Disciples of Boltax - Secrets of the (Animated Allspark) Almanac II Revealed

Disciples of Boltax - Secrets of the (Animated Allspark) Almanac II Revealed

Saturday, February 7th, 2015 3:57am CST

Categories: Cartoon News, People News, Book News
Posted by: Va'al   Views: 56,761

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With the arrival of the Complete Allspark Almanac hitting soon, co-writer Jim Sorenson has updated his blog Disciples of Boltax with an overview of the second volume in its first iteration, covering some of the behind the scenes of the book, page by page. They include references to TV shows, comics series, videogames, self-referential lines and more Transformers goodness - and you can read them all here!


A while back, Bill Forster and I did a series of posts called Secrets of the Almanac. We went behind-the-scenes on all of book 1 and about a quarter of book 2 and shared our thoughts. I figured, with The Complete AllSpark Almanac just a few weeks away, I'd pick up where we left off. I'll just ramble on about what I remember, and especially anything that Chris McFeely missed in is excellent (and flattering) Annotated Almanac II. By-the-by, here is Part One of Secret of the Almanac II, and here are parts one, two, three, and four of book 1.

Credit(s): Disciples of Boltax


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Re: Disciples of Boltax - Secrets of the (Animated Allspark) Almanac II Revealed (1647907)
Posted by triKlops on February 7th, 2015 @ 10:41am CST
Very cool that this was done.
I am on the fence about getting the compiled book as I have the 2 individual books but if after reading the article i find out there is extra info contained within, it will be bought ASAP.
Re: Disciples of Boltax - Secrets of the (Animated Allspark) Almanac II Revealed (1648078)
Posted by Sabrblade on February 7th, 2015 @ 5:34pm CST
triKlops wrote:Very cool that this was done.
I am on the fence about getting the compiled book as I have the 2 individual books but if after reading the article i find out there is extra info contained within, it will be bought ASAP.

This article doesn't say either way.

But the main announcement article for the Complete book does.
Re: Disciples of Boltax - Secrets of the (Animated Allspark) Almanac II Revealed (1648398)
Posted by Va'al on February 8th, 2015 @ 1:52pm CST
It looks like Jim Sorenson took the weekend to update his Disciples of Boltax blog with another section of behind the scenes tips on the Allspark Almanac, adding to the post we reported on the other day! Check out the blog here - it includes parts of the Addenda, from the Transformers Club magazine and the Stunticon Job story.

Summer of 2011... Animated had come and gone, and then Fun Publications went and did an awesome BotCon set featuring the Stunticons and a few other new Animated goodies. I even got asked to write a few of the tech specs for the lithograph. Pete Sinclair and I got to talking and one thing led to another and soon Bill and I had been tasked to write a 16 page AllSpark Almanac Addendum, featuring the events and characters and places of The Stunti-Con Job and Moving Violations. The big constraint was that they wanted about half of the pages devoted to covering BotCon itself, which we did in the style of the Part II, out-of-universe material.

They were pleased with our work, and agreed to give us a few pages in the club magazine itself to continue the theme. We did six more pages the next year, though it never was quite the right time to revisit the format... until now, that is!
Re: Disciples of Boltax - Secrets of the (Animated Allspark) Almanac II Revealed (1648430)
Posted by Editor on February 8th, 2015 @ 3:47pm CST
have to say i'm looking foward to this release.

I have book one, but I missed out on book two, as i just wasn't paying attention when it was released.

Glad I pre-ordered this one a few weeks back.
Re: Disciples of Boltax - Secrets of the (Animated Allspark) Almanac II Revealed (1657942)
Posted by Va'al on March 2nd, 2015 @ 4:44pm CST
Jim Sorenson, co-author with Bill Forster of the Allspark Almanac and regular Seibertron.com presence, has updated the Disciples of Boltax blog with an eight-page preview of this week's Transormers: Animated release by IDW Publishing: The Complete Allspark Almanac! Check them out mirrored below, and head to the blog here to find out more about the small contest held for fans of both this and the original release of the same pages.

Then it hit me... there are numerous pages that aren't completely new but are a BIT new. New art, new context, new photos, integrated in with the existing material So, why not showcase them?

Then I thought, why not make it a game? The first person who replies in the comments who can correctly identify every difference will get a doodle of the character of their choice. 8 pages, (at least) 8 differences. Go for it!


Image

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Re: Disciples of Boltax - Secrets of the (Animated Allspark) Almanac II Revealed (1657946)
Posted by Sabrblade on March 2nd, 2015 @ 4:58pm CST
Those squirrels and SG Decepticons are definitely new. Image
Re: Disciples of Boltax - Secrets of the (Animated Allspark) Almanac II Revealed (1657970)
Posted by Darth Jumpy on March 2nd, 2015 @ 6:44pm CST
I know that Sunstreaker Animated use to be a guy in the original one.
Re: Disciples of Boltax - Secrets of the (Animated Allspark) Almanac II Revealed (1657971)
Posted by Nemesis Maximo on March 2nd, 2015 @ 6:54pm CST
I never had the originals, but congrats to whomever wins the contest!

BTW, that Cyclonus is Beautiful.
Re: Disciples of Boltax - Secrets of the (Animated Allspark) Almanac II Revealed (1658140)
Posted by Optimizzy on March 3rd, 2015 @ 8:56am CST
heh. street style. jeez.
Re: Disciples of Boltax - Secrets of the (Animated Allspark) Almanac II Revealed (1658158)
Posted by jogunwarrior on March 3rd, 2015 @ 9:35am CST
I'm not too familiar with Animated. I never saw the series and only have one of the figures, but this book looks really cool. I'd love to add this to my library.
Re: Disciples of Boltax - Secrets of the (Animated Allspark) Almanac II Revealed (1658403)
Posted by padfoo on March 3rd, 2015 @ 6:57pm CST
Animated was so awesome!
Re: Disciples of Boltax - Secrets of the (Animated Allspark) Almanac II Revealed (1658496)
Posted by Sabrblade on March 4th, 2015 @ 12:26am CST
http://www.allspark.com/content/2015/03 ... -sorenson/

ALLSPARK: We may as well start with this one - What were you most looking forward to with this chance to revisit the earlier separate volumes? Had there been this one thing that kept you awake at night all these years that you've finally got a chance to correct?

JIM SORENSON: Hmmmm... I was probably most looking forward to getting all of the material back in front of a mass audience. V1 and 2 sell out their print runs consistently and then soar in price on the secondary market. The Stunti-Con Job isn't the easiest book to come by and hasn't been collected in any kind of anthology. So it's gratifying to me that, at least for a while, anyone who wants to read the material will be able to do so.

In terms of things keeping me up at night, no one thing. I'm very proud of the work we've done on both volumes and the fanclub material, warts and all. When typos or continuity hiccups creep in, they niggle, but that's about it. I'm happy to have the chance to fix them or recontextualize bits that maybe didn't work 100%, but I wasn't fretting over them.

AS: And then the errors get documented on the TFWiki for everyone to see for the rest of time. Heh.

JS: Glibax/Gilbax. How did my spellcheck miss that one?

AS: Haha! You'll just have to feed your spellcheck an entire dictionary of Cybertronian words

JS: You think I haven't? I type in g..a.. and autocorrect pops up Galvatron.

AS: Heh. So you mentioned the Club materials. Would you care to give a rundown of what's in the Collected Almanac compared to the separate Volumes 1 and 2? What's in the Collected version that will make owners of the individual books have to spend their money all over again?

JS: 99.5% of volume 1. Missing only a bit of art that was updated or created specifically to match the cover of the book.

99% of volume 2. Missing only a bit of art that was updated.

95% of the fanclub material. Missing a bit of art created as title elements and some general material on BotCon. All of the Animated-specific BotCon content is still there.

And then we created about 10 pages of new material with help from Derrick J. Wyatt. Mostly new characters but there's also a new page of Transformations, and we added a cover gallery with some cool preliminary sketches.

Oh, and, as my preview shows, we did sprinkle in other new content here and there.

AS: SQUIRREL!

JS: Indeed.

AS: That's all sound quite interesting and I'm sure fans will love it! Were there any challenges getting all of that to fit and flow together into the one, single reference?

JS: I think that what you're describing was, in many ways, the crux of what I was doing. Trying to combine V1 at 220 pages and V2 at 224 pages and 22 pages of fanclub material into a coherent volume. Plus elements like the covers, the inside front and rear covers, and the new material Derrick had made in the three year interval between this volume and the last of the original material.

I'd say it was challenging, but a fun challenge. I live for structure, so finding the best structure for all of this material was enjoyable. I used excel to map out where everything goes. I made a four column document with page numbers on the far left and right and content in the middle two columns. That's so I can get all of the facing elements correct.4

One issue was with the episode guide pages. The guides from V1 had to end on the right (let's say) but then the guides for V2 had to START on the right. So I was short a page. I wound up using a poster from the fanclub as an element to plug that gap.

Another challenge was the way we used interstitial pages. We had one slotted between each chapter. But most chapters showed up in both V1 and V2, meaning we had extras. Some of them were combined. I had one interstitial block about shorts and another about the credits. Since both were from Studio 4°C I made that one new block. Some others were pulled together and made their own chapter in Part II. I combined the interstitial pages on BotCon, The Arrival, Titan, and Bee in the City into a chapter in Part II called Expanded Universe.

And, finally, consideration had to be paid to what page order to go with when combining chapters. Chapter 1: Autobots contained guys from V1, V2, the fanclub, and brand new characters. So I wanted to have a progression of characters that felt logical. Just like in V1 we started with the core cast, then moved on to the Elite Guard. And that presented the first obstacle. There were new Elite Guard guys in V2 and post-2011. Do I separate them?

I decided, no, keep the whole Elite Guard together. So after Magnus and Sentinel and Jazz and Blurr, we run the jet twins, and guys like Dai Atlas, along with newbies like Erector. The rest of the chapter (and, indeed, the chapters beyond) proceeded the same way. Ironhide felt he should be part of Rodimus' crew despite being introduced back in V1.

Dirtboss felt like he belonged with Mixmaster and Scrapper. Wasp's two Autobot entries felt like they needed to be run back-to-back, whereas Optimus got to both open AND close the first chapter. His Wingblade form felt like an ending, whereas his V1 entry was definitely designed to kick things off.

And some things got moved around. We didn't have a dedicated chapter for Detroit in V2, so things like the stadium and Fossil Fuel gas stations and refineries got moved to a more logical chapter. Likewise, Boot Camp and Trypticon Prison felt more at home in the Cybertron chapter.

Overall, it's the kind of puzzle I enjoy. Especially because there's no one right answer, just a spectrum of more-and-less logical solutions.

AS: Wow, so there is quite a bit of restructuring that went on rather than a straight compilation from the various sources.

JS: Quite a bit from my end, yes, but it should be fairly invisible from the reader's perspective. If you're not reading them side-by-side and taking notes, it'll just feel like one complete whole.

AS: Very nice.

JS: Thank you.

AS: You mentioned that a lot of the new material was new characters. Care to give any hints?

JS: I can say with certainty that all of the many fans of Skipjack will be thrilled.

AS: animated_new_charactersOr reignite the Skipjack is red, Rampage is yellow/Rampage is red, Skipjack is yellow debates!
Okay, those didn't really ever happen....


JS: I'll also say this: we made an implicit promise at the end of The Stunti-Con Job. (Referring to the image on the right.)

JS: And we only had a chance to examine 11 of those guys. This volume rectifies that.
Rectifies it AND showcases plenty of new designs.

AS: Oh. Now that is quite the tease!

AS: So we've been talking about Animated this whole while and avoiding the elephant in the room: it's a show that went off the air back in 2009. Six years ago. It's been kept alive through BotCon, the Club, a few much belated DVD releases and, of course, your Almanacs. But what do you see in the future for this world? Is this pretty much its last hurrah, so to speak, or will it continue to scratch a place for itself in publishers' or others' offerings?

JS: I'm not sure that's for me to say. I think that it's very likely this is MY last hurrah in the universe.

Thanks to the help of Derrick Wyatt and Pete Sinclair, this volume is forward-looking. It's very likely that, even if there is more Animated in the future, this volume will be able to remain comprehensive for a good long while.

7But I tend to think that, barring something unforeseen and unlikely, I'm not going to be penning
new pages.

AS: That's an unfortunate answer for a number of fans, I'm sure.

JS: I don't think it's an unfortunate answer really. I think getting to combine the Animated guidebooks Bill and I have made (with the invaluable assistance of folks like Matt Youngberg, Eric Seibenaler, Marty Isenberg, and of course Derrick Wyatt) has been an amazing experience.

If this is my swan song in the universe, it's because I've likely said all there is to say. Animated was an amazing expression of Transformers joy, and its impact continues to be felt in other lines. Characters like Bulkhead, Lugnut, and Lockdown have been forever defined by their Animated appearances. Echoes of the aesthetic can be seen in Robots in Disguise.

AS: That is very true. To the extent that Takara Tomy are adding Animated toys into their Transformers Adventure (The name for Robots in Disguise in Japan) offerings.

JS: I come not to bury Animated, but to praise it. The nature of Transformers is such that franchises come and go. It creates a rich tapestry.

Animated was 42 episodes, 7 comics, a few years of toys. That this could support a FOUR HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-TWO PAGE BOOK is pretty incredible. Saying I don't think I'll need to make more shouldn't be cause for sadness.

AS: That is all very true. Animated was a fantastic series and its impacts are certainly still being felt, whether directly or indirectly. And more then likely will be continued to be felt in the future either by design influence or character influence.

AS: Speaking of the future: what do you have planned next to which you will add your name as author? Transformers or otherwise.

JS: I'm having a blast working on the Beast Wars Uprising universe and am currently working on a space opera piece set there. I think the fans will really dig it.

Bill Forster and I have a number of art books we'd love to do with IDW, though there's nothing I can talk about specifically yet.

AS: I'm sure that whatever comes to pass, Transformers fans will be enthused. We here at the Allspark.com certainly will be keeping a watchful eye on what develops.

AS: As we come to a close, let's try to celebrate Animate and not mourn it. What is your best pitch to get fans excited by the Complete Almanac? And as an added, if somewhat cheesy, challenge, limit it to a Twitter's-length response.

JS: 472 pages of everything that makes Animated great. Amazing art, whimsical personalities, new characters, sheer unadulterated fun. Don’t miss it!

AS: Nice. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Best of luck to you and Bill Forster in your future endeavors!

JS: Thank you! Thanks for letting me ramble.
Re: Disciples of Boltax - Secrets of the (Animated Allspark) Almanac II Revealed (1658710)
Posted by triKlops on March 4th, 2015 @ 11:04am CST
@Sabr; Excellent Q&A, thanks for sharing.
Re: Disciples of Boltax - Secrets of the (Animated Allspark) Almanac II Revealed (1658931)
Posted by Editor on March 4th, 2015 @ 6:24pm CST
Amazon just sent me my shipping notification. :DANCE:

soon....
soon....
Re: Disciples of Boltax - Secrets of the (Animated Allspark) Almanac II Revealed (1661875)
Posted by Editor on March 11th, 2015 @ 3:54pm CDT
Received my copy last night and spend the next hour pouring over it.

I can't say how much is new is a missed the 2nd volume but this book is massive. My wife texted me that there was a package from amazon, and when I said it should be one book, she didn't believe me due to the weight.

Looking through it, it just made me more disappointed we didn't have the 4th season, and when I saw they had the episodes planned out I was truly sad, but just going over the rest of the book you can't help but smile, this tome really is a love letter to the series, and the fans.

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