Transformers Ongoing #11: Reactions, Reviews, Spoilers

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Postby eabevella » Tue Sep 21, 2010 3:28 am

Like most of the people had already said, I like the TC and BBB conversation in this issue.

BUT, there is a major mistake in the last page I feel like to point out:
"Republic of China" is NOT the full name of main land China, it's actually Taiwan.
"People's Republic of China" is the correct full name of main land China, the country #11 want to imply.

Since ROC and PROC are still in a state of civil war (well, sort of), so this mistake is like pointing at a Decepticon and say he is an Autobot :roll:

IDW comics follow the Hollywood propaganda and stereotype us asians as "evil representive" by teaming us up with the 'cons is fine (I like the 'cons more anyway :lol:) But please, a little background research, even a simple search on the wiki, is the least a writer should do.

I don't want to be harsh or impolite, and I understand that many people don't really know or even care. But this actually could be as inappropriate as saying Republic of Ireland and the UK are the same country.
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Postby zhgingaah » Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:22 am

eabevella wrote: But this actually could be as inappropriate as saying Republic of Ireland and the UK are the same country.

Or the USA and Canada, eh?

:wink:

It's all just one big lump on the other side of the pond, right?
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Postby colky7 » Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:39 am

Andy Schmidt wrote:I think it's been two years (as perceived by some) since Simon Furman left the books, though that's not actually accurate. Some folks, especially on the message boards did not care for AHM. It has its flaws, like most works of fiction. I was asked to take a new direction without rebooting continuity which is seen with the ongoing. So, for some, I think it's that it's been about two years since AHM #1, the first major change in direction. And, as happens, if you're a big fan of the way things are, there's every liklihood that you won't like the new direction.

My best example of this, for me personally, is DOOM PATROL comics circa 1988. I really enjoyed the first 17 or 18 issues of the series when it was handed off to Grant Morrison to write with issue #19 (I think). Grant's run outsold the stuff I liked three to one. As an editor, that's the smart play. As a fan of what had already come, I thought it was terrible.

I've come later to appreciate what Grant did on the book, but it took some real distance. Now I like both versions, but I still with DC had continued longer with the books I was reading at the time. And, part of what bummed me about Grant's run is what he did with the characters I liked in continuity. They weren't recognizable to me at the time.

Now, I'm not suggesting that AHM or the Ongoing series will looked back upon as fondly by everyone as Morrison's run on DOOM PATROL, but I think it's a relatively fair comparison in terms of one solid direction being replaced by another solid direction. They both had vision. If you really like one, the other isn't going to thrill you.

What that leaves us with now is a TF universe with essentially three sets of fans who like three different versions of the same characters.

It's a troubling spot to be in as a fan and as an editor. Do I try to please everyone? Is that even possible? Or do I strive to do stories that really only appeal to my sensibilities and those of the creators? Am I even the right audience to strive for? Are the people on the boards the best slice of the audience to aim at? None of these can be answered definitively.

Anyway, that's kind of how I see the question...

Andy


Hey Andy,
I know you've said before you don't always like revealing too much of what goes on behind the scenes but i was just wondering what sort of ways you guys use to decide on the best approach for things like you mention above?
Is it that opinions on the boards though i'm sure important to you, aren't the main factor but rather sales performance of titles? From a commercial POV if something is selling well i guess this also the most important factor yeah?
Do you guys use focus groups or anything like that?
Also just in terms of board reactions i'd imagine it can be pretty hard to judge. I unfortunately at the moment tend to fall into the not having enjoyed much apart from the excellent LSOTW since the end of Simon's run camp. At times i feel as though there are a lot of people seeing things the same but i also see loads who love Mike/Shane's stuff. I think at least with myself i tend to remember the stuff i agree with more but this may be my bias coming into play. Has anyone ever tried add up overall opinions?
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Postby eabevella » Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:15 am

zhgingaah wrote:
eabevella wrote: But this actually could be as inappropriate as saying Republic of Ireland and the UK are the same country.

Or the USA and Canada, eh?

:wink:

It's all just one big lump on the other side of the pond, right?

I thought they are...friends?
It's a big, thick grey area over here, haha.
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Postby Focksbot » Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:52 am

Andy wrote:Now, I'm not suggesting that AHM or the Ongoing series will looked back upon as fondly by everyone as Morrison's run on DOOM PATROL, but I think it's a relatively fair comparison in terms of one solid direction being replaced by another solid direction. They both had vision. If you really like one, the other isn't going to thrill you.


Andy, I just don't like this sweeping under the carpet of the serious criticisms of AHM, as if it were just a matter of being weaned on semi-skimmed and then switching to skimmed or something.

There was a *lot* of support for AHM's new direction, its art and storyline, initially. There were really only a few people who were completely unreceptive to the idea of a new writer. There were complaints about the pointless switch to F15s but there were also fierce rebuttals on this forum to those complaints from other fans. This was a demonstration of the general 'wait and see' attitude that similarly allowed TFA to be such a roaring success with the online community.

There are two things that have turned those who stand up for AHM into a slightly sheepish minority here and elsewhere:

1) Furman's final two miniseries clearly suffered from compression that suggested too much of a rush by IDW to jump ship. Changing direction is one thing but telling the old one to get its belongings together and leave via the side door is another. Furman should have never been allowed to get so many juicy plot threads going if the switch needed to be done quickly - *unless* there was going to be a real effort to conclude them tidily under the new direction, which there surely was not.

2) AHM just wasn't very good. It's not about the 'direction' or the 'style' - within the context of both, it's not a very well structured, thematically unified, carefully thought out piece of work. It's ambition went far beyond the abilities of its writer, and the result was often confusing, hard to excuse and difficult to warm to.

The effect of what I'm saying is this: I really don't think that getting the 'right' balance is as hard as you make out, because you're really not dealing with two or three sets of fans who like completely different things, in a venn diagram with no crossover. Everyone brings an element of their own druthers to the table, but there's a huge fat area of unity with a big red X on it where a story is simply carefully written, with a lot of zing, obeying obvious and sensible established tenets of the universe, and packed in dense or rich enough to make each issue feel substantial.
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Postby Andy Schmidt » Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:03 am

To a couple of points:

I'm not sweeping anything under the carpet. The points you raise, Focksbot, simply weren't aspects I was referring to. And I've addressed your second point about Simon's exit elsewhere before. I wasn't around at the time any of that went down, so I don't know any specifics and can't comment on them in any real way and I'd be lying if I said otherwise.

A lot goes into our making decisions about new directions and new problems and what to do with loose ends and characterization. I have a tendency to give writers and artists a lot of leeway on certain things. Something like a big gap in time I think gives us a little extra breathing room. Not everyone agrees. I'm not in favor of a change in character for no reason, but I find that many fans have a very concrete idea of who these characters are after very little page-time from them. When I go back and look at how much is actually there about, say, Megatron's real motivation, it's remarkably little that's actually on the page. A lot of it is stuff people have filled in in their own minds. A lot of these characters are almost clean slates in the IDWverse. So, you try to balance that with the classics who are more well established.

Yes, we do write up character traits for the characters as a kind of bible. But through ongoing stories, those traits tend to shift. And as stated before, I like a fairly broad interpretation of character traits. I tend to error on the side of "let's see where this goes" as opposed to "I know exactly what so-and-so would do or say so you can't do that". It's my feeling that with the first quote we may discover something new about a character and that with the second quote, we've doomed our characters to never evolve and sink the franchise.

Okay, I'm out on this thread. Let's get back to the comic in question!

Thanks, as always, for your insights and questions and concerns. And Focksbot, if you want to address either of those other things you mentioned, you can take them over to the "ask Andy thread" or whatever it's called and I'm happy to talk about them there. This just isn't the right thread for it.

Thanks again, everyone.

Andy
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Postby Best First » Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:06 am

Andy wrote:Now, I'm not suggesting that AHM or the Ongoing series will looked back upon as fondly by everyone as Morrison's run on DOOM PATROL, but I think it's a relatively fair comparison in terms of one solid direction being replaced by another solid direction. They both had vision. If you really like one, the other isn't going to thrill you.


i really struggle with this statement, as it airbrushes out the question of quality.

There may have been a solid vision behind AHM (altho the comments i read on "racism" recently cause me to struggle with this too), but the execution was not on a par with what has gone before. I don't want to rehash a bunch of old complaints but my issue with AHM was nothing to do with the name of the guy writing the book - but the quality of the book itself. I buy a fair amount and a fair variety of comics every month, and i know that the TF licence can't neccessarily pull in a Morrison or a BKV or an Ellis (altho we do pretty well on the art) so my monthly hope is really jut something that competes well with the rest of the pile. AHM messed up basics - continuity, character consistency, show don't tell, etc and so failed that very simple test for me.

Liking something that changes doesn't mean you won't like changes, it just means there is a quality bar that needs to be met for those changes to be acceptable. Take, say, Thunderbolts - i liked Thunderbolts from the first issue, and since then it's been through several incarnations - but that doesn't mean i have not liked all of them, just because i liked the original.

In terms of uniting the audience, who i don't think are as fractured as maybe implied, to me there seem some pretty obvious things that most people would (i think) want to see;
- some genuine aftermath of the supposed utter defeat of the Autobots - probably the biggest event in the IDW Universe yet almost entirely off panel (which i can't help but wonder is because if it were shown would make it pretty hard to justify the Decepticon's farting around on a rock)
- conistent characterisation, or sensible character evolution - again, not off panel changes - i can accept Collosus losing his faith in the X-Men if i understand why he does so
- on a related note characters who, having been soldiers for millenia, can function perfectly well without Megatron and Prime being in charge
- and, bluntly, more of an eye for what will annoy - for example, why did it have to be be Hotrod (previously seen as a canny operator) who fell for Swindle's con? Pick someone else, maybe someone little featured in continuity before now and that criticism goes away but the story idea remains. I genuinely don't get why things like this are not spotted and veto'd

Sorry if that seems a bit ranty - i think the fan interaction has been superb since you took over, but equally i think things only get fixed if you are willing to acknowledge them and the implication that AHM and what came before are of a similar standard creates the danger of ignoring that opportunity for me.
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Postby Focksbot » Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:15 am

Andy, I will reply to this on the appropriate thread!
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Postby Dreadwind » Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:29 pm

I have a dumb question but- will the issue that follows this be the last in the "arc" that's in the TPB from 7 onward?
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Postby Cattleprod » Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:52 pm

Dreadwind wrote:I have a dumb question but- will the issue that follows this be the last in the "arc" that's in the TPB from 7 onward?


I don't think so. Even without looking at what's in the next TPB, it's been said that #14-18 is one arc, so it makes more sense to keep things broken up in 6 issue chunks and include #13 in with them.

Edit: and yeah, the next TPB is listed as 144 pages, standard length for a collection of 6 issues.
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Postby MikeCosta » Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:15 pm

Yes, the next issue ends this current arc, "International Incident." But that arc is only four issues - both issue 7 and 8 are meant to be stand-alones (even though they will obviously be collected in the trade.)

Issue 13 is another stand-alone, then issue 14 starts off the five-issue arc entitled "Revenge of the Decepticons." After that, there will be a three-issue story called "Space Opera" (I don't really consider it an "arc," just a story with two acts and an epilogue) followed by a pretty major three-issue arc with a title I won't reveal, then another standalone, then... well, that's far enough for now.
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Postby KhaN » Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:52 pm

but I find that many fans have a very concrete idea of who these characters are after very little page-time from them. When I go back and look at how much is actually there about, say, Megatron's real motivation, it's remarkably little that's actually on the page. A lot of it is stuff people have filled in in their own minds.




This is the truest statement ever made in the history of true statements!!!

This is what I've failed at articulating whenever someone screams "______ is out of character!"

Seriously, charcters grow and change and just like people they cannot fully be defined by scant dialogue bubbles. Everytime someone says that Megatron in AHM was out character I want to kick the computer.

As if characters (like Megatron) should have no other motivation other than being power hungry for evil's sake.

I seem to remeber when the AHM preview was released all hell broke loose due to one scene with starscream, it was ONE SCENE.

I think out of character is the most overused term among TF comic fans.


Andy, I think you hit the nail on the head with this one.
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Postby bassbot » Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:23 pm

MikeCosta wrote:Yes, the next issue ends this current arc, "International Incident." But that arc is only four issues - both issue 7 and 8 are meant to be stand-alones (even though they will obviously be collected in the trade.)

Issue 13 is another stand-alone, then issue 14 starts off the five-issue arc entitled "Revenge of the Decepticons." After that, there will be a three-issue story called "Space Opera" (I don't really consider it an "arc," just a story with two acts and an epilogue) followed by a pretty major three-issue arc with a title I won't reveal, then another standalone, then... well, that's far enough for now.


There better be some singing in Space Opera!!!

thanks for popping in Mike - can't wait for the next few arcs!!!
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Postby Sprite » Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:34 am

Oooh! Thanks for these tidbits, Mike! You did a real nice job on the latest issue, so I'm really looking forward to what comes next! :D
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Postby Dreadwind » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:31 am

MikeCosta wrote:Yes, the next issue ends this current arc, "International Incident." But that arc is only four issues - both issue 7 and 8 are meant to be stand-alones (even though they will obviously be collected in the trade.)

Issue 13 is another stand-alone, then issue 14 starts off the five-issue arc entitled "Revenge of the Decepticons." After that, there will be a three-issue story called "Space Opera" (I don't really consider it an "arc," just a story with two acts and an epilogue) followed by a pretty major three-issue arc with a title I won't reveal, then another standalone, then... well, that's far enough for now.


Thanks for the information! :)

Interestingly, I just read that zillion year old short story "Space Opera" by... Ray or something. Hopefully the TF story will be nothing like it... ewwww!! :shock: (j/k)
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