Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples and a video review

Transformers News: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples and a video review

Friday, November 8th, 2019 5:32PM CST

Categories: Site News, Digital Media News, Interviews, Book News
Posted by: Seibertron   Views: 16,147

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Hi Jim. Thank you for taking time to answer some questions for the staff of Seibertron.com in which we thought our users might be interested regarding your upcoming book Transformers: A Visual History, which is scheduled to come out on November 12th, 2019. You can pre-order Transformers: A Visual History on Amazon.com or by clicking on any of the images below. Without further ado, let's jump right in!

Transformers News: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples

Transformers News: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples

Seibertron.com: Are there any pieces featured in A Visual History that were brand new to you even after all your years of deep curation and involvement with Transformers?

Jim Sorenson: Oh, absolutely. That's part of the joy of a project like this one. Much of the production artwork from Chapter 5, “The Films,” is from deep in the vaults. To my knowledge no one outside of Hasbro or Paramount has ever seen much of the material presented here.

Transformers News: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples

Seibertron.com: If yes, any that stand out for any particular reason, perhaps due to their being a surprise discovery or something that has a fun story around how it was discovered?

Jim Sorenson: A couple of pieces come to mind. On page 269, we have a couple of Rescue Bots sketches that are just brimming with emotion. They really capture the feel of the series, and I'm delighted that we found room to include them. On page 346, there's an important piece of movie concept art called The Ice Man, by James Clyne. It's one of the first pieces that Michael Bay fell in love with and helped set the visual language for the entire film franchise. The challenge for the production staff was that it's a portrait piece, and of course films are landscape, so they had to figure out how to translate this piece to the big screen.

Transformers News: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples

Seibertron.com: Are there some new items or surprises in this upcoming book that most fans haven't seen before?

Jim Sorenson: Yup! Tons. I won't give away all the surprises, but we've got the never-before-seen alternate modes for Elita-One and Orion Pax from the original series episodes The Search for Alpha Trion and War Dawn, which I'm super proud to bring to the light of day. You'll find them on page 226, in the “Animation” chapter. There's also an amazing sketch by Doug Heart, who did virtually all of the Beast Wars package art, for a 15th anniversary box set that would have included Beast Wars and G1 toys. Alas, it never came to be, but you can see the art here for the first time on page 44.

Transformers News: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples

Seibertron.com: Was there a particular piece that was difficult to come across or that you hadn't seen before?

Jim Sorenson: There were several pieces that I fought hard to procure. On page 334 we've got the promo art from BotCon 1997, High Stakes, which was my very first Transformers convention. It's a gorgeous piece by Andrew Wildman, who was my very first favorite Transformers artist, with modern colors and inks by JP Bove and Stephen Baskerville. There's also a couple of images on pages 106-107 featuring the Siege Starscream vehicle and robot artwork that was a very late addition that I advocated passionately for, because I'd realized we were a little light on both Siege and Starscream. Two birds and one stone later and it's an absolutely gorgeous spread. And you wouldn't believe the lengths I went to in order to procure the Pat Lee Back to the Eighties piece originally published in Wizard Magazine. (Suffice to say, a former editor had to dig it out of a semi-inactive email account.)

Transformers News: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples

Seibertron.com: Of all of the artwork shown in this book, what piece stands out to you the most as your personal favorite?

Jim Sorenson: Which of my children do I love the most, you ask? Jeepers. I'm not even going to attempt to pick a single favorite. But some pieces that have great personal meaning for me are the classic Shockwave cover to Marvel #5, my first comic book EVER, on page 127, a two-page spread of every Gobots character ever in Cybertronian bodies on 294-295 that I commissioned when I was working with the fan club, and a series of Transformers homages to classic comic covers on pages 208-209 headlined by a Liefeld-on-Liefeld recreation of the cover to New Mutants #87 he did for the Dark Cybertron storyline.

Transformers News: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples

Questions pertaining to the Transformers franchise:

Seibertron.com: Since the scale charts shown in The Complete Ark do not address it, how large do you think the individual Scramble City style combiner characters are in relation to other established characters? Are the individual limbs similar in size to the ‘84 cars? Are the torso characters Optimus Prime and Megatron sized? Would enjoy hearing your thoughts on this debate!

Jim Sorenson: This feels like a question that would require research to answer well. WITHOUT having done said research, my gut is that guys like Motormaster are as big as a large Autobot car (think Ironhide Trailbreaker, five meters according to the internal scale guides) and that limbs are probably closer to regular car height, about four meters. But the real answer is that these guys are whatever size the plot required.

Transformers News: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples

Seibertron.com: What was it like to come up with fiction for the TFCC (Transformers Collectors Club) characters? Is there any story that stands out to you as a favorite, or that you're particularly proud of?

Jim Sorenson: Incredibly satisfying. There's something magical about starting with a blank page and building up the robot zombie apocalypse 500 pages later. I think the last two Beast Wars Uprising stories, Derailment (a 179-page novel!) and The Inexorable March, stack up favorably to any other Transformers fiction you might care to read.

Transformers News: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples

Seibertron.com: What's your favorite aspect of the franchise?

Jim Sorenson: The community it has generated. I've got friends on all four corners of the globe, and I'd never have met most of them if not for the incredible franchise that is The Transformers.

Transformers News: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples

Seibertron.com: Transformers fans miss their time with Jim Sorenson at past BotCons! Will you be signing books anywhere in the future or when can fans get some time with you?

Jim Sorenson: I try to keep my dance card full, but I've got no specific plans I can announce yet. This year I did TFCon in Burbank, NYCC in Manhattan, Bubonicon in my hometown of Albuqurque, and TFNation in the United Kingdom. Fingers crossed I'll be able to maintain a similar schedule for 2020. But I'm easy enough to get in touch with. Facebook is pretty reliable (https://www.facebook.com/jimsorenson) and Twitter (https://www.twitter.com/jimsorenson) are two good means of reaching out. So please, don't be a stranger!

Transformers News: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples

Thank you, Jim, for taking some time to talk with all of us here at Seibertron.com. We look forward to reading Transformers: A Visual History which fans can pre-order on Amazon.com.


Transformers News: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples

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A fellow Transformers fan on YouTube received a copy of Transformers: A Visual History. You can view his review below:

Search Got Transformers News? Let us know here!
Re: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples and a video review (2044176)
Posted by TulioDude on November 8th, 2019 @ 9:10pm CST
This looks awesome!
I happy to see such dedication in the gathering of some many of TF art over the years.
Re: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples and a video review (2044178)
Posted by Sabrblade on November 8th, 2019 @ 11:03pm CST
Seibertron wrote:Seibertron.com: What was it like to come up with fiction for the TFCC (Transformers Collectors Club) characters? Is there any story that stands out to you as a favorite, or that you're particularly proud of?

Jim Sorenson: Incredibly satisfying. There's something magical about starting with a blank page and building up the robot zombie apocalypse 500 pages later. I think the last two Beast Wars Uprising stories, Derailment (a 179-page novel!) and The Inexorable March, stack up favorably to any other Transformers fiction you might care to read.
Quoted for truth. While many other Fun Pub works were stories, BWU was an experience. 8-) :APPLAUSE:
Re: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples and a video review (2044192)
Posted by Rodimus Primal on November 9th, 2019 @ 11:53am CST
Thanks for sharing my video guys. The book is cool and is a treat to look at. Especially the never before seen stuff.
Re: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples and a video review (2044196)
Posted by Deadput on November 9th, 2019 @ 12:17pm CST
The news that there is indeed a lot of new art is news that is very much appreciated to me.

The Art of the franchise is one of the best things, concept art for movies, shows, games is a great delve into the mind of the artists and really shows creativity.

I was waiting to here if there was indeed a bunch of new stuff in the book before placing an order, thank you for the interview article, it was really nice to hear the info as well as a tease of what's to come.
Re: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples and a video review (2044204)
Posted by Coptur on November 9th, 2019 @ 2:35pm CST
I like Jim's dedication and passion for the brand but view his writing as nothing more than hyper-fanon.
Re: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples and a video review (2044242)
Posted by Bumblevivisector on November 10th, 2019 @ 12:27pm CST
Holy-Grail, Batman! He found a vintage illustration of Elita-1's vehicle mode!?!

IDR where he posted it, probably on the Disciples of Boltax blog, but when Jim was assembling his Ark books and online supplements, the character models for Search For Alpha Trion were apparently impossible to find. Add in the frustration of her car mode being largely obscured by Optimus and the weird angle for the few seconds it appears in the ep, and that alone should make this book worth whatever they're charging!
Re: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples and a video review (2044450)
Posted by Deadput on November 12th, 2019 @ 3:49pm CST
I just got the book and it's amazing, will follow this post up with some pics if I can get some

Book is huge and heavy

Will find that Elita 1 vehicle mode pic
Re: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples and a video review (2044453)
Posted by Deadput on November 12th, 2019 @ 4:08pm CST
Excuse my shody picture work, I don't have the most ideal shooting quarters and my phone camera refuses to focus in more.

Image

Image

Image
Re: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples and a video review (2044454)
Posted by Deadput on November 12th, 2019 @ 4:16pm CST
Gonna post this stuff since it's movie related, the stuff with the most never before seen art is The Last Knight.

Image

Image

Finally a reference to what the Submarine Transformer could of looked like, kinda reminds me of that one Seaspray toy, the big bulky guy

Image

Early version of Canopy which looks wicked

Image

Image

Image


Hard to tell from my pictures sorry but the very last one kinda looks like a movie still like a scene that never was, based on the environment in the pic the Da Vinci bot was meant to be in Burton's castle.



Image

AOE art of the lady bot who's concept eventually became Stinger or at least the alt mode did (the Pagani)
Re: Interview with Jim Sorenson, author of Transformers: A Visual History, plus image samples and a video review (2044456)
Posted by Deadput on November 12th, 2019 @ 4:19pm CST
The book is like way too big to really make a good sample review post, I'm also not really good at that kind of thing

And my shooting isn't good in these conditions my apologies, just wanted to give an early look at the book's contents, there is a lot of stuff and this truly is a holy grail of Transformers art, not sure how much of it is absolutely new but this is an awesome piece of history, lots of packaging art.

I will say though I'm disappointed in the Video game section, didn't see anything that was new in my eyes, not to say the content's were bad but I was personally hoping for more, it's a pretty short section in comparison to other things.

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