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Editorial Vision, Shakespearean Power Plays, and Giant Robots with John Barber

Transformers News: Editorial Vision, Shakespearean Power Plays, and Giant Robots with John Barber
Date: Wednesday, November 12th 2014 1:22pm CST
Categories: Comic Book News, Interviews, People News
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): WCBR

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Views: 24,372

Wanting more this week in terms of Transformers fiction? Why not take a read at this lengthy interview with John Barber on WeeklyComicBookReview, editor and writer at IDW on at least, oh, all of the current series featuring robots, including those yet to come. Some snippets below, full piece here! [Note: Thumbnail is RI cover for Transformers #35, by Andrew Griffith. Fitting, non?]

Already well respected for his nearly Quixotic attempts to bring sanity to the Transformers movie continuity, John Barber’s tenure over IDW’s mainline Transformers comics has been viewed as something of a renaissance period for the brand.

Besides writing a tense sci-fi political thriller in the form of Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Barber has also served as the editor of the award-winning Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye as well as the Transformers: Windblade mini-series. Since then he’s added even more to his plate by writing Angry Birds Transformers and co-writing the latest Transformers vs. G.I. Joe series.

As the man behind one of my favorite shared universes in comics, I’ve been eager to meet Mr. Barber for some time. Little did I know how deep we’d get into the current Transformers line-up.

Mr. Barber was incredibly gracious with his time and considerable knowledge so please enjoy and, if so inclined, check out the newly renamed The Transformers #35, on sale today!

[...]

N: One thing that I was definitely curious about is that one of the weird figures for IDW in Transformers has been Galvatron, in that you couldn’t fall back on a G1 interpretation.

B: Yeah.

N: But so he was kind of Nova Prime’s Starscream for a while and then he kind of had this very ‘glorious leader against D-Void’ period. What made you settle on ‘Galvatron the Barbarian’ for your take?

B: I was kind of intrigued by the story that Simon [Furman] had set up of these characters being of a different age, y’know? These people that were there, that took off on the original Ark? I just kind of latched onto this idea of, ‘what was society like before they had the Golden Age?’ For me, it went back to doing the Robots in Disguise Annual and I had this idea of like Game of Thrones with Transformers, of this idea of these different tribes. And I played with that actually a bit in the movie universe stuff, but it was different in the main line stuff.

And Galvatron was one of those characters, kind of like Soundwave, where even within the IDW universe different writers had radically different takes on where he was. So, thinking about how you can sort of unify those, what kind of person would do all that stuff? And I came to the idea of ‘what if Galvatron’s kind of Conan’ and you had this guy who’s kind of really a rough guy, really a barbarian, but who becomes king?

“Galvatron was one of those characters where different writers had radically different takes. So, thinking about how you can sort of unify those, what kind of person would do all that stuff?”

I mean the story of Conan isn’t just Conan the Barbarian. There’s all these eras of Conan as he goes on; he eventually is King Conan. And the idea that Galvatron kind of went through all that, so he’s been different places in his life, appealed to me. And, in [issue #34] we’ll get kind of a larger grasp of how those early days with him and Nova functioned. We’ll be seeing some stuff, that I think may be surprising to some people, that we sort of hinted at. There’re definitely some hints that have been going on, but some of the ancient Cybertronian lore and history is gonna come up.

But, in short, it’s kind of the idea of this guy who, in his own mind, he’s noble, but it isn’t the usual nobility you get from a villain because he’s really, really brutal and he’s- he’s- like he’s genuinely not a nice guy, y’know, where, Soundwave, to me, he’s the good guy Decepticon.

N: Yeah.

B: Like he’s the guy that genuinely believes in the Decepticon cause and everything they had to do that was bad was a compromise that he had to make to a greater end goal, where Galvatron isn’t like that. He’s less compromising, but much more brutal and, like, the underlying…like-

N: He doesn’t feel like a guy who’s like thinking very much into the future.

B: Yeah. Like he does in his way. So, there are moments where you’re going to see him kind of doing stuff toward a larger goal, but it’s a very distinct, direct barbarian way of doing it. He’s not doing the Machiavellian playing guys off of each other the way Starscream does. Even when he does like straight up lie, his duplicity is a little more honest.

[...]

Just taking a step aside from Robots in Disguise for a second, I was just curious. You are not only a writer, but you’re an editor for IDW.

B: Yes.

N: As someone with that very unique experience, what do you think that -whether it be professionals, aspiring, anywhere in the process – what do you think that writers need to know about editors and editors need to know about writers? You have seen both sides.

B: That’s a good question. Ideally, everybody’s out to make a good comic. And there are good fits with writers and editors, y’know?

It’s funny because I have friends on both sides of the table. So, every once in a while you’ll sort of hear somebody, a friend of mine, complaining about, y’know, that editor didn’t work out. Then there’ll be people who are having a great relationship with that editor. So it’s like any other relationship in life. There are fits and there are non-fits.

When you’re putting a creative team together for a comic, it’s sort of like putting a band together, y’know? Like everybody has to get along. You have to know what parts everybody’s playing and what everybody’s doing. On the Transformers books we’re really lucky, everybody gets along really well, I think, between James, me, Mairghread, Chris Metzen, Flint Dille, plus like Alex Milne, Andrew, Livio, Sarah, everybody; we all interact really well.

IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone - Shane McCarthy Interview

Transformers News: IDW Transformers Drift: Empire of Stone - Shane McCarthy Interview
Date: Friday, November 7th 2014 4:40am CST
Categories: Comic Book News, Interviews, People News
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): CBR

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Views: 22,786

Thanks again to fellow Seibertronian SW's Silverhammer eagle eyes, we can share an interview conducted by Comic Book Resources with the writer of the upcoming IDW Transformers mini-series Drift: Empire of Stone (and the creator of the character in the first place) - Shane McMCarthy. Read on below for some snippets on the book, head here for the full thing, and check out the preview pages here!


Later this month, writer Shane McCarthy returns to the samurai Transformer he created in "Drift: Empire of Stone," a four-issue mini-series from IDW Publishing with artist Guido Guidi. As a former Decepticon who found sanctuary with the Autobots, Drift is currently on a journey of self-discovery, attempting to discover his place in the Galaxy. Along with Autobot medic Ratchet, who is along for the ride to help clear Drift's name from a wrongful accusation, Drift will go through what McCarthy describes as "buddy cop meets space adventure."

The writer discussed re-visiting his samurai Transformer in the new IDW mini-series "Drift: Empire of Stone," revealing why Drift finds himself without alliances yet again, his feelings on Michael Bay's interpretation of the character in "Transformers: Age of Extinction" (and why it was "bordering on offensive") and more.

CBR News: Shane, what's the main story behind "Drift: Empire of Stone?"

Shane McCarthy: "Empire of Stone" takes place after Drift was booted off the Lost Light and sent on his way into the galaxy. It's about what he's been doing while he's been gone and how he's trying to be relevant and find his place in the galaxy now he's neither Autobot or Decepticon. Knowing Drift was wrongly accused, Ratchet comes looking for him to bring him back and the two become well and truly caught up in something from Drift's days as a Decepticon. While Drift is trying to save the galaxy, Ratchet is attempting to save Drift from himself. Buddy cop meets space adventure.

[...]

Are you coordinating your story at all with IDW "Transformers" architects John Barber or James Roberts? Will it connect to either "Robots in Disguise" or "More than Meets the Eye?"

Nothing beyond having John as my editor, no. John let me know what happened prior to "Empire of Stone" and I read up on Drift's appearances but, outside of that John's left me completely alone. He's a great guy to work with. Whilst the mini series takes place after the events on the Lost Light, the mini doesn't connect with the major books.

What's it like working with artist Guido Guidi?

Working with Gui is always a treat. He's a great artist! As I was writing up "Empire of Stone" I was sending Guido ideas and letting him know what characters I'd be using that he'd need to design. As the scripts start coming through to him he sends through sketches and pages for John and I to look at. It's like Christmas every time. I really enjoy working with Guido a lot and was over the moon when I found out we'd be able to work together. He was the one guy I really wanted for this and it's fantastic to come together to work on the character we created.

Seibertron.com Interviews Jim Sorenson and Bill Forster - IDW Transformers: Legacy, Complete Allspark Almanac

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Jim Sorenson and Bill Forster - IDW Transformers: Legacy, Complete Allspark Almanac
Date: Tuesday, October 7th 2014 5:18am CDT
Categories: Book News, Interviews, People News, Site Articles
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): Jim Sorenson, Bill Forster, IDW

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Views: 28,837

Good morrow, fellow Transformers fans! Here at Seibertron.com we strive to bring you interesting, enthusiastic original content as well as the best news and toy galleries in the fandom. To that end, we went and checked in with the authors of this week's IDW Publishing release of Transformers: Legacy - The Art of Transformers Packaging: Bill Forster and Jim 'Lockwind' Sorenson! We had a chat with Sorenson already during the Twincast Podcast #100, but read on below for more juicy information about this incredible book, clocking in at 300 pages and for the measly price of $49.99. And we also happen to chat about the upcoming release of the Complete AllSpark Almanac, so make sure to read all the way!

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Jim Sorenson and Bill Forster - IDW Tr



Va'al – Bill, Jim, it is an incredible pleasure to be talking to both of you. The book looks incredible. Truly. I was a late collector, and grew up in Europe, so some of this is vaguely new to me! But incredible, still. And congratulations on seeing this project all the way through to publication, it must've taken years (and your Acknowledgements section confirms it). How long did it take?


Bill Forster – Thank you! I can share some of the feeling: Jim was the one finding the images and sending them over, it was really exciting for me too. The idea for the book was something that came to our minds since the Ark books. So the answer would probably be...

Jim Sorenson – Probably officially in 2006. But we pitched the idea before the second ark book, and we were talking to some Hasbro guys at the tour during BotCon 2007, only to find out they didn't really have any artwork available.

Then Andrew Hall (aka Hydra), who helped with the Ark 2, went to work for Part One, Takara's design firm, and dug into their archives. He discovered they had a ton of the material, so we thought the time had come to resubmitted the idea to IDW. We had good 40% of the material from Part One.

We also worked with Rik Alvarez at Hasbro, who found some more pieces, maybe another 10%, including some of the more unusual, unreleased paintings that show up in the book. But the biggest source of material were fans themselves, who came to help after a good beating of the drums on my part.

In fact, the initial intention was to have a smattering of pieces across the toy lines, rather than something more comprehensive, but what we've eventually achieved is almost the entirety for what was in scope. That's G1 and G2 in the US, and G1 for Japan. The Japanese G2 art we shied away from, as it was CG and the style didn't really mesh, but you can get a hint of that style because we used a Japanese CG mural as the chapter header for the G2 chapter. That choice was because they never made an airbrushed one. But still, for the eras we covered, we have maybe 90-95% of the art.


Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Jim Sorenson and Bill Forster - IDW Tr



Va'al – That is really an impressive feat! And how did you go about dividing up the book into its chapters? Had you considered something by theme, before moving to series?

Bill – Well, we didn't want the same sort of background running through, we wanted to show how it changes, show the visual differences from one line to the next. So we decided to go for the different periods and toy gimmicks, and adding the purple and red backgrounds for the two Autobot and Decepticon factions.

Jim – We really wanted to impart a sense of momentum as you read the books. The Ark books work as reference, but didn't have a sense of progression. It's great for hardcore transformers fans, especially if you want to use it as a visual reference. If you look, you can see that we structued the book that way. We even have a by-character index in the back. However, for a more casual reader, we've seen them go through it and usually they spend a lot of time on the first few images but then accellerate as they go, so that they're just skimming over the last 100 pages or so looking for something different! The Almanacs already improved on that, and I think Bill has done a great job here with Legacy at giving a sense of dynamic progression, pulling the reader through the art.


Va'al – I would agree, I tried to just dip in, but ended up going from start to finish! So how did you divide the work between the two of you, what were your roles for the book?

Bill – Generally, Jim handles the writing, I do the art direction. But we both dabble in each other's worlds, and we get to do different things. In this one though, Jim was definitely the curator, and I the art director: he'd get the thematic display and progression where he wanted them, I'd then lay them out and show them off accordingly.

Jim – Yes, I find the pieces and organize them. Say, for example, with the Stunticons: I wanted them all in one section, or maybe the guys on one page and Menasor on another. It was then up to Bill to arrange them how they looked best, with that basic structurein mind. And he did so much work. We had great quality images, but Bill still had to do a gigantic amount of work cleaning them and cutting them out of their backgrounds.

Bill – I actually got nerve damage from the work, I had to use a mouse rather than a tablet and it messed up my hand quite bad!


Va'al - Whoah! That makes it even more impressive, sorry to hear about it though!

Bill - Another factor was that Jim had moved to Albuquerque, so it made sense to divide up the work.

Jim – But also, Legacy was much more difficult than other books we've worked on, and we each had to work on our own strengths. Bill's is visual, the flow, the backgrounds. I've gone from awful to professionally competent in that area, but Bill is beyond competent, he's exceptional. I bring a strong sense of context and a network of contacts to the job. I flew over to Japan, to different US cities to collect material. Not that he couldn't! He did it once or twice.

Bill – Yeah, with Action Master Shockwave. But Jim is the driving force, getting on planes, contacting people. I sit at a table and put it all painstakingly together.

Jim – Bill's name is first on this one, in the credits, and it really is reflective of the work that went into the project. This is an art book, a beautiful art book. It's playing to his strengths.

Bill – I thought it was alphabetical! Just kidding. I think it was really important to deliver something that would really visually strike the readers and fans.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Jim Sorenson and Bill Forster - IDW Tr


Va'al – The visual element certainly does jump out! You mention throughout that a lot of the art shows off the 'transforming' nature of the characters, the movement. Take the Triggerbots and Triggercons for example.. you actually see the spring loaded weapons.

Jim – Oh yeah, remember those? They were a pain.

Bill – Yeah. I had no idea what to do about the background, how to show the motion lines.. I winged it in the end. I replicated the images, trying to figure out how to drop a background. It took forever to reconstruct them over the originals. I was sitting there for a day and a half for each image. At least there weren't too many of them!

With the Pretenders, who also have some motion, they also had a half fade from black to white in the backgrounds. I was originally going to do a grid background, but then the images didn't pop right. In the end, I just went for black background to show off the artwork.

Jim – It's probably what the original package makers had to do, the same as Bill, but with an exacto knife! We left a few of the original backgrounds in tact; Grand from Grand Maximus, Metalhawk, Roadblock, Skyhammer. We couldn't do it with everyone though, unless each Pretender got a full page, and that was too much. They just didn't look as good if not on pure black.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Jim Sorenson and Bill Forster - IDW Tr


Bill – I remembered how I did it, actually. I work in InDesign among other programs, and I remember having to put motion lines on the actual page background, and make a solid image out of them or the transparency would not work. When I sent them to Jim, he was not allowed to move anything, because they were part of the background!

Jim – I never touched anything in this book! Normally we both tweak a lot images, even if just by millimeters. It may seem trivial, but it was crucial to us. This one I didn't touch anything

Bill – And you really see that with the yellow boxes containing the names – doing it just right, avoiding the lines in the background, gives it that little more visual dynamic. IDW had to make a few changes in a few places, but I always had to go over their work to make it visually consistent. And I would know what Jim might have a problem with, and we both avoid doing things that the other will have issues with. We're good at it by now.

Va'al – I have to say, it does read like a labour of love, there's a lot of passion gone into this book. It's something that looks and feels like a true celebration of an unsung aspect of the Transformers toys. But as we were talking about names: Why were individual Targetmaster names pointed out, but not the Headmasters? For instance, there's Targetmaster Cyclonus with Nightstick, but it doesn't say Headmaster Brainstorm with Arcana, just Brainstorm. Was that a choice?

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Jim Sorenson and Bill Forster - IDW Tr


Bill – I don't like words. Ever. So I'd rather avoid them. But for Targetmasters it became a style choice, using the words to balance the page. Titles, names, descriptions, I can use them to my advantage. Jim might add something in revisions, but that was what made sense to me visually.

Jim – The book came to me with some of the Targetmasters named, and for the sake of consistency, we decided to label all of them. And in the artwork itself, the guns are really prominent. Whereas the Headmasters, it doesn't feel like they're as important, not overly proportioned. It doesn't feel like Chromedome with Stylor. Same with Powermasters. Other than Prime's engine, you can't really see them. So yes, definitely a conscious choice, if only in retrospect. Or maybe I'm rationalizing.

Va'al – That sounds like a reasonable one, too. And what about those three unreleased G2 Gobot names, are they the official ones?

Jim – Well, they were the names written on the artwork. Maybe they wouldn't be named like that on the box, except for Hound maybe. But we had to name them somehow, and those were the names we had. I'm actually about 95% sure that the police car would have been named Prowl, but I didn't have any documentation to support that and I didn't want to make that declaration. This wasn't like the Almanacs, where we were working collaboratively with the creators. This one felt more like archaeology, documenting the history of the brand as we unearthed it.

Bill – I was tempted to label Hound Hulk, actually, because of a comment made by my girlfriend..

Jim – Jillian. She helped work on the book.

Bill – Yeah, as I was working on him she asked if it was a Hulk Transformer. It's the purple pants.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Jim Sorenson and Bill Forster - IDW Tr


Va'al – Hah! Yes, I can see that. But speaking of unreleased goodies, what about the pitched US Multiforce releases, do you know if they were planned for G1 or G2?

Jim – Definitely G1. I realize the book structure might not make it clear, as it's a lot of G2 unused artwork, but they would've been G1, probably with new original names. Same for the three Decepticon jets, Quickswitch, Monstructor. A lot of the unused section was drawn from G2 because there were many more unreleased G2 toys than unreleased G1 toys.


Va'al – So what is missing? What about more of the European releases, did you use of all of the material you collected?

Jim - We included everything we had that we were legally able to reproduce. We're missing some Action Masters. But that is also due to the lack of interest in the community, I feel, about them. Since so much of the book came from fans, I think that the distributed collective effort just wasn't as strong for finding Action Master art. The other gaps are at the tail end of G2, but I can mostly live with that, because that's where digital coloring is coming into play. Like, Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywaryp, all repaints but because it's paintings they just made 3 different images. It's basically the same level of effort to make a new image as to recolor an old one. By G2, digital recoloring was feasible so they didn't bother to make a new painting for ATB Megatron and Starscream, they just recolored Dreadwing and Smokescreen.

The one mold we are missing from G2 is Roadblock. That was frustrating, because Hasbro did have it in 2007, when we started thinking about the book, but by the time we pitched in 2011-12, they didn't have it any more.

Bill – It probably disappeared after that Hasbro tour! We even asked fans who were there if they had any high quality digital photos of it, because we might have been able to use it, but no dice.

Jim – We also would've loved to include more European releases, but no one had that artwork. There is a bit, but not that much. In fact, some of those images in the book actually came from Hasbro US rather than UK, like Pyro and Clench.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Jim Sorenson and Bill Forster - IDW Tr


Va'al – I will not comment on Hasbro UK, here. I think my question at this point, though, is : what about the artists of the original artwork? Did you find out who they were?

Jim – They're all in the Acknowledgements section, we did contact them but not everyone remembered what they actually worked on. We didn't think it made sense to do attributions if we only knew about 40% of the total. But they are there, and they did help with the book.

Va'al – So the credit is where it's due, excellent news! Of course, Legacy is not the only project you're working on at the moment, especially with its imminent release – what is the status of the Complete Allspark Almanac?

Jim – We'll say as much as we can, but a lot of it is still in the air. The two Almanacs are probably our most popular books, going for really high prices on the secondary market – we're really pleased that IDW are doing a collected volume. We're hoping it will also include the material we produced for the Club, the editors are definitely on board with the idea, but we're still looking at practical aspects like cost, clearances and whatnot, so we have yet to receive confirmation on that.

As far as I know, the combined version – a whopping 472 pages - is ready, sitting in the IDW servers. Maybe it's not what goes to press, but that is my ideal of the book. The chapters from the two volumes are integrated, to combine the separate chapters in the two books.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Jim Sorenson and Bill Forster - IDW Tr


Bill – Jim loves order. Loves it.

Jim – And now I had the chance to correct some oversights from the first two volumes, like getting Starscream next to Megatron, though he's not next to all his clones as a result. So there are tradeoffs. But each chapter is bigger, even the ones that didn't have an analog in each book. We shifted things around, little things like moving the Tigatron stadium from 'Settings' to the 'Detroit' chapter. All the Elite Guard guys are together. Ironhide is now with the rest of Rodimus' team. Etc.

Bill – What we can definitely say is that the cover is amazing. Once we have Hasbro's approval, IDW will show it.

Jim – Yeah, we were both spitballing ideas with the artist, and then he comes up with something that blew our minds. He sketched ours, and they were perfectly fine, but his was better.

Va'al – Intriguing... can you say who it is?

Jim – Not really, but you can probably guess.

Va'al – A teaser! And apart from the Club stuff, is there any additional extra material?

Jim – Maybe a teeny tiny bit, but that's really not the focus of the book.

Va'al – I see. Bill, what sbout your role this time round? Any major changes?

Bill – I was mostly recovering from Legacy, and Jim, a lovable control freak, took the lead on this one, including designs. Which he then ran past me, and we've become so attuned to one another that he did exactly what I would've done!

Jim – Derrick J. Wyatt had a lot do say about the Complete version, too. But Bill did a lot of writing work in the Almanac the first time round, especially volume two. So it is definitely both of us working on it. Then it goes to Marty Isenberg and Derrick, then IDW, then Hasbro – but it all feels pretty good, and not stretched out thin.

Bill – Yeah, and we both like submitting stuff to Marty and Derrick. We work in their world rather than trying to fit in our own.

Jim – Before we were talking about arguments, and knowing what the other person will like or not like. We were working on the logo for the Complete Allspark Almanac – we wanted something so you could see at a glance what it is, but also not visually dominate the artwork, it needs a balance. But Bill wanted something.. you tell the story, Bill.

Bill – I sent Jim two versions of the logo and told him: One's correct, one's not incorrect. He obviously chose the 'wrong' one. I had made one specifically for him, I wanted the other, and of course he chose that one!

Jim – Usually I'm the one that wants more time on the words, and Bill wants bigger images. But we always strive for a balance between image and picture.

Bill – And sometimes it can be a question of three words, for me.

Jim – Which could be the difference between eight or nine lines! But I think the audience is the winner in the end. It's funny, when I look back on books I see the flaws, but I don't even see the arguments now.

Bill – That's because Jim usually wins! I only remember the arguments when they're really stupid, to be honest. I think we spent two hours arguing over a line by Cliffjumper, which was too 'organic' for the Animated universe, and it made sense not to have it in the end. But two hours, over 'cruising for a bruising'!

Va'al – I may side with Bill on that one, this time. But I also think it's time to bring this chat to an end – so thank you both for taking some time to talk to us, and we'll be showering you with more compliments about the book as soon as more readers get their hands on them!

Jim – Thank you!

Bill – No problem at all!



Make sure to pick up a copy of Transformers Legacy from IDW Publishing, then, and let us know what you think of it! Keep your optics on Seibertron.com and thanks for reading.

Transformers: Universe Score - Interview with James Hannigan

Transformers News: Transformers: Universe Score - Interview with James Hannigan
Date: Thursday, October 2nd 2014 2:17am CDT
Categories: Game News, Interviews, People News
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): Examiner.com

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Views: 15,611

Something a little different from Transformers: Universe, the MOBA game by Jagex - an interview with the ears behind the music! Check out below some extracts from this interview with James Hannigan, who also scored the videogames for Lord Of The Rings, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and Command And Conquer among others, on Examiner.com.

Let’s first talk about your recent work on the new “Transformers Universe” game. What inspired you to get involved with the project? What has impressed you most about working on this game?

JH: I enjoyed Transformers as a child and I’m just one of those people who finds it difficult not to get excited by large, warring robots. I particularly like how they’re partially organic as well and have such distinctive personalities. Basically, I’m a sucker for the mythic theme of ‘good vs. evil’; not to mention being a sci-fi and fantasy buff in general.

[...]

Did you also take some inspiration from the music that composers such as Steve Jablonsky and Brian Tyler wrote for the films and animated television series that would help make your score fit in the Transformers Universe musically?

JH: Not specifically, although I love the work of those composers. I was merely trying to, on one level, create music that fit into the wider world of Transformers (which is already very varied across film and television over decades now) but with a new dimension as well. Some of the music of Transformers Universe is pretty harsh, grinding and mechanical, yet at other times it can be quite minimal and ethereal. The team at Jagex have also been working on music, and their output is also varied, a reflection perhaps of the fact that the Transformers themselves have wildly different personalities.

[...]

What were the recording sessions like?

JH: Very nice and we recorded the Philharmonia at Abbey Road Studios in London for some of the music. It is always a humbling and breathtaking experience to have your music performed by a full orchestra and the level of musicianship among players in London is truly outstanding.

Will a soundtrack album be released?

JH: Very possibly, but I have no details.

Takara Tomy MP24 Masterpiece Star Saber Designers Interview and Images

Transformers News: Takara Tomy MP24 Masterpiece Star Saber Designers Interview and Images
Date: Tuesday, September 9th 2014 5:40am CDT
Categories: Company News, Interviews, Toy News
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): Takara Tomy

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Views: 19,319

Thanks to the official Takara Tomy website, we have more news regarding the Transformers Masterpiece MP24 Star Saber figure, in the form of a lenghty interview with its designer team, including Hisashi Yuki. The interview, found here, is in Japanese, but we can summarily report that it mentions decisions about size, stability, poseability, reference material and accuracy - and includes a nice good number of images, mirrored below for your enjoyment!

Transformers News: Takara Tomy MP24 Masterpiece Star Saber Designer Interview and Images

Transformers News: Takara Tomy MP24 Masterpiece Star Saber Designer Interview and Images

Transformers News: Takara Tomy MP24 Masterpiece Star Saber Designer Interview and Images

Transformers News: Takara Tomy MP24 Masterpiece Star Saber Designer Interview and Images

Transformers News: Takara Tomy MP24 Masterpiece Star Saber Designer Interview and Images

Transformers News: Takara Tomy MP24 Masterpiece Star Saber Designer Interview and Images

Transformers News: Takara Tomy MP24 Masterpiece Star Saber Designer Interview and Images

Transformers News: Takara Tomy MP24 Masterpiece Star Saber Designer Interview and Images

Transformers News: Takara Tomy MP24 Masterpiece Star Saber Designer Interview and Images

Transformers News: Takara Tomy MP24 Masterpiece Star Saber Designer Interview and Images

Transformers: Universe - Interview with Barry Zubel of Jagex

Transformers News: Transformers: Universe - Interview with Barry Zubel of Jagex
Date: Wednesday, August 20th 2014 6:30am CDT
Categories: Game News, Interviews, People News
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): Computing.co.uk

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Tech website Computing were able to have a chat with Jagex' head of IT Barry Zubel, in an interview that may interest the more technologically inclined players of the Transformers: Universe MOBA game. Check out a sample below, and head here for the full piece!

n Cambridge, the city where the studio is based, the tasks aren't quite as mystical, but as Jagex head of IT Barry Zubel told Computing, their completion will reap rewards for both developers and players as the studio prepares to launch its next blockbuster title: Transformers Universe.

"Our biggest project is virtualisation and that's going to be a big winner for us," he said, describing how "we've historically not virtualised anything operationally" due to the limits it would put on game performance – but that's changing.

[...]

"The closer we can push the game servers to our customers, the better the connectivity," said Zubel, who added that while RuneScape is able to function on high latency connections, the upcoming Transformers Universe isn't so tolerant, so Jagex has been attempting to install servers nearer to players.

"Transformers is a little less forgiving because of the game that it is, so we've been looking at placing servers in places where players will be," he said.

IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars Interview - John Barber and Mairghread Scott

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Combiner Wars Interview - John Barber and Mairghread Scott
Date: Wednesday, August 13th 2014 12:57pm CDT
Categories: Comic Book News, Interviews, People News
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): Newsarama

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Views: 25,564

Comics and entertainment news website Newsarama had a chat with two of IDW's Transformers wordsmiths about the upcoming mini-event (announced at SDCC) Combiner Wars. Follow the link here to read the whole piece with John Barber and Mairghread Scott, and check out some very intriguing snippets below, including Metroplex's Spacebridge, Windblade, Optimus Prime, Prowl and the already established combiners like Devastator and Superion. How interested are you in where this might go..?

Next spring, a war is coming to IDW’s Transformers comics – and it’s bigger than one single robot, or even the divide between Autobots and Decepticons. It’s the “Combiner Wars.”

Combiners are the term used to describe super-robots of sorts, made out of multiple Transformers combining together into one – and they’ve been a major part of the Transformers franchise, from the Destructicons’ Devastator to Predacons’ Predaking and numerous others. In the IDW Transformers line’s upcoming “Combiner Wars,” the technology that made Combiners possible has been found and it starts what IDW Senior Editor (and longtime Transformers writer) John Barber calls a “cold war” between Transformers factions.

Beginning in March “Combiner Wars” will crisscross between the main Transformers comic series (formerly subtitled Robots In Disguise) and the upcoming Transformers: Windblade ongoing series. The crossover will be written by Barber along with Mairghread Scott, and illustrated by Sarah Stone and Livio Ramondelli.

Newsarama: Mairghread, John, what is this “Combiner Wars” about?

John Barber: “Combiner Wars” is, in the comics, the cold war between factions on Cybertron and Earth growing hot. Starscream is the (mostly) legitimate ruler of Cybertron, but not everybody thinks he should be. And when one of his ultimate goals—contact with the missing ancient Cybertronian colonies, as seen in the Transformers: Windblade miniseries—starts to come to fruition, other parties—Optimus Prime, Windblade, Prowl—see an immediate danger to the sanctity of the galaxy.

Beyond that—“Combiner Wars” is a great example of Hasbro and IDW working together and building a huge storyline that goes between toys and comics and into other media. We on the comics have worked very closely with Hasbro’s Transformers brand team, especially Mark Webber and Sarah Carroll, plus Director, Global Publishing Michael Kelly—there’s pieces that come straight out of the comics (like the new Megatron toy for next year that gives you the option of giving him an Autobot symbol, like he has in the Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye comics) and some new things coming from the toy side that we get to debut in the comics. Plus, while the comics will come out from IDW first, they’ll be packed in with select Transformers Generations toys, which will get the comics to an all-new audience that might have never had the chance to read them before.

And beyond that—“Combiner Wars” is a great chance for Mairghread Scott (writer of the amazing Windblade series) and I to work together and to team with Sarah Stone (artist on that amazing Windblade series) and Livio Ramondelli (who’s just finished the Transformers: Punishment motion comic and is in the middle of Transformers: Primacy, the story of the early days of the war) and make a big, action-packed, character-packed story with huge ramifications for the comics in 2015.

[...]

Nrama: We’ve mentioned theWindblade miniseries and ongoing series, but what about Windblade herself – how does she factor into it all?

Scott: The end of Windblade saw our heroine striking a real devil's bargain with Starscream and she's still trying to maintain that very dangerous balance. So we see a really different side of Windblade, one trying to hold her own in the shadowy political world of Cybertron (a world Starscream is the undisputed master of) while still trying to hold onto some sort of moral compass. The question for Windblade in “Combiner Wars” is really: How far can you go in the name of good until you aren't good anymore? When does the end stop justifying the means?

Transformers: Age of Extinction Opens in Japan - Interview with Bay, Wahlberg and More

Transformers News: Transformers: Age of Extinction Opens in Japan - Interview with Bay, Wahlberg and More
Date: Thursday, August 7th 2014 11:57pm CDT
Categories: Interviews, Movie News, People News
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): The Japan Times

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Views: 26,273

Coinciding with the release of Transformers: Lost Age in Japan this week, the Japan Times has posted a fairly lengthy article with interviews with the main cast and crew. Featuring comments by director Michael Bay, leading cast members Mark Wahlberg, Kelsey Grammer, and Nicola Peltz, the article, posted here, looks at various aspects of the movie, its production and different people's take on it - check out some sections below!

His latest, “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” promises more of the action and explosions Bay is known for, but the director reportedly almost didn’t take the job this time around. He’s not saying why, but he admits he was “prevailed upon. Expertly.” Coming back on board for a fourth time, he decided to make a few changes to the franchise. In particular, he didn’t want the robots to look too much like toys.

“I understand the need to draw an audience of kids and the global considerations, but I wanted to be involved with something that had a longer-lasting, even cerebral appeal. And I don’t want to be tied — artistically or in people’s minds — to ‘Transformers’ after ‘Transformers,’ ” he says, perhaps alluding to the series’ planned fifth installment.

While the Japanese roots of “Transformers” may be apparent in the design of the robotic heroes and villains of the film, the “global considerations” Bay refers to come mainly from the newly important Chinese market.

“Transformers: Age of Extinction” was partly financed by Chinese backers, has Chinese product placement and co-stars Li Bingbing as the owner of a factory manufacturing Transformers for a U.S. outfit named KSI. Bay says that cooperation between China and the United States for future filmmaking ventures will be important. The tendency of Hollywood to cast the citizens of foreign nations in villainous roles might be coming to an end if that’s the case, I suggest, to which Bay replies, “I don’t think the Chinese see themselves as villains. They do want to be admired.”

[...]

Grammer, who played the titular role in the popular U.S. sitcom “Frasier” (1993-2004) takes on the role of Harold Attinger, the paranoid head of an elite CIA unit.

“His name’s Harold — isn’t that a perfect, anal-retentive, paranoiac name?” Grammer says with a grin. “Then you have Cade, pretty much an average Joe, and his daughter Tessa (Peltz) — these wonderful names! Stanley Tucci is this arrogant technocrat (head of KSI) who wants to make and control his own Transformers, and his name is Joshua Joyce. It’s a bit comic-bookey, but it really works on screen.”

“Transformers: Age of Extinction” has succeeded in drawing in a large audience despite replacing its cast, and Grammar believes this is because the film brings back the real draw — familiar robotic characters.

Interview with Composer Steve Jablonsky: Transformers, Michael Bay, Music, Life

Transformers News: Interview with Composer Steve Jablonsky: Transformers, Michael Bay, Music, Life
Date: Thursday, July 31st 2014 4:49pm CDT
Categories: Interviews, Media, Movie News, People News
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): MStarz

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Views: 32,469

Curious to hear more from the creative mind behind the scores of the Transformers live-action movie franchise, including Age of Extinction, Steve Jablonsky? Look no further: MStarz were able to catch up with the composer to talk about his tastes in music, his formation, his arrival on the music scene and his relationship with director Michael Bay - check out the whole piece here, and a snippet below!

You've worked with filmmaker Michael Bay and his production company, Platinum Dunes, on a number of projects. How involved is he in working with you?

He's very involved. He said to me one time that for him, the sound of his movies is 50% of what he puts out there. He considers it that important. That includes music and sound effects. He wants to hear every cue, he likes to live with it for a little while-which I get, when someone hears a piece of music for the first time and I say, do you like it or not? If I were in his position, I would go "I think I like it. I need to hear it a few more times. Can I hear it again tomorrow?"

He's very involved, not just in sound and music, but he's very involved in every aspect of his films; which I think is why his life is just so crazy because he'll come to me to hear some music and he's always racing off to go to look at the color timing of the picture or to go listen to sound effects. Whatever it is, there are a million things ... he might be more involved than people think. The music to him, he either feels it or he doesn't. He feels the music and he knows it's something working for him. That's how he judges it, and like I said, he wants to hear everything. It's good for me because he pushes me to make it right. There's so much music in these movies, I kind of get lost in these scenes, writing for days and days. He's a good judge of what works, what doesn't and what's boring. It's a good collaboration, I think, that we have at this point.

How much creative freedom do you have?

He gives me all the freedom in the world, which is great. When we started Age of Extinction, the only thing he said to me is that it was a brand new cast; let's treat this as something new. We have three movies worth of music, but let's set it aside and start working on these new ideas. That was it; I just started writing and would send him theme pieces that I was writing. I wasn't even writing to picture yet, I was just writing music inspired by some of the visuals that I had seen in his cutting room. I would just send pieces to him to see what he was responding to. He seemed to be responding to the simpler things. This little piano melody I did and things like this, which is just something I thought would be cool in the movie. It's not something he asked me to do, so he definitely does give me an open canvas to try new things that I think might work. Of course, if he doesn't like it he's gonna say so. If there's something that's not quite right, he will definitely give me general notes. "I like this, you lose me here..." We have a good shorthand now where I can just send him music and he will listen to it when he's in the music mood. He will call me up and tell me if it's good or not. He let's me do what I think is right and we take it from there.

Reiventing the Cog Part 2 - Interview with James Roberts: Chromedome / Rewind, Megatron, Politics

Transformers News: Reiventing the Cog Part 2 - Interview with James Roberts: Chromedome / Rewind, Megatron, Politics
Date: Wednesday, July 30th 2014 2:43pm CDT
Categories: Comic Book News, Interviews, People News
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): Sequart.org

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Views: 22,629

You may remember the first part of this lengthy, in-depth interview with IDW's Transformers wordsmith James Roberts from a while back. The folks over at Sequart were finally able to post the second part, and you can read it in its entirety here! Take a brief glimpse at some of the great topics discussed, from Chromedome and Rewind's relationship, Megatron's development and the importance of pacing and dialogue, below, too.

Transformers News: Reiventing the Cog Part 2 - Interview with James Roberts: Chromedome/Rewind, Megatron, Politics


WHITTAKER: Knowing you go through that kind of stringent screening of dialogue lends, at least from this reader’s perspective, the characters a certain charming honesty. They seem like real entities rather than just mouthpieces for certain ideas and opinions or to appear simply as catalysts for narrative.

ROBERTS: Thanks! A lot of MTMTE stories are quite high-concept, or if not high-concept then high-density in terms of the plot and the number of things happening at any one time. And because you’re limited to 22 pages and a certain number of panels per page, you only have so much space to convey ideas and information. I try, sometimes successfully, to smuggle exposition into natural-sounding dialog.

I’ve become more confident in how to impart information, and in how good readers are at filling in gaps when you hold stuff back. You can structure a conversation between two characters in such a way that the reader comes in halfway through and discerns the thrust of what’s been said; and then you can dance around a bit and use ‘hard info’ sparingly, but the tone and pace of the conversation, and the order in which certain details are revealed, can lend everything a realistic bounce and ensure that what needs to be established has been established.

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Transformers Podcast: Twincast / Podcast #105 - Megatronus
Twincast / Podcast #105:
"Megatronus"
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Posted: Sunday, November 23rd, 2014