G. B. BLACKROCK
#5 + 6 (The New Order, The Worse of Two Evils)
#8 + 9 (Repeat Performance, Dis-Integrated Circuits (Circuit Breaker's first appearance))
#11 + 12 (Brainstorm, Prime Time)
#14 + 15 (Rock and Roll-Out, I, Robot Master, tried to help Triple-I in these issues.)
#29 - 31 (Crater Critters, The Cure, Buster Witwicky and the Carwash of Doom)
#68 (The Human Factor, the formation of the Neo-Knights)
#71 - 80 (Surrender to End of the Road, with the Neo-Knights)
G. I.-Joe and Transformers
#2 + 3 (Power Struggle, Ashes to Ashes)
#93 (The Gift)
References to Blackrock and a photograph of him also appeared in UK issues #45 + 46 (Icarus Theory) courtesy of the paranoid Professor Peter Morris, who believed that Blackrock was the culprit behind the activities of the Transformers. Morris was obsessed with Blackrock until he realised that the Transformers were actually sentient aliens
"If you're going to do something, Prime, do it NOW -- and make it COUNT! All the progress I've made towards curing Circuit Breaker is gone! I bought you this chance -- with her sanity!" - G. B. telling Optimus Prime to get a move on and stop Unicron in issue #75.
None. However I can now reveal the origins of the name 'G. B. Blackrock' and tell you exactly what G. B. stands for! Woo! An exclusive to this site! Bob Budiansky has told me the following concerning the origins of the name 'G. B. Blackrock'.
"G. B. in G. B. Blackrock are the initials of a long-time friend of mine, Gary Bennett Schwartz. I had the artist (I think it was Don Perlin at the time) actually draw Blackrock to look like Gary. By the way, "Schwartz" is German for "Black". "Rock" was added just to give the name more of a mogul-feel, like "Rockefeller"."
Thanks go out to Bob Budiansky for this information! (For the record, the artist on Blackrock's first appearance was Alan Kupperberg. That was issue #5. Perlin didn't get to draw Blackrock until #15. This doesn't mean Perlin wasn't responsible for Blackrock's character design, but more than likely he wasn't.)
Blackrock originally seemed to have been introduced just to have a starring role in the 'Circuit Breaker' origin. However by the end of issue 9 of the comics it was clear that Blackrock had a much bigger role to play in the history of the Transformers.
Blackrock was one of those human characters who survived the arrival of the Headmasters and the changeover of writers on the US series. He couldn't survive the arrival of Generation 2 though, and never appeared in that comic. Blackrock was also one of a handful of US Fleshlings to appear in both the US and UK comic stories (Buster Witwicky, Circuit Breaker, RobotMaster and the head of Triple I are the others).
Blackrock's role changed greatly after he and Josie Beller (Circuit Breaker) parted ways. He was now the Autobots' greatest ally and the only human with the authority to tell other humans that the Transformers were made up of both good and evil factions. He put a permanent end to the Autobots' fuel crisis, providing them with a constant source of fuel in exchange for protection. (Though Grimlock seemed to forget this, and took no fuel from Blackrock and offered no protection. This is most likely NOT a Budiansky oversight as Blackrock's connection to the Autobots was brought up again by Goldbug and Blaster who were considered renegades by Grimlock, the then Autobot leader.)
When Simon Furman took over the Transformers comic Blackrock was resurrected from obscurity and used again. This time he was the benefactor of a team of super-mutants called the Neo-Knights. Blackrock seemed considerably older and more ill-tempered in these issues, far less the playboy we saw in Budiansky's stories. Now he was a Charles Xavier with hair, working legs and no psychic powers. Oh, and normal eyebrows.
G. B. Blackrock was a billionaire mogul who had interests in many industries. He was brought into the Transformers' war when his experimental high-tech oil rig (which was super-efficient) was attacked by Shockwave. The attack injured one of G. B.'s employees (Josie Beller), and forced Blackrock to give up the rig to the Decepticons.
Shortly after he lost his oil rig to the Decepticons, Blackrock lost an Aerospace plant to these alien conquerors as well. They took over the plant with the intention of turning it into a production plant for new Decepticon warriors.
In an attempt to defeat the Decepticons, Blackrock funded the building of a powerful anti-Transformer gun. While the gun was waiting to be tested Blackrock received a visit from Josie Beller. She'd built for herself a power-harness which allowed her to control electricity and gave her back the ability to walk. Josie now called herself 'Circuit Breaker' and offered herself as a weapon against the Transformers. Blackrock refused.
Shortly thereafter Blackrock was kidnapped by Jazz who offered him a deal; fuel in exchange for protection. It was a surprisingly Mafia move for an Autobot, but oh well. Blackrock accepted.
When Blackrock presented his weapon to his shareholders, Circuit Breaker arrived and sabotaged it. Circuit Breaker tried to force Blackrock into announcing that she was really his weapon, but he was interrupted by both the Decepticons AND the Autobots. Josie started blasting Autobots and Decepticons willy-nilly, but Blackrock stopped her from killing Jazz. She did that, because she felt she owed him, but after that she left.
With Circuit Breaker gone, Blackrock was pretty much left to work with his deal with the Autobots. They seemed to get the better half of the deal; Blackrock provided them fuel and resources whenever they needed them, but he didn't seem to get much 'protection'. The Autobots' first assignment was to try and get back Blackrock's Aerospace plant from Shockwave, but they pretty much botched that one, and Blackrock's plant was actually rescued by Buster Witwicky and Optimus Prime, who was inactive when the deal was made.
After that Blackrock was called on by the covert government organisation known as Triple-I, to act as an advisor on the Transformers crisis. He tried to tell them that there were two factions, Autobot and Decepticon, but frankly they didn't listen to him.
Shortly after that, Blackrock came into contact with the covert government organisation known as G. I.-Joe, and offered to advise them on the Transformers crisis. He told them that there were two factions, Autobot and Decepticon, and fortunately they listened to him.
After his short advising role to G.I.-Joe, Blackrock spent most of his time trying to make more money and keep out of the Transformers' way if they didn't need him. When a ship full of Scraplets crashed on earth, Blackrock was called on by Goldbug to bring in some tankers full of water, to kill the Scraplets with. For some reason Blackrock himself came along with the tankers, and they were used to defeat the Scraplets (with some help from the Decepticon Triple-changers and Blaster).
While the Autobots were standing around congratulating themselves that they weren't going to die, Blackrock let slip that he was a billionaire oil mogul, just the sort of person the Triple-changers had been sent to Earth to find. So the Decepticons put a hypnotising chip on Blackrock's head, then scarpered with a massive block of machinery from their space ship, which was later to Transform into a Car Wash.
With Blackrock under his control, the Decepticon Ratbat used him to build hundreds of those car washes and sell them to petrol stations across the country. The Car Washes were designed to hypnotise anyone who went through them into giving the fuel from their cars to the Decepticons. This convoluted and inefficient plan was eventually stopped by the human Buster Witwicky, who also freed Blackrock from his hypnosis.
Naturally, after being involved in such a sickeningly silly plot line, Blackrock refused to resurface again for a couple of years. He tried to put the Transformer menace out of his mind, but it just didn't work. When he finally did resurface he was feeling a lot older and had troubles with his blood pressure (he also didn't seem to be as interested in playing the field).
Blackrock assembled around him a team of super-powered mutants, who he called the Neo-Knights. The Neo-Knights were, at first, two mutants who Blackrock took off the streets and trained to fight the Transformers. Their first practical experience was against Starscream. Blackrock had gotten word of a mutant with energy-control powers, who'd gone berserk and pretty much killed the Micromaster Air Strike Patrol. He went after this guy (whose name was Hector Dialonzo), only to find that Josie Beller (Circuit Breaker) was trying to recruit him to help her smash Transformers, and Starscream was trying to use him as an energy supply. Together the five humans defeated Starscream, and G. B. recruited both Dialonzo AND Josie into his Neo-Knights.
During their next fight (against Scorponok, Shockwave and, not long after that, Optimus Prime) Blackrock and his Neo-Knights were accidentally transported to Cybertron. On Cybertron the Knights found themselves fighting against impossible odds: Unicron! Blackrock forced Circuit Breaker to confront her fears of Robot s and strike out against Unicron, stalling him long enough for Optimus Prime to grab the Matrix and blow Unicron back to the void.
After the Unicron War the Autobots and Decepticons noticed that Cybertron was breaking up, and that they'd have to get the hell out of there. Blackrock let himself get talked into staying on Cybertron by Hi-Q, who was actually Optimus Prime as well. Together they uncovered the Last Autobot and went to Klo to save the Autobots in their 'final battle' against the Decepticons.
After this battle Optimus Prime returned the Neo Knights, and Blackrock, to earth, and of him nothing more is known.
Blackrock never had a toy, but it's high time he did! I've seen many kitbashed Neo-Knights but never a Blackrock! Why is this? I don't get it?! Blackrock was part of the Transformers universe LONG before the Neo-Knights. Heck he FORMED the Neo-Knights!
Oh well, maybe he's just not 'cool' enough for kitbashers.
G. B. Blackrock is one of my personal favourite fleshlings from the US comics. Unlike most human characters he doesn't interfere where he doesn't belong. He's usually a part of a plot line because he should be. Okay he's had his low points (like issue 31, 'Carwash of Doom'), but I think he's only once been a part of a story when he shouldn't have been.
And that was under Simon Furman.
It's time for me to get this off my chest once and for all. While I generally enjoy Simon Furman's Transformers tales far more than Budiansky's, I hate what he did with Blackrock. He took the character and changed him extensively (high blood pressure? what's that crap?) then threw him in with the Neo-Knights, some of THE least necessary human characters in the Transformers' history (right up there with the Mechanic). The inclusion of G. B. as some sort of Charles Xavier character was clearly a cheap attempt at trying to make a spin-off from a dying comic-book. The result is that all G. B.'s Furman appearances read like advertisements for this spin-off comic which never happened.
Oh well, nothing I can do about it now.
In summary: Pre-Furman G. B. Blackrock? Yes please!
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