THE GREATEST ENEMY... the greatest challenge... shall come from within. And there will be an ending. This is it, the battle the TRANSFORMERS must win, and yet dare not. The original and founding TRANSFORMERS comic comes to an epic and giant-sized conclusion, with all-out battle on CYBERTRON. Or should that be “Cybertrons”? Shocks, surprises, guest stars and more. It may be a cliché, but this one really does have it all.
Some proof that Sarah Stone (@fayren)’s Windblade is gonna be beautiful series. Issue one page one art and colors by Stone.
Here’s the WIPs I sent to Alex Milne as I was working on this.
Note: Several metal hero references in the NAILS around of Blurr (B-Fighter Kabuto/Kawaga/Tentou) and by Skybyte (Shaider, Juspion, Captain Power, SolBraver)
BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH back to work! HAPPY TO SHARE THIS FINALLY!
Transformers vs. G.I. Joe is a crossover that sells it self, but the downside of that is that it’s been done often enough that it can be difficult to get excited about the next version. Unless, of course, you tell me that it’s going to be co-written, drawn, and lettered by Tom Scioli, the man who wrote the line “Robot Dracula is an efficient torturer” and rendered all other comics obsolete. If you do that, you have my attention, and that’s exactly what they did when they announced that Scioli and John Barber were kicking off an ongoing series about the two teams, set to launch with #0 on Free Comic Book Day.
To find out more about how the project came together, I spoke to Scioli and Barber about how the project came together, Scioli’s massive pitch document, and how their life-long and relatively recent love of the comics influenced their storytelling. Believe it or not, I don’t think we talk about Destro at all.
ComicsAlliance: We’ve seen Transformers vs. G.I. Joe stories before, going all the way back to Marvel.
Tom Scioli: Right, once or twice.
CA: What made you each want to tackle the project in a new form, aside from just the idea that people love the Transformers and love G.I. Joe?
John Barber: At IDW, I think we wanted to do this for a long time, institutionally, just for that very reason — but we’d always sort of resisted it. Without anything interesting to do with it, there was no reason to do it. We have some G.I. Joe comics, we have the Transformers comics, I think they’re both pretty good… but if you’re going to combine them, you have to do something really different and really special. Knowing this year was going to be the 30th anniversary of Transformers and the 50th anniversary of the original G.I. Joe, we really wanted to do something with the two. We weren’t going to waste the opportunity, but if there wasn’t anything good to do, we didn’t want to do it. And then, enter Tom. [Laughs]
Tom Scioli: For me, I’m such a backseat driver with every movie I see. You almost can’t help it, once you get involved with writing, drawing or whatever. You start viewing the whole world that way. From day one of the Transformers movies, for me, it was like “okay, if I was doing the Transformers story, I’d do this, I’d do that,” and when John suggested doing a Transformers vs. G.I. Joe story, that was perfect. That’s exactly what Transformers kind of needs. The Transformers themselves were cool, but the humans never held up their end of the bargain, so having G.I. Joe be the humans, that’s perfect. They’re iconic, comics-y, sci-fi characters in their own right, so you finally have that missing ingredient.
CA: So how did you guys get together? Did you have to convince Tom that he should be drawing Transformers vs. G.I. Joe?
TS: It took no convincing at all. In fact, if I recall, John was vaguely apologetic about it, like “I don’t know if you’d like to do this or not, but…” and to me, of course, that sounds awesome. That’s right up my alley. Giant robots and quasi-superhero sci-fi army men. That’s perfect.
JB: The whole dirty secret of this is that Tom had emailed into IDW, and I was a big fan of his from Myth of 8-Opus and Godland. I was sitting there, and I don’t know how this train of thought got to me, but I was reading East of West, and looking at Nick Dragotta’s art, and thinking about how when he and Jonathan Hickman had done Fantastic Four, he was doing a little more of a Kirby thing. I’d emailed Tom that day about something else, and I thought, “you know what would be absolutely bananas? Doing this comic with Tom.”
TS: John had this elevator pitch of what he wanted this comic to be, and it sounded great. It was the sort of thing I could run with, and the ideas just kept coming. At that point, it was just sort of a “maybe.” Even though it wasn’t a thing yet, even though it was just a notion, I started thinking about things we could do. I’ve had that happen a couple of times, and I’d gotten to a point where I’d fight that impulse, but in recent years, I just let my imagination go where it’s going to go. I can do something with it. Even at that point, I was thinking “okay, if this ends up not happening, I can use some of this energy and some of these ideas somewhere else.” I’ve been working on a creator-owned sci-fi thing in the background, so if worse comes to worse, I can repurpose some of these ideas.
So I just kept going, and basically from the day John said it was something we could do, I’ve been working on it. So when it was finally something we were going to do, I had this huge thick stack of story that I dropped on John.
JB: You came in gangbusters, and it was all cool stuff. The floodgates opened, and I think it really helped that you were coming in as a fresh set of eyes.
TS: I think you’re right. To have this enthusiasm for the material. You’re a longtime fan and you’ve been working on it, and you still have an enthusiasm, but it’s probably not as white-hot as it was when you were a kid first discovering it. It’s nice to have a balance of someone who has the experience and knowledge of this stuff, and then someone whose head is currently exploding with how great it is.
Transformers: Robots in Disguise #27 - Dark Cybertron Part 11
DEATH OF A HERO! BUMBLEBEE! RODIMUS! ULTRA MAGNUS! PROWL! One will fall in final battle with SHOCKWAVE! This one is for all the marbles, folks—it just doesn’t get any bigger than this!
Simon Furman is, to quote the man himself, “like unto a living god,” at least for Transformers fans. He started out writing for Marvel UK in the 80′s, and saw the Transformers comic through a legendary period, penning the most memorable TF comics in the franchise’s history.
Recently IDW gave Furman a chance to pick up his twenty-year-old story lines in an epic what-if series called ReGeneration One (think X-Men Forever, with giant robots). The series picked up in 2012 at issue #81, following the final issue, #80 released in 1991, and will conclude with issue #100 in March.
SE: How do you feel about ending it after all this time?
SF: Mixed emotions. Both Andrew (Wildman) and I were only interested in doing this if it was to bring it to conclusion. So it feels like job done. Finally. But it’s quite sad too, because you get invested in it and the characters all over again. You start seeing new angles and new story possibilities and you have to resist, because everything is supposed to be building to a wrap-up. You can’t risk opening any new doors. But mostly I feel satisfied that we’ve done the book proud and can be proud ourselves of what (even as purely Regeneration One) has become a substantial body of work. We originally envisioned a 5 or 6-issue limited series. So to get 20, plus an 80.5, an issue #0 and a giant-sized final issue is just incredible. We really can’t complain.
SE: Tell us a little of what we can expect in issue #100.
SF: A lot of connectivity. Issue #100 will – l hope – feel like the capstone to a 100-issue series, rather than just Regeneration One. The thing that’s been building, that comes to a head this issue, has its roots in the original series as much Regeneration One. So I hope readers feel the full impact of the ‘bigger picture’, the thing that’s been tick-ticking away in the background like a timebomb and now explodes. Certainly, as we join the story, the situation is already beyond dire. As one character puts it, “maybe we already lost this one.” And honestly, maybe they have. But there’s a still bigger picture that needs saving, even if it means a truly terrifying scale of sacrifice. Certainly there’s no halfhearted cop-outs here, no magical quick fixes. But there’s still a heck of a lot to strive for and some massive obstacles to overcome before they get there. It’s backs to the wall time, against an enemy that in many ways is homegrown, a part of themselves.
SE: You’ve also been involved in numerous other iterations of the Transformers, particularly the “ultimate TFs” IDW continuity. How have you liked the work James Roberts and John Barber are doing these days?
SF: James and John are doing great work. I feel, finally, that the IDW-verse is in safe hands.
In the wake of the "Dark Cybertron" crossover, the various Transformers are in disarray. And things are about to get even more interesting for the characters, as writer Mairghread Scott and artist Sarah Stone -- the first all-female creative team to ever work on a Transformers series -- will soon be hitting them with the imminent arrival of Windblade.
The first "fan-built bot" created through a number of polls on Hasbro's website, Windblade's design, features and abilities were all decided by the general public and brought to life by Hasbro designer Lenny Panzica. The sword-wielding, jet-powered female Transformer looks set to cause a whole load of trouble for the rest of Cyberton's sons and daughters in her own four-issue, self-titled miniseries due to kick off in April. Scott spoke to CBR about her plans for the character -- and just what her arrival means for IDW Publishing's Transformers Universe as a whole.
CBR News: Windblade arrived in the IDW Transformers continuity during the recent "Dark Cybertron" crossover event. Following that story, what kind of state are the Autobots and Decepticons in as this miniseries kicks off? How are they recovering -- or not -- from the event?
Mairghread Scott: I don't think it spoils anything to say that things get a little, well -- dark by the end of "Dark Cybertron" and the whole event has very much demoralized the entire planet. Fighting an endless war is tiring, but there are only so many times you can rebuild your home-world before you start to feel like things just aren't gonna get any better.
But, in a way, this is also the perfect time to introduce a new character like Windblade because she's seeing so many things for the first time. There's an old saying that "evil triumphs when good men do nothing," and "Transformers Windblade" is just as much about the danger of staying on the sidelines as it is about evil itself.
She was created after winning a fan-poll from Hasbro which asked fan to help create a new character. How exciting was it to have the chance to introduce and establish a character into continuity?
It was extremely exciting. The moment they announced Windblade, I told John Barber that I was calling dibs on her if she made it to the comics. It's nice to see that still works. But, in all seriousness, it really is amazing to feel like Sarah and I are getting to make a little bit of Transformers history. We get to bring in a whole new character (and hopefully a new readership) to our favorite brand; we're pulling out all the stops to make sure Windblade earns a spot in Transformers for a long time to come.
There are other female Transformers, but the majority of them are identified as male. Are you interested in writing and exploring that in this series? Do the other characters treat her differently for being a female, or do they not even notice?
Obviously, Starscream's gonna use any kind of wedge issue he can -- because he's Starscream.
But Cybertronians in general are less interested in that kind of thing, and that's something I really love about the brand. Think about it: If you're fighting another Transformer, it's a lot more crucial to know what they turn into (tank, jet, flash drive) than what pronoun they use. Characters who don't know Windblade are obviously curious about who she is, but who she is, is so much more than "female."
FCBD: For those who might be new to your comic book, give a quick rundown. What can we expect to see in terms of story and art?
Tom Scioli (writer/artist/colorist/letterer): "It’s the first chapter of TRANSFORMERS VS. G.I. JOE. It tells the story of the first encounter between the G.I. JOE team and the TRANSFORMERS of CYBERTRON. It’s got the scale and action of a summer superhero blockbuster, but with the unlimited budget that only the comics medium can provide. There’s a space battle. There’s an assault on an underground COBRA base built on the ruins of the ancient city of Koh-Buru-Lah. There are cool science fiction ideas, like the Doomsday Seed. The story culminates in a massive aerial battle between planes, helicopters, jet packs, and giant killer machines from space. We also establish the relationships between the characters in a compelling, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, sometimes tragic manner. There are character origins, deaths and lasting consequences. It’s a story that readers will never forget."
John Barber (co-writer/hanger-on): "Yeah, Tom hit it right on the head. This is such a unique and different take on the characters—really honoring the past but pushing the comics aspect out there further than ever… there’s stuff you can literally only do in comics, and Tom’s pulled off a lot of storytelling bits that I’ve never seen before. But the story is really non-stop, relentless action. Funny, touching, thrilling… usually in the same panel."
FCBD: What has been your favorite part of book or character to tackle?
Tom: "I really enjoyed the research process. Having grown up in the eighties, I had a certain level of familiarity with the characters, but in preparation for this series I dived headfirst into it. I read piles of comics, watched hours of cartoons and movies. It was intoxicating. The character of SNAKE EYES is the breakout character of G.I. JOE, so I had a lot of fun writing for him. He’s fun to draw, too. In a way he’s the original template for the ’90s Image-style characters—all pouches, straps, guns, grenades, mystery and attitude. I like STARSCREAM, too. It took a lot of practice to figure out his visual representation. He’s the one from the original cartoon that had the most interesting story. He’s the second banana, living and plotting in MEGATRON’s shadow. How did this envious, jealous, scheming social climber get to be the right hand man to somebody he hates? The one character that really made an impression on me above all in the old G.I. JOE comics is DR. VENOM. He’s kind of an obscure character. He’s profoundly evil, genuinely frightening, but darkly funny. He’s the representation of the banality of evil. He’s very ordinary looking in the operatically-costumed world of G.I. JOE. He is a lot of fun to write."
John: "For me, already get to play in the G.I. JOE and TRANSFORMERS sandboxes every day, editing G.I. JOE and a couple TRANSFORMERS comics and writing TRANSFORMERS: ROBOTS IN DISGUISE. What’s been fun for me is coming at the characters from a totally different perspective… really coming at them from a unique point of view. I love this idea of approaching them in a grand, operatic tradition—the sense of scale is huge, and I the whole sense of story and of the construction of this world is so amazing and so wild, it’s a lot of fun to be a part of."
FCBD: Looking to the future of the book, is there anything you can tease about what's upcoming?
Tom: "We’re building toward a massive confrontation between the people of Earth and the people of CYBERTRON, a planet full of living, thinking, feeling, killer war-’bots."
John: "I can promise you this story doesn’t go the direction you think it’s going to go. There have been clashes between the TRANSFORMERS and G.I. JOE in comics before, but there has never been anything like TRANSFORMERS VS. G.I. JOE."
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