James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics

Transformers News: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics

Friday, June 22nd, 2018 2:06AM CDT

Categories: Comic Book News, People News, Interviews
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Courtesy of comics journalism outlet Comics Beat, we have a lengthy interview piece with IDW Publishing's James Roberts, writer of Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye and Lost Light - along with co-writing Chaos Theory and Last Stand of the Wreckers - about the run about to end (if IDW schedules ever allow that to happen, that is) on this version of the narrative Cybertronian universe.

The full piece, which you can read here, touches on a number of topics, such as planning, storyline changes, particular character developments and cast handling, Tarn and Getaway, Conjunx endurae across the board, and the Scavengers! Read some highlights below, and join the discussion in the Energon Pub

With you planning so far ahead, did any of your long-term planning change along the way?

You know, I was all ready to say that the basic mytharc — that is, the overall shape of the story I set out to tell back in 2011 — has remained broadly the same, but now that I’m an issue away from the end, I don’t think that’s true. Megatron’s defection to the Autobots, which was something no one predicted back in the beginning, did change the course of the story in more ways than I imagined at the time. And I think he changed it for the better; it made for a richer, deeper story, and one that better explores the key themes of More Than Meets the Eye and Lost Light: guilt, family, and forgiveness.

[...]

Are there any teases you can draw towards mysteries fans may not be keeping their eye on?

Well, I kind of refer you to my previous answer. The readers are so attentive, and they’re so used by now to my style of storytelling, that very few clues go unnoticed. In fact, what tends to happen is that non-clues get seized upon as evidence of an imaginary plot line that’s always, frustratingly, better than the one I’ve got planned.

I will say, however, that the finale is designed to answer all the questions that have been building up over the last seven years, including some that may have been forgotten about, or to which it appeared that the answers had already been given.

[...]

Is there anything you would like to add about the book?

Oh god, where to start? With regards to the last few issues specifically, I’ve really tried to deliver the finale that long-time readers deserve. It’s like our earlier season finales rolled into one and amplified. It’s huge, and it needs to be because this is where all those years of readers’ investment pay off. Characters get their moment to shine, or meet their end, and mysteries are finally, properly solved. The cast is absolutely huge, as is the scale – it really is like our version of Infinity War. And I’ll make no apologies – there’s a lot going on.

More generally, I’d like to say that for me, there will never be another book – or another creative journey – quite like More Than Meets the Eye and Lost Light. As a Transformers fan back in the 80s/90s, this is the One Big Story that I always wanted to tell, and everything just fell into place at the right time. Best of all, it turns out there was a market for whatever it was MTMTE turned out to be: a silly, serious, funny-sad space opera sitcom about very ordinary, very extraordinary people.



Transformers News: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics
Credit(s): Comics Beat
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Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966085)
Posted by misfire19d on June 22nd, 2018 @ 11:40am CDT
“very extraordinary people”
If I want stories about extraordinary people I’ll read The X-Men or watch The CW. If I want to read stories about Transformers I’ll, well, wait till next year.
Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966097)
Posted by Black Bumblebee on June 22nd, 2018 @ 1:28pm CDT
misfire19d wrote:“very extraordinary people”
If I want stories about extraordinary people I’ll read The X-Men or watch The CW. If I want to read stories about Transformers I’ll, well, wait till next year.


So... you don't see the Transformers characters as extraordinary characters? o.O okay...

The intent of the line was to discuss them as characters who are unique, but if you want to go the X-Men superhero route... G1 already did that: Windcharger, magnet powers. Skywarp, teleport powers. Hound, hologram powers. Trailbreaker, force-fields. Mindwipe, telepathy.... and so on, and so on...
Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966138)
Posted by mel2112 on June 22nd, 2018 @ 6:20pm CDT
Dear Mr. Roberts,

Please don't let the door hit your ass on the way out!
Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966170)
Posted by Rodimus Prime on June 22nd, 2018 @ 10:55pm CDT
mel2112 wrote:Dear Mr. Roberts,

Please don't let the door hit your ass on the way out!
No, let it hit him. Maybe it'll drive home the point that he should never come back.
Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966193)
Posted by ZeroWolf on June 23rd, 2018 @ 2:38am CDT
I know you don't like him buy is that really necessary? Other people are sad to see him go after all. Also be careful what you say as I think he could easily return to tf after a couple years break, he did win some awards after all.
Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966265)
Posted by Ironhidensh on June 23rd, 2018 @ 1:03pm CDT
Rodimus Prime wrote:
mel2112 wrote:Dear Mr. Roberts,

Please don't let the door hit your ass on the way out!
No, let it hit him. Maybe it'll drive home the point that he should never come back.

I, for one, will happily hold to door open for him, and welcome him back with open arms should he ever decide to return.

Roberts, in my opinion, is the best transformers writer in the history of the franchise.
Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966267)
Posted by AllNewSuperRobot on June 23rd, 2018 @ 1:23pm CDT
Ironhidensh wrote:Roberts, in my opinion, is the best transformers writer in the history of the franchise.


Debatable, if Simon Furman didn't exist.
Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966279)
Posted by ZeroWolf on June 23rd, 2018 @ 2:17pm CDT
AllNewSuperRobot wrote:
Ironhidensh wrote:Roberts, in my opinion, is the best transformers writer in the history of the franchise.


Debatable, if Simon Furman didn't exist.

Only of we count furman at his prime, he too got a bit middling at the end. Don't know about his writing now mind, he may have rejuvenated with his absence.
Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966281)
Posted by AllNewSuperRobot on June 23rd, 2018 @ 2:23pm CDT
Re-G1 wasn't that great but Origin to the -Ations made IDWverse what it is and those stories still hold up.

In contrast, I have noticed the shift in tone regarding opinion of Roberts from the beginning of MTMTE to LL. That is in only six years, mind you. Even by your assessment above, Furman's "decline" took a couple of decades.
Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966285)
Posted by ZeroWolf on June 23rd, 2018 @ 2:31pm CDT
Depends on how you view the g2 comics :-P some weren't happy about the introduction of budding after all :lol: wonder what he's even doing these days?

To Google!
Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966353)
Posted by Rodimus Prime on June 23rd, 2018 @ 11:27pm CDT
ZeroWolf wrote:I know you don't like him buy is that really necessary? Other people are sad to see him go after all. Also be careful what you say as I think he could easily return to tf after a couple years break, he did win some awards after all.
Oh I'm sure IDW will gladly have him back. And I have no problem with people thinking he's a good writer, it's a matter of opinion. I just think he's a mediocre TF writer at best, a notch above the gaggle of hacks who wrote the Bayverse films. But that has to do with my utter disappointment in the last 3rd of MTMTE and the 1st half of LL. MTMTE began with a lot of fun and promise, but it began to decline soon after, and after issue 40 or so, just went to toilet paper quality. I had hoped that LL would redeem it, but that hasn't happened. I'm not judging LL, because I have yet to read past issue 12, but I'm hard-pressed to believe the entire story will be saved.

ANYWAY. I don't want to keep bringing up my reasons, like you said, it's known that I don't think much of him as a TF writer.

I will finish LL for better or worse when the TPBs come out, as I find that reading the story in larger chunks makes it more tolerable. But I doubt I will spend any more of my time and money on anything Roberts writes in the future.

And comparing him to Furman is laughable, especially to Simon from the latter run if G1. Greatest. TF stories. EVER. In my opinion. I also think G2 would have been pretty good if he was allowed to finish it. ReGeneration One? I was very excited for it when it started, but it became clear quickly that Furman has lost a couple of steps. Recently I started thinking about it in a better light, but it was disappointing as well through the middle. Good beginning, decent ending, but it left a lot to be desired in the 2nd and 3rd story arcs.
Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966367)
Posted by ZeroWolf on June 24th, 2018 @ 3:39am CDT
Furman did finish g2 in a way with the alignment comic he put out unofficially, and he revisited elements of it in the regeneration 1 comic.
Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966372)
Posted by ausbot on June 24th, 2018 @ 5:36am CDT
I'm looking forward to what do they with Transformers comics next, I stopped reading over the last few years,
Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966373)
Posted by AllNewSuperRobot on June 24th, 2018 @ 5:40am CDT
ausbot wrote:I'm looking forward to what do they with Transformers comics next, I stopped reading over the last few years,



Same. I tapped out with Death of Optimus Prime, as I didn't like the overly humanising direction the series was going in (anti-Transformers, as a friend said to me). I'm hopeful the new series can recapture my imagination in the same way Origin and the -Ations did.
Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966399)
Posted by Ironhidensh on June 24th, 2018 @ 8:07am CDT
AllNewSuperRobot wrote:
Ironhidensh wrote:Roberts, in my opinion, is the best transformers writer in the history of the franchise.


Debatable, if Simon Furman didn't exist.


Maybe this is the differnce. I find Furman's work to be, well, I don't want to offend people, but I don't like his pre IDW work.
Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966423)
Posted by ZeroWolf on June 24th, 2018 @ 11:16am CDT
AllNewSuperRobot wrote:
ausbot wrote:I'm looking forward to what do they with Transformers comics next, I stopped reading over the last few years,



Same. I tapped out with Death of Optimus Prime, as I didn't like the overly humanising direction the series was going in (anti-Transformers, as a friend said to me). I'm hopeful the new series can recapture my imagination in the same way Origin and the -Ations did.

I still don't understand this sentiment, I don't see how they are humanising them any more than the comics did previous (including marvel, dw and early idw), or even more then any animation or the live action films.
Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966437)
Posted by AllNewSuperRobot on June 24th, 2018 @ 12:49pm CDT
Ironhidensh wrote:
AllNewSuperRobot wrote:
Ironhidensh wrote:Roberts, in my opinion, is the best transformers writer in the history of the franchise.


Debatable, if Simon Furman didn't exist.


Maybe this is the differnce. I find Furman's work to be, well, I don't want to offend people, but I don't like his pre IDW work.



Not need to preface that. I'd like to think we're all adults here who accept personal taste varies from person to person. Nothing to be "offended" by.

Personally, other than two Marvel stories, I didn't acknowledge any Transformer comics before IDW. If it wasn't a cartoon, game or toy, I wasn't interested. I'm learning about the rest retroactively through the part-work. A lot of it doesn't hold up.


ZeroWolf wrote:
AllNewSuperRobot wrote:
ausbot wrote:I'm looking forward to what do they with Transformers comics next, I stopped reading over the last few years,



Same. I tapped out with Death of Optimus Prime, as I didn't like the overly humanising direction the series was going in (anti-Transformers, as a friend said to me). I'm hopeful the new series can recapture my imagination in the same way Origin and the -Ations did.

I still don't understand this sentiment, I don't see how they are humanising them any more than the comics did previous (including marvel, dw and early idw), or even more then any animation or the live action films.


:-?

Guffaws, pets, Faux Latin, pseudo-psychology, romance, the "power of friendship" etc etc
I don't remember any of that in Origin, the -Ations, Spotlights or even LSoTW.
Outside of IDW, the gold standard in Transformers is you use Humans for humanising. Or even in series they are not present (ala Beast Wars) you draw a line, so people still know they are an advanced sentient cybernetic race.

Read Stormbringer, then any equally sized arc from MTMTE/LL and you will see the difference.
Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966447)
Posted by ZeroWolf on June 24th, 2018 @ 1:59pm CDT
When you say guffaws do you mean jokes or something else?
Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966448)
Posted by AllNewSuperRobot on June 24th, 2018 @ 2:01pm CDT
ZeroWolf wrote:When you say guffaws do you mean jokes or something else?


When you lean so hard into comedy you alter the tone of the work.
Re: James Roberts on Ending the IDW Transformers: Lost Light Comics (1966452)
Posted by ZeroWolf on June 24th, 2018 @ 2:33pm CDT
What if the tone was meant to be humorous anyway? Mtmte was supposed to be light hearted from the get go.
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