IDW Hasbro Comics Crossover: Revolution - Chris Ryall Interview, John Barber Clarifications
Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 1:40PM CDTCategories: Comic Book News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al Views: 28,068
We've also included a compilation of tweets from Ryall and John Barber, to help navigate this big change in the IDWverse. So fear not, and keep reading!
But IDW editor-in-chief Chris Ryall insists this isn’t a reboot.
“We didn’t want this to be what fans have seen from so many others, which is a reboot or a relaunch where you’re asked to forget about all these characters and stories you’ve been following for years,” Ryall says. “It’s just now everybody will be acknowledging each other in a much greater way than ever before.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did this whole thing come about?
CHRIS RYALL: It happened in a stealthy way. When I was bringing back ROM, the co-writer Christos Gage and I were talking about a nice way to make something big and impactful happen in that issue. So at the end of the issue there’s a big reveal that shows ROM might be a part of a larger universe than fans expected at the start. We were going to stealthily seed things along the way, so that fans would think these guys might exist in ROM’s world and then, in talking about it internally, it just made sense, now that we’re launching Micronauts and ROM, and we’ve already got G.I. Joe and Transformers, and were looking to do M.A.S.K. All these things should exist together. That’s what fans want to see.
When we first launched G.I. Joe, fans asked us, “Are they gonna meet the Transformers?” And every time we’ve added a Hasbro title since then, it’s been the same question. Are the Micronauts gonna meet the Transformers? Is ROM gonna meet the Micronauts?
What will the event involve?
Revolution is its own thing. It’s a five-part biweekly series that we’re launching in September, and that series will detail the reasons why these characters are all drawn together. It centers around something called Ore 13, which is an unstable version of Energon, the material that gives the Transformers their power and life. There’s a version of that on earth, that has an adverse effect on tech, which adversely affects ROM, and changes the status of him and his villains, the Dire Wraiths. It affects the Micronauts universe in a way they didn’t expect, and then it also gives birth to M.A.S.K., which is a big new title we’re launching out of this.
So that series details the reason for all these characters to be drawn together. Then all the series will be relaunched with new number ones and this new status quo. The plan is to have the characters go back to occupying their own spaces. I don’t want G.I. Joe or Transformers fans to feel like they have to buy every issue of everything we publish now just to get the whole story. If they do, certainly that’s a nice outcome, but I still want them to read a Transformers book and have it feel like a Transformers book. It’s just, now within that universe, ROM is somewhere in the background and may be drawn back in at some point.
I'm very excited about Revolution, and it's absolutely not going to scale anything back from what's happened in any Transformers comics.
Revolution will get these comics where I think they always should have been, and since I like where they are already...
...I don't think we'll be losing anything we already like.
Oh--important note, the list of creative teams in the press release is for the Revolution tie-in stories.
Just to make clear--post Revolution, @SaraLePew and @Max_Dunbar will still be there!
How do the other Transformers books play in (MTMTE, TAAO), renumbered? ending? untouched?
We'll get into more specifics soon but some will end and restart differently; TAAO will keep rolling as is.
It won't affect Titan Wars. We've been threading this needle very carefully for some time know, building to this.
Rather, you can assume that any involvement will make sense to that series and not change what James has built.
OK now I'm panicking. Restarting MTMTE is just about the craziest thing to do to a book with such a hardcore fandom.
I understand the trepidation but we're not abandoning plans, characters or stories. Just moving things forward.
Not a reboot in any way, shape or form, actually. All the stories you read here before still happened.
We'll get into new-title specifics & teams before long. If you like the way things are, you'll be happy. Only moreso
@chris_ryall How will the IDW GI Joe continuity be reconciled with All Hail Megatron's global invasion that killed 15% of all humans?
It will be addressed. We're not scrapping things.
Please wait and see. It makes sense. And everything is always changing, just changing in the right ways here.
Not TAAO [renumbering]. We'll get into specific post-event plans before long. Never a good plan to reveal everything all at once.
I understand people don't want to lose what they like, I get that. But yes, the comic itself will put fears to rest.
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Posted by Randomhero on June 1st, 2016 @ 1:53pm CDT
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on June 1st, 2016 @ 1:57pm CDT
Just have to wait to see what happens, maybe even the September solics which will come out in the next few weeks
Posted by Railbomb on June 1st, 2016 @ 2:28pm CDT
Posted by Va'al on June 1st, 2016 @ 2:31pm CDT
I'm tired enough from social media blowing up about this to have to go through it again on here.
Posted by Big Grim on June 1st, 2016 @ 2:54pm CDT
Posted by Rodimus Knight on June 1st, 2016 @ 2:57pm CDT
Posted by MrBlack on June 1st, 2016 @ 3:01pm CDT
As for renumberings...mech. Both the current Transformers series are hitting the ends of major storylines with status quo changing events, so a relaunch with a new #1 makes sense from an industry standpoint. It sounds like it isn't going to have much of an effect on the main story of MTMTE, and it seems to flow organically into what's going on in Ex-RID.
Posted by Counterpunch on June 1st, 2016 @ 3:32pm CDT
Well, the burden of proof is on the writers going forward and it is a sizable burden.
Show how this isn't some hackneyed marketing idea from the folks at Hasbro or sacrifice most of the social capital that has accrued over the years with the recent quality work in TF books.
A lot has been made out of how Hasbro has wisely allowed their comic medium to plot its own course. We questioned when the first marketing decisions started creeping in with the introduction of current toy characters into plots that would otherwise exclude them. We've questioned the effect of Combiner Wars and now Titan Wars as being possibly intrusive into the story.
Now there's a bigger question. Can these series withstand corporate/marketing interference on a whole other level?
I'm sure there's a great staff line response to that.
I suppose I'll just wait for the material and make up my own mind. If I'm wrong, I'll happily admit it. If the fears come to pass, someone should really be held to the fire for spoiling something great.
Posted by Bumblevivisector on June 1st, 2016 @ 3:48pm CDT
WHERE THE %*^# IS INHUMANOIDS?!?!?!?
Posted by RevTibe on June 1st, 2016 @ 5:02pm CDT
Still, sounds like this will mostly fall on the "forgettable" side of things, and who knows - I might fall in love with Rom the Space Knight.
Posted by ScottyP on June 1st, 2016 @ 6:33pm CDT
These were some of my gut feelings. Distilled into just one word, it was "dread", more specifically, it was really the fear of loss.Counterpunch wrote:I feel like this is one of those things, were if I truly express my feelings on the matter, the annoyance, the frustration, the disappointment; I'll get taken to task for being short-sighted.
I think in a year's time we're going to mark down January 2012 - Sometime in the second half of 2016 as that One Perfect Summer for Transformers comics that just won't be recaptured anytime soon, and will never be duplicated. That said, I'm also going to try and keep an open mind here, and hope that the good stewardship of the brand that we've seen to date will continue. History isn't kind to Transformers in these types of situations though, so we'll have to see if this can buck the trend.Counterpunch wrote:I suppose I'll just wait for the material and make up my own mind. If I'm wrong, I'll happily admit it. If the fears come to pass, someone should really be held to the fire for spoiling something great.
Onto some other things that are not replies to Counterpunch's excellent post. First, It'll be interesting to see how "Team MTMTE" gets shaken up (if at all), because exRID hasn't really been great for a year and Scott's stories just don't interest me. If they break up that band, there better be a damn good reason. Or hell, add Nick Roche to the team as a writer and sometimes artist and wait and see if I complain (I won't.)
A second point I wanted to bring up is my feelings towards bringing other brands in to a (currently) flourishing licensed comics property. I can't say I mind the stuff that's just really started up again like Micronauts, ROM, and even MASK being involved. A lot of circumstantial evidence in both the toyline, corporate press releases, and exRID have been pointing to that and these could be logical fits into this universe with only minimal backtracking from John "Continuity" Barber required. These could be neat if done right (stuff like Circuit Breaker or Death's Head in G1) and not as a one-off crossover brand circle jerk (Transformers vs The Avengers, most of Infestation).
Those franchises really don't bother me, not at all. I'm annoyed as hell that we have to bring GI Joe into this universe. It's like Hasbro dumped the rotting corpse of that franchise onto IDW.
I know that sounds harsh, but as someone that's never been able to admit to being much of a Joe fan, that's exactly what it looks like. I don't care about the characters, I don't care about the fiction, and I don't want them in what's been the "main" Transformers continuity for me for years. A lot of those characters are freaking attention magnets. Hope you're ready for four pages per twenty page book of Duke, Cobra Commander, Zartan, Baroness, Scarlet, Snake Eyes, and Roadblock and Destro and others if they're going to be any kind of fixture in this overall universe, because that's what you're gonna get. Gotta get Bumblebee back in to hang out with dumbshit GI Joe Paratrooper Steve or whoever other boring military guy character is even though he's super dead so we can have our A-Listers interacting and Protect the Brands
I don't blame IDW for that, it's just a shortsighted Hasbro mandate. If you're into GI Joe and excited for that, I think that's wonderful. That franchise just isn't for me and I think it would have been better left out to it's own pasture to survive or advance on its own.
Blegh, I got going on a rant and that probably mostly came out with a tone I didn't intend. Screw it, here's another way of putting it a bit shorter and wittier:
Posted by Randomhero on June 1st, 2016 @ 7:03pm CDT
Dr Va'al wrote:Please, anyone confused, read the interview, read the posts, read the news, then come back.
I'm tired enough from social media blowing up about this to have to go through it again on here.
Posted by Seibertron on June 1st, 2016 @ 7:46pm CDT
Posted by Ironhidensh on June 1st, 2016 @ 7:59pm CDT
I have to say, I feel pretty much the same as Counterpunch and ScottyP. They both typed out their thoughts much better than I could this late at night.
Unless it's a complete reboot of the GI Joe serirs, it will never fir in with the current Transformers storyline. I can see M.A.S.K. working, but I simply don't know enough about Rom or micronaugjts to say either way on them.
Basically, yeah, I'll wait and see, but this feels too much like corporate interference, and that never ends well.
Posted by Emerje on June 1st, 2016 @ 8:12pm CDT
Posted by misfire19d on June 1st, 2016 @ 9:01pm CDT
I won't stick around to see if the IDW writers can fit a bunch of small square pegs into a giant round hole. Larry Hama, Nick Roche and Simon Furmon are the only three worth a damn anyway.
ROM was a great comic. The ending was perfect. I don't have the heart or the patience to see how IDW will butcher him.
Sales will spike with the release of a bunch of #1's as always but will tank shortly after.
People freaking out about the "inevitable future" is just delicious irony to me.
Posted by Supreme Convoy on June 1st, 2016 @ 11:37pm CDT
This sounds like a boost GI Joe might need. I'm actually excited to see where this goes.
Posted by Insurgent on June 2nd, 2016 @ 7:01am CDT
I guess it's gonna be a case of wait and see. But this screams a suit is pulling a Marvel. Like everyone else is suddenly trying to do.
Posted by RAR on June 2nd, 2016 @ 11:09am CDT
I would have some serious concern for any Conceptual Reboot of MASK or Micronauts if lead by Hasbro or IDW marketing concerns.
Gi Joe can do with any help it can get though. (darn if feel sorry for that Franchise sometimes). But I suspect the only reason it is getting attention is for the sake of completeness and Hasbro's desire to try to see another Gi Joe Movie made. or even a Gi Joe & Transformers Crossover Movie.
I would mind that as a cartoon - but live action isn't likely to work with the universes they have at the moment so well.
Oh and Yes ROM should fit in fine with Micronauts or Transformers and I'd welcome any excuse to see a possible Action Man toy line derived from the Go Joe Mould and themes and marketed to Europe possibly as Action Man and Action Force or something like that to put aside the Stigma of Gi Joe but still get some decent moulds out of it - but I don't really want a 5 POA 3.75" Action Man toy line.
I don't really want a Micronaut one either unless it's co-developed with Takara.
I suppose there might be licensing issues to sell Rom as a Marvel 3.75" figure ? considering he's an Ex Marvel Comic Character but a license owned By Hasbro.
Oh and They have been better off finishing their current Transformers arcs and rebooting it if the whole purpose is to sell toys the IDW comics don't do that so well when they are not focused on them.
Or if they keep those other titles more or less they might be better off with a separate Prime Wars Comic. at least that can be used to market the actual toys and not something that only infrequently lines up with the comics.
From my Outsider perspective it seems like Combiner Wars as a toy story exists very much separately from the Comics in the same way Beast Hunters or Beast Wars existed as a TV show and toyline that have little to do with each other besides the odd shared character and were even outright contradictory.
That is why I always Laugh at EMGO when he says there should not be a newer toy of the likes of Dreadwing or Breakdown as they are dead.
Like he's not noticed that the Marketing and the Media don't line up.
Heck they probably shouldn't if IDW get this all horribly wrong - it will be brushed under the carpet soon enough I expect (as comic idea at least) and they might carry on trying to push it to people via other means.
Oh and just a point to IDW comments - yes I would be interested to see Hasbro Characters meet from time to time - that does not mean I want them co-habiting though... regardless of a Shared Universe or not.
Posted by Va'al on June 2nd, 2016 @ 11:38am CDT
CBR spoke with the creators involved in the five-issue unifying series, not only to find out how it came about, but also to learn what -- if any -- relationship it has to the film side of things, as well as what it is that will bring these various groups together.
CBR News: John, you've been involved on the editorial side of things for these books for a while. How did you feel about bringing the universes together?
John Barber: I'd always thought if I could go back in time, I'd make sure the IDW G.I. Joe comics took place in the same universe as the Transformers comics.
How did the decision to combine the contents of those boxes come about?
Barber: One day, the IDW editors were brainstorming ideas, and this notion of doing a crossover came about -- but I'm never totally sold on big crossovers that don't impact the subsequent status quo. Like, it's fun to cross over two properties and see how they interact, but I mean, if you're getting a lot of characters together, it has to have some impact on the world. Meanwhile, I think what Tom Scioli -- and me, a little -- did on the "Transformers vs. G.I. Joe" comic was great, really fun stuff. But that story was ending; Tom and I had it all planned to wrap up.
Then I remembered something Andrew Griffith, who draws "Transformers," suggested one time: the IDW G.I. Joe comics could fit in between big Transformers comics events. At the time, it wasn't anything we were really serious about, but now -- I started thinking about that. Did that actually kind of make sense?
This effort seems to reflect a similar plan for Hasbro's big screen adaptations. Do you have any communication with the people working on the films?
Barber: Hasbro Studios is very aware of what we're doing, and there's some back and forth sharing of information and ideas. I don't think there's been any big thing where we've seen things one way and they've seen things other ways. We've been remarkably in sync, I think it's fair to say. There've been some characters that have specifically come from the studio here and there -- some of these brands have been dormant for a while, and there are new angles they have on characters that they've shared with us, like Phenolo-Phi in "Micronauts." They have some amazingly talented people working in that writer's room -- like, seriously extraordinary people who have done amazing film, comics and television. The few I know personally are great human beings, too.
The funny thing with this was, it wasn't like a mandate came down and said, "Do this." Totally the opposite. IDW Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall and I flew out to Hasbro headquarters in Rhode Island to try to convince them to do this, because we really wanted to have this universe exist. And it turned out we were all on the same page. It was great, the people running the brands at Hasbro were all very into this and really supportive, and offered great ideas and angles on what we could do.
Fico, how is it for you bringing all these different characters who come from various backgrounds and realities together into one cohesive look?
Ossio: It sort of built up from my first take on G.I. Joe. David and John asked me to work on a cover/pinup of the characters and gave me license to give them an "upgrade."
I didn't want to really stray too far from the original cartoon, which I watched as a kid and loved. I had a bunch of G.I. Joe toy,s as well, so I wanted to just take those uniforms and give them more of a body armor look. Especially considering these guys were about to clash against 10-foot-tall robots. I could't grasp the concept of keeping them in regular army outfits or spandex -- sorry Snake Eyes. I think it works, because they still look true to their original design, but with a modern and updated look. Then, I took the new design of Action Man and applied the same as I did on G.I. Joe.
Next was Transformers. A lot of artists had worked on Transformers, and I found most of the designs Andrew Griffith had done were great. I respect his designs and pushed to make them more complex, with new, flexible parts and more of an organic look, which I thought would bring them closer to the combined universe. I also wanted to bring some of the elements from the movies. Except for Optimus. I couldn't help myself, and with him I pushed as far as the guys would let me.
As "Revolution" kicks off, what kind of threat or event is it that's big enough to bring all these different groups together? And what was the design process like developing that individual or force?
Story continues below
Barber: The background is, Optimus Prime has publicly declared Earth to be under his protection and part of Cybertron's Council of Worlds. This isn't Dark Optimus; he's doing good things -- at least from his point of view -- but the people of Earth are naturally going to be concerned about this turn of events.
Now, one of the reasons Earth has been important to the Transformers is this substance called Ore-13. This has a long history in the Transformers comics, but the short version is it can be converted to Energon, which is the Transformers' fuel source. That means the Earth is one of the few places in the galaxy where Transformers can live -- it has a food source, basically. But Ore-13 has always had other properties -- an ability to supercharge Cybertronians, for one.
Something starts happening to Ore-13 around the world, making it unstable, and all signs point to Optimus Prime, who has no idea why this is happening. That sets the stage for "Revolution."
How will your own ongoings look different after the events of "Revolution?"
Barber: Lots of the Transformers comic I write will be different, including the title. But at the same time, it's building the same story I started writing five years ago. You don't need to know all that stuff, but if you do, rest assured this is all part of the big story we've been telling. It's an unexpected benefit -- I mean, 2011 John had no inkling that Rom or Scarlett or Acroyear or Windblade or Action Man would be there, but this all fits into the tale Andrew Griffith and I set out to tell.
But coming out of "Revolution," there are some big changes. Lots of stuff is going to happen between now and November, when "Revolution" ends.