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Transformers Design Team (RID, TR, Generations) Interview

Transformers News: Transformers Design Team (RID, TR, Generations) Interview
Date: Sunday, November 13th 2016 10:14am CST
Categories: Toy News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): GeekDad.com

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Views: 16,848

Karen Walsh of GeekDad/Mom.com was able to have a fairly lengthy conversation with the current Hasbro Transformers designing team, from John Warden to Ben Montano, via Sean Carmine Isabella and Louis de Armas, and talked about a range of topics concerning was goes into the planning, designing and marketing of the current lines, their trends, and what the people behind the robots see of the toyline. You can check out some snippets below, or head here for the full read!

Throughout the interview, the team’s dedication to the characters and the stories was inspiring. To this team, products are more than the end result, they are a labor of love and a passion. Mr. Warden continued by telling me that his plan for the designs “depends on the toy line and where they start. My work on Generations might not be the same as for Titans Return. Although Generations and Titans Return are playing with characters from the late ’80s, these characters are really resonating with new and old fans, so we’re trying to keep in that universe. We want to look at the range of fans and at characters’ universal appeals. We have to choose characters based on not just popularity but also purpose into the line.” It’s this commitment to both the toys as an item as well as the stories within the Transformers universe that was ultimately inspiring.

[...]

Whether it’s the play pattern, the names, or the colors, the integration of these multiple factors matters. Sean Carmine Isabella shared, “we want it to good look, but the biggest challenge is to not put a barrier in the play patterns. Play pattern starts with the core audience, so we talk to the age range. We look at what TV shows they’re watching, what cartoons they’re watching. We want to see what’s speaking to kids today.” Ben Montano follows up by noting that the different age ranges “definitely complicates things. The duality [of both toy and consumer are] what makes us unique.” Mr. Carmine Isabella shared that the integrative approach matters because “it’s a back and forth process. We’ll think about the colors and if it doesn’t make sense with the story backroad then it’s not going to work. The kids need to be able to connect to it.”

Transformers Titans Return Alpha Trion Emiliano Santalucia Original Artwork

Transformers News: Transformers Titans Return Alpha Trion Emiliano Santalucia Original Artwork
Date: Saturday, September 17th 2016 12:05pm CDT
Categories: Toy News, People News
Posted by: D-Maximus_Prime | Credit(s): Emiliano Santalucia

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Views: 34,787

Emiliano Santalucia, who previously shared images of his Powermaster Optimus Prime artwork, has dropped by once again to show off another set of artwork that he did, this time for Alpha Trion! Emiliano stresses in his Facebook post that this artwork was done with no intention of making it a toy, and it was not meant to be a triple-changer either. Check out his artwork below, and let us know what you think in the comments section below!

The original Alpha Trion Sketches:
VERY IMPORTANT: these are early concepts commissioned by Hasbro that have been created years before the actual toy design began.
It would be unfair to compare them to the final model. My sketches were concepts for the character, not for a specific toy. There was no Titans Return line back then, no specific class this was meant for, no third mode.
#Transfomers #Hasbro #Titansreturn #conceptdesign #toydesign


Transformers News: Transformers Titans Return Alpha Trion Emiliano Santalucia Original Artwork

Transformers News: Transformers Titans Return Alpha Trion Emiliano Santalucia Original Artwork

Transformers News: Transformers Titans Return Alpha Trion Emiliano Santalucia Original Artwork

Transformers News: Transformers Titans Return Alpha Trion Emiliano Santalucia Original Artwork

Seibertron.com Interviews Simon Furman: from the Past to The Death

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Simon Furman: from the Past to The Death
Date: Tuesday, August 30th 2016 10:27am CDT
Categories: Comic Book News, Site Articles, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al

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Views: 20,830

You won't believe the things we can do now, as Seibertron.com has been fidgeting behind the scenes to bring you more exclusive content from the creators of one of the longest running brands of fiction about giant transforming robots out there. You all bring so much to the community and fandom... can we do any less for you?

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Simon Furman: from the Past to The Death


You may be asking what we're playing at, with these odd turns of phrase, but the more perspicacious among you may have noted the pattern. We planted the seeds a long time ago, Seibertronians, it is now time to reap the whirlwind: please welcome to our interview series... Simon Furman!

Va'al - Simon, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us, we really appreciate it! As you probably know, you're considered one of the cornerstones for the fictional world of the Transformers - but how did it all start for you? What does Simon Furman: Origins look like?

Simon Furman - Lots of lucky breaks and neat coincidences, not that much actual talent (at that stage). After a bit of aimless I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-my-life I lucked into a journalist job at IPC Magazines, in their competitions department (writing editorial copy and judging etc). That in turn put me squarely in the sphere of IPC’s comics group, which included 2000 AD, Battle, Eagle, and many others. In time, I was head-hunted to join the team on Scream! A new ‘horror’ comic for kids in the style of 2000 AD. I became assistant editor to Ian Rimmer, who was the editor.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Simon Furman: from the Past to The Death


Sadly short-lived, Scream gave me my first comics scriptwriting gigs, on Library of Death, Terror of the Cats and The Dracula File. But, even more invaluably, it put in contact with Ian, who became a friend as well as just an editor, and when Ian subsequently moved to Marvel UK to edit Captain Britain Monthly he (first) put me in touch with Sheila Cranna (editor of TF:UK at the time), who was looking for writers to continue the UK-originated comic strip begun by Steve Parkhouse (Man of Iron), and (second) put me forward for the position of assistant editor on CBM. The rest, as they say, is history.

Va'al - A history we have more or less come to know, true, but fascinating nonetheless! Were you interested in the Transformers brand and franchise at all, even in its fledgling state at the time, or was this literally just another job that grew into what it eventually became?

Simon - Completely unaware of Transformers. I was 23 in 1984, and – as a rule – not watching a whole lot of Saturday am cartoons. I was a big comics (mostly Marvel) reader at the time (having been so in my youth and come back to it with a vengeance), and might well have seen the ads for the original TF mini-series in other Marvel titles, but largely the advent of Transformers passed me by. So I crash-coursed – VHS tapes of the cartoon, tech specs, toys and the Marvel comic series itself, then was kind of let loose. Then, as now, I focused on character(s) first and foremost, and kind of opted for a big name (Starscream), a smaller one (Brawn) and a middle one (Ravage) and threw them together. The Enemy Within was the result.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Simon Furman: from the Past to The Death


But even then, I had no thoughts of this being other than a one or two-off gig, and certainly never thought TF would last as long as it did, or be as big as it was. It was just work, and I was pleased to have it. I'd kind of thought Scream might be the end, so I was delighted to doing more script work… on anything… and be working Marvel (albeit Marvel UK). Unknown (to me) toy title it might be, but but this was Marvel… MARVEL!

Va'al - Marvel indeed, and old school Marvel at that! Was there a specific moment where you clicked, and realised you were in for the long haul - both work-wise and concerning personal commitment and investment? Or did it just all keep growing, slowly creeping up to what we know it to be?

Simon - It was definitely cumulative. I was never meant to be ‘the’ Transformers writer, but rather one of many. But after Crisis of Command (by which time I was assistant editor on Transformers UK, under Ian Rimmer) my familiarity with the brand and the general ease with which Ian and I could shoot ideas back and forth meant it was all round easier just to use me on a regular basis. Especially when it came to Target: 2006 and the Animated Movie, and tying our comic story in with that and the launch in the UK of Galvatron & Ultra Magnus, ‘the new leaders’, as toys.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Simon Furman: from the Past to The Death


That saga was formed in-house, and tailored to fit our editorial (and advertorial) needs – the UK comic was cross-promoted with the UK TV advertising for the toys, so it was a big deal for us and we needed to get it right. As it happened, the movie (undeservedly) kind of bombed in cinemas and our story soared to new heights. But if there was a specific moment, and I’m not sure there was, that was it.

Va'al - If Target: 2006 and the Movie were your turning point - after a fashion - what would you say to the various turning points for the Cybertronians that you created? You were there for the end of Bast Wars, for the various Dreamwave series, for the new beginning with IDW, after all...

Simon - I suppose the next biggest event was my taking over on the US comic (as of #56), after a strangely casual lunch with Bob Budiansky in a restaurant in Covent Garden. Bob handed the reins over to me on a visit to London, qualifying it slightly by saying the book had maybe four or five issues left in it before the powers-that-be cancelled it (in those days sales of under 100,000 qualified you for the unkindest cut). But it was my door-opener for Marvel US and I was delighted to have it. I didn’t exactly set out to prove Bob wrong, but it felt like there was nothing to lose if I just threw everything but kitchen sink at it, including a lot of the characters and mythos I’d introduced into a UK comic. I’m still hugely proud that we got twenty-five issues out of it, and that some of those issues remain people’s firm favourites.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Simon Furman: from the Past to The Death


Then I guess it was being invited to Botcon in 1997, which introduced me not only to Beast Wars but the wonderful Bob Forward and Larry DiTillio (script editors on the show), who it turned out liked my G2 stuff well enough to have considered binding some of the ideas therein with their concept for the Vok. Anyway, that in turn, via some twists and turns, led to Nemesis pt2, my first animation work (and solidly took my career in that direction). Then, I guess you’d have to count Dreamwave and The War Within as the next big turning point. My first real shot at doing the pre-history of the Transformers, and – whatever the ...niggles of how badly Dreamwave ended – the era that really rebooted the franchise as a whole for the 21st century, cueing up IDW’s tenure and maybe even making the live action movies a solid proposition.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Simon Furman: from the Past to The Death


But possibly the biggest, for me, is starting up the whole IDW-verse up (with IDW EiC Chris Ryall), my first ‘from scratch’ bit of Transformers storytelling, a continuity that ten years later continues apace (and shows no sign of flagging), outstripping Marvel — certainly in terms of volume. If there’s a pinnacle, it’s that.

Va'al - You did initiate the Infiltration protocol, didn't you - and it kind of escalated from there. If you'll allow me a fairly specific question at this point: what did you make of, and how did you (do you) feel about what has happened to the stories you started once they were out of your control? All Hail Megatron springs to mind, in this case, for example.

Simon - I can completely see all the rationale for All Hail Megatron, to create that kind of jumping on point after five or so years of story, but I think (initially at least) it was a misstep to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ when readers had invested so heavily in the –ations, Stormbringer, Spotlights et al.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Simon Furman: from the Past to The Death


But the latter half of AHM and the Codas did their level best to rectify that, and now what you have are all these initial threads still being picked up and expanded upon/taken in bold new directions, by the likes of James Roberts and John Barber (to great effect). So overall I think the IDW-verse is in great shape these days, and in very safe hands, but AHM could have been a bit of a disaster.

Va'al - We are indeed still seeing elements of AHM show up, even in the upcoming Revolution event! I could ask you your thoughts on that, but would rather retread another path briefly: ReGeneration One. How did you feel it went, are you satisfied with closing off the story, and would you go back to that universe again?

Simon - I’m really pleased with RG1. We accomplished everything we set out to do, I feel, in a way that was both faithful to the original 80 issues and yet not knowingly retro in look or feel (while still drawing on 30 years’ worth of TF lore and disparate universes along the way), and so could stand alongside other modern comic books. It pulled together a massive amount of threads and had a proper, no-nonsense (no sequels) ending. We set out to finish that continuity/story and we did so (I have no wish to do more in that universe - it really is, “over, finished.”).

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Simon Furman: from the Past to The Death


What kind of amuses me is some of the instant/knee-jerk feedback we had from people who just said, “no, that’s not how it would have happened/should be,” or words to that effect. I’m sorry, but that’s the way it is – the creative and editorial team say so. You don’t have to like it, but those are the decisions we made and the paths taken (it’s not storytelling by committee). Can you imagine back in 1991, someone writing into the US or UK comic and saying – I’m sorry, I completely disagree with that ending – change it?

Va'al - I'm sure there were fans who would've done that, though, they just didn't get printed in the backmatter! Having more or less concluded all of your stories, in one way or another, I'm curious though: a lot of your early work fleshed out characters without affecting the main story necessarily (I'm thinking Marvel UK here); now that all is done, is there anything you'd like to revisit in a similar fashion? And I mean that in any of the fiction you have or have not worked with.

Simon - While I was glad to do RG1, I’m more for looking forwards. I’d always do more Death’s Head, that’s a given, but largely my focus is elsewhere now, on stuff I have a proper vested interest in. Apart from Matt Hatter Chronicles, the animated TV show I write and show-run for, I’m involved with a trio of creator-owned projects: The Chimeran (the brainchild of Paul Goodenough, Gary Kurtz and Richard Bazley), Spirit of The Pharaoh (Terry Jervis) and mine and Geoff Senior’s To The Death. That trio of projects is where my focus is right now, as well as writing movie scripts with co-writer Mark Salisbury. I have such a nice variety of projects (for different media) on the bubble right now, and I’m enjoying myself enormously. Add to that the Transformers: Earth Wars (game) for Space Ape, Marvel Fact-Files, and a few things I can’t talk about yet – and every day is a new treat and challenge.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Simon Furman: from the Past to The Death


And To The Death is especially exciting, as I get to work with longtime friend and collaborator Geoff Senior (his first substantial body of comics work for nearly 20 years), who is just one of the most exciting artists out there. I love writing for him, because I know he just wants to cut loose with that amazing kinetic full bore style of his, and my scripts do their level best to give him exactly what he wants. And just to make it even more interesting than regular comics, I’m writing the episodes as loose screenplays, which Geoff is turning into these meaty batches of full colour (landscape format/widescreen) frames, like a movie shooting board (he’s mostly in advertising these days, so this approach really suited him). Then, like the old Marvel plot-style approach to script, I go back in and reformat and readdress the dialogue, adding or subtracting as best suits the frames. Some I just leave well alone, because the art totally speaks for itself.

Va'al - You are definitely busy, I'll give you that - makes me appreciate even more you talking to us! I have two questions coming out of that last point, though: first, your experience is varied, but has had a lot of robots in it; is the approach to writing organics (humans, even) different, do you find yourself having to find a different gear, or does one inform and influence the other?

Simon - I’ve never treated the Transformers as anything other than sentient lifeforms, albeit alien lifeforms of a completely different order of life. So my approach is pretty much, bar the (um) mechanics, the same whether I’m writing Transformers or To The Death, Death’s Head or, say, Alpha Flight. Boil it right down, and the core of any story is the characters of the protagonists and antagonists, whether it involves human, aliens or alien robots characters, and how they bounce off each other given a set of circumstances, extreme or otherwise. Beyond the sci-fi trappings and the high concepts, I always ask myself: what is this story about? What resonance will it have with the audience? All sci-fi really is a disguised social commentary on the here and now. Just look at something like 2000 AD. When the powers-that-be at IPC Magazines told the writers of Action to cease and desist doing socially relevant stories in a “kid’s” comic, they just fed the same two-fingers-at-the-establishment [V - note for US readers: two fingers = middle finger] ideas into a sci-fi setting and made it allegorical – and no one noticed.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Simon Furman: from the Past to The Death


So beyond the future war, alien "soldiers-of-fortune" and kick-ass mechs, To The Death is about one man who refuses to be crushed or rendered insensate by the all-consuming greed of a powerful elite who have ceased to care, to the point where they’re prepared to ‘sacrifice’ billions of lives in the name of feathering their own nests. The gulf now between the haves and have-nots is wider than it’s ever been, and governments are now merely pandering to big business (allowing them to get away with monstrous tax dodges and the like), while letting the wider world/populace to go to hell in a hand basket, ever more reliant on charity as the government purse strings get tighter. To The Death has simply gone to the next level and removed governments entirely, so that Earth is now ruled by the all-powerful Tri-Corp, who have carte blanche to do whatever they want, without heed to morality, humanity or accountability. Our ‘hero’ is the one who says “enough”, even though it’s a battle he can’t possibly win.

Va'al - Whew. One does hope that someone will notice the commentary, in this as in any other book or piece of entertainment, really. The other question I had was: you talk about working with a number of creators, and how you're happy to be collaborating with Senior again; is there anyone else you'd like to partner up with again? Someone you've never had the chance to?

Simon - There are of course people like Andrew Wildman and Geoff [Senior] who I love working with, and have worked with enough times that I kind of know how to tailor what I write for them (and to get the best out of them), but I also love working with new artists or established ones I’ve never had the pleasure of working with. I really enjoyed working with Nick Roche, he brings such (youthful) energy and passion to what he does, and would happily do so again.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Simon Furman: from the Past to The Death


In fact, I’ve worked with a whole lot of amazing artists, from Don Figueroa to Alex Milne, from EJ Su to Guido Guidi, all of whom I’d be happy to work with again. I’ve been very lucky. They all made me look good (or at least competent). Biggest thrill for me, on a fanboy level, was getting John Byrne (I’m a big fan) to draw a cover for one of the direct market Titan hardback variants of Transformers collections we put out a while back (Dark Designs, above). That was very cool.

Va'al - And after so many collaborations, so many stories, so many projects, is it now over? Finished? Or are we to see more Furmanisms show up in the TFverse in the future?

Simon - Ha. That’s a cue to trot out a Furmanism right there. I have a feeling I’ll always be involved in Transformers, in some shape, way or form. I love it, and I love the passion of the fans (mostly). It’s pretty much defined my career, so there’ll always be room for TF in my schedule, no matter how busy I get. Earth Wars is keeping me pretty busy and there’s something else TF-related that I can’t talk about yet. So yeah, short answer: "it never ends."

Va'al - Well played. And thank you again for finding words to give to us, rather than an actual word-related project, Simon. It was an honour and a pleasure! Before the time comes for us not to be here... any final words to the readers?

Simon - Hey, just go give To The Death a spin. The first episode is free to download on the site (http://www.to-the-death.com) from Sept 10th, and our exclusive print graphic novel, To The Death: Forged By Fire, is (only) available via our Kickstarter campaign that launches on the same day. These Furman-Senior collaborations are not likely to be ten a penny, so grab that goodness while you can. And thanks supporting us in our venture!

---

You heard the Furminator, give a new comic by a tried and tested partnership a looksie, find more of his words in the Transformers: Earth Wars game, or just patiently wait for this new Transformers related project he keeps hinting at. More interviews coming soon here at Seibertron.com, keep your receivers tuned - until then, be excellent to each other!

Hasbro UK & Ireland Manager David Henderson on Future Plans

Transformers News: Hasbro UK & Ireland Manager David Henderson on Future Plans
Date: Saturday, July 9th 2016 2:08am CDT
Categories: Toy News, People News, Company News, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): Toy News Magazine

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Views: 23,195

Via the Toy News Magazine, we have a brief look into some market-speak from Hasbro UK & Ireland, concerning their future plans for that corner of the toy market. As expected, not much is really said at all by David Henderson, the recently appointed Country manager, but he does comment on the difference between US and UK markets, and vaguely talks about future plans; you can find extracts from the full interview - found here - below.

Reminder: Hasbro UK has already announced that it will not be participating in the London/UK Toy Fair.

Where are the areas of improvement for Hasbro in the UK and Ireland and how are you looking to tackle these?

The team has done a phenomenal job in all areas. The key for our team is to be relentlessly focused on driving our business, understanding our consumer and connecting with them across all possible touch points.

Simply put, we must not be satisfied with our current momentum and always be seeking out new opportunities to connect with our consumer.

[...]

Having moved to the UK from the US, what do you view as the key differences for Hasbro between both markets?

Simply put, there are many differences and many similarities, but that is only on the surface. I want to immerse myself in the culture, learn from my team, our retailer partners and the consumers.

I was born and raised in Canada and have lived in the USA for the past nine years. I have been fortunate to travel to and work in many countries and know that many differences exist, but the common bonds are also very strong. I can’t wait to learn more about these great countries and their people.

Declassifying IDW and Hasbro's Comics Merge: Revolution - With John Barber, Cullen Bunn, Fico Ossio

Transformers News: Declassifying IDW and Hasbro's Comics Merge: Revolution - With John Barber, Cullen Bunn, Fico Ossio
Date: Thursday, June 2nd 2016 11:38am CDT
Categories: Comic Book News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): CBBR

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Views: 22,413

We have yet more information on the upcoming Hasbro and IDW Publishing co-effort in creating a shared universe for several of their licensed properties, in the REVOLUTION event this September. Via ComicBookResources, we get an interview with writers John Barber and Cullen Bunn, and artist Fico Ossio, touching upon some of the major points of interest about the crossover. We also get a first look at some of the main and variant covers for the titles, with art by Tradd Moore, John Byrne, Adam Riches, Guido Guidi, Ken Christiansen, and James Biggie!

CBR spoke with the creators involved in the five-issue unifying series, not only to find out how it came about, but also to learn what -- if any -- relationship it has to the film side of things, as well as what it is that will bring these various groups together.

CBR News: John, you've been involved on the editorial side of things for these books for a while. How did you feel about bringing the universes together?

John Barber: I'd always thought if I could go back in time, I'd make sure the IDW G.I. Joe comics took place in the same universe as the Transformers comics.

[...]

How did the decision to combine the contents of those boxes come about?

Barber: One day, the IDW editors were brainstorming ideas, and this notion of doing a crossover came about -- but I'm never totally sold on big crossovers that don't impact the subsequent status quo. Like, it's fun to cross over two properties and see how they interact, but I mean, if you're getting a lot of characters together, it has to have some impact on the world. Meanwhile, I think what Tom Scioli -- and me, a little -- did on the "Transformers vs. G.I. Joe" comic was great, really fun stuff. But that story was ending; Tom and I had it all planned to wrap up.

Then I remembered something Andrew Griffith, who draws "Transformers," suggested one time: the IDW G.I. Joe comics could fit in between big Transformers comics events. At the time, it wasn't anything we were really serious about, but now -- I started thinking about that. Did that actually kind of make sense?

[...]

This effort seems to reflect a similar plan for Hasbro's big screen adaptations. Do you have any communication with the people working on the films?

Barber: Hasbro Studios is very aware of what we're doing, and there's some back and forth sharing of information and ideas. I don't think there's been any big thing where we've seen things one way and they've seen things other ways. We've been remarkably in sync, I think it's fair to say. There've been some characters that have specifically come from the studio here and there -- some of these brands have been dormant for a while, and there are new angles they have on characters that they've shared with us, like Phenolo-Phi in "Micronauts." They have some amazingly talented people working in that writer's room -- like, seriously extraordinary people who have done amazing film, comics and television. The few I know personally are great human beings, too.

The funny thing with this was, it wasn't like a mandate came down and said, "Do this." Totally the opposite. IDW Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall and I flew out to Hasbro headquarters in Rhode Island to try to convince them to do this, because we really wanted to have this universe exist. And it turned out we were all on the same page. It was great, the people running the brands at Hasbro were all very into this and really supportive, and offered great ideas and angles on what we could do.

[...]

Fico, how is it for you bringing all these different characters who come from various backgrounds and realities together into one cohesive look?

Ossio: It sort of built up from my first take on G.I. Joe. David and John asked me to work on a cover/pinup of the characters and gave me license to give them an "upgrade."

I didn't want to really stray too far from the original cartoon, which I watched as a kid and loved. I had a bunch of G.I. Joe toy,s as well, so I wanted to just take those uniforms and give them more of a body armor look. Especially considering these guys were about to clash against 10-foot-tall robots. I could't grasp the concept of keeping them in regular army outfits or spandex -- sorry Snake Eyes. I think it works, because they still look true to their original design, but with a modern and updated look. Then, I took the new design of Action Man and applied the same as I did on G.I. Joe.

Next was Transformers. A lot of artists had worked on Transformers, and I found most of the designs Andrew Griffith had done were great. I respect his designs and pushed to make them more complex, with new, flexible parts and more of an organic look, which I thought would bring them closer to the combined universe. I also wanted to bring some of the elements from the movies. Except for Optimus. I couldn't help myself, and with him I pushed as far as the guys would let me.

[...]

As "Revolution" kicks off, what kind of threat or event is it that's big enough to bring all these different groups together? And what was the design process like developing that individual or force?

Story continues below

Barber: The background is, Optimus Prime has publicly declared Earth to be under his protection and part of Cybertron's Council of Worlds. This isn't Dark Optimus; he's doing good things -- at least from his point of view -- but the people of Earth are naturally going to be concerned about this turn of events.

Now, one of the reasons Earth has been important to the Transformers is this substance called Ore-13. This has a long history in the Transformers comics, but the short version is it can be converted to Energon, which is the Transformers' fuel source. That means the Earth is one of the few places in the galaxy where Transformers can live -- it has a food source, basically. But Ore-13 has always had other properties -- an ability to supercharge Cybertronians, for one.

Something starts happening to Ore-13 around the world, making it unstable, and all signs point to Optimus Prime, who has no idea why this is happening. That sets the stage for "Revolution."

[...]

How will your own ongoings look different after the events of "Revolution?"

Barber: Lots of the Transformers comic I write will be different, including the title. But at the same time, it's building the same story I started writing five years ago. You don't need to know all that stuff, but if you do, rest assured this is all part of the big story we've been telling. It's an unexpected benefit -- I mean, 2011 John had no inkling that Rom or Scarlett or Acroyear or Windblade or Action Man would be there, but this all fits into the tale Andrew Griffith and I set out to tell.

But coming out of "Revolution," there are some big changes. Lots of stuff is going to happen between now and November, when "Revolution" ends.


Transformers News: Declassifying IDW and Hasbro's Comics Merge: Revolution - With John Barber, Cullen Bunn, Fico Ossio

Transformers News: Declassifying IDW and Hasbro's Comics Merge: Revolution - With John Barber, Cullen Bunn, Fico Ossio

Transformers News: Declassifying IDW and Hasbro's Comics Merge: Revolution - With John Barber, Cullen Bunn, Fico Ossio

Transformers News: Declassifying IDW and Hasbro's Comics Merge: Revolution - With John Barber, Cullen Bunn, Fico Ossio

Transformers News: Declassifying IDW and Hasbro's Comics Merge: Revolution - With John Barber, Cullen Bunn, Fico Ossio

Transformers News: Declassifying IDW and Hasbro's Comics Merge: Revolution - With John Barber, Cullen Bunn, Fico Ossio

James Roberts Interview with TMW Magazine

Transformers News: James Roberts Interview with TMW Magazine
Date: Thursday, April 14th 2016 8:54am CDT
Categories: Comic Book News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): TMW

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Fellow Seibertronian AdamPrime, also the editor for Toy Meets World magazine, has shared with us an interview they conducted on the publication with IDW Transformers writer James Roberts - which you can read in full below! Topics included range from writing techniques, to world-building, a relationship with Hasbro and IDW, and the possibility of a Rung toy (never, apparently). Check it out, and let us - and TMW - know what you think in the Energon Pub.



AdamPrime wrote:Hi guys and gals,

I'm the editor of Toy Meets World magazine. Recently we had the great honor of chatting with IDW writer supremo James Roberts. He's a proper gent, so I thought I'd treat you all to the full interview.

TMW issue #1 is undergoing a 'trial launch' right now, and is available at selected retailers in the south west. We're listening to feedback, and will tweak the mag slightly for the proper nationwide rollout in a few weeks' time. If anyone would like an issue, and there is plenty to read about (such as interviews with Simon Furman, Stan Bush and My Little Pony's Nicole Oliver; reviews of all the coolest toys and books; and tonnes of retro fun with TF, He-Man, Sega, Power Rangers and much more!) then please contact me and I can send one out in the post.

Anyway, on the the interview:

When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer? Was it always going to be in comics, or was that something you pursued later in your career?

I’ve always wanted to write fiction for a living, but not comics necessarily. And that’s strange, I guess, because as a child I read comics to the exclusion of pretty much all else: Whizzer & Chips and Buster, then Marvel UK titles (including Transformers, of course), then 2000AD and what little Marvel US and DC stuff found its way to the Channel Islands. I was a member of an unofficial Transformers fan club – a group of pen pals, really – and even then, for most of the time at least, I contributed prose fiction rather than comic scripts. In my late teens I discovered authors like John Updike, Martin Amis, Graham Greene, George Orwell and Julian Barnes.



It's fair to say that the best TF writing has come from the Brits; previously, Simon Furman was considered the godfather of Transformers - were those big shoes to step into? Did he officially pass the torch?

Oh, I dunno – Nick Roche, John Barber and Mairghread Scott all write a mean TF story, and none of them are British. But thank you anyway! I was and am a huge Simon Furman fan – I’d hold him up alongside my more traditional literary heroes as being a formative influence – and I have him to thank for being a Transformers fan. More than the toys, more than the cartoon, more than the Marvel US material… if it wasn’t for Simon’s work on the British TF comic, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I got his autograph back in 1991, just after #75 of the American Transformers comic came out; he signed the comic for me. I got him to sign it again 10 years later, when I was promoting an unofficial TF novel I’d written; and 10 years after that, in 2011, I had him sign it a third time – and by then I was writing TF stories professionally, and he asked me (tongue in cheek, but still…) to sign something for him.


Simon’s my TF dad, really. There was no “official” passing of the torch – I’m not sure how that would even work…! – but he did give me a copy of the script to the last Marvel US issue with a lovely note that essentially invited me to carry on what he started.


When you're writing a script, how do you keep to the page count for each issue? Do you supply the script that you feel is complete, and the artist squeezes it in to 20 pages?

No, it’s more complicated – and time-consuming – than that. It’s my job to break each issue down not only into pages, but panels. I have to work out the pacing and structure of each issue, how the story unfolds, how many panels I’ll need to do a scene justice. It’s a case of ‘Page 1, Panel 1’, then a description, for the artist, of what needs to go in the panel, and then the dialog that will go inside that panel. MTMTE is a dense comic – both in terms of plot and dialog – and a huge amount of my time is spent working out how best to tell the story over 20 pages. It’s all planned down to the last detail.


Your stories are characterised by an incredible amount of world-building and backstory. You have also introduced concepts relating to Transformer anatomy and beliefs such as Rossum's trinity, the Guiding Hand and so on. Does Hasbro or IDW ever try and reign you in? Or are you allowed to add as much depth as you like to the characters and universe?

I’m encouraged to world-build – it’s almost part of the job description. IDW, Hasbro and readers (I hope) want to see the Transformers Universe expanded and enriched. I’d only be reined in – and it hasn’t really happened yet, touch wood – if I wanted to introduce a concept that was fundamentally at odds with what Hasbro felt Transformers was about, or if my editor thought, frankly, that it was a rubbish idea, or if anyone responsible for singing off my scripts feel that what I wanted to do was too… well, I was going to say “adult”, but that’s not what I mean. MTMTE has always operated on an adult level in terms of not talking down to its audience, and in terms of exploring mature themes.


MTMTE has an intriguing stance on politics, governments and social injustice. It makes for fascinating reading. Have you ever considered a place in Parliament?

I’m a political nerd and I do have strongly held beliefs about how society should be organized and how we could bring about a better quality of life for everybody. Maybe one day I’ll take the plunge and put my money where my mouth is.


MTMTE threw out the concepts of 'goodies' and 'baddies'. The Autobots and Decepticons are revealed to just be people - whether it's Rodimus' crew, the Scavengers or Deathsaurus - under the badge they're all basically the same. We're dreading the day when the war starts again - will the peace (and MTMTE as a comic) last?

You’re giving me too much credit. The decision to end the Autobot/Decepticon war was made by IDW’s editorial team back in 2010, and John Barber and I had a year in which to prepare two ongoings – John’s Robots in Disguise (now simply titled The Transformers) and MTMTE – which would explore postwar life in more detail. Neither John nor I knew how long the peace (and that’s a relative concept; there’s still lots of conflict in the Transformers Universe) would last. We didn’t know whether fans would demand a return to war, or whether we’d find it difficult to set stories in peacetime for too long. But here we are, in Year Five of each of the ongoings, and the war is still officially over.

It’s true that putting the war to bed has opened up a huge number of new storytelling avenues, most of them predicated on the idea that, once (overt) hostilities cease, and the red and purple badges are put to one side, you’re forced to see each Autobot and Decepticon as a Cybertronian – as a character defined by something other than who they used to take orders from. As I say, it’s opened up lots of new story possibilities. All that said, if the war started again – and it well might – that would mean MTMTE had to end. It would just create some interesting new tensions…


Have you petitioned Hasbro for a toy of Rung? We can imagine the packaging now - "Tranforms from ROBOT to ORNAMENT and back again!"

Ha! I’ve never petitioned Hasbro for anything. They do their thing and, from time to time, I learn that, for example, there’s to be a Minimus Ambus figure, or that another of the Lost Light crew – Brainstorm, Whirl, Chromedome, whoever – is being re-released as a toy. I would LOVE Rung to have a toy, but I damaged the chances of that ever happening when I decided, early on, that he should turn into something which happened to have a very limited play value. You see the sacrifices I make for the greater storytelling good?


With MTMTE, you've taken a few obscure characters, and a few prominent characters, and really made them your own. Characters such as Rewind, Whirl and Ultra Magnus will never be the same. Did you set out to do this from the beginning? Did you think to yourself "Now's the time for Brainstorm to shine!!"

Kind of, I guess. I deliberately selected lesser-known G1 characters, but characters I was fond of, to accompany the Big Four (Rodimus, Magnus, Ratchet and Drift) that were at the center of MTMTE Season 1. Autobots like Tailgate, Skids, Swerve, Brainstorm, Chromedome and Rewind were attractive to me principally because they hadn’t been explored in the past. They were recognizable (to more dedicated TF fans, admittedly), but they were almost blank canvasses. I knew that MTMTE – certainly in the early days – was all about secrets and hidden histories, and I couldn’t tell those type of stories with A List characters who had appeared in IDW comics for the last few years, or with characters who had very well-established personalities. I’m immensely proud of the fact that, through MTMTE, these D-listers have become well-loved and well-recognised characters in their own right.


This may sound silly, but do you take voices into consideration when writing a character? Most people would claim to "hear" the voices in their head when they read. Do you ever give it much thought?

It’s not a silly question and I do give it some thought, mainly because so many readers ask me “Who do you think X sounds like?” And I have to give a very dull – but truthful – response and say, “S/he has a British accent and sounds a bit like me.” I have an imagination deficit in this regard, because I really don’t ‘hear’ their literal voices. I do, of course, know their voices in terms of their character – what they would and wouldn’t do, what they’d say, how they’d say it, the rhythms of their speech and so on, but I don’t, say, write a line for Nautica and hear a certain actress’s voice. But I know that many fans DO, and that’s great!


Do you think that MTMTE, with its tales of space-faring derring do, has a wider appeal than regular Transformer comics? If something like Star Trek can have such universal appeal, there must be hope for Transformers. Could we see a TV version of MTMTE in the future, and would you want to be a part of it? Conversely, do you think its nature makes it LESS appealing to some Transformer fans?

MTMTE is an easy sell in terms of concept: a group of misfit Transformers head off into space in search of their mythical ancestors. It’s a traditional quest story and, as you say, very much in the Star Trek tradition. That might give it a better chance with the casual reader – the non-Transformers fan - than other Transformers comics, but I don’t know. Casual comic readers whose Transformers knowledge is informed by growing up in the 80s – people who think Transformers should be about Autobots versus Decepticons on Earth – may prefer something more in keeping with their childhood memories. I don’t know. I think many people have a preconceived idea of what Transformers is about and sometimes that dissuades them from giving IDW’s titles a chance; and unsurprisingly I wish more people would put such notions aside and pick up MTMTE or John’s Transformers, because they’d be pleasantly surprised.


Can I see MTMTE transferring to TV? I don’t know if I can see it happening, but I’d like it to. MTMTE almost reads as a TV show adapted for comics, with most of the stories being structured as if they were a 45-minute episode. And each story arc – the MTMTE fandom even calls them “seasons” – lasts about 22 issues.

If MTMTE ever transferred to the small screen I would love to be part of it. Even if I ended up hanging about making tea for the animators and actors.


TMW thanks Mr. Roberts very much for his time.

Transformers News: James Roberts Interview with TMW Magazine
Transformers News: James Roberts Interview with TMW Magazine

Paramount CEO Brad Grey on Transformers: Bumblebee Spin-Off

Date: Tuesday, February 16th 2016 1:56pm CST
Categories: Live Action Movie News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): The Hollywood Reporter

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After the confirmation during Toy Fair 2016, from Paramount and Hasbro directly, that the sixth instalment in the movie series for the big screen Transformers will focus on Bumblebee alone, today we receive an update via The Hollywood Reporter in which gives CEO Brad Grey a little more detail on the 2018 feature. Read more here and below!

Paramount will sandwich a Bumblebee movie between its next two Transformers pics. The three films will roll out in successive summers beginning with a Michael Bay-helmed Transformers 5 on June 23, 2017, followed by the Bumblebee spinoff June 8, 2018. Another stand-alone will arrive June 28, 2019.

The studio announced the dates for the three movies Feb. 12 but was vague about whether or not the trio would include a spinoff, simply calling the films Transformers 5, 6 and 7.

“There are characters in the Transformers universe that can be and should be made into their own movies,” Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Brad Grey told The Hollywood Reporter. “We will make the first movie with Michael and go right into a Bumblebee movie, which will be at a lower cost.”

Considering the Transformers franchise has spawned $3.8 billion in worldwide box office since 2007, it should come as no surprise that Paramount is looking to pick up the pace on its robot juggernaut.

Titan Returns Deluxe Wave 1 Artwork, Plus Ken Christiansen Interview

Date: Saturday, February 13th 2016 1:14pm CST
Categories: Toy News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): Hasbro Pulse

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Fellow Seibertronian ScottyP has forwarded us the latest issue of Hasbro's Pulse newsletter, featuring some of the new Transformers full reveals – just in time for Toy Fair 2016! The images are fairly small, though consistent with what we have seen so far in the leaks, and show packaging art for four of the deluxe class figures: Blurr, Scourge, Skullcruncher and Hardhead. Also included is an interview with the artist behind the images, our friend Ken Christiansen – read more below.

The Transformers Generations franchise offers us a sneak peek at the beginning of their “TITANS RETURN” product with these images of upcoming packaging artwork. There’s only so much room on a box or a blister card, so the scintillating character images developed by our artists sometimes gets maneuvered and cropped from the full glory of the original piece. The Hasbro Pulse has secured the full character artwork that will adorn the packaging for this July’s “TITANS RETURN” Deluxe Generations Wave 1.

The original artwork for their packaging was created by Ken Christiansen, a longtime contributor to the Transformers brand. Ken’s dynamic art style is well-known and appreciated by Transformers fans, and he took some time to talk to us about his work on the “TITANS RETURN” images:
HASBRO PULSE: You've been providing phenomenal artwork for Transformers toys over the years - is this the first time you've worked on a Power Master toy? How different is it to draw a Transformer with a removable head?
KEN CHRISTIANSEN: Thanks very much. I was really thinking about it, and up until working on Titans Retun, it's possible I hadn't drawn a Power Master since I was a little kid, and the original toys were on shelves, back in the 1980s! Drawing a removable head isn't much of a stretch when I'm working on Transformers - it's just another part that is in a different place during a transformation. Though the real magic of the removable head is that it's going to be yet another level of transformation, into a new character!
HASBRO PULSE: Your personal art style is a fantastic match for the aspirational nature of a franchise rooted in metal parts and straight edges - what artists have influenced your style and development?
KEN CHRISTIANSEN: My personal art influences as I was growing up were Drew Struzan, Frank Frazetta, and more to the point of the question, famed industrial and futurist designer Syd Mead. But the direct influence on my Transformers work to this day, is the original box back art on the first line of Transformers, the incredible battle scene that gave life and energy to the very idea of the Transformers. And now that I get to opportunity to contribute to the packaging art, I hope I can inspire the next generation of kids.
HASBRO PULSE: The first wave of Titans Return figures features four fan favorite characters in Blurr, Skullcruncher, Hardhead and Scourge. Do you have a favorite among these "first four?"
KEN CHISTIANSEN: I'm excited about all of them, but for me Skullcruncher is a real standout. I think the design team did an amazing job, and I can't wait to get my hands on him!
These four Transformers will have their toy versions unveiled at New York Toy Fair, and are expected to be available in stores this August.



Transformers News: Titan Returns Deluxe Wave 1 Artwork, Plus Ken Christiansen Interview

Transformers News: Titan Returns Deluxe Wave 1 Artwork, Plus Ken Christiansen Interview

Transformers News: Titan Returns Deluxe Wave 1 Artwork, Plus Ken Christiansen Interview

Transformers News: Titan Returns Deluxe Wave 1 Artwork, Plus Ken Christiansen Interview

Twincast / Podcast Episode #129 "Nick Roche Talks Sins of the Wreckers"

Date: Tuesday, October 27th 2015 6:01pm CDT
Categories: Site News, People News, Digital Media News, Interviews, Podcast
Posted by: ScottyP

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Welcome to the latest episode of the Seibertron.com Twincast / Podcast. This special episode has Scotty P and Seibertron's News Administrator Va'al chatting with IDW Transformers comic author Nick Roche.

Episode #129 "Nick Roche Talks Sins of the Wreckers" is available directly and in our RSS Feed and should appear on iTunes and Stitcher Radio within 24 to 48 hours of when you see this news post.

Yes, you read right, this episode is all about the upcoming Transformers: Sins of the Wreckers from IDW Comics, and the author himself joins us to talk about the book and what it might bring readers. First up though, we'll tackle the truly hard questions about hotels and hard "ch" sounds.

Transformers News: Twincast / Podcast Episode #129 "Nick Roche Talks Sins of the Wreckers"
Every interview and article with him uses this photo and it's really old but it's a good stock photo and we have to keep the joke alive.


The conception of the book is discussed next, as we learn what might have been in the past had this book come sooner. Why is it coming out now, and how heavy do our expectations weigh on its creator? Answers lie within the show, but we can go ahead and tell you that after this segment, you'll want to pretend it was good even if it turns out otherwise.

Transformers News: Twincast / Podcast Episode #129 "Nick Roche Talks Sins of the Wreckers"
It was always destiny.


You may have noticed some familiar characters from other IDW Transformers titles in both previews, covers, and solicitations for Sins of the Wreckers. Nick lets us know what books you should read before, what books you should read during, and even sheds some light on how toys relate to IDW's plans.

Transformers News: Twincast / Podcast Episode #129 "Nick Roche Talks Sins of the Wreckers"
Could've left off this black paint if it weren't for con exclusives.


Stakeout, Kup, and Wreckerleaks take center stage next. Why is Stakeout involved, and what might he have been doing all this time in the background? What's a "Wreckerleak" anyway? Does this megalomaniac author have any remorse for the torture of Kup? Find out these answers, plus what Prowl may or may not know already. Whatever you do, be sure to brush up on the IDW iteration of Kup before the release of Sins of the Wreckers.

Transformers News: Twincast / Podcast Episode #129 "Nick Roche Talks Sins of the Wreckers"
You mean you didn't read Spotlight: Kup?


It's well known already that one of the most popular human characters from IDW Transformers will make an appearance once again in Roche's upcoming mini-series. Will Verity die? Like he could tell us now if we asked! You will find out more about her involvement, as well as Roadbuster's appearance, Whirl's lack of one, and even a bit about the color work on the book set to come our way from the one and only Josh Burcham.

Transformers News: Twincast / Podcast Episode #129 "Nick Roche Talks Sins of the Wreckers"
All her fault? Basically, yeah. Maybe Prowl's too.


The mood of the landscapes in the book comes into play next in our discussion. Everything goes well until John Barber out-Christmases us, so then we just play sing-along with The Audio Knights Theatre and the interview ends. Only one of the things in this paragraphs actually happens, but tuning in will explain the insanity of the rest of it!

Transformers News: Twincast / Podcast Episode #129 "Nick Roche Talks Sins of the Wreckers"
The last metroid is in captivity. The galaxy, is at peace.


The Transformers talk starts to wind down, but before we leave it, we ask Nick about his chance to write one of IDW's most complex characters: Arcee. Did he want her around for a reason, or was this just happenstance due to events in other books? Or is it really just a case of picking up Mr. Barber's daughter for the dance? Unlike the last paragraph of this post, the questions posed here do get answered in the show.

Transformers News: Twincast / Podcast Episode #129 "Nick Roche Talks Sins of the Wreckers"


We finish out by finding out how you can get the book, as well as who might just have given the first issue a "thumbs up" without bribery being involved.

Transformers News: Twincast / Podcast Episode #129 "Nick Roche Talks Sins of the Wreckers"
Fairly sure this wasn't related to this. Fairly.


Oh, and there's even a little talk of the incredible Monster Motors mini-series that Mr. Roche collaborated on with Brian Lynch. Look out world, the Motors are eyeballing heading to an independent theater in limited distribution just like one of Lynch's other art house productions.

Transformers News: Twincast / Podcast Episode #129 "Nick Roche Talks Sins of the Wreckers"
There are no Transformers in this book, ok?


Our very grateful "Thank You!" to Nick Roche for taking the time out and appearing on this episode with us. We hope you enjoy the show, and be sure to pick up Sins of the Wreckers from IDW Publishing this November. The Twincast will return in a couple weeks with more of our regularly scheduled programming, and you can be certain more comic book talk will follow then.

Don't forget, the show only gets better if you tell us how. Drop us a review on iTunes and be sure to tell us what you love, what you hate, and what you want to hear!

Not on the show to give your take? Probably not, so don't forget to keep the discussion going on the Seibertron.com Energon Pub Forums by simply replying to this post!

Got a question for the Twincast? We take all of them, we just don't take them all seriously! Leave a question in the Ask the Twincast thread and, if it makes the cut, it may get read and answered on the show.

Seibertron.com Interviews Shane McCarthy - Lindyhopping with Drift

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Shane McCarthy - Lindyhopping with Drift
Date: Wednesday, February 11th 2015 3:16am CST
Categories: Comic Book News, Site Articles, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): Shane McCarthy, Va'al

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Hi! Remember us? We left the interviews with comics creators lagging for a while, as life decided to settle itself, 2014 swept in and we're now ready for Combiner Wars hitting shelves in both paper, plastic and pixel format. But alongside that, we've also seen the return of one of IDW's original Transformers characters, Drift, in the hands of its originator - Shane McCarthy. Read on below for a spotlight on the Australian author of AHM!

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Shane McCarthy - Lindyhopping with Drift


Va'al - Shane, it is a pleasure to talk to you for a bit, thank you for agreeing to do this! As we've done for the other creators we've interviewed, I'd like to start from the beginning - from your beginning: how did Transformers enter your life, do you remember your first interaction with the franchise?

Shane McCarthy - I absolutely do. Like most kids I was crazy about cartoons and around that time I was all about He-Man. Saturday morning was where it was at and I would get up super early to watch them all. One morning, when He-Man had finished, on comes this cartoon I'd never heard of. It opened with Cybertron in flames and I was immediately hooked. After that it was a mad dash to the toy store. The first one I ever bought was the double pack of the cassettes... Frenzy and Laserbeak I think.



Va'al - And was that also a gateway moment into collecting the toys, or were you able to keep the plastic addiction at bay (or forced to, by external factors)? Did you, or do you still, have the one that got away, or at least a very elusive toy that was really hard to get?

Shane - Well I'd already started my He-Man collection so buying toys was already a habit. What I could afford mind you; my parents would buy me some big things for Christmas (Castle Grayskull) but I had to buy the figures myself. So picking up Transformers was a natural progression.

As for the one that got away. I was crazy about Prime and Soundwave as a kid and got both of those. There's two I never got that I really wanted as a kid. Ravage, because he looked so damn cool and I never saw him again beyond when I had to make that first choice in the store. And Megatron. Although I wouldn't be after Megs these days, the actual toy doesn't look at all that hot to me.



Va'al - Starting to sense a purple pattern here, I must admit. Would you say that Ravage (or any of the other three) still holds a spot in your collector's heart? Did you continue collecting beyond your childhood and teenage years, with new iterations of the same characters?

Shane - I'd say it's really just Ravage these days; I think the concept and the design are really cool. I think I've still got Frenzy around here somewhere, I lost Laserbeak's head though.

I didn't keep collecting, no. My love of the toys spilled over into books and comics. The next time I bought a Transformer was after Beast Wars came out. Like a lot of people I dismissed Beast Wars as some sort of heretical assault on the old classics. When a friend explained how the old cartoons and Beast Wars lined up and then handed me Transmetal Optimus Primal, I was hooked again. That was a seriously cool toy.

Va'al - That often still happens with some fans, good to hear we won you over to the beast side eventually! So as you ventured from screen media and toys into comics, what were your first impressions, what caught your attention in particular?

Shane - You mean comics in general? Conan, haha. My sister bought me one at a flea market to shut me up. It had Gil Kane on art and it was glorious. From there it was into Batman and Superman then down the road the X-Men.

As far as Transformers though I started picking up the magazine format comics, the ones from the UK that Simon Furman was writing. I absolutely loved them. I remember the first story I came in on, I can't remember the issue number though. But basically Prime and Outback were battered and fighting to survive against some sort of ape creatures I think. Classic stuff.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Shane McCarthy - Lindyhopping with Drift
via TFWiki


Va'al - That sounds very much like issue #100, Distant Thunder! As an established comics reader, how long did it take from that point to entering the industry as a creator? How was that process for you?

Shane - That's the one! Man, you're good. Alan Davis on cover art too, wow.

How long did it take? Well the link says that comic came out in 1987. My first publication was Batman for DC Comics in...2005 I think so, 18 years. Yikes.

The process was an interesting one. I never even thought of becoming a writer until I was around twenty odd years old. It had never occurred to me. Once the idea struck (or was actually suggested to me) everything clicked in a way nothing ever had before. After that it was a lot of work, effort and training before I broke in with DC.

Va'al - But you did make it in the end, and you've worked on multiple characters and properties since! What I'm wondering, though, is how the IDW gig started - did they ask you to take over from Furman, or did you pitch material to them?

Shane - I was approached by Chris Ryall to take over from Simon. He'd been doing great stuff but they were wanting to move in a different direction and asked me what I would do if I took over. With the understanding that it was supposed to be a new direction, one they hoped would also appeal to a wider audience, I pitched All Hail Megatron.

Va'al - And Drift was one of the new, original appearances in the series, before he became his own full-on character, correct? We've seen the pitch for him in the recent IDW Complete Drift volume, actually - how did it feel to introduce an entirely new character to the franchise?

Shane - It was fun. I was already having a hell of a lot of fun working on AHM and it was never on my mind to bring in anything new. However when I was working on the book the idea for Drift popped into my head and I thought, why not? I've said it before but the initial pitch was me just firing off a "what if" email to Chris. He liked the idea but said Hasbro would never go for it. Turns out they loved it. Right away they mentioned the possibility of a figure which was brilliant. Apparently some people didn't believe the figure was true when Chris announced it. I still find that hilarious.



Va'al - He was also not the only lasting outcome of the AHM series, as we're still feeling some of the aftermath of those events in the current ongoings and mini-series (such as the beef between Devastator and Spike, which Costa took a step further, and Barber is currently retreading in The Transformers). How does it feel, as the plotter behind it all?

Shane - It's nice to know it's all still going forward. I don't read the books (unless I'm writing for them) but I would hope that some things have been kept and other things have changed. Like any comic book, when a new creative team comes on they need to leave their stamp. It's important everything isn't thrown out but it has to be something new otherwise what's the point?

Va'al - And that, in a way, brings us to the present day, with you returning to Drift after his presence in James Roberts' writing in More Than Meets the Eye. How does it feel to write the book now, compared to any of the three you were working on back then?

Shane - I have to say it was a mix of weird and fun. James' take on Drift was different to mine and I needed to keep that in mind as I did the mini series. I'd read through Drift's "James" appearances and got a feel for who he was there. After that I needed to think about where I wanted to take him and what I wanted to say with the character taking into account what he meant to me when I created him and what he means to me now after he'd gone through so much since AHM.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Shane McCarthy - Lindyhopping with Drift


It kind of felt like seeing a really great friend after they'd been overseas for a while. They're still your good mate but they've got a whole bunch of new hobbies and an accent.

Va'al - Was the inclusion of Ratchet as grumpy but sensible counterpart to him in Empire of Stone something that you built from the MTMTE relationship between the two, then, or entirely your initiative?

Shane - No that was absolutely from MTMTE. I loved the odd couple vibe I was getting from them and knew I needed someone to come calling from the Autobots. It was nice having it be Ratchet, someone who once hated Drift (or was at least seriously annoyed by him). Plus I knew it would make for some fun buddy cop moments.

Va'al - They do have some really good interactions, yes! And what about the other characters showing up, such as Gigatron and super obscure ones like Hellbat and the Micromasters? Are they something you have a connection to, or was it more of an editorial call?

Shane - No those were all my choices. When it comes to finding new, interesting characters that haven't been overused it can get tough so I decided to go to an expert. I went to Twitter and asked a Transformer fan, Sprite, for advice on some underused characters. I knew the kinds of characters I was looking for and she made some great suggestions of who hadn't been used in the IDW universe yet. I had a look through that list and chose the ones I liked the most. Gigatron, Hellbat and Grit all came from that list so, thanks, Sprite.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Shane McCarthy - Lindyhopping with Drift


Va'al - Fans really making an impact, then, on all accounts! Some great artists are also showing up at IDW from the fan base, but you've gone with the established team of Guido Guidi, Stephen Baskerville and JP Bove. How are you finding working with them? What do you feel their art brings to the story?

Shane - They're a fantastic team to work with. It's fantastic to be working with Guido again; I absolutely adore his artwork. After having worked together for a year on AHM it was great to get back into those familiar roles again. And JP, what a champ. Fantastic work and a great guy. I had the pleasure of signing with JP when I was at a UK con, the guy's a riot. Stephen is a new one to me but, like the others, I love what he brought to the book. Everyone is excited to be working together and we're all doing our best to put out a book that we love and hope the readers will love too.

Va'al - It is receiving its fair share of praise so far - but with only one issue left to the series, do you have any other plans in mind for Drift or the Transformers universe in general? Anything we should be looking forward to?

Shane - Not currently no. I'm really glad John [Barber] dropped me a line asking me to do this, it was a blast, but currently this looks like it's it for Transformers. Not to say something won't pop up down the line, IDW is over the moon at how well Drift is being received so you never know.

Va'al - That's a low - though hopeful - tone to be ending this chat upon, however - is there anything you'd like to say to the fans and readers out there before we bid our goodbyes?

Shane - Just a huge thank you. Thank you for reading and thank you for writing in. It's great to know people have enjoyed AHM and Drift.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Shane McCarthy - Lindyhopping with Drift


Va'al - And thank you, Shane, for taking the time to talk to us for this interview - it was great to find out more about your journey as a fan and a creator. Best of luck for future endeavours, and we'll be on the lookout for Drift #4 later this month!


You can find out more about Shane McCarthy's multiple creative lives at his website, SMAcTalk, and on Twitter. IDW Transformers: Drift - Empire of Stone is regularly reviewed on Seibertron.com - join the discussion here!

You can also read Shane's thoughts on Age of Extinction Drift here - and find out more about the latest incarnation of the character in animated series Robots in Disguise here and here.

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Transformers Podcast: Twincast / Podcast #160 - Grappling with Memory
Twincast / Podcast #160:
"Grappling with Memory"
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Posted: Saturday, December 3rd, 2016
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