In the 1986 Marvel comics crossover between G.I. Joe and the Transformers, imaginatively titled G.I.Joe and the Transformers, a case of mistaken intentions (a hallmark to this day of Marvel comics) has unfortunate consequences for Bumblebee.
Three issues later he is brought back in a newly created, more powerful body and declares,
Umm, alrighty then, Goldbug. Good luck on that respect thing.
Anyway, the following year Goldbug received a toy with a very distinct blue version of his original faceplated G1 toy headsculpt. Unfortunately — despite the “dignified” new name — this toy was a Throttlebot, falling somewhere between the simplistic small-child focused Cyber Slammers and Gravity Bots lines sold for the recent movie. About a year and a half later, when the Classic Pretender toyline was scheduled for release, the comic book writers had to get Bumblebee back into his original body. Having been deactivated half a year earlier by a superpowered Starscream, it wasn’t too difficult to have Ratchet rebuild Goldbug,
But why did Ratchet rebuild Goldbug back into Bumblebee? Was that the only schematic Ratchet had on hand to go off? Was there some sort of restriction due to how quickly he had to rebuild him?
No, Ratchet just liked old Bumblebee better than new Bumble-Goldbug-bee. For no other reason than “personal preference” Ratchet negated Bumblebee’s one attempt at “growing up”. That was effectively that for Goldbug. Ironically, G2 Bumblebee would be a little bit of an homage, intentional or not, being a literally Gold Bumblebee.
Another homage came in the form of Takara’s 2010 rerelease of United Bumblebee, also in shiny gold. I skipped over it as between Hasbro and Takara it was the fifth use of this mold for Bumblebee. I would almost regret that decision when two different 3rd party groups announced they were releasing upgrade heads to turn your gold United Bumblebee into Goldbug. Then, just before the release this year of Beelzeboss’ (the folks that did the awesome Cliffjumper upgrade head and weapons) “Growing Pains” set BigBadToyStore suddenly had the shiny gold UN-07 United Bumblebee in stock and for a price of $30! For an import at all, that’s pretty darned good, for a two year old import, that’s great, so I jumped on it.
Unfortunately the shiny gold paint used is prone to scratching and this toy has scores along the hood due to being packaged in robot mode.
Still, even with that flaw, he makes for a splendidly blinged-out Classics Goldbug, a figure we most certainly won’t see out of Hasbro due to Bumblebee’s new status as the flagship character of the Transformers brand. Of course, I say that but thanks to the somewhat recent IDW comics, Goldbug in their universe has been established as a completely different character unrelated to Bumblebee. Though this approach is understandable, it is a little bit disappointing in its disregard for the origins of the original Goldbug.
Beyond his stint in the Marvel and now IDW comics, Goldbug did make one more fiction appearance resulting in another wonderful toy. In an interesting twist, as part of the Botcon 2008 Shattered Glass set we get our Evil Autobot version of Bumblebee in the form of “an upgraded form and a new identity as Goldbug”.
Based on the Cybertron Hot Shot mold with a suitably blue new head mold, somewhat ironically it appears it took going evil for our intrepid young Autobot to actually grow up and get some respect from most of the other Autobots.
Also, with the theme for Botcon 2012 being the invasion of the Classics-verse by the Shattered Glass folks, this right here could very well happen some day.