Ken Christiansen wrote:The assignment was to envision a near-future tank, so I did a few quick sketches, got feedback from Siebenaler, and actually only did a colored line art pass, because of a time crunch. After the presentation and following feedback, I was asked to render it fully, with no changes, along with the Prime truck, that was also initially done as colored line art, for the same pitch.
TFcon wrote:We are honored to welcome Transformers voice actor Jack Angel to TFcon 2013 for his first ever Canadian convention appearance.
The voice of Astrotrain, Breakdown, Cyclonus, Ramjet, Smokescreen and Ultra Magnus in the Generation 1 cartoon; he is also known to GIJOE fans as the voice of Wet Suit and Superfriends fans as the voices of Flash, Hawkman and Samurai. Mr. Angel will be taking part in Q&A panels and autograph sessions with the attendees of the world’s largest fan-run Transformers convention.
TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE #91—the comic book that continues the original 1984 TRANSFORMERS series, courtesy IDW Publishing and Hasbro—launches an all-new story arc! “DESTINY” part one sets the stage, as BLUDGEON and SOUNDWAVE launch their ultimate assault against the universe, thanks to legendary writer Simon Furman—who we sat down with for a brief chat!—and artist Andrew Wildman. TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE #91 is out now at comic book stores everywhere, and for download at https://transformers.comixology.com/ or via the Comixology and iBooks apps on your computer or mobile device)!
PAGE 1: We’re on the world of Cresta Superior, with some beetle-like war machines in operation. What was your inspiration on the design of these machines? Did you have a specific look in mind or did you let artist Andrew Wildman design what he thought would work best?
SIMON FURMAN: A lot of the design of Bludgeon’s Blitz Engines comes (naturally enough) from Andrew. But of course I threw a bunch of ideas into the mix in the script too. My main requirement was that they in no way appeared humanoid. We went that route in Generation 2 (in which there’s a parallel story of Bludgeon and Matrix-infused clone troopers, one of a few G2 elements that are finding their way into the REGENERATION ONE mix… another big one of those says hi this very issue!), and I wanted these to be visually distinct and just generally big, threatening and armed to teeth.
They’re siege engines, tanks on legs basically. And Andrew took that and ran with it, creating these almost crab-like mechs that really look like they can just plough through anything (and anyone) in their way. They’re going to get a lot of action in #94-95, and to have even the slightest hope of combating them, the Autobots are going to have to wheel out a really BIG gun of their own.
PAGE 2: The machines are slaughtering the humanoid soldiers and breaking their way through into their base. Cresta Superior is a brand new world in TRANSFORMERS. Why create something new instead of using a previously established world for this scene?
SIMON FURMAN: One criticism I’ve seen leveled at RG1 is that we’re very focused down on just three worlds (Cybertron, Earth and Nebulos… and there’s a reason for that, trust me, which will become apparent in the final arc), so I took the opportunity to just remind readers that there are other worlds (and other mech species) out there (again, something that will form a big plot-point in the final arc), and lay in the idea that there are vast distances and gulfs of outer space that while maybe mapped aren’t well travelled or continually on the Cybertronian radar. Remember, a lot of RG1 (initially) was about Optimus Prime having (disastrously) taken his eye off the ball, allowed his sphere of awareness to focus too much on Cybertron (to the exclusion of all else). The business with Earth (and to an extent Nebulos) is going to turn out to be quite a micro-failing compared to what’s been happening out in the wider (macro-) universe.
PAGE 3: Bludgeon and Soundwave are talking, and we’re seeing that the machines are called Blitz Engines and are Bludgeon’s creations. Tell us about where Bludgeon is coming from in his point of view and how he sees the universe. And what he believes should happen to it.
SIMON FURMAN: Bludgeon’s a complex character. He has this whole martial arts style warrior code he adheres to (more or less) that skews his conventional motivations. Bludgeon is much more concerned with his wider legacy and how he’ll be regarded (by future generations) than the here and now. So while his current goal seems straightforward (return to Cybertron and the conquest of the same), it’s much more layered. Bludgeon believes in predestination, and that if that destiny is not forthcoming he must force the issue. He sees this life as merely stepping-stone to another (greater) destiny, and that makes him incredibly dangerous. Death holds no fear for him. Maybe even attracts him?
PAGE 4: Soundwave and Bludgeon are discussing their future plans, which would appear to involve Thunderwing. Even though Soundwave and Bludgeon are Decepticons and on the same side, are they really fighting for the same common cause or pursuing two very different agendas here?
SIMON FURMAN: There’s a certain amount of crossover in Bludgeon’s and Soundwave’s motivations/goals, but there’s also a whole side to what Bludgeon wants that Soundwave isn’t privy to. Soundwave is all about keeping Megatron’s banner raised over Cybertron, even post-mortem, whereas Bludgeon wants… well, that’d be telling.
PAGE 5: Looking at the aftermath of what Scorponok was doing in the previous issues. Is everything really back to normal on Cybertron? Can these guys just go back to the way things were before events of war took their toll on the population again?
SIMON FURMAN: I think that irrevocable damage has been done by Scorponok’s gene-engineering, but it’s not insurmountable. Part of the reason I wanted to do that particular arc was to show what a tenuous hold the Autobots have on the “heroic” side of their nature, that (actually) every day is a battle to hold onto the values and moral ideals they live by. (Grimlock, for example, walks that line a little more visibly.) They’re supremely powerful beings, appointed guardians/custodians of the entire universe. How could that degree of power, responsibility and status not go to your head? So every day is a struggle to keep on the side of right and virtue, and thanks to Scorponok that struggle is a little tougher, a little more evident.
Ken Christiansen wrote:The request was to keep him a long nose, as he now appears in the film series, and if I remember right, that was just about it. Of course I ventured the question. "I don't have to put those flames on him, do I?" But I did keep in line with the movie logic of the long nose, giving him more mass to work with in robot mode, and we added in a roof fairing over the extended cab to build it out even more.
After a three year absence, we are proud to announce that writer Jim Sorenson is making a much-overdue return to Auto Assembly for the 2013 convention taking place over the weekend of 9th – 11th August 2013.
In his own words, Jim is a super-secret spy, has a motorcycle, marooned in space, meets Hercules… or not… He’s been a long-time fan of science-fiction literature in general and Transformers in particular. His guidebooks are well regarded by the fan communities for their exhaustive attention to detail. Reports of his incarceration in another dimension should be dismissed as the unfounded rumors they are.
He has been working for IDW since 2006 and in that time he has been responsible (solely and in collaboration with Bill Forster) for Transformers: The Ark, The Ark Volume II, The AllSpark Almanac, The Complete Ark, The AllSpark Almanac II. He is currently working on Transformers Legacy and the Transformers: 30th Anniversary Collection. In addition to these he also wrote the GI: Joe field Manuals, volumes 1 and 2 and is currently working on a new Robotech RPG supplement. Jim’s blog can be found at http://boltax.blogspot.co.uk/.
At Auto Assembly 2010 Jim presented Oddities And Curiosities, a retrospective look at 25 years of rare Transformers artwork to a crowd of over 500 people in Birmingham, England and he will be taking to the stage at the convention for a Q&A Panel… who knows what he will say this time around!
If you have not already booked for the convention, tickets are still available and they can be purchased from the site at: http://www.autoassembly.org.uk/auto-assembly-2013-ticket-bookings/ but they are selling faster than ever this year so book early to avoid disappointment as we do have a cut-off of 1,000 attendees this year!
As well as Jim, we are being joined at the convention by Dan Gilvezan (G1 Bumblebee), Neil Kaplan (RiD Prime) and Steve Blum (TF: Prime Starscream), as well as comic guests Simon Furman, James Roberts, Andrew Griffith, Nick Roche, and many more.
Auto Assembly 2013 is Europe’s largest Transformers convention and is taking place over the weekend of 9th – 11th August 2013 at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel. To book your tickets or find out more including details of all the dealers attending, all of our guests and a full schedule for the weekend, visit the website at http://www.autoassembly.org.uk
This is it. The beginning of the end. The pieces are all now in play and Transformers: Regeneration One #91 kicks off the climactic confrontation(s) that will, like dominos falling, culminate with the shocking, searing uber-battle that is issue #100. In the meantime, #91 goes on sale this week, Wednesday May 15th (officially anyway… it was released to digital buyers a week early… or on time… and we knuckle-dragging print ‘n’ paper folk are behind a week… I don’t know. Anyway…), and as usual I present my delve into the darker recesses of the brain that produced it (ie. mine) with the pure and simple aim to tantalise and torment. BUT, should you prefer to read #91 with wide, agog, clear-of-potential-spoilers eyes, then abort now. Okay, so the first chunk of “Destiny”, our third RG1 arc, kicks off a certain amount of aftermath from the shocking events of Scorponok’s dark reign, as you’d expect, and a certain amount of rumbles of the gathering storm that will rock Cybertron and the Cybertronians to their very core (and yes, I mean that quite literally). Just about everyone is now either on Cybertron or en route to Cybertron, with a wide and complex set of festering motives. There’s Bludgeon and his nomadic group of Decepticons, armed with a WarWorld and a whole heap of Matrix-powered clone war machines, coming back to even several raw and burning scores, and Galvatron (displaced from an alternate future), determined to have what he most desires, and was denied in his own timeline — total domination of Cybertron (and in his way a certain ‘Cybertron’s Greatest Warrior’). And meanwhile, Hot Rod (acting C-in-C on Cybertron in Optimus Prime’s absence) has concerns more close to home on his mind, and a restless populace about to let him know exactly what they feel about his current scheme to reunify them with their distant (and feral) ancestors. It’s an incendiary situation about to combust in spectacular fashion, especially as one key player (so far not on the board) ramps up his involvement. Phew… and if you think you know where all this is going, think again. We’re about to toss in a huge and entirely unexpected curve-ball mid-arc, which will throw a bunch more stuff into the cauldron that is RG1 (and shatter a fair few pairs of trousers in the process). News of that soon! In the meantime, RG1 #91 hits stores in a mere two days, and you can view the official IDW preview here. Trust me, we are at the top of a really big rollercoaster, and the plunge downhill starts now…
KEN CHRISTIANSEN has been working as an illustrator and concept designer for over fifteen years. Starting as a video game concept artist, at Nintendo of America (Ridge Racer 64, Pokemon Puzzle League), then moving to Los Angeles to work in games for the Walt Disney Company (Kingdom Hearts, Finding Nemo). In 2004, Ken started his own company, Bad Flip Productions, working for video game clients like Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, and Activision. After working with Activision on Transformers the Game, and the Revenge of the Fallen game, he began working freelance in media development for Hasbro Inc. (Transformers), doing concept art for their film, tv, book, games, and toy initiatives. That expanded into media development beyond the Transformers brand, including Star Wars, Spider-Man, and more.
Ken’s current work includes the cover runs on the Transformers Prime series (IDW), Star Wars Fighter Pods, and Ultimate Spider-Man Spider Pods. Along with other random bits and pieces, hanging off pegs in the toy aisles, book shelves, and video game departments.
JOHN-PAUL BOVE is a colorist and writer based in the UK. He has worked on a number of titles including Godzilla, Doctor Who, G.I. Joe and Judge Dredd. He is perhaps best known to Transformers fans for his work coloring Transformers Regeneration One for IDW, working closely with Transformers legends Simon Furman and Andrew Wildman. In addition to coloring Transformers, he has also recently been writing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He'll be at this year's BotCon Artist Alley signing, coloring sketches and generally making a nuisance of himself.
DAN KHANNA has been working as a professional Transformers illustrator for over a decade. He has done concept design, full packaging illustrations as well as color work on many Transformers brand box art illustrations across sever al toy lines for Hasbro Inc. He's worked for various TF licensees over the years including Dreamwave, IDW, Hard Hero, Titan Books/EagleMoss publications and for the Transformers Collectors Club/Botcon Conventions. His current projects includes being one of the pencillers on for the new Transformers Legends smart phone game, and work on TF Prime comic strips for an overseas publication.
CALLY KARISHOKKA is a plushiemaker and crafter behind Cally's Critters Plush Designs. Cally lives in New York City, finds NYC subways to be an adventure of mystery, and manages to become obsessed with snack foods never available in the USA. Rescues puggleformers from their home planets to adopt out in to new homes. Has no known weaknesses.
We promised that this would be a special week of guest announcements and we thought that we couldn’t let things rest with just Jason Cardy and Kat Nicholson so we thought that it was time to continue… so we’re proud to announce that in August, once again we are being joined by none other than Nick Roche for Auto Assembly 2013!
This will be Nick’s fifth appearance at Europe’s largest Transformers convention and as well as signing autographs and sketching, he will be taking to the stage alongside our other IDW guests James Roberts and Andrew Griffith for a panel currently scheduled for the Sunday. Time to dig out your copies of Last Stand Of The Wreckers again everyone…
But that’s not all… we are also being joined once again by prominent fan artist and our in-house art supremo, Ed Pirrie. Ed has once again provided the convention with a stunning array of artwork for the convention this year including our exclusive t-shirts, all of this year’s postcards (with more being revealed shortly) and is hard at work on this year’s comic strip for The Cybertronian Times. Ed will be sketching all weekend in our guest area.
We still have more guests to announce so stay tuned…
TRANSFORMERS:MONSTROSITY #6 - the digital-first comic book from IDW Publishing and Hasbro is ready for download! In the early days of the Autobot/Decepticon war, a secretbelow the ruins of Cyberton may bring deliverence… but will it end theDinobots. Chris Metzen and Flint Dille write this mind-shattering sequel to last year’s hit TRANSFORMERS: AUTOCRACY, and now we sit down with superstar artist Livio Ramondeli to talk about this 8-page, 99¢ comic - available now at https://transformers.comixology.com/ or via the Comixology and iBooks apps on your computer or mobile device!
Q: Is the way you’re working on pages for MONSTROSITY changed at all from when you did AUTOCRACY last year?
LIVIO RAMONDELLI: It’s a sort of constant evolution, but I’m not doing anything intentionally different than AUTOCRACY. I’m just trying to make the art look better and better, as well as clearer. I’m always trying new little things here and there to really pop highlights on the characters, and make the images brighter in general. Even when dealing with dark shadows.
Q: It’s clear you sure like playing with light and colors on your pages. Was this something you taught yourself or something you learned at school?
LIVIO RAMONDELLI: Definitely both. I studied color in school, but I spend more time thinking about it now. I’m always looking for new ways to balance out the colors and play with light. It’s tricky with TRANSFORMERS because they’re so bright, and you’re always fighting pages looking like clashing colors. Sometimes it works better than others.
Q: How much leeway does the script give you — do you follow what’s on the script page, or do what you feel is best to make it work?
LIVIO RAMONDELLI: The scripts always call for specific shots, but the page layouts (and the size of the panels) is my call. Also Chris and Flint are great at letting me change things when I feel like something might work better. I’m always looking to make each shot important, and so I’ll sometimes cut out panels that I feel we can cover in a line of dialogue and that gives us the space for more money shots. For example, in MONSTROSITY #5 we initially saw a couple panels of Scorponok and Blitzwing about to blast the door open to the refinery. But I suggested that we just show the door exploding, which gave us a cool reveal, more space, and didn’t cost us anything since your mind fills in what came before.
Q: In this issue, we hear about a sixth member of the Dynobots team — Skar. Was it a surprise to see this new character appear and how much did you enjoy the process of designing this previously unseen team member?
LIVIO RAMONDELLI: It was tricky, because you’re adding something to a classic group of characters and trying to make it feel natural, which is always hard. At first I actually designed Skar to look closer to Swoop (since Swoop tends to stand out differently from the other Dinobots, and it made sense to me that another would look like him). But it was Chris’s desire to really see Skar as Grimlock’s close friend as well as resemble him a bit physically. Like he could have been as strong as Grimlock, and tragically didn’t make it. So he ended up being a bit of a cross between Grimlock and Swoop — his head has some Swoop elements to it. I wasn’t surprised by the reveal as I knew from the beginning of the story Skar would appear. It was just a question of hopefully making it natural.
Did you feel like there was enough of an opportunity to wrap up the story you were telling with Transformers Prime, for the third and final season?
VOGEL: There absolutely was. The plan for Transformers Prime was always to do three seasons. We knew, from day one, where we were going to try to wrap everything up, before we decided what the next chapter of Transformers was going to be. And it was really successful in working with the toy teams to find something new.
How often do you want to rotate the characters or add new characters, in shows like Transformers or G.I. Joe? Is that something you’re always thinking about?
There are certain characters, like Bumblebee and Optimus Prime, and Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony, that you’re not going to get rid of. They’re always going to remain the ambassadors of your brand, but you create stories that allow you to bring in new characters. What was great about Transformers Prime was that it’s not like we got rid of Megatron and Starscream, or Bumblebee and Optimus Prime. They’re still there. And we figured out a really cool way to bring this awesome new character, Predaking, to life within the story that we were already telling.
With Comic-Con just around the corner, are you already thinking about what you’ll show in San Diego?
We definitely have some very cool plans for Comic-Con. We have some big news on some of our big brands coming out. I can’t say what it is because I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Comic-Con is a lot of fun for us. Hasbro has been upping their game significantly in the past few years, now that we have so much great entertainment, in addition to our great toys, and I think this year is going to be no different. We’re going to have some really, really cool stuff for the fans.
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