Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light
Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light is a science fantasy media franchise that consisted of a short-lived toyline of action figures and vehicles produced by Hasbro, and an animated television series by Sunbow Productions that ran for one season of thirteen episodes in 1987. Star Comics published a bimonthly comic book series that lasted six issues from November 1987 to September 1988. The animated series was the first Hasbro property to be produced by Sunbow without the aid of Marvel Productions, and utilized Japanese studio TMS Entertainment for overseas animation work.
|Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light|
|Created by||Flint Dille|
|Voices of||Susan Blu|
Roscoe Lee Browne
|Narrated by||Malachi Throne|
|Theme music composer||Ford Kinder|
|Composers||Thomas Chase Jones|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Executive producers||Tom Griffin|
|Running time||22 min.|
|Production companies||Abrams/Gentile Entertainment, inc.|
|Distributor||Claster Television (United States)|
Sunbow Productions International (Internationally)
|Original network||first-run syndication|
|Original release||September 20 –|
December 13, 1987
The story is set on the fictional planet of Prysmos, a futuristic society where all technology and complex machinery suddenly cease functioning, and its citizens are forced to rely on ancient magic to survive. This happens when the three suns of the planet align and their combined radiation emissions deactivate all technology on the planet, like the EMP effect of a nuclear explosion. The titular Visionaries are knights who are split into two factions: the heroic Spectral Knights and the evil Darkling Lords. Everyone who wishes to gain the usage of magic is invited to a competition by the wizard Merklynn. After surviving traps, dangerous creatures, and each other, survivors are rewarded with unique animal totems affixed to their armor chestplates; these talismans are based on the bearers' individual attributes while allowing them to transform into their specific creatures.
Some of the knights are given staffs enchanted with various magic powers that are activated by its holder reciting a special verse. They could be used only once before they needed to be replenished in the animated series, but had unlimited use in the comic series. Characters who could not use these weapons instead had the power to infuse vehicles with magical powers, the spells for which were printed on official toy packaging but never used in either the comics or the animated series. In the Star Comics series, the female characters were given shields which operated in the same manner as the male characters' power staffs.
Headed by Leoric, the Spectral Knights are magic users who use magic for the purposes of good; they are the protagonists of the series.
|Leoric||Leader of the Spectral Knights and prince of the fictional city of New Valarak. In the first issue of the 1987 Star comic series, he was named as the city's mayor during the Age of Science. He possesses the totem of the Lion and his power staff bestows the Power of Wisdom. He is the only Spectral Knight to have facial hair (a mustache), and his main adversary is Darkstorm.||Lion||Neil Ross|
|Ectar||Leoric's lieutenant on matters relating to the city of New Valarak. Before the Great Cataclysm, he was a police detective in the city of Valarak, often matching wits against a master thief named Reekon, who later becomes a Darkling Lord and his main adversary. He possesses the totem of the Fox. He has no power staff but is one of the knights able to power vehicles. His main vehicle of choice is the Lancer Cycle. In the comic, this held the Power of Protection.||Fox||Michael McConnohie|
|Feryl||The youngest of the Spectral Knights. Like Ectar and Leoric, he lives in New Valarak. He possesses the totem of the Wolf. He has no power staff but boasts an additional ability to activate vehicles. His main vehicle is the Capture Chariot, which possessed the Power of Fire in the Marvel comic series. His main adversary is Mortdredd.||Wolf||Beau Weaver|
|Cryotek||The oldest of the group. He hails from the northern frozen kingdom of Northalia. He possesses the totem of the Bear, and his staff bestows the Power of Strength. His main adversary among the Darkling Lords is Cindarr, with whom he is hinted at having a past history in the premiere episode of the animated series. He is shown to have a romantic relationship with Galadria.||Bear||Bernard Erhard|
|Witterquick||Prince of an unnamed city in the south, he possesses the totem of the Cheetah and his power staff bestows the Power of Lightspeed. Although Ectar is Leoric's second in command of matters pertaining to the city of New Valarak, it is Witterquick who gives the orders and keeps the others in line if Leoric is absent. If necessary, Witterquick is the most ready to bend the rules for the greater good.||Cheetah||Jim Cummings|
|Arzon||A deontologist by nature, Arzon possesses the totem of the Eagle and his power staff imparts the Power of Knowledge. He is one of the youngest Spectral Knights and can be quite impetuous, optimistic, and eager to help despite the danger.||Eagle||Hal Rayle|
|Galadria||The only female knight among the Spectral Knights, hailing from Androsia. She possesses the totem of the Dolphin. Galadria is the love interest of Cryotek. Possessed of no staff, she is capable of driving the vehicles. In the comic, she possessed a shield which was subsequently imbued with the Power of Healing. Her main adversary is Virulina.||Dolphin||Susan Blu|
Headed by Darkstorm, the Darkling Lords use their powers for selfish aims and are the antagonists of the series.
|Darkstorm||The leader of the Darkling Lords. Even before receiving his totem powers, he commanded the allegiance of Reekon and Mortdredd. He secures the allegiance of the other members of his group when finding them caught in a trap during the quest to Merklynn's shrine, having them swear loyalty to him in exchange for freeing them. He bears the totem of the Mollusk, and his power staff holds the Power of Decay. He also had a secondary power to reverse his own spell. His main adversary is Leoric.||Mollusk||Chris Latta|
|Reekon||A career thief during the Age of Science, Reekon serves Darkstorm for mercenary reasons. For his stealth and treachery, Merklynn awards him the totem of the Lizard. During both the Age of Science and the Age of Magic, Reekon finds himself engaging in a battle of wits against Ectar. They have a professional rivalry and mutual respect for one another. Reekon has no power staff but has the ability to power vehicles. His main vehicle is the Dagger Assault, which features a containment cell that serves as a Magic Extractor.||Lizard||Roscoe Lee Browne|
|Mortdredd||Darkstorm's most loyal servant, and an unapologetic sycophant who possesses the totem of the Beetle. He has no power staff but is the pilot of the Sky Claw, an airborne assault craft. His main adversary is Feryl, as both are loyal to their respective leaders.||Beetle||Jonathan Harris|
|Cindarr||Previously a construction worker during the Age of Science, Cindarr is the oldest in the group and his main adversary is Cryotek. He is considered the most dim-witted of the Darkling Lords, though occasionally displaying kindness toward others (mainly small animals) which exasperates his fellow Darkling Lords, which shows Cindarr not as evil, but following the oath he made to Darkstorm. Cindarr bears the totem of the Gorilla and his power staff invokes the Power of Destruction.||Gorilla||Peter Cullen|
|Cravex||The most short-tempered of the Darkling Lords, Cravex bears the totem of the phylot (a Prysmosian pterodactyl-like flying scavenger) and his power staff invokes the Power of Fear.||Phylot||Chris Latta|
|Lexor||He possesses the totem of the Armadillo and his power staff offers the Power of Invulnerability. Lexor is generally regarded as a liar and a coward. His power staff is often used to defend against Cryotek's staff of Strength.||Armadillo||Michael McConnohie|
|Virulina||Prior to the Age of Magic, Virulina was a newscaster, and was seen on a poster modelling clothes in a shop window during a flashback scene. She is the only female Darkling Lord, and possesses the totem of the Shark. Her main adversary is Galadria. Not possessed of a staff, she is capable of driving the vehicles. In the comic, she possessed a shield that was imbued with the Power of Disease.||Shark||Jennifer Darling|
Merklynn – The wizard who occupies a shrine inside Iron Mountain. Merklynn invites knights from across the land to compete in an obstacled race to his shrine, rewarding those who reach its hall with magical abilities. In exchange for recharging their power staffs, Merklynn contracts both the Darkling Lords and Spectral Knights to venture on other quests on his behalf. He sometimes offers magical devices in exchange for their services as well but Merklynn's gifts usually prove to be more trouble than they're worth. The character was named after Hasbro sculptor Bill Merklein, who developed the holography for the toyline. (Voiced by Roscoe Lee Browne)
Falkhama – A member of the same circle of wizardry as Merklynn. He is first seen in possession of an artifact called the Dragon's Eye, which Merklynn needs to replenish his magical pool. He is later used by Darkstorm in the latter's failed plot to depose Merklynn, and is then among a trio of fugitive wizards apprehended by the Spectral Knights and imprisoned by Merklynn in the Wizards' Jail. The character's name was created by Flint Dille from the surnames of then-current Marvel writers Lee Falk and Larry Hama. (Voiced by Hal Rayle)
Bogavas – An enigmatic wizard who is among the three escapees from the Wizards' Jail along with Falkhama and Wizasquizar. When the Spectral Knights capture and bring him to Merklynn, Bogavas denies knowing any real magic. Merklynn subjects him to a test to prove his honesty, which he seemingly passes and is thus allowed to go free. (Voiced by Jim Cummings)
Weezasqueaza – A wizard condemned never to tell the truth. He is a fugitive from the Wizards' Jail along with Falkhama and Bogavas until the Spectral Knights capture them on Merklynn's orders. However, the Knights are then ambushed by the Darkling Lords and are forced to release Weezasqueaza as a diversion. After the Darkling Lords take advantage of his curse to locate a lost underground shrine, Wizasquizar betrays them and seeks a source of power inside the shrine that would allow him to supplant Merklynn, but is thwarted by Leoric and returned by Merklynn to the Wizards' Jail. According to Dille, Weezasqueaza's name was an instance of inserting "crude adolescent humor" into the show. (Voiced by Bernard Erhard)
Heskedor – An ancient crone living in an isolated cave. When Darkstorm seeks her aid in defeating Leoric, she brews him a potion that would permanently trap Leoric in his lion totem form if the spell was not broken by the time Prysmos' three suns set. The Spectral Knights manage to catch on to Darkstorm's scheme and Witterquick confronts Heskedor in her cave, forcing her to hand over an antidote that successfully changes Leoric back. (Voiced by Susan Blu)
Fletchen – A young woman from a peasant village outside New Valarak. Darkstorm uses her superstitious people as unwitting pawns in his plan to permanently trap Leoric in his lion form. Though she is able to convince his fellow Spectral Knights of the truth, the other townspeople refuse to listen and only stop attacking the Spectral Knights once Leoric is freed from the spell. Fletchen appears in one other episode thereafter, and there are hints of romantic relationship between her and Leoric. (Voiced by Jennifer Darling)
Gleering – Fletchen's father. He and his fellow villagers are fearful of all magic and lean on superstition to ward off evil. Darkstorm exploits this to turn them against the Spectral Knights by convincing them that they were "evil wizards" guarding a magical beast. Gleering and his people learned they had nothing to fear from magic, provided it was used for good. (Voiced by Peter Cullen)
Orzan – The ruler of Khemir, a city that had thrived in the Age of Science with its people relying on robotic slaves to do all their work. Despite falling into destitution after the death of technology, the Khemirites have stubbornly refused to change their way of living. Darkstorm preys on Orzan's pride and his people's desperation by using them to assist in the Darkling Lords' takeover of New Valarak. After experiencing a fearful vision of his robot slaves rebelling against him, he renounces slavery and pledges to adapt to the current times. (Voiced by Peter Cullen)
Belizar – A young Khemirite man who first alerts the Darkling Lords to his people's plight, and aids them in conquering New Valarak and enslaving the Spectral Knights. When told that, since he was not a Darkling Lord, he was ineligible to compete for the Spectral Knights' power staff, he vented his frustration on Leoric and Ectar by forcing them to move furniture and repeatedly changing his mind about where he wanted a cabinet placed. Later, however, he and his fellow Khemirite, Mana, helped the Spectral Knights escape and regain their totem powers. Belizar vowed to one day prove worthy of knighthood; in the meantime, he would stay in New Valarak and help the people rebuild. (Voiced by Jim Cummings)
Marna – A young Khemirite woman who suggests that her people begin fending for themselves after the death of technology has rendered their robotic slaves obsolete, but she is rebuked as they consider it demeaning to their culture. After taking part in Darkstorm's invasion of New Valarak, during which the Spectral Knights are captured and enslaved, Marna comes to the realization that freedom at the expense of others is wrong. She then assists in freeing the Knights and helping them drive the Darkling Lords out of New Valarak. (Voiced by Jennifer Darling)
The Sun Imps are diminutive and mischievous creatures who were featured in the final episode of the animated series. They were imprisoned inside an underground tomb after causing much havoc during the first Age of Magic, but earthquakes have exposed the tomb over time, prompting Merklynn to send the Visionaries to rebury it. However, Cindarr is tricked by his fellow Darkling Lord Lexor into releasing the creatures, which leads to a frantic attempt by both factions to recapture them.
Abraxas – The Wizard Imp. Merklynn attempts to stop him with various spells, only for Abraxas to turn them back onto the caster. He is outwitted by Merklynn with a "Capture Thyself" spell that is reversed and leads to Abraxas' capture. (Voiced by Neil Ross)
Gorge – The Pig Imp. He has the ability to turn ground to mud and can also cause pigs to stampede. His weakness is gluttony, which the Visionaries later exploit by tricking him into overindulging himself. (Voiced by Peter Cullen)
Growl – The Cat Imp. He uses sonic waves to cause landslides and break windows, and can take control of feline creatures. Cindarr uses his power of Destruction to recapture him.
Knightmare – The Dream Imp. He can send people to sleep by hitting them on the head with a small hammer, and has the power of hypnosis. He is caught after being dizzied to the extent that he knocks himself out. (Voiced by Hal Rayle)
Mysto – The Fish Imp. He can turn ground to ice and take control of fish. Galadria and Virulina work together in their animal forms to trap him underwater inside a treasure chest.
Shaggy – The Hair Imp. His favourite trick is causing people's hair to grow rapidly and then tie them up with it, which he uses to humiliate Darkstorm. However, he cannot use his powers if his own hair is cut, and he is consequently converged upon with oversized shaving implements.
In 1987 Hasbro produced a set of figures after the cartoon series ended. The figures had hologram stickers on both their chests and staffs, which resulted in their being expensive to produce. The toyline lasted one year, with figures of the twelve male characters produced along with four vehicles that were packaged with an exclusive figure. A second wave of characters was planned for release in 1988 but were never released due to the cartoon and the toyline's cancellation.
Around the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con, a new action figure of Leoric was released at the convention and later at HasbroToyShop.com in limited quantities as part of the SDCC exclusive IDW Revolution set alongside Jetfire, Roadblock, Rom the Space Knight, a Dire Wraith, characters from the Micronauts, Matt Trakker and Action Man.
|01||"The Age of Magic Begins"||Flint Dille||01||01||September 20, 1987|
|When technology fails on the planet Prysmos, an Age of Magic begins. As the world descends into chaos, the knights of Prysmos embark on a quest to conquer Iron Mountain, lured by the wizard Merklynn's promise of magical powers. But only fourteen succeed and it soon becomes clear that several of them joined the quest for personal gain.|
|02||"The Dark Hand of Treachery"||Flint Dille||02||02||September 27, 1987|
|Darkstorm and his fellow Darkling Lords, aided by magical vehicles, trap Leoric and his followers one by one. Imprisoned in the dungeon at Darkstorm's castle and stripped of their weapons, Leoric and his followers seem to be in a hopeless situation. Soon, however, Leoric realises they must unite and names them the Spectral Knights.|
|03||"Quest for the Dragon's Eye"||Flint Dille||03||03||October 4, 1987|
|After escaping from Castle Darkstorm and acquiring magical vehicles of their own, the Spectral Knights capture the Darkling Lords and put them to work in a factory]. Shortly afterwards, however, the Darkling Lords escape and ambush the Spectral Knights, who are heading to Merklynn's shrine to have their power staff recharged. But, in exchange for more magic, they must bring Merklynn the Dragon's Eye.|
|04||"The Price of Freedom"||Doug Booth||04||04||November 8, 1987|
|The Darkling Lords encounter a city whose inhabitants are reluctant to give up their Age of Technology lifestyle. Lured by Darkstorm's promise to give them human slaves to replace the robots which used to do all the work in the city, the people infiltrate New Valarak and enslave the Spectral Knights. But the Spectral Knights find an ally in a woman who feels that freedom at the expense of others is wrong.|
|05||"Feryl Steps Out"||Buzz Dixon||05||05||October 11, 1987|
|Dejected after getting into difficulties during a battle with pirates, Feryl leaves the Spectral Knights. Darkstorm tries to turn the situation to his advantage and, after an initial attempt to enlist Feryl in the Darkling Lords fails, lures Leoric into a trap by making him think Feryl's life is in danger. But Feryl soon learns what has happened and trails the Darkling Lords to Castle Darkstorm.|
|06||"Lion Hunt"||Buzz Dixon||06||07||October 18, 1987|
|The Darkling Lords seek the aid of an old witch, who gives them a potion which will trap Leoric in his animal form. Unable to revert to human form, Leoric soon finds himself under attack from the Darkling Lords, a group of superstitious villagers and even his fellow Spectral Knights, who believe he has been killed. When the Spectral Knights discover the truth, they face a race against time to restore their leader to normal.|
|07||"The Overthrow of Merklynn"||Flint Dille||07||09||October 25, 1987|
|Tired of constantly having to answer to Merklynn, Darkstorm deposes the wizard and seizes control of Iron Mountain. But he quickly becomes overconfident and unleashes a spell which triggers a series of violent cataclysms. Believing that Prysmos will be destroyed unless the spell can be broken, the Darkling Lords are forced to seek out Merklynn and free him from the Wizards' Jail to which Darkstorm banished him.|
|08||"The Power of the Wise"||Doug Booth||08||06||November 1, 1987|
|The Spectral Knights are afraid of being rapidly aged by the power of Darkstorm's staff and, when Merklynn refuses to help them, set off on a quest to find a magic spring whose waters have rejuvenating properties. During the quest, Leoric falls victim to Darkstorm's staff and, to ensure he cannot be restored to his true age, the Darkling Lords destroy the spring. But the experience teaches Leoric that there is more to old age than being weak and feeble.|
|09||"Horn of Unicorn, Claw of Dragon"||Buzz Dixon||09||08||November 15, 1987|
|A magical plague strikes Prysmos, leaving Visionaries from both sides close to death. Their only hope of survival is a spell, the key ingredients of which are a unicorn's horn and a dragon's claw. Witterquick and Arzon must team up with Lexor and Cindarr and set off on a quest for these ingredients, but can they fulfil their mission without taking any lives?|
|10||"The Trail of Three Wizards"||Flint Dille||10||10||November 22, 1987|
|Merklynn sends the Spectral Knights to the Anarchy Zone to round up three rogue wizards, but, just as they have completed their mission, the Darkling Lords ambush them. Releasing one of the wizards as a diversion, the Spectral Knights return to Iron Mountain, where Merklynn sends one of the wizards to the Wizards' Jail and proves the second wizard is innocent. The Spectral Knights then return to the Anarchy Zone to recapture the remaining wizard, who is heading to the Lost Shrine with the Darkling Lords.|
|11||"Honor Among Thieves"||Flint Dille||12||11||November 29, 1987|
|Merklynn gives the Spectral Knights a magic crystal which will warn them of impending danger. But Darkstorm soon learns that the crystal can be neutralized by an enemy who is wearing a "Cloak of Concealment". After Reekon infiltrates New Valarak and steals the crystal, Ectar and Arzon are forced into a dangerous game of subterfuge in order to get it back.|
|12||"Sorcery Squared"||Doug Booth||11||12||December 6, 1987|
|Cryotek is captured by the Darkling Lords, who try to remove his totem power. Instead, he ends up with Cravex's Totem in addition to his own and starts behaving strangely as the two totems fight for control. Learning what has happened, the Spectral Knights and Darkling Lords reluctantly put aside their differences until he is found and Cravex's totem can be removed from him.|
|13||"Dawn of the Sun Imps"||Flint Dille||13||13||December 13, 1987|
|Learning that a tomb imprisoning six mischievous imps has been exposed, Merklynn sends the Visionaries to rebury it. But Lexor tricks Cindarr into freeing the creatures, who proceed to wreak havoc on both factions. The Spectral Knights and Darkling Lords are forced to work together in order to recapture the imps and return them to their tomb.|
The complete thirteen-episode series was released on DVD in the United Kingdom in 2004 by Metrodome Distribution, and included a special feature of a set of PDF files of the complete scripts to each episode.
Marvel's Star Comics imprint published a bimonthly miniseries beginning in November 1987 that was cancelled midway through a four-part adventure in September 1988 after only six issues. The first issue was an adaptation of the first episode, "The Age Of Magic Begins", but subsequent issues took the storyline in a different direction with changes from the animated series such as characters having unlimited use of their power staffs, with Witterquick and Cindarr combining the powers of their staffs to defeat an enemy in one issue. The animal totems were depicted in their natural forms instead of the two factions' representative blue or green.
|01||The End...||The technologically advanced world of Prysmos is suddenly thrown into a dark age. The wizard Merklynn offers magical powers to knights across the planet who can penetrate Iron Mountain. Fourteen knights complete the quest and are rewarded with animal totems and power staffs. This issue adapted the teleplay of the premiere episode of the animated series.||November 1987|
|02||The Balance of Power||The Visionaries begin fighting each other with their new powers before dividing into two factions. As the Darkling Lords search for a secret weapon, Reekon and Mortdredd discover they can magically power vehicles. On his own initiative, Mortdredd attacks the Spectral Knights in the Sky Claw, which ends in disaster.||January 1988|
|03||The Star Stone||The Spectral Knights learn of a long-buried doomsday weapon that will reverse the scientific principles of the planet. Realizing this could return Prysmos to the Age of Science, both sides vie for control of it, with the resulting battle burying the weapon forever.||March 1988|
|04||Dream Maker||The dreams of Witterquick and Cindarr are filled with a vision of an imprisoned woman, Sirena, who begs for their aid. They both quest to rescue her, fighting each other, finding the key and defeating the guardian. Learning that Sirena is an evil witch, the two knights unite their powers to defeat her.||May 1988|
|05||Quest of the Four Talismans||The first of an intended four-part miniseries. Merklynn divides the Visionaries into teams to quest for four magical talismans: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Galadria and Cryotek find the Earth talisman, but it is jealously guarded by a tribe who worship it as a god. Cravex and Reekon goad the people into attacking the Spectral Knights, making off with the talisman in the confusion. In the aftermath, Galadria uses her new healing powers to heal the wounds of the now-penitent tribe.||July 1988|
|06||Wings||Part two of the miniseries. Arzon and Feryl discover the Air Talisman is possessed by the High Flyers of Avitrix, people able to fly with artificial wings. Virulina and Cindarr attack, using Virulina's new power of disease to sicken the whole tribe. Arzon's power of wisdom is able to cure the High Flyers, who drive away the Darkling Lords and give the Air Talisman to the Spectral Knights. Arzon speculates about the truth of the talismans. The series was canceled with two parts remaining, leaving the storyline unresolved.||September 1988|
In December 2015, it was announced that Hasbro and Paramount Pictures were planning to create a cinematic universe combining Visionaries with the G.I. Joe, Micronauts, M.A.S.K. and Rom properties. The Hollywood Reporter reported in April 2016 that a group of writers, including Michael Chabon, Brian K. Vaughan, Nicole Perlman, and Cheo Hodari Coker, were hired to develop storylines. However, the writers' room disbanded in July 2017, and the series has since remained in development.
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- Visionaries at the Grand Comics Database
- Jim Salicrup (w), Mark Bagley (p), Romeo Tanghal (i). "The End..." Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light 1 (November 1987), Marvel
- Gerry Conway (w), Mark Bagley (p), Romeo Tanghal (i). "The Balance of Power" Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light 2 (January 1988), Marvel
- Gerry Conway (w), Mark Bagley (p), Romeo Tanghal (i). "The Star Stone" Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light 3 (March 1988), Marvel
- Gerry Conway (w), Mark Bagley (p), Romeo Tanghal (i). "Dream Maker" Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light 4 (March 1988), Marvel
- Gerry Conway (w), Mark Bagley (p), Dave Simons (i). "Quest of the Four Talismans" Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light 5 (July 1988), Marvel
- Gerry Conway (w), Mark Bagley (p), Romeo Tanghal (i). "Wings" Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light 6 (July 1988), Marvel
- Kilday, Gregg (December 15, 2015). "Paramount, Hasbro Creating Movie Universe Around G.I. Joe, Four Other Brands". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
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- Di Placido, Dani (August 2, 2017). "The 'Transformers' Writers Room Isn't Coming Back". Forbes. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Appears on official toy packaging, but never spoken in either the cartoon or comic series.
- Featured only in the 1987 comic series.