Transformers has been famously slim with its selection of female characters, but if you do enough digging you can certainly find some interesting and compelling toys and characters. One such is Howlback, a Generation 1 cassette-former released 21 years after G1 in 2005 as an e-HOBBY mail order exclusive produced from the same mold as Ravage, G1’s iconic doberman-esque panther, with spiffy new cobalt plastic. Howlback has the distinction of being not only one of the very few female Mini-Cons, but perhaps more uniquely, being the only transgender Transformer.
Howlback made an appearance in Recordicons #21 as a member of the Decepticon police, a surprising inclusion considering the fact that the Recordicons comic, included in the Transformers Fanclub newsletter, canonically takes place within the Marvel Universe, which at the time included exclusively male transformers under the theory that since these alien robots don’t have a concept of gender, girls can’t exist. Recordicons author David Willis later confirmed that Howlback was not identified as female when she was created, and instead chose to identify this way later. To many fans’ surprise, the Hasbro run Facebook page “Ask Vector Prime” which answered fan questions about official material, confirmed that this was true.
Since her introduction, Howlback has made the occasional cameo in transformers merchandise and comic material, but still remains with many of the more obscure characters who have never had a proper release. Here’s hoping for a pleasant surprise next year!