SAMANTHA NEWARK's voice-over work incudes the original Transformers cartoon series as the voice of "Ariel", the pink robot gunned down by the Decepticons and who was later rebuilt into "Elita One" in the classic episode "War Dawn". She also voiced "Elise Presser", the human, geek to the core high school girl on a quest to build a robot in the episode B.O.T. and voiced the role of Zamojin Empress in the episode "The face of Nijika".
Samantha also starred as "Jem" and as “Jerrica” in the beloved cartoon series "Jem and the Holograms". Other voice work includes the British voice of Peter Pans Mother in the feature film "Hook", vocals in the anime classic "Project Ako" as well as many radio and TV commercials. Samantha is also an accomplished Singer/Songwriter with her original songs and vocals featured in hit TV shows such as "Vampire Diaries", "Smallville" "America's Next Top Model", "The Ellen Show" and her dynamic voice has also been featured in hit blockbuster game titles such as "God of War", "Twisted Metal Black", "Everything or Nothing", and "Wild Arms 3".
CBR News: John and Tom, aside from the obvious implications of the title, what exactly is "Transformers vs. G.I. Joe" all about?
Tom Scioli: We're pretty close to figuring that out ourselves. So far it looks like each issue is going to be a complete "Transformers vs. G.I. Joe" epic that, when taken together, will add up to a multi-chapter mega epic. We've got a really good plot going. Figuring out the tone is the next big challenge. How serious, how funny, how topical.
I did a couple of passes, color thumbnail comics in a style similar to [Scioli's creator-owned series] "Satan's Soldier." In those tests, the tone ended up being in the neighborhood of [Scioli's other creator-owned series] "American Barbarian" and "Satan's Soldier." John is bringing a 21st century version of Classic '60s Marvel tone. I think we'll really nail it down when we find a tone that isn't "AmBarb," isn't '60s Marvel, isn't Alan Moore, isn't Frank Miller, but a tone that is "Transformers vs. G.I. Joe" -- a tone that is unique and specific to the demands of this particular story.
What's it about? Change or die. It's about a big universe where people build crazy, wild, awesome things and use them to kill each other. I'd like to shepherd the characters to a place where they don't want to kill each other anymore, but I don't know if they'll ever get there or not.
So far, the script for this first issue, which we're close to finishing, is the best thing I've ever worked on. I've spent more hours per page on this than anything I've done before, and the results are better than I could've imagined.
John Barber: Yeah, what Tom said. I came into this with a certain idea of where we were heading, and we've wound up somewhere way, way, way better.
The basic idea of the series is that the G.I. Joe team has been fighting COBRA for some time, but just when they think they've defeated their foe, everything blows up to the next level -- and the Cybertronians arrive.
We'll see the origins of our heroes; we'll see first meetings and secret pasts. This is the ground floor of an astounding new reality, here.
Tom, your style is very cosmic and Kirby-esque in nature, so is it safe to assume "Transformers vs. G.I. Joe" will be on a grand, cosmic scale?
Scioli: "Transformers" is a grand, cosmic thing to begin with. "G.I. Joe" is a heightened, sci-fi, 20 minutes into the future version of military adventure. Today's military technology is sci-fi by any reasonable definition, so it does kind of push things in that direction.
Early drafts were extremely serious, hard sci-fi, with absurdist touches and pitch black dark humor. John's brought a little more of a sense of adventure and fun to it. We're folding all of that stuff together and hammering it into what feels like a real, breathing universe from which we can pluck any story we need.
Barber: I think it's fair to say "grand and cosmic" yeah -- maybe "expanding" is another good word.
Merging two major properties like these is something IDW is clearly not taking lightly. How did this idea get started, and how long has it been in development?
Scioli: Months, it seems. When John first floated the idea, I started getting the wheels turning, even before it was confirmed as a thing. I can't help it. I used to fight that urge. Don't work on that, there's no point. I decided not to fight it. If your imagination goes somewhere you'd rather it not, don't fight it, let it happen and see where it goes. So I didn't fight it.
To make this as good as it needs to be, I couldn't wait to get the final okay before I start working. Doing this story one issue at a time just wasn't going to work, so even though I wouldn't advise working on a job you don't yet have, I don't think I'd have gotten the results I wanted if I figured the story out in issue-long chunks, one bit at a time. I knew from past experience, for best results I had to envision what I wanted my entire run to be and then figure out the story as a whole, before I even started work on Issue #1. It's foolishness, but the kind of foolishness you need to create great art.
Barber: At IDW, we'd been interested in doing a "Transformers"/"G.I. Joe" crossover series for a while, but it had to be the right thing. It had to be something really unique and interesting, not just some sort of a cash-grab. 2014 is the 30th Anniversary of "Transformers" and the 50th Anniversary of the original "G.I. Joe" line, so it seemed like we had to do something. But we've got existing comics universes that are pretty clearly not set in the same world. We were trying to figure out what would work and not just feel, well, inessential.
Then Tom emailed in out of the blue, and I'm a big fan of Tom. We started talking about another thing, about Tom doing a cover for another series -- and one day I just thought of Tom doing "Transformers" and "G.I. Joe." So I emailed him, and he was interested -- and I kinda inserted myself into the proceedings as co-writer, which is me kinda staying out of the way and then trying to steal the glory later
THE BEAT: Since we’re doing a 15-anniversary look back, I wanted to ask you if you if you could lay out kind of the structure of IDW. I know that you started it with some partners and then IDT came in as investor — can you just talk about who’s still involved and
what their roles are?
ADAMS: Yeah absolutely. I started IDW with three other guys in 1999 and when we organized the business we each owned essentially 25% of the business. So there were four of us who owned 25% and that continued on for quite some time. In the early days of the business actually we weren’t a comic book publisher, we were just a creative service company that was doing art and design for a variety of entertainment companies. And so for the first probably 3 or 4 years of IDW it was just the four of us and a handful of employees. We really started with an art book by Ash Wood and that led us to doing 30 Days of Night and CSI comic books. That was around 2001-02 was when we were first starting to publish comic books. But it wasn’t really until probably 2004, 2005 when our publishing business started taking off, around the time we picked up the Transformers license, and really started to expand our publishing business. (Editor-in-chief) Chris Ryall came in and really helped us build that business.
If you look at the licensed books that we did when we first got into the game versus the licensed books that we do today, they just weren’t as good. And there’s that stigma that’s associated with a licensed book that I’ve never really understood. I think it’s starting to go away. Our Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles book is regularly on weekly Best Of lists. It was on a bunch of end of the year Best Of lists. The Godzilla book that we did with James Stokoe was critically acclaimed; the Transformers book that James Roberts writes for us is well received not just by people who like Transformers, but people who like well written comic books.
We also have comic books in the Transformers toys and it’s the same thing there. If you like that comic book, you got the Transformers toy as a gift for Christmas, you didn’t expect to get the comic book, it’s just a freebie in there. You read it, you liked it, the back of that comic book completely drives you to the direct market. If we’ve done our job right it very clearly explains to you, should you like this comic book, here’s the next thing to buy and here’s the place to buy it.
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!
JACK ANGEL got his first real break voicing characters for the 1970’s SuperFriends cartoon. From there he would go on to voice numerous cartoon characters of all shapes and sizes with some from a whole ‘nother world! Transformers fans know Jack for the various characters he played on the 80’s G-1 cartoon series, from Ramjet, Astrotrain and Breakdown to Smokescreen, Ultra Magnus and Omega Supreme!
In addition to his work on Transformers, Jack’s voice could be heard on G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, The Real Ghostbusters, Jem, Tailspin, Darkwing Duck, The Mask, Fox’s Spiderman and many other series!
Jack has recently starred in Toy Story 3 as Chunk and in different Smurf’s features/video games as Papa Smurf. Come see Jack on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for panels, autographs and at other special events featured at BotCon 2014!
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.
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.
News Categories: View All Categories, 3rd Party News, Auctions, Book News, Cartoon News, Collectables, Collector's Club News, Comic Book News, Company News, Contests, Editorials, Event News, Game News, Heavy Metal War, Interviews, Knock Offs, Media, Movie News, People News, Podcast, Press Releases, Reviews, Rumors, Sightings, Site Articles, Site News, Sponsor News, Store News, Toy News, Transtopia