Hello Seibertronians. First Gen here with a Seibertron.com exclusive interview with Josh Van Reyk (aka Richter) and Shaun Knowler (aka Whiterabbit), the Transformers Mosaic team and authors of the upcoming Spotlight: JAZZ comic book. In the following interview, we get a good look into the creation and forces behind the Transformers Mosaic continuum and an exclusive first look at something good.
: Josh and Shaun, or should I say Richter and Whiterabbit, first and foremost I'd like to thank you two for taking time out to talk to Seibertron.com. Josh Van Reyk
: No Sweat. Seibertron and its members have always been really supportive of the project.Shaun Knowler
: Indeed, something we've always appreciated. Seibertron's always been a main TF destination online for me as well. I think Hasbro should tip you guys for how much money your photo galleries have convinced me to spend...FG
: Thank you. Seibertron works diligently to get the fans the best images of TF figures so you can see them up close and personal before you purchase them.
Okay, here's the first couple of questions we have for you gents: What was your vision of Transformers Mosaic when if first began? Was it started to find new budding artists and writers from the TF Fandom?JVR
: Honestly, it was just a way for me to kill some time at work...SK
: Government jobs: nice work if you can get it, eh? Actually, we started the project as a small collaboration amongst a handful of users on the IDW boards, inspired by some strips in a similar format done over at the Allspark. We never really intended to have more than 5-6 pieces put out, but before we knew it the whole thing exploded.
So no, it wasn't originally planned to be some sort of Transformers Idol (unlike the Cover Contest we did for IDW), but we're very proud of the people who've found pro work through the showcasing and networking that TFM provides, and even prouder of the community and friendships forged. JVR
: Yeah, I still can't believe what it (the project) has achieved.FG
: Amazing isn't the word for what Mosaics has become. I wonder if HASBRO and IDW ever look at them as say "Hmm, let's make that one official."
Moving on, seeing that TF Mosaic has literally taken a life of its own, where do you see or would you like to see the Mosaics go from here? Would you like to spread them into larger projects, such as 5 page spreads or types of continuation series? JVR
: Both the "End of the Beginning" and Animated 'specials' worked really well, so we'll probably look at doing something similar this year. Though, something more 'connected' could be interesting, too. SK
: I've always felt avoiding anything too serial keeps the project a bit more accessible. That said, being over 300 pieces into it, we may take some closer looks at trying different things to keep it fresh. As far as the future goes, we might venture into some more logistical or administrative experiments. There could come a time when we could use some more hands on deck to look after things. Time will tell...FG
: One thing I've always thought was most interesting about the Mosaic line is the different stories and plots it offers. One day we'll learn the troubles of Omega Supreme and the next we see the mischief a young Sunstreaker and Sideswipe get into. And the art has just been beyond amazing with some familiar names that have been popping up.
What's it like seeing art from both well known TF artists and average fans coming in? When Mosaics began, did you ever think you'd get well known artists to submit work?JVR
: That's what I think is the appeal, the diversity, you never know what you'll get. Mmmm, chocolates I'll still get blown away by some of the art that I see coming through, seriously, there's some DAMN talented peeps in the TF community.
As far as well-known artists go, back before we had even started posting Mosaics online, Robby Musso was involved. Actually, I think his first piece "Feeling Yellow" was what really got us 'noticed.' We still have a few more well-known guys working on some pieces in their spare time, and we REALLY appreciate it. SK
: I think one of the fun things about TFM is the fact that you might also see some really obscure bots show up now and then. Heh, some have been so obscure that I've pondered including some TF Wiki links!
And yeah, we've been very blessed by the interest in TFM from some of the pro guys. Above all, we are fans, so getting contributions from the likes of Robby, Simon Furman (and the art crew he mustered up for his piece), Josh Perez, Josh Burcham and even Andy Wildman's War Journal cover have been special thrills to say the least! Because believe me, we understand what it means for these guys to donate time they don't have to a just-for-fun project. And I haven't even mentioned the stuff waiting in the wings yet...FG
: To think there's still so much waiting to be released yet. It seems that Mosaic looks to be a way for fans to communicate how they see the TF Universe and where they think it should go, was that the original intention of the Mosaic or did it evolve into that?JVR
: It's a bit of both, really. When we first approached people about writing scripts, we never really gave any specifications. It was more like: "Here's a page, give us your story" sort of thing. I guess we just never imagined there were so many stories.SK
: Yeah, we were more than a bit naive I guess-- about a number of things! The project was certainly founded on a common desire to present a voice and a point of view for the various characters that brought us together in the first place. The result really does make a statement about what it is about this franchise that has caught, and kept, the interest of so many over the years.FG
: 25 Years into this amazing storyline and as it grows, so does the Mosaic. Not too long ago we got the news that you two would be doing a dynamic on one of the Transformers Universe's most celebrated characters: Jazz.
Art by EJ Su & Priscilla Tramontano
Firstly, congratulations to you two on the upcoming work and secondly, can you tell Seibertron.com how this came to pass?JVR
: Thanks very much. Jazz is a favourite of both of ours, plus a lot of other people, so it's amazing to make our official debut with such an iconic character.
As for the story, it was an idea that I had been kicking around for a while, and it wasn't really until All Hail Megatron #1 came out, that I thought it could really work. I threw the idea at Shaun, he liked it, and we worked up a pitch together. SK
: I named my bike after Jazz when I was a kid! TMI? Moving on... IDW was pleased with the pitch, and to push the idea home a little, Andrew Griffith (who's providing the new covers for the upcoming City of Fear reprint series, and pitching in on art duties for the Defiance ROTF prequel) did a fully finished cover mock-up for us to go with it! Denton liked it so much that it's going to be used for the actual release too. And since it hasn't been revealed anywhere yet, we're gonna use this opportunity to unveil it for you folks right now!Seibertron.com exclusive first look!
Art by Andrew GriffithFG
: This cover just rings of true G1 essence. Given the nature of the two covers, this leads me to my next question:
What is the general time setting for Spotlight Jazz, are we looking at something in pre history, or something more recent, say set between the Revelation and All Hail Megatron story arcs? JVR
: The bulk of this story is set near the beginning of the war, but there are parts set during All Hail Megatron.SK
: Yup, lots of dawn-of-the-war goodness! Oh, and folks who dig fresh Cybertronian designs are in for a treat.
As far as its connection to the overall continuity, I'd like to think we hit a great balance between providing backdrop to current events and keeping it very self contained as well. Anyone who's missed out on AHM could pick this up and not skip a beat.
: How did the guys go from condensing so much work into a single page, to having 30+ pages in which to tell their story?JVR
: It was kinda hard, for me anyway. With Mosaic, you only really get to tell one 'event,' where with a full comic, there are numerous ones, so it was a bit tricky knowing the right amount of pages to allocate to each plot-point.SK
: Heh, there were times I felt like begging Denton for a couple extra pages, just to give EJ some room to stretch out and have a blast with some of the action sequences! But all in all, we're both pretty happy with how it turned out. The showdown should be a slobber-knocker, and I know E.J.'s excited to sink his teeth into it!
I'd also like to mention how unbelievably blessed we are to have E.J. and Priscilla onboard! We're just as excited (if not more) as everyone else out there to see what they come up with!JVR
: Agreed. When we first pitched this, EJ was at the top of my list. And it's great to share a debut with Priscilla (as far as interiors go).FG
: So the tale of the tape is as follows:Transformers Spotlight: Jazz
Josh van Reyk & Shaun Knowler (Writers) • E.J. Su (Art) • Su, Andrew Griffith (Covers) • Priscilla Tramontano (Colors)
Stranded, outgunned and outnumbered, AUTOBOT special operative JAZZ will need every bit of his training if he is going to make it out of this one alive! As things go from bad to utterly hopeless, what chance do JAZZ and his (unwilling) compatriot have, when they’re being tracked by the DECEPTICONS’ most ruthless warriors – THE PREDACONS?
*2 regular covers will be shipped in a 1-to-1 ratio.
*Retailers: See your order form for a special incentive
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
Information taken directly from the Transformers Mosaic Deviant Art page that you can find here
: Anything else you gents would like to add or say to the fandom?JVR
: Just that, if you already like Jazz (and come on, who doesn't?), you should really enjoy this issue. Even if you don't like Jazz, you should still enjoy the issue, especially considering Jazz's companion, who has a pretty decent online following, too...SK
: Yes, a fairly flashy fellow-- who hasn't had much characterization since the mid '80s! And let's not forget the Predacons... Our protagonists sure won't anytime soon! JVR
: Thanks to everyone for their support, and to everyone who I've had the pleasure of working with on Mosaic. SK
: I'd like to give a huge shout-out to all the supportive peeps and great friends I've made at the Transformers: Mosaic community, the IDW Forums and Seibertron.com! Hope to see you all at Botcon!
Josh and Shaun, or Richter and Whiterabbit, thank you again for taking time out to share this info with the Seibertron.com family. We really appreciate this and hope Spotlight: Jazz is just the first of a long run for you guys.
Seibertron.com would also like to extend a special thank you to IDW Publishing for allowing us to conduct this interview and to Transformers Editor Denton J. Tipton, for making this exclusive first look possible. You can view all Transformers series and other products available from IDW Publishing by clicking here
, and Mr. Tipton's personal blog From the Tip
, which features the latest updates in the IDW Transformersverse, by clicking here.
Oh and Seibertronians, Josh and Shaun are both members here. So, maybe, if you have another question you'd like to ask, post it by clicking View User Comments
above and they may answer.