James Roberts, writer and mastermind, talks robots, disguises, and the scope and humanity of IDW’s Cybertronian comics universe. Robot gender, robot psychology, and entry points for new readers — this sprawling conversation with WWAC staffer, Rachel Stevens, has it all.
CBR News: This is the first big "Transformers" crossover since last year's "Dark Cybertron" epic. While we understand the basic gist of the crossover, what more can you tell us about "Combiner Wars?" Who, exactly is combining? Who is warring?
Mairghread Scott: "Combiner Wars" starts when Starscream (a rather evil guy and ruler of Cybertron) gains the ability to make a Combiner (a super-powerful giant) and seems poised to build a new Cybertronian empire.
Let that sink in.
Because when we talk about empire in "Transformers," we're not talking a few countries in Europe. We're speaking of whole planets who might be about to bow to the power of one man. Combiners are the ultimate weapons of Transformers, and Starscream can now make as many as he wants.
So you have two very different wars happening at the same time. Windblade and Optimus Prime are fighting a war for influence (Can they get people to see the danger Starscream poses?), while others take a much more literal war with every weapon they have.
John Barber: Meanwhile, on Earth, Prowl is sitting at the head of the up-to-now only really properly-functioning Combiner -- the other attempts have basically failed outright or driven the component people mad -- and he's not keen on Optimus Prime's leadership of the Autobots, or Starscream's ruling of Cybertron.
To put it in a real world setting: It's six issues (one "Opening Salvo" and five actual parts, just like most of the Combiners have) that starts in "Transformers" #39, goes to the new "Transformers: Windblade" #1, back to "Transformers" #40 and alternated until it's done. Mairghread and I are writing it, and the art is by the amazing Sarah Stone and Livio Ramondelli, alternating issues
Diversity is a big issue in comics -- and everywhere, really -- and something that I know is important to both of you, but how exactly do you promote diversity through stories about giant sexless, raceless robots?
Scott: The term "sexless" is debatable in my view. I want to be clear: There are Transformers who are inherently male and inherently female. That doesn't mean the same thing as it does in humans, but Transformers that call themselves "she" aren't doing it because they like the 'sh' sound. They are female, and we're going to meet a lot more of them.
The term "raceless" is also misleading. Transformers have a long history of racial tension against cassettes, animalistic transformers, headmasters, etc. They are just as noble as humans and we're pushing the envelope to make them at least as diverse as we are. So what can you expect in terms of Transformers in the future? More! More body types, more races, more LGBTQ, more religions and creeds and classes. More conflict about all of the above. Working with robots doesn't stop us from exploring diversity. It offers us the chance to push the boundaries of diversity in a lot of interesting, allegorical ways.
Barber: Yeah, what Mairghread said there. One of the things that non-"Transformers" fans might not realize is how wide-ranging and inclusive the "Transformers" fanbase is. I mean, it's self-evident if you're part of the "Transformers" world, but "Transformers" readers, "Transformers" fans encompass the entire spectrum of people. And it's important to have the characters in the comic be reflective of that.
It's sometimes a complex line to walk, between the out-and-out science-fiction-ness of the "Transformers" universe and its relationship with the real world, but it's important.
His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Mr. Nimoy announced last year that he had the disease, which he attributed to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week.
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His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”).
Soundwave Designer Vinyl Toy
This officially licensed exclusive Transformers-inspired vinyl toy was designed by Wade Schin. Each figure also includes an ECCC Super Mix tape that fits inside of Soundwave's chest!
Limited edition of 1400. Available from the ECCC Merchandise Booths.
ECCCxWLF Soundwave T-Shirt
Emerald City Comicon and WeLoveFine have created an exclusive line of convention apparel dubbed ECCCxWLF. The design of this shirt is based on our exclusive Soundwave vinyl toy.
This Transformers-inspired shirt is available in Unisex and Women's sizes. Available only from the Atrium Lobby ECCC Merchandise Booth.
his work as an illustrator has been used in advertising and publishing but it is for his work in the field of comics that he is best known. Illustrating for books such as Transformers, The X-Men, Spider-Man and Venom with such acclaimed writers as Larry Hama, Peter David and Ralph Macchio has gained him a devoted fan base. Further work includes character and environment design and animated movie production for the TV and Video Games industries. Story boarding for the film Wing Commander and design and concept work on games The Mummy, Gunlok, Jesse James: Gunfighter, Delta Force, Largo Winch and Dredd v Death have created a presence within the computer games industry.
Combiner Wars Superion pencils artwork - 2014 - Since the final image was show, now I'm allowed to post this image. The studio that does the color for the Transformers Legends game worked on the colors for the final illustration ! They did a great job!
6712 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90028 Map
Sat, Mar 7, 2015
Double Feature! Director & Crew Members In Person!
THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE / G.I. JOE: THE MOVIE
Presented by the American Cinematheque and Dammaged Goods
Discussion between films with TRANSFORMERS story consultant Flint Dille and G.I. JOE director Don Jurwich, story consultant Buzz Dixon and story board director Larry Houston.
THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE
1986, 84 min, USA, Dir: Nelson Shin
The hit animated television series (and action figure toy line) makes its first leap to the big screen! In the year 2005, Optimus Prime and his heroic Autobots struggle to defend their home planet Cybertron from the voracious Unicron (Orson Welles, in his final role) and defeat the evil Decepticons and their ruthless leader, Megatron. The all-star cast giving voice to these battling ’bots includes Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Stack, Eric Idle, Scatman Crothers and Casey Kasem. Released between the series’ second and third seasons, THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE killed off several major characters and featured a heavy-metal soundtrack and anime style that gave it a slightly darker tone than the TV program - but it’s still intergalactic fun for kids of all ages.
G.I. JOE: THE MOVIE
1987, 93 min, Japan, USA, Dir: Don Jurwich
In this feature-length spinoff of the beloved 1980s TV show, the G.I. Joe soldiers join newest hero Flint (Don Johnson) to take on the evil forces of Cobra, whose ancient Lovecraftian history is revealed as a new enemy, Serpentor, enters the scene. Featuring many of the same cast members as THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE, with Wally Burr once again directing the voices of Frank Welker, Peter Cullen, Chris Latta, Michael Bell, Dan Gilvezan, Neil Ross, Corey Burton, Jack Angel and Gregg Berger. Also features Burgess Meredith and wrestler Sgt. Slaughter.
Screening format: 35mm (THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE) and Blu-ray (G.I. JOE: THE MOVIE)
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