Aaron Long: Revolution merged the Hasbro properties into a shared universe, with Revolutionaries now spinning out of the event. What will readers be seeing in this series?
John Barber: Lots of fast-paced action and big world-building. The Revolutionaries team is made up of Mayday (who’s a G.I. Joe agent), Kup and Blackrock (who are Transformers), and Action Man (who’s English). So they’re already kinda all over the place to start with, but right off the bat they have to team up with Rom and the Micronauts to fight the Oktober Guard and the new Storm Shadow. Nothing’s off the table!
So we’ll be seeing big crossovers between characters, plus we’ll be going all over the world. If you’re a fan of the Hasbro characters—from the comics or the toys or the cartoons—there will be little nods, or returns to places and ideas from all over. Remember when Cobra had a base on the moon? We do. And we’re trying to pull in things from all over the history of the characters—like, I don’t know if anybody was expecting the Sgt. Savage and his Screaming Eagles relaunch of G.I. Joe, but that stuff plays a role.
If you’re not familiar with this weird stuff, no worries—we’re introducing all these ideas, not expecting you’re an expert. But that said, we’ve done our homework.
AL: The ongoing cast consists of Action Man, Blackrock, Mayday and Kup. Can you dis-cuss how this mix of characters was decided upon to anchor the title?
JB: At the Revolution writer’s retreat, Cullen Bunn suggested that since Action Man’s comic was a limited series, he’d be without a home post-Revolution. (Action Man, not Cullen, who has a nice home). So it might be good to have A.M. looking over what everybody else was doing—like, his mandate might be to monitor everybody worldwide. And Mairghread Scott sort of riffed on that that you could do with it, suggested it could be a little like Global Frequency and have self-contained stories about this world. And I wound up getting elected to write it because I’d done Action Man and sort of knew a lot about where the universe was going. (In the comics, I mean. Certainly not in real life).
So, I thought if we made this a team with Action Man, really gave this a different feel, it’d be a good fit to add the Transformers character Blackrock, who’d just be coming out of the Titans Return story. Blackrock is a tech-CEO who discovered his memories were false and he’s a Cybertronian. He’s Cybertronian, but his alt-mode is basically a human.
I knew we’d want somebody from G.I. Joe, but I suggested we could sort of push things here and use this to develop a new character, or anyway to build up a character Andrew Griffith and I had set up in Transformers, but who’d now be in G.I. Joe. We gave Anya Jones the semi-obscure out-of-use Joe code-name of Mayday, and she’s become sort of the leader of the team—Action Man is still new to the job; Blackrock is new to this life; so Mayday has the experi-ence with aliens and military tactics.
Kup was originally going somewhere else, or so I thought, but then it turned out Kup wasn’t really going to fit into that other series, and I thought he was too good a character to lose track of, but he wasn’t really essential to what Kei Zama and I were going to do in the Optimus Prime comic… but with about a half-second’s thought, I realized Kup’s an old soldier, and the idea of getting him together with this young, mostly-inexperienced team was just the thing Revolutionaries needed.
FO: Well, when I came on board the cast was already set. And I think they picked a great set of characters. Plus it feels a lot more tightknit and relatable than Revolution. Working on a smaller cast allows us to develop these characters more, and John is writing them awesomely. For my part, I focused on working more detail into their design. I got the chance to redesign Blackrock and it´s definitely a new look for the character, closer to his cybetronian nature. And well… I got carried away and kept going with Mayday: new armor suit! We did keep her hairstyle though… Nah, in all seriousness I wanted them to look the part of a lead character. Action Man´s design was pretty awesome already.
AL: Fico, with Revolution and now Revolutionaries you’ve penciled the vast majority of Hasbro characters. Are there any particular characters or a particular group that you get the most excited to work on?
FO: Well… It´s hard not to get excited to draw Blackrock with the new design. I also enjoy drawing Mayday a lot. I really feel it´s important to have a strong female character, and I very much love paying attention to every detail on how we portray her to reinforce that. She rocks.
Action Man has the best lines, John is really bringing life to all these characters so it’s hard not to enjoy drawing all these characters.
And lastly, I´m always exited to see them pop out of the pages with Seba’s colors. He is doing a fantastic job, as always.
Bob Budiansky [...]
A lot of the names came from my own experiences of pop culture. Ratchet, a medical robot, was inspired by Nurse Ratched from the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Ironhide came from the old TV show Ironside. I was trying to humanise them, give them relatable qualities, such as “this guy likes jazz”. People ask how I came up with so many personalities in a weekend, but at Marvel we were creating new characters every day. That was the job.
One name I’m proud of is Megatron. Back in 1983, the threat of nuclear war felt very real – and destructive force was talked about in megatons. At first, Hasbro rejected it for sounding too scary. Gently I said to them: “Well, he’s the main bad guy. He’s supposed to be scary.” Luckily, they changed their minds.
Bryce Malek [...]
Some writers pitched really inappropriate stuff for a kids’ show, such as the Transformers meeting space prostitutes. Oddly enough, no one ever provided us with any of the toys – we worked from photocopies of designs. I actually went out and bought a few but I never got Optimus Prime. He was too popular. You could never find one.
Thanks to TFcon Toronto 2017 sponsor The Chosen Prime we are happy to welcome back the voice of Generation 1 Prowl, Sideswipe and Swoop Michael Bell to TFcon Toronto 2017. The voices of Bombshell, Brainstorm, First Aid, Gort, Junkion and Scrapper in the same series, he then returned to the characters of Sideswipe and Scrapper for the video game Transformers: Devastation. Fans of the 80s will also remember him as the voice of Duke in GI Joe, Lance in Voltron, plus Grouchy, Lazy and Handy Smurf in The Smurfs.
Michael will be taking part in Q&A panels and autograph sessions with the attendees of the world’s largest fan-run Transformers convention all weekend long.
Dick quietly passed away tonight
Since 2015, Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman has become a big name in the world of cinematic universe franchises. In collaboration with Paramount Pictures, he not only created a braintrust that would help formulate the future of the Transformers series, but also went on to do the same thing with Hasbro and brands like G.I. Joe and ROM: Space Knight. We haven't seen an actual product from this process just yet, as none of the developing projects have made it to release -- but the methodology is continuing to spread, as the same approach that's going into the construction of the recently-announced Extreme Cinematic Universe.
[Liefeld:] So I kind of was thinking, 'I'm going to go to this meeting and maybe I'll get a good look at some Dark Tower stuff,' and what ended up happening is he goes, 'I want to hand you this giant black leather-bound equivalent of a phone book,' and it said, "The Transformers Bible." This thing is awesome and Akiva goes, 'I just want you to know, there's only eight of these in existence. Michael Bay has one, I have one, the head of Paramount has one, and the five other people involved have them.' So I flipped through it, and it's every treatment, outlines, screenplay, for the lineup of Transformer films that they have planned, that he was a showrunner for...
So he said to me, he said, 'It's pretty cool, right? I'm like, 'Yeah!' He's like, 'I ran this room; this is what we came up with. This is what I did on behalf of Paramount.' He goes, 'In a couple months, I'm going to go run the Hasbro room, and we're going to do the same thing for ROM, Micronauts, G.I. Joe. We're going to put together this Hasbro Cinematic Universe, and then he said, I would like to do yours next. And I said, 'Uhhhhhh, Okay, WOW!'
Comics publisher IDW, home of such iconic titles as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, Back to the Future, GI Joe, and My Little Pony, will bring their creators and properties to NC Comicon for the first time ever at NC Comicon: Oak City 2017!
On March 18th and 19th, Downtown Raleigh will be your source for all things IDW as your favorite artists and writers descend on the Raleigh Convention Center for a weekend of exclusive panels, signings, merch, game demos, and more. Come meet the creators behind some of the biggest properties in comics, gaming, and film, and get a once in a lifetime shot at drawing the industry’s top characters at IDW portfolio reviews.
With tons of guest, merch, and panel announcements to come in the following weeks, check back to nccomicon.com or download the official NC Comicon: Oak City 2017 app to make sure you don’t miss a second of it!
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