The official Transformers facebook page
has shared a Q&A session with the writers of IDW upcoming mini-series Transformers Prime: Rage of the Dinobots
, Mairghread Scott and Mike Johnson. The four issue limited series is set to launch next month. We've mirrored the session below for those without face book access.
The all-new TRANSFORMERS PRIME: RAGE OF THE DINOBOTS comic book series from IDW Publishing and Hasbro won’t be in stores until next month, but we couldn’t wait! We sat down with writers Mairghread Scott and Mike Johnson (both writers of the Transformers Prime television show) to hear about this four-issue limited series bridging the gap following Fall of Cybertron and tying in to the new season of Prime! Plus—we thought you might want to get an exclusive first look at Nick Roche’s retailer incentive cover—ask your local comic book store about availability!
Q: Firstly, Mairghread, I believe you’re the first woman to officially write a Transformers comic. How does it feel to have made history?
MAIRGHREAD SCOTT: It feels great to be the first woman to write a Transformers comic, but many of the writers on the Transformers Prime show are women, so it seemed natural to continue writing the world I love in a new medium. I only hope that everyone else is as thrilled in my arrival as I am to be here.
Q: Mike, you’re currently writing IDW’s Star Trek comic book, as well as DC’s Supergirl. How does it feel to be back writing Transformers again?
MIKE JOHNSON: It feels great! My first Transformers Prime mini-series ended up evolving into the second episode I wrote for the show, so it’s great to return to comics to tell a new Prime story. There’s a nice symbiotic relationship between the show and the comics and the game that I hope will continue on.
Q: Does Rage of the Dinobots tie directly into events that we will be seeing in future seasons of Transformers Prime?
MAIRGHREAD SCOTT: We think Rage is the perfect blend of stand-alone and integration. The entire story can be read without knowing anything about Prime the TV show, but there are a number of elements that foreshadow things to come on Prime.
MIKE JOHNSON: We are definitely working within the mythology of the show, and as with the last comics mini series there’s always the possibility that what we do in the comics could be reflected in the show down the line.
Q: Both of you have both written for the Transformers Prime TV series. Is it hard to translate adventures for these characters into a comic book?
MAIRGHREAD SCOTT: There's definitely been a learning curve from me in terms of pacing a comic book. Fans of Prime know we pack a lot of story into every episode, but comics are even tighter. Every panel counts and we tried very hard to keep the sense of movement people feel in Prime even in comic form. I think we succeeded.
MIKE JOHNSON: The tricky part is taking something that began in animation, and is so suited to the moving image. Comics work in static images, so the trick is to convey the pace and action of a show on the printed page. It’s a fun challenge.
Q: How do you set about creating new and unique voices for the Dinobots without forgetting their previous appearances across the Transformers franchise?
MAIRGHREAD SCOTT: The Dinobots have become increasingly smarter ever since they were first introduced in G1, and you can see this in the video game Fall of Cybertron as well. We wanted to preserve both that evolution and the animal nature of Dinobots that G1 fans love. So we focused on giving the Dinobots the minds of soldiers but the rage of beasts inside them. It's that fight that defines our Dinobots and it’s that struggle that we think fans will love.
MIKE JOHNSON: I think that all great pop culture characters need to evolve over time to be truly lasting, and the Dinobots are no exception. One of the strengths of Transformers is that they’ve been able to stay exciting and relevant for new generations, and part of that is because creators have not been afraid to make changes. The fun is playing off the expected and familiar voices of characters to create something new that still honors what’s come before.
Q: Can you tell us a little about the premise of what the Dinobots could be up to?
MAIRGHREAD SCOTT: The Dinobots are guarding the retreat of the last Autobot forces on Cybertron, but when one transport doesn't make it they are forced to try a daring rescue against the dark forces that have chosen to stay on a dying planet. It’s Black Hawk Down meets Apocalypse Now with metal dinosaurs. You’re welcome.
MIKE JOHNSON: We’re really embracing the “behind enemy lines” aspect of the Dinobots being the last Autobots standing on Cybertron after the Exodus. It creates a tense, dramatic situation that we see each of the Dinos react to in their own way. We also see a different side of Grimlock as he’s forced to keep his team together when everything’s going wrong.
Q: Will events in the mini-series tie in directly with the Fall of Cybertron video game, as well as the Prime series?
MAIRGHREAD SCOTT: The events in the mini-series come shortly after the Fall of Cybertron videogame, but are a significant time before the start of TF Prime (remember, the entire Exodus novel has to happen during this time too). For fans of the game, this will be a nice Dinobots/Shockwave rematch, for fans of Prime, it has some tantalizing upcoming elements in the show without being spoiler-y.
Q: What can you say about the artwork for the series which is being done by Agustin Padilla? Is it exactly as you envisioned it?
MAIRGHREAD SCOTT: We’re very happy with the art Mr. Padilla has done for us. He has an eye for detail that really brings out the wonderful Fall of Cybertron and Prime designs. You will definitely be able to recognize all our characters from one medium to the next.
MIKE JOHNSON: It’s better than I envisioned! Agustin has the perfect style for Transformers. His characters have a real presence and weight on the page that really make you believe that these are giant metal creatures doing battle. His imagination is amazing. We give him simple panel descriptions and he infuses them with action and life.
Q: Since you are co-writing the series together, how do you go about dividing the duties on that? Does one person write a draft and the other one comments on it and visa versa?
MIKE JOHNSON: It’s a constant give and take. We talk out the story over a meal, break it down into a page-by-page outline, and then start kicking script pages back and forth until we create a Frankenstein monster that lurches to life. Writing with a partner is fun because the things we come up with by bouncing off each other are often cooler than what we come up with on our own.
Q: Which of the Dinobots have you had the most fun writing so far?
MAIRGHREAD SCOTT: Slug, because I knew I would love writing Grimlock, but I didn't realize how much I’d love writing Slug. Slug is perfectly happy to be a hard-nosed, animalistic jerk. He doesn't even like being in ’bot mode if he can help it. I appreciate a character than embraces his situation like that without any angst. Slug is refreshingly stubborn.
MIKE JOHNSON: Grimlock, all the way. I’m old enough to still have the original G1 Grimlock from off the shelf back when he first appeared, so to be able to write him now is a 10-year-old’s dream come true. Plus, without spoiling too much, he’s one particular dinosaur who has “evolved” in interesting ways since he first stomped into our world.