Grand Rapids Comic-Con Announces First Guests
The Grand Rapids Comic-Con is please to announce that comic book guest Livio Ramondelli and e-comics legend Mark Mekkes will be guests at the annual comic book and popular arts event which will be held at the DeltaPlex in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on November 21-23.
Livio Ramondelli is currently drawing various projects for IDW Publishing. His credits include Transformers: Autocracy and Monstrosity (with Blizzard creative director Chris Metzen and Flint Dille), Transformers: Chaos, Robots in Disguise, as well as covers for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe, 30 Days of Night and others. He has also provided Star Wars covers for Dark Horse Comics, and Battlestar Galactica covers for Dynamite Entertainment.
Mark Mekkes is a cartoonist, illustrator and writer that has turned his efforts to the world of web comics. Mark is the creator of the groundbreaking e-comics “Zortic” and “Saucer Seekers”, as well as the role playing card game Steam Spy.
“We want to create the best comic and popular arts event in the Midwest,” said owner and co-event coordinator Mark Hodges, “and adding Livio and Mark are a good step for us. We desire to bring to Grand Rapids the best guests available in our field, and we feel that Livio and Mark fit the bill well. We are happy that they have decided to attend our event as guests.”
The Grand Rapids Comic-Con will be held on November 21-23, 2014, at the DeltaPlex Arena and Conference Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For more information, please visit the website www.grcomiccon.com.
CBR News: Paul and Ed, how do your respective "X-Files: Conspiracy" one-shots, "Transformers" and "TMNT," tie into the main event?
Paul Crilley: I have to be careful what I say here. The Transformers are already somehow involved and follow a lead that brings them in contact with the Lone Gunmen. Bumblebee and Langly become best buddies, and this is where we find out some of the backstory to the contagion.
So for the purposes of "Conspiracy," do all these franchises exist in the same universe?
Crilley: They are happening in the same universe, and there is an element of dimension hopping happening.
Will Mulder and Scully be appearing in either of your stories?
Crilley: Mulder appears in the "Transformers" issue, too. He's helping the Lone Gunmen with their part of the investigation while following his own leads that tie up in the second bookend.
Paul, you're also writing the main "X-Files: Conspiracy" series. Did IDW give you the pick of the litter for which properties to use?
Crilley: No, I was given the list of properties to use, then I had to come up with a story featuring them all that made sense. Each of the characters had to earn their place, so there had to be logical reason for each of the properties to be in the crossover.
Paul, which Transformers will be in your story? How did you decide who to include?
Crilley: Our story features Optimus, Bumblebee and Ratchet. I couldn't include too many, because it was just the one issue and I didn't want to crowd the story. As to the why, well, Optimus was a lock, for obvious reasons. And, um -- Bumblebee is my son's favorite Transformer, so I had to include him. And Ratchet, because I kinda liked him in the old cartoons.
So was it fairly soon after "CSI" when the publishing division took over from creative services as the dominate focus of the company?
Looking back on it, it feels like it all happened quickly, but honestly it happened over many years. We still do creative service work today at IDW -- it's the quiet part of our business. Typically our clients, we're doing stuff for them that they don't necessarily want the world to know. Although now that we've become "IDW," and that's a brand, sometimes we have creative service clients who want to work with us specifically we are IDW, whereas 15 years ago, we were just four guys that were helping them get work done.
As far as how that transition happened, it was a pretty slow business. What helped us was bringing on Chris Ryall [in 2004] who's still our editor-in-chief and chief creative officer. He really brought his vision to the publishing. Chris is one of the smartest people I've ever met; he just knows how to get stuff done. When he came on board, he was really pushing me to build the business, and was really the driving force behind us going after "Transformers" as a license. If you look at that transition from creative service to becoming a publishing company, and then a bigger publishing company, that key hire in the early days was certainly Chris Ryall.
Speaking of " Transformers," licensed projects have certainly become a big part of IDW's identity, but from what you were saying, at the time, the first "CSI" comic was something of a risk -- that seems to have definitely paid off.
Certainly, nobody else was looking at "CSI" as a comic book back in those days -- it just wasn't something that anybody was considering. I think what our approach to it was to try and bring great talent to it. Max Allan Collins wrote those comics for us; I felt like he was just the perfect guy to write those comics, and he was. Gabe Rodriguez -- it wasn't hard to identify early on that Gabe was going to become a superstar. And Ash did us a favor by doing the flashback sequences.
I think that's really been the way that we approach our licensed books, even today -- we come to them with the intention of making great comics. If you look at our books today, our "[Teenage Mutant Ninja] Turtles" books are regularly on best-of lists. The "My Little Pony" books are loved. "Judge Dredd" -- these are books that we're bringing top-notch creative talent to. Maybe before, if you look back to the way licensed comics were perceived, they were thought as not necessarily being able to be great comics, and that was always our goal -- to try and make great comics out of them.
Looking at the past 15 years, what do you see as some of the biggest triumphs for IDW? Maybe some things that took you by surprise?
Honestly, even going back to "30 Days of Night," having that book be the No. 1 graphic novel was a huge surprise for us. But the early days of "Transformers" -- those books just found an audience really quickly, and really gave us the freedom to start to grow the business, because we were starting to generate real revenue from those. That was certainly a big step forward for us. Doing "Angel" with Joss Whedon and Brian Lynch, those comics were a big step forward for us. It was all driven by the creative -- what Joss Whedon and [late artist Franco Urru] were doing with those comics, they were just good comics, whether you liked "Angel" or you don't even know "Angel." So that was a big step forward for us. We did "Metal Gear Solid" with Ash Wood -- even today, that book still sells like crazy for us. If you look at the art that Ash did; it's a video game adaptation, which would seem on its face to be something that would not be worth your time. But what Ash brought to that is just extraordinary. That art's unbelievable. Every page could be hung in a gallery.
Transformers: Robots in Disguise #26: Dark Cybertron Part 9 (of 12)
John Barber & James Roberts (w) • Andrew Griffith, Livio Ramondelli (a) • Casey W. Coller (c)
THE BIG ONE! This is it—the battle every TRANSFORMERS reader has dreamed of! Titans clash on CYBERTRON! The fate of the LOST LIGHT! And ORION PAX fights fist-to-face against his ultimate nemesis! And from here on? Things only get bigger!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
- Livio Ramondelli Variant Cover!
TRA GEN VOYAGER SKY BYTE A6681
Now that Dark Cybertron is well and underway, we here at Iacon Underground were fortunate enough to get to ask IDW writers John Barber and James Roberts some questions about the series so far and both Robots in Disguise and going forward!
IU: Thank you both so much for taking the time to talk to us! Now that we’re halfway into the event, what’s your favorite part of DARK CYBERTRON so far? What upcoming part of the series are you looking forward to finally seeing the light of day?
John: Well, we’re a little past halfway, but that’s my fault for not writing this quicker… it’s funny, because of the way this comic came together, that so much of it kinda crushes together in my head… it’s hard to remember what’s out, what’s done but not out, and what’s still in progress… Early on, I think the combination of Phil Jimenez and Andrew Griffith in issue 1 was really exciting to see. I’ve known Phil a little bit for a while, but never actually worked with him or even spent any real time talking to him before we started this comic—and it turned out we grew up really close by each other. And Andrew, I love working with. That first issue coming together was really cool.
As far as looking ahead—I think the last act of the story, the last third is really strong. Issue 9 is really crazy action, and I think James and I found a good rhythm to the writing there. And issue 10 is a lot of fun, there’s sort of a breath to take, before the end comes.
James: We’ve just signed off Part 9, and it was even more frenetic and action-packed than it seemed at the script stage. Andrew had the unenviable task of cramming about 50 characters over those 22 pages, and the majority of panels – I’ll say it again: the majority of panels – have about five people in. It’s testament to his artistry that he can make all that look natural and not cluttered.
I think Part 10 is going to be popular, particularly with those people who were anticipating a more traditional crossover where the two casts mix it up early on. MTMTE and RiD have always been defined, in part, by their separateness, by the two stories happening at arm’s length from each other, so John and I wanted to approach the reunification of the overall cast slowly — really build to it so that it forms part of the climax of the story. And really, issues nine through 12 are the climax. 88 pages of everything colliding.
Part 10 is also special because Alex Milne is back on pencils for. I’m flagging up that fact not to disparage the likes of Livio Ramondelli or James Riaz or Atilio Rojo, super-talents one and all, but because Alex makes his “comeback” in an issue of MTMTE, and for lots of people, MTMTE is Alex. So that just feels right. And, y’know, in Part 10 John and I had fun mixing up the casts and – really important, this – playing with some core post-CHAOS continuity. We get to reference and progress plots that began in the first 22 issues of the two ongoings.
So yeah, Part 10 I’m looking forward to (even if Parts 11 and 12 are the ones that will kick people in the guts); as for my favorite moment so far… Phil and Andrew drawing the Lost Light crew in Part 1. Seeing those pages take shape made the crossover seem real to me. Oh, and working with John over an extended period – as two writers, rather than writer and editor – has been fun, especially as we entered the final furlong and all the scenes started to blend. In a good way!
IU: Are you planning more crossovers for the future, or are you happy to have your respective books to yourselves for a while?
John: I think we’re good for a while. I don’t think we’re eager to do another massive event like this, but we’ll continue to have little bits that carry over from one series to the others. DARK CYBERTRON was a big deal to us; we’d been apart for about two years, which—in comic book terms—is an eternity, so doing something really big to draw everything together and tell a huge-scale story was very appealing, but it’s not something we want to overdo.
James: We’re both very aware that repeating these events too often might affect the forward momentum of our books. That said, unlike “Year One” (or however we’re referring to the period of time between CHAOS and DARK CYBERTRON), when the two casts were cut adrift and unable to communicate, at least now they can keep in touch with each other. So there’s more scope for… I don’t know what you’d call it. Everyday crossovers. Ground-level crossovers. But fans of huge, tum-thumping, after-this-nothing-will-be-the-same epics needn’t despair: you can have those without yoking the two books together.
Jaydot: The TFWiki entry about Windblade is pretty sparse. We know she’s got a “fancy sword” and turns into a jet, and there’s almost literally no other info about her. Without getting into too much background detail, which I understand might be spoilery, can you elaborate at all on who/what Windblade is?
Mairghread: To be fair, beyond being a jet and a sword fighter I started with a pretty blank slate when I developed Windblade, so don’t fault the wiki for that one. The most important thing for me when constructing Windblade was to make her a fully three-dimensional (read: flawed) character, so if I had to pick one word to describe her I would say that Windblade is trying. She’s an optimistic, hard-working Transformers character who is genuinely interested in helping others, but she’s also been dropped in the aftermath of a millennia (for real) long war that she was not really part of, so while she’s a very competent character, she’s way behind the curve when it comes to knowing who’s who and what’s what on Cybertron. This actually makes Transfomers: Windblade a really good starting point for new readers because almost everything on Cybertron is as new to her as it is to someone just entering the brand.
What’ll be the overall tone of the book? Transformers can run the gamut from very kid-friendly to very mature (although even Transformers Prime had its extremely dark moments, see the whole Silas storyline, for example). While I have no doubt Windblade will have its emotionally impactful moments, are you aiming overall for something lighter or more fun, or is this a much more serious endeavor?
Transformers: Windblade is, at its core, a story about hope: who has it, who doesn’t, what does it cost and when is it worth (and not worth) that price. So you should expect a story that runs the entire emotional gamut. That said, Transformers: Windblade will definitely be fast-paced and fun because Transformers as a brand is so fast-paced and fun, but hope in the hands of someone like Starscream can be a very dangerous thing and Windblade, who is so centered around the idea of hope, is going to learn that the hard way.
what’s the #1 (or #1 through #5) thing you want people to know about WINDBLADE? Either the comic as a whole or the character.
When it comes to the comic, you should be reading it.
If you’ve loved Hasbro and IDW’s Transformers comics for years, you should read it: Sarah and I have really tried to push the envelope in both storytelling, artistic style and that wonderful point where they meet. We’re going to open whole new worlds for you both in-story and on the page and you are not going to want to miss it.
If you’ve never read Transformers, you should read it. Transformers: Windblade is a perfect jumping on point and designed to show off all the best (okay, all my favorite) parts of this brand: fantastic characters, imaginative landscapes, awesome fight scenes and, yes, even humor.
And if you’re an impulse buyer, you can order issue 1 from your local comic store right now: FEB140337 E TRANSFORMERS WINDBLADE #1 (OF 4) gets you the Casey Coller cover.
FEB140338 E TRANSFORMERS WINDBLADE #1 (OF 4) SUBSCRIPTION VAR gets you Sarah’s cover.
Hasbro, DeNA, and IDW Publishing Deliver the Ultimate Fan Experience for TRANSFORMERS: LEGENDS’ Dark Cybertron Episode
San Diego, CA (February 5, 2014) – Hasbro, DeNA and IDW Publishing today announced a collaboration to bring Dark Cybertron to life in a new interactive experience for the action-packed mobile card battle game TRANSFORMERS: LEGENDS. Fans that play the TRANSFORMERS: LEGENDS in-game episode that starts on February 5 and runs through February 11 will gain free access to a special edition Dark Cybertron comic from IDW Publishing, in addition to exclusive discounts on select TRANSFORMERS action figures from Hasbro featured in the Dark Cybertron story, such as ARMADA STARSCREAM and SKYWARP.
TRANSFORMERS: LEGENDS’ Dark Cybertron Episode
Dark Cybertron is the first Team Battle episode in TRANSFORMERS: LEGENDS. It combines elements of cooperative and competitive gameplay that players have never experienced before this mobile game. In the Dark Cybertron episode players will join forces with the AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS to battle against a powerful and ancient enemy, the NECROTITAN, and fight to unravel the meaning behind mysterious new developments in the battle for CYBERTRON.
The new Dark Cybertron episode is available to play beginning on February 5 by downloading TRANSFORMERS: LEGENDS for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Android devices for free at: http://mobage.com/games/TRANSFORMERS-LEGENDS
Free Dark Cybertron Comic Book
As part of the collaboration between DeNA and IDW Publishing, players who take part in this week’s TRANSFORMERS: LEGENDS Dark Cybertron episode can also download a special issue of the Dark Cybertron comic book for free via the game. The limited release comic chronicles the latest developments in the battle between the Autobots and Decepticons from the fan-favorite series.
Save on Action Figures
Completing the TRANSFORMERS fan experience, HasbroToyShop.com is offering a 15 percent off discount from Feb. 5-11, 2014 on select TRANSFORMERS GENERATIONS action figures featured in the Dark Cybertron storyline: Transformers Generations 30th Anniversary Deluxe Class Autobot Scoop Figure (SKU #A5780), Transformers Generations 30th Anniversary Deluxe Class Mini-Con Assault Team Figure (SKU #A5779), Transformers Generations 30th Anniversary Deluxe Class Skywarp Figure (SKU #A5778) and the Transformers Generations 30th Anniversary Deluxe Class Armada Starscream Figure (SKU #A5777). To purchase the discounted action figures, please visit: www.HasbroToyShop.com/tflegends15
Assets for the TRANSFORMERS: LEGENDS Dark Cybertron in-game episode, the Dark Cybertron comic, and images of select TRANSFORMERS action figures on sale can be downloaded via this link: http://moba.ge/DarkCybertron
DeNA (pronounced "D-N-A") is a global leader of developing and operating mobile services including free-to-play games, the Mobage social games platform, e-commerce and other online offerings. Founded in 1999, DeNA is headquartered in Tokyo with offices and game development studios across the globe. DeNA Co., Ltd. is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (2432). For more information, visit: http://www.dena.com
About Hasbro, Inc.
Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) is a branded play company dedicated to fulfilling the fundamental need for play for children and families through the creative expression of the Company’s world class brand portfolio, including TRANSFORMERS, MONOPOLY, PLAY-DOH, MY LITTLE PONY, MAGIC: THE GATHERING, NERF and LITTLEST PET SHOP. From toys and games, to television programming, motion pictures, digital gaming and a comprehensive licensing program, Hasbro strives to delight its global customers with innovative play and entertainment experiences, in a variety of forms and formats, anytime and anywhere. The Company's Hasbro Studios develops and produces television programming for more than 180 markets around the world, and for the U.S. on Hub Network, part of a multi-platform joint venture between Hasbro and Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK). Through the company's deep commitment to corporate social responsibility, including philanthropy, Hasbro is helping to build a safe and sustainable world for future generations and to positively impact the lives of millions of children and families every year. It has been recognized for its efforts by being named one of the "World's Most Ethical Companies" and is ranked as one of Corporate Responsibility Magazine's "100 Best Corporate Citizens." Learn more at www.hasbro.com.
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