John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing

John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 3:37pm CST

Categories: Comic Book News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al   Views: 46,166

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Lost Light is not the only new title coming out from IDW Publishing in the next weeks - as John Barber and Kei Zama join forces for the new Optimus Prime ongoing spinning out of Revolution! Previews World has an interview with ex-editor still-writer and continuity master Barber, which you can read in full here, and snippers are copied below. Optimus Prime as statesman and military leader..?

John Barber: Not to give anything away, but as Revolution starts, Optimus is in a fairly antagonistic relationship with ... well, almost everybody. He’s come to Earth and said the whole planet is going to be part of Cybertron’s Council of World, without asking if the people of Earth wanted to be in it — or if the people of Cybertron wanted them. He’s doing this because he thinks he’s out of options to protect the Earth — he’s tried fighting evil Cybertronians, tried leaving the place alone. But bringing Earth into Cybertron’s fold is the only thing he hasn’t tried.

In Revolution this comes to a head: there’s a big, dangerous thing happening with Ore-13, which is a form of Energon that’s on Earth, and it looks to G.I. Joe like Optimus is behind it, so the threat becomes immediate. This isn’t a spoiler — Optimus is not behind the problem, and in the process of resolving the complex web of Revolution, alliances are formed and new relationships are established.

So...Optimus still has the goal of bringing Earth into the cosmic community of Cybertron. But who’s with him and who’s against him have shifted a bit.

Vince Brusio: How will Optimus’ origin be relayed in this new series? Is there room for the past? Or is the present too busy to spare time for reflection?

John Barber: The first arc goes full-steam-ahead into the present, but there’s a parallel story in pre-war Cybertron, when he was still Orion Pax, before he became Optimus Prime. It’s important for this series to see why Optimus is doing what he’s doing, what’s motivating his actions. He’s not just taking over, and he’s not just being decisive out of nowhere.

There’s a particular point in his life that we haven’t seen that’s really important to how he became Optimus Prime. He has some regrets — there was a war fought between him and Megatron, and that war lasted four million years and destroyed planets — including Cybertron, and very nearly Earth. And the ultimate goal of both sides was sort of the same — both sides were against an evil and corrupt system that had taken over Cybertron.

The first arc is called “New Cybertron,” so the war — and the events that led to it — weigh on Optimus’ every action.

[...]

Because Optimus made such a bold move in annexing Earth, the story was necessarily going to focus on him — or, at the very least, he becomes the axis on which the story pivots. There’s still a big supporting cast — Soundwave, Arcee, Jazz, Victorion, many others; plus the human contingent — but the shadow of Optimus’ actions is so big they can’t help but be pulled into his gravity. We’ll be seeing Optimus through their eyes.


Transformers News: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing

Credit(s): Previews World


This article was last modified on Monday, December 12th, 2016 11:56am CST

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Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1846474)
Posted by Va'al on December 10th, 2016 @ 2:04pm CST
As for the variant cover for Transformers: Lost Light #1 from IDW Publishing, Ript Apparel have also posted the clean lineart for their Timothy Ninjaink Lim variant for Optimus Prime #1 - with an early version of the writing on the wall (One Shall Stand, instead of final edit Are All One)! Check it out below.

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Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1846527)
Posted by Halfofme07 on December 10th, 2016 @ 8:09pm CST
All they had to do to make this cover really work is to put a question mark at the end of the phrase, making it, "Are All One?," which would have been fitting. Someone missed an opportunity to make a cover that might have stuck.
Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1846565)
Posted by Va'al on December 11th, 2016 @ 1:45am CST
Another first issue of a new series, but not entirely new series, from IDW's take on the Transformers, comes in the shape of Optimus Prime #1 out in the new week! Follow the full preview below, as we continue from the end of Revolution into Reconstruction, and check out our review soon after the issue is released on Wednesday.

Optimus Prime #1
John Barber (w) • Kei Zama (a & c)
REVOLUTION is over—but the danger to Earth is just beginning. As OPTIMUS PRIME pulls Earth into the larger universe, he’s painted a target on Earth… and a new alien incursion begins when a corkscrew shaped craft drills into our world!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Bullet points:
The next evolution of TRANSFORMERS is here!
OPTIMUS PRIME’s past on CYBERTRON haunts his present on Earth!
Amazing artist Kei Zama (Scarlett Witch) makes her debut with veteran writer John Barber (Transformers)!
Variant cover by Sara Pitre-Durocher, Sonny Lieu, and Paul Pope!


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Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1846572)
Posted by Darth Zax on December 11th, 2016 @ 5:32am CST
So... Who are they?
Any theories?
Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1846587)
Posted by ebonyleopard on December 11th, 2016 @ 10:48am CST
Darth Zax wrote:So... Who are they?
Any theories?

I want to say, Railspike, Bump,Roulette, Gimlet, Oiler, and Slide. Do I win? :KREMZEEK: :KREMZEEK:
Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1846627)
Posted by Darth Zax on December 11th, 2016 @ 6:47pm CST
Ebonyleopard wrote:
Darth Zax wrote:So... Who are they?
Any theories?

I want to say, Railspike, Bump,Roulette, Gimlet, Oiler, and Slide. Do I win? :KREMZEEK: :KREMZEEK:


Guess you do, would have never recognized Oiler.
So are these Cimeracons?
Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1846632)
Posted by Shot Put on December 11th, 2016 @ 7:43pm CST
Darth Zax wrote:
Ebonyleopard wrote:
Darth Zax wrote:So... Who are they?
Any theories?

I want to say, Railspike, Bump,Roulette, Gimlet, Oiler, and Slide. Do I win? :KREMZEEK: :KREMZEEK:


Guess you do, would have never recognized Oiler.
So are these Cimeracons?


They're all colonists, if anything.
Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1846645)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on December 11th, 2016 @ 10:13pm CST
Shot Put wrote:
Darth Zax wrote:
Ebonyleopard wrote:
Darth Zax wrote:So... Who are they?
Any theories?

I want to say, Railspike, Bump,Roulette, Gimlet, Oiler, and Slide. Do I win? :KREMZEEK: :KREMZEEK:


Guess you do, would have never recognized Oiler.
So are these Cimeracons?


They're all colonists, if anything.

Pretty sure they are colonists. With Oiler and Slide being micromasters, I'd say they are Divusians.
Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1846646)
Posted by Kurona on December 11th, 2016 @ 10:14pm CST
And the two beastformers? Likely from Eukaris.
Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1846680)
Posted by Darth Zax on December 12th, 2016 @ 3:08am CST
Kurona wrote:And the two beastformers? Likely from Eukaris.


Up to this point the Eukarians have only sported robotic beast modes,
which is why I thought these were Cimeracons.
But yeah, it's more likely they're Eukarians adapting earth modes, since they're with the other colonists.
Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1846748)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on December 12th, 2016 @ 11:00am CST
Thanks to Josh Burcham on Twitter, we have a look at an alternate coloring for one of the Transformers #56 covers, originally drawn by Kei Zama. The original cover features a much grittier look at Optimus Prime and Soundwave that current IDW Optimus Prime ongoing artist Zama will be using, while the alternate coloration features a cleaner yet darker coloration. You can check out the original cover first followed by the alternate one below, and let us know what you think in the comments section below! And stay tuned: Optimus Prime #1 drops this week, so be prepared for our Seibertron.com review!

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Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1846841)
Posted by Shot Put on December 12th, 2016 @ 5:43pm CST
That cover was for Transformers #56, though, not Optimus Prime.
Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1846853)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on December 12th, 2016 @ 6:48pm CST
Shot Put wrote:That cover was for Transformers #56, though, not Optimus Prime.

Holy... wow, thank you for notifying me. I dunno how I missed that. It's been fixed
Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1847007)
Posted by Va'al on December 13th, 2016 @ 1:53pm CST
From comics and entertainment site Comicosity, we have another interview with creators John Barber and Kei Zama about their upcoming (i.e. tomorrow) first book together: Optimus Prime #1! Part of the post-Revolution phase in the IDWverse, Reconstruction, you can find out more about the book below and here, check out the full preview here, and read our review once the book is released.

AL: Based on the cover I can assume Optimus won’t be alone in this series. Can you discuss who will be working with and/or against him in the series?

JB: There’s a big supporting cast. He’s still got a team on Earth—Soundwave is at his side, and we really see what’s going on psychologically betweem them in issue 3. Optimus blackmailed Soundwave to join him back before Revolution, but Soundwave has essentially come over to Optimus’ side pretty completely. How strong the bond is, how deep the trust between Autobot and Decepticon can be, is a big question. There’s a flashback story going on through the first six issues that goes back to Pre-War Cybertron, and we see how Soundwave and Optimus (then called Orion Pax) first met… and how deep the trust and mistrust goes.

Arcee is on Optimus’ side, but she’s a little wary of what he’s doing. She’s been around a long time, and she’s seen a lot of stuff happen, and is worried about Optimus overstepping the boundaries of right and wrong; but she’s really struggling to see if there is a real boundary between those things.

Pyra Magna, who leads the team that combines into Victorion, is becoming more hostile toward Optimus—and really, with good reason. She’s a strong believer in the Primes, and in the meaning of the Matrix of Leadership, which Optimus holds but doesn’t believe is a holy object. Pyra thinks she should have the Matrix, and is disturbed by Optimus’ attitude toward it.

Plus we’ve got some other favorites, Aileron (who’s a new character we introduced in the Transformers series and who had a key role in Revolution), Jetfire, Sky Lynx, Jazz. And a new G.I. Joe team featuring some surprising characters will be on-scene in the first story. Plus, Thundercracker and his dog Buster are still out there somewhere.

One of the big new additions, though, are the Colonist Soldiers—these are Transformers from Cybertron’s colony worlds who are fiercely loyal to Optimus Prime, who see him as a True Prime, a sort of space messiah figure. They’ll follow him anywhere… and Pyra Magna, in particular, is disturbed by that.

[..]

AL: Kei, you’re working with one of the most recognizable characters in pop culture with Optimus Prime. From a design perspective, can you discuss what elements of Prime’s look you are tweaking to make the design your own?

Kei Zama: I’m so honored to be able to draw him. At the same time, I’m feeling pressure to draw a character that’s everyone’s hero.

I’m always trying to draw him to look “heavy.”

In actuality he has big heavy metal body but on top of that he has struggled from pre-war to the current era and is now carrying the future of the Earth and universe—I don’t express him emotionally so much, but try to give just a glimpse of his hidden emotions and aggression.

And I try to draw him as a warrior. Not just with Optimus Prime, though—I usually add many scratches, bullet wounds, and rust on everyone’s body.

AL: Can you discuss the process of giving each Transformer a visual personality? Is it a challenge at times to infuse them with emotion considering facial limitations or vehicle modes, etc.?

KZ: I always think it’s difficult to express their emotions on their face, because head-parts or helmets often cover their features. Then I’m trying to express by gesture and lights/shadows/shadings, not only facial expressions.

I don’t think about alt-modes deeply. Instead of alt-mode, I try to add various personality on the robot mode. In Japan, a lot of robot characters are often drawn handsome or cool. I feel that’s boring, so I try to draw their appearance in various ways. For example, the colonists that entered in Optimus Prime #1 each have an individualistic design. There’s a cute boy, bad looking guy, tough girl, etc. Especially Gimlet, who’s my favorite!
Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1847123)
Posted by steve2275 on December 14th, 2016 @ 1:26am CST
sounds like a good series
Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1847134)
Posted by Va'al on December 14th, 2016 @ 3:59am CST
Citizen Prime
(Spoiler free-ish)



Synopsis
REVOLUTION is over—but the danger to Earth is just beginning. As OPTIMUS PRIME pulls Earth into the larger universe, he’s painted a target on Earth… and a new alien incursion begins when a corkscrew shaped craft drills into our world!

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Here we go again


Story

What do we have here? A new title from John 'Continuity' Barber? Look at it this way: Revolution is over, Reconstruction is starting, corporate is backing out slightly just for a little bit, and it's time to patch up what's left of crossover events. Enter the same cast, a different title, and a lot of clashing personalities. Welcome back to Earth.

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The Status Quo


Barber has a penchant, has always had it, to play with story from an entry point. This series is probably the most promisingly enabling of that, with Optimus Prime being narrator and thread, as his personal story bleeds into his formation and current situation, shaping and being shaped by the context and the players around him.

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Flashbaaaaaacks


This is true for the flashbacks, in which we see his young idealist law-enforcer self. This is true for when we switch back to the current events, where those ideals are a little shakier, and other people are more likely to call him out on things, from Pyra Magna (more of her please), to Soundwave, and even to his older allies.

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Enemies, too


For a reader who's followed RID, Transformers, all the crossovers and events, and even before all that, back to earlier stories with red-blue-bot, some of this may feel familiar, sure. But it's an excellent first issue that doesn't compromise its jumping on point in any way. It has enough new stuff to keep regulars in, and enough grounding to bring new audiences along too. That's a win-win for me.

Art

Kei Zama's work on the pages is something to behold. It's not often that an excellent cover artist is also a truly great interior artist, and when it happens, they deserve all the praise they can get. One of the interviews about her cited a number of heavy influences, from Marvel G2 to 2000AD, but I also see some James Raiz in more TF-friendly terms, and it's definitely her own take on sequential narrative, with bold inks and shading to boot.

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LOUD DYNAMIC LINES


And if the lines are gritty, and bold, and heavy without crushing the page, Josh Burcham crushes the work with some of the best colours he's produced in his career. If you thought Sins of the Wreckers was good, this goes in a different, even better direction altogether, and the two styles work oh so very well.

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By contrast, simple and effective


With the old style coming back, and a lot of new faces, Tom B. Long has a lot on his lettering plate, but do we really have any doubts that he can make it work, even with new art and busy panels? Not at all. The flow is great, the captions fit, and nothing is sacrificed. Plus, IDW got Paul Pope (with Lovern Kindzierski) to do a variant cover. Sara Pitre Durocher tags the shiz out of graffiti art, regulars Casey Coller, Joana Lafuente, Andrew Griffith are still magnificent, and the Sonny Liew and Tim King are great additions/banes to completists. Nice touch on the UK-variant Zama cover too, with David Garcia Cruz on colours.

Thoughts
Spoilerish ahead

We know this by now: Roberts and the MTMTE Lost Light team work best with the fandom they created, Barber and his rotating titles and teams are in charge of the core mythology, lore, and backbone storylines for the IDW verse. Optimus Prime, in this first issue is very similar to the early RID books I loved so much - internal narration devices included - and yes, while full of stuff, leads directly from the general reader that bought Revolution.

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..but what about the fun, then?


If this is what Reconstruction is going to bring, I'm quite happy to cautiously join in for the ride, and for one, accept our benevolent diplomatic if ego-inflated robotic overlords. And if they look this good doing it, thanks to Zama and Burcham, it's definitely going to be a swish ride for a little while at least, despite the criss-crossing plotlines that the editorial team will have to keep track of (thanks, synergy - we will achieve Total Brand Awareness).

. :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: ½ out of :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT:
Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1847135)
Posted by Kurona on December 14th, 2016 @ 4:09am CST
One little detail I enjoyed about the issue is Jetfire being a Decepticon pre-war. You never really saw that whole part of his character after 1985 and... it actually fits in here. His whole deal of being a scientist yet being a big bulky jet built for combat jibes PERFECTLY with what's been built up about the Functionists and the pre-war Decepticon cause in IDW as of late. It's kind of one of those things that should have been obvious to you, but it wasn't and you're glad you got it.
Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1847170)
Posted by Va'al on December 14th, 2016 @ 10:16am CST
I also really like that they're exploring Earth outside of the usual territories, with Mexico and the Alps showing up in this issue. Let's hear it for global crises not meaning US-based!
Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1847223)
Posted by ScottyP on December 14th, 2016 @ 6:58pm CST
I absolutely just adore this issue. More superlatives later as it's almost dinner time.

That said, anyone else catch a slight nod to TF UK #99-100 with the Prime and Outback stuff, only with some fun contrast in their relationship? Of course, maybe this is nothing at all and just happenstance, but it made me chuckle regardless.
Re: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing (1847537)
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on December 16th, 2016 @ 3:20pm CST
The interviews keep on rolling in for John Barber and the whole of IDW's Optimus Prime ongoing. Comic Book Resources were able to snag an interview with Mr. Continuity himself and ask him even more questions about the new ongoing and where it will be headed. You can check out the full interview HERE and catch a sneak peak below. Let us know what you think of this latest interview in the comments section below!

In Prime, you have this unique lead with literally millions of years of history. Will you be digging into that?

We’ll definitely be digging into Optimus Prime’s past. The first arc has a parallel story set before the war — back when Optimus was Orion Pax, a police officer on Cybertron. It’s another view, on another world, in another time, of a lot of the same issues at play in the present day: the relationship of a protector to the protected, and how Optimus/Orion looks at his enemies. Back then, Cybertron was on a downward curve, historically speaking. Orion’s on the precipice of a four-million-year-long war that he winds up being an essential part of.

.....

Optimus tends to have a crew around him. Will that be the case in here? Who can fans expect to see at his side?

Optimus still has a big crew with him. The real difference here is that Optimus’ actions are so big, the people around him can’t help but be pulled into the orbit of what he’s doing. Soundwave is still at his side, and Pyra Magna and the Torchbearers (who form Victorion) are there, but she’s not exactly standing at his side. Arcee is cautious toward him, but in a different way. And Aileron, who was a Colonist who sees Optimus as a space-messiah, has had her worldview shattered a bit. She sees Optimus is just a guy – a big, metal guy – dealing with things as best he can.

But then Optimus brings in a half-dozen new Colonists, all very eager to follow his every word. This decision doesn’t sit well with all of his crew, but it introduces some very obscure faces into the fold – characters like Oiler, Slide, Gimlet, Bump, Midnight Express, and Roulette. Don’t be worried if you don’t know them — nobody else on Optimus’ team knows them, either. But Aileron and Pyra are both colonists themselves, and seeing these hopeful ‘bots willing to lay down their lives for Optimus, right or wrong…well, they get a little uneasy with the situation.

.....

How does bringing in a new artist like Kei change your approach to Optimus and these other characters?

When I thought about what a comic drawn by her would look like, it was like a whole new approach to the Transformers opened up. I mean, I’ve been writing these characters for a while, and I’m always super-excited to get to do this stuff, but the idea of Kei’s vision of the characters, of the way she’d draw G.I. Joe characters, and how she’d approach all this…it seemed like such an exciting idea.

Carlos Guzman, our editor, didn’t take too much convincing, and he brought in Josh Burcham to color and Josh has brought a very unique, very cool color palette. The book has an amazingly distinct look to it. It doesn’t feel like anything else out there, which is amazing.


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