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Livio Ramondelli Interview - Monstrosity and Robots in Disguise

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Livio Ramondelli Interview - Monstrosity and Robots in Disguise

Postby Va'al » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:54 am

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One of the users over on the IDW discussion boards has been able to chat to Transformers artist Livio Ramondelli. They talked mostly about the current digital-first Monstrosity series, sequel to Autocracy, but there are some tidbits about the upcoming Robots in Disguise issue 17 too!

You can read the whole interview here. Warning: there are some minor spoilers about both series!

We are in the middle of Monstrosity. For those unfamilar with the story what's the basic premise of it?

Monstrosity deals with a few parallel stories running and eventually colliding into one another. Most centrally, you have Optimus Prime attempting to unify a very divided world. You have Megatron being betrayed and marooned on a dangerous world and seeking to reclaim his throne. You have the Dinobots on the run, attempting to leave the planet under mysterious reasons. And lastly, you have the self proclaimed Decepticon leader Scorponok proving to be a very dangerous and unpredictable threat to all the other factions.

[...]

How far into the series are you? Do you know how it ends?

I'd prefer not to say how far I'm at exactly, except to say I'm on the last 4 issues of it. And yep, I've known how it ended since before we even started it. Flint, Chris and I plotted it all out in pretty good detail when Autocracy finished.

You are involved with an upcoming RiD issue involving Shockwave. Do you enjoy drawing him?

Yeah, Shockwave is one of my absolute favorites to draw. And RID 17 has Shockwave on essentially every single page (in one form or another!), so it's been a real blast.
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Re: Livio Ramondelli Interview - Monstrosity and Robots in Disguise

Postby MegaDump » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:33 am

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Hi guys, longtime Lurker/Reader, Seldom-Poster here...

While I do enjoy the new series and the direction of the IDW stories (now that they have sort of "settled" into what they want their Transformers legacy to be), I have to say I really just don't like the art this guy puts out. Nothing against him personally, but the proportions, perspective and general grittiness of his art, for me, just doesn't work well with Transformers, especially when it varies wildly from panel-to-panel.

I mean, I personally can't stand Andrew Wildman's artwork in ReGeneration One (I think that style of drawing should have stayed where it was - in the 80's!), but his skill with the storytelling aspect at least make things very easy to follow plot-wise.

Ramondelli's style is obviously a stark contrast to Wildman's, but what I'm trying to say: I can handle it when an artist is doing something I don't like visually, as long as I can follow the plot. I can accept that some readers probably find Ramondelli's style utterly beautiful and completely respect that... But particularly noticeable in Monstrosity, I found I had to look at each page VERY carefully to try and figure out what was going on in the story - and who each "blurry smudge" was supposed to be. Reading a story and then having to double back after realising you've missed something lost in the grittiness of the art really breaks the flow of the comic for me and it seems to happen repeatedly when this guy is on pencil duty. Does anyone else feel this way or am I just being a whiny b-i-t-c-h?
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Re: Livio Ramondelli Interview - Monstrosity and Robots in Disguise

Postby Va'al » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:35 am

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Hey MegaDump!

You are not alone in your complaints, but that is the first time I've seen them written in such a constructive way (rather than 'he's awful, he's the Bay of comics, blaaaargh').
I personally do not hate Ramondelli's artwork, but I do believe that he works better with bigger, more static images than dynamic ones.

And he can draw, he's an amazing artist. But it doesn't always show with robots.
For comparison:
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Re: Livio Ramondelli Interview - Monstrosity and Robots in Disguise

Postby MegaDump » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:45 am

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Hi Va'al,

Thanks for your reply and for adding your opinion - I'm glad to hear that I'm not alone. Reading through my first post on this topic, I realise now that I may have exaggerated my stance on Ramondelli's art. As I mentioned, I really don't like his style, but perhaps "hate" and "awful" are a bit too strong and unfair. After all, I definitely enjoyed Monstrosity, despite my misgivings about the art.

Personally, I find it something of a struggle to type out an opinion that is logically thought out and unambiguous yet fair, based on known examples. I refuse to succumb to troll-like behaviour: unsupported criticisms and personal attacks, just because I don't like something. The internet is full of negative attitudes from talentless hacks deriding the work of the genuinely gifted. I would not like to include myself in that list, which is why I try to frame my criticisms with specific focus - something, I hope, slightly more constructive.

I agree wholeheartedly that Ramondelli's artwork looks spectacular in that image of the Stormtrooper. You're right about the bigger, more wide images looking superior to some of the backgrounds in Transformers. Even the shape/proportions of the Stormtrooper look better in that one image in comparison to his robots (who's bodies often vary panel-to-panel). Together, these facts beg the question: should this guy be drawing robots? His proportions are out of scale/shape/varying degrees of damage between panels, difficulty following the plot and identifying characters...
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Re: Livio Ramondelli Interview - Monstrosity and Robots in Disguise

Postby Va'al » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:52 am

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MegaDump wrote:Together, these facts beg the question: should this guy be drawing robots? His proportions are out of scale/shape/varying degrees of damage between panels, difficulty following the plot and identifying characters...


That does seem to be the overarching question, once you get down to it, yes. As I said, I love his cover art, and Autocracy worked better than Chaos in my opinion, even though some splash pages and spreads were really really good (the D-Void, for example).

But there always is the feeling that things, even just little ones, are just a bit off. IDW keep asking him to do work for them, so there must be something good about it! He's obviously a nice person, and he runs his own thread on Monstrosity over on the IDW boards, really accommodating and friendly - I wonder if that influences readers' opinions, too. :-?
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