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Don Figueroa off TF comics. For now?

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Don Figueroa off TF comics. For now?

Postby First Gen » Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:58 am

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From TFW2005 member Ktulu. Original thread with concept art can be seen here http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/showthrea ... 034&page=2

TFW2005 content contributor Ktulu recently had a change to sit down with fan favorite Transformers comic book artist and designer Don Figueroa. Check out what they had to say below.



TFW2005: Are you involved in the design process of any upcoming Transformers lines like Classics 2.0? What were the last toys you were involved in that have been produced?

Don Figueroa: I recently did concept art for two deluxes and two smaller bots for Classics 2.0. The last toy that I helped on that was produced was WW Grimlock, and I think I'm the only one to have received a copy that got past the prototype stage, but I'm sure there's more at Hasbro.


TFW2005: How much input do you have in the overall process of a toy you are involved in? Does Hasbro only use the design sketches they request of you or do you have any input over what characters you want to submit and how you think the transformations/engineering would work?

Don Figueroa: Not much input. Hasbro will give me a list of characters to do and I'll draw it and after I send them, it's out of my hands. Most of the time, they will follow the transformations/engineering, sometimes they'll change it and I'll just see a prototype months later. Sometimes they will ask for concept drawings that never get used.
One time, they came up to me at a convention saying "We're doing a toy of your Primus and WW Starscream" and I'm like "pfft, yeah right" but later I'll see that it's only 'loosely based' on the actual sketch design.


TFW2005: After the whole process is finished, have you ever been let down by the final product?

Don Figueroa: Sometimes, mostly when I finally get to hold it.


TFW2005: Have you hidden your name in any toy designs other than War Within Optimus Prime?

Don Figueroa: Nope, that was just a joke I did that I figured will get noticed and removed, but it got through for some reason.


TFW2005: When you create packaging artwork, how much control do you have over it? Does Hasbro have a specific idea of what they want, or do you have more or less free reign?

Don Figueroa: A lot of back and forth, I have to send the pencils for approval and then later the inks, and I had to do what they say. Like with my first work, Armada Starscream, the first feedback I got was from Dreamwave. They told me to "reduce the head by 20%" or sometimes they'll ask for a different pose if the character's not "looking straight at the camera" enough.
But they've trusted me a bit later on and I did less and less corrections. Sometimes, Hasbro will tell me to change something because the toy's design has been changed. But one time, they asked me to change something that wasn't really necessary, it was for Energon Scorponok. When I first drew that, the drawing shows those vertical guns on the side of his chest. Hasbro later told me they were taking those off from the toy, so I did it with the drawing as well. But then when the toy came out, the guns are still there.


TFW2005: Which character that you've drawn would you like to see made into a figure the most?

Don Figueroa: Maybe the characters of my own series in their own toy line... Hiro Prime knows what I'm talkin' about.


TFW2005: Other than what you do for IDW Publishing, do you have any other jobs? Are you still working for Hasbro, or perhaps working with other companies?

Don Figueroa: I'm actually off Transformers comics nowadays. I'm still doing occasional TF stuff for Hasbro, Botcon and IDW, but I really want to do other things now including a creator owned series that Harold Tietjens (AKA Hiro Prime) will be helping me on. I've pitched it to IDW and I don't think they've rejected it yet but they really haven't made a commitment to it either. I might shop it around, I dunno.
I'm also helping out former IDW editor Dan Taylor with his own Mech-based series and I'm also hoping to work on another book soon for IDW, I'm doing character designs for it now.


TFW2005: Think we’ll ever see Macromasters in print?

Don Figueroa: Not a chance, nobody's going to let me do it.


TFW2005: Do you plan on revisiting any of your Macromasters designs or plan to implement them into future lines or series?

Don Figueroa: Probably not.


TFW2005: Are there any plans for a Beast Wars Mega-Litho like your G1 version?

Don Figueroa: No.


TFW2005: How long did it take you to produce the Generation 1 Lithograph?

Don Figueroa: 3-4 weeks, on and off. In between issues of DW's G1 ongoing, that Beast Wars Summer special as well as entries for the G1 Profile books. I'll never forget how horribly hectic that month was. It was something I promised never to do again.


TFW2005: How long does it take you to draw a typical comic book page?

Don Figueroa: Penciling a page takes me a few hours, mostly around 5-6 hours. But it takes longer now that I've been inking my own stuff, usually all day now. Even when I shorthanded the pencils. For me, inking takes a slow and steady approach lest you want your work covered in Whiteout.


TFW2005: What inspired Nova Prime's look? Did you design him on your own or did IDW pitch an idea, which you developed for them?

Don Figueroa: The design that eventually became Nova was originally an Optimus Prime concept I did for Hasbro, it's mostly inspired by a lot of other Optimii like RID Prime, PM Prime/God Ginrai. etc. When I was given the task of the Optimus Spotlight there was no full design available for him but an obscure headshot E.J. did for a sequence in Escalation. So I just dug up an old design, replaced the head and viola! Nova Prime is born.


TFW2005: How long did it take to make your massive combiner custom? What did you use to create them? Do you have any customs that you've not shared with the community?

Don Figueroa: I only did one combiner, took me about a month or so to build. He's called Warmonger. It's made of 1/16" sheets of plexiglass and it was one of my more complexed builds.
Every individual robot has a number of articulation points and every piece of the gestalt pieces is built in, like hands, head and feet. The combined form is also very articulated when combined.
I recently did a new scratch-built robot and I'm about 30% into it. It'll have a lot of mobility due to the new ball joints I got a hold off. It'll also have working pistons and gears as well as other features (perhaps shocks, if I can find some springs). I don't see it being finished anytime soon since I'm in no rush really, and I only work on it whenever I can.


TFW2005: If you could bring back any Transformers villain, like Dark Nova or Tornedron, who would you choose and why?

Don Figueroa: I think that's a question more suited to the powers that be, I'm just an illustrator. I never had such an authority.


TFW2005: What’s your most memorable moment in working with the Transformers brand as a whole?

Don Figueroa: There's just so many, both from the very good and to the very bad. From War Within, my first professional book, to attending my first convention as a pro, to seeing my work on the toy store shelves and comic-shops to the whole nightmare that was Dreamwave in it's death throws, to being overwhelmed by the numbers of different continuity brought upon by the different media and Hasbro annually pushing the reset button.


TFW2005: What do you wish to accomplish in the future that you haven’t yet achieved?

Don Figueroa: I had hoped to contribute something worthwhile to the Transformers mythos if only for a limited time, like a mini-series or even a one shot, but I was never able to do it, mostly because of bad timing, not fitting with the continuity or whatever. Or maybe they're just terrible, I dunno. But nobody has really said otherwise, just the usual "We don't have any plans for it right now" or "We already have a story planned, sorry" response or nothing at all.
But with most of my ideas, hopefully I can salvage and rework it and use it for something else entirely when the opportunity presents itself.


TFW2005: Thanks Don!

Don Figueroa: You're most welcome and thanks.
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Postby Dead Metal » Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:14 pm

Motto: "Don't do drugs, beer's cheaper anyway!"
Wow, that was a nice interview, so NovaPrime is actually Optimus Prime?! :shock:
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Jeep! wrote:Why do I imagine Dead Metal sounding exactly like Arnie?
Intah-wib-buls?

Blurrz wrote:10/10

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Postby First Gen » Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:24 pm

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Dead Metal wrote:Wow, that was a nice interview, so NovaPrime is actually Optimus Prime?! :shock:


Cool eh? And whats cooler is that Nova is actually Nemesis Prime.
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Postby Dead Metal » Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:30 pm

Motto: "Don't do drugs, beer's cheaper anyway!"
First Gen wrote:
Dead Metal wrote:Wow, that was a nice interview, so NovaPrime is actually Optimus Prime?! :shock:


Cool eh? And whats cooler is that Nova is actually Nemesis Prime.

Since when is that so?
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Jeep! wrote:Why do I imagine Dead Metal sounding exactly like Arnie?
Intah-wib-buls?

Blurrz wrote:10/10

Leave it to Dead Metal to have the word 'Pronz' in his signature.
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Postby First Gen » Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:37 pm

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Dead Metal wrote:
First Gen wrote:
Dead Metal wrote:Wow, that was a nice interview, so NovaPrime is actually Optimus Prime?! :shock:


Cool eh? And whats cooler is that Nova is actually Nemesis Prime.

Since when is that so?


Escalation #3 I believe. I'll have to go read it again to make sure.
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Postby Dead Metal » Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:37 pm

Motto: "Don't do drugs, beer's cheaper anyway!"
First Gen wrote:
Dead Metal wrote:
First Gen wrote:
Dead Metal wrote:Wow, that was a nice interview, so NovaPrime is actually Optimus Prime?! :shock:


Cool eh? And whats cooler is that Nova is actually Nemesis Prime.

Since when is that so?


Escalation #3 I believe. I'll have to go read it again to make sure.

He wasn't in that ish!
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Jeep! wrote:Why do I imagine Dead Metal sounding exactly like Arnie?
Intah-wib-buls?

Blurrz wrote:10/10

Leave it to Dead Metal to have the word 'Pronz' in his signature.
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Postby First Gen » Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:41 pm

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Dead Metal wrote:
First Gen wrote:
Dead Metal wrote:
First Gen wrote:
Dead Metal wrote:Wow, that was a nice interview, so NovaPrime is actually Optimus Prime?! :shock:


Cool eh? And whats cooler is that Nova is actually Nemesis Prime.

Since when is that so?


Escalation #3 I believe. I'll have to go read it again to make sure.

He wasn't in that ish!


Then Megatron Origins 3? One of those. I know it ties in with Spotlight OP when he encounters Nova in the Matrix and senses dread.
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Postby Dead Metal » Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:47 pm

Motto: "Don't do drugs, beer's cheaper anyway!"
First Gen wrote:
Dead Metal wrote:
First Gen wrote:
Dead Metal wrote:
First Gen wrote:
Dead Metal wrote:Wow, that was a nice interview, so NovaPrime is actually Optimus Prime?! :shock:


Cool eh? And whats cooler is that Nova is actually Nemesis Prime.

Since when is that so?


Escalation #3 I believe. I'll have to go read it again to make sure.

He wasn't in that ish!


Then Megatron Origins 3? One of those. I know it ties in with Spotlight OP when he encounters Nova in the Matrix and senses dread.

Haven't read that jet, but I hope it's not true.
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Jeep! wrote:Why do I imagine Dead Metal sounding exactly like Arnie?
Intah-wib-buls?

Blurrz wrote:10/10

Leave it to Dead Metal to have the word 'Pronz' in his signature.
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Postby First Gen » Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:07 pm

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Dead Metal wrote:
First Gen wrote:
Dead Metal wrote:
First Gen wrote:
Dead Metal wrote:
First Gen wrote:
Dead Metal wrote:Wow, that was a nice interview, so NovaPrime is actually Optimus Prime?! :shock:


Cool eh? And whats cooler is that Nova is actually Nemesis Prime.

Since when is that so?


Escalation #3 I believe. I'll have to go read it again to make sure.

He wasn't in that ish!


Then Megatron Origins 3? One of those. I know it ties in with Spotlight OP when he encounters Nova in the Matrix and senses dread.

Haven't read that jet, but I hope it's not true.


Sorry bro, but it is.
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Postby Prime Evil » Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:09 pm

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First Gen wrote:
Dead Metal wrote:
First Gen wrote:
Dead Metal wrote:
First Gen wrote:
Dead Metal wrote:
First Gen wrote:
Dead Metal wrote:Wow, that was a nice interview, so NovaPrime is actually Optimus Prime?! :shock:


Cool eh? And whats cooler is that Nova is actually Nemesis Prime.

Since when is that so?


Escalation #3 I believe. I'll have to go read it again to make sure.

He wasn't in that ish!


Then Megatron Origins 3? One of those. I know it ties in with Spotlight OP when he encounters Nova in the Matrix and senses dread.

Haven't read that jet, but I hope it's not true.


Sorry bro, but it is.

I'll second that notion to be true also. I hope he still has the same bot mode and alt mode. Just so bad ass looking.
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Postby Damolisher » Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:11 pm

Man, IDW's comic-verse is getting WAY too confusing.
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Postby Prime Evil » Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:49 pm

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Damolisher wrote:Man, IDW's comic-verse is getting WAY too confusing.


How so? Maybe I can break it down for ya? :???:
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Postby i_amtrunks » Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:16 pm

Dead Metal wrote:
First Gen wrote:
Dead Metal wrote:
First Gen wrote:
Dead Metal wrote:Wow, that was a nice interview, so NovaPrime is actually Optimus Prime?! :shock:


Cool eh? And whats cooler is that Nova is actually Nemesis Prime.

Since when is that so?


Escalation #3 I believe. I'll have to go read it again to make sure.

He wasn't in that ish!


Yeah Nemesis Prime is in Devastation #3 on the final page talking to Galvatron (although their speech bubbles are switched). Making his first in comic appearance.

GOod interview, not a tonne of details but still some insight to one of the better TF illustrators.
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Postby waaaaghlord » Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:30 pm

I wonder how Don's statement that he's not working on anything TF related at the moment ties in with Chris Ryall's many comments about a Don maxiseries coming next year. I know that there has been pretty much nothing in the way of details released about that project, but I definitely got the impression that it was going to be a TF book. Hm :-?
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Postby MaikeruSama » Wed Dec 05, 2007 8:51 pm

I dont blame him. Hasbro jips him and ruins his designs. Also they dont give him enough credit or let any of his toys come out. Which the Grimlock was awsome!
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Postby sto_vo_kor_2000 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 8:55 pm

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Dead Metal wrote:so NovaPrime is actually Optimus Prime?! :shock:


That was a shocker for you????I noticed the simularties the first time I saw his alt mode.

First Gen wrote:Cool eh? And whats cooler is that Nova is actually Nemesis Prime.


They didnt say it yet but its starting to look that way.
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Postby Darth Bombshell » Wed Dec 05, 2007 8:56 pm

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Dead Metal wrote:Since when is that so?


Since Simon said so.
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Postby 1337W422102 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:23 pm

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Postby ThunderZap » Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:37 pm

Yeah his megatron is badass :grin:
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Postby Supreme Convoy » Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:51 pm

It's a bummer he's not working on Transformers as much. But creator-owned stuff? Awesome news!
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Postby Dclone Soundwave » Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:30 am

This is pretty unfortunate is it really is true. Don is a great TF artist, we've had some of the best pieces from him, I mean come on, ho doesn't love the G1 or Multiverse lithos!? All I have to say about his concept of the first Megatron is......I can't come up w/a word that describes that kind of awesomeness. His face is more the Decepticon insignia that Soundwave, & Soundwave is already pretty mcuh the Decepticon insignia.
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Postby Dead Metal » Thu Dec 06, 2007 4:53 am

Motto: "Don't do drugs, beer's cheaper anyway!"
sto_vo_kor_2000 wrote:
Dead Metal wrote:so NovaPrime is actually Optimus Prime?! :shock:


That was a shocker for you????I noticed the simularties the first time I saw his alt mode.

First Gen wrote:Cool eh? And whats cooler is that Nova is actually Nemesis Prime.


They didnt say it yet but its starting to look that way.


I haven't seen him jet, just pic someone posted as the OP spotlight came out.
I have to wait till cHristmas to read it :sad:
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Jeep! wrote:Why do I imagine Dead Metal sounding exactly like Arnie?
Intah-wib-buls?

Blurrz wrote:10/10

Leave it to Dead Metal to have the word 'Pronz' in his signature.
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Postby cellshock » Thu Dec 06, 2007 5:17 am

Don is, was and always will be THE best TF artist that I have ever seen. That's not to say everyone else sucks or anything - it's just that Don's style and insane attention to detail is exactly how I have always wanted TF to look, and it wasn't until I seen his stuff that I even knew that kind of grown-up look was possible.

By the tone of his answers, I get the distinct impression that he was seriously overworked but underpaid & underappreciated. Sounds like both IDW and Hasbro had a very "take it or leave it" attitude with him, and certainly didn't give the attention to his designs that he undoubtedly deserved. I guess that point is more than proven with how they released his WW Megatron without the sword, and never released his WW Grimlock, WW Prowl, second WW Seeker design, G1 Shockwave, G1/WW Cosmos, WW Bumblebee/Cliffjumper, etc. at all.

I'm glad he was given the opportunity to rise from comic artist to Hasbro designer since we got a few kick ass figures out of it (WW Prime & Classics Jetfire in particular), but it's a crying shame that we won't see more of his stuff in print or in three dimensional toy form.
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Postby Silent_Magnus » Thu Dec 06, 2007 6:10 am

Dead Metal wrote:Wow, that was a nice interview, so NovaPrime is actually Optimus Prime?! :shock:


Yeah, DonFig posted that in the Optimus Spotlight Discussion thread awhile ago.

I wonder what line the Optimus Design was for?
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Postby moonie » Thu Dec 06, 2007 7:10 am

what??!! done??! nooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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