Danny Phillips is an early-adolescent human whose daddy issues have translated into an unhealthy fixation of Transformers; because finding them will somehow make his life magically 'right.'
You don't understand his angst. It is unique, like a snowflake. And he is better than you for embracing it, so just leave him alone Mom!
Danny is largely unaware of the underlying reasons for his unrelenting emo-ness.
Marvel Comics UK
In September 1985 Danny Phillips was caught in a fire when inept burglars attempted to blow up a bank vault in New York City. He was rescued by Inferno, Hoist and other Autobots. Danny's rescue had a profound effect on him, and he became convinced that the Transformers had come to Earth to promote peace and understanding. He filled several scrapbooks with newspaper clippings, trying to figure out where they’d appear next. Gradually, this grew to an obsession. He withdrew from his friends, and his grades began to slip.
'Now,' in winter early in 1986, his mother Jennifer has taken him out of school for a vacation away from the city in Charlston, which was having the worst winter in 20 years. It was cold on the coast, the beaches were dirty, and shops and arcades were closed for the off-season. With nothing to do and nobody to do it with, Danny escaped on long walks alone listening to his walk-man, regardless of the weather.
Evading his mother, Danny ventured further down the coast to the Charlston Power Plant, which he was surprised to find unguarded. Inside, the Decepticons Starscream, Skywarp and Thundercracker had locked up the power plant's personnel and were stealing energy. Skywarp seized Danny and began to squeeze when the Aerialbots burst in. Fireflight flew Danny to safety, depositing him on a beach by the Charlston Hotel, but Fireflight's flying had been so bad that Danny was knocked unconscious and the other humans assumed he had tried to harm the boy.
The Aerialbots subsequently formed Superion and carelessly destroyed the hotel where Danny was staying. Danny was outraged that the Transformers were no better than combative humans. After the Transformers departed Danny threw his scrapbooks into the ocean before returning home.
Jennifer Phillips is Danny's mother and sole legal guardian. She failed to notice as her son alienated himself from all his friends, but the moment his grades slipped, she decided his interest in robots was a "silly obsession" that she refused to recognize was important to him.
Some word choices in the story would seem to imply that Danny had an abusive father, but that was never explicitly established. In Missing in Action it is established that Danny's father was a NASA astronaut who was killed testing a rocket when Danny was four.
Simpson is a kindly janitor who works at the Charlton Hotel. He has sympathy for Danny being stuck here during the worst dead season with all of the shops closed, and answers his questions about the town, including about the Charlton Power Plant.