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Machinima Transformers Combiner Wars Interviews: Amy Johnston / Maxima, Producer Eric Calderon

Transformers News: Machinima Transformers Combiner Wars Interviews: Amy Johnston / Maxima, Producer Eric Calderon
Date: Sunday, August 14th 2016 3:05pm CDT
Categories: Cartoon News, People News, Media, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): CBM, ComicBook.com

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Via a number of different sources, we have some behind the scenes tidbits concerning the Machinima Transformers: Combiner Wars animated short series, currently airing on go90 and the Machinima YouTube channel every week. The first is an interview with Amy Johnston, the voice of Maxima in episode 1 'The Fall', via ComicBookMovie. Snippet below, and full piece here!

CBM: How did you get involved with Combiner Wars?
Amy Johnston: "I got involved with Transformers: Combiner Wars through Bat in the Sun whom I had worked with previously on their show "Super Power Beatdown".

CBM: Were you a big Transformers fan growing up?
Johnston: "I have definitely been a Transformer's fan so when I found out about the role of Maxima I was super excited! How cool to have my own Transformer character! I love her!"

CBM: How did you find the right voice for Maximia?
Jonston: "Maxima was described to me as a strong female character who had a relationship wtih Windblade so I made sure to give her strength and passion yet retain a femininity about her."


The second is some further insight into the series with producer Eric Calderon, via ComicBook.com, discussing a number of aspects on the creation of the characters, their interactions and the story as a whole. Full piece here, and a selection below!

Is there a challenge that's inherent to doing something like this? When you look at web series, you have a lot of like "Okay, we just grew up this property that you like" and it's mostly played for laughs. Is there a challenge to doing this seriously and not feeling like another kind of web series that's trying to take a fun?

The great thing is, both Machinima and Hasbro, they have never used that word with me. They said "You are making a series." They always put it at a higher level, and the show is budgeted, and distributed in a very sophisticated way, that to me, is not like a webseries at all.

So I think about this as an adaptation, I just go "Hey, it's my job as a creator to make the best work I can" and I don't think about "Oh it's only for this category so let's have fun", I want to tell this combiner wars story, and I'm going to tell it in 40 minutes. That's almost a movie, so I really treat it like that. There's act breaks, there's a solid structure to the character development, there's resolution. That's what I'm worried about.

IDW Transformers Post-Revolution - Barber, Scott and Roberts Interview

Transformers News: IDW Transformers Post-Revolution - Barber, Scott and Roberts Interview
Date: Monday, July 25th 2016 2:21pm CDT
Categories: Comic Book News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): ComicsAlliance

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Sometimes news slips a little through the net, especially during events like San Diego Comic Con - but as we covered on the Seibertron.com stream for the IDW Publishing panel (check it out again here), ComicsAlliance also went a little further with the three Transformers scribes on the future of the current ongoings post-Revolution event: John Barber, Mairghread Scott and James Roberts!

As we said, a lot was known, but there are some extra tidbits in the interview - which you can read in full here - that may have been missed during the panel. Take a look below!

Transformers News: IDW Transformers Post-Revolution - Barber, Scott and Roberts Interview


ComicsAlliance: Since it’s the one that’s set on Earth, it seems like the post-Revolution combined universe is probably going to affect your book more than the others. How do you go about integrating the history of the Transformers on Earth into all of those disparate stories?

John Barber: In a macro sense, the GI Joe comic hasn’t really delved into the deep history of Earth and of the universe the way Transformers has, so there’s not a whole lot of back-time that’s irreconcilable. There were big Earth-shattering events that have happened in Transformers, and to a lesser degree, in GI Joe, so maybe there’s some squinting that needs to be done to make it all fit, but… I mean, we don’t name-check real-world tragedies in the comics with a great regularity. That doesn’t mean those tragedies didn’t happen, or wouldn’t have impacted the characters, it just doesn’t necessarily come up in the midst of a story focused on tracking down Tomax or Galvatron or whatever.


[...]

CA: With Ore-13 being such a big part of major Transformers stories like “Dark Cybertron,” is this something that’s been planned for the past few years, or did it just line up that way as something that could be mixed into the larger universe?

JB: That’s a complicated one to answer… Ore-13 is why the Transformers are on Earth. Ore-13 is on Earth because Shockwave put it there. Shockwave put it there (on Earth specifically) because, it seems, Galvatron (inadvertently) crashed the Enigma of Combination on Earth — the Enigma is a super-ancient Cybertronian relic.

So, what that all means is, going forth from “All Hail Optimus,” Ore-13 was playing a role. Revolution sort of focuses that a little tighter, and it made sense to highlight it thematically because it was something Simon and E.J. planted right from the beginning of Transformers comics at IDW, which was the beginning of IDW’s relationship with Hasbro.

So, it’s not like we did “Dark Cybertron” knowing inevitably that three years later we’d have Revolution, but the function of Ore-13 didn’t really change that much.


Transformers News: IDW Transformers Post-Revolution - Barber, Scott and Roberts Interview


CA: Considering that More Than Meets The Eye has taken place almost entirely in the far reaches of space, will the restructuring of the post-Revolution universe affect your story, James? Will one of those side-quests take your crew to Earth at some point soon?

James Roberts: Well, MTMTE gets in on the action with a Revolution tie-in featuring the Scavengers, who are kind of the alternative main cast. That’s an Earth-based story. Nick Roche and I are co-writing for the first time since 2010’s Last Stand of the Wreckers, so even if we weren’t getting an opportunity to pit the world’s worst Decepticons against the likes of MASK and GI Joe, it would still feel like an event for us.

Post-Revolution, there are no plans for the main MTMTE cast to travel to Earth… but then that’s unsurprising, considering the situation they find themselves in at the end of MTMTE #55, which marks the end of what we’re calling the Season 2 finale, ‘The Dying of the Light.’

The post-Revolution universe is just that, though — a universe. And there are opportunities, should I wish to take them, to play around in the new, enlarged sandpit even though, as you say, the Lost Light and its crew are far away from Earth.

[...]

Season 3, as it plays out in the pages of Lost Light, is going to take everybody in some very strange directions. The quest for the Knights is going to much more at the forefront than it has been to date. There’s an urgency about it now that perhaps wasn’t there before. Different characters — and I’d being careful not to give anything away, because who knows who we’ll be focusing on in the future — will find themselves weighing up their loyalties and their priorities as we start to turn our attention, in small but significant ways, to the end of the quest.


Transformers News: IDW Transformers Post-Revolution - Barber, Scott and Roberts Interview


CA: Chronicling political machinations and culture clash through the medium of robots that turn into cars seems like a tricky proposition, but it’s something that’s been at the center of the Transformers books set on Cybertron for quite a while now. How do you approach it to make it work without seeming silly — or at least, unintentionally silly?

MS: Science fiction has always been a place to talk about human issues that are a bit too touchy to explore with actual human characters. Police brutality, political and religious extremism, government corruption and overreach, bigotry, poverty, crime, these are all things our readers are confronted with every day. To act like Transformers, who are so like us, wouldn’t face the same challenges is disingenuous to the characters. To act like our book is supposed to teach some kind of set morality to our readers is disingenuous to our readers.

Instead we’re trying to build interesting, exciting stories that are real enough to feel like they matter without getting too bogged down in the ‘realness’ of any actual event. Turning into cars and planes is just as big a part of our characters as anything else. And it’s fun! There’s no reason to get rid of it just so we can feel “ripped from the headlines!”

That’s why an artist like Sara Pitre-Durocher is so critical to TAAO. She brings a humanity to our characters that lets our readers decide for themselves what the “right thing” is. But she also draws amazing action that keeps you turning the page. We want you to get an exhilarating story in every issue of Transformers: Till All Are One. If after you put it down, you think back to it when something happens in real life, so much the better.

Machinima Transformers Combiner Wars - Eric Calderon on Victorion and Character Design

Transformers News: Machinima Transformers Combiner Wars - Eric Calderon on Victorion and Character Design
Date: Tuesday, July 12th 2016 3:29am CDT
Categories: Cartoon News, People News, Media, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): Machinima

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Some more pretty scraps of Machinima's Combiner Wars material to wait out until the next Prelude clip hits the interwebs, straight from the official Transformers Facebook page/Machinima YouTube and Twitter accounts: we take a look at Victorion, the protagonist of the second Prelude, in her character design, and in a brief talk with producer Eric Calderon about her novelty to the project. Check them both out below!





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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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.

Exclusive: IDW’s John Barber talks Revolution, Action Man, Transformers, Michael Bay and more

Transformers News: Exclusive: IDW’s John Barber talks Revolution, Action Man, Transformers, Michael Bay and more
Date: Wednesday, June 22nd 2016 1:19pm CDT
Categories: Comic Book News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: D-Maximus_Primal | Credit(s): Flickeringmyth.com

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When it comes down to the Revolution and how everything is going to work, John Barber is the man to call. "Mr. continuity" will be one of the spearheads for the upcoming Revolution comics, and Luke Owen got the chance to interview Barber on the upcoming comics. You can find the original source HERE.

Today sees the release of IDW’s Action Man #1, which kickstarts a Hasbro expanded universe that brings together several of their other properties including The Transformers, G.I. Joe, Micronauts, M.A.S.K and more. Sadly, My Little Pony is not part of it. To celebrate the comic’s release, we caught up with the man who is spearheading this series – John Barber.

Barber is a man who has been hailed as ‘The God of Continuity’, and has previously worked with Marvel before jumping to IDW and writing for Transformers – both the Michael Bay movie tie-ins and IDW’s on-going series. But now he’s moving into a slightly less known territory of Action Man. So, why use him over more established characters?

“Well, it goes without saying that Action Man is the biggest character in the Hasbro stable,” Barber jokes. “No, I love Action Man, but I kid. [He’s] got a great set of fans, don’t get me wrong, but this comic is really about introducing the character to readers while honoring his history. The lead-up to Revolution is part of the DNA of the book Paulo Villanelli and John-Paul Bove put together. We’re not going to hit you over the head with it on page one, but Action Man is really the first book we’ve launched post-plans about the shared universe—I guess Rom #0 was the first, but Action Man was in that book in preview form, anyway. And Action Man absolutely plays a key role in Revolution—in fact he’s the first character you see in Revolution #1—but we’ll start to see these characters interacting in most of the comics leading up to Revolution (I say “most” as Micronauts is in another universe and More Than Meets the Eye is in deep space so we’re not cramming anything in that isn’t organic to the story).”

Is it going to be difficult to bring in characters from G.I. Joe, Transformers, etc?

“In a way, even though you don’t have to be reading Transformers,” he claims. “Revolution grows from the events in the Transformers comic Andrew Griffith and I do. Optimus Prime has declared Earth is under his protection, whether it wants to be or not. And for a lot of people, “not” is the answer. So when something starts going wrong with Ore-13—a substance Transformers can convert to energon, their food—signs point to the Transformers.”

[......]

IDW is no stranger to the world of crossovers, having brought Green Lantern to the world of Star Trek and countless team-ups between Transformers and G.I. Joe. There have also been connecting comics like Infestation, which tied together their on-going comics for Ghostbusters and Transformers but never saw the characters interact.

“IDW’s done really cool, really fun stories where they put together some great characters, like Star Trek/Green Lantern. And Tom Scioli (and slightly me, but Tom deserves all the credit) did absolutely amazing stuff on Transformers ss. G.I. Joe,” Barber says. “Then there have been line-wide stories like Infestation and Conspiracy where there’s a central spine and tie-in comics from different series, but the characters from one series don’t necessarily interact with each other—just with the central spine. I love those stories, but they’re very self-contained – that’s got advantages, of course. Transformers vs. G.I. Joe wouldn’t have the personality or impact it had if ten comics tied into it. But I think with the right project, it’s really great to have an event with big consequences in the comics crossing over.”

[.....]

Barber has been hailed by fans as ‘The God of Continuity’, which makes him the perfect man to take on something like Revolution – as it not only brings together these characters but does so without compromising the stories already told. Is ‘The God of Continuity’ a fitting moniker?

“I don’t know about that,” he says laughing. “When I came on to Transformers, I sort of approached it as an archeologist. I dug in and read everything and took notes and thought about things and tried to see what resonated and what I could build on. I think I got too into the woods with that in places, but it created the worldview I have on some of the characters. Like, I looked at how Soundwave or Prowl were handled, and they were both written really differently by different writers over the years, and I thought through—what would make somebody be like that? What if they really did act all those different ways, what’s their deal? And that led to—I hope—richer characters.”

[.....]

But the real question is: who would win in a fight between Bay’s Optimus Prime and IDW’s Optimus Prime…?

“The Bay Prime is more vicious, but I think Optimus in the Transformers comic is more tactical in his thinking at this point, and he’s not exactly a pushover,” he says. “I think the comic book one wins.”

When Revolution was announced earlier this month, there was a large vocal outrage from fans who felt that this ‘cash in’ was going to ruin the stories they’d liked in G.I. Joe: Real American Hero and Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye. IDW editor Chris Ryall spent a long time on Twitter answering fan queries and concerns, and told them all to trust the process.

“I used to edit Wolverine. I’m used to the internet reaction being negative,” Barber jokes.

But one has to wonder, did that level of negativity have some effect on the plans for Revolution?

“Nope. The plan is the plan and the plan is awesome,” Barber emphatically states. “I mean, there’s pressure, of course – Cullen and Fico and editor David Hedgecock and colorist Sebastian Cheng and I all feel a lot of pressure to not let people down, and to do justice to the characters, and to build a strong foundation to this world. Telling a story has it’s own pressure! A nice pressure, I’m not complaining – it’s great! But I don’t feel any additional pressure based on anybody’s initial reactions.”

[.....]

“Transformers is going to change – the grand, over-arcing story I’ve been telling is still totally in place, now with cooler pieces making Earth a richer, more interesting place,” Barber says. “But the actual title will have a couple big changes.”


IDW Hasbro Comics Crossover: Revolution - Chris Ryall, Christos Gage on ROM, MASK, Transformers

Transformers News: IDW Hasbro Comics Crossover: Revolution - Chris Ryall, Christos Gage on ROM, MASK, Transformers
Date: Tuesday, June 7th 2016 3:57pm CDT
Categories: Comic Book News, Movie News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): Nerdist

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By sideways of a Nerdist interview with IDW Publishing's Chris Ryall and Christos Gage - some of the minds behind not only ROM the Spaceknight, but also September's giant status quo shake REVOLUTION - we have a tidbit of info to be added to the compiled news from Twitter after the announcement here: the connection between MASK and Transformers, and the involvement on ROM in all of this - including Paramount's The Last Knight live-action movie. Check out the snippet below, and the full piece here!

But Autobots and M.A.S.K. both have transforming technology—is there already a connection there? Ryall responds, “That’s an excellent question that I’m going to say will be answered within the pages of the Revolution event series.”

Naturally I had to ask if they were aware of my theory, as seen on Nerdist News, that the marketing for the new Transformers movie is hinting at ROM. The answers were…interesting.

“I got a lot of e-mails after that article got out there,” says Gage. “I think it’s pretty close to the original ROM logo.”

“It worried me,” says Ryall. “I want there to be a ROM movie, but I would like it to just sort of be a new continuity, not something that’s tacked on.”

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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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

IDW Hasbro Comics Crossover: Revolution - Chris Ryall Interview, John Barber Clarifications

Transformers News: IDW Hasbro Comics Crossover: Revolution - Chris Ryall Interview, John Barber Clarifications
Date: Wednesday, June 1st 2016 1:40pm CDT
Categories: Comic Book News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): Entertainment Weekly

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Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, we have some more information on the IDW Publishing crossover event REVOLUTION, featuring all the Hasbro licensed series and restarting the comics numbering at #1 for the books involved. Chris Ryall answered some of the questions, which you can read in full here, and a snippet below.

Transformers News: IDW Hasbro Comics Crossover: Revolution - Chris Ryall Interview, John Barber Clarifications

We've also included a compilation of tweets from Ryall and John Barber, to help navigate this big change in the IDWverse. So fear not, and keep reading!

But IDW editor-in-chief Chris Ryall insists this isn’t a reboot.

“We didn’t want this to be what fans have seen from so many others, which is a reboot or a relaunch where you’re asked to forget about all these characters and stories you’ve been following for years,” Ryall says. “It’s just now everybody will be acknowledging each other in a much greater way than ever before.”

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did this whole thing come about?
CHRIS RYALL: It happened in a stealthy way. When I was bringing back ROM, the co-writer Christos Gage and I were talking about a nice way to make something big and impactful happen in that issue. So at the end of the issue there’s a big reveal that shows ROM might be a part of a larger universe than fans expected at the start. We were going to stealthily seed things along the way, so that fans would think these guys might exist in ROM’s world and then, in talking about it internally, it just made sense, now that we’re launching Micronauts and ROM, and we’ve already got G.I. Joe and Transformers, and were looking to do M.A.S.K. All these things should exist together. That’s what fans want to see.

When we first launched G.I. Joe, fans asked us, “Are they gonna meet the Transformers?” And every time we’ve added a Hasbro title since then, it’s been the same question. Are the Micronauts gonna meet the Transformers? Is ROM gonna meet the Micronauts?

[...]

What will the event involve?
Revolution is its own thing. It’s a five-part biweekly series that we’re launching in September, and that series will detail the reasons why these characters are all drawn together. It centers around something called Ore 13, which is an unstable version of Energon, the material that gives the Transformers their power and life. There’s a version of that on earth, that has an adverse effect on tech, which adversely affects ROM, and changes the status of him and his villains, the Dire Wraiths. It affects the Micronauts universe in a way they didn’t expect, and then it also gives birth to M.A.S.K., which is a big new title we’re launching out of this.

So that series details the reason for all these characters to be drawn together. Then all the series will be relaunched with new number ones and this new status quo. The plan is to have the characters go back to occupying their own spaces. I don’t want G.I. Joe or Transformers fans to feel like they have to buy every issue of everything we publish now just to get the whole story. If they do, certainly that’s a nice outcome, but I still want them to read a Transformers book and have it feel like a Transformers book. It’s just, now within that universe, ROM is somewhere in the background and may be drawn back in at some point.


Barber:

I'm very excited about Revolution, and it's absolutely not going to scale anything back from what's happened in any Transformers comics.

Revolution will get these comics where I think they always should have been, and since I like where they are already...

...I don't think we'll be losing anything we already like.

Oh--important note, the list of creative teams in the press release is for the Revolution tie-in stories.

Just to make clear--post Revolution, @SaraLePew and @Max_Dunbar will still be there!

Ryall:

How do the other Transformers books play in (MTMTE, TAAO), renumbered? ending? untouched?

We'll get into more specifics soon but some will end and restart differently; TAAO will keep rolling as is.

It won't affect Titan Wars. We've been threading this needle very carefully for some time know, building to this.

MTMTE untouched?

Rather, you can assume that any involvement will make sense to that series and not change what James has built.

OK now I'm panicking. Restarting MTMTE is just about the craziest thing to do to a book with such a hardcore fandom.

I understand the trepidation but we're not abandoning plans, characters or stories. Just moving things forward.

Not a reboot in any way, shape or form, actually. All the stories you read here before still happened.

We'll get into new-title specifics & teams before long. If you like the way things are, you'll be happy. Only moreso



@chris_ryall How will the IDW GI Joe continuity be reconciled with All Hail Megatron's global invasion that killed 15% of all humans?


It will be addressed. We're not scrapping things.

Please wait and see. It makes sense. And everything is always changing, just changing in the right ways here.

Not TAAO [renumbering]. We'll get into specific post-event plans before long. Never a good plan to reveal everything all at once.

I understand people don't want to lose what they like, I get that. But yes, the comic itself will put fears to rest.

Transformers Titans Return Fortress Maximus - Shogo Hasui Interview

Transformers News: Transformers Titans Return Fortress Maximus - Shogo Hasui Interview
Date: Friday, May 27th 2016 3:46am CDT
Categories: Toy News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): Dengeki Hobby

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Views: 23,588

For those of you with some Japanese reading skills, fellow Seibertronian Cyberpath points us towards an interview on Dengeki Hobby Magazine with Takara Tomy designer Shogo Hasui on the figure that puts Titan in Titans Return - Fortress Maximus! The interview covers how he came into retooling Metroplex into Fort Max, the history of the character, and includes a number of photos of the Hasbro release of the figure. Check the words out here, and the images below!

Transformers News: Takara Tomy Transformers Legends LG31 Fort Max - Shogo Hasui Interview

Transformers News: Takara Tomy Transformers Legends LG31 Fort Max - Shogo Hasui Interview

Transformers News: Takara Tomy Transformers Legends LG31 Fort Max - Shogo Hasui Interview

Transformers News: Takara Tomy Transformers Legends LG31 Fort Max - Shogo Hasui Interview

Transformers News: Takara Tomy Transformers Legends LG31 Fort Max - Shogo Hasui Interview

Transformers News: Takara Tomy Transformers Legends LG31 Fort Max - Shogo Hasui Interview

Transformers News: Takara Tomy Transformers Legends LG31 Fort Max - Shogo Hasui Interview

Seibertron.com Interviews IDW Artist Alex Milne

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews IDW Artist Alex Milne
Date: Wednesday, May 18th 2016 8:37am CDT
Categories: Comic Book News, Site Articles, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): Alex Milne, Va'al

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Views: 24,570

Greetings Seibertronian beings, and welcome to another thrilling and enthralling visitation of the talent behind the IDW Publishing Transformers production, as we're till slim on the ground in terms of new comics this month! In the past, we have spoken to a lot of artists, some colourists, some inkers, some pencillers, but we have an all rounder coming up for this instalment - all the way from the Great White North.

Making his mark a very long time ago in the current Transformers mythos, he's become a fan-favourite, he is responsible for many tears, many crowd shots, many pairings and ships for the fandom; he is the hands behind death, love, stars and returns. Ladies and gentlebots: Alex Milne!

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews IDW Artist Alex Milne


Va'al - Alex, thank you so much for giving us some of your time! You've practically become a staple in the Transformers fiction, and the first big name that many new readers encounter, visually, but we're curious to find out where it all started for you, before we reach today. So my first question is: When did young Alex get into Transformers, what is your origin story - as a fan?

Alex Milne - I think it's the same as a lot of people in the fandom: I grew up with the original G1 cartoon and the toys. I remember getting Optimus Prime as a child and playing with him on the piano we had. My older brother got the 3 Decepticon jets which I thought were cooler looking at the time, but maybe that was only because my brother got them and not me. I lived in a townhouse complex growing up, and myself and the other kids would play outside with what toys we had and had little battles. Sometimes it was fun just setting up the bases and laying out all the character you' d have on your team.



I grew up with the show, I saw the 86 movie as a child, I had the comics. I think it's a pretty standard tale of most fans. I fell out of it when there was nothing on TV to keep watching, you know, the stupid young teen days when toys aren't cool to play with and everyone was trying their best to be cool and act tough. Thankfully that didn't last long and I got back into Transformers with Beast Wars and continued from there. I had a friend who worked at a comic book store who knew someone who had lived in Japan and had some recordings of the Headmasters series - he asked the guy to make a copy of them for me and I got to watch some of that. Didn't understand what they were saying, but that didn't matter to me: it was Transformers and I loved it.

Va'al - That does sound like your average story, indeed! I'm curious, though: during the 'falling out'/'too cool for toys' phase, did you get rid of all your Transformers stuff, or was it just hidden in a box somewhere? And I mean everything, from toys to comics to actual interest in the franchise.

Alex - I sold off a lot of my toys that I grew up with in a garage sale or yard sale to be more to the point, since we didn't have a garage. Most of the TF toys were broken by this point anyways and some were lost or I had traded with a friend for G.I. Joe figures. During this time I guess my interests were shifting more to comic collecting and into buying models.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews IDW Artist Alex Milne


I know I bumped up my collecting of Star Trek merchandise, trying to get hold of more show accurate props and costumes. By this time, also, there were a few anime shows airing on TV and some of the fan magazines showing up which caught my interest, so I started to find out if there were models for these sorts of things. I eventually found a few and that started me collecting Gundam model kits and that hasn't stop. Even now I have a large collection of them and continue to buy them. So I guess I never got into that "too cool for toys" phase. I just shifted my interests around to something else other than Transformers. In the end it didn't matter though, since that interest was probably just taking a long walk around back to the Transformers and gave me time to get excited about it again.

Va'al - We'll be coming back to anime and Gundam in particular later, but before we get there... if you were to choose something particularly significant from the Transformers at the time - a character, a toy, a storyline, a series, a comic issue, a writer/artist - is there anything that has stuck with you since? Or was it all very changing after all, before returning in full?

Alex - There are 2 things that have stuck with me and will probably always stick with me. The first is the 86 movie and more specifically the fight between Optimus and Megatron. This is the first time that we see characters we love and admire fighting and dying. There are actual consequences to their battles and that no, not everything is going to be fine at the end of this movie, a lot of characters aren't coming back from this. That has always stuck with me.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews IDW Artist Alex Milne


The second would be in Beast Wars when Dinobot dies. It's probably the only episode that gave me the same emotional impact as the 86 movie did. I guess the second one is a foot in foot out type deal. I was back, but not fully into Transformers again until really the 3rd season of Beast Wars when I actually started buying the toys again. So I think it counts for what you asked.

Va'al - Those are some cheery memories you keep there! It does go some way to explain some MTMTE moments, though... It seems so far that the toys were not as important as the fiction (but please correct me if I'm wrong) to you: is that what brought you closer to the visual side of things? When did young Alex start drawing, what was the spark?

Alex - For me, toys are toys. Yes I enjoyed them and I was upset when I couldn't get the ones I wanted as a child, but I enjoyed the ones I did get and was sad when I broke one or lost a part of one ( the head from Apeface stands out ). However I enjoyed the cartoon more since that's where you saw the characters come to life and you got to know their personalities and how they sounded. So I guess it's safe to assume that that toys were second to the fiction for me. It makes sense since I left collecting or having interest when there was nothing on TV for a while, and then came back when there was.




I did have the comics, but even they stopped for a while. I was never able to get issue 80 of the original Marvel US run when I growing up. The last issue for me was 79. I had a lot of gaps in the issues I had, I know I didn't have 78, and at the comic stores I shopped it was hard to find all of them. It was also hard when you only got 4 dollars for an allowance and you had to really choose what you were going to pick up. I know I liked buying Cobra figures at the time because they looked the coolest so my allowance just covered a figure. When I did get to the comic shop, there was a lot to choose from, but I remember seeing issue 79 on the shelf for new comics and I picked it up. It's one of the issues I remember the most from when I was a kid because it had Fort Max fighting Galvatron in it. I remember how brutal the fight was, it was just great and the last page that tempted you for issue 80. Yep, I wanted that issue but never found it.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews IDW Artist Alex Milne


As for when I started drawing... well, as my mom would like to remind me and embarrass me when people are around, it would have been when I was very young and she needed a way to stop me taking crayons and, as I like to think of it now, improving the walls of our home. So she gave me some colouring books to scribble in. I remember one of them was a Transformers colouring book. Then after that I would start to try and draw things I saw in colouring books, that would move to trying to what I saw in comic books and so on. I think that's a basic way for kids to get into drawing or art. You want to recreate what you see in front of you.

I remember one year, one of the big department stores in my area had a Transformers colouring contest going on and the grand prize was a Sixshot. I remember trying my best to keep the pencil crayon I was using in the lines and not make a mess of it. I handed it in and then there was nothing for a long time. I guess I didn't win and then my mom got a call and she told me I had won. As you can imagine I was super excited about it, and it's a fond memory I have of my younger years with art. I guess it's when I found something I enjoyed to do more than playing with toys: drawing and colouring. I know that when I was in Grade 7 that I wanted to draw comics, and that lasted all the way to the present day. There have been other things that I thought about doing as well, but comics has always been there.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews IDW Artist Alex Milne


Va'al - It sounds like you had a penchant for battles, teases, brutality, things that look cool, and the artist in you woke up! How long was it until you actively got into making sequential art? Did you ever self-publish or write your own stories too, before going professional?

Alex - Well I did a few comics for myself back when I was in Grade 8. One I used as a school project that I had to read in front of the class. I did not enjoy doing that since I don't really like getting up in front of a large group of people. To this day I still don't but I've gotten use to it and it comes with the job. Oh well, maybe I should have tried harder with public speaking! Making those comics wasn't anything special, and they were pretty crap. You know, your generic super hero type comics that you found in the early 90s. I still have them, and I will show them to no one, but it's interesting to see what I drew like when I was 13 and compare it to something when I was 18 and then 21 and so on. I did self publish a small comic when I was in my last year of high school. It was very low budget, I used a photocopier at my mom's school (she was a teacher then) to print in black and white double sided, so it looked like a real comic. Then I went to a mall print shop to have the colour cover I had done printed and I stapled all the pages together and poof, I had a comic that I sold in high school for 2 bucks. What amazed me more was there were people at the school that actually bought it off of me. That was pretty cool and I felt like all my hard work was appreciated.

The comic was about 2 of my friends at the time who were in 3 of my classes. I made them superheroes, but they argued a lot between each other about random everyday crap that normal people argue about. Just they would do it in the middle of battling robots that were trying to take over a city. I also used 2 more of my friends as the bad guys in the comic, and I think I added myself in there as a cop for 2 panels at the end of the book asking what happened and how were we going to clean up the mess. If I remember correctly the comic had a superhero/robot/Frankenstein vibe to it. Wow, I really wish I still had a copy of it. It's a fun memory from high school when there weren't many. I did try to make a second issue where I was going to make it longer and actually try to write a good story, but that didn't happen due to exams and a part time job. I did more little one page comics when I was in college, but nothing I published.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews IDW Artist Alex Milne

Dreamwave Transformers: Energon #32 interior art


For my final year in college, I had to do a 1 month work placement which I ended up doing at Dreamwave Productions who had the Transformers license at the time. They had me do alt-modes for some of the characters in the Armada profile books and then one day when I was waiting for work to be assigned to me, I was doodling some Transformers and that got attention from the production manager who asked if I wanted to draw some robots, which I did. That lasted even after my work placement was done and then I was asked to do the final page for issue 3 of the profile book which was a page of sequential art and the rest is a long story that I'm sure lots of people know. :P

Va'al - We have indeed come to know your story behind the giant spreads and populated panels in Transformers comics, that is true! Your style has undoubtedly become one of the staples for readers and emulating fan artists, but how did you develop it? There are some influences of other mecha fiction/visuals - we mentioned your penchant for Gundam already - but it is very much your personal take on robots... care to talk about that?

Alex - I see this will be another long answer, lol. How I draw today has developed over my whole time working in comics. It's still something that is developing, and with every issue I work on I'm trying something new in a way trying to expand the visual language I use. I don't think I'll ever stop developing or changing how I work, I think as an artist you never stop learning, you're always growing and turning your talents in new directions to keep things interesting for yourself. I look back at what I've done and I can see all the changes I've made to how I work and the new ways I've decided to do things. Most times when I have someone at a convention come up to me and tell me how much they liked something I've done from a while ago I'm like oh, really? All I see are the mistakes and how I could do things now, and that goes for about everything I work on. At the time I work on it, I'm mostly happy with what I've done, but wait a while and it's lost its appeal for me and I'm just like, I could have done this, or this would have been visually better. I'm pretty stubborn and will work at something until I decide that I can't make it work and get sick of it, but it's something I have to work out for myself. So if people out there don't like what I'm doing or something I've changed, well it's something I have to work out myself to see if it's doesn't work and if I happy with the results from it. The best thing I've taken from working in the industry for the time I have is that you can't please everyone, so don't try to. Make sure you're happy with what you've done at the time and don't worry about the rest.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews IDW Artist Alex Milne


Like you mentioned I like Gundam, and I'll use influences from them in my work. I see how they do mecha and they have a lot of the mechanics worked out for a giant robot that has great range of motion. So I try and take some of those elements and add them into my work, like in the way the shoulders work or the other joints. I know that when Don Figueroa was working on TFs that I really enjoyed the way he did stuff (even when fans didn't) and he was another artist who inspired me. There are so many artist out there that I look at how they do things and I want to try that with my own work at times. I know that I love the work of Syd Mead, and I've always enjoyed his look of the future and the technical style of his work. I try to add some of that flare into my own work with the backgrounds I do.

A more recent large influence for me has been Sean Gordon Murphy. I really enjoy his work and the use of light and dark he uses. I look at his ink work and I would really like to do something like that for a Transformers book, but I know that most TF fans wouldn't like it as much since it would be too much of a departure from what they are used to, so I have to do little things here and there. His work however has given me a greater appreciation for traditional style inking and I'm trying to use more then just a tech pen when I ink. A tech pen gives you a lot of control, but it can be very stale looking, but there are a lot of straight lines on a TF so its what's comfortable to get that across. Another favourite artist and influence is Otomo Katsuhiro. I love the work he has done and have many art books by him where I just sit and try and digest all the line work he puts into a piece. His work is inspiring and dream shattering all at the same time. It inspires me to push myself to do as much as I can with my work, but shatters me in knowing I don't think I will ever get that good. However... one needs their dreams to go on, right?

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews IDW Artist Alex Milne
Galvatron meets Gundam


One other out of all the artist that inspire me is Sarah Stone. I love the work she does and how she breaks down simple shapes of colour to make up a background. It has a very cinematic feel to it, and the rich colours that she uses are tasty for lack of a better word. I look at her work and it makes me want to get better at colouring on the computer so I can attempt to do something like that. I'd probably only do it once, since doing all the art for a book is a lot of work and with what I draw in an issue would probably eat up so much time for me to colour it myself. :P Oh well, a goal to set for future.

Va'al - Those are some seriously impressive references and influences, and going behind your process put a new perspective on all of your work! With the constant changes, how do you feel when your visuals are used a reference, either as fan art emulation or even toy designs? Is there anything physical/plastic you'd particularly like to see come out of your art?

Alex - it's all very enjoyable to see people taking an interest in the work I do and using something I created in a piece of art or in a toy form. As for fan art it's all very nice and I'm glad people enjoy it enough to try and re-draw a character model of mine. I think the only thing that bugs me, and this has popped up a couple times recently is when fans ask me how to draw in the MTMTE style. There is no MTMTE style. There is the way I draw and my own style of art, but that's not beholden to just MTMTE. I would draw that way if I did work on any of the other Transformer titles. It's just the style I've developed for myself. So it's a bit upsetting to have people ask about drawing in this style thinking this the the key to drawing MTMTE when it's really just my way of drawing and no one asks any of the other artist that help out on the book to draw like me. I guess I've been drawing the book so long that people just associate my style of art with MTMTE. It's a good and bad thing IMO.

It is nice to see fans drawing the characters in the book, but it's hard to see if it's due to the art or the characterization? Do people like them because of the way I've drawn them or is it because of they way they act and speak in the book? It's a bit easier if it's just a background character that has no dialog and I can do what I want in the background with them. Then it's more because of the art then the story. A bit harder when you have a main character, because then you add James [Roberts] into the mix and I think it's the story and the characterization that they really like and the visuals don't mean as much. I guess it's just nice either way to have people interested in what James and I work on, and I think it's safe to say we're both thankful for that. :)

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews IDW Artist Alex Milne


Now when having something I drew get a toy, well that's pretty awesome. To me it doesn't matter if it's a Hasbro official toy or a 3rd party product, I just like seeing something I've drawn turned into a toy. Official toys are nice since it shows me that Hasbro also likes the work I do enough to have some of the design elements I've done for the comic in the toys they make. I know I was super happy to see Skids and Trailbreaker with elements of the comic designs in the toys. I'm also super happy to see 3rd party toys try and make more comic accurate versions of the characters, like Tailgate and Swerve with their comic accurate alt modes and the DJD that are being produced. If there were more toys based on designs I've done, I'd like to see Thunderclash, Firestar and her crew that I've designed. Possibly Deathsaurus. There are a few too many to list!

Va'al - It must be such a good feeling indeed to hold your designs in hand - here's to more! Before we bring this interview to a close, I have another people-shaped question: you're an artist, and you've named several artists, but you've also brought in your partner in crime on MTMTE James Roberts. What's it like working with him on the series, how much control and input do you have? And, of course, how different is it working with different writers?

Alex - This is the time when James fears what I will say. :p Well I've been working with James for what, about 5 years now? It feels like more, but I'm sure we started working together back in 2011 on the Chaos Theory 2 issues (Trasformers: Ongoing issues 22 and 23). At this point in my career I had already worked with 7-8 different writes on different books so I like to think at this point I'm pretty flexible to work with anyone. I know I was excited to work with James since he had worked on LSOTW with Nick Roche and I enjoyed that, so I was interested to see what he was going to do on his own. I have to say that the scripts were very detailed, maybe a little overboard at times? I could tell that this would be great if it was something like a movie or TV show, but it was going to be hard to fit it all in a single page or single panel. However that didn't stop me from trying my best to try and get it all in there. I think after working so long together James can write less in the panel descriptions and just give me the important information that needs to be shown and I can handle the rest now.
I can say that most of the time we work smoothly together on the series, however there might be times that we bump heads and have very different ways of wanting to do things. I think this is natural with anyone one who is a creative person. It can be frustrating at times, but it's nothing that can't be worked out most of the time.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews IDW Artist Alex Milne
Alex 'The Machine' Milne and James 'JRo' Roberts


I'm not sure how much input I have when it comes to the series. I have some ideas that I will talk with James about and he seems to like some of them, but then later he writes something totally different that makes sure that those idea can't happen, so that irks me a bit. I'd like to feel like there is more collaboration between the 2 of us, but for right now it's he's the writer and I'm the artist. This is fine for now, but like just about every artist, we all have a need to grow and do more than what people merely think we can do, and I'm ready to do more.

However, I don't want to be all negative: at the end of the day I do enjoy working with James. We seems to work well together even if we have different ways of doing and seeing things. I think this is proven by when I see people talk about the issues and they talk about something going on in the backgrounds and attribute it to James and setting something up and it was just something I did to have fun in the background with a couple characters. I guess we think alike at times, so that's neat when people can't tell if it was scripted or not.

I know one thing. I'm always excited to work on a new issue and see what James has come up with. There have been times with other writers that I've kind of gotten bored near the end of the project, but that hasn't happened with MTMTE. I'm always excited to work on it and I try to push myself to do better with each issue and I think James does also, even if others can't see what he's doing yet. So I guess you're stuck with us for a while longer. Hopefully.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews IDW Artist Alex Milne
Skids in MTMTE #21


Working with different writers is just about finding a balance between your person vision for the project and what the writers vision is. It takes a bit of time to get comfortable working with someone and to start to know what they want and how to handle things that will make them happy. You do want to try and make the writer happy since you are illustrating their story, yet you also have to be happy working on the project. If the two are out of balance, then you will end up with a mess and things not working out. I can't really say that I have had a bad time working with any writer. Most are pretty easy to work with and they all have interesting takes on ideas and characters. As a comics artist it's your job to find that common middle ground that you can share and work together. It's tough at the beginning, but given time it works out and you end up having fun and hopefully creating something fans will enjoy.

Va'al - I can assure you, fans very much enjoy your work, be it on MTMTE or in the art you produce outside of the series! One last thing, if you're up for it - quick question round!

V - Paper or digital?
A - Paper
V - Colours or grayscale?
A - Colours
V - Cygate or Chromewind?
A - Chromewind
V - Nautica or Ratchet?
A - Nautica
V - Overlord or Tarn?
A - Tarn

Va'al - Controversial? Potential spoilers? We'll see.

Alex, this has been an absolute pleasure, and I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to go through it! Any last things you want to let the readers know?

Alex - Thanks for wanting to talk with me and letting me ramble on.

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank all the fans who like and have supported the work I do. It does mean a lot, and hopefully I will continue to do work you enjoy. For those who don't like what I do, sorry, I can't please everyone but I'm sure there is someone who does do work you can enjoy.
I'd also like to thank the colourists I've worked with over the years. I'm sure I haven't made their lives easy with the lines I give them to colour. Thanks for all your hard work Joana, Josh Burcham and Josh Perez and the rest :)

Now it's time to get back to ruining people's lives with MTMTE. :P

---

That was quite the ride, and quite the read, I'm sure! If you've made it this far, make sure to keep an eye on Alex's guest appearances at a number of conventions this season, and you can follow his work as it happens by taking a look at his Tumblr page, deviantArt, Twitter and Instagram accounts - and of course, by reading Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye every month!

Catch you later, Pokéballers.

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