TheTF.Net Northern Meet

It's been six months since we last bothered updating this site. Not because we've lost our love for Transformers, but because we really can't be bothered… [more]

TheTF.Net Northern Meet TheTF.Net Northern Meet

Transformers Fall of Cybertron trailer featuring Metroplex

Activision has just released a new trailer for Transformers Fall of Cybertron on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. This trailer features the city sized Autobot Metroplex,… [more]

Transformers Fall of Cybertron trailer featuring Metroplex Transformers Fall of Cybertron trailer featuring Metroplex

Eight Weeks Until Auto Assembly 2012

Eight Weeks Until Auto Assembly 2012 It's hard to believe that we are now just eight weeks away from Auto Assembly 2012, Europe's Largest Transformers… [more]

Eight Weeks Until Auto Assembly 2012 Eight Weeks Until Auto Assembly 2012

Transformers Prime Teaser Trailer

The teaser trailer for Transformers Prime on the Nintendo Wii has finally been released. The game, also available on the Nintendo 3DS and DS, is developed… [more]

Transformers Prime Teaser Trailer Transformers Prime Teaser Trailer
 

Interview: Corey Burton

Written by Big Bot on July 22, 2003 | Features,Interviews |

Corey BurtonWe were lucky enough to land an interview with voice artist Corey Burton. Corey will be best known to transfans as the one eyed monstrosity Shockwave from the Transformers G1 series and Movie. So without further ado, let’s chat to Corey.

Could you start by introducing yourself and tell us a few of your voice work credits?

I’m a shy kid from The San Fernando Valley (in Los Angeles) who became a professional voice actor at the age of 17, some 30 years ago. Over that span of time, even a brief overview of my credits would be a bit much to get into here (I have a website for that); but knowing that this is for the eyes of Transformers fans, I’m sure they’d like to know that I was the original Spike, Brawn, Shockwave and Sunstreaker in the series and movie. In G.I. Joe, I was Tomax. The majority of my character voice work over the years has been for Disney; in series, storyteller records & CDs, movies, theme parks, and interactive media. In more recent years, I’ve done character voices for quite a few Warner Bros. shows, such as Pinky & the Brain and Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries; as well as playing the recurring role of Brainiac on “Superman”, “Justice League” and “Static Shock”. For many years, I’ve been the Announcer voices for Old Navy, and on radio commercials for Real California Cheese and Expedia.com, to name a few. My work is indeed “all over the place”, and chances are good that you hear me on something at least once a week over some form of media or other.

What character are you most proud of that you have given life to in your career and why?

If I had to pick just one, I’d have to say it’s Gaetan Moliere (Mole) from Disney’s “Atlantis: The Lost Empire”. This was my first major role in an ensemble cast for a first-class feature film. I take pride in knowing that it is an entertaining character entirely of my own creation – not a recreation or simulation of anyone else’s work. I’m also very proud to be a part of such an excellent movie (despite the completely unjustified “bad rap” that has been put on it). I have no doubt that it will one day be appreciated as a truly fine animated feature from the last days of Disney’s second Golden Age of hand-drawn cell animation.

How did you get started in the business and who were your greatest influences?

Regarding my entry into this business, once again, far too involved a subject to get into here. As far as my influences, I’ve made no secret of the fact that I idolize the amazing Ghost Host voice (from Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion) and all-around Voice Genius known as Paul Frees (and try to sneak a little tribute to him into many of my characterizations). I’ve also been inspired by Daws Butler (my ‘mentor’), Bill Scott (Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right and many others; also a brilliant writer/director/producer for Jay Ward), Mel Blanc (of course), June Foray (Rocky, Natasha, and countless others; June was the foremost voice actress of the 20th Century), Hans Conried (Snidely Whiplash and Disney’s “Captain Hook” are his best remembered voices), Dick Tufeld (great classic announcer for Disney), Alexander Scourby (National Geographic narrator), Orson Welles, Boris Karloff, and maybe a hundred other great actors and vocal performers.

In the Transformers comics, Shockwave was a major character who lasted right through to final issues. What did you think of Shockwave’s involvement, or lack of it, in the Transformers cartoon.

Somewhat disappointed. It was frustrating to be given such a cool character with so little involvement in the shows. I always felt that they missed a “golden opportunity” to use this interesting and powerful character to its full potential in the series.

In the Transformers series, the voice of Shockwave was on a par in terms of iconic power with that of Frank Welker’s Soundwave. How did you come up with that style for the voice, and what is the process for inventing a new voice for a character?

Thanks for the compliment – I really enjoyed doing it. As far as inventing a ‘new’ voice goes, I must confess that I used the old voice actor’s tradition of “borrowing” the sound from an actor I thought would work well for the role: David Warner. As a cold and mysterious artificial intelligence, I was impressed with Warner’s characterization as the Master Control Program from an otherwise terribly flawed movie, “Tron”. I had already done some sound-alike work as that character, and looking at the design and description of Shockwave, felt it would be a good fit.

The world of film and television is filled with big egos and bad attitudes, is there anyone you’ve worked with that you wish you hadn’t?

Not really. First of all, in the Off-Camera part of the business that I work in, those sorts of egos and attitudes hardly exist at all; you wouldn’t last very long as a voice actor if you exhibited those traits. We come from the traditions of “The Golden Age of Radio”, where mutual respect and gracious ‘camaraderie’ were expected from everyone involved. The most challenging and unpleasant individuals I’ve worked with have mainly been a small number of feature film and animation series directors, who believe they must bully and intimidate actors in order to get a good performance out of them. Otherwise, I can honestly say that it’s been a delight to work with nearly everybody I’ve ever met in a studio. Not to be a complete “goody-good” on the subject, I can say that I did regret being cast alongside Michael Bell to play Tomax, as twin to his Xamot in G.I. Joe: don’t misunderstand – Michael is a fine actor and human being – but our styles and techniques are so entirely different, that tightly synchronizing with him proved to be a daunting ordeal. Rather like sharing a steering wheel with someone who has a resolutely different idea of the best way to get somewhere. I’ve had a few similar experiences with actors whose approach and sensibilities seem to clash with my own, but thankfully it has been a very rare occurrence.

Have you any tips or advice for anyone wanting to become a voice artist?

I’ve gone into detail on the subject in replies to questions posted on my website’s message board (www.coreyburton.com), and am currently writing about it in a foreword to a book of Daws Butler scripts, being edited by Ben Ohmart (due out sometime next year). I can briefly only offer my most basic bit of advice for the purposes of this interview, and that is: If you don’t love it more than anything else in the world, it simply won’t be worth all the time and effort necessary to make even a modest living at it. Like anything else, if you seriously want to be a respected professional, you’ve got to devote your life to it.

Who are the most talented people that you’ve worked with?

As for Actors… beginning with those I idolized growing up: Daws Butler, June Foray, Bill Scott, Hans Conried; along with Radio actors such as Parley Baer, Virginia Gregg, John Dehner, Frank Nelson (“Yyyyeeesss…?”), Marvin Miller, Vic Perrin (voice of original “Outer Limits”); Hal Smith (“Otis”, the drunk from Mayberry), Sorrell Booke (played “Boss Hogg”); and folks such as Rob Paulsen, Frank Welker, Paul Winchell, April Winchell, Brian Cummings, Linda Gary, Russi Taylor, Pete Renoudet, Scatman Crothers, Maurice LaMarche, Tress McNeille, Michael McKean, Nancy Cartwright, Harry Shearer, Whoopi Goldberg, Roddy MacDowall, Mary Kay Bergman, Dan Castellanetta, Phil Morris, John Sessions, Tim Curry, Jim Cummings, Dan Gilvezan, Kevin Michael
Richardson, Tony Jay, Phil Lamarr, Gary Owens, B.J. Ward, Don Novello (Guido Sarducci), Florence Stanley (Mrs. Fish from Barney Miller)… to name a few. As for Writers and Directors… Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale, Joe Dante, Mel Brooks, Billy Wilder, Philip Kaufman, Jymn Magon, Jack Fletcher, Paul VerHoeven, Lamont Johnson, Richard Jefferies, Penelope Spheeris.

Is there anything on your CV that you’d like to forget? (:work history – Is there anything you’ve done that you wish you hadn’t or don’t like to admit?)

I once did an annoying voice on a radio commercial… and woke up one morning swearing at an obnoxious voice on my clock radio, and then – to my horror – realized it was me (and since then, have tried to never do another obnoxious voice on a commercial). …There was also a nightmare session for a promotional film about a certain University in the South, where I was “directed” by an ensemble of at least 5 people who couldn’t agree on anything: except for the fact that they all deeply resented me as an “overpaid voice-clown”, and blamed me for everything wrong with their truly inept script. It was such an insulting, hideous ordeal, that instead of coming back the following day to start all over (having gotten through less than half of it in 8 grueling hours the first day), I feigned illness and “blew it off”. …I was also once mistakenly cast to do the voice of Yoda (for a storyteller cassette), and even though I ‘sucked’, it was recorded and released anyway. …I did a half-assed character in the awful animated feature, “The Trumpet of the Swan”. And there were a few commercials I’ve recorded on a particularly “bad voice day” that ended up on radio or TV constantly for months on end, and everybody I knew happened to hear it. …Awful!

What projects are you working on right now?

The only current series where I’m a semi-regular is Cartoon Network’s “Clone Wars”, in which I play Christopher Lee’s “Count Dooku”, and I’ve done a couple more Justice League episodes as Brainiac along with some supporting characters, and Renegade Cartoons’ “Captain Sturdy” (I played the title role in two pilot episodes so far). Otherwise, more of my regular commercial work (Old Navy, Real California Cheese, Expedia, etc.), announcing for “Comedy Central Presents…”, bits and pieces for various animated series, interactive games, and theme parks in the U.S. and Japan. Nothing particularly earth-shaking to report, but work continues to be plentiful. …By the way, I recently won my first “Annie” award for voice acting, as Ludwig Von Drake on Disney’s “House of Mouse” (from ASIFA).

You’ve done a wide variety of work in your career, from Film to television to Disney park ride voices. What have you enjoyed the most?

What I love most of all is being a Radio Actor, especially when the “Old-Timers” were still around. And going in to work on any Disney Animated Feature has always been an absolute thrill for me. But I really do thoroughly enjoy most of the work I’m hired to do. Personally, (even though there are a few negative aspects) I can’t think of a more wonderful way to make a living.

Is there anyone who you have not yet worked with but would like to?

I’ve worked with the other members of “Spinal Tap”, but never with Christopher Guest (I think he’s a genius)… There are also some fine movie actors I’d love to work with; like Meryl Streep, Kevin Bacon, Nicole Kidman, Johnny Depp, the new ‘hot’ star Colin Farrell, Gene Wilder, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ian McKellan, Kathy Bates, and several others. I’m sure it would be a real ‘hoot’ to work with Christopher Walken. Working with Garry Shandling would be an interesting and fulfilling experience as well, I think. Just about any really skilled actor (with a great “ear” for voices) from movies and TV would be exciting to do good voice work with.

Thanks for taking time to talk to us Corey, and wish you all the best for the future. You can check out Corey Burton’s website at: http://www.coreyburton.com

Thanks go to Shaun Cox for getting us in touch with Corey Burton.

Press Release: ATARI TO BRING TRANSFORMERS ARMADA: PRELUDE TO ENERGON TO PLAYSTATION 2

Written by Big Bot on July 17, 2003 | Features |

London, July 17, 2003 – Atari today announced plans to bring Hasbro Inc.’s (NYSE:HAS) TRANSFORMERS ARMADA, the enormously popular male action property to PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system with TRANSFORMERS ARMADA: PRELUDE TO ENERGON. All the rage in the ’80’s, the TRANSFORMERS brand is as popular as ever with the top-selling TRANSFORMERS ARMADA toy line and comic book series, and Cartoon Network television series.

Exclusively for the PlayStation 2, TRANSFORMERS ARMADA: PRELUDE TO ENERGON is a revolutionary 3rd person 3-D action/adventure game. Players enter the world of TRANSFORMERS as they become one of three AUTOBOT robots and control their character’s every move and decision. The massive robots can explore numerous rich 3-D environments on foot or convert to vehicle mode for high-speed maneuvering. Players will battle DECEPTICON forces with an arsenal of weapons including cluster rockets, homing missiles and vortex cannons.

“We’re working diligently to develop a game that expands upon the TRANSFORMERS ARMADA brand to deliver a truly unique experience with intense gameplay, vast environments and an emphasis on combat,” said Andrew Carter, vice president of product development for Atari’s Melbourne House. “Every massive environment and character model will be delivered with an unprecedented level of visual realism by harnessing PlayStation 2 system’s powerful graphics technology and techniques – resulting in incredible rendering effects and absolute immersion for players.”

“TRANSFORMERS ARMADA: PRELUDE TO ENERGON for PlayStation 2 is being developed to deliver a deep interactive experience that will immerse players into a rich, bold new TRANSFORMERS world,” said Nancy MacIntyre, vice president of marketing for Atari USA. “TRANSFORMERS is a successful brand that continues to thrive nearly twenty years after it was introduced and we are excited to offer this highly anticipated title.”

“Atari is a leader in interactive gaming and has the talent to bring the world of TRANSFORMERS to life through a dynamic and engaging game that will captivate fans of all ages,” said Tom Klusaritz, Vice President of Publishing for Hasbro Consumer Products Worldwide, the licensing and promotions arm of Hasbro.

TRANSFORMERS characters are now armed with the ability to evolve as players collect different types of MINI-CON robots that power-up character’s abilities. MINI-CON characters possess a unique ability to make ordinary Transformers characters extremely powerful and are desired by both the AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS. The ultimate goal is to free the MINI-CON race, battle to defeat MEGATRON warrior and his evil army of DECEPTICLONES to save the Earth from destruction.

Press Release: Hasbro Consumer Products Gives Fans Exciting Ways to Experience the World of TRANSFORMERS

Written by Big Bot on | Features |

SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–July 17, 2003–

Hasbro Comes to Comic-Con with Exciting Toy Line, Comic Books,
Cine-Manga(TM) and All-New Video Game

TRANSFORMERS is one of the most popular brands in the toy and entertainment industry and Hasbro Consumer Products Worldwide, the licensing arm of Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS), is working with leading publishing companies to bring fans innovative ways to experience the saga of the AUTOBOTS versus the DECEPTICONS. Many published works, including a best-selling comic book series from Dreamwave, Cine-Manga(TM) from TOKYOPOP, a new video game from Atari and trading cards from Fleer, are among the items being showcased along with Hasbro’s action figure line at Comic-Con International, the world’s largest comic book convention, happening here from July 17-20 at the San Diego Convention Center.

“We have an incredibly devoted fan base for TRANSFORMERS and are fortunate to be working with some of the world’s leading companies in expanding the ways that fans can experience the TRANSFORMERS saga,” said Tom Klusaritz, Vice President of Publishing for Hasbro Consumer Products Worldwide. “The depth of the property has enabled us to develop compelling characters and storylines that lend themselves to a variety of publishing platforms, from comic books and other illustrated works to video games.”

Since Dreamwave Productions’ TRANSFORMERS comic book series was introduced last year, it has consistently been a best seller. Next month, Dreamwave will release a special six-issue TRANSFORMERS/G.I. JOE “crossover” comic book series that teams up the evil DECEPTICON forces and COBRA COMMANDER to battle the AUTOBOT warriors and G.I. JOE team. This series complements Dreamwave’s continuing collections based on TRANSFORMERS ARMADA, TRANSFORMERS: Generation 1, TRANSFORMERS: MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE and TRANSFORMER: THE WAR WITHIN.

Manga is one of the hottest trends in publishing and Hasbro Consumer Products has reached an agreement in principle with TOKYOPOP Inc., the leading U.S. manga publisher, to release a Cine-Manga(TM) series, based on the TRANSFORMERS ARMADA saga, which is expected to be available beginning in October.

Atari, Inc. announced plans to develop a game exclusively for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system. TRANSFORMERS ARMADA: PRELUDE TO ENERGON, which is slated for a spring 2004 release, is a revolutionary third-person 3-D action/adventure game.

Hasbro Consumer Products has also signed on Fleer Trading Cards to design and manufacture a line of traditional and 3-Dimensional trading cards, which are expected to be available at retail beginning this fall. The initial line will focus on the the TRANSFORMERS ARMADA television show currently airing on Cartoon Network, with subsequent lines to feature the rich, 20-year history of the TRANSFORMERS brand, as well as future programs and comic book offerings.

Hasbro will also display its best-selling 2003 action figure line at booth #3515, which will feature UNICRON, the newest TRANSFORMERS figure to reach retail. The highly anticipated figure marks the return of the most evil TRANSFORMERS characters ever. UNICRON will also be featured in new episodes of the animated program on Cartoon Network, “TRANSFORMERS ARMADA: THE UNICRON BATTLES.”

Hasbro Consumer Products Worldwide is the licensing and promotions arm of the Hasbro Properties Group, which develops and expands Hasbro, Inc.’s core brands, such as G.I. JOE, TRANSFORMERS, MY LITTLE PONY, MONOPOLY and CANDY LAND, into a wide variety of entertainment and consumer categories.

Hasbro is a worldwide leader in children’s and family leisure time entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech. Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER, and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world.

Press Release: Hasbro Enters into Agreement with Movie Producers Tom DeSanto and Don Murphy for Full Length, Live Action Transformers Movie

Written by Darren 'Starscream' Jamieson on June 11, 2003 | Features |

PAWTUCKET, R.I.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–June 11, 2003–Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS) announced today that it entered into an agreement with the highly successful producers Tom DeSanto (X-Men and X2: X-Men United) and Don Murphy (currently producing 20th Century Fox’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) for a full length, live action movie based on Hasbro’s enormously popular TRANSFORMERS brand.

“TRANSFORMERS enjoys an amazing fan base worldwide, and we believe that we can create an incredibly fast-paced, exciting movie that will be appealing to anyone who loves action films,” said Don Murphy.

“TRANSFORMERS is one of those rare properties that has been embraced by a generation around the world. Like X-Men, TRANSFORMERS offers an amazing mythology with all the elements to create a successful ongoing franchise, iconic characters, global themes, and a world that has never been seen before on screen,” said Tom DeSanto.

“The property has been successful in every arena it has played in throughout the world – toys, comic books, television – and we now believe it’s time to take TRANSFORMERS to the next level, and into a live action event movie,” continued DeSanto.

“We’re thrilled to have entered into an agreement with the very talented and accomplished Don Murphy and Tom DeSanto,” said Brian Goldner, President of Hasbro’s U.S. toys group. “TRANSFORMERS is a natural for the big screen, and both Tom and Don have the track record and skill to bring to life a TRANSFORMERS movie that will be action-packed and flawlessly executed.”

Hasbro’s focus on the TRANSFORMERS brand is consistent with the Company’s strategy of driving and extending its core brands through innovative toys and games as well as other forms of entertainment. TRANSFORMERS is one of the most popular boys toy brands, with sales up 64% in 2002 vs. 2001. First introduced in the U.S. market in 1984 as a toy line, the success of TRANSFORMERS continues to grow in a wide-range of entertainment categories. The hit television show TRANSFORMERS ARMADA airs on Cartoon Network seven times a week, with more than 12 million viewers. The show also airs in Europe and Australia. TRANSFORMERS ARMADA comic books, published by Dreamwave are also highly successful, with some of the most popular titles in the industry. The comic books are also translated and distributed in many markets around the world. There will be new TRANSFORMERS television programming and comic books launching in 2004.

“The Hasbro Properties Group (HPG) continues to deliver on its mission of extending Hasbro’s rich portfolio of brands beyond toys and games and into multiple forms of entertainment,” said Jane Ritson-Parsons, HPG President. “Our alignment with Tom DeSanto and Don Murphy demonstrates the power of our TRANSFORMERS brand and our determination to leverage our properties aggressively and creatively.”

The Hasbro Properties Group develops and extends Hasbro’s core brands, such as G.I. JOE, TRANSFORMERS, MY LITTLE PONY, MONOPOLY and CANDY LAND, into a wide variety of entertainment and consumer categories. Hasbro Consumer Products Worldwide is the licensing and promotions arm of the Hasbro Properties Group.

Press Release: New Transformers Hardcover Collection and Lithograph Set for August Releases!

Written by Big Bot on June 2, 2003 | Features |

June 2, 2003, Runnemede, NJ – Continuing their partnership with Dreamwave Productions, Dynamic Forces prepares two new exclusive projects scheduled for release this summer!

“Pat Lee and the crew at Dreamwave have been fantastic partners to work with,” said Nick Barrucci, President of Dynamic Forces. “Each month we’re coming together and creating more and more great Transformers merchandise, and the fans are hungry for more!”

In August, DF releases their second exclusive hardcover collection of Dreamwave’s Transformers comics and their first featuring the characters and stories of Armada.

o TRANSFORMERS: ARMADA HARDCOVER
http://www.dynamicforces.com/htmlfiles/p-C97509.html

Based on the brand-new Transformers cartoon, the Armada series by Dreamwave is collected here signed in a deluxe hardcover format! Written by Chris Sarracini with art by James Raiz, these first 5 issues introduce the new battles between the Autobots and Decepticons (with a healthy dose of Mini-Cons thrown in as well)!

$49.95 Suggested Retail Price.

ALSO AVAILABLE SIGNED BY WRITER CHRIS SARRICINI AND DREAMWAVE PRESIDENT PAT LEE AT THE MSRP OF JUST $69.99

ALSO AVAILABLE RE-MARKED BY DREAMWAVE STUDIOS FEATURING AN ORIGINAL SKETCH AT THE MSRP OF JUST $149.99!

Next, the DF exclusive cover to Transformers Generation 1, Volume 2 #1 becomes a high-end DF Lithograph.

o TRANSFORMERS: TITANS CLASH LITHOGRAPH – by fan favorite artist Bill Sienkiewicz!
http://www.dynamicforces.com/htmlfiles/p-C97712.html

The Transformers have been the hottest comics over the last year! Just try and get any of the limited alternate covers that have been produced or the preview books, betcha’ you can’t! The next landmark Transformers series is here and DF has an exclusive piece of art, from the first issue, featured on our exclusive alternate cover, created by none other than artist Bill Sienkiewicz!

Now we present that awesome image as a limited edition lithograph! This image involves the ultimate (and final) showdown between 2 main characters, but trust us true believers, seeing this up close is even more fantastic! Measuring 18″ by 24″ and printed on archival 80lb. Gallerie Silk Stock, this piece defines DYNAMIC!

$19.99 Suggested Retail Price.

ALSO AVAILABLE SIGNED BY ARTIST BILL SIENKIEWICZ AT THE MSRP OF JUST $49.99!

For more information on Dynamic Forces specialty merchandise, product art, exclusive creator interviews and upcoming releases – including more Transformers and Dreamwave merchandise, please visit the Dynamic Forces website at www.dynamicforces.com

Interview: Mike S. Miller

Written by Big Bot on May 10, 2003 | Features,Interviews |

Hey Trans-fans, I recently had the chance to interview Mike S. Miller the artist behind the GI Joe / Transformers crossover which is out now at comic book stores priced $2.95 (around the £2.50 mark), its available with three different covers all by some of the best known guys in the industry.

This guy willingly took time out of his schedule to bring TheTransformers.Net an exclusive interview purely because of his love of this great Eighties property we all know and love, this guy’s a fan himself so a big hand for Mike S. Miller.

Sid Beckett: Hey Mike.

Mike: Hello

Sid: Okay, first of all how long have you been a Transformers fan?

Mike: Since childhood. When Transformers first came out, it was about the time we got our first VCR. I would tape TF religiously and watch it in slow motion. I even started designing my own transformers, taking care that they would actually work in ‘reality’.

Mike: I guess that was early 80’s, though I don’t remember exactly what year…

Sid: Nice, around the time of the movie or before?

Mike: Oh, before. I’m 31, so I watched TF first time it came around, about 1984. I even have some of those old drawings of Optimus Prime around here somewhere. If I can find them, I’ll send them to you. It’s worth a laugh.

Sid: Excellent, it would be cool to post on the site. A few fanboy questions to get going, what’s your favourite Transformers toy?

Mike: Sideswipe. I don’t know why for sure, but he’s always been my favorite TF. Probably because he’s a Lamborghini, lol. Jazz and him are my favorites.

Sid: Great choices, two of my favorites too

Mike: Great minds and all that rot.

Sid: Are they your favourite characters as well as toys?

Mike: Yep.

Sid: As a child were you a bigger fan of the cartoon where you first saw them, or the comic books?

Mike: Without question, the cartoon. I didn’t like the comics at all. I wouldn’t buy them. I thought the art was completely inferior to the cartoon (no offense to those working on the comics), or at least too far away from the ‘feel’ of the cartoon for my tastes. I so much prefer the way they are being handled now, by Dreamwave et al.

Sid: Yeah, Dreamwave and Image are definitely more Art Studios, than 1980’s Marvel.

Mike: I couldn’t say much for the stories though, since I never read them. I like what Dreamwave is doing with the story, because I AM actually reading it. I guess it takes good enough art for me to start reading a comic.

Sid: Are you a fan of Beast Wars and Beast Machines?

Mike: I thought they looked pretty cool for the CG of that ‘era’. Which is funny to say since it was only a few years ago, but the technology has changed so much, I think a really cool cel shaded CG transformers cartoon would really rock now. I think they should bring G1 back, in the gap between the last episode and the movie.

Sid: I couldn’t agree more, there is a lot of groundwork to be filled before 2005 and hopefully Dreamwave are going fill that.

Mike: Hey, if anyone can do it, it’s those guys. Or me. I also wish the comics had never explained the TF origin, because I have a great fan fiction idea for that..

Sid: Well, there is no one true origin of the TF, the TV said Quintessons but that was contradicted by the UK comic origin. So there is always an opportunity for a retelling, look at Marvel and Spiderman – how may times has that changed.

Mike: The Quintessons are robots too. So they would require a creator as well.

Sid: Did you ever read the UK origin.

Mike: No I didn’t. Mine would be a completely different take. Want to hear
some?

Sid: Definitely, give us the lowdown

Mike: Well, in my take, Cybertron is originally an organic planet populated by a human race. ‘The’ human race, actually. A highly developed technological planet, where people have ample use of robots as tools and transportation, etc. At first they are just programmed for specific chores, because AI has yet to be developed.

Sid: Yeah

Mike: One man, Nuhn, develops the first AI, and it is a huge leap forward in technology. He uses a program that forces the AI to constantly devour information. He dubs this first AI robot, ‘Unicron’.

Sid: Ah! Like it…

Mike: Eventually Unicron becomes unstable, following it’s ‘hunger’ for information to it’s logical conclusion, it starts assimilating everything around it. In an effort to save the planet, Nuhn is forced to jettison Unicron into space, hopefully never to be heard from again.

Sid: Right…

Mike: Using the self-created programming he had copied from the Unicron model, Nuhn develops less aggressive AI that can be used for various purposes and we see the first generation of what he calls ‘Auto-Bots’.

Sid: Ha-ha, I like it…

Mike: These robots have a failsafe program that does not allow them to harm humans, as Unicron was doing.

Sid: Right

Mike: They are used as servant robots, their very purpose to serve human kind, and even designed with human features, faces, hands, etc�etc� Well, as all things do, eventually this technology makes its way to the military.

The military redesigned the AI program so that the ‘do not harm humans’ element was removed, so the programming could be used in their new line of ‘Decepticon’ robots.

Sid: I see

Mike: Of course, this idea was not unique. Various countries around the planet had similar ideas, and a massive war of giant robots ensued. Each trying to take over dominion of the planet, soon the world was a mess. But eventually the Decepticons realized that all they were doing was fighting each other, their own kind, at the whim of these ‘flesh bag’ humans. So they joined together to wipe out the human cancer. This, of course, flew directly in the face of their Auto-bot counterparts.

Sid: Ah

Mike: A great civil war began, and the Decepticons began to re-shape the face of the planet in their own likeness. Every ounce of natural resource was used and recycled into a techno-organic framework. The beginnings of an artificial planet.

Sid: Ties in with Beast Machines too, they found the planet was once organic.

Mike: Really, cool.

Sid: It ends with them restoring the natural balance to Cybertron and becoming techno-organic, but I digress.

Mike: Seeing the way the tide was turning, Nuhn and those humans he could gather together created an ‘Ark’ and left to establish a life somewhere without robots. With the Human cancer gone, the Decepticons claimed victory and re-named their planet, ‘CYBERTRON’.

Sid: yeah,

Mike: D’oh! I forgot to mention that the first good Auto-Bot Nuhn created was a ‘Prime’ unit, complete with Matrix. lol. Ah well, this is the shorthand version.

Sid: Yeah, sounds really cool, you don’t want to give too much away.

Mike: Well, don’t think it’s ever going to be done. Sad to say.

Sid: Very interesting. This leads me to what was going to be a later question, how does a TF fan get a job in the Comic industry?

Sid: I ask the question for the site and because I have been trying to get into the comic industry as a writer for years now, we have some very talented fan-fiction contributors as well as many talented artists who would love to get involved in the industry.

Mike: What kind of skills would this particular TF fan have that would be useful in the comic industry? Hardest job to get in comics, I think, is that of a writer. One way to go about it is to hitch on to an artist, and just publish your stuff. There’s just basic stuff really, the stuff you’d read in books about comics. There is no set formula, just keep trying to do your best, get your name out there, cross your fingers and see what happens.

Sid: Good advice, all right back to you

Mike: okay.

Sid: Your new series GI Joe and the Transformers has just shipped and its a 6 issue series, how’s it doing.

Mike: The first issue sold over 100K, and sold OUT in less than a week. Pretty cool.

Sid: Excellent stuff, very good numbers for the industry, that puts it in the top 20 if my knowledge is correct.

Mike: Maybe Top 5. I think it was highly under-ordered. People say the ‘wheels are falling off the 80’s buss, but with sell through like that, you have to be kidding me.

Sid: Available from all good comic stores now, while available.

Mike: We’re going to a second printing now, I believe, so it should be available if your local shop orders it. You could always just ask them to order you a copy or three.

Sid: New covers on the second print?

Mike: I’m not 100% certain, but I think so.

Sid: I take it all the character redesigns are by yourself?

Mike: Yes, all the character redesigns were mine. I did my best to ensure they would actually ‘work’ too. My father is an engineer, so I think I get that kind of thinking from him.

Sid: Indeed, and the hardest part looking at the designs, would be mixing the TF style, with that of pre-existing Cobra vehicles.

Mike: Yeah, it was difficult on some of them. For example, the Rattler doesn’t have enough mass to match the TF. So I had to take some liberties with the final design.

Mike: But that Optimus Prime Hiss (Hiss is a Cobra vehicle for those as unclued as me – Sid) was just a breeze to design in a working way. And I have to do this every time a new character pops up in Josh’s script.

Sid: I must say the designs work perfectly – the blend between the two is seamless. I bet the redesigns are the funnest part of the job.

Mike: It is rewarding. Like solving a puzzle that no one has ever had to think about before.

Mike: I’d love to see Hasbro make them into toys (hint hint).

Sid: Yeah, that would be great, they did a line of Expanded Universe toys with Star Wars so you never know…it could happen, and the Botcon toys carry a Transformers Expanded Universe logo.

Mike: Maybe. If enough TF fans email them, it might possibly happen. I don’t know of any plans to do so, I just think it would be cool.

Sid: Well, we’ll keep hassling them.

Mike: I can tell you there will likely be SOME kind of peripheral products from this series. Nothing set in stone though, nothing I’m at liberty to discuss.

Sid: What’s it like working with Josh Blaylock? And how do you feel about the art team in general?

Mike: Josh is cool as they come. Any time I need something or I have a question, I call him up and he’ll give me what I need. He’s a huge TF fan too, and with the way he handles the Joe’s, I think you would have been hard pressed to find a better suited writer for this project. Armando Durruthy is doing the best inks of his life, the original pages are just gorgeous! And the coloring, well, the coloring is done by the folks I hand-picked to color ‘George R. R. Martin’s: The Hedge Knight’, so you know I’m pleased to have them aboard. It’s basically the same art team, inker aside, on both books. So if you like the art on Joe v. Transformers, you should well like it in ‘The Hedge Knight’.

Sid: So what series will you be working on next, anything TF wise or onto other pastures? Whats this Hedge Knight?

Mike: Well, I don’t work for Dreamwave, so I don’t think we’ll be doing anything related to TF. Though I had made the suggestion to do ‘G.I.Joe: Mech Division’ as a follow up to this series. I don’t know if that will ever happen though.

Sid: Interesting.

Mike: I’m in the middle of issue 4 now, as soon as I finish issue 6 I’ll be jumping back on ‘George R. R. Martin’s: The Hedge Knight’.

Sid: Published by ???

Mike: Published by Image comics, produced by Roaring Studios

Sid: Available at local comic stores in August.

Mike: I put that book on hold to take on Joe/TF, because it was the chance of a lifetime. Not that working with George R. R. Martin ISN’T the chance of a lifetime, but you know what I’m talking about.

Sid: Indeed, a very high profile book like GI Joe/TF can not be turned down

Mike: Exactly, but I itch to get back on GRRM’s: The Hedge Knight as well. It’s a fantastic story, written by a guy who without doubt will come to be known as the single best writer in comics. He’s already known as one of the best, if not THE best writer in all of fantasy history, compared to and sometimes even touted more highly than J.R.R. Tolkien.

Sid: Impressive comparison, sounds like a good writer.

Mike: And that’s saying quite a bit. So if your fans like comics at all, and they care about quality writing, with decent artwork, George R. R. Martin’s: The Hedge Knight is a book to order.

Sid: I’ll add it to my pull list!

Mike: George’s best known work is his NYTimes best selling, Award winning series, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’. Including, ‘A Game of Thrones’, ‘A Clash of Kings’, and ‘A Storm of Swords’, he is currently working on the fourth phone-book sized novel, ‘A Feast for Crows’.

Sid: So where does ‘The Hedge Knight’ fit in with ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’?

Mike: ‘The Hedge Knight’ is a prequel novella that ties directly into ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’. There are some 6 million copies in print to date in ‘Legends’, edited by Robert Silverberg, who also writes the forward in our adaptation. It’s a Six issue limited series that will be followed directly with our adapting ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ as a series that will likely take me the rest of my career to draw.

Sid: Haha, as long as Cerebus? (300 issues)

Mike: Each novel is going to take probably 40 issues or so.

Sid: Wow, so a huge epic

Mike: Yes. Actually, I could be wrong, it could take more than that. Just check out Amazon.com for people’s reviews. You’ll see what I mean, if it does even a small percentage of it’s potential, I’ll do well with it. I did a recent online poll, asking over 500 Martin fans if they would buy The Hedge Knight adaptation, and of those who responded, over 60% said they would buy it if it was decent at all. Almost 90% would at least give it a try. Given the size of his audience, this indeed could be a blockbuster book.

Sid: Would you recommend a new artist or writer submit to Image?

Mike: Image is a great place for people to get their book noticed. As a beginner studio, you might get 2 or 3 thousand books sold through the back of ‘Previews’, but if you get it into the Image section, you could sell over 10K or more, even as an unknown. That’s pretty good for exposure, and they have all the ‘hook-ups’ that take all the headaches away from self-publishing. You also retain copyrights for your product with Image.

Sid: Some comic creators seem to have a problem with the eighties comics popularity, any ideas why?

Mike: Good question. I think perhaps people see it as a ‘fad’, just the next flash in the pan, and they don’t want to be associated with what they view as a giant ‘gimmick’. But if you look at the numbers, G.I.Joe has had a consistant following since it’s woefully underordered first issue. TF rode that wave and because so many retailers UNDER ordered Joe, they OVER ordered TF, but it still sold like hotcakes. Of course it’s going to plateau, but what a lot of people in my industry don’t realize is that TF isn’t just selling to comics fans, it’s selling to your audience, the TF fans. Just like Joe is selling to the Joe fans. And they’re not going anywhere. So it might feel like a fad to industry people, retailers, what and not, but to the fans who have been chomping at the bit for 15 or 20 years for a good yarn about their favorite transforming robots and battling Americans, it’s an addiction. Of course, the industry people tried to ride that wave with less popular 80’s titles and haven’t been as successful, but I don’t think there were any more popular properties in the 80’s than G.I.Joe and Transformers.

Sid: Well put, so you think there’s a long shelf life for the Transformers revival?

Mike: I think so. As long as the quality of the product remains high, and they don’t annoy the fans by doing anything particularly stupid, I think fans will be fans. And those fans will keep these books competing with the top sellers in the industry.

Sid: Well Mike, thanks very much for your time, good luck with The Hedge Knight and I look forward to the conclusion of GI Joe / Transformers.

Mike: Thanks to all the fans for the support, later.

For more information about Mike S. Millers future work check out the following
websites. www.georgerrmartin.com www.roaringstudios.com www.theartoficeandfire.com
www.underdogstudio.com

Report: Toy Fair 2003 in ExCel London

Written by Darren 'Starscream' Jamieson on January 31, 2003 | Features |

We headed down to ExCel in London for the annual toy fair, hopeful of getting a glimpse of some of the latest Transformers. It’s safe to say that we weren’t disappointed.

Naturally our first port of call was the massive Hasbro stand, but to our dismay it was a closed stand. Unlike almost all of the others we couldn’t just walk in and start playing, we had to make an appointment. Ah well, this gives us a few hours to explore elsewhere.

Sifting through the enormous wealth of toys in front of us we came across a company called Cards Inc, as a massive standee of Optimus Prime and Generation One. Ooh. We gazed in awe at the sticker book and stickers, throwing only a passing glance towards the Buffy the Vampire and Star Wars merchandise that surrounded it. We spoke to a chap from Cards Inc about the sticker album and found that it is due for release here in the UK in March/April time and will be available from all newsagents. This was what we wanted to hear as we’d feared it would be only available on import. Not so.

Another stall we found had the Optimus and Megatron head knockers, together with a few others non TF related. We spoke to them about our frustration in finding a UK seller of these items. Toys R Us don’t stock them, neither do the Entertainer. We were told that Epic Heroes were regular stockists, and that if they prove successful we can expect more Transformers head knockers soon. We were also shown some Matrix Reloaded statues which looked really cool, and some concept art for the still to be confirmed HR Giger range.

Finally it was time to head back to Hasbro for our 2 o’clock. We were shown round in a group of about eight, through the Action Man section and into the Transformers. We went no further! The room was like my bedroom, it was adorned with Transformers logos and cut-outs, there were Armada toys stacked up to the ceiling and there were even some G1 reissues. This was interesting; we had to ask if the G1 reissues were going to be released here in the UK. The chap said that all of what we saw would be available for Christmas 2003, but the reissues would be limited. Despite me trying to convince him that it was the reissues that we all wanted he didn’t really understand. He wasn’t a Transformers fan, just a Hasbro rep that had been stood in the Transformers room all week. He said that Hasbro wasn’t interested in giving a full release to a twenty year old toy. I didn’t think at the time but I could have pointed out that the Star Wars range reissued all of the ships such as the Millennium Falcon and the X-Wing and they did very well. Classic toys never die, they just get collectible. Still we were told that Prime, Magnus, Hot Rod and Starscream would be out for Christmas, so it’s a start.

He even demonstrated the new Armada Prime for us, it transforming by itself of course helped him immeasurably.

Our hearts’ filled with happiness that we would at last get G1 reissues in the UK we headed home, stopping only briefly to play with some Daleks on the way.

Interview: Dick Gautier

Written by Darren 'Starscream' Jamieson on January 23, 2003 | Features,Interviews |

Dick-GautierOur hob nobbing with the famous continues as we present our latest interview, this time we talk to Dick Gautier of Rodimus Prime fame.

Could you start by introducing yourself and tell us a few of your voice work credits?

My voice credits are extensive, you’d best look on my web site under RESUME. I can’t list them here. Bad typist.

What character are you most proud of that you have given life to in your career and why?

The original Conrad Birdie in BYE BYE BIRDIE on Broadway (Tony nomination) and HYMIE on Get Smart.

How did you get started in the business and who were your greatest influences?

I sang with a band when I was 17 and then did stand up for about four or five years before doing Broadway and becoming an actor. Sid Caesar and Danny Kaye were big influences on me. As were other odd, weird and bizarre comics that you’ve never heard of — Theodore and Lord Buckley.

Rodimus Prime was despised by some Transformers fans for replacing Optimus Prime, and this was something that was even written into the script with Rodimus living in Optimus’ shadow. How was it for you replacing Peter Cullen as the lead on the show?

It wasn’t Peter Cullen, it was Ted Schwartz and all I know is that Wally Burr, the director, said “Okay- you’re Rodimus Prime. I had never worked with Ted nor met him.

How much of the voice of Rodimus Prime was yours, and how much was influenced by Judd Nelson’s portrayal in Transformers the Movie?

It was all mine. I never saw the movie, the series and didn’t even know who Judd Nelson was. I’ve seen him in the interim as an actor, he’s not imitatable because his voice and personality are not clearly defined.

Are you aware of the revival in the Transformers toy line, comics and TV series – largely generated and supported by the online community?

Yes – I attended a convention last year in Indiana.

Which do you prefer, acting on stage, acting for television, voice over or drawing?

All of it. Why not? If you can do all of it — do it. Why inhibit yourself? Although I prefer stage to TV and movies. more challenging, better writing.

The world of film and television is filled with big egos and bad attitudes, is there anyone you’ve worked with that you wish you hadn’t?

Egos? Hollywood? What on earth do you mean?

Have you any tips or advice for anyone wanting to become a voice artist?

It’s best to develop ORIGINAL voices, not Bugs Bunny, Etc. they’re covered. Be unusual and creative, that’s the strongest weapon you have. I taught VO for awhile and one of my best bits of advice was IF YOU DO A BAD IMPRESSION OF A FAMOUS PERSON SO IT’S UNRECOGNIZABLE MAYBE YOU’VE CREATED A NEW VOICE!

Who are the most talented people that you’ve worked with?

Frank Welker is very talented, so is Peter Cullen, Maurice LaMarche, there’s a mess of ’em. Jack Angel, too. Charlie Adler is great. And me. I’m not too bad.

Is there anything that you’ve done career wise that you’d like to forget?

I’ve done some bad movies. I’ve been miscast – the Doris Day show I was a Mideastern terrorist. Bad! I was the Governor in a Billy Jack movie. Not good. I’m sure there’s more.

What projects are you working on right now?

I just finished a new book (number 15) a compendium, of humorous poetry dealing with contemporary issues large and small. with illustrations by moi of course.

Is there anyone who you have not yet worked with but would like to?

Oh too many to name. I’ve been lucky to work with some greats – Barbra Streisand, Jimmy Stewart, Dick Van Dyke, Chita Rivera, Paul Lynde, Nicholson, Jane Fonda, Jason Robards, ETC. ETC. ETC.

We want to say a big thanks to Dick for the interview, you were great. Best of luck in the future and we hope your latest book does well. Don’t forget you can check out Dick’s website here.

Report: BotCon Europe 2002

Written by Big Bot on November 17, 2002 | Features |

Written by protoformX

At 11am on Sunday 3rd of November, I was stood outside the village hall in Chesunt, just north of London. It had been touch and go getting here with a car that was very stubborn about how it would start. But I had finally got here. This was a special day for me for two reasons. Firstly, this was my first TF convention. Secondly, this was part of my 18th birthday present from my parents. Thus I was looking forward to the day immensely. As I stood there with my friend Simon, the doors opened. (Someone actually had the guts to shout, “Their defences are broken, let the slaughter begin”. But I learned later that he got £10 for doing it.) Inside we were issued with a programme and a name badge and then the rest was up to us. In the lobby were boards with concept art for figures from Hasbro including the BM Mirage/RiD Mirage GT figure and plates of the G1 comic from Marvel including pages from the “Headhunt” story. To the left and right were two dedicated dealer rooms. NEVER have I seen so many TFs in one place before and that includes the Internet. Some of the things there just made me want to stand and dribble openly. Things such as Grand Maximus still in box and the Star Saber/Victory Leo gift set. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much money (£55) as I had recently come back from New York (Picking up lots of nice TFs there, too) and checks from my birthday hadn’t yet cleared, but I had enough. First order of the day was to pick up my pre-registrant merchandise. This consisted of an art print from the upcoming Genesis book (Which I have heard is cancelled, but I PRAY isn’t�) of Jazz and Mirage. Also there was a black t-shirt with the G1 Autobot symbol on the front with the date of the convention of it and on the back a picture of Europe with Cryotek printed over it. Also coming was the toy – a silver/grey repaint of Windcharger called Rook with a key-ring chain. Hasbro were only making a small commitment to the toy, as they wanted to see how they sold. Hopefully next year they will be full-size.

Unfortunately, Hasbro UK hadn’t got the toy ready in time. However, there was compensation. Each person who had reserved a Rook received a Tap Out figure. (The green Cliffjumper figure from this year’s US BotCon.) They were also promised that their Rook figures would reach them by Christmas, free of charge.

After picking up my merchandise, it was time to take a proper look around the dealers. As well as the two side rooms full of dealers, two of the corners of the main room were full of them as well. Obviously being unable to afford the Victory Saber gift set, I settled for the Star Saber and Victory Leo Mega SCF figures. At £15 each, this was a bargain, as Forbidden Planets here are selling them for £25 each. The two also combine to make an excellent Victory Saber Mega SCF. I also grabbed the BW Predacon gestalt, Tripredacus for £15. This left me with £10 for lunch.

But first we all took our seats for the Q&A panel with Neil Kaplan (RiD Prime) and Wankus (RiD Prowl). These two are some of the nicest people I have ever met. They fielded all questions with a great deal of friendliness and humour. The nicest factor was the fact that they recognised the fact that without us, the fans, Transformers wouldn’t be nearly as strong as it is. Unfortunately, British audiences are never the greatest at asking questions. Neil and Wankus were more than happy, though, to fill in the gaps with their own anecdotes, such as the events of Wankus introducing himself to people at a UK nightclub the night before. After the Qs, they signed programmes and anything they could get their hands on. You know those peel-off collars you get on drinks bottles you have to take off so you can drink ’em? I, having just opened a milkshake, was holding one – Wankus grabbed it and signed it. Considering the thing was less than half a centimetre wide, he did very well.

Lunch was nothing special – a trip to the local supermarket to grab a sandwich and some crisps. Than back to the action!

Upon our return, Simon managed to grab an RiD Scourge, STILL not available in the UK! He was particularly happy, as ever since he saw Car Robots, he has been yearning for Black Convoy. We took some time out to watch some RiD episodes in a video room. This having been the first I’ve seen of RiD, it was better than I thought it was gonna be, especially the voices, but Car Robots is still the King. (I did like “Ruination Awaken!”)

The next panel was with famed TF comics writer Simon Furman, responsible for the final G1 story arc with Primus and Unicron, the last BW episode, “Nemesis Part 2” and the recent TF: The War Within comic from Dreamwave. He was partnered with Glen [?], the organiser of BotCon Europe. He was very pleased about the reception that BotCon Europe had received and discussed future plans for BotCon Europe. Next year he intends to make it the full weekend rather than just the Sunday and when asked about the “Europe” part of the name, he said the for the majority of the time, BotCon Europe would be held in England, but that it would travel abroad. One place he named was Germany (namely because that’s the only European country that he can speak the language of!). He also announced the new “non-attendant package” where European residents can have the US BotCon merchandise shipped to them without having to pay for an airfare to go to the convention, and vice versa. Simon Furman discussed the future of the DW comic series. He pointed out that the Headmaster and Targetmasters would “sort of” feature in The War Within. This could be a reference to the Japanese origins of the Head and Targetmasters, where they were originally smaller robots who fled to a planet called Master Star at the start of the Great War. They built themselves larger bodies and then returned to Cybertron.

After the Q & A panel, Simon signed autographs for a time. It was then announced that the video room was now showing Armada episodes. I managed to see a couple of minutes, but not enough to judge on.

By now all had been seen and done except one thing. One dealer had managed to get his hands on an as-yet-unreleased Armada Blurr figure. Spending £25 or more at his store got you a ticket to enter the raffle for the figure. Certain products, regardless of their price, also got you a ticket. My Tripredacus got me a ticket and as a final event, the raffle was drawn. By a shear stroke of luck, I managed to have the lucky ticket and the Armada Blurr, along with his Minicon, now has pride of place on my desk. This was the perfect end to the day. My only regret was that I forgot my camera, so I couldn’t get any pictures. But if anyone wants to see a few (actually, quite a lot), go to Altered States Magazine’s site at http://www.alteredstatesmag.com. They have pictures of the venue, the pre-registrant merchandise, including the Rook figure. (3H had some on display, but not to give out.)

All in all, the day was a massive success, and a lot more fun than I thought it would be. At first I was wondering if I could spend six hours in a village hall looking at and talking about Transformers. Stupid question!

As a little after note, I’ll see if I can borrow my Dad’s digital camera at get some shots of the Armada Blurr figure.

To anyone who’s thinking of going next year, see ya there!

Interview: Theo Black

Written by Darren 'Starscream' Jamieson on February 2, 2002 | Features,Interviews |

We managed to catch up with Theo Black from Black Arts Illustration. Theo has created the artwork for Maverick’s Transformers season 1 DVD boxset, and what a fine job he’s made of it to. If you’d like to own one of Theo’s numbered prints depicting the artwork present in the DVD release then check out his website here.

Without further ado, lets talk to Theo Black.

Can you start off by introducing yourself and what it is that you’ve done that involves the world of Transformers.

I am the illustrator for the UK Deluxe Edition G1 Season 1 DVD set published by Maverick Entertainment. Other than that I have created a few personal Transformers pieces because I love them so.

How did you first get into the role of a professional illustrator?

I got my first gig in gaming. I went slowly up the ladder in that industry. I’ve worked for about 15 gaming companies including Wizards of the Coast and White Wolf Publishing.

What kind of things were you into at school?

Art, Fantasy, Sci Fi, karate, pets, gaming, girls.

What artists influenced your work and whom do you admire?

Honestly I get my influence from lots of media. When I have artist block I watch a movie, read, look at other art etc. Of the artists I love and wish I could paint like I’d have to say: Maxfield Parrish, Sir John Everett Millais, Dore, Waterhouse for old masters and Donato, Brian Froud for new masters.

What artistic media do you prefer to work in and there any that you don’t like to use?

I used to be an oil purest but it took forever so I switched to water and led mixed media: water colour, gouache, pencil and pen.

How much of a fan of Transformers are you?

Before I talk about Transformers I would first like to discuss the concept of the modern myth. A myth is a fantastical tale that offers qualities that one can draw upon. This is often done subconsciously I think in times doubt and question. The Vikings relied on stories of Thor and Loki, the Egyptians had Osiris and Set, and the list goes on. I had Prime and Megatron.

G1 is about a slave who seizes the opportunity to escape with some of his friends. They escape and the symbol of the action causes the breakdown of the society on Cybertron. Megatron, obsessed with punishing Prime for his actions, pursues him and his small band of rebels to Earth. The Great War Begins.

The contrast between Prime and Megatron is very much like the conflict between Jean Valjean and Javert in Les Miserables. A man commits the crime of stealing (Jean took bread, Prime took a ship) and the a leader of the ruling dictatorship (Javert / Megatron) view it as symbol of the destruction of the society and become obsessed with punishing the rebel for his actions. The G1 story is very much the story of the poor rising upon the ruling class. The story could be told in the form of a fantasy tale with knights with little difficulty I think. What are the Autobots, if not a band of knights, men of honour who were once slaves? Being American I can very much appreciate this concept.

Till all are one.

How did you land the enviable task of designing the artwork for Maverick’s Season 1 DVD release?

Darren, How can you ask me that? It was the doing of Darren and his incredible TF site. I was out of work for about two week so I decided to paint one of my childhood heroes, Prime. The response to the piece was tremendous and a fan telling me of the Transformers.net site emailed me. When I saw the site I was amazed. Previously I thought Transformers died in the 80s. I could not have been more wrong. I sent the piece I did to you, Darren for the fan art site. Darren sent it to Sharon at Maverick and that was that. I got the DVD job!!

TheTransformers.Net regularly holds Fan Art competitions in which very talented artists send in their work, do you have any advice for people like this who would like to become illustrators?

Use a media you can control the best. Steal whatever you can from toys, other artist, and animators etc to get the perfect image. When I work I use a bunch of stuff just to get one figure. When I did Prime for the DVD set I took an animation still for the chest and head only, made up my own arms and legs and then looked at a bunch of stuff to get the texture down including: My PVC Prime, a matchbox car, photos of tractor trailers I got off the web and the red and blue side of a rubix cube.

What other projects have you worked on besides Transformers?

I have worked on Dungeons and Dragons, Werewolf, Changeling, a few d20 games, lots of collectable card games, a few book covers and some concept design.

Is there anything you’d like to work on if you had the chance?

The Baroness with a riding crop.

What piece are you most proud of and why?

To date it is “Roiben” http://theblackarts.com/royben.htm because it has a lot more detail and expression than most of my other work. The Great War Piece is up there too for the same reason.

Thanks for the Interview Theo, and good luck with your future projects. Remember you can see Theo’s work for the DVD at his website here: http://www.theblackarts.com/prints.htm, where you can also purchase prints of the art.

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »