I love Wheeljack, and he doesn't get any respect, so here he is.
Wheeljack is an Autobot Transformer, a living alien robot that transforms into a Lancia Stratos Turbo custom racing car. He is an inventor, who creates a myriad of nutty inventions that usually blow up in his face. His greatest creations are The Dinobots, five Autobot warriors who transform into mechanical dinosaurs, but his machines were the engine behind countless plots of the late (but much-beloved) eighties cartoon The Transformers.
I have been watching The Transformers on TeleToon Retro at night quite a bit lately. When the show is on, it is typically the time when my infant daughter is going down for the night. While rocking my darling little girl to sleep (on my also-late-but-marginally-lamented rocking chair) I bathe myself in the warm glow of Nostalgia.
Nostalgia is a funny thing to me. It's like faith, it is a way of thinking that makes something better or more real than it actually is. My wife despises The Transformers (not just because of Michael Bay!), and rightly so; it's a transparent, poorly-animated show that existed purely to sell toys to kids. But when it was on the air, I was a cereal-eating seven-year-old. To me, a maniacal inventor (who transforms into an Italian muscle car!) and his personal army of mechanical dinosaurs was pretty amazing stuff. And that seven-year-old's intense love for robot brontosauruses and scheming jet planes and alien robots named Bumblebee is exactly why I love watching The Transformers again, as an adult.
Plus, Wheeljack is a genius inventor who is also a butt-kicking fighter and transforms into an Italian muscle car. That flies. That's great! I love you, Wheeljack!
P.S. As always, my weekly webcomic That's So Kraven! is updated right over here.