Graphic Policy: You recently announced a cross-promotion that’ll see the first issue of IDW’s upcoming comic event Transformers: Dark Cybertron included in select Generations action figure releases from Hasbro. How did this promotion come about?
John Barber: We’ve already done a round of in-pack comics with Transformers—they’re in stores right now. The Dark Cybertron stuff will hit the toy shelves a little later. This program—getting the comics in with the toys—has been a goal of ours for a while. We really want to get comics into the hands of Transformers fans who might not be aware of the comics.
I know it’s something that IDW CEO Ted Adams has been very interested in. We’re all proud of the Transformers comics we do—and the interesting thing about Transformers is that, as popular as our comics are with Transformers fans, there are a TON of Transformers fans—more every day. Many of them just haven’t been exposed to comics—any comics—before.
So it seems ideal to get the comics in with the figures. The fans get a bonus with the toy; we get a chance to show the fans what our medium can do.
GP: From your experience do you think it’s difficult to get people who consume a brand one way to try another? For example someone who really likes a video game, is it difficult to get them to read a comic of that based in the world of that game?
JB: It depends on the property. There are some movies that are fun to watch, that the mainstream public goes and sees or plays or whatever, but don’t really encourage you to immerse yourself in the mythology the way something like Transformers, or Star Trek, or the Avengers, do.
Transformers is interesting because it’s consistently been picking up new fans for the past 30 years. Depending on your age, you might have an iteration of Transformers that’s “yours,” that you grew up with—like, I picked up issue #1 of the original comic from a 7-11. But people younger than me grew up with Beast Wars or with Armada or Animated or the movies or Prime. I think Transformers as a brand isn’t really locked into one medium in people’s minds… it’s toys, movies, cartoons, comics, video games, costumes, you name it.
That kind of thing, where there’s a big fandom of the brand, that’s where I think there’s the best opportunity to introduce someone to a different medium. Does that make sense?
Somebody might be a big video game player, and might love playing a particular game, but not have any interest past the actual gameplay. Not every game (or movie or TV show or toy) inherently draws people into the world.
Transformers demonstrably DOES pull people into its world. There’s a lot of richness and variety to the Transformers universe, relative to… well, to everything else that exists. I mean, there are other properties as rich, but I think Transformers is on a really high tier. And new fans are drawn into the world by whatever connects with them—maybe if that video game fan gets into a Transformers game, he or she gets pulled into the world, into the mythology, and wants to check out the comics, the cartoons, the books.
I think the answer to your question is that it’s really specific to what brand you’re talking about.
GP: Any hints as to what we can expect from the Transformer brand in the future?
JB: Well, hey, I just work on the comics. I don’t know any big secrets. I hear there’s a new movie coming…
In the comics, we’ve Dark Cybertron is a big story that intertwines More Than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise. It’s going to shake things up, and tell a big, big story—but without losing the focus on the characters that’s driven the books for the past few years. Dark Cybertron is going to shake up the status quo and lead both of these ongoings into some exciting directions. Dark Cybertron is a great place to jump on and see what the hype is about, but for longtime readers it’s going to pay off some bits that have been around for a long time.
And when Dark Cybertron ends… well, I think our plans are going to generate a lot of discussion among fans!
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!
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.)
Check out his site here! http://www.michaelmcconnohie.com
More info about ALS - http://webgw.alsa.org/goto/bookclam
*Apologies for not getting this up actually on Monday. It rendered for over 12 hours for some reason.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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."
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