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.
JOSH BURCHAM is a comic book colorist/illustrator with over 100 issues to his credit, including: Dreamwave's War Within: Age of Wrath, Transformers Stormbringer, Beast Wars, All Hail Megatron, Last Stand of the Wreckers, Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye ongoing series, and this year's Botcon exclusive Machine Wars comic!
ROBBY MUSSO has worked on various IDW Transformers titles, including the Spotlight titles "Ultra Magnus", "Ramjet", and "Cliffjumper". For Fun Publications, Robby has provided art for a good number of the MTMTE profile pieces as well as handling art duties on the 2010 BotCon comic "Transformers Timelines Issue 5: Generation 2 Redux" and the Club comic story "Transformers: Revelations". Robby will be on hand all weekend doing sketches and selling prints.
TFExpo is pleased to present a VERY special treat for those attending our Saturday Night Dinner and Script Reading. Flint Dille has announced that he will bring an excerpt of the script from “Transformers: Monstrosity”, currently being released as individual issues for digital download from IDW Publishing. The script excerpt will be performed LIVE by Gregg Berger in the role of Grimlock!
But that’s not all! We’ll need help filling the rest of the roles—Gregg’s talented, but he can’t do it all by himself. So earlier in the day, we’ll ask those attending the dinner to audition to fill the other roles in the script! That means YOU could be performing the voice of your favorite G1 character alongside Gregg Berger as Grimlock!
Following the dinner and script reading, the evening will wind down with music from local “geek band” The Fortunate Ones. They’ll be celebrating the music legacy of the 1986 Transformers film. Don’t miss out on this awesome evening of entertainment!
Admission to the Saturday Night Dinner and Script Reading is included with our Premium Registration package, along with the TFExpo Exclusive Toy Upgrade Set (details to come soon), one TFExpo Souvenir T-shirt, Admission to ALL TFExpo events, and early admission to the autograph line and Dealer Room. You will receive your choice of Prime Rib, Chicken Pasta or Vegetarian options for dinner. Premium Registration is $100.
If you wish to purchase your admission to the Saturday Night Dinner separately, the price is $50. The same dinner options will be available. But admission to the daytime events is NOT included, nor are any of the “extras” included with pre-registration mentioned above. Dinner seating is VERY limited, so don't delay!
TFExpo 2013 will be held August 3rd in Wichita, Kansas at Holiday Inn, 549 South Rock Road. For more information about TFExpo 2013, and to register TODAY, go to http://www.tf-expo.com!
Pre-Registration ENDS July 6th! Your pre-registration, or admission to the TFExpo Saturday Night Dinner and Script Reading, MUST be purchased by then. Admission to this event will NOT be sold on the day of TFExpo. Don’t miss out!
MATT FRANK has worked on numerous Transformers titles, such as the Beast Wars Sourcebook, Transformers Animated: The Rise of Safeguard, and the Transformers Collectors' Club story A Flash Forward. He kicked off 2013 with the crossover one-shot, Mars Attacks: The Transformers!, not to mention Transformers Spotlight: Trailcutter, both of which he fully illustrated. Aside from Transformers, Matt has also contributed heavily to IDW's various Godzilla titles. He is currently the interior artist for Godzilla: Rulers of Earth and the 2013 Transformers Collectors' Club story Beast Wars: Shattered Glass!
TEYOWISONTE THOMAS DEER is from the Mohawk Nation Territory at Kahnawake, outside of Montreal, Canada. After undergoing training as a comic book colorist at Dreamwave Productions in Toronto, Canada in 2004, Thomas has since went on to freelance as a professional comic book colorist and illustrator for companies such as Fun Publications, Mega Bloks, and IDW Publishing - primarily working on Hasbro's Transformers and G.I. Joe titles. See his work at: http://www.teyowisonte.deviantart.com
Today we kick off our Artist Alley announcements, with the first being that BotCon 2013 will in fact feature its largest Artist Alley ever! With so many amazing artists scheduled to attend BotCon 2013, this is one show you will not want to miss! And with that, we are thrilled to announce two of the artists attending BotCon In San Diego this June: Livio Ramondelli and Casey Coller!
LIVIO RAMONDELLI is the artist of various Transformers projects for IDW Publishing. His credits include Autocracy, Monstrosity, Chaos, Robots in Disguise and various covers for Spotlights and other series. He will also be doing upcoming Star Wars covers for Dark Horse Comics. He previously worked as a concept artist for DC Universe Online at WildStorm Productions.
CASEY COLLER is a professional illustrator best known for his work on various Transformers comic books from IDW Publishing. He's done covers and/or interior art for various titles, including: Transformers: Ironhide, All Hail Megatron, Robots in Disguise, Spotlights Drift, Blurr and Cliffjumper, More Than Meets The Eye, Transformers Ongoing, and Heart of Darkness. He has also done artwork for Hasbro, the Transformers Collector's Club Magazine and BotCon. Casey lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife Grace, daughter Rose, as well as a cat, two guinea pigs and four chickens.
TRANSFORMERS SPOTLIGHT: HOIST rises to the top of this week’s new comic book releases, courtesy IDW Publishing and Hasbro! Written by TRANSFORMERS: MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE scribe James Roberts—and set firmly in that series’ timeline—and drawn by rising TRANSFORMERS superstar Agustin Padilla (TRANSFORMERS PRIME: RAGE OF THE DINOBOTS and TF:MTMTE #16), this one-shot comic book story delves into the personality of one of the longest-running TRANSFORMERS characters. We sat down with writer James Roberts to talk about the issue—available today at comic book stores everywhere, and at https://transformers.comixology.com/ or via the Comixology and iBooks apps on your computer or mobile device!
PAGE 1: What was it that stood out about Hoist as a character that would allow you to tell this story about him and all that he is?
JAMES ROBERTS: Truthfully? What stood out for me, going back and re-reading previous stories that he’s been in (and there aren’t many, and I’m afraid I didn’t seek out the G1 TV episodes), is that nothing much stands out! He’s the archetypal “background ’bot”–competent, pleasant, hardworking, straightforward. But that’s not a bad thing when you’re settling down to write a SPOTLIGHT about someone. It gives you more of a canvas. Having said that, I sort of made his vanilla-ness a plot point in itself. I deliberately put him with three characters (excluding Bob [the Insecticon] for a moment–sorry, Bob) who are larger-than-life, and let the story play out from there. If I’ve done by job properly, Hoist will be a more fully-rounded character by Page 22.
PAGE 2: How was the collaborative process for you with artist Agustin Padilla? Was there a lot of give and take on how the pages turned out?
JAMES ROBERTS: This was the first time I’d worked with Agustin (we collaborated again on MTMTE #16), and while he and I would communicate very little (English is his second language and he works with—I don’t know what the word would be? An intermediary?—who passes his pages back and forth.
Anyway, Agustin would submit the rough page breakdowns and then respond to any feedback, and in the art itself he’d make choices that improve on how I saw things play out in my head. I love what he’s done—the art has a real Geoff Senior vibe about it—all those heavy blacks, all those close ups, all that weight—so I was a happy little scribbler.
And the first three pages of this SPOTLIGHT are uncharted territory for me: pages without dialog. But Agustin makes them look so beautiful and kinetic and alive (that shot of Hoist in midair on Page 1!)… it’s enough to make me wonder why I don’t go for the silent treatment more often.
Special mention, also, to Joana Lafuente’s scrumptious color work. Together, Agustin and Joana create pages that invite close scrutiny and then slap you in the face—in a good way.
PAGE 3: This issue is set between issues of TRANSFORMERS: MORE THAN MEET THE EYE. Is it hard to find a gap for the story to slot seamlessly into?
JAMES ROBERTS: So far, there are two big gaps in MTMTE where you can squeeze any number of “lost” stories: the gap between issues #5 and #6, which is where the Hoist and Trailcutter SPOTLIGHTS take place, and the gap between issues #12 and #13. So for any fanfic writers out there: go fill those gaps! I didn’t deliberately create those gaps, incidentally, but I’m glad they exist.
PAGE 4: Swerve and Sunstreaker are revealed inside of Hoist’s craft. Sunstreaker hasn’t had a lot of page time in MTMTE—why bring him along for this trip with Swerve and Hoist?
JAMES ROBERTS: I think you’ve answered your own question! The fact that Sunstreaker doesn’t get much page time was a big reason for making him one of the crew. And I know that he has a lot of fans out there, and people had been clamoring to see more of him, and Bob, so I thought that doing this would people happy. Same with Perceptor, to be honest. I almost put Hound in there too, but it would have been too crowded. I do want to write a little off-shoot story featuring the likes of Hound, Huffer, Gears and so on—all the classic G1 characters that we only see in the background of MTMTE. Maybe one day.
PAGE 5: This comic is going to be included with a toy—do you feel a sense or pride this could be someone’s introduction to Transformers through your work? What would the boy inside you say?
JAMES ROBERTS: The fact that this will be someone’s first TF comic—and maybe their first introduction to any TF continuity—was a little daunting. I wanted to write something that would appeal to the uninitiated and to regular readers. I didn’t want the former to feel left out or the latter to feel they were reading something that didn’t complement the style of story they’re used to.
Of course, my most fervent wish is that a boy or girl buys Hoist, reads the comic, and dives headlong into the IDW books, old and new. Hoist as an entry point into Everything Else. I like that!
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