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|Specifics: fictional appearances|
When you encounter Skullgrin, just who you're meeting depends largely on what he happens to be wearing at the time. The Cybertronian robot at his core is intelligent, logical, coldblooded, and vain. He tends to put his own interests above the Decepticon cause and is easily distracted from missions and even direct combat should something of interest catch his optic. He finds Earth in particular quite interesting and is eager (in a decadent and mercenary way) to learn what it has to offer him.
Should you meet Skullgrin inside his Pretender shell, however, you'll find yourself facing a whole different beast. When he's encased in its monstrous hide, a new personality takes over: he becomes a snorting, snarling, sinister sick-o. Low on brains but brimming over with boundless, unstoppable rage, this Skullgrin is the kind of warrior you just point in a certain direction and let fly. Mindless destruction is his favorite pastime, and he won't stop snarling and fighting until everything before him has fallen.
The disconnect between these two personas can lead to some rather erratic behaviour on his part. The two disparate personalities attempting to reconcile themselves within him can make who and what Skullgrin is like on any given day a toss-up, and should the coin come down wrong, a potentially deadly one for anyone nearby.
- French name (Canada): Crânien
- Italian name: Korno
Marvel Comics continuity
After commandeering a genetics research lab on Earth, Scorponok was able to create the science of Pretender shells using synthoplasmic chambers constructed by him and Vorath. Skullgrin was one of six Decepticon volunteers transformed by the process into Pretenders.
He was sent to Earth alone by Scorponok to construct a fuel depot in secret for his Decepticon comrades, the belief being that his organic shell would arouse less suspicion than a normal Decepticon would due to the increasing public hostility towards giant alien robots, fanned by the Z Foundation. Skullgrin caught the attention of Rollie Friendly after Bigfoot-style sightings of him appeared in the gutter press, and the film director offered him a movie role. The Pretender agreed in exchange for being paid in fuel. When the public and press went wild over him, Skullgrin began to like being a movie star. But while his Pretender shell had fooled most people, robot hunter Circuit Breaker suspected his origins. When Skullgrin revealed his true form to the movie's leading lady, the robophobic Circuit Breaker attacked and destroyed both the film and his movie career.
Following the destruction of their mobile starship headquarters, the Decepticons established a new base hidden under the New Jersey dumps. Shortly thereafter, Iguanus was chosen by Scorponok to spearhead a new energy-collecting endeavor by him and his fellow Pretenders. When Skullgrin expressed displeasure at being left with guard duty while the other Pretenders had more exciting roles, Iguanus taunted that it was because movie stardom had made him a softhearted fleshling-lover.
Skullgrin was present at the Decepticon base when Optimus Prime surrendered his command to them in an attempt to convince Scorponok to form an alliance. When Optimus Prime, Kup and Hot Rod broke out of custody to try and force Scorponok's hand, Skullgrin was at the front of the group of Decepticons who rushed to their leader's defence only for Scorponok to order them to stand down, seemingly on the verge of accepting Optimus Prime's offer until Shockwave's rogue Decepticon group attacked the base. Skullgrin was last seen rushing into battle against the attackers alongside Soundwave, Bludgeon and Octopunch and may well have been deactivated either during that battle or the subsequent conflict with Unicron.
Skullgrin's was sent out with five of his fellow Decepticons to explore Fahl space, and their ship was attacked by the Cybertronian Empire. Skullgrin alone survived long enough to try to return to Megatron, and exploded in re-entry attempting to warn his leader.
Dreamwave comics continuity
Skullgrin was a brilliant and methodical field commander for the Decepticons. However, nobody likes intelligence in the Decepticon Empire, so his superiors put a shell program in his Pretender shell's circuitry that drove him nuts and made him virtually useless in a leadership position. And everyone lived happily ever after.
IDW comics continuity
Skullgrin was one of the cultists under Bludgeon attempting to resurrect Thunderwing. When Jetfire and the Technobots came snooping around Thunderhead Pass, Skullgrin and the other cultists attacked and captured most of the Autobot scientists. When Jetfire attempted to escape his confinement, he bashed Skullgrin into a wall. Later Optimus Prime and the Wreckers arrived, Springer blew Skullgrin up with a grenade. Bummer.
- Skullgrin (1988)
- Accessories: Sword, 2 x guns (left & right), belt
- Skullgrin's inner robot turns into a Cybertronic tank thing, with two built-in cannons in addition to Skullgrin's own guns that can be attached to the sides. The tank has three wheels on the underside to allow him to roll. Amusingly, the largest wheel ends up on his crotch in robot mode. The built-in cannons can be swung out of his arms easily in this mode, while his side guns can either be attached to his knees or held in his fists. The guns themselves can also be combined into a single double barrel gun, though the large size means it suits his Pretender shell better.
- Skullgrin's Pretender shell is a humanoid monster with a demonic ram's skull. Unusually, the belt actually works like a belt, looping around the shell and fastening together. While this may be more realistic or may look better, it also means one needs to unfasten the belt every time one opens the shell. The shell is armed with a sword and the double gun.
- Skullgrin was sold in Japan as Dauros.