IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation

IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation

Thursday, April 16th, 2015 11:43am CDT

Categories: Comic Book News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al   Views: 37,312

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Via a notification from fellow Seibertronian robotmel, we have an interview conducted by IDW senior editor John Barber, also writer for The Transformers, with Georgia Ball, the new writer for the new series Transformers: Robots in Disguise! Check out some highlights below, and read the full piece here.

Transformers News: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation


JB: What was your entry into the world of Transformers—as a fan, I mean? Do you have a favorite version of Transformers from over the years?

GB: I was parked in front of every episode of Transformers G1 in the 1980s but I couldn’t convince my mother to buy me any of the toys. She was a huge toy collector and had no problem showering me with Star Wars figures but Transformers just didn’t speak to her. After tons of pathetic begging she bought me one: Topspin, a Jumpstarter who sort-of-kind-of popped onto his feet when you pulled him backwards.

GB: I missed out when the movie was in theaters due to the same lack of parental interest—I saw it years later on TV and turned it off when Starscream died, because without Starscream around I just didn’t see the point. I returned to Transformers with Transformers: Prime, then jumped into the comics and bought my own toys, although my daughter’s plan to “share” the Bumblebee I got for my birthday isn’t working out in my favor. Now if only someone would take nine boxes of Star Wars figures off my hands.

JB: This new TRANSFORMERS ROBOTS IN DISGUISE comic is based on the all-new hit tv series airing on Cartoon Network. But this comic isn’t an adaptation—it’s all-new stories set in that world, but with… well, without giving anything away, some old friends you’re only going to see in the comic, right?

GB: The stories tie into the continuity the show shares with Transformers Prime and what happens in the cartoon will have consequences in the comic. But the comic will also feature new villains and explore different themes. There will be squabbles and there will be punching, but the first arc weaves in an element of mystery and betrayal. Bumblebee has to put the pieces together and he may not get them in the right order. I like resolving subplots in one or two issues within the context of a longer ongoing story, I’m not a fan of ending an issue without getting somewhere.

[...]

JB: What do you think of TRANSFORMERS ROBOTS IN DISGUISE artist Priscilla Tramontano’s work? Have you two had a chance to collaborate much yet?

GB: This will be my first time working with Priscilla, who I was familiar with mainly for her color work in the comics. I love the somewhat organic feel she brings to the characters that lets them act out their emotions, she’s the perfect choice.

JB: Any other messages for Transformers fans out there?

GB: Transformers Robots in Disguise is accessible to new readers and is all about action and fun. Plus Autobots punching weird Decepticons in the face.

Credit(s): IDW


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Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1676261)
Posted by Darth Jumpy on April 16th, 2015 @ 10:21pm CDT
Sabrblade wrote:
Darth Jumpy wrote:Most of the Prime comics have trouble fitting into the canon anymore
Like which ones and how so?

The Prime graphic novel took place prior to season 1.

Rage of the Dinobots was set on Cybertron in the far past.

Beast Hunters was also set on Cybertron during and after season 3.


Just the Dinobot focused ones, because Grimlock was practically the head of the Autobots on Cybertron. In order for those to fit with Robots in Disguise, Grimlock would have to have joined the Decepticons AFTER the Decepticons already lost the war (post Beast Hunters/Predacons Rising), despite being a biggest name Autobot on Cybertron after Prime died. Plus, Bumblebee does not recognize Grimlock when he meets him in RiD, dispite knowing him from Fall of Cybertron and meeting him again right after the events of Predacons Rising in the Beast Hunter comic.

The only way I can see those comics still fitting into continuity is if FoC/Beast Hunters Autobot Grimlock is a completely different character than RiD Decepticon Grimlock, in which case there is no problem, but there has been no confirmation on this.
Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1676267)
Posted by Sabrblade on April 16th, 2015 @ 10:38pm CDT
Darth Jumpy wrote:
Sabrblade wrote:
Darth Jumpy wrote:Most of the Prime comics have trouble fitting into the canon anymore
Like which ones and how so?

The Prime graphic novel took place prior to season 1.

Rage of the Dinobots was set on Cybertron in the far past.

Beast Hunters was also set on Cybertron during and after season 3.


Just the Dinobot focused ones, because Grimlock was practically the head of the Autobots on Cybertron. In order for those to fit with Robots in Disguise,
Lemme stop ya right there. Those comics fit with Prime and the games, but what RID did to its depiction of Grimlock clashed with them, yes. However, those comics were written by Mairghread Scott, who is the Script Coordinator and Writer’s Assistant for the RID cartoon. With her onboard, there may yet be more to Grimlock than we currently know. And when fans asked her questions during the live Twitter Q&A session that happened during the U.S. premiere of the show, all questions pertaining to the nature of Grimlock in regards to the greater continuity were suspiciously refrained from being answered, as though she wanted to keep us in the dark about something related to this to come later.

For the time being, I'm just gonna ignore Grimlock's clashing depictions and want to see what, if anything, is to come of this later. If nothing comes at all (in either the show or in its new comic series), however, then I'll express my disdain for their latest reluctance to keep things consistent. :)
Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1676403)
Posted by hinomars19 on April 17th, 2015 @ 10:16am CDT
As far as Grimlock goes, the easiest answer is he is a completely different character, who just shares the name. The reason for this is because the 'Grimlock' name is popular right now due to AoE, so Hasbro are cashing in.

Whether Scott does, can, or wants to offer an in fiction 'explanation' at some point is yet to be seen. Maybe I'm too cynical, but the skirting of the issue may come more from not wanting to say what I just said above.
This would all be avoided by simply calling him something else, but 'something else' isn't a money spinner right now. Second, I doubt Hasbro care too much if the latest TV show fits with the comics. As long as it vaguely follows the Prime cartoon, they are happy.They don't care about what kids don't care about. Scott is working on this under Hasbro's orders, so it may not be her call, even though it's the obvious question to us to ask.

I've expressed frustration with this whole aligned thing before and I'm sticking with my view that it's as aligned as a hardened boxers nose, but RiD Grimlock, for whatever reason, doesn't seem to bother me. Probably because he comes off as a different character, and I feel he is intended to be. <
Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1681455)
Posted by Va'al on May 2nd, 2015 @ 5:54am CDT
FREE STOMPIN'



Premise
As we have seen with previous news pieces, the Transformers: Robots in Disguise animated series will be accompanied by an IDW Publishing comic, featuring writing by Georgia Ball and art/colours by Priscilla Tramontano. The introductory short story will be written by senior editor John Barber, and released for Free Comic Book Day (today! 2nd May!). A preview of the first three pages of issue #0 can bee seen here - and check out our quick review below!

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In hand!



Story

The foundation for the story is firmly rooted in the established status quo of the animated series, and recapped in the credits page of the issue (with art by Travis Sengaus and colours by Tramontano): Bumblebee is sent on mission to Earth by the 'spirit' of Optimus Prime, is followed by Strongarm and Sideswipe; they encounter Fixit and a crash-landed prison ship full of Decepticons, including Grimlock, now a Team Bee member. The series follows their search for the escaped prisoners, and the help they get from humans Russell and his father.

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Recap! Exclamation mark!


John Barber writes a light-hearted, if initially quite perilous plot for the humans involved, as a fire threatens to destroy a park by Crown City. The Autobots track the culprit down to Decepticon Flamefeather, and attempt to contain, restrain and detain the Con, and remain hidden to the human population.

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LAMEfeather


The target is obviously the same as the TV show, with similar gags (Bumblebee's unsuccessful slogans), dynamics (Strongarm and Sideswipe bickering), punchlines (anything with Grimlock) and general action sequences with the Con-of-the-week formula - but there is also quite an intriguing twist at the end, which might have some older fans interested, and the jokes (both visual and textual) work quite well on the page too.

Art

The art, both colours and linework, is by newcomer to interiors but Transformers veteran Priscilla Tramontano - and she shines, truly. The expressivity of the characters, the contrasts between backgrounds and forefront, the action sequences; everything is executed really well, and brought together in a visually appealing and exciting package, bound to interest new readers.

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Oh hey Prips


The colours do very much the same job, distinguishing between almost 3D and almost 2D shades for different elements on the page, with wonderful addition of Chris Mowry's lettering bringing the sass to the spunkiest characters, and the STOMP to Grimlock, as was needed.

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STOMP STOMP


There is also a fun and unexpected additional section after the RID comic, with Barber and Tom Scioli joining up for a 'comic book funnies' centerfold page, based on the Transformers vs G.I. Joe ongoing hit series. Megatron's activity corner is a treat. And some extra advertising for Combiner Wars, the continuing RID series and other IDW properties.


Thoughts

The creative teams behind this have been clear about their target and intentions, as to how the comic series will relate to and link with the TV show, and it works quite well in this introductory issue. As I said above, the humour of the show is transported successfully to the page, and bodes well for the future, with Georgia Ball taking the reins next month.

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I got my optic on you, RID


It's a fun little romp (stomp?) through the surroundings of Crown City, and Tramontano's debut makes it so attractive that I'll be following the series even just out of visual interest. But that final page reveal is bound to also leave a couple of questions that the show so far does not seem to be able to do. A fun issue to pick up for free, and definitely one for the younger readers!
Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1681919)
Posted by Madeus Prime on May 3rd, 2015 @ 11:46am CDT
I don't mean to be a pain, but could somebody scan a page so we can see what Flamefeather actually looks like?
Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1681928)
Posted by Va'al on May 3rd, 2015 @ 12:19pm CDT
You *are* being a pain. UGH. Graham. SUCH A PAIN.
Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1681945)
Posted by Sabrblade on May 3rd, 2015 @ 1:18pm CDT
Va'al wrote:You *are* being a pain. UGH. Graham. SUCH A PAIN.

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Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1682081)
Posted by Flashwave on May 3rd, 2015 @ 10:30pm CDT
Madeus Prime wrote:I don't mean to be a pain, but could somebody scan a page so we can see what Flamefeather actually looks like?


Just gonna go out on a limb and say I *THINK* the whole point if for you to go out and BUY* THE COMIC. But what do I know?

*And since THIS one is FREE, they want you to buy more while you're there. buybuybuy! ;)
Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1704508)
Posted by Va'al on June 30th, 2015 @ 1:01am CDT
The second piece of preview news from IDW Publishing is the first actual issue of the new ongoing title Transformers: Robots in Disguise, based on the current animated series (though diverging from it a little). Check out a three-page peek at it below, mirrored via the iTunes page!

GO TEAM 'BEE! BUMBLEBEE leads an all-star team of AUTOBOTS to Earth to find rogue DECEPTICONS... but in this all-new story based on the hit Cartoon Network animated series, they find more than... they bargained for! (You thought we were going to say "meets the eye," didn't you?


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Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1704511)
Posted by Sabrblade on June 30th, 2015 @ 1:06am CDT
My First Blaster! :KREMZEEK: :lol:
Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1704589)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on June 30th, 2015 @ 8:47am CDT
A little guy with little hands using....MY FIRST BLASTER!!! YEEESSSSSSS!!!!!!! :BOT:
Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1704897)
Posted by Starsaber468 on June 30th, 2015 @ 10:31pm CDT
D-Maximus_Prime wrote:A little guy with little hands using....MY FIRST BLASTER!!! YEEESSSSSSS!!!!!!! :BOT:

Lol it has Me first blaster instead of my first blaster
Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1704921)
Posted by Flashwave on June 30th, 2015 @ 11:14pm CDT
I knew I recognized that gun!

Awesome looking series. Can't wait for the Free Comic Book Day version to hit Comixology. (Or has it already?). Comic Grimlock reminds me somewhat of Hobbes. (Yes, the tiger). Don't know exaqctly why, but he does.

Starsaber468 wrote:
D-Maximus_Prime wrote:A little guy with little hands using....MY FIRST BLASTER!!! YEEESSSSSSS!!!!!!! :BOT:

Lol it has Me first blaster instead of my first blaster


No it doesn't??
Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1705005)
Posted by Starsaber468 on July 1st, 2015 @ 8:00am CDT
Flashwave wrote:I knew I recognized that gun!

Awesome looking series. Can't wait for the Free Comic Book Day version to hit Comixology. (Or has it already?). Comic Grimlock reminds me somewhat of Hobbes. (Yes, the tiger). Don't know exaqctly why, but he does.

Starsaber468 wrote:
D-Maximus_Prime wrote:A little guy with little hands using....MY FIRST BLASTER!!! YEEESSSSSSS!!!!!!! :BOT:

Lol it has Me first blaster instead of my first blaster


No it doesn't??

Oops i was wrkng it does say My first blaster
Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1710687)
Posted by Va'al on July 18th, 2015 @ 2:23am CDT
News for the weekend, thanks to Newsarama posting their previews of next week's IDW Publishing Transformers comics - starting with the first issue of the parallel series to the animated tv series Robots in Disguise. Check out the full preview below, and come back next week for a quick review of this younger reader series!

Transformers: Robots in Disguise Animated #1—SPOTLIGHT
Georgia Ball (w) • Priscilla Tramontano (a & c)
GO TEAM ’BEE! BUMBLEBEE leads an all-star team of AUTOBOTS to Earth to find rogue DECEPTICONS… but in this all-new story based on the hit Cartoon Network animated series, they find more than… they bargained for! (You thought we were going to say “meets the eye,” didn’t you?
FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Bullet points:
The hit cartoon comes to comics as only IDW and Hasbro can do!
Scan the shield with your mobile device to unlock an EXCLUSIVE character for the TRANSFORMERS: ROBOTS IN DISGUISE APP!
One of Five Featured First issues in July! One every week!
As seen on Free Comic Book Day!


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Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1710721)
Posted by Jack Hallows on July 18th, 2015 @ 8:24am CDT
haha, how'd be get his hands on Swerve's "My First Blaster".
Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1711281)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on July 19th, 2015 @ 4:49pm CDT
Still love My First Blaster. They need to make that thing official. I want one that works with generations guys! :BOT:
Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1712734)
Posted by Va'al on July 24th, 2015 @ 7:43am CDT
(Top of the) DINOPILE!
(Spoiler free-ish)



Synopsis
GO TEAM ’BEE! BUMBLEBEE leads an all-star team of AUTOBOTS to Earth to find rogue DECEPTICONS… but in this all-new story based on the hit Cartoon Network animated series, they find more than… they bargained for! (You thought we were going to say “meets the eye,” didn’t you?)

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DINOPILE


Story

After the Free Comic Book Day almost one-off issue by John Barber, new writer Georgia Ball has taken on the task of keeping this series up and going, with a new angle on the almost over first seasons of the new animated show Transformers: Robots in Disguise. And the angle is probably the closest we'll ever get to some continuity with Prime - but how does the rest of the series look with its first issue down? Read on!

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Good old days


What readers need to keep in mind is that this comic series is aimed at a very similar target audience as the cartoon, and will not be playing into the wider TFverse that most of the other IDW titles are exploring right now. That said, the vibrancy and humour of the series is deftly transposed from screen to page, even with the monster of the week formula that only worked for so long in the show.

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Genericon #1234


What Ball's writing brings, along with some really silly jokes (which I loved, I won't lie), is also an interesting look, perhaps even better than the show did, at Bumblebee's discomfort with his position as leader, the unruliness of his 'team' - and the feeling of utter betrayal arising from the final scenes in the book.


Art

A lot of the work done by Ball's script, both on the lighthearted and serious sides of the coin, is wonderfully heightened by Priscilla Tramontano's excellent visual rendition, showcasing a variety of expressions, body language interactions, panel dispositions and layouts, and just a general sense of *fun*!

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Is it..?


Tramontano's colours, too, are sleek, stunning and fun, the characters are fun, are obviously having fun, and so is the artist/colourist! We get references to the wider IDWverse (with MTMTE's My First Blaster making an appearance early on in the issue), and some always excellent lettering from Tom B. Long, who can play around with a lot more sounds than usual. And two great tone-catching covers, by Tramontano and Travis Sengaus/Josh Burcham (thumbnailed).


Thoughts
Spoilerish ahead

Given the target audience, the timescale of the comic compared to the show, and what the FBCD issue had set up, this is an excellent debut for a younger reader series, one that ensures to keep the light side of the dynamics between the characters on the show, pokes some fun around at things, and includes the excellent Grimlock and running gags - including the no-nonsense general recap - without driving them into the ground.

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The Decepticon sticker! The Blaster! The teeth!


Ball and Tramontano are set to bring a fresher look at some of the moanings of the older readership, with the ending of both issue #0 and #1 just enough to keep us intrigued while the actual target fully revel in the (I'm running out of words to say) fun! Worth picking up for a new reader, for the art direction and colours, and always worth it for the bouncing dialogue, . And dinobot.

. :G2BOT: :G2BOT: :G2BOT: :G2BOT: out of :G2BOT: :G2BOT: :G2BOT: :G2BOT: :G2BOT:
Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1712750)
Posted by ScottyP on July 24th, 2015 @ 8:28am CDT
Some additional fun Easter Eggs along with the MFB, particularly cool is the team playing "Return of Convoy" on the last page.

Also, app code inside the book that unlocks a "Cybertron Underbite" in the game, which is just Underbite with a slightly different color scheme, but it's still a neat touch. Wonder if that will keep up as a thing in further issues?
Re: IDW Transformers: Robots in Disguise Writers John Barber and Georgia Ball in Conversation (1712798)
Posted by PrymeStriker on July 24th, 2015 @ 10:50am CDT
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Optimus smiling?!

Arcee making a silly face?!

Was Bee high on Synth En when he recollected this??!?!?!?!?!??!