil made this design for a contest and decided to share it with the world on a shirt. The idea of Prime finishing off his enemy with a Shoryuken, Ryu-style, is the light of hope we need in this dark and disturbing world.