The folks over at comics distribution sub-site PREVIEWSworld were able to have a chat with IDW Publishing's Transformers writer Mairghread Scott, focusing on the Windblade mini-series which is now halfway through its run. Check out below some snippets, and head here for the full thing!
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?
Here's some more Transformers: Age of Extinction news for you! Entertainment and media website IGN had the chance to interview Mark Wahlberg, who plays inventor and single dad Cade Yaeger in the upcoming movie, in which he touches upon what is new about the new film - from 'recruiting' the dinobots to what he anticipates the fans' reaction will be. Additionally, German YouTube channel Movie Captain has a good chat with Nicola Peltz, who plays Tessa Yaeger, and talks about how the character is different from Carly or Mikaela, and her relationship with the other actors in the cast. Check both out embedded below!
The JackedUpTales bunch were at Tulsa Comic Expo a couple of weeks ago, and had the opportunity to chat to the excellent Neil Kaplan, voice of Optimus Prime in the Robots in Disguise cartoon series. Check out the video embedded below, in which they touch upon the joys of the soundbooth, favourite voices, Starcraft and IDW comics!
We're back here at Seibertron.com with another full-length chat with one of the minds behind the hands behind the Transformers comics offered by IDW Publishing - and it's time to go full colour: ladynuts and gentlebolts, please welcome colourist extraordinaire Josh Perez!
Va'al - Josh, it's a pleasure to be able to talk to you at last. We've all seen your amazing work on Robots in Disguise, and then the magnificence that was your power-through with the whole of Dark Cybertron, it's only fair we find out more about you! So, to begin from the beginning: when did the Transformers enter your life? What's your first memory?
Josh - Pleasure is all mine, buddy! Transformers was kinda always there when I was a kid; mostly in the background of a toy visit or seeing some kid playing with "a cool robot that turns into a gun, or a car, or a jet, or a...", and so on. I can't say what my first TF memory was, but I remember when I was about 5, we were sent the TF movie on VHS, and I spent the whole time worrying Bumblebee would die. I mean, the other Autobot deaths, Prime included, were major deals, but once I knew Bee was okay, I was a happy burrito.
Va'al - I have to say, that's not a feeling we're used to hearing in the fandom these days! Would you say Bumblebee is still your favourite character? Are there version of him that stand out, or that are not worth remembering?
Josh - He most certainly is still my favorite character! I'm always going to be partial to the G1 Gilvezan Bee, but the Pretender and Action Master Bumblebees are nostalgic favorites. I have the Action Master Bee as a kid, and he was, surprisingly, my only Bee toy from the G1 era. A friend of mine had the Pretender Bee, and the Marvel TF stories made me really like him as a character. Transformers Animated Bee is the only recent Bee I've found myself excited to see. His design is great!
As for forgettable Bees, I think that his movie incarnation hasn't done much to justify the shelf space he tends to take up. I like his design, but you could make him any other Autobot and nothing would really change. I felt the same way about Transformers Prime Bumblebee for a while. He was just a background character (which, honestly, he kinda needed to be after how much the movies shoved him in everyone's faces), but towards the end of Prime he became interesting and I felt his presence was necessary outside of being the guy that beepbooped.
Va'al - Aha, so the kid appeal character appealed to you as a kid, when that was its intention - I'm sure someone at Hasbro was very happy about that! You mentioned the Marvel Transformers comics just now, were they a regular appointment for you, an avid reader, or were you not that invested in them?
Josh - I started reading the Marvel comics late in the game - around Matrix Quest. Before I left Germany, I remember seeing Wildman's cover for "The Price of Life", and maaan that cover messed with me head! It was so twisted and different and gorgeous. If it wasn't for that cover, the Marvel books would have just faded out for me when we came to the States.
I remember getting a trade of the first four issues that I would read over and over again at school, and then my dad would take me to a now-out-of-business-but-amazing-at-the-time bookstore called "Keep On Bookin' " where I'd buy back issues and read them through most of my elementary/middle school existence. I also bought issues of G2, but I lent the ones I had to a friend and never got them back..! I was pretty invested in the Marvel stories when I got to the States since we had local comic places all over.
Va'al - That is quite the unsettling cover, isn't it? And something we almost saw again, relatively recently. But how long did it take you from readingthe comics to making your own doodles and scribbles? Did you start drawing and colouring *on* comics before moving *into* comics?
Josh - Oh man! I would never have dreamed of defacing those books. I tried to make several Transformer comics as a kid in elementary school; around 4th grade was when I realized I really wanted to be in either comics or animation. In early high school I got to play with Photoshop 5.5 and I started to focus more on learning how to use the program to color artwork.
Va'al - I see it as interactive enjoyment rather than defacing! So was colouring your first venture into the world of comics creation, or were you into the writing, drawing, inking and such?
Josh - I was drawing/inking little comics I'd irritate my friends with before I ventured into coloring- and I remember a friend had a short lived/now deleted webcomic that I drew/lettered/storied a few pages of - but luckily those are gone forever because they're prime examples of how to not do anything art, color, letter, or story related to comics, haha! Oh, those days of high school and early college... Professionally speaking, though, coloring was definitely where I began input in comic creation.
Va'al - I'm sure there was something salvageable in those early ventures, too! (And I'm even more sure that some collector out there would love to get their hands on them.) So we're up to your actual debut as a comics creator: was it with IDW Publishing directly, or did you work with and for others first? How did you rise to technicolour stardom?
Josh - Back in 2003 my name was suggested to Dreamwave Productions when they needed help coloring their More Than Meets The Eye profile book; I got to color Wheeljack and the Terrorcons/Abominus in issue seven; work started coming in after that!
Va'al - Yet another Dreamwave-induced artist! Can you remember your first full-length gig in a comic? Anything you are particularly proud of from the earlier stages of your professional career?
Josh - My first full length comic was after Dreamwave shut down on a comic called "100 Girls" by Adam Gallardo and Todd Demong; another Dreamwave colorist and friend, Cil Chueng, was leaving as colorist because of college or something (sorry, Cil! I forget!) and offered the gig to me.
I can't say I'm too fond of anything I've done back in the Dreamwave days- my contrast was bland and my value colors lacked punch. BUT I have a sweet spot for the profile book pieces I've done for the G1 and Armada MtMtE books; and Energon issue #26 was when I first started working with Alex Milne on actual comic issues, even if they're not my best work, I'm happy with them.
Va'al - Dreamwave had its peaks, that is definitely true. But we also do have to admit loving your current work on IDW Publishing titles! How did you get into those? How does it feel to be recognised by fans and on the front cover of monthly comics?
Josh - Alex [Milne] and I had formed a kind of duo after Dreamwave, and when he got work, I got work; I think our first IDW piece was a cover for Spotlight: Kup (I also got Nick's cover for Spotlight: Kup as well); it was a lot of cover work, but then came Megatron: Origin and the Movie Adaptation and stuff.
And now, when people open their RiD books or when they buy the right MtMtE cover, there I am, ruining their experience! ah-hah-hah-hah-hah-hah. But honestly, it's weird- especially now that IDW has been putting colorist credit on their covers... or when really awesome fans tell me they like my work in the books. Never gonna get used to it!
Va'al - I can assure you that no one's day, experience or comic is ruined with your colours! Not even when you repaint *everyone* to look like Bumblebee. (We have proof, do not deny it.) Before you leave us to return to slave away on art tasks, is there anything we can expect in the future of the Perez verse? Convention appearances, different titles, pencil or ink work, writing?
Josh - Well, I'll be doing BotCon this year, as well as TFCon- assuming nothing goes wrong, of course, so stop by and say hi!
Aside from Transformers, I've colored a few new Matt Frank Godzilla covers that look pretty snazzy (more on his part, less on mine, haha!), and the team I worked with on ShiftyLook's/ Namco-Bandai's Bravoman Webcomic (Matt Moylan and Dax Gordine) are in the planning/design phase for a new, creator-owned book called "Avian Odyssey". You can check out updates at AvianOdyssey.com; right now it's design stuff, videos on characters being drawn; very neat!
Va'al - It sounds like you're ridiculously busy, as usual, so even further thanks for taking the time to chat with us! I think we should let readers know how they can follow your work if they want to, too - wouldn't you agree?
You've heard the man! Make sure to check out Josh's work, including that amazing Starscream print we posted above, chat to him on social media, and until next time, we've been your usual comics creator fix here at Seibertron.com.
We heard from voice actor Peter Cullen not too long ago, about his portrayal of Optimus Prime in the past and in the upcoming Transformers: Age of Extinction movie. Thanks to LA Times' Hero Complex, we now get even more insight into the voice of Optimus Prime and his approach to the character. Check it out here, and a snippet below!
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!”
According to Norwegian news site VG.no, a company by the name of Alu, based in Kristiansand, has produced the Aker Solutions MH OCH 300, an operators chair that's normally used to control ships and even drilling equipment on a massive scale. This time, however, one of their latest projects went in a direction they hadn't thought of previously. It still deals with machines on a massive scale, but now they're in the realm of science fiction.
These controller chairs may be what the humans, under the orders of human villain Harold Attinger (played by Kelsey Grammer), use to control the human made Stingers and Galvatron.
You can read the full article on VG.no's website, but you'll need to use Google Translate to read it, and we've copied an excerpt of the story behind all of this.
- 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.
Transformers Age Of Extinction will make it's US appearance on June 27th, a little less than two months from now, so until then it'll be little tidbits such as these that keep us going until opening day. Just a little while longer, folks!
Keep your optics tuned to Seibertron.com for the latest in news and updates, plus the best galleries around!
In an interview with LA Times Hero Complex, Mark Wahlberg talked about the difficulties and experience of acting around a bunch on non-existing robots in the upcoming Transformers: Age of Extinction, mentioning how working on Ted (2012) helped him out. Check out a snippet below, and read the whole thing here!
Before Mark Wahlberg ever attempted to test his mettle vis-a-vis giant metamorphosing robots from outer space, and before he befriended a heroic battle-bot named Optimus Prime on-screen, the actor prepared for his latest part with an unlikely foil: a talking teddy bear with an outsize taste for prostitutes and cocaine.
Which is to say that before Wahlberg signed on to appear in Paramount Pictures’ mega-budget sci-fi thriller “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” he got a first taste of acting opposite computer-generated imagery in a certain raunch-comedy that became 2012’s surprise breakout hit.
“‘Ted’ was definitely a good warmup,” Wahlberg said of the movie in which he plays a Boston bro who co-habitates with his hard-swearing, magically alive plush toy. “With ‘Ted,’ it was a more intimate setting. But this movie is much bigger and more intense. You’ve got eight Autobots talking to you at the same time. There’s nothing but a pole or a stick really there. You’ve got to believe and totally commit. The most difficult part of acting is when you look ridiculous and have to confront the risk of looking foolish. You’ve got to be on the whole time. You can’t phone it in.”
In an article published on USA Today, legendary Transformers voice actor Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime since the first iteration of the Transformers (though not all of them since), including the upcoming Age of Extinction version, gave some background information on the big bot's personality. Check it out below!
Optimus Prime has undergone quite a few vehicular makeovers in the past 30 years of Transformers projects, yet his earnest and heroic voice has never wavered, thanks to Peter Cullen.
For the big-budget Transformers: Age of Extinction, the actor once again reprises the role he's been playing since the 1980s Transformers cartoon. Now Prime and his Autobots have a new human ally (Mark Wahlberg) but they are in conflict with the evil Decepticons as well as the U.S. government.
"He is exactly who he was from the very original concept," Cullen says of Prime. "I've always felt a hero should have the qualities that are inspiring and helpful and fatherly and at the same time (be) courageous. I don't see those character traits changing at all."
Transformers is more than a lifetime gig as a transforming big rig for Cullen. It's also a family affair: His son Clay is a stuntman on Age of Extinction, and Cullen's brother Larry, a Marine who served in the Vietnam War and died in 2011, continues to be the inspirational foundation for Optimus' steady and strong tone.
"Though Larry's gone," Peter Cullen says, "he lives on in my mind as Optimus Prime because he was my hero."
Here's something a little different, and very cool, for everyone's Friday afternoon. Construction toy designer from Germany, Alexander Jones, has spent quite some time developing, planning and building a set of over thirty Generation One Transformers figures out of Kre-O bricks to celebrate in his own way the 30th anniversary of the franchise. He reached out to Seibertron.com for an exclusive interview about what went into the project, and share a video and images from the models. All 34 will finally be revealed on 8th May, but check out what he's done so far below!
- What inspired you to make the new Transformers out of Kreo bricks?
The inspiration to build Transformers out of bricks in general came very soon, once I started building again back in 1999. The idea of having all of my favorite childhood characters built with LEGO never really left me.
So the idea to revisit my designs and try to build them with KRE-O came through the pleasure I had working with HASBRO on a freelance level for the last two years. I developed brickbuilt model concepts for their KRE-O team from 2011. So naturally I also got introduced to their brick system, which is close to what I am used to working with LEGO. There is also another fact, which made it easier to start building the characters in a lot more detail: the dedicated elements from the KRE-O setlines, like the headmolds or the hands. This was always the more frustrating part with LEGO to get the heads to a level were you don´t cheat (cut, glue, paint) too much and just get it done with simple bricks. Another important aspect is the balljoint system, which helps to get the transformation to a smooth and easy level. Articulation is very important for the robot mode too!
Then the idea of having them all in one fitting scale to each other also was something that just had to be done. For those of you who collect the TRANSFORMERS Masterpiece line, you might recognize the scale I built all the models.
- What was your biggest challenge? Which model was the hardest and why?
The biggest challenge was not the models itself. Building the collection and see it growing was and still is the biggest, most fun factor. But to keep the focus all the way through a timeline of a couple of months, while always coming back to the same theme and make it all match is something else. Hours of taking pictures and photoshopping, and shooting the video! So, the biggest challenge sometimes really is to bring it all to an end, where the time you spent bears fruit. The hardest model to build, though, was Blitzwing. He is a triplechanger (Bot/Tank/Jet), so three models in one, really.
- How long did each model take?
It is hard to say, because each model was revisited a couple of times. In the beginning of the project, around November 2013, I had plenty of KRE-O bricks to sort out and see if the colours would work and if I have the right elements to even start on the models. It was all trial and error to start off with. I think the MENASOR combiner took me around two weeks straight. I was curious to see if I could build a real combiner, which stands over 50cm tall in combined mode.
- What motivated you to create these models? And why the fascination with Transformers in particular?
The motivation behind all of the models I build is simply creativity and the need to have an output as an designer and artist. You have a vision in your head for a long time, a project, which needs to be done. In my childhood, the 80s, when TRANSFORMERS was really big, I didn't have that many TF toys, so I actually started very early rebuilding what I saw on the Saturday Morning Cartoon show.
The fascination with TRANSFORMERS is that it is so timeless and the universe is growing every minute, with all the fans around the globe who have the same passion. There are so many great characters to enjoy! I also really like the colour schemes of the designs, like Optimus' iconic red & blue truck! TRANSFORMERS is my favourite 80s theme ever!
- What advice would you give to model makers who would like to do the same?
My advice would be to first go see a doctor and make sure they're okay with the idea of anyone building with bricks for a very long period. Then you have to talk to your boss and ask them if it is okay to not be super focused at work over the next few months and if they might be into sponsoring your brick orders for company benefits. Then you need to invest into a new coffee machine and a good amound of coffee. You can sell your bed on eBay. You don´t need it anymore. Since you will be watching endless TRANSFORMERS Generation 1 episodes, make sure to get used to scratchy voices and horrible sound effects, like sampled R2D2 screams and Tie-Fighter engines. But other than that you only need a lot of patience! And bricks! But seriously, my advice to other model makers would be to spend a lot of time on the research phase and a lot of trial and error builds, to develop a nice style and transformation for the models you want to build.
- Do you plan to sell the models? And if so how much?
Since I am only a concept idea developer, I'd only hope for a company like HASBRO or TAKARA looking into what I did and come up with a similar product on for collectors. I would be always available to work on them, of course, but these models are strictly from a fan to all you fans, to make sure we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of TRANSFORMERS in the best way! So I just want to add my talent and creations to a pool of great designers and passionate fans out there!
Earlier today, at 2 pm San Diego time, IDW Publishing rounded up current Transformers writers John Barber (Robots in Disguise), Mairghread Scott (Windblade) and James Roberts (More Than Meets the Eye) for their Dawn of the Autobots live discussion panel, chaired by IDW Marketing and PR Manager Rosalind Morehead and Coordinator Kahlil Schweitzer. The full hour discussion can be seen in the YouTube video embedded below, but some of the highlights are listed after that!
- All speakers summed up their current status, and where the books are heading for now, after the Dark Cybertron event. Also, Barber commented on the quality of the art, with Sarah Stone, Alex Milne and Andrew Griffith getting a mention and collaboration with Flint Dille, Chris Metzen and Livio Ramondelli.
- They commented on Windblade being the first of the three titles to launch the new status quo, and the cast choices that Scott made for who stayed on Cybertron.
- Weirder, stranger, more violent territory lies ahead for the whole of Dawn of the Autobots, and More Than Meets the Eye in particular.
- Reign of Starscream on Cybertron after Windblade concludes? It will definitely still affect the two ongoings, and RID is not done with Cybertron, there will be movement between there and Earth (focus of the first arc at least).
- Scott talks about the role of Starscream in Windblade miniseries: he is the ruler, the 'dog that caught the car' but has to act more democratically because of Windblade and Metroplex. Though he is willing to do anything to keep that power.
- MTMTE's repercussions of Megatron's side switching: Tarn and the Decepticon Justice Division *will* find out and the paths will cross, though not as readers might expect. All of season 2 is about fallout, about Megatron's change.
- What parts of the message of issue one of MTMTE have we seen and will we see? A lot. Soon.
- How much of the Transformers universe so far and future is plotted and planned? Barber helps keeping track of events, looks, qualities, while Roberts has a deeper knowledge of the Transformers lore from before IDW.
- Grimlock! Currently in the hands of Roberts, somewhere with the Scavengers in MTMTE - he will get attention, and he will show up soon, coming to the fore, and going deeper into what happened to him on Garrus 9.
- More details on Caminus from Windblade miniseries? Just a little more, not too much (but plenty behind the scenes).
- Likely to see crossovers any time soon? Not yet, definite connections, and casts can talk to each other now (as opposed to Season 1), also with Primacy, but letting each book do its own thing for a while.
- With RID set on Earth now, Barber (and Griffith's) approach has moved to Marvel or plot style, with Barber sending the plot to Griffith, layouts are made, sent back for dialogue to be added. The stakes are definitely higher for the characters, and the writing now.
- Level of heartbreak in MTMTE on a scale of 1 to 10: it's going 'to break your soul'. New recruits, new interpersonal relationships, a lot of opportunities.
There were also a number of personal questions for the writers, from favourite characters to cast choices for the new season ('everyone you haven't yet is quite probably on the Lost Light'), difficulties or dislikes in writing certain characters, the reaction to Windblade #1 ('extremely positive'), Starsaber's potential return in MTMTE ('maybe') and more information about Rung, confirmation that all three will be attending BotCon 2014 this summer, choices for hypothetical animated films from arcs or plotlines, and a plug for Robots in Disguise #28, out tomorrow, more teasers for MTMTE #28 coming next week, and a glimpse at what awaits in Windblade #2!
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