Botcon 2014: IDW Comics Panel Coverage

  Posted in Site News on June 23rd, 2014 by JediTricks TF

IDW-bannerOn Botcon 2014’s final day, Sunday,¬†June¬†22nd, IDW Comics was the focus of an impressive panel. IDW publishes Transformers comics, including a pair of monthly ongoing books – Robots in Disguise (RID), and More than Meets the Eye (MTMTE) – as well as fan-choice character Windblade’s titular miniseries, and a semi-regular digital-first series which will be continuing soon with Primacy. This summer will also begin IDW’s crossover series, the wild new series Transformers vs. GI Joe. And a new limited-series online motion comic is starting up right now called Transformers: Punishment.

The panel included the most IDW talent every assembled on one stage, according to Transformers editor John Barber, saying that were the stage to collapse, there would be no more IDW Comics. Writer/editor John Barber, writer James Roberts, artist Andrew Griffith, writer Mairghread Scott, artist Sarah Stone, and artist Livio Ramondelli.

First up was the slideshow presentation.

MTMTE #30 concludes the trilogy of Megatron’s trial, so #31 first page shows the star of the episode, Drift, and this is a “bottle episode” in TV lingo, it’s set in one place in real time page to page. Issue 33 shows thought-to-be-dead Rewind, all beat up but looking alive.

RID #31 has Jazz back in action and fighting underwater, Griffith’s favorite character. This is in a 5-part story. Issue 32 has on the cover Thundercracker and his dog, Buster.

Windblade #3 will be out next week, reviewers with early copies claim writer Mairghread Scott is evil based on what goes on here. The titular character might be behind bars and blood. A panel shows Blurr fighting off Sinnertwin. Another shows Windblade in action with her sword, her weapons training finally getting use. The Windblade series is Sarah Stone’s first comic series, she finds it crazy and intimidating, but also surreal and awesome. Issue 4’s cover is shown, wraps up first series, and while we all know the character’s makeup has significance, her “jewelry” does too as this cover has the character pulling a seemingly-decorative panel from her head to reveal some technology beneath.

Primacy is a new digital-first series, and concludes the Cybertronian war trilogy, this is a true war story between Optimus Prime and Megatron. This series is a contrast of those characters, their modern stories from what they were shown growing to be in Autocracy and Monstrosity. One panel shows Omega Supreme being found. This will be the same team as the rest of the series, written by Chris Metzen and Flint Dille, and drawn by Ramondelli.

TF vs GI Joe will debut just before San Diego Comic Con next month. Issue 1 sets up the story on the ground, #0 was a prologue from the Joes’ view, issue 2 is TF-heavy storytelling. An image from issue 2 has The Sweeps, make of that what you will.

TF: Punishment, available now, is an original motion comic available for the Madefire App, is currently free on Windows 8 as a promotion (get the Madefire App in the Windows Store) and is a soft launch for the new title. Punishment is in continuity, and will be available for purchase to the rest of Madefire users in 5 to 6 weeks, and eventually there will be a print version as well. But the motion comic has original music and sound effects. In Punishment, Optimus Prime visits Cybertron after Dark Cybertron to see disenfranchised Decepticons (living on the streets in back alleys, that sort of thing) when someone starts killing them and it’s up to Optimus to find out who and why. This series takes place in-continuity with RID, MTMTE, and Windblade, and it’ll be apparent what order these take place in once Windblade #4 comes out. The IDW team tried to make this most animated motion comic yet, early in the first issue a head explodes into pieces as it’s blasted, complete with sound effects.

November brings Drift: Empire of Stone, written by Shane McCarthy and art by Guido Guidi and Alex Milne with Josh Perez coloring. This will be a miniseries that will cover Drift’s story after he leaves The Lost Light, and ties into MTMTE’s events and may have characters from it as well.

2015 will bring the return of Transformers: Windblade, along with Scott and Stone’s writing and art, respectively. When you read the final issue of the current miniseries, this will make sense. IDW just couldn’t let Windblade go after the response, which Scott takes as a vote for more sexy Blurr. No specific time in ’15 has been stated yet.

That concluded the slideshow and was time for Q&A.

Will we get all 5 Dinobots back as a team? “Absolutely not, never” – Barber with a laugh. Later he clarified that he was just kidding, the Dinobots will be back together in TF: Punishment, Grimlock is currently still out with the Scavengers.

Any way to get Windblade and Drfit together? “If only there was a way to get her to The Lost Light” – Scott

Are movie comics not happening anymore? Probably the case, the mainline books are doing really well, they’re having a great time doing them, makes more sense to invest more time into these books than the movie.

An animated version of MTMTE? More a question for other people (Hasbro), but not entirely outside the realm of possibility.

Will Grimlock return for 30th anniversary to the comics? He is going to come back in a 2-part story not too far away.

Do any of the IDW team have a specific character voice inspired by a specific actor when they write? Barber tends to hear the G1 cartoon voices, but not soundwave in RID, and Prowl he hears as Peter Weller. Roberts has an “imagination deficit” here, they all sound a little similar, someone suggested Rung could be David Hyde Pierce and Roberts seemed to like that. Griffith is kind of like Roberts, except Cosmos has his G1 voice. Scott hears TF:Prime actor Steve Blum as Starscream, and Waspinator’s Beast Wars voice; Stone and Scott talked a lot about this, reference for Chromia’s body language is Elliot Stabler from Law & Order: SVU, and as they are also Star Trek fans, Chromia sits down like Will Riker. Ramondelli also hears the G1 cartoon characters.

A return of the Wreckers? They’re all out there in different places in the moment, the team made a conscious effort to keep them separated for now.

How did if feel to beat out Batman in digital sales that one day (digital sales on iTunes for Windblade #1 outsold Batman)? “I’m going to have it written on my tombstone” – Scott

More fan choice characters? Another question that would be for Hasbro. Given the response to this first one, it seems like something that would make sense to do.

More TF crossovers comics? Yes, more, an announcement will be fairly soon.

Why wasn’t TF/Justice League done after such amazing initial art? Roundabout way it leads to DC Comics, in the original talks they flew them out to Rhode Island and sat in with the Hasbro brand team and designers. Times weren’t right for things to fit together. It was really striking and cool, but DC was going through their New 52 shifts, not everything works out.

Will other Dinobots get individual stories in the main universe? Slug is getting one in an issue of Windblade, won’t see others this series because once they show up it becomes a Dinobots story.

Fort Max and Overlord coming back? Overlord is dead, Max is coming back in a few in a solo story.

Why make Megatron and Galvatron separate characters? This decision was before the current IDW team’s time. Simon Furman they think just had great fun writing both characters and wanted to have his cake and eat it too. Griffith likes that they can have 2 ongoing series currently with Megatron in one and Galvatron in the other.

Now that we’re back on Earth, will we meet back up with Verity? You’ll have to wait and see. We will see some old human friends soon. RID #33 and 34 are stand-alone issues. #33 is a Wheeljack issue, Sarah Stone on art. #34 is another solo, more backstory of Galvatron the Barbarian. #35 old human friends but not saying which, just that they “are aware of Verity”.

Will we see Sixshot and Springer again? “The Wreckers are in a holding pattern for the moment” – Roberts. But don’t be surprised if we get back to them, read into that what you will. Sixshot and interesting characters like that are just floating around, the team would like to get around to them at some point.

With the different religions and beliefs shown on Cybertron, will The Thirteen or Alpha Trion have an affect on that? “What an interesting question. Don’t stop reading right now.” – Barber

Anthology type TF comics, different continuities and outside artists into the brand? They were super close to doing that at some point, it was on the schedule, but were publishing a lot of good TF stuff right now and don’t want to overwhelm fans and retailers, and they have a certain amount of resources they regularly drawn upon. Would be great to have a place to try out new people on a low-risk thing that doesn’t derail a whole series, so it is something they’re toying with, but there’s also a whole world of readers who are scared of anthologies.

It was neat to see more of the TF:Prime universe come out in IDW’s TF:Prime comics what with Dinobots and more, have they discussed with Hasbro the new cartoon – Transformers: Robots in Disguise – having a comic? Stay tuned and they’ll see how it works out.

With memory loss being such a large part of the stories right now, might we see Soundwave and his memories? Oddly some does come up sorta in upcoming issues, not exactly hit upon but the mechanism is going to get hit on a little bit, so yeah sort of.

Will we get to see Windblade’s colony? That’s a big part of issue 4, exploring her backstory, and a lot of people’s backstories.

Is there going to be a series with more senators, other than Ratbat and Proteus? “Sorta.” – Roberts. There will be a multipart MTMTE in the past coming up, Chaos Theory-era senators and functionists.

Does Simon Furman have a future with IDW? He doesn’t NOT have a future, there’s not any ill will or a split up. There’s nothing right away but they wouldn’t rule that out in the future.

Titans like Metroplex are treated as almost sacred progenitors yet also victims of genocide, will that be clarified or is that just another part of the messed up TF people and their history? It’s part of the story, going to start drawing more of this in the future. Not going to ignore.

Will the Decepticon Justice Division appear in other areas besides MTMTE? “They’re not allowed to.” – Roberts

In RID #29, Marissa Fairborne mentions going to New York to take part in the Occupy movement when the events of All Hail Megatron came down. AHM was published in 2009, the Occupy movement happened 2 years later in 2011, so is RID #29 the result of a time-slide in storytelling? Nobody said the current comics are taking place in 2014, RID takes place a couple years in the future, it just hadn’t come up as a stated thing before, said Barber. Roberts added that he’d say it’s a different universe and billions didn’t die on this planet, so it’s also a comic time thing where that universe’s Occupy could have taken place in a different era. Several issues of MTMTE take place in a very short time and they worked out that it wouldn’t doesn’t line up with RID without “comic book timing”, so it’s fun to play with the idea, sorta Marvel time, fun to work with since TF characters don’t age. Between Barber and Roberts, in their they discussed the IDW-verse and it works out mathematically to 2 years ahead because of the way the comics play out; the first 5 issues of post-#28 RID take place in the span of 36 hours, so you can be several months caught up after that, but Barber and Roberts think it takes place in the future.

With characters like Rattrap and Waspinator and the like from other continuities brought into the IDW main universe, who makes that decision on who might we see in future comics? Scott said that one of the reasons why windblade laid out the way she is in the first arc was bringing Caminus and other possible lost colony worlds in, introduce characters who have been out in the cold during the war brought back to the story. And she was very fortunate to have Waspinator and Rattrap preexisting when she got here, she might have brought in Waspinator anyway though. Barber interjected that he thought Skybyte from the unrelated TF:RID cartoon would be fun to bring him into the IDW universe, and there’s never a hard mandate from Hasbro about whose a character you have to bring in. For Barber personally if he knows there’s a toy coming in, he likes to tie them into the comic to see his fun characters used, but nobody said Ratbat had to be a big deal, Barber just wanted to have characters like this be a big deal, just like being inclusive of the entire TF universe.

The final question was just some love for character Jimmy Pink, and the response was that he’s around on Earth.

Now go discuss this awesome panel in its forums thread!

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