Comics news site Multiversity Comics has uploaded an episode from the Robots from Tomorrow podcast in which the hosts interview Tom Scioli after NYCC, talking about the upcoming IDW Transformers/G.I. Joe crossover comic. You can also directly download the podcast here.
It’s just been announced that IDW Publishing has brought in Tom Scioli to create a brand new Transformers/G.I. Joe comic. We talk about what it’s like to be handed the reigns to such iconic licences, as well as what he plans to bring to the title in terms of art and narrative. With the long-running Godland coming to a close, and Transformers/G.I. Joe on the horizon, we also take the time to talk about Tom’s career as a whole. He’s an artist who seems to always push his art in new directions, experimenting with line and color to deliver different types of stories in different ways. We’re excited for What he’s got in store for the Joes and the Autobots, and after this talk, you will be too!
Seibertron.com user, podcaster, YouTuber and voice actor jON3.0 brings us lucky lucky fans an interview with one of the big names in the industry: the voice of G1 Cosmos and Tracks and many many more, Michael McConnohie! Check out the embedded video below, and make sure you take a look at Michael's website and his fundaraising page for the LA County Walk to Defeat ALS.
jON3.0 wrote:On this (very late) Microphone Monday, I interview another legend - Michael McConnohie (voices of G1 Tracks, Cosmos, GI Joe Cross Country, RiD Hot Shot, Iron Hide and many other series' such as Big O, Power Rangers, Digimon, Naruto, Mortal Kombat, World of Warcraft, etc.)
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.
CTV Atlantic has published an article, including video, about the Giant Robot store (Dartmouth) exclusive cover of ReGeneration One #0, with artwork by Casey Coller and colours by JP Bove! You can read the whole article here, and check out the cover art below.
The latest issue was released Wednesday. Its cover was inspired by an idea from comic book store owner Darrell Wall and completed by renowned IDW comic book artist Casey Coller.
“It is mind boggling,” says Wall. “I never thought when I opened this store three years ago that I would have a comic that’s exclusive to me.”
The past couple of days have been as eventful as ever in terms of news from the shooting of Transformers: Age of Extinction. To conclude the weekend, here's a roundup of some of the news pieces we found around the net!
From Reuters we have a piece about a new Chinese car to star in the film. Check out an extract below, and the whole article here.
Neither source wanted to be named due to confidentiality agreements they signed in connection with the upcoming film. A spokesperson for Paramount Pictures, the movie's distributor, said the company wouldn't confirm specific brands until nearer the release date. Paramount's local partner, China Movie Channel, declined to comment.
The new movie is being filmed in both the United States and China, with Chinese singer/actor Han Geng making his English-language debut, according to a blog posted on Paramount Pictures' Facebook page.
The film's producer, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, told the Beijing News earlier this month the movie would feature locally-made cars. "The world's coolest, most exciting cars will appear in the film, including Chinese vehicles, so whether you're a car enthusiast or not, it will be a feast for the eyes," he said.
In related vehicle news, a white Camaro has been spotted on the set, along with the already revealed vehicles and the Camaro from the 2007 movie. Check it out below, with more images here.
Completely unrelated, a very brief mention of the shooting was made in an interview with Canadian comedian/actor TJ Miller on Breakfast Television. Check out the video here!
And finally, three YouTube videos by user Mech100 featuring, respectively, Stanley Tucci, an alien weapon arriving on set and a Texas scene. Videos are embedded below for your viewing.
MTV.com has posted a fairly short interview, accompanied by a video, with one of the stars of the upcoming Transformers: Age of Extinction film - Mark Wahlberg. The actor mentioned, or rather didn't, the Dinobot involvement, and a cameo from his two children in the movie. Check out the whole interview here!
But when MTV News spoke with the star of "Age of Extinction," Mark Wahlberg — who was in town to announce the 2014 opening of a Wahlburgers — he wasn't quite ready to talk openly about the secret. "You can't say that, dude. Did you leak it? Did you leak it? You leaked it," he said. "Somebody leaked it, dude. Somebody was on the set leaked it, and it is not OK. It's not cool."
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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