C/D: You’ve worked a lot with GM. Do they swing open the doors to their studios and let you pick and choose what you want?
MB: I walked into a special secret facility they have where they develop prototypes, and they said, “Let us show you what we’ve got.” I saw the new Camaro, and I think they were on the fence about making it, and I said, “That’s the car.” So they made a prototype for us. We took that car to Jordan, to just a little, poor town, and these kids were gathered around it and they were all saying, “Bumblebee!” Bob Lutz said that this was the best car-movie tie-in in history. I don’t know if that’s true, but they certainly treat me like that. When I go to GM, Ed Welburn, their global design vice president, literally takes me through all their design rooms and says, “What do you like?”
C/D: Did you wreck anything big-time on this new Transformers movie?
MB: Yeah, we had some crashes. But this movie feels very different from the other ones—in a lot of ways. We had everything from souped-up government Cadillac Escalades to a Bugatti Veyron and the [Local Motors] Rally Fighter.
C/D: Is there anything you wanted but couldn’t get?
MB: There always is. Now that we’ve done four [Transformers movies], car companies have found out about it, and a car will be at an auto show in Europe and then they literally fly it to my office. That’s what they did with the Bugatti and that’s what they did with the Pagani.
The new ongoing series will be told in stand-alone issues, with each featuring "life, death, love, hate, mechanical aliens from space." Scioli and Barber spoke with CBR News about "Transformers vs. G.I. Joe" #1, explaining how Megatron functions as the series' Darkseid, how Scioli is playing with readers, why Doctor Venom should get his own series and much more about their nontraditional approach to both franchises.
CBR News: First off -- did Bumblebee make it out alive from "Transformers vs. G.I. Joe" #0, the FCBD issue?
Barber: Well, he didn't look very good on that last page, did he? I think we might have to wait and see.
Scioli: Life and death have a different, not-quite-analogous definition for Cybertronians.
You said in our last interview that these stories will be single-issue stories. What are the benefits and challenges to writing one-issue stories?
Barber: Every issue stands on its own, but they definitely flow into each other. I think the rhythms of the series will start to be clearer as the series progresses, but really -- if all you did in life was read any single issue of "Transformers vs. G.I. Joe." I think you'd have had a pretty satisfying life. It's all there in every issue -- life, death, love, hate, mechanical aliens from space.
It's really a matter of taking an approach where every single issue is a whole unit. Not every issue is going to feel the same. I think the best comics are like that, sometimes. Every issue of this comic will have a personality. If you like one, you'll probably like the rest, I hope, but every one will have it's own idiosyncrasies.
The Free Comic Book Day #0 issue was very G.I. Joe-heavy; issue #1 is also very much from the point of view of the G.I. Joe team (but, believe me, is not lacking in Transformers), and then issue #2 switches it up completely.
Scioli: The major benefit is long-term goodwill. The readers will know that when they purchase their issue, they'll get a complete entertainment experience that they will want to repeat. The challenge is fitting all the story beats, and have them unfold in a natural manner, in a set number of pages. With my webcomics, I had the flexibility of having any give chapter being however many pages it took: 20, 14, 100. I do like the creative problem solving that's required for a rigid format. Jack [Kirby] and Stan [Lee] did all of those early epic "Fantastic Four" sagas in 20 pages. I'm not just talking about the to-be-continued soap operas from the middle issues, I'm talking about the self-contained stories in the first 20 or so issues.
Before we dive into the issue, I’ll ask this: why do a #0 issue instead of a #1?
Tom Scioli: That way you get to have two first issues instead of just one.
John Barber: We’d planned out the early version of the story, as it would launch with issue one…Well, wait, let me back up. I should say Tom planned it out—he built a really detailed outline. But then it came up at IDW to do Transformers vs. G.I. Joe as our gold Free Comic Book Day comic. I guess we could have just used what would’ve been issue one, but I think Tom and I both felt like that wouldn’t work…I mean, then you’d be launching the regular series with #2, essentially.
I think Tom suggested doing a G.I. Joe mission where they run into the Transformers—like, anchor it to the G.I. Joe squad, as opposed to an all-out, full-scale mixing of the two—make it a G.I. Joe story where you’re with them and you meet the Transformers for the first time, but they only sort of realize what you see. I think the initial idea was a little more real-world, but I suggested doing something with the creeper bombs that Tom had already been talking about…and after a while, it turned into the final battle between G.I. Joe and Cobra. Which, at the scale this comic operates, is the prologue.
What’s the overall reaction been to the debut? I know what readers were saying at my local shop (loved it), but do you feel like the Free Comic Book Day premiere served the book well?
TS: It basically changed my life. There were a massive number of books in circulation, dwarfing any previous project I’d worked on. I was in Toronto for Free Comic Book Day along with Ed Piskor, and stayed for TCAF the following weekend. Being able to sign piles of books then have people tell you how much they loved it a week later was great. We were the toast of the town.
JB: Wow. I was just excited Gerard Way liked it. I’ve heard a lot of good things. I think my life is largely the same, but hey, we’ll see how it goes. I’m very, very pleased with the reaction. I saw, and actually still am seeing, a ton of people on Twitter just loving the comic.
For the uninitiated to the GI Joe universe, this issue provided them a very clear guide to who these characters are, and what their motivations and personalities entail. Will readers get a clearer view of the Transformers side of the book in the future?
JB: It’s important to me, for anything but especially for a Free Comic Book Day comic, that this comic is accessible. Ted Adams over here at IDW was very concerned before we started that this comic would be clear to somebody that hasn’t got a master’s degree in Transformers and G.I. Joe. There are times where you can get a little more inside-baseball on some stuff, I think…but FCBD isn’t the place.
After we finished the issue, he read a PDF of it and called me and..I don’t know if you noticed, but this comic is a little unusual. So I didn’t know how Ted – how anybody – would react. I mean, up to this, it was Tom, me, Carlos Guzman (our editor), and Michael Kelly and the team at Hasbro who’d seen it – but I’d only talked to Michael about it, from the Hasbro side. So the first person I see reading it is Ted, the owner of IDW.
And the first thing he said was that it was totally accessible. And it’s funny, because as far out as the story goes, as complicated as the formal aspects of the comic are, it does walk you into this world. “Here’s what G.I. Joe is; here’s who Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Duke, everybody is. And what’s this mystery of the Transformers?”
So, ah, yeah—that’s exactly the plan with the Transformers, too. I don’t want to count on anybody having everything about the characters memorized… but if you do know everything, I think you’re in for a fun ride, too.
TS: The balance in this issue is a little more on the Joe side than the Transformers side. That balance will vary from issue to issue. The issue we’re currently working on, #2, is very Transformers-heavy.
While many, if not most, of the readers of this series had the opportunity to pick up the issue on Free Comic Book Day, some will be entering #1 with totally fresh eyes. Will the first issue be a traditional “setting up the book” story, or will it jump in a little faster, due to the #0 issue?
TS: I treat each issue as a stand-alone mini-movie, but like the Marvel movies with bits and pieces carry over from chapter to chapter. Each one is a complete reading experience, a complete aesthetic experience for that matter. That extends to the look of the book, too. The art is very different in issue #1, although still related to the art in this issue. It’s a new look for my work that I’m very excited about sharing with the world. I think some people will be blown away by it.
JB: Yeah, this is a prologue issue, not an if-you-missed-it-you’re-out-of-luck issue. Issue 1 is issue 1. If you’d never read any comic at all, issue 1 is a good point to jump in to the medium. But wherever you’re coming from, things have changed by the time issue 1 occurs, so it’s not like we’ll be going over the same set-up—the status quo is different by the time #1 starts, so in a way, everybody’s on the same footing coming in to the issue.
In addition to being on tour into August, Skrillex is currently working on sound design for the next Transformers movie, creating "the craziest Skrillex sounds I could ever make." He also has other film scoring projects in the offing, while he and good pal Diplo have been making some new music together as well.
PREVIEWSworld: In putting together your story, what helped you get in the mood to draw this series? What resources or Transformers history did you draw from to help you visualize where you wanted to go with this series?
Mairghread Scott: Well, I always keep a running soundtrack for whatever I’m writing to help capture the right mood and this was no exception (MIA, Katy Perry and Franz Ferdinand got looped a lot on my iPad), but Sarah Stone, Windblade’s artist, really brought an expressiveness and vibrancy to the characters that I just kept trying to live up to. We drew on everything from Cheers to anime, to Star Trek TNG to try and give each character their own unique attitude and personality and Sarah’s art is all about both. We also tried hard to give them a level of grace and fluidity to their movements. Just because they’re robots, doesn’t mean they’re…you know, robots, and we really tried to push the envelop on both the human and alien aspects of the brand. In terms of lore, I really tried to reframe my brain to that of a newcomer with this series, to make sure I never assumed, “Oh, everyone knows this.” I also wanted to show off all the aspects of Transformers that I love so much: humor, political drama, really unique and challenging fight sequences and a total explosion of different sizes and shapes when it comes to the characters.
PREVIEWSworld: Will you be hitting the convention scene this year? And how can people get in touch with you using social media?
Mairghread Scott: I’m currently signed up for Bot Con and San Diego, but if I end up going to more I’ll be sure to mention it on Twitter and Tumblr (http://www.tumblr.com/blog/mscottwrites).
Auditioning with director Michael Bay for the role of Optimus Prime in 2007’s live-action movie adaptation of the beloved animated series “Transformers,” Canadian-born vocal artist Peter Cullen was aware that his previous accomplishments hardly guaranteed his place in a big-budget Hollywood movie.
“It’s kind of surreal to audition for a character that you basically created,” said Cullen, who originated the Autobot’s stentorian voice in TV performances from 1984 to ‘87. “But I didn’t expect Michael to know what I knew about ‘Transformers.’ I was ready for anything.”
Contractually obligated to continue voicing Optimus in at least two more “Transformers” sequels, Cullen has no plans to retire his robot-in-disguise alter ego anytime soon. Moreover, having based the characterization on his older brother, a decorated Marine Corps officer who served in Vietnam, the actor feels a sense of responsibility to the franchise’s faithful.
“My brother said, ‘Peter, be a real hero. Don’t do all the bravado stuff and pretend to be tough. Be strong enough to be gentle. Be understanding — and calm,’” Cullen said. “When I began the audition, his voice came right out. I read the lines the way I could hear my brother doing it.
“Now, maintaining those characteristics — courage, trustworthiness, integrity, loyalty — you’re responsible for something to the kids who watch Optimus Prime. I want to be a positive influence rather than just fighting and sock, bang, boom!”
- I thought it was a joke
"Transformers" films are actually based on a toy, as the grip can be transformed into different shapes, machines and devices. They have been a huge high-tech, sci-fi success, both toy and movies. And here passport ie chair from Kristiansand perfectly.
- They called on April 1 last year, at. 22.30 in the evening. We thought the it was a joke, but responded affirmatively that they could borrow and use the chair in the movie. In June last year we sent as two chairs with flights to Detroit and got them back, gently used and without a scratch, after a few months, with enthusiastic comments; Paramount guys were totally "blown away," says Frankt Robertsen.
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