|Organized by||Fun Publications|
|Filing status||Private Company|
|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (October 2010)|
BotCon, briefly known as "The Official Transformers Collectors' Convention" (or OTFCC), is an annual convention for Transformers fans and collectors. BotCon has been held annually since 1994. BotCon is a syllabic abbreviation for "Robot Convention" but also refers to "Autobot" and "Decepticon", the protagonist and antagonist robot factions in the Transformers franchise.
Featured BotCon guests are usually involved in the creation of Transformers media in some respect, whether as voice actors from the animated series, artists or writers from the comic books, or actual Hasbro employees.
The first BotCon was held in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1994. Organized by brothers Jon and Karl Hartman, the convention had 180 attendees. BotCon was organized in 1995 by Raksha, a prominent figure in the fan community, and in 1996 by Men In Black Productions, headed up by Dennis Barger. In 1997, the Hartmans brought Glen Hallit, a fellow fan, into the fold, forming 3H Enterprises (based upon the first letter of all three organizers' last names).
At BotCon 2002, Hallit announced that 3H had secured the official Transformers convention license, as well as licenses to produce comic books and start a fan club. Shortly thereafter, the Hartmans were removed from their organizational duties, leaving Glen Hallit as the sole organizer of the new company, 3H Productions, Inc.
In the winter of 2002, 3H sought to expand to Europe, holding its first ever official European convention in Cheshunt, UK. Unfortunately, the event, which was held in conjunction with the main BotCon 2002 in the USA, had much less advertising and the registration did not open until a couple of weeks before the convention. Since the attendance at the European BotCon had been much smaller than the main show that summer, 3H decided it was too much work to hold two separate conventions, and officially announced that they would never hold BotCon outside the USA again.
In 2003, the convention changed its name to "The Official Transformers Collectors' Convention", OTFCC for short, due to the Hartmans' ownership of the BotCon service mark. The fandom held dueling conventions in 2004, as 3H held OTFCC in Chicago, Illinois, while the Hartman brothers revived the BotCon name for their final convention in Pasadena, California. In the fall of that year, 3H Productions lost all of its Transformers-related licenses, leaving the convention in a state of limbo.
In early January 2005, Hasbro announced on its official Web site that Fun Publications, owned by Brian Savage, had been awarded the convention and fan club licenses. The Hartman brothers and other prominent fans Pete Sinclair, Benson Yee, and Rik Alvarez were invited to form an advisory council to help ease the transition of organizing the convention for the new owners. Once the Hartmans' service mark was transferred to Fun Publications, BotCon regained its status of being the official Transformers collectors' convention.
- 1994: Grand Wayne Center, Fort Wayne, Indiana—July 16 
- 1995: Dayton Convention Center, Dayton, Ohio—August 5–6 
- 1996: Radisson Hotel Rosemont (formerly Clarion Resort Rosemont), Rosemont, Illinois—July 12–14 
- 1997: Rochester Riverside Convention Center, Rochester, New York—July 18–20 
- BotCon Japan 1997: Science and Technology Hall, Tokyo, Japan—June 8 
- 1998: Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, California—June 19–21 
- BotCon Japan 1998: Sevencity Hall, Tokyo, Japan—December 12–13 
- 1999: Touchstone Energy Place (formerly RiverCentre), St. Paul, Minnesota—July 16–18 
- BotCon Europe 1999: Barnabas Center, London, United Kingdom—August 13–14 
- 2000: Grand Wayne Center, Fort Wayne, Indiana—July 28–30 
- BotCon Japan 2000: Trade and Industry Center, Tokyo, Japan—December 17 
- 2001: Durham Marriott Civic Center, Durham, North Carolina—July 13–15 
- 2002: Grand Wayne Center, Fort Wayne, Indiana—July 26–28 
- BotCon Europe 2002: Wolsey Hall, Cheshunt, United Kingdom—November 3 
- OTFCC 2003: Hyatt Regency O'Hare, Rosemont, Illinois—July 25–27
- OTFCC 2004: Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, Illinois—July 31 - August 1
- BotCon 2004: Pasadena Conference Center, Pasadena, California—June 19–20 
- 2005: Embassy Suites, Frisco, Texas—September 22–25 
- 2006: Lexington Convention Center, Lexington, Kentucky—September 27 - October 1 
- 2007: Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence, Rhode Island, Hasbro's home state, the weekend before the live-action Transformers movie was released—June 28 - July 1 
- 2008: Duke Energy Center, Cincinnati, Ohio—April 24–27 
- 2009: Pasadena Conference Center, Pasadena, California—May 28–31 
- 2010: Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida—June 24–27
- 2011: Pasadena Conference Center, Pasadena, California—June 2–5
- 2012: Hyatt Regency Dallas, Dallas, Texas—April 26–29 
- 2013: Town And Country Resort & Convention Center, San Diego, California—June 27–30 
- 2014: Pasadena Conference Center, Pasadena, California—June 19–22 
- 2015: Chicago, Illinois, June 18-21
Over the years, BotCon has featured many individuals who have worked to bring the Transformers multiverse to life, including voice actors, animation staff, and Hasbro design team members. BotCon guests include:
- 1994: Carl Fritz and Tom Bowman, Hasbro representatives.
- 1995: No special guests.
- 1996: George Boznos and Anthony Gaud, Kenner representatives.
- 1997: Peter Cullen, David Kaye and Venus Terzo, voice actors; Simon Furman, writer; Andrew Wildman, artist; Bob Forward, Beast Wars story editor; Vince DiCola and Stan Bush, musicians; Dawn Berryman, George Boznos, and Jerry Palmer, Hasbro representatives.
- 1998: Garry Chalk, Doug Parker, David Kaye, Susan Blu and Scott McNeil, voice actors; Bob Forward and Larry DiTillio, Beast Wars story editors; Vince DiCola, musician; Bryce Malek, Generation 1 cartoon story editor; Rob Tokar, Generation 1 comic story editor; Jennifer Donahoe and Andy Espenshade, Hasbro representatives.
- BotCon Japan 1998: Hirotaka Suzuoki, voice actor.
- 1999: Scott McNeil and Jim Byrnes, voice actors; Brian Chapman, Hasbro representative; Asaph Fipke, Mainframe Entertainment.
- 2000: Ian Corlett, John Moschitta, Venus Terzo and Alec Willows, voice actors; Vince DiCola; Joe Mattiko and Jamie Overbey, Hasbro representatives.
- BotCon Japan 2000: Tesshō Genda, voice actor.
- 2001: Michael Bell, Gregg Berger, Garry Chalk, Scott McNeil, and John Stephenson, voice actors; Paul Davids, Generation 1 cartoon production coordinator; Simon Furman, writer; Vince DiCola and Gary Falcone, musicians; Joe Mattiko, Hasbro representative.
- 2002: Dick Gautier, Neil Kaplan, Michael McConnohie, Peter Spellos and Wayne "Wankus" Lewis, voice actors; Tom Wyner, Richard Epcar, and Steve Kramer, Transformers: Robots in Disguise writers; Simon Furman and Bob Forward, writers; Adam Fortier, Pat Lee, Derek Choo-Wing, and Chris Sarracini, Dreamwave Productions; Aaron Archer, Michelle Field, Andrew Frankel, and Joe Mattiko, Hasbro representatives.
- BotCon Europe 2002: Neil Kaplan and Wayne "Wankus" Lewis, voice actors; Simon Furman, writer.
- OTFCC 2003: Gregg Berger, David Kaye, Garry Chalk, voice actors; Simon Furman, writer; Vince DiCola, musician; Dreamwave Productions representatives; Hasbro representatives.
- OTFCC 2004: Scott McNeil, Michael McConnohie, and Dan Gilvezan, voice actors; Bob Budiansky and Simon Furman, comic writers; Andrew Wildman; Vince DiCola, musician; Hasbro representatives; Dreamwave Productions representatives.
- BotCon 2004: Peter Cullen, Dan Gilvezan and Michael McConnohie, voice actors; Wally Burr, voice director; Bob Prupis and Alison Segebarth, former Hasbro employees; Paul Davids, Flint Dille, David Wise, Bryce Malek, Generation 1 script writers; Don Figueroa, Brad Mick, Pat Lee, Adam Patyk, and Joe Ng, Dreamwave Productions representatives.
- 2005: Michael Chain, Brian Dobson, Michael Dobson, and Paul Dobson, voice actors; Wally Burr, writer; Aaron Archer, Eric Siebenaler, Greg Lombardo, Hasbro representatives; Hideaki Yoke, Takara chief toy designer; Aaron Myers, Dan Taylor, IDW Publishing representatives.
- 2006: Peter Cullen, Scott McNeil and Blu Mankuma, voice actors; Alex Milne, comic artist; Hasbro representatives.
- 2007: David Kaye, Peter Cullen, and Daniel Ross, voice actors; Stan Bush and Ernie Petragelo, musicians; Roberto Orci  and Alex Kurtzman, film writers; Hasbro representatives.
- 2008: David Kaye, Bumper Robinson, Tara Strong, voice actors; Simon Furman, comic writer.
- 2009: Tyrese Gibson, actor; Peter Cullen, David Kaye, Michael McConnohie and Gregg Berger, voice actors; "Weird Al" Yankovic, Vince DiCola and Stan Bush, musicians, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, movie writers; Flint Dille, David Wise and Bryce Malek, Generation 1 writers; Paul Davids, Generation 1 production coordinator; Hasbro representatives.
- 2010: Peter Cullen, Paul Eiding, Scott McNeil, voice actors; Stan Bush, musician; Hideaki Yoke and Kohjin Ohno, Takara Tomy toy designers; Bob Budiansky, comic writer; representatives from Hasbro, Takara Tomy and IDW Publishing.
- 2011: Gregg Berger, David Kaye, Michael McConnohie, Neil Ross, Jack Angel, Morgan Lofting, Arlene Banas, voice actors; Stan Bush, musician; Flint Dille, story consultant/writer.
Transformers Hall of Fame
At the 2010 BotCon, Hasbro introduced a "Hall of Fame" awards ceremony to commemorate the people and characters of the franchise. Hasbro selected the first four robot inductees, while fans worldwide voted for the fifth. In the end, Dinobot from Beast Wars: Transformers won the votes. Among the human inductees were Bob Budiansky for helping create the franchise through comics and personality profiles, Peter Cullen for giving Optimus Prime his voice, Hideaki Yoke and Kohjin Ohno of Takara Tomy for creating many of the franchise's toys.
For 2011, Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay were inducted for the success of the Transformers live-action film franchise.
In 2012, the first posthumous award was given to voice actor Chris Latta, who died in 1994. Wheeljack, one of the characters he voiced in the original series, was selected as the Fan's Choice recipient.
- Robots: Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream, Bumblebee, Dinobot (Fan's Choice)
- Humans: Bob Budiansky, Peter Cullen, Hideaki Yoke, Kohjin Ohno
- Robots: Ironhide, Ratchet, Soundwave, Waspinator (Fan's Choice)
- Humans: Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay
One of BotCon's most popular features is the exclusive toys made available to the attendees. The toys are different every year and are not retailed anywhere in the world. The number of exclusive toys increased significantly in 2005 after Fun Publications became the official license holder of the convention. The identities and designs of the toys were originally kept a close secret until the opening of the convention, but in the later years of the convention the organizers often chose to reveal one or more of the exclusives ahead of time due to repeated problems with stolen prototypes being sold on eBay. In 2008, organizer Brian Savage ordered all eBay users selling these prototypes to return them to their rightful owners.
Although the toys are always unique, financial costs prohibit the creation of entirely new molds. As such, the toys are redecos or repaints of previously used toys given new identities, occasionally switching allegiances and even gender. Beginning in 2003, some of the exclusives were given new, retooled heads to further differentiate the new characters from previous uses of a mold. As the number of exclusives offered at each convention grew, so did the number of retooled parts. Since then, it has been standard practice to produce 3-4 newly tooled heads (or other parts such as wings in the case of 2007) for each BotCon. After the convention, exclusive toys usually become valuable collector's items in the community, particularly among fans who missed the convention.
- Ceply, Michael,(May 29 2009), New York Times
- BotCon 1994 Overview
- BotCon 1995 Overview
- BotCon 1996 Overview
- BotCon 1997 Overview
- BotCon Japan 1997 Overview
- BotCon 1998 Overview
- BotCon Japan 1998 Overview
- BotCon 1999 Overview
- BotCon Europe 1999 Overview
- BotCon 2000 Overview
- BotCon Japan 2000 Overview
- BotCon 2001 Overview
- BotCon 2002 Overview
- BotCon Europe 2002 Overview
- BotCon 2004 Overview
- BotCon 2005 Overview
- BotCon 2006 Overview
- BotCon 2007 Overview
- BotCon 2008 Overview
- BotCon 2009 Overview
- TFW2005.com - BotCon 2011 Location Revealed
- BotCon 2014 Overview
- BotCon 1994 Guest List
- BotCon 1996 Guest List
- BotCon 1997 Guest List
- BotCon 1998 Guest List
- BotCon Japan 1998 Guest List
- BotCon 1999 Guest List
- BotCon 2000 Guest List
- BotCon Japan 2000 Guest List
- BotCon 2001 Guest List
- BotCon 2002 Guest List
- BotCon Europe 2002 Guest List
- BotCon 2004 Guest List
- BotCon 2005 Guest Preview
- BotCon 2006 Guest List
- Roberto Orci at IMDb
- Alex Kurtzman at IMDb
- BotCon 2008 Guest List
- BotCon 2009 Guest List
- BotCon 2010 Guest List
- Hasbro.com - Hall of Fame Robots
- Hasbro.com - Hall of Fame Humans
- TFW2005.com - Waspinator Wins BotCon 2011 Hall of Fame Fan's Choice
- TFW2004.com - Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg to Be Inducted into Transformers Hall of Fame
- BotCon Threatens Legal Action Over Stolen Toys
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to BotCon.|
- Official site
- Hasbro Transformers Collectors' Club
- Convention info from the Transformers FAQ
- Transformers Conventions Attendee figures and information