I really appreciate Chris Mowry coming here and addressing our concerns about stories he didn't even write. That takes guts and dedication, and I have a lot of respect for you for that, Chris.
I'd also like to chime in and say that the guy over at TFW2005, and anyone else who turns this into a personal vendetta against individuals and wishes them bad, is just pathetic. To wish someone a gruesome death over a comic is insane. Even Pat Lee, whom I really hate with an ire for the wrongs he has done, I wish no physical harm. Okay, maybe some digestive problems. But that's Pat.
That being said, I, too, wish to point out that I have been very disappointed with IDW's Transformers output lately.
Obviously I don't know anything about the internal goings-on at IDW, but to me as a reader, a lot of the decisions behind stories seem to be born out of an attempt to "fix" things. Sometimes those appear to be fixes for things that weren't broken in the first place, while in other instances, instead of small fixes that would have been more than sufficient, we get blunt changes of direction because "it didn't seem to work that way so we're gonna try out the exact opposite".
When fan opinion is taken into consideration, it always seems to be the "wrong" views that get addressed while the "right" ones are ignored (I'm using paraphrases here because the problem is that Transformers fans don't speak with a unified voice, and for every fan that likes something, there's another fan who hates it).
For the Beast Wars comics, Simon Furman (who had written the series finale of the TV show) and Ben Yee (who had been a consultant for the show) were picked as writers and/or consultants. Unfortunately the end result was something that bore little resemblance to what made the TV show great, because apparently both Furman and Yee had developed a very skewed perception of the Beast Wars franchise in the time since the show had ended. Granted, nobody at IDW could have expected this - how can two "experts" widely respected in the fandom get everything so wrong? Then again, Yee has already shown that he may be a good consultant but not really a good writer with the BotCon comic(s) he wrote. While "The Gathering" and "The Ascending" were merely major disappointments on a writing level, the Sourcebooks were a massive failure on pretty much every level imaginable.
I know there were people who didn't like the direction of Furman's "-ation" series. I know there were people who immediately complained about the presence of (and focus on) humans in Infiltration #0. That resulted in Stormbringer, advertized as "Nothing but Robots on Cybertron!", which, as far as I'm concerned, was not only a bad move that was indicative of IDW's way to address problems (with a large hammer, figuratively speaking), but also fell flat in execution. Stormbringer bored me to death. Considering the time it had to take to devise Stormbringer, the decision must have been made immediately after Infiltration #0 had come out. I know it's good to address criticism as quick as possible, but at the same time a story should also be given time to flourish instead of immediately hammering down any and all points criticized before the audience gets an idea of the larger picture. Admittedly, it's tough to find a good middle ground here.
I know some fans kept complaining about the continued presence of the human supporting characters in the "-ation" series. I also know fans complained about the presence of humans in the (highly successful!) movies, the characterization of Sam, the cooperation between the Autobots and the US military and so on. It appears that IDW's way of addressing these points is to get rid of the established human cast and replace them with military people who are utterly unsympathetic and would prefer to kill Autobots and Decepticons alike, just so the fans can go "WOO HOO YEAH HUMANS SUCK!"
The fans I talk to have one major criticism of IDW's Transformers comics, and today's comics in general. There's a very blatant lack of the classics "beginning-middle-end" plot structure. Issues barely have a plot of their own, instead it's stretched out multi-part story arcs where every issue is like a single scene of a larger story. I know it's intended to keep readers hooked for the next issue, but at the same time it doesn't give readers much value for their money. There used to be a time when every issue was supposed to be written as if it were the reader's first comic ever. I know this is a little much, and has led to exposition-ridden dialogue in the past; but again, a better middle ground would be welcome.
And then there's the movie comics, which manage to miss the tone of the movies (which had a huge part in their commercial success in the first place) entirely for the most part. Barring the first two issues of Alliance, there's no humor in the movie comics. At all. Characters are just flat one-dimensional generics that lack all the quirks of their movie counterparts, the dialogue is trite, and the plots come across as "writing by numbers", in a "we have to get the characters from A to B, and that's all that matters, no distractions, no detours, nothing to spice up the journey a little" way. And the ever-rampant tendency to insert massive amounts of toy-only characters only to kill them off as cannon fodder before they can actually do anything of interest is tiresome.
As I said, for every fan with one opinion there's another fan with the exact opposite opinion, but the right way to go about it can't be to always change the course by 180 degrees when people voice their concerns. "I don't like this story the way it is" shouldn't result in "okay, then let's do another story entirely and hope people will like it this time", when the actual problems still persist.
Those are just my very own personal problems with the writing side at IDW. The editorial side is a different issue entirely. Also, I still look forward to the Wreckers mini, because Nick Roche has actually managed to "wow" me with the stuff he wrote thus far.
Again, thanks a lot for coming here and addressing our concerns, Chris. Even though you've written some stories lately which I found disappointing, I have no personal grudge against you and hope you take my comments as constructive criticism rather than a personal insult. I know some writers actually appear to have this attitude.
Edited by Nevermore, 15 November 2009 - 10:20 AM.