Di Bonaventura mentions the connection between the military officials and government members in Beijing to the attack taking place in Hong Kong, as well as the presence of a factory in mainland China that will play a major role. He also confirmed that most of the film is set in both mainland China and Hong Kong, making it easier to work with the Chinese actors during shooting.
Bay and Wahlberg talk about the appeal of the Asian setting and reveals that Li Bingbing's character is the owner of the special factory and the addition of a scene to make the most of her fighting skills. There is also an Autobot character who speaks only in Mandarin. They also mention how Wahlberg's character Cade Yaeger and Optimus Prime really connect, as they both have to rise to an occasion bigger than themselves. Cade must make a choice to save his and his daughter's lives, similar to a scenario Optimus finds himself in.
Reynor mentions the relation between his character Shane, an Irish racecar driver (who does a lot of his own stunts), Nicola Peltz's character Tessa and Mark Wahlberg's character Cade: they are secretely dating, as Cade's wife has died and a 'no dating rule' exists in the Yaeger house - which Tessa disagrees with. He saves both characters' lives very early on in the movie, and the dynamics change throughout the film.
With the end of the IDW Transformers: Prime - Beast Hunters comic series upon us, Seibertron.com has decided to sit down and talk to one of its creative team members, and in some ways, the face of it all: read on below for a full exclusive interview with cover, storyboard, videogame and concept artist Ken Christiansen!
Va'al - Ken, thanks for agreeing to do this. We've featured some of your work before on Seibertron.com, it's about time we got to meet the mind and man behind the artwork! Before we get into the nitty-gritty of your work with Transformers though, I need to ask: where did it all begin for you? How did you first encounter our favourite transforming robots?
KC - Well, thanks for having me! I really appreciate it when you guys post anything about my work, I've been a follower of the site for years.
The show was everything. It was the first episode which sucked me right in - I don't even remember the first figure I had, but I know it was the show that put me all in. I was 10 years old at the time of the launch, and I had slowed down on Star Wars, and was really into GI Joe toys and comics, with He-Man in the mix as well. But Transformers really took over, and knocked even the mighty Joes back a step.
Va'al - Ah, you're one of those! I admit, I like knowing that the current creators all started as fans, brings a lot more to the experience. I was going to ask which figure was your first, but you pre-empted me - so how about this: which was your favourite character or episode from the animated series?
KC - G1 Soundwave, is...and always will be...my favorite character. And he is an early toy I do remember getting, on a Christmas morning. Of course I loved his voice, and how he was Megatron's dependable commander, but the fact he had Transformers INSIDE of him really captured my imagination. And I really liked that, unlike a lot of the figures, he matched up pretty well to the box art, and animation model. I was a stickler for that kind of thing, even back then. Also, I always thought it was cool how he used Laserbeak and Ravage on the show, so they've become synonymous with any vision of Soundwave I have, I always want to try to figure out a way to include them in a figure pose, or a drawing/design I'm working on. (I figure Rumble and Frenzy can take care of themselves!)
Va'al - I think a lot of fans have a soft spot for Soundwave; he is terribly charismatic after all. You've mentioned your gateway, the toys and what it was that drew you in - but what about the artistic side? Did you read the comics as a kid, or did you start drawing based on box art and cartoons?
KC - I'll admit that I didn't really enjoy the comics, even though I still have the first 60 or so issues to this day - but yes, I did really enjoy the artwork. I loved the show and the toys, but I was always just lukewarm on the comics. That being said, I did probably draw most artistic inspiration from the comics, I remember drawing that cover corner Marvel Optimus Prime a lot. A lot. Another favorite image from those books was the reveal of Predaking, standing in a jungle. I drew that one a lot as well.
The box art images were another inspiration; I didn't have a massive collection by any means, but I did collect the trading cards, so even if I didn't have the toy and/or filecard, I did have nearly every character image from the cards. We had a project in the 4th or 5th Grade, where we wrote a story, and bound it into a book. Mine, of course, was about Autobots fighting Decepticons, carried into battle by the rocket of Omega Supreme. I designed characters back then too, usually military type vehicles, or cars that friends and family drove. I still have that little book, but I'm sure all those other drawings are long gone.
Va'al - That's some great, early KC art there. Must be worth a fortune by now! So if the comics didn't get to you as much back then, what brought you to their world later on? But I suppose, before we get to that, my question is: How did you start working for the franchise in general?
KC - I had been working freelance for about a year after leaving Disney Interactive, and I had just wrapped a series of projects for Activision in late 2005. One of the producers I had been working with asked "Hey, are you into Transformers at all?" I had heard, as did many other fans, that it was being shopped around as a movie, but I didn't know was finally happening, and Activision wanted to go after the franchise. The projects I had just finished were to lock down the Dreamworks games license for the next five or so movies, showing game play, etc. and this was going to be the same thing. Lots of storyboards and game play examples. But it just kept going and going, and it turned into character designs, and in-game production art - I was around for a lot of it, from the very beginning to helping out with marketing images.
The Transformers were a huge part of my childhood, and though I hadn't really followed the franchise overall since then, I did already have the 20th Anniversary MP Optimus Prime, and the Alternator Grimlock Mustang proudly displayed in my studio. Getting the chance to work on the franchise as a professional, really kind of blew my mind. And midway through the production, Hasbro said they were going to make some figures out of my designs... I kind of freaked out.
Va'al - That must be quite the phonecall/email! I've spotted some of the designs that made it into figures on your website - do you have any particular favourites? Which part of working with the new, movieverse, Transformers aesthetics did you enjoy the most?
KC - I was pretty honored that Hasbro/Paramount used the red car drone (AKA Swindle) in the press kits for the film. Of the drones, I think Payload (Armored Truck) and Long Arm (Tow Truck) are my favorites. Long Arm was originally to be an homage to Hoist, colored green and yellow, but was later changed to be the tow truck paint job from the film. I was glad to see the mold reused as a Hoist figure. All of those designs were done based on rough concepts I had seen at the production offices in early 2006. Not until late summer, a bit after I had wrapped on the drone characters, did I start to see marketing images and final movie models start showing up, and that's when I was tasked to do the Shockwave designs. So, that's why he's a little more in line with the film aesthetic - he's not a generic, energon created drone, he was meant to be a Cybertronian, and look more like the movie bots.
While I agreed with the design philosophy from the first movie, I thought that the bots should have shown a little more alt mode elements, so you can really see the connection between forms. With Shockwave I tried to bring it back a little bit to that, with clear iconic character details, and visible alt mode elements. And that's the design philosophy I took into my next Transformers project, the Revenge of the Fallen game.
Va'al - Those are good designs! And that Shockwave looks intriguing, but it looks like DotM Skyhammer took his mode later down the line. How did you find working with videogames, compared to the work you're currently doing on comic covers? And how did that transition happen?
KC - Maybe. To me, the transformation logic is totally different., around the canopy and fuselage. But I did work a bit on the alt mode of the Skyhammer toy, and was given direction to use a Russian Hind for inspiration, but I didn't work on the robot mode. I did three copter drawings, and when the toy came out, it looked like the designers used elements of all three.
I'm not a gamer, but when I'm into a game I like, I kind of get obsessed with it. I thought Luxoflux did a fantastic job with the gameplay of the Revenge game - especially given the short production time, notorious with movie tie-in games - and was really excited to see how they would build on the engine. Sadly, none of that was meant to be. It was the first time I felt that someone captured the essence of a Transformer, being both things at once. I know some people had issues with holding down the trigger, but I much preferred that, to the 'sit and wait to transform' style of other games. My entire career to that point was in the game industry. But after doing the games for so long, I was looking to expand out a little, I wanted to see if I could work directly with IDW and Hasbro.
I took the designs of Megatron, Optimus, and Starscream, from the DLC content of the Revenge game, and did full illustrations of them in comic cover format. I included Bumblebee, Jazz, and Soundwave designs, and pitched myself to Andy Schmidt at IDW, and for a meet up with Aaron Archer at BotCon 2009.
For IDW, Andy had me do the cover to the much-loved, revered, and indisputably go-to source of information, the Transformers: Continuum. Yikes, that one was a bit of a mess, I guess. I never kept up on the IDW relationship, maybe both sides needed that sting to heal a little. And I just got too busy following that meeting with Aaron to come back to the books. Years later, I met John Barber at BotCon 2012, and that's how I got involved with the Rage of the Dinobots and Beast Hunters covers.
Va'al - Ah, the IDW Aligned comics! As an artist who had worked on the movieverse and videogame aesthetics - though WfC and FoC are also part of the new continuity - how did you find adjusting to the sleeker, more rounded style of the two series? And how much were you involved in the series themselves?
KC - Well, doing a wide range of shape styles for what was then called 'tv show' was that first assignment I had from Archer at Hasbro, in 2009, as they were putting the studio together, and hiring the actual production team. I would call myself a concept artist before anything else, so something like coming up with new character designs/versions is what I like to do best. And then about a year later, I worked on some product ideas for the Prime line. At that point, I was working with final character design models from the production's art department. And, every once and awhile I would do some product development, or I was asked to do some character ideas for HasLabs to use as conversation starters for meetings with the show runners. So before the comics, I had a lot of experience working with the shows' aesthetic. I never was a part of the production of the actual show, with Hasbro Studios, but through Hasbro, Inc., I got to play in that universe a bit.
The Cybertron games, on the other hand, I had no experience with the art style. So that was the learning curve for me. I was asked to 'update' the FoC dinobots into a Prime style, with a heavy lean on the FoC style...visually meaning they didn't 'evolve' as much as Team Prime, for example. So I just eliminated some minor details from the FoC versions, and did a 'wrap metal' pass, in the Prime style, at the main form elements of the bots. John Barber OK'd the sketch of Grimlock I did as an example, and I was off and running.
I had nothing to do with what was inside the books; in most cases, I don't think any of the scripts were even completely written at the time I needed to have the cover done, about three months in advance. I'm sure an overview and series arc were long completed though. Barber, then Carlos Guzman, would give me their idea on what was going on in the book, and what they'd like to see on the cover. I'd do some sketches and we'd go from there. I met Mairghread Scott for the first time at BotCon 2013, and we chatted about what was coming up in #7, we pulled Carlos into the conversation, and I did a sketch of it right there at my table. For number 8, Carlos and I chatted at SDCC, and he told me what he was looking for, and Mike Johnson, through email, pretty much said what he'd like to see on the cover. I did those last sketches for Carlos to approve, and that wrapped the series when I turned in the final.
It was a lot of fun to do those covers. I loved the Fall of Cybertron game, so it was a real treat to get to draw those characters, and get reconnected with IDW.
Va'al - I always enjoy hearing stories of how creators come to join the IDW team, they never seem to be the same! So you were working on the comics covers, but still had quite a bit of involvement in other aspects of the Transformers universe. I've seen some designs for characters that never made it on the show, too. What were you doing between the comics? How were you being kept busy?
KC - Relatively, I'm a newbie to comics, with only 13 IDW covers to date. Concept art is my main source of income, since graduating from art school in 1997. Happily, now at least half my workload comes from Hasbro, covering many different brands. Mainly in that first year, it started off with early re-imaginings of core Transformers characters, mixed with some work on Dark of the Moon ideas, and then going back to work on designs for the 13 Primes, and filling out the brand bible, which had used a lot of that earlier character design work, done by myself and other great artists.
After that, HasLabs expanded into a lot of other brands and concepts, that kept me really busy, MASK, Inhumanoids, Micronauts, to name a few. Some of those ideas were teased in that NYCC giveaway comic, Unit:E, if you remember it. And as other designers move to other brands within Hasbro, I've been able to 'travel' with them, and do lot of work on stuff like Star Wars, etc. Always though, I try to stay connected to the big bots, with doing some Hasbro Inc. commissioned work, movie/tv show stuff or product design for example, or licensed work with IDW, and other publishers.
Va'al - So what you're telling us is.. you're everywhere! And we know that some of your art features in the upcoming Covenant of Primus - the result of all the concept work for the Aligned continuity - due early December. Anything you can tell us about that?
KC - Now everyone finally can see it! After years of working with Hasbro off and on, I've only been able to release a grand total of 8 Transformers images. Including Prima, of the 13, which was published previously in the Transformers: Vault. I'm so excited to see the rest of the designs coming out, along with some new art I was asked to contribute, alongside some other great Transformers artists.
Binder of Revelation - Art by Emiliano Santalucia
After working six or so months with Hasbro, they booked me to do four of the 13 Primes. By then I had a pretty good feel of what Aaron Archer was looking for from me, and I had gotten pretty tight with Eric Siebenaler who acted as my art director on previous projects. I was also then introduced to Rik Alvarez, who had sent me a giant document to work from, that he was putting together. A compiled history from the comics and games, and new stuff he had written - basically the bones of the Aligned Continuity. So, under those guys, I went to work. 4 became 6, then 8, then Eric asked if I wanted to do all 13. Of course! But then Takara chimed in, and they wanted to do some images, and they took over the designs of Micronus and Alpha Trion. So I ended up doing 11...and a second version of one of them.
I had never really heard much about it since then, other than Aaron and Rik teased some images at a couple of BotCons, but I really thought they would remain in the vault, the Brand Bible. Last November, I got an email from Tyler Freidenrich from Becker&Mayer, asking if I could do some illustrations for what would be the Covenant. I jumped at the chance, and got to contribute 7 illustrations, a new character design for Unicron, and the cover. And that's about all I can tell you about it. I know what I did, but I've only seen the same trailer for it as everyone else. I was asked to upload every Hasbro image I did related to the Aligned Continuity, beyond just the Primes, but I don't what, if anything more, was included in the book.
So, I'm just as excited as any other fan to see what's in there!
Va'al - I can assure you, a lot of us are really, really excited for this book. I'm not sure what else could hype it up more.. do you have any ideas?
KC - That's great to hear! Hmm...how about a contest for a free copy of the book? On my Facebook page, the Art of Ken Christiansen, I'll be running a 'Like Drive' contest. Participants enter their names into a drawing by making a comment in the page's Cover Photo comments section, saying they shared the page to at least five people. That Cover Photo, (containing all the contest info) signaling the beginning of the contest, will be posted on Monday, November 25th, at 9 AM PST, and ending Sunday, December 8th at midnight PST.
Monday, December 9th, (the day before the book is released) I'll draw the winning name, and announce it by 9 AM PST. That winner will receive a free copy of the Covenant of Primus... AND, I'll insert a custom black and white rendered portrait, of any character of their choosing.
Va'al - Hear that, readers? Head over to Ken's page for a chance to win what looks to be an amazing piece of Transformers lore. Ken, thanks again for agreeing to do this interview with us, we're looking forward to more of your amazing work soon! Any last words?
KC - Thank you - I can't tell you how much I appreciate it!
I do have a couple more things to add. I also put together a new website, kenchristiansen.com, which replaces to old site, badflip.com. Finally I have galleries collecting all the Transformers (and more!) work that I've done, in one easy to find place, rather than have to search through months and years of blog posts on the old Bad Flip Blog. I will keep that blog online, but it will go inactive. The new site has a blog built in, so that's how I'll continue, along with the Facebook page, to make announcements, and post new artwork. And once it's ready, there will also be a online store, to purchase original art, make commission inquiries, and get leftover convention prints and sketchbooks. It's coming very soon, but right now the only way to get that stuff is through the Art of Ken Christiansen on Facebook, or contact me at email@example.com.
There you have it, readers - we hope you enjoyed our voyage into the Christiansen world! Join the competition today, follow Ken's work and keep your eyes tuned for more exclusive content, coming soon, to Seibertron.com.
Thanks to Seibertron.com users sabrblade and Rodimus Prime, we found this article on Entertainment Tonight, in which reporter Rocsi Diaz chats to members of the cast as the shooting takes place on the Detroit set. They also take a closer look at some of the cars featuring in the movie, revealing the identity of the Pagani Huayra (image below) as Stinger. Check out the full video here, and leave your thoughts below!
While fans eagerly await the return of Transformers to the big screen with Age of Extinction, ET takes you to the set of the series' action-packed fourth installment.
Director Michael Bay and his revamped cast took to the streets of Detroit, dressed up to look like Hong Kong, to film a portion of the film, which is where ET's Rocsi Diaz got a special behind-the-scenes look at the explosive action film.
The new cast for the fourth installment of the live-action series, based on the Transformers toy line, includes some familiar Hollywood faces, including Mark Wahlberg as the protagonist (Cade) and Kelsey Grammer (Harold) as the main villain.
As you can see in the featured video, Bay wasn't stingy on the explosives in the Age of Extinction, as cars are being sent airborne like feathers on set.
"It's a lot of explosions all day long, a lot of loud noises, a lot of running," Jack Reynor (Shane) said of a typical day on set.
Watch the video to satiate your Transformers appetite, and check out Transformers: Age of Extinction when it bursts into theaters June 27, 2014.
IDW comics and Transformers Prime animated series writer Mairghread Scott has just pointed us towards a brilliant project involving the women behind the award-winning Transformers: Prime series, in collaboration with HerUniverse.com. The four videos include Nicole Dubuc, Sumalee Montano-Zimmerman, Tania Gunadi, Meredith Rodgers, Therese Trujillo, Austin Block, Meghan Burleson and Scott herself talking about working in animation at different levels. Take a look at the full press release and four videos below!
NEW YORK, NY – November 13th, 2013 -2013 is the “Year of the Fangirl” and to celebrate, Her Universe™ has been spotlighting a different fangirl every day on HerUniverse.com showing their diversity, dreams and interests. Geek Girls are one of the fastest growing and important segments of the sci-fi/fantasy audience and can be found in every walk of life, including the entertainment business. Now, in four exclusive video segments produced in cooperation with Hasbro Studios and available to watch on HerUniverse.com, Ashley Eckstein, Founder of Her Universe, is highlighting and interviewing the amazing “professional fangirls” behind the award winning animated series, Transformers Prime, produced by Hasbro Studios which airs on the HUB network in the U.S. and is seen in over 180 countries. From voice talent to producing, writing, editing and design these women are “prime” examples of how female fans can achieve their dreams and create worlds of imagination for others to enjoy. You can watch the videos here: http://www.heruniverse.com/blog/news/he ... mers-prime
“We kicked off 2013 with the mission to shine the spotlight on amazing fangirls and bring their stories to the masses,” said Eckstein. “We were approached by writer Mairghread Scott and she gave us the opportunity to go behind the scenes and meet many of the incredible women behind Transformers Prime at Hasbro Studios! There are so many fangirls that work tirelessly to bring our beloved franchises to life and it’s been a goal of mine to highlight the integral roles that women play and to expose these roles to younger fangirls with big dreams!”
The Transformers Prime series, which concluded in 2013 with a thrilling Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising animated movie which was broadcast on The Hub network and released on DVD in October, was well-received and won multiple Daytime Emmy Awards during its three season run. In the exclusive videos, Eckstein interviews key female players such as writers Mairghread Scott and Nicole Dubuc, voice actors Sumalee Montano and Tania Gunadi, Animatics Editor Meghan Burleson and Post Production Head Austin Block, Production Coordinator Meredith Rodgers and Animation Producer Therese Trujillo.
“It was a wonderful experience working with Ashley and Her Universe to highlight the fantastic women on Transformers Prime,” said writer Mairghread Scott who was also instrumental in creating these videos. “Her Universe is more than a fabulous fashion company; they are a positive force for women in genre entertainment and geek girls everywhere.”
About Her Universe
Her Universe was launched in 2009 by actress and entrepreneur Ashley Eckstein and The Araca Group, one of the most innovative theatrical production and brand management companies in the world. Ashley and Araca created Her Universe to address the expanding market of female sci-fi and fantasy fans. We entered our first agreement with Lucas Licensing to develop and produce a line of female-centered Star Wars apparel and accessories. The success of that line was followed up with a collection for the Syfy network including Battlestar Galactica BBC America for Doctor Who, and CBS Consumer Products for Star Trek. You can learn more about Her Universe and purchase the current line of fan-girl apparel and accessories by going to http://www.heruniverse.com and by following Eckstein on Facebook (facebook.com/HerUniverse) and Twitter (twitter.com/HerUniverse).
About Hasbro Studios
Hasbro Studios is the Los Angeles-based entertainment division of Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS). The studio is responsible for entertainment brand-driven storytelling for the company across television, film, commercial productions and short-form. It develops, produces and distributes TV shows based on Hasbro’s world class brands, including TRANSFORMERS, MY LITTLE PONY, LITTLEST PET SHOP and FAMILY GAME NIGHT. Many of these shows air on the Hub Network, a U.S. television network for kids and their families, that is a joint venture between Hasbro and Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK). Hasbro Studios shows can also be seen on networks in more than 180 territories globally. Since its formation in 2009, the studio has received seven Daytime Emmy wins and 16 nominations. On the film side, the studio is developing and producing a number of features based on Hasbro’s brands, including TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (Paramount), G.I. JOE 3 (Paramount) and CANDY LAND (Sony). The studio team also oversees the production of commercials that feature Hasbro’s brands as well production of short-form content that can be seen on all of the major digital and social media platforms globally.
Comics news and feature website Graphic Policy has posted an interview with IDW's senior editor and co-author of the upcoming Dark Cybertron event John Barber. The piece touches upon the in-pack comics/toy marketing, the crossover plans, the collaboration with Hasbro, readership gender divide and the appeal of the Transformers franchise - you can read it here, and take a look at some snippets below!
Graphic Policy: You recently announced a cross-promotion that’ll see the first issue of IDW’s upcoming comic event Transformers: Dark Cybertron included in select Generations action figure releases from Hasbro. How did this promotion come about?
John Barber: We’ve already done a round of in-pack comics with Transformers—they’re in stores right now. The Dark Cybertron stuff will hit the toy shelves a little later. This program—getting the comics in with the toys—has been a goal of ours for a while. We really want to get comics into the hands of Transformers fans who might not be aware of the comics.
I know it’s something that IDW CEO Ted Adams has been very interested in. We’re all proud of the Transformers comics we do—and the interesting thing about Transformers is that, as popular as our comics are with Transformers fans, there are a TON of Transformers fans—more every day. Many of them just haven’t been exposed to comics—any comics—before.
So it seems ideal to get the comics in with the figures. The fans get a bonus with the toy; we get a chance to show the fans what our medium can do.
GP: From your experience do you think it’s difficult to get people who consume a brand one way to try another? For example someone who really likes a video game, is it difficult to get them to read a comic of that based in the world of that game?
JB: It depends on the property. There are some movies that are fun to watch, that the mainstream public goes and sees or plays or whatever, but don’t really encourage you to immerse yourself in the mythology the way something like Transformers, or Star Trek, or the Avengers, do.
Transformers is interesting because it’s consistently been picking up new fans for the past 30 years. Depending on your age, you might have an iteration of Transformers that’s “yours,” that you grew up with—like, I picked up issue #1 of the original comic from a 7-11. But people younger than me grew up with Beast Wars or with Armada or Animated or the movies or Prime. I think Transformers as a brand isn’t really locked into one medium in people’s minds… it’s toys, movies, cartoons, comics, video games, costumes, you name it.
That kind of thing, where there’s a big fandom of the brand, that’s where I think there’s the best opportunity to introduce someone to a different medium. Does that make sense?
Somebody might be a big video game player, and might love playing a particular game, but not have any interest past the actual gameplay. Not every game (or movie or TV show or toy) inherently draws people into the world.
Transformers demonstrably DOES pull people into its world. There’s a lot of richness and variety to the Transformers universe, relative to… well, to everything else that exists. I mean, there are other properties as rich, but I think Transformers is on a really high tier. And new fans are drawn into the world by whatever connects with them—maybe if that video game fan gets into a Transformers game, he or she gets pulled into the world, into the mythology, and wants to check out the comics, the cartoons, the books.
I think the answer to your question is that it’s really specific to what brand you’re talking about.
GP: Any hints as to what we can expect from the Transformer brand in the future?
JB: Well, hey, I just work on the comics. I don’t know any big secrets. I hear there’s a new movie coming…
In the comics, we’ve Dark Cybertron is a big story that intertwines More Than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise. It’s going to shake things up, and tell a big, big story—but without losing the focus on the characters that’s driven the books for the past few years. Dark Cybertron is going to shake up the status quo and lead both of these ongoings into some exciting directions. Dark Cybertron is a great place to jump on and see what the hype is about, but for longtime readers it’s going to pay off some bits that have been around for a long time.
And when Dark Cybertron ends… well, I think our plans are going to generate a lot of discussion among fans!
Celebrating the release of Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Predacons Rising today, comicbook.com has an exclusive interview with Will Friedle talking about what it was like being the voice of Bumblebee late into the series. Here are a few snippets from the interview, you can check out the rest here.
ComicBook.com: What was it like coming on late and joining the show’s ensemble as it was a moving bus?
Will Friedle: It was incredible. It was one of those things where I joined in the last episode of the entire series and then did the movie afterwards. But I was a fan of not only the show but of the ensemble cast of actors for a long time. So being able to join playing anybody would have been amazing but getting to go and play Bumblebee was pretty incredible.
Being a fan of the show and a fan of the actors, I didn’t want to go in and screw it up. The last thing you want to do is go in and be the weak link on this fantastic show. Hopefully I did the character justice, and the movie–which comes out Tuesday on Blu-ray–is amazing. Just absolutely gorgeous if you’re an animation fan at all. It’s all state-of-the-art and it’s just beautiful from start to finish.
I started watching the original Transformers when I was a kid. It came out in ’84 and I was eight years old so I was watching every day, running home from school. So to be able to be involved was pretty incredible.
ComicBook.com: And joining any show late in the run, you’ll have that concern you were talking about, being the weak link, but you get guys here who have been playing the parts for thirty years and who have seen Bumblebees come and go.
Friedle: Oh, yeah, of course. When you’ve got Peter Cullen and Frank Welker, you’ve got to those guys that started back in the day, you certainly don’t want to make a fool of yourself when you walk into the room.
And you’re right–they have seen the Bumblebees come and go so you want to go in there and make the best impression that you can, not just from an acting standpoint and a professional standpoint but from the standpoint of a fan, where you have been listening to them your whole life.
It was difficult to come in starting at the last episode but it was written so well that–that’s when Bumblebee had to speak. You had to wait ’til the very end because it had to be a big deal and a big reveal. They absolutely did it right; I just hope I didn’t screw it up.
Courtesy of Newsarama, we have a lenghty and juicy interview about the upcoming IDW Transformers crossover event: Dark Cybertron! The website has interviewed the two wordsmiths behind the creation, James Roberts (MTMTE) and John Barber (RID), as well as showing some artwork from covers and interior pages of what's to come. Read some snippets below, and check out the whole interview here!
John Barber: The setup has been that Rodimus has been leading a group of Autobots (well, mostly Autobots) on a starship, the Lost Light, in search of the legendary Knights of Cybertron. Meanwhile Bumblebee tried to forge a new government on Cybertron, but failed, letting Starscream take over the planet. While that was going on, Optimus Prime—now calling himself Orion Pax—has gone off into space and hooked up with a couple other Autobots.
So, yeah—they are pretty spread out, and Dark Cybertron will start to draw them together. Shockwave’s got a plan, and it’s a big plan, and it encompasses a lot of the universe. The Lost Light gets drawn into one part of the plan, and everybody on Cybertron gets pulled another way… right away, Orion Pax hooks up with the Lost Light crew and he and Rodimus team up to go into a dark dimension called the Dead Universe that’s as horrifying as it sounds.
James Roberts: In the nigh-on 30 years since Transformers began, there have never been two ongoing Transformers comic books running side by side, focusing on different sets of characters in different parts of the same universe. And so this is our first opportunity to indulge in some proper crossover action.
In the past, with big Transformers stories, the sense of occasion has come exclusively from the size of the threat. In the case of Dark Cybertron, yes, the threat is big—the threat is massive, in fact—but in addition to that, you get the thrill of seeing characters from separate storylines mix it up with each other. In a way, it's the Transformers version of the Avengers movie after 50 issues spent building up our respective casts.
Roberts: As I’ve said before, the story is also fun because you get to mix-and-match the characters: Character A from Robots In Disguise, might share a scene or a subplot—or maybe, in some cases, just a single panel—with Character B from More Than Meets The Eye. As the story builds and the various threads start converging, you get more and more of these team-ups, and I hope readers get as much of a thrill out of the combined cast as I did. Hey, I’m a Transformers fan of old, and Dark Cybertron makes me feel like I did when I used to read the weekly Transformers comic in the UK and they’d have multi-part epics where all the big name characters from different timelines—Optimus, Galvatron, Ultra Magnus, etc.—were on the same page.
Barber: And if you’re coming at this from the other side—if you’re a fan of big-scale action with real characters that have real feelings—I think this comic will show you that the Transformers comics might be for you.
I’m excited to get to do a story this big, this far reaching, that pulls as much together as this does—while still reaching for the future. I think where we leave the characters at the end of this is really, really exciting.
With the animated series of Prime: Beast Hunters now behind us, and Predacons Rising almost here, we are very happy to welcome show and comics writer Mairghread Scott for another interview with the minds and hands behind IDW!
Va'al - Thank you for agreeing to do this, Mairghread - you have the honour if being our first writer! My first question, before we jump into your work, is about origins: How did you first become a fan of Transformers?
Mairghread - I actually grew up on Beast Wars, which makes me a bit odd because I never really saw Optimus turn into a truck (although I knew he did) until the Michael Bay films. But in some way, I think Beast Wars really was the best place to start when I worked on Prime. The idea of being outmatched and outnumbered, the shifting alliances; these are all important elements of both shows. Plus, even though our CG technology has come a long way, we still face a lot of the same challenges in terms of characters and sets.
Va'al - At last, someone else who grew up in the Beast era! I thought I was the only one, by now. How involved were you with the franchise back then? Did you collect the toys as well as watch the show, or branch out into other aspects of the Transformers like comics or other cartoons?
Mairghread - Neither. Comic books and action figures were 'boy things' and as a little girl I just sort of knew (and I'm sure my friends re-enforced) that I wasn't supposed to have either. I remember I looked for Airrazor a few times, but I could never find her on the shelf. On the bright side, it meant I got to play Beast Wars a lot with just my sister. I was an Osprey (until Jurassic Park, then I was a 'raptor for a while). I upgraded to puma-osprey with rocket launcher wings when everyone went all Fuzor/Transmetal. I feel like my sister was an orca because she was really into whales and I was always harrassing her about how she couldn't do anything in Beast-mode then. I wasn't the best sister.
Va'al - At least you played with her, though! I have to ask - were you ever able to track down an Airrazor figure later on in life? A lot of Transformer fans have their personal 'holy grail' toy, or so I'm told; would you say that was, or still is, yours? Or did you just outgrow the toy stage, and never really bothered?
Mairghread - No, although I would take one if I came across it. I tend to collect characters I've written for, so my Holy Grail is a modified Rip Claw made to look like Ser-ket. I just picked up a G1 Sludge at BotCon and would love to give him a sister to play with.
Va'al - You heard that, customisers. Be ready to be inundated by offers now! Speaking of writing characters - you're a writer for essentially two parallel stories, one told in the animated series, one in the comics. How do you juggle the different approaches, if they are different? Are there similar challenges in the two media? Do you have a preference between the two?
Mairghread - Well it does help that we have two different casts in each book and that they are both tailored to their medium. The Dinobots aren't nearly as talkative as, say, Optimus, and that works much better when you have the ultra-limited space of a comic. Since the Dinos don't do well in close-up or just talking, I try to think of the comics almost as an 80ish panel haiku instead of a TV script. I'm trying to pick out the best possible moments to suggest the movement, drama and staging that make Prime what it is instead of just transcribing an episode onto the page. When it comes to which I like more, I think I'd have to say comics, if only because I get to really interact with the fans in a way I never could if I just wrote TV. Talking to people who are passionate and nerdy about what you're passionate and nerdy about...it's the best.
Va'al - Communities of fans like the one for Transformers are indeed a gathering of multiple backgrounds and views with an extremely passionate dedication to the common interest! You're obviously welcome to join us on Seibertron any time, I know you write on other fansites at the moment. Speaking of fandoms, I was wondering about something. You've always been pretty determined and vocal about the female presence among the Transformers fans, but there are only a few named women creators in your position (alongside colourists Priscilla Tramontano and Joana Lafuente) - do you think the franchise is still a bit of a boys' club, or is that a misperception? Have you ever received criticism, from fans or peer creators, which was more about you as a woman than your work?
Mairghread - It's funny, I used to be really worried about the role my gender played when it came to my writing and how others saw it. So much so that once I was brought in on a non-TF show to write an episode that had a lot of female characters in it and I actually asked point-blank if they'd picked me because I'm a woman. The response was they'd seen Hurt and they picked me because I could write revenge. So 'no' I've never felt that people see my gender as anything other than another aspect of who I am.
That said, Transformers is still thought of by the public, the media and the industry at large as being a male-oriented brand. It's not surprising: the industry category for Prime is called 'boys action,' the toys for Transformers are in the blue-colored section at toy stores and in several TF comic books there are no female characters at all. This obviously makes it harder for women to feel like we want them to be involved in our brand and I want to change that. Everyone should feel allowed to like Transformers. If seeing my name on a comic makes a woman in the store give it a try, that's great. If writing Firestar means someone's daughter will read his Beast Hunter's issue with him -- awesome! But most importantly, if some little girl out there wants an Arcee as badly as I wanted an Airazor toy, I want her to know that she's not weird, or silly, or alone and if my work does that for her, that's the best thing of all.
Va'al - That's a great goal, and I agree wholeheartedly with your mission. It's also nice to read that the industry is changing its attitude towards pre-existing ideas, even if slowly. This is a franchise that, as you said, starts by being aimed at a young male audience, even though, in fact, there is a fairly big adult reception already - showing how there is also a good female reception should be next! You mentioned Firestar, a character who for now only shows up in a couple of issues of Beast Hunters - was that entirely your idea (with Mike Johnson), or was it suggested by IDW/Hasbro? How did she come about? And for that matter, how was Zoom introduced too?
Mairghread - Bringing back Firestar was my idea. As soon as we got picked up I decided to start adding female characters until someone told me to stop (and, actually, a lot of the background characters are also female, even though it's not obvious). So far, Mike, IDW and Hasbro have all been fine with it, so I press onward. I'd love to bring back all the pre-existing TF ladies, but we'll see how many I can squeeze in before the end.
Zoom is Mike's creation and another good example of IDW and Hasbro giving us a fairly free hand. I'm sure if we tried to remake the book as the Firestar/Zoom show, they'd say something, but when it comes to adding more minor characters, we get a lot of control.
Va'al - I did notice some of the remains in Last Spark were mentioned as being female, actually, yes. You don't seem to have been told to stop bringing in characters so far! Are we to expect any other ones before the series ends? I realise we're only half-way through, and that leaves us with two story-arcs worth of potential new faces.
Mairghread - Well, we just got preview images from Issue 5 and, I don't know if anyone's picked up on it, but they reveal Chromia, the blue Autobot next to Grimlock telling everyone to get under their beds (for protection in an earthquake). But don't worry, she does a lot more than that, but it's been fun to see her sneak into the sneak peek.
Va'al - Yes, I did spot Chromia, and I mentioned her (and Scrounge) in the review for issue 5. And speaking of issue 5, we now have the announced point of contact between the animated series and the comics, and we're very close in its placement with the end of the TV series. Will the comics cross-over or spill into the upcoming Predacons Rising epilogue?
Mairghread - While the two lines will merge in 7 and 8, the timeline between TV and comics means that we are following the show and not the other way around. That said, I've very excited at what Mike's cooking up, so you'll have to wait and see.
Va'al - Really not letting anything out of the bag, huh? Well, I think that moment of suspense is actually a good place to stop this time round. Mairghread, it's been an absolute pleasure talking to you, thanks again for doing this! Do you have any last words for the readers on Seibertron.com?
Mairghread - Only to thank them for the chance to play with characters they know and love. Hopefully, we can bring more fans to planet Cybertron. And if anyone has any more burning questions, you can reach me on Twitter at @MairghreadScott or Tumblr at mscottwrites.tumblr.com.
You heard her, readers - head over to the social media to ask your questions, or post them along with your comments in this thread! Stay tuned for another interview soon, we have some really interesting guests coming up.
Yesterday, the Transformers Collectors' Club took some time out of their busy schedule to answer some of the questions we've been asking here at Seibertron.com. Our Q&A covers everything from the next big reveals for Subscription Service 2.0, concerns about packaging issues with Circuit and Scourge, BotCon 2014, original characters, reusing heads from previous Club molds, and much more. To find out the Club's responses, keep on reading fellow Seibertronians! And don't forget to visit the Transformers Collectors' Club at TransformersClub.com.
Seibertron.com: With the recent reveals of several Subscription Service 2.0 figures such as Barricade, Fisitron, and Treadshot, when can fans expect to see the rest of the reveals?
Transformers Collectors' Club: We just revealed Rewind yesterday, Sept 5th and we plan on the last two reveals over the next week and a half.
Seibertron.com: Many fans are intrigued by the inclusion of a bonus figure for next year's subscription service. Can you tell us about what lead to this decision and can you share any possible hints with us about who the 7th figure might be?
Transformers Collectors' Club: Doing a Voyager sized figure this year presented some challenges across the board so we decided to go down in size for that figure. As we were discussing character/mold choices we started thinking about basing the TFSS 2.0 a little more on the G.I. Joe version, which would mean including an "incentive" figure. Once we figured out the final line-up for the TFSS 2.0 we pretty much knew who the incentive figure would be. I hope people really dig a lll 6 figures and sign up for the full subscription because the bonus incentive 7th figure goes perfectly with another figure in the set!
Seibertron.com: During the Club's panel at BotCon 2013, it was mentioned that there had been some difficulty coming up with characters that Fun Pub could use for Subscription Service 2.0 because Hasbro already had plans for characters you guys had pitched. Can you tell us any characters that Hasbro said no-go to?
Transformers Collectors' Club: Can't really get in to that but I look forward to seeing what they have planned for the characters we were also thinking about.
Seibertron.com: The Club has created many new heads for the Club and BotCon exclusives over the years. If I recall correctly, I thought Fun Pub answered a question at a previous BotCon that the molds are destroyed for the new heads. Yet here we are receiving a G1 repaint of G2 Breakdown complete with the BotCon exclusive head, which I believe is the first time that a BotCon head has been reused a few years after its initial usage. Can we expect other BotCon and Club exclusive heads to popup again in the future? Is there more of any effort to save these molds for future use?
Transformers Collectors' Club: Initially, I understood it that the heads were done in a fashion that did not allow multiple uses. As it turns out, the heads are molded the same as with any other Hasbro produced item. So yes, if the situation calls for it, you may see a previous mold that we had engineered re-used down the road if it makes sense.
Seibertron.com: I'd personally love to see some weapons packs or accessory packs or unique accessories come out of the Club. I was a little bummed that BotCon 2013 Hoist didn't come with a remolded weapon or with a new accessory so that his alt mode could be a tow truck. Has Fun Pub considered making new accessories for upcoming exclusives or for existing Transformers figures or is this cost prohibitive?
Transformers Collectors' Club: Next week we will have a BIG reveal in regard to ANOTHER feature for the TFSS 2.0. We have been holding on to this news, but I think fans are going to be stoked when they find out what will be included with their TFSS 2.0 shipments. And we are talking more than just one add on!
Seibertron.com: With Scourge and Circuit, there were some issues with the figure rubbing against the inside of the box causing some minor paint damage to both figures. Scourge was easily fixed with a silver sharpie but Circuit is a little more difficult to restore. Would it be cheaper to bubble wrap the figures or place them in high quality bags like the loose figures are sold at BotCon instead of using the foam cutouts in order to better protect the paint on these high end exclusives? Is this issue being addressed for future releases?
Transformers Collectors' Club: Yes, we are working with the company that packaged these to ensure this does not happen again for the TFSS 2.0 offering.
Seibertron.com: Why are the figures being packaged with a custom foam cutouts? Are the cutouts more expensive than other packaging alternatives?
Transformers Collectors' Club: We find when implemented properly, this is the best way to ship these figures. We are constantly evaluating processes and improving them. Sometimes what we ask for is not implemented in the final version in China and we have no way to change it.
Seibertron.com: Are there any plans to have a box for Club members to purchase as an additional item for us to store our prized Club Subscription Service figures in? Is this something that might be an option for us later down the road?
Transformers Collectors' Club: We have talked about that. Maybe that is something we should poll people on. It's not a bad idea...
Seibertron.com: Being able to purchase Depth Charge on a sealed card at BotCon and through the Club's website was a nice surprise. Any possibility other Club or BotCon figures will be sold in this manner?
Transformers Collectors' Club: Transmutate, next years club exclusive (separate from the TFSS 2.0), will come in a collector box. That box will have a cutout where fans can store their Rampage figure. This worked out really well for Runabout/Runamuck and we think fans will dig having that option again.
Seibertron.com: A couple of us were wondering why the Club hasn't created any original characters recently instead of reusing familiar faces. Many of us have enjoyed the new and original characters and would like to see more of them such as Landshark and Nexus Prime (who ended up being used by Hasbro as one of the Original 13). Any chance we'll see a few original characters come out of the Club in the next year or so?
Transformers Collectors' Club: I think Landshark is great. Nexus Prime, part of Hasbro's "original 13 Transformers" line up, is also another really great character and the fact that we contributed to the 13 is very satisfying.
So, with that said, original characters can be a hard sell though. We did, however, reach back in to the vault when we released the cancelled Hasbro character, Toxitron. And that did well. So they can work, depending on their origin and how they are handled in fiction. Sometimes, rarer on new is not always "popular" so it is a very tricky decision. We think this idea works better in a set of figures rather than a one off.
We never want to get in to a formula where we never try new things. We don't wan't to just produce homages/updates. We like to take risks where it makes sense. Next week, when we reveal our 5th subscription figure, fans are going to see a character like they've never seen before in TF fiction. He's new, but "not new" at the same time. There is one part of the offering that has been widely popular for years, but NEVER in this way.
Let's just say, next week is going to be full of epic reveals...
Seibertron.com: While many fans are expecting BotCon 2014 to be very special because of the 30th anniversary, it's also a very special year because it's the 20th anniversary of BotCon. My how time flies. What can you tell us about special BotCon 20th Anniversary plans?
Transformers Collectors' Club: We are still working out all the details. The location coupled with the timing for the show allows us many great opportunities to celebrate 30 years of Transformers and 20 years of BotCon!
Seibertron.com: When can fans expect to hear an official announcement about the date and location of BotCon 2014?
Transformers Collectors' Club: When all the details are finalized. There are many different entities we have to work with to put the entire program together. If you announce it too early and then the details don't fall into place for the registration to start ... well then people get upset. Also we are in the middle of re-writing the entire Eventman system to add new features and to move to a different coding platform.
Seibertron.com: Thank you again to the Transformers Collectors' Club for taking time to answer a few questions for all of us here at Seibertron.com. We really appreciate you sharing some behind the scenes info with us.
This time round, fellow Seibertronians, we have a special treat for you all in our interview series. We were approached by an old acquaintance of the franchise who is now back for more with IDW. Please read on for a full interview with artist James Raiz!
Va'al - With Dark Cybertron about to happen in the IDW Transformers universe, we are very proud to present another interview with one of the creative talents behind the event. James, thanks for thinking of us and agreeing to do this also to mark your return to Transformers comics - but before we get to that, the usual opening question: How did you discover our favourite transforming robots? Where did it all begin for you?
James - Thanks so much Alex! Great to be back and talking comics and especially Transformers after my time away. I have been a fan as long as I could remember!
I was introduced mainly by the cartoon - I was a huge fan of the old G1 series back in the day! My parents bought me the smaller toys, like Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, Warpath, Gears, Cosmos, etc... and of course go-bots because they looked like transformers and were lots cheaper - I had a lot of those... But I remember one day, my mom splurged for my birthday and I got Metroplex! I was floored! I immediately put all my Go-bot toys inside! One toy that was special to me was Topspin - I loved that toy so much, I actually sat down and drew it - my first ever transformers drawing. I wish I still had it...
Va'al - A lot of the current batch of creators seem to have grown up on the G1 cartoon and toys (though there are exceptions); I was going to ask about your first toys but you pre-empted me! But you say that it was actually a toy that got you into the artistic side of the franchise - did you pick up any of the comics back then, too?
James - Honestly no, I actually didn't get into comic books until high school - so I wasn't really looking for them. I was more into card collecting at the time - baseball cards, hockey cards, but my best friend was deeply into comics - so I started following him to the stores. I'd say it was actually the start of Image Comics that turned me into a gigantic comic fan, so most of my collecting was Image stuff and some X-Men at the time - didn't really look for the Transformers comics.
Va'al - The collecting bug was there from the start though, it seems! It took me a while to even consider picking up a Transformers title, Marvel or IDW (or any other iteration), I'm quite the late bloomer too - and it's all because of JP Bove. How did you eventually get into the Transformers comics? If you did at all, that is!
James - Now that's quite a long story! So I might as well go into it. I was working at a company called Dreamwave Productions - I was Pat Lee's primary assistant, his main background artist. He really liked me because I put so much detail into my work. Because of my schooling background (I have a technical illustration diploma), my backgrounds - buildings, landscapes, and especially cars, looked great! My human figures however... well Dreamwave was known for their "Anime" style, and it's a style I wasn't used to doing - I was more the Jim Lee clone if anything, so they were hesitant to let me fully pencil any of their books at the time.
Fast forward to Wizard Magazine contacting Dreamwave - they had an idea for an article about 1980s toys possibly being current comics - they picked an artist who they thought would be good for each franchise - J. Scott Campbell for Thundercats, Joe Madureria for TMNT, and Pat Lee for Transformers. They then contacted Pat Lee to do an image for the magazine.
The article was a gigantic success - everyone loved the art Pat produced. So from there, the wheels started turning. We all thought "wouldn't it be cool if we actually got the license???". From there, Dreamwave started their quest to acquire it. I actually helped the pitch by putting together a three page Transformers RID sample, written by Chris Sarracini. It didn't get done yet. A few months down the line, enter a business man named Adam Fortier. He worked with Pat in making a deal with Hasbro. Next thing I know, we now have the license!
Right away I expected to be doing backgrounds for Pat, which I was ecstatic about. However they sat me down and informed me that they were going to do two titles - Pat of course was going to do G1, and they have another title based on the current cartoon at the time - Transformers:Armada - and they wanted me to pencil it! I was over the moon!
So yeah... quite an introduction to Transformers comics!
Va'al - Wow, that sounds all pretty fast, looking back. This next part is going to be a bit tricky, as Dreamwave is still quite an issue for a lot of Transformers fans, and especially artists. Did you have any particularly bad experiences while working for Lee, or were you one of the people who made it through unscathed?
James - Pat gave me my start in comics - he gave me a job when no one else would - he gave me my start in the industry. However what he did to all of those guys was just wrong. For me personally, I left Dreamwave at two points in time, but I encountered the financial trouble mainly at the end of my tenure with Dreamwave.
When I left Dreamwave in 2003, it had nothing to do with not being paid - Dreamwave was flooded with cash at that time - I left because they kept promising me work on multiple titles, and for one reason or another they fell through - it was even to the point where they told me to wait 12 months before I can get back onto the flagship Transformers title, and that they'd find me work to do in between then.
At that time I was getting married, and I needed money, I didn't know when the work from Dreamwave would come, so I left for a job at Wildstorm/DC Comics. I returned back to Dreamwave in 2004 - Pat asked me to come back and help him with some movie and television projects - I didn't have any work at the time, so I agreed. At that time you could tell Dreamwave was in trouble. People were complaining about not getting paid in full. I helped out with a Transformers Sourcebook and did an issue of Transformers:Energon - and I did get my money... but it did take a while. So when they offered me a chance to do War Within volume 3, knowing that deferred payment or even possibly no payment at all was inevitable, I declined, and I left for the final time.
Va'al - That's a good, honest, direct answer - it can be hard when something as big as the Dreamwave issue happens, and you're involved both professionally and personally. So thank you, we really appreciate it! How did you end up getting back into the comics with IDW, after your second leaving? You did some cover work for them, but how did you get chosen for Dark Cybertron?
James - Well, it took a while. After I left Dreamwave the second time, things were actually pretty good for me. I received regular consistant work in the comic industry - did work for Marvel & DC on various titles. I also got the opportunity to help my buddy Joe Ng out doing pages for the Transformers/GI Joe crossover from Devil's Due/Udon. Honestly, my work was horrible in that issue - mainly because I was working on two other projects at the same time - one for Top Cow doing City of Heroes and one for SPIN Toys - I just didn't know when to say no...
From there, the Transformers license ended up with IDW. They contacted me, asking me if I'd like to be involved. I actually did a tryout page for them to be the first penciller on the Transformers:Infiltration series - they presented the potential pencillers to Hasbro and Hasbro picked E.J. Su to be the first penciller so he got the gig (and honestly I do feel Hasbro made the right choice - he did an amazing job! No complaints here!) But, I did get to do covers for quite a few issues of that series. I also got to do covers for the different Spotlight issues (Shockwave, Hot Rod & Six Shot) as well as covers for the first two issues of Beast Wars.
In 2006, after hearing stories about good friends from my Dreamwave days going back to school and getting into video games, and with the freelance hours really starting to drain me out, I decided to change directions in career - so I went back to school to study animation. From there I spent six years working in film and videogames - I got the opportunity to work on films like Watchmen, Percy Jackson, Battle LA and Underworld to name a few.
During that time, I've always stayed in touch with IDW - they've been SO good to me. I did stuff for them on the side like images for the beast wars sourcebook. There was a time when I was actually offered to be the penciller for the first Transformers live-action movie sequel - the Search for Starscream - but unfortunately there was no way to handle a full time job plus a regular penciling gig. So they still gave me the opportunity to do covers for the series - some of my favorite work ever! In between film jobs I even got the chance to fill in on Maximum Dinobots - there I realized I was faster and more disciplined - and I was much more happy with the work than my last interior Transformers stint.
Fast forward to late 2012 - we had an unfortunate injury in my family, and I decided to let my contract run out at my current job (I was a storyboard artist for Ubisoft), so I could stay home. I contacted Chris Ryall to see if they had any work available - and he and John Barber gave me my first full interior Gig in a long time - Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #22, which will also be inserted with the Skids toy!
After that issue I went on vacation, and when I got back, editor Carlos Guzman contacted me and asked me to be a part of the armada of artists who will be working on Dark Cybertron! I was more than happy to accept. I really owe a lot to Chris Ryall, John Barber and IDW.
Va'al - I keep reading excellent things about Ryall and the IDW crew, I'm pleased to see more of it artists with different backgrounds and experiences, too. And I'm sure we'll be more than happy to see you work on both MTMTE and Dark Cybertron! Do you have any teases you're allowed to give us about the coming storyline?
James - Sure! Dark Cybertron debuts in November with DARK CYBERTRON #1 and then continues that same month with MTMTE #23 and RID #23 and then alternates between MTMTE and RID until issue 27 of each. Everything is written by John Barber and James Roberts - both amazing to work with! Phil Jimenez will be doing the artwork on Dark Cybertron #1.
Exclusive to Seibertron! MTMTE #22, page 4 - Art by James Raiz
Because it will be alternating books, instead of one artist per book, an armada of artists will be working on it! You'll see the amazing work of Andrew Griffith, Atilio Rojo, Brendan Cahill, Casey Coller, Alex Milne, Robert Gill and Nick Roche. As for myself, I'll be handling most of the artwork taking place on the Lost Light.
I actually can't say much at all, but as a tease, how about this:
Shockwave's got a plan, millions of years in the making, goes all the way back to Nova Prime and Galvatron era...
Va'al - That's expanding a little on what we know, and it's just making me want to read it more than before! It'll be good to see your work again too. Speaking of which, I hear you've been busy artistically with other giant robots in the meantime - care to tell us more about that?
James - Sure thing! I have started a YouTube channel up for fun a few months back. At first it was a hobby, but now it's something I'm taking much more seriously. It's called "The Box Office Artist". At first, I was doing previews of upcoming blockbuster movies (or ones I thought I could draw something cool with). I did one for Iron Man, Fast and Furious 6 and Man of Steel among others. The response was very positive, however, most people who watch actually want me to teach them draw.
So, I'm starting some tutorial videos, and what better way to start than showing people how to draw, than what I pretty much draw best - Giant Robots! I'm doing a four part tutorial series on how to draw a Pacific Rim style Mech. I concepted and drew an image of a giant mech, inspired by the movie and recorded the entire process.
It will be split up into four different videos:
2. Pencilling in Ink
4. Final product
A timelapse version of the entire piece from start to finish is already up, but the entire series will come out the last week of August. And I would love to chat with all of you to find out what you'd like me to teach you how to draw next - I think a Transformer should be next in line, don't you?
Va'al - That's some amazing work right there, I hope more people get to follow your artistic endeavours! Also, Seiertronianas, feel free to talk to James in this thread - he'll be reading your responses and answering when he can. James, it's been a pleasure to talk to you, and I'm really looking forward to seeing more of you in the pages of MTMTE, especially after that sneak preview. Any last words?
James - It's been a great pleasure Alex, thank you so much for the interview, and thank you to ALL of the Transformers fans out there, and everyone who kinda remembers me a little bit. I will be active on the boards, so feel free to ask me any question you'd like!
Being in the Film and Video Game industry was a lot fun, but now being back in comics, and especially drawing Transformers again, makes me feel like I'm back where I belong. Thank you so much to all of you for making me feel welcome. And I hope you enjoy the art I'll put out for all of you!
You heard the man, get in touch! Thanks again to all of you for reading, and stay tuned for another interview soon, here at Seibertron.com.
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