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#Botcon 2016 Japanese G1 Continuity Talk with Hayato Sakamoto

Transformers News: #Botcon 2016 Japanese G1 Continuity Talk with Hayato Sakamoto
Date: Tuesday, April 26th 2016 9:59pm CDT
Categories: Event News, Interviews
Posted by: william-james88 | Credit(s): Sabrblade

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One of our fellow Seibertronian Superstars, Sabrblade was at Botcon 2016 and spoke to Japanese Transformers artist/writer Hayato Sakamoto. He wrote for us a transcript of this fascinating discussion which might even elude to some upcoming Unite Warriors releases. The full transcript is below with an introduction of the context by Sabrblade:

Sabrblade wrote:On the last day of BotCon 2016, I attended the Sunday morning panel that was hosted by Japanese Transformers artist/writer Hayato Sakamoto, writer/translator Andrew “Hydra” Hall, and writer/translator Ken Rose. At this panel, Sakamoto talked about his working as an artist for IDW’s Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye comic series, as well as his working as both a writer and an artist for the TakaraTomy’s Transformers: Unite Warriors and Transformers: Legends pack-in fiction. (For those interested, you can watch a full YouTube video recording of the panel HERE).

After the panel ended, I approached the three as they were exiting the room (heading back to Sakamoto-san’s booth in the Artist Alley room) to ask Sakamoto-san some questions about his Japanese G1 works. Having an affinity for continuity and lore, Sakamoto-san was quite enthusiastic to discuss these topics with me. I joined the three on their walk back to the Artist Alley, introducing myself to Andrew Hall who recognized my screenname. Once we got to Sakamoto-san’s booth, Ken Rose graciously acted as a translation middleman between the two of us.

Most of my questions originated from what was said during the panel about the continuity placements of Unite Warriors Offshoot and Legends, which then springboarded into a wider discussion of the Japanese G1 cartoon continuity as a whole. Here is a rundown of the things we discussed and the answers I was able to get (note that Sakamoto-san’s attention eventually became divided between myself and other fans who were wanting him to sign and/or draw something for them, so some of the answers I got were less clear than others):

* As said during the panel, Unite Warriors Offshoot and the specific Legends manga chapters that have G1 Megatron, Ultra Magnus, and Springer come into the Legends Universe all take place after G2. But more specifically, they all take place after the two e-HOBBY manga that came with Masterpiece MP-1B Convoy Black Ver. And Masterpiece MP-3G Starscream Ghost Ver.

* As the Legends manga chapter that has Springer go to the Legends Universe takes place in the 2030s, with Operation Combination and United EX set in the year 2035, that era of Legends (and I think Unite Warriors Offshoot as well) takes place in the late 2030s.

* Unite Warriors Offshoot takes place even after the post-G2/post-e-HOBBY era of Legends. However, Sakamoto-san does not yet know how long or short after Legends that UWO takes place, as Legends currently has Metroplex in the Legends Universe while UWO has him in the main JG1 universe, so Sakamoto does not yet know when Metroplex gets out of the Legends Universe and goes back to the JG1 universe. But he does at least know that UWO does come after Legends.

* Unlike the rest of the Unite Warriors fiction released so far, the Grand Galvatron comic does not take place in the same post-G2/post-e-HOBBY era as UWO. Though the comic does say that it takes place ten years after Galvatron’s death in 2011 (2021), Sakamoto further revealed that it takes place after the Masterforce cartoon.

* As stated at the panel, one of the things Sakamoto set out to do with the Legends manga was to show Ultra Magnus’s rebirth into his G2 Laser Ultra Magnus body. However, in the Legends manga that showed Ultra Magnus’s rebirth, Ultra Magnus is shown waking up from inside his coffin in his Legends toy body instead. When asked if Ultra Magnus was reborn in his G2 Laser Ultra Magnus body or his Legends toy body, Sakamoto said it was the former, and explained that manga chapter as being more of a retelling of Magnus’s rebirth than a literal depiction. He also explained that Ultra Magnus can change his physical form back and forth between his G2 Laser body and his Legends body by the power of the Reconfiguration Matrix. This explains how Magnus was able to appear in his G2 Laser body during the post-G2 e-HOBBY manga and then as his Legends body later on in the Legends manga.

* Reiterating something he said at the panel, when Alpha Trion sacrificed the last of his energy to recharge the Matrix in episode 3 of The Headmasters, he didn’t merely recharge the Matrix, he became the Matrix. A new Matrix, at that. And this Matrix being a new one is why Rodimus Prime (or rather, his animation model) looked different in The Headmasters compared to how he looked in season 3 of the G1 cartoon. And in the Legends manga, when Alpha Trion put himself into Ultra Magnus’s chest, Ultra Magnus came back to life by having the new Matrix (Alpha Trion) put into him.

* As he referred to the Grand Scourge comic to present the continuity placements of UWO and Legends during the panel, I asked him if the Grand Scourge comic is supposed to be a part of the main JG1 cartoon continuity or not, as the comic itself is rather vague on its own continuity, seemingly on purpose. Sakamoto’s answer is that he’s presently not sure if it is or not since he’s not the one writing it. As I type this answer, I suspect that Sakamoto is open to the possibility of the comic being on its own outside of the JG1 continuity, and is just taking precautions with the placements of UWO and Legends to allow the Grand Scourge comic to be slotted into the main timeline should the opportunity arise at a later date. But for right now, its placement in the main timeline (should it ever be included) remains undetermined.

* As stated at the panel, Sakamoto is among those responsible for creating the big JG1 timeline from 2007. He confirmed that he played a role in adding Car Robots to the timeline. His reasons given for including it were that RobotMasters Wrecker Hook is an amnesiac Car Robots Wrecker Hook (I did not get to ask if this was the official consensus or just his own personal consensus), Brave Maximus came back to Earth after Car Robots (and apparently so too did God Magnus, from what I was told, but didn’t get anything further about that), and that when the e-HOBBY G1 GoBots came to the Transformers universe, their technology was used to create the Spychangers.

* At the end of the Car Robots cartoon, Brave Maximus had taken all of the Destrongers back to Cybertron to stand trial before Vector Sigma. Since the characters of that cartoon were said to have come from the future, I asked if Brave Maximus took them back to the Cybertron of the cartoon’s present time or the Cybertron of future that the characters all came from. Sakamoto said it was the future.

* In the Legends manga that features Car Robots Black Convoy (RiD Scourge), he has his own Energon Matrix, as a means of explaining the molded-in Matrix on the toy. Sakamoto explains that Black Convoy was able to get an Energon Matrix of his own because the United EX fiction had the Energon Matrix technology being developed in the year 2035. And since Black Convoy had been taken back to Cybertron in the future, he was able to get his Energon Matrix during a point when Energon Matrix technology existed.

* When asked to tell more about how Black Convoy got his Energon Matrix, Sakamoto said that he’s waiting for a Unite Warriors Baldigus release before saying any more about that. I didn’t get to ask if he meant that there is a Unite Warriors Baldigus coming, or if he’s just wanting there to be one.

* Sakamoto told me an in-fiction reason for why Car Robots Ai and the human Ai Kuruma looks alike. Car Robots Ai's appearance is based on a scan made of Ai Kuruma.

* I asked Sakamoto if he could tell me what exactly a Spark Engine was, as it was only mentioned once in the Car Robots anime but never told what it was. Unfortunately, this question didn't get to be answered. I don't fully recall why it wasn't answered, but I think it was either due to the answer being tied with the Black Convoy question that he was waiting on a UW Baldigus release in order to answer, or was due to Sakamoto's attention becoming divided between my questions and other fans coming to his booth to ask for his autograph/artwork.

* When asked what future era the Car Robots characters hail from, Sakamoto said that it’s currently fuzzy on what era they came from. When I mentioned that some fans like to think that they come from the same era as the Beast Wars II and Beast Wars Neo cast, he said that that idea pretty much aligns with his own ideas (of note is that a small book of his original artwork that he had for sale at his booth contained a page of artwork that featured Big Convoy and JRX together on Cybertron, but it wasn’t official art, just one of his many personal art pieces).

* Sakamoto also asked me if I work on the TFWiki, and I said yeah. Sakamoto told me a few things that he’d like to see on the Wiki. Specifically, he’d like to see more images overall of artwork, especially more images of full-body character artwork. I told him that, while I do contribute to the Wiki, I’m not a member of its administrative staff, and that the Wiki does have some policies regarding what images it uses and such, but which are reasonable.


I think that’s everything we got to discuss before the convention ended. If I remember any more, I’ll add more to it.

Transformers: Earth Wars - Interview with Chris White of Space Ape Games

Transformers News: Transformers: Earth Wars - Interview with Chris White of Space Ape Games
Date: Saturday, April 23rd 2016 6:07am CDT
Categories: Game News, People News, Media, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): Jon Bailey

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Our very own jON3.0, whom you might recognise as the Epic Voice Guy and the voice of Honest Trailers, took some time to interview Chris White, the developer lead over at Space Ape Games, in preparation of the soon-to-arrive launch of the Transformers: Earth Wars mobile game. Check out the video embedded below, in which the two chat about the game, its conception, development, the fidelity to the toys in the character designs, and more!


Hasbro and Sony Transformers 'ROLL OUT' Album - Behind Elle Rae's Into the Fire and Music Video

Transformers News: Hasbro and Sony Transformers 'ROLL OUT' Album - Behind Elle Rae's Into the Fire and Music Video
Date: Monday, April 18th 2016 9:09am CDT
Categories: People News, Media, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): Roland US

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After the release of the Hasbro Studios and Sony Music album Roll Out, in which bands were asked to contribute Transformers-inspired music, artist Lisa Harriton - front of the Elle Rae band - spoke to online music magazine Roland for some behind the scenes stuff. Check it out here, and a snippet and the music video for the track embedded below!

What came first, the lyrics or the music?
Lisa: The music actually came first for this one. I was borrowing a baritone guitar from a friend, and I was so inspired by it! I wrote this guitar riff and verse melody but never finished the song. The musical idea was always there in the back of my mind, and I knew it was special for the right situation. When the opportunity came up, to be a part of this special album inspired by one of my favorite childhood toys, I was so excited to put the two together! I brought the idea to my writing partner Joshua Bartholomew, and he was really inspired by it, too. He picked up a bass, and I picked up a guitar, and it all came together pretty quickly.
Lisa Harriton and Joshua Bartholomew with custom white and red JD-Xi synths on a recent visit to the Roland U.S. office.



James Roberts Interview with TMW Magazine

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

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



AdamPrime wrote:Hi guys and gals,

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

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

Anyway, on the the interview:

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

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



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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


TMW thanks Mr. Roberts very much for his time.

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

Robert Kirkman on Involvement in Transformers Writers Room

Transformers News: Robert Kirkman on Involvement in Transformers Writers Room
Date: Wednesday, March 16th 2016 3:46am CDT
Categories: Movie News, People News, Media, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): Collider

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In a little bit of news, which probably only counts as trivia at this stage, Collider had a quick chat at SXSW with Robert Kirkman, co-creator of The Walking Dead comics series among other things, about his involvement with the Goldsman-led Transformers writers room - which he only attended for a day, as personal matters took priority. See more below, including the embedded video!

As you can see in the video, Kirkman says that he loves Transformers, and became a part of the writing team after a casual lunch wth di Bonaventura, who optioned his comic Invincible (the comic adaption list that Perri mentions in the video is Dave Trumbore’s 10 Comic Books That Need an R-Rated Adaptation). Still, though he’s no longer a part of the project (which is a bummer because it seems insane and his involvement made it seem somehow less so), he says,

“I have heard from the people that are in that room there are a lot of amazing Transformers things coming, and I’m very happy as a fan to see what comes from that.”



IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe To End with Issue 13

Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe To End with Issue 13
Date: Wednesday, March 16th 2016 3:39am CDT
Categories: Comic Book News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): Comics Alliance

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Despite its incredible success and ambition, especially outside established readerships and fandoms, we have news via Comics Alliance of the ending in sight for the IDW Transformers vs G.I. Joe comics series - as imagined by Tom Scioli, and probably reined in by John Barber. You can read some of the reasons, solicitation for the 13th and final issue, plus the cover, below, and the full piece here.

Now, it seems like reality is finally catching up with us. When Transformers vs. GI Joe #13 hits shelves in June, it’ll be an extra-sized 48-page final issue that ends the series — and possibly the entire universe.

We reached out for comment, and Tom Scioli had this to say about the book’s epic conclusion:



I’ll say it. It’s the greatest crossover of all time. This is the new standard by which all crossovers will be judged.

What a rare privilege in comics to begin something and to end it exactly as you envisioned. To create a universe and then torch it in the most explosive way imaginable. In the end, the creative challenge is the only thing that matters. When you push the limits, the world gets bigger. We wanted to see just how much juice you can squeeze out of these concepts and out of the comics page itself. How much story can fit into a comic book before the staples pop out? I look forward to seeing how the next generation of cartoonists builds on these innovations, the way we built on the work of those who came before us. I look forward to seeing the inevitable movie adaptation of this comic.


Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs. G.I. Joe To End with Issue 13


Transformers vs. G.I. JOE #13: Armageddon
Tom Scioli & John Barber (w) • Tom Scioli (a & c)
THE END IS NIGH! Final battle erupts—the forces of G.I. JOE and the AUTOBOTS head-to-head (or head-to-toe, depending on the size difference) with the DECEPTICOBRA alliance! The fate of the universe hangs on every decision!

FC • 48 pages • $7.99

Bullet points:
·One of the most talked-about comics of the 21st century—see what everybody’s been yelling about!
·Visionary writer-artist Tom Scioli’s canvas has never been so big!
·Far-flung cosmic action in the scintillating Scioli style!
·The epic conclusion!

James Roberts talks IDW More Than Meets The Eye #50

Transformers News: James Roberts talks IDW More Than Meets The Eye #50
Date: Wednesday, March 9th 2016 12:58pm CST
Categories: Comic Book News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: D-Maximus_Primal | Credit(s): io9

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Number 50 is a huge milestone for any comic, but given that the original plan included only 12 issues in case of failure, More Than Meets the Eye has proven to be a great success. James Roberts was kind enough to sit down with IO9 and talk about the many things that has happened, is happening and will happen in the comic. He also talks about his feelings towards the comic, what it has been like to write the series, how he feels about the characters and the plot, and what his plans are for the remainder of the comic as well as his potential future in writing and transformers.

We have mirrored some of the interview below, but you can always check out the whole article by clicking on the IO9 link above. Beware though: potential spoilers are present!

io9: What’s the journey for you as a writer been like on More Than Meets The Eye over the last 50 issues?

Roberts: Obviously it’s great to be given an opportunity to tell stories featuring characters that you loved growing up, and to add new layers to the mythos. When I think about MTMTE reaching issue 50, it’s not so much that I’m amazed that I’m writing a Transformers comic that’s lasted that long... it’s more that I’m writing an ongoing comic book that’s racked up that many issues. In 2016, that’s a rarity.

[......]

io9: You’ve said in the past that you’ve written the final line of MTMTE already. Where do you see yourself going as a writer after this comes to a close?

Roberts: After MTMTE, who knows? I don’t think I’d move on to more Transformers stories right away—in fact I may find I’ve used up all my best ideas and it’s time to move on. (All of this presumes, of course, that IDW wants me to stick around!) The Transformers script I’m working on right now is the75th, if you count the issues I co-write with Nick Roche and John Barber, and the last thing I want is to find myself running on empty in a few years’ time.

[.....]

io9: Finally, looking back at your 50 issues so far, what’s been your favorite part of the process working on an ongoing series like this?

Roberts: Watching the MTMTE fandom grow and take shape, I think. No-one knew if the book was going to be successful—the first story arc was tailored to 12 issues just in case the whole thing tanked. But I like to think that pretty early on the book found its voice, and that it was a voice that resonated with people who were ready to get very invested in a bunch of sarcastic, mopey, affable, ridiculous and relatable losers.



Seibertron.com Interviews John-Paul Bove, Writer of FunPub / IDW's 'Dawn Of The Predacus'

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews John-Paul Bove, Writer of FunPub / IDW's 'Dawn Of The Predacus'
Date: Tuesday, March 8th 2016 12:10pm CST
Categories: Comic Book News, Site Articles, People News, Interviews, Collector's Club News
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): JP Bove, Dr Va'al

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Views: 23,466

As we get closer to BotCon 2016, and with the IDW/FunPub collaboration on this year's comic - Dawn of the Predacus - recently confirmed, we thought we'd reach out to one of the creators behind it, to get a little further into the process and the story: colourist turned writer, and fellow partial Italian, John-Paul Bove!

--

Va'al - Hi John-Paul! It's great to hear you'll be working on the insides of another Transformers comic, though this time you're actually at a keyboard rather than with a palette! How did you get the gig?

JP - The short answer? Lots and LOTS of death threats.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews John-Paul Bove, Writer of FunPub/IDW's 'Dawn Of The Predacus'
Probably how the talks went down at IDW


The longer answer is that outside of Transformers and IDW I had been writing for some time on creator owned stories and writing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles here in the UK. I had been pitching some ideas for Transformers stories for some years, but with the amazing IDWverse books they're planned a long way in advance so there's not much space for any additional tales in there. I'd nailed my colours to the mast regarding working on a G1 cartoon continuation comic and I'd also approached IDW with an idea for a Beast Wars book to celebrate the 20th anniversary. Interestingly these two ideas had the potential to dovetail together and connect if necessary. When FunPub looked to partner with IDW to produce the comic, John approached me to pitch and the rest is (future) history!

Va'al - Perseverance seems to be the way to go, then - a tip to keep in mind. So when Barber approached you, did you get a guideline or directive, or were you given free rein as to what the story might do (other than include this year's toys, of course)?

JP - My main guideline was that it had to be in continuity (which any BW fan will know is an interesting and muddy one) and it had to feature the toys. I had already pitched a mini series that would bridge the gap between G1 and Beast Wars so the story was always going to live in that time frame. A lot of the characters that the toys represent were already baked into the story so the main challenge or restriction was getting as much of what I planned into just one issue. I had to take my original outline and focus in on a very specific part and specific time and place from it.

It is a very full issue and the goals I set myself were that it should be a Beast Wars and G1 story that matters, with moments that shape and add to your understanding of the mythology in ways that are both inevitable AND surprising. I really wanted to see what some G1 characters had become and what some Beast Wars characters were like before they had become the characters we knew.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews John-Paul Bove, Writer of FunPub/IDW's 'Dawn Of The Predacus'


If I ever get the chance to expand on this it has been built in such a way that it is the middle part of a trilogy. The first part would be very G1 centric and the third part more BW centric with this issue functioning as a bridge. There's a really, really incredible moment, a scene between two important characters that I would love to one day tell. What starts Dawn of the Predacus off is the consequences of an act of sacrifice that make the Great War anyone's to win or lose.

DotP is a complete one shot but we know it isn't the end, we know some of these characters continue into BW and we know that some G1 characters don't make it through the Great War. There's still a lot of time between here and the Beast Wars (and here and The Rebirth) that I had planned out and hope to one day tell you all about.

Va'al - That sounds like you really planned the events out quite a lot already before getting the brief, definitely! You mention a number of characters that you wanted to include: was anyone forcibly or inevitably left out?

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews John-Paul Bove, Writer of FunPub/IDW's 'Dawn Of The Predacus'


JP - Oh yeah, I'd been planning these stories out a long time before the opportunity came up. I can't say too much as there are still other characters getting toys to be revealed, but there's a lot of G1 characters I wanted to touch on. Again, if the book does well maybe we will see them yet! Mainly there are characters I'd like to have had more time to play with, especially Tarantulas.

Va'al - We are seeing a very different Tarantulas in IDW's version of events, of course, but that's another story... So we are to find something bridging a gap, which feeds from established work and feeding into other established work - what was the hardest part to tweak to make it all work, in your opinion?

JP - I'm a continuity junkie so finding the connections between various points on the timeline was something that came quite naturally. The hardest part was deciding what to leave out as the space I had was limited. I wanted to avoid multiple timelines and realities, and have what happens here to inform and have impact on the stories we're already familiar with. Just because we know the war ends doesn't mean we know HOW the war ends.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews John-Paul Bove, Writer of FunPub/IDW's 'Dawn Of The Predacus'


Though the big challenge was that the Beast Wars show referenced points from various continuities that contradict each other. Making sure that that this story was in continuity with as much of those other stories as possible was tricky, but hopefully rewarding for most fans.

Va'al - I do not envy you that task, at all. Was there anything you were particularly pleased to have been able to work in, either as an in-joke, a reference, or just a personal itch scratched?

JP - There is a Transformers the Movie nod which was so satisfying... I think, beyond getting to give characters I adore new words to say and new characters some life, my main satisfaction comes from setting the foundation for things in Beast Wars that were perhaps not best explained and seeing how their origins stem from G1 events... It adds another layer to stories we already know.

Va'al - I'm sure we'll be seeing it for ourselves very shortly, at this stage! Before we round this off, how was collaborating with someone else on the visuals, this time round? How was the experience of working with Corin Howell?

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews John-Paul Bove, Writer of FunPub/IDW's 'Dawn Of The Predacus'
Not the BotCon comic


JP - I'd worked with Corin before on a couple of pages but I'd also had the good fortune to meet her at last year's San Diego Comic Con. Her style is very different from what I'd worked with in the past, a more expressive, more animated look which in a way captures two aspects of both G1 and Beast Wars. As a colourist it gives you a lot to play with as well. Of course she has the misfortune to deal with me as a writer and a colourist! Who can she complain to about the demanding writer or the unreliable colourist!?

Va'al - She'll be up to the challenge, I'm sure. JP, it's been great to have you have this chat with us to build up some extra hype for the comic and BotCon - thank you for joining us! Are there any last words you want to throw out to readers and fans?

JP - Only that I hope everyone has a great BotCon, the guests are amazing, the artists are amazing and the toys (some still very secret) are going to knock your socks off! I hope people enjoy the book too, naturally! And if you do please spread the word, there's so much more story to tell! Thanks to everyone that has supported me and the books I've coloured and really pushed to have me write something in the Transformers universe, it's a dream come true.

Oh, and don't forget to sign the petition for a G1 Cartoon universe comic!

--

BotCon 2016 will take place in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 7-10th. You can check out news and coverage of the event, as things happen, right here on Seibertron.com, and join in the discussion in the Energon Pub boards!

John Barber Talks More IDW The Transformers #50

Date: Friday, February 26th 2016 1:45pm CST
Categories: Comic Book News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): Newsarama

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With an issue as big as The Transformers #50, from IDW and review on Seibertron.com here, we were bound to get more than one interview with John Barber, the writer of the ongoing and editor of everything else Transformers at the publisher - the following is found on Newsarama, and contains some spoilers from the issue, so keep going only once you've read the issue!

[...] One of the things with Optimus Prime is that he’s a good guy. Like, a really good, powerful, guy. So over the years, he'd sort of had doubt introduced to him in the IDW comic books, where he was a little more hesitating in his actions. As I was writing him, I started to realize he was maybe going down that direction again, and it seemed to me—as a character, from his point of view—he’d want to avoid that.

But at the same time, one of the looming questions has been “what does it mean to be Prime?” Starscream’s ruling Cybertron; Megatron’s an Autobot... Some people see him as a war leader, others see him as a messianic figure... Some ’bots are loyally on his side and will follow him anywhere, and others—old friends—start to doubt him.

[...]

Nrama: As the battle and the main story ended, the issue kicked into another gear with that dream sequence from Optimus. What can you say about that? Is it a premonition? Will some (or all) of it come true?

Barber: Some of Optimus's dream is literally true. Some is symbolic. Some is what he fears. Maybe some is leading him to what he needs to know. And a big part of it recalls an ancient prophesy from the days of the original Primes. Is it Optimus projecting himself onto this old tale? Or is it the prophecy asserting itself onto its object?

[...]

But what really comes next is all of the pieces of this series coming together. The politics of Cybertron, the ancient history of Earth and Cybertron, the relationship with Earth and its giant metal visitors. Optimus Prime, Starscream, Prowl, Arcee, Victorion—all those characters come together. Plus ghost-Bumblebee. Or hallucination-Bumblebee, whatever Starscream is seeing. Even poor dead Bumblebee has a role to play!

John Barber on IDW The Transformers #50

Date: Wednesday, February 24th 2016 6:25am CST
Categories: Comic Book News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): Newsarama

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Views: 25,157

Gearing up to our own review of the massive issue #50 of The Transformers from IDW Publishing, take a look at the thoughts of its writer - John Barber - in this interview conducted with Newsarama on the eve of the book's release!

IDW looks to be setting up a major change to the status quo of its Transformers line, as longtime series writer John Barber and artist Andrew Griffith begins the "All Hail Optimus" arc.

But the battle lines are more than just Autobots vs. Decepticons, as different factions emerge against Optimus, Galvatron and Starscream... and that's not even including the humans of Earth, which as you can imagine might have issues with Optimus Prime annexing Earth.

[...]

Barber: At the start of the series, Galvatron is poised to wreak havoc on the Earth with an army of disaffected Decepticons. This isn’t the first time the Earth’s been in this dangerous position—among other things, Earth’s useful to the Transformers because it has this substance called Ore-13 which can be converted to energon, their lifeblood. Optimus has tried battling on Earth to defend it; he’s tried leaving Earth behind to keep it out of the Cybertronian’s war. Neither of those really worked. So now, he’s looking at Earth and seeing the Decepticons striking again, and he’s seeing there are people starving on Earth and people being disenfranchised in many ways.
"Transformers #50" preview
[Pin It] CREDIT: IDW Publishing
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And Optimus’ motto has always been, “Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.” It’s pointed out to him that he could act to make the people of Earth more free… and free from this eons-long Cybertronian war, that—while it’s technically over—is still endangering the planet.

So he decides to annex Earth into Cybertron’s council of worlds. Whether Earth wants to come or not; and whether the council wants Earth or not. He’s going to pull Earth into the cosmic community and try to improve life on the planet.

So, yeah—a lot of his friends see this as… not a good move. I think all of his enemies see this as bad. But Optimus has loyal allies, plus followers who view him as a messianic figure for being a Prime, and carrying (what’s left of) the Matrix of Leadership. Optimus has been unwilling to use that good will to his advantage… until now.

[...]

Nrama: Last question -- Transformers #50 looks to be extra-sized. Overall, what should fans expect?

Barber: There’s a 30-page story by me and Andrew, then Casey W. Coller drew a 10-pager that deals with the fallout. Plus some rambling reminisces by me. And some nice special guest covers, by Jonathan Hickman and Mike Choi and our regular gang of Transformers superstars like Andrew Griffith, Casey W. Coller, and Alex Milne.

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Transformers Podcast: Twincast / Podcast #142 - Botcon 2016 Part 3: The Last One
Twincast / Podcast #142:
"Botcon 2016 Part 3: The Last One"
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Posted: Sunday, April 17th, 2016