Dirge is the name of several different fictional characters from the Transformers series. He was first introduced in 1985 as a villain in the Transformers series, appearing in the comic book by Marvel Comics and voiced by Bud Davis in the animated television series. Since then the name Dirge was also used by several other Transformers characters. In 2007 a limited edition Dirge toy was sold at the Transformers convention Botcon.
Transformers: Generation 1
Dirge Box Art
|Sub-group(s)||Deluxe Vehicles, Predacons, Seekers, Voyagers|
|Partners||Ramjet, Bug Bite, Dreadwind, Thundercracker, and Thrust|
|Motto|| "Fear is the element that unites all losers."|
"Talk all you want loser! The only sound you make that I'll listen to is a death rattle." (Classics)
|Alternate Modes||Cybertronian jet, Modified F-15|
|Series|| Transformers: Generation 1|
|Japanese voice actor||Bud Davis|
Dirge was first introduced in 1985. Thrust, Ramjet and Dirge are part of a team dubbed by Transformers fans as the "Coneheads" for the way their character models were drawn to make them visually distinct from the original Decepticon jets Starscream, Skywarp, and Thundercracker despite their toys being modifications of the same mold used to create that original trio. The toys themselves use the nosecone of the jet to become the head of the robot, but on the original jets the nosecone points back, forming a seemingly normal head. To make the three newer jets distinctive, the character model creators illustrated them with the nosecones pointing up in robot mode - despite the fact that this is not how their toy instructions or box art depict them. (Ironically, when the hinge holding the toy's fuselage/torso and head/nosecone in robot mode wears down, pointing the nosecone upward is the only way to keep the cockpit/midsection from leaning backward, away from the die-cast metal portion of the Seekers' chests.)
Dirge was described as a mournful, silent warrior reliant on - and consumed by - fear. While an expert at inflicting fear on others, Dirge was also prone to succumbing to fear. Dirge's effectiveness evaporated under situations where Dirge felt he was not in control.
In jet mode, Dirge had the ability to induce fear in other robots through his engines. The engines apparently emitted certain frequencies that caused disorientation and provoked fear in the Transformers' equivalent of the central nervous system. He also carried two air-to-air missiles and two automatic machine guns.
Although he would not appear personally in the Transformers comic until issue #17, Dirge's vehicle mode, along with Ramjet and Thrust's were being mass produced under slave labor when Shockwave assumed control of Blackrock Aircraft Assembly Plant #1 (issues #8-12; the planes seen in issues #11-12). This suggests that the planes were either F-15s redesigned by Shockwave for use as Decepticons or that they were already made from blueprints produced (on Earth) by the Blackrock company. This implies that this is how the three Seekers gained their Earth modes when they eventually came to Earth. (In issue #17, Dirge is seen using a vehicle mode similar in design to his future Earthly mode.)
Dirge first appeared in issue 17 of the US Marvel Transformers comics as a bodyguard for Straxus. He had a much larger role in the Marvel U.K. storyline Target: 2006, where he was portrayed as one of the Decepticons' deadliest killers, and one that needed to be taken out by the Autobot commando group the Wreckers to signal a mass-Autobot uprising on Cybertron. The Decepticons had prepared a major offensive to wipe the Autobots out and capture Emirate Xaaron, unaware this was part of the Autobot trap. Megatron's summoning the Insecticons to Earth scuppered both sides plans. It is interesting to note that Dirge seems to be in a major command position overseeing the whole offensive, indicating a much higher rank than previously thought.
His first appearance in the US Transformers storyline was in issue #17. He was next seen entering Earth via the Spacebridge, alongside Thrust and Ramjet around the same time as the Aerialbots were being created (issue #21). Dirge was seen using the power of the engines against Silverbolt, causing the acrophobic Autobot to lose control during flight. They were eventually forced to flee when the Aerialbots formed Superion.
Dirge would also appear as the Decepticon liaison to Cobra in Marvel's G.I. Joe and the Transformers crossover, where he was betrayed and destroyed by Serpentor. Dirge would not be seen in US comics for some time. (While G.I. Joe stories using the same continuity, but written by Devil's Due—after 2001—omit any contact with the 1980s' Transformers, Marvel Transformers and G.I. Joe stories printed between 1986 and 1995 never make any attempt to retcon Dirge's fate.)
Dirge would serve as part of the Earthbound forces under first Shockwave, then Ratbat, battling both the Autobots and Scorponok's Decepticon faction. He also assisted Soundwave in sending a signal to Cybertron. (For his return to be shown, perhaps since he was destroyed in proximity to the Ark, his wreckage was kept in "cold storage" similar to Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Buzzsaw, Frenzy, and Rumble, then liberated and repaired when the Constructicons looted an unguarded Ark in issue #41.) When Starscream seized the power of the Underbase, Thrust and Ramjet were part of the forces sent against him. Although they were not shown to be deactivated by the villain, they were not seen again in the main continuity, although they would be seen in the U.K. Earthforce tales under the command of Megatron and Shockwave.
Dirge would appear again in Marvel's Generation 2 comic, possibly revived by Nucleon. He was part of the Decepticon forces under Bludgeon, and was seemingly restored to prominence in the Decepticon hierarchy after Megatron's return. He died while fighting the Swarm. Dirge, along with Autobot Nightbeat detonated the coils of the cannon batteries they were operating, hoping to damage the Swarm.
Dirge made his first appearance in 1985, during the second season of the cartoon in episode #35, "Auto Berserk". How he came to Earth was not shown.
Dirge made regular appearances in the second season, and played prominent roles in episodes such as "The Gambler" (episode #47), where he and Ramjet have been sent to the planet of Monacus to discuss 'business' with a citizen, and "The Girl Who Loved Powerglide" (episode #54), where he almost destroys Powerglide. Dirge, however, was never shown using his fear-inducing engines. The closest example to his use of fear as a weapon is in "Megatron's Master Plan, Part 2". Along with Thrust and Ramjet, he is shown flying low over a human city. The populace seemed to be in utter panic. It's not clear if this was an intended demonstration of his fear-inducing abilities, because the defenseless townspeople were already terrorized by the sight of the Decepticons, having earlier sentenced the Autobots to an unknown fate in space.
During The Transformers: The Movie, Dirge was briefly shown during the Battle of Autobot City. A scene involving Dirge was edited, in which he among other Decepticons, were assaulted by Optimus Prime on his way to challenge Megatron. In the removed portion, Dirge returns to jump Optimus (facing Megatron) from behind, only to be slammed into the ground. Optimus then rises to continue his dialogue with Megatron. Dirge appeared again later in the movie, being the first at Starscream's coronation to spot the incoming Galvatron and Cyclonus. He appeared towards the end of the movie, attempting to escape from Unicron as Cybertron was being torn apart. A blue jet similar to Dirge was seen destroyed during the scene, which led to speculation that Dirge was destroyed.
Dirge, however, did survive and made sporadic appearances in the third season. In an early episode of the season (episode #66, "Five Faces Of Darkness Part 1") he was shown to have been destroyed by Ultra Magnus, but Dirge can be seen in episode #71, "The Killing Jar", amongst other later episodes. In one of those later episodes, "Ghost in the Machine", Dirge and Thrust are among other Decepticons being punished by Galvatron for failing to stop a demoralizing assault by Starscream—now a ghost possessing the bodies of other Decepticons. Just before he and the other offenders are to be hunted down, Trypticon, the Decepticon city is possessed, trapping Dirge, Thrust, Runamuck and Runabout inside. Dirge liberates Trypticon from Starscream's control, just before the traitorous ghost was about to aid Unicron in destroying Cybertron.
Dirge appeared in episode 1 and 15 of the Japanese exclusive Headmasters series.
Dirge appeared in the 1986 story and coloring book The Lost Treasure of Cybertron by Marvel Books.
Dirge was recruited as a Decepticon under the leadership of Megatron in his war against the Autobots on the planet Cybertron. Dirge became a member of the elite Seekers under Aerospace Commander Starscream. He often worked with fellow Seekers Ramjet and Thrust.
When Shockwave led the Decepticon attack on the Autobot capitol of Iacon 8.2 million years ago, Dirge was amongst his troops along with Astrotrain, Blitzwing, Bludgeon, Brawl, Chopshop, Dirge, Frenzy, Octane, Onslaught, Ramjet, Tantrum, Venom and Vortex.
After Megatron and Autobot leader Optimus Prime were lost in an accident with a space bridge, the Decepticon forces splintered. Dirge joined the Predacons under the command of Starscream, but later rejoined the Decepticons after Megatron's reappearance.
After the Great Shutdown ended, Dirge was reformatted in the form of an Earth-style jet, and became one of Shockwave's elite bodyguards. After the war between the Autobots and Decepticons ended on Cybertron, Ultra Magnus led a mission to Earth to arrest the Autobots on Earth for continuing their violent ways. Dirge was among the troops under Ultra Magnus.
Defeated by the Autobots on Cybertron, Shockwave was forced to set up a new secret headquarters in the wastelands of Cybertron, with Astrotrain, Blitzwing, Dirge, Ramjet and Thrust following him. Shockwave completed work on his new warrior, Sixshot. Megatron returned to Cybertron with three clone warriors and the Predacons and was able to defeat Shockwave. Shockwave was kept alive, but restrained. All Shockwave's warriors except Blitzwing, who was destroyed, joined up with Megatron in his plan to invade the Earth .
Dirge would not only appear in the Generation One Dreamwave comic but also in its sister comic Transformers: Armada. In this world, the incarnation of Dirge was one of the Heralds of Unicron, from a different dimension, sent to cause destruction prior to Unicron's arrival alongside his fellow heralds, Scourge, Thunderwing, Bludgeon and their leader Galvatron (all characters from the G1 universe, though their names are not mentioned and are not the versions from the Generation One Dreamwave comics).
While Galvatron attacked Megatron on Earth the other Heralds attacked the Decepticon base on Cybertron. Activating the Spacebridge links and leaving Bludgeon behind to guard them, Dirge, Scourge and Thunderwing journeyed to the Decepticon base on Earth, unaware they were being watched by the Mini-Cons. Finding and beating the luckless Thrust to a pulp, they then detected anomalies within the Spacebridge network and returned to Cybertron - only to be destroyed on their arrival by a cache of explosives set by Jetfire.
Devil's Due Publishing
In the first G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers crossover from Devil's Due Publishing a cone-headed Transformer that transformed into a jet with Dirge's color scheme is among the Transformers being used by Cobra. Whether this jet is the actual Dirge or another coneheaded Seeker is unknown, but it was killed by a malfunctioning satellite weapons system.
Dirge would appear again in the second crossover (presumably it was not him in the first arc) with Thrust, Ramjet, Scourge and Cyclonus, acting as bodyguards for Shockwave. When the Dinobots returned from different a time period they routed Shockwave's troops. Dirge was presumably killed either during this event, or when Cobra Commander detonated a store of explosives inside Starscream, killing everyone present. In this story, Dirge had not received an Earthen mode and transformed into a Cybertronian jet.
Dirge appeared under the command of Bugbite in the Transformers: Timelines tale "Games of Deception". This takes place in the Marvel continuity, but follows a different continuity to Generation 2 or the Marvel U.K. tales. He serves Bugbite loyally, shooting Starscream with a cerebro shell. In the final three-way battle between Ultra Magnus' Autobots, Megatron's forces and Bugbite's crew, Dirge is damaged by Grimlock.
Dirge appears in At Fight's End.
Dirge also made an unusual cameo in Wreckers Finale Part II. In the story the Quintessons invaded the recently reformatted technorganic Cybertron. Several mechs claiming to be former Decepticons whose sparks were liberated when Optimus Primal reformatted Cybertron lived in a one of the few technological cites. These mechs defended the city from the Quintesson Overseer Rexian and his troops. Several of these mechs claimed to formerly be the Decepticon warrior Thundercracker, now in a new body. In order to settle their dispute they decided that the one of them that destroyed the most Sharkticons could claim to be Thundercracker, the runner up could be Dirge.
Dirge was briefly seen in issue 7 of "All Hail Megatron", going through a space bridge to Cybertron ahead of the captured Autobots, where the Autobots were supposed to be fed to the Swarm. When Optimus Prime sealed the opening, Dirge and Decepticon scientist Deluge were trapped along with the Autobots. It's implied that the Autobots finished Dirge and Deluge off, but not confirmed.
- Generation 1 Decepticon Jet Dirge (1985)
- A remold of the toy used for Starscream and the other first year Seekers. Dirge's vehicle mode was supposedly modelled after the Dassault Mirage III fighter or a JAS 39 Gripen, but it barely resembles it. Dirge uses the original Seekers' F-15 body but takes on a different wing shape to differentiate it from the others (in this case, a canard, and winglets on the main wings).
- The toy was reissued in 2004.
- Generation 2 Decepticon Jet Dirge (unreleased)
- Although not released as a toy, concept art for a Generation 2 Dirge redeco with new missiles was released on the internet by former Hasbro employees.
- Timelines Deluxe Dirge (2007)
- A BotCon 2007 exclusive Dirge figure was announced and released at the end of June 2007 along with four other figures (including two additional Seekers). The Dirge figure is a blue redeco of Classics Ramjet. The release of this figure as a high-priced, limited run convention exclusive, instead of a brick-and-mortar retail release, has caused a divide among fans as half the official Classics Seekers are rendered unattainable for those who could not preorder them, attend the convention or afford the set second-hand. Loose Dirge figures sell for in excess of $100 in online auctions.
- Universe Generation 1 Series Deluxe Roadbuster vs. Voyager Dirge (2008)
- This toy is a redeco of Cybertron Starscream in Generation 1 Dirge's colors. A Target store exclusive.
- Gentei! Gentei! Deluxe Dirge (2008)
- A Toy Hobby Market Japan exclusive remold of Classics Deluxe Ramjet by Takara Tomy, with original wing molds that are closer to the Generation 1 toy than the Timelines release.
- Generations Deluxe Dirge
Beast Wars Second
|Function||Aerial Officer, Aerial Captain|
|Motto|| "Nothing tastes better than mass destruction."|
"Hey, check me out! I’m a bug…robot…thingy…"
|Alternate Modes|| Dassault Rafale Fighter Jet |
Giant Cybernetic Wasp
|Series||Beast Wars Second|
After swearing allegiance to Gigastorm, Dirge was rebuilt as Dirgegun. Though he still retains his comedic personality, Dirgegun is a much more powerful warrior who can no longer be taken lightly by any member of the Maximal Army. In mecha beast mode Dirgegun becomes a cybernetic wasp. He can use his spear gun to infect Maximals with a computer virus that briefly destabilizes them. His other weapon of choice is his "Blast Leader" which is a powerful sonic attack that burst`s the audio receptors of whoever is in range to here it. Though a stronger warrior, Dirgegun still has all the character defects of his Dirge form.
In "The Maximal Brainwashing Project" Starscream and BB were able to capture Diver and the Tasmanian Kid, brainwashing them into serving the Predacons. Meanwhile Leo Prime, Apache and Scuba were able to capture Dirge and Thrust. The shock of being damaged in capture had the side effect of making the Predacons think they were Maximals. Diver and the Kid were able to ambush the Maximals, allowing Galvatron to gain the upper hand on Lio Convoy, but the Maximals were aided by Dirge and Thrust. Furious that Lio had seemingly stolen his brainwashing idea Starscream had BB attacked the Maximals. Megastorm found the whole turn of events amusing and planned to use his main cannon to destroy all the Maximals and Predacons in the conflict, becoming the leader of the Predacons. His attack took so long to charge Diver was able to ruin it with a water geyser. The explosion was enough to shock the brainwashed Maximals back to their senses. Galvatron and the Predacons retreated with Dirge and Thrust in tow.
Theft of the Golden Disk
Dirge appeared as a minion of Cryotek in the animated special made for Botcon called "Theft of the Golden Disk" and was voiced by American voice actor Frank Todaro.
The opening sequence of Beast Wars: The Ascending features Magmatron, trapped in a temporal limbo, watching a fight between Dirgegun, Saberback, Killerpunch, Guiledart and Halfshell just before the planet Cybertron is destroyed by Shokaract and Unicron.
- Beast Wars Second Dirge (1998)
- The toy is a repaint of Machine Wars Skywarp and Thundercracker, who in turn are based on unused Generation Two molds. Similar to his namesake, this character was also an aerial warrior; however, he was mainly used for comic relief. He was a manzai partner to Beast Wars Thrust. He was packaged by himself or in a two-pack with the Maximal Tasmanian Kid. His function is Aerial Officer. The toy of Dirge was later recolored as Robots in Disguise Skyfire and as Robot Masters Wingstun.
- Beast Wars Second Dirgegun
- He later was upgraded to Dirgegun, a cyborg remold of Beast Wars Waspinator.
The character of Armada Thrust got a redeco of Powerlynx Thrust in the series. This deco was a homage to Generation 1 Dirge.
|Sub-group(s)||Convention Exclusives, Fuzors, Insecticons|
|Partners||Deathsaurus and Buzzclaw|
|Motto||"To lead is to inspire fear!"|
|Alternate Modes||Mantis/Lizard Fuzor|
In the BotCon exclusive Transformers: Timelines storyline, Dirge was the name of an Insecticon commander serving under Deathsaurus. This Dirge should not be confused with the 2007 Timelines Dirge, a homage to the Generation 1 character.
The accompanying comic revealed that in a possible future he was one of only two surviving Insecticons, alongside Buzzclaw, having lost their innate ability to create clones. He was recruited by Deathsaurus in aseries of experiments to unlock their cloning ability to create an instantaneous army to resurrect the Decepticon empire. Dirge then led a squad of his clones to ambush the Autobot force sent to investigate. However the revelation that Ricochet had infected the Insecticons with a virus that would ultimately kill the clones, and the arrival of more Autobots meant that Deathsaurus' plans were defeated. Dirge's final fate is unknown.
- Timelines Scout Dirge (2005)
- The toy was a repaint of Beast Wars Buzzclaw. The base figure used for Dirge was later redecoed as Universe Repugnus.
Transformers: Timelines (Shattered Glass)
'Shattered Glass Dirge
|Sub-group(s)||Mayhem Suppression Squad|
|Motto||"A little laughter rarely kills anybody."|
|Alternate Modes||Modified F-15, Mantis/Lizard Pretender Shell|
A version of Dirge appeared in the 2008 April Fools comic by Fun Publications. He was a member of the Mayhem Suppression Squad commanded by Colonel Deathsaurus, but is secretly loyal to Alpha Trion. His engines can generate a vibration which cause uncontrollable crippling laughter in his targets. It rapidly looses interest if things become boring and predictable.
He appeared as a redeco of the Games Of Deception Dirge in yellow (referencing the colors of BW2 Thrust), inside a Pretender shell resembling Descent Into Evil Dirge colored in white and teal (referencing the colors of Descent Into Evil Chromia).
Dirge's biography was printed in issue #26 of the Transformers Collectors Club magazine.
Dirge appears in the 2008 April Fool's comic "Shattered Expectations" by Fun Publications. He is part of the Mayhem Suppression Squad that responds to the Razorclaw's call for help against the Autobots Goldbug, Jazz and Grimlock.
Dirge named appeares in the story "Reunification" by Fun Publications. This character is one of Megatron's heroic Decepticons, but secretly loyal to Alpha Trion. He helps take Breakaway, Landquake, Skyfall and Topspin prisoner at the order of Alpha Trion, but Landquake uses his energon-shaping abilities to escape, shooting Dirge in the foot in the process.
No toy for this version of Dirge has been made yet, although it seems to be a redeco of the mold originally used for Classic Ramjet. The colors are a homage to the Beast Wars Second Predacon Thrust.
|Alternate Modes||Futuristic Harrier Jet|
Dirge is a toy-only character in Transformers Animated. He is a clone of Starscream who represents the Decepticon's greed. Dirge was designed as a clone of Starscream by Derrick J. Wyatt, the main artist for Transformers Animated, though he did not end up being used in the cartoon. However, the design was used for the Activators toy.
- Animated Activators Dirge (2009)
- A redeco of Activators Starscream in G1 Dirge's color scheme. Like Starscream, it features a spring-loaded transformation from harrier jet to robot.
- Animated TA-11 Activators Dirge (Takara Tomy) (2010)
- The 2010 Japan release version by Takara Tomy is virtually identical to the Hasbro version, with the exception of purple Decepticon emblems.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
The TAV-8B Harrier
|Alternate Modes||McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II|
|Series||Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen|
According to his biography Dirge tried to infiltrate NEST, but was discovered and is now chased by Bumblebee and Armorhide.
This Dirge is a homage to the Generation 1 character.
- Revenge of the Fallen Deluxe Dirge (2009)
- A new Deluxe figure of Dirge that transforms into a McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II jump jet.
- This figure was later redecoed in white as Jetblade for the Hunt for the Decepticons toy line.
Transformers: War for Cybertron
|Alternate Modes||Cybertronian jet|
|Series||Transformers: War for Cybertron|
- ↑ Lenburg, Jeff (2009). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Third Edition. Infobase Publishing. p. 656. ISBN 978-0-8160-6599-8.
- ↑ Alvarez, J.E. (2001). The Unofficial Guide to Transformers 1980s Through 1990s Revised & Expanded 2nd Edition. Schiffer Publishing Ltd.. p. 28. ISBN 0764313649.
- ↑ http://www.anime.com/Transformers/ Transformers Season Two Box Set, Part 1 by Brian Cirulnick, February 2003
- ↑ Greg Sepelak & S. Trent Troop (2007). Wreckers: Finale: Part II. Illustrator Guido Guidi, Colorist Drew Eiden. Fun Publications.
- ↑ Dirge (Decepticon Seekers, G1 Commemorative Reissue Series)
- ↑ http://www.google.com/patents?id=K6o7AAAAEBAJ
- ↑ TFW2005.com - Timelines Dirge
- ↑ TFW2005.com - Henkei Dirge
- ↑ TFW2005.com - Official Images of Generations Blurr and Dirge
- ↑ http://mastercollector.com/articles/reviews/dirge-review.html
- ↑ TFArchive - Transformers Cartoons
- ↑ http://www.tfarchive.com/comics/japanese/bw2playingbook.php
- ↑ http://www.monstersandcritics.com/books/comics/news/article_1343405.php/Creators_of_Transformers_Beast_Wars_The_Gathering_are_back
- ↑ S. Trent Troop and Greg Sepelak (2008). Gone Too Far. Illustrator Evan Gauntt. Fun Publications.
- ↑ Decepticon Dirge Moral Officer, Hasbro Transformers Collectors Club magazine, issue #26, April 2009/May 2009, page 6
- ↑ S. Trent Troop and Greg Sepelak (2008). Dungeons & Dinobots. Illustrator Evan Gauntt. Fun Publications.
- ↑ Now that I've got your attention... ; Derrick J. Wyatt: "The color schemes [of the clones] are obviously homages to all the original seekers, so in some ways I do think of them by their original G1 names. I did Thrust and Dirge colors too, but we didn't end up using them in the show. Those colors are sort of the basis for the Activator figure."
- ↑ TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED ACTIVATORS - DIRGE
- ↑ Takara Tomy - TA-11 Dirge
- ↑ http://www.the-arker.com/news_show.asp?Info_id=3614
- ↑ "Upcoming Revenge of the Fallen Figures - Bludgeon, Black Soundwave & More!". http://tformers.com/transformers-upcoming-revenge-of-the-fallen-figures-bludgeon-black-soundwave-more/12367/news.html.
- ↑ "Transformers Generation". Figure King Magazine (142): 82–83. 2009.
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