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Q&A/chat with Chris Mowry


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#1 Nevermore

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 06:17 AM

[EDIT: This thread originally started out as part of another thread. As a result of the thread splitting, my intial post and a few of the posts following it may lack some context.]

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. icon-arcee.gif

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.


#2 Cat

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 07:20 AM

Mowry's a great guy, and a great loss to the fiction, IMO.

And for a company as big as IDW has become (look at their market share/placements now, compared to just a few short years ago. They exploded, something that's difficult for ANY small enterprise to deal with) if I ever feel the need to contact Chris Ryall, I ALWAYS get a response back within 24 hours, always friendly, open, and to the point. His memory is also fantastic, as he always manages to ask up on how I'm doing, including specific details on my life I've talked to him about before, AKA his memory is amazing!

For someone who puts in the insane amount of work and hours he does, his attitude and commitment to his work is amazing.

I've often discussed things that concerned me, and his answers have always been honest (sometimes giving me new perspective on things, sometimes providing fascinating information that well, would definitely be considered confidential information)

So they do listen. You've just got to talk to the right people. Now, as to who those 'right people' currently are, I'll leave open to interpretation.

#3 Jack Cade

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 08:50 AM

It seems pretty clear to me from these exchanges that creators and fans can meet in the middle and understand each other. The major problem, then, seems to be the breakdown in communication that has resulted from IDW being, as I understand it, overburdened. This is what has led to fans getting annoyed by a perceived lack of explanation for mistakes made and also a lack of successful management of their forum which has meant everyone getting frustrated with everyone else's behaviour.

Actually, there was an interesting thread on the IDW forum a while back, which was unfortunately deleted, about the justification for the TFWiki being snarky to IDW. It was pointed out there that slagging off Michael Bay is perfectly acceptable - well, everywhere. So why is that not the case for IDW staff? To which Daniel_W replied that it was a case of whether, as a community, you consider someone to be 'part of the team' or part of the outside world. Michael Bay isn't considered to be one of 'us', so he gets a universal hammering. The status of the IDW staff is more questionable - some people see them as 'them', some as 'us'.

So the conclusion to that is simply that the more we feel IDW are part of the community, rather than some guys who've bought the comic license to make money, the better things will be for everyone. Which is why Chris Mowry posting on this board, on this topic, results in an immediate outbreak of sensitivity (by which I mean the good kind).

#4 Jeysie

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 09:17 AM

QUOTE(Jack Cade @ Nov 14 2009, 10:50 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So the conclusion to that is simply that the more we feel IDW are part of the community, rather than some guys who've bought the comic license to make money, the better things will be for everyone. Which is why Chris Mowry posting on this board, on this topic, results in an immediate outbreak of sensitivity (by which I mean the good kind).

Pretty much... I certainly respond better to folks who are friendly and are willing to listen to feedback even if they don't agree with it.

But at this point, I kind of wish IDW would just worry less about hype and whatnot and just concentrate on getting writers who care about the material and setting them to telling good stories without a lot of jerking around. Stuff like the reaction to Animated, Roche's AHM #15 story, etc. shows that, while you can't please all of the TF fans even some of the time, we at least generally respond positively to strong stories with good characterization that pay attention to and make good use of continuity and TF lore.

#5 Mowry

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 10:48 AM

QUOTE(Boo @ Nov 14 2009, 01:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Heh, I doubt you're the only one...

You're not.

#6 Nevermore

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 11:00 AM

Generally, I think that the tone in addressing criticism about one's work is, intentionally or not, perceived as an extension of ones attitude towards the work itself.
Locking yourself up in an ivory tower and ignoring complaints? Arrogant, not interested in feedback at all.
Overly defensive and thin-skinned? Identifies personally with the work to a degree where it becomes something personal, and criticism of the work is equaled with a personal attack.
Upfront, polite, non-confrontational and willing to take the blame even for the errors of others? Dedicated and genuinely interested in putting out a good product and satisfying the customers.

Chris, maybe you should become an editor... with the attitude you're currently displaying, I think people would be more willing to forgive you the occasional slip-up as long as they can see the intention.

#7 Mowry

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 11:11 AM

QUOTE(Nevermore @ Nov 14 2009, 06:17 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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.

I'm not going to comment on the G1 stuff. There have been problems in the past which have really not helped matters any. I'm talking about editorial changes in staff, personal preferences being forced into stories, etc. It's not my place to discuss them. But I do share in a lot of the criticism. Unfortunately, I'm in production. I only letter books. icon-hotrod.gif

Yeah, I know the movie books have been lacking that and that's why I really tried to put some kind of comedy in where I could. In the Bumblebee story, I tried to have him continue to push Sam's buttons by doing some pretty boneheaded stuff. Then things like Trent's line, the news reporter talking about the "Nazi Zombie Hackers", etc. I knew that book missed the mark. I wanted that book to originally be a silent issue, as an homage to G.I. Joe #21, but I was told to add dialogue to it. And I wasn't allowed to kill Barricade. So yeah, the end product was a bit disappointing to be honest. But the Jetfire story is a serious one. He's a guy that was confused and betrayed by The Fallen. He tries to be the hero and ends up a nomad. Arcee is a different story. She was a fierce warrior in RoS, then basically a wild combat drone in ROTF. So that story is really about her transition, her own vindication, and any other -ation word you can think of. I think people will really like it, though. Of the TOTF books I've done, this one is by far my favorite. And it kind of ties in to my original plot for "Alliance" which was changed.

As far as the dialogue being trite? That's just something that I'll have to work on if I plan on writing anything in the future. I'll have to study what has worked before and what hasn't. The plots coming across as "writing by numbers," is another valid point. But when you only have an issue or four, or however many to tell the story, it's got to end somehow. For "Reign," I was able to go into the supporting cast of the war and do what I wanted (for the most part). In the ROTF prequels, things had to be wrapped up and not contradict the movie. Now in the script I worked from, The Fallen is in a triangular metal thing that rises from the floor of the crashed Nemesis. So all of that started the whole relic thing, etc. Fast-forward to my GF and I at a screening for it and seeing him sitting in his chair. I jaw dropped so fast, I nearly spilled my coffee all over the place. Making the stories then be "A to B" was kind of necessary. I don't know if that makes any sense or not, sorry if I'm not making my point clear.

Killing characters? Let me just say that I'm not some maniac intent on giving all non-screen movie characters a brutal death. I grew up watchiing the "safe" cartoons. Did anyone ever die in those? Nope, but they sure shot at each other with everything they had. For the movie stuff, I thought the tone was very serious. These aliens hate each other and are intent on seeing one another destroyed. Their war had destroyed their planet. So for the stories, I feel that deaths are a necessary element to telling a war story. I just didn't want it to be to where everyone lives to fight each other again. Look at Crosshairs. He's got the bio of being a weapons developer for the Autobots... that's cool! So of course, he's got a story to tell and he could be a part of future stories. But someone like Crankcase? Do we really need to see him in a future story? Maybe it's not my place to play god with these characters, but I just tried to use them in a realistic way. If you look at "Alliance" and the last issues... follow that tone right up until the ending of the Shanghai scene. Honestly, I think I did a fair job and matching what they were going for in the film.

#8 Mowry

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 11:18 AM

QUOTE(Mecha KJ @ Nov 14 2009, 07:20 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
For someone who puts in the insane amount of work and hours he does, his attitude and commitment to his work is amazing.

Thanks for the nice words, Mecha KJ.

You're absolutely right about Ryall. I had originally applied for a job (via Craigslist) as an Assistant Editor. Ryall told me that the job was already filled, but he'd keep my information around should they have any future openings. I wrote back and said "Thanks!" and something about being at the Con and it would be cool to say hello. Keep in mind that I didn't even know who IDW was or anything. I'm not that into comics. But anyway, Ryall struck up a conversation with me and we had a fairly lengthy email exchange. When I noticed that his title was Editor-in-Chief, I was amazed. Why the hell was this guy talking me when he has so much to do? Because he's one of the most genuine and caring people I've ever worked with, that's why. If you have never talked to him, please do. I forget the name of the radio show that he helps out with, but you should give it a listen or call in. Sheesh, ask him about ROM. He loves to talk about ROM.

But yeah, Ryall is awesome.

#9 Mowry

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 11:30 AM

QUOTE(Jack Cade @ Nov 14 2009, 08:50 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It seems pretty clear to me from these exchanges that creators and fans can meet in the middle and understand each other. The major problem, then, seems to be the breakdown in communication that has resulted from IDW being, as I understand it, overburdened. This is what has led to fans getting annoyed by a perceived lack of explanation for mistakes made and also a lack of successful management of their forum which has meant everyone getting frustrated with everyone else's behaviour.

Actually, there was an interesting thread on the IDW forum a while back, which was unfortunately deleted, about the justification for the TFWiki being snarky to IDW. It was pointed out there that slagging off Michael Bay is perfectly acceptable - well, everywhere. So why is that not the case for IDW staff? To which Daniel_W replied that it was a case of whether, as a community, you consider someone to be 'part of the team' or part of the outside world. Michael Bay isn't considered to be one of 'us', so he gets a universal hammering. The status of the IDW staff is more questionable - some people see them as 'them', some as 'us'.

So the conclusion to that is simply that the more we feel IDW are part of the community, rather than some guys who've bought the comic license to make money, the better things will be for everyone. Which is why Chris Mowry posting on this board, on this topic, results in an immediate outbreak of sensitivity (by which I mean the good kind).

Jack, you hit it right on the head with the "overburdened" comment. Overworked comes to mind as well. Last year was really crazy. Movie properties to deal with (TF, Joe, Terminator, Star Trek, Astroboy, etc.) and a lot of it hitting at the same time. So there really wasn't time to manage the boards or to get that interaction with people. I wanted to talk about my books, but I wasn't allowed to do interviews or talk about the movie in any way. Things get looked over accidentally, and mistakes happen or people get out of line on message boards. So therefore, there was a perception that things weren't being addressed. Truth was, Denton was the only guy running the TF stuff (and other titles), so he was really busy. It doesn't excuse things, just explains them.

I think slagging off Michael Bay is unacceptable. Yeah, he probably deserves a lot of criticism, but he really did bring the franchise back. It's weird. When I was a kid, TF was pretty big. Then I barely knew it existed a few years ago. I've NEVER seen an episode of Beast Wars or anything past the first couple of episodes of G1, Season 3. But now, we've got TF everywhere. It's on award shows (although they are crappy MTV awards), it's all over the toy stores, etc. But to me, he's helped the franchise. Now can people say things about him and say things about the IDW staff? Absolutely. It's your opinion (not yours personally) and people have every right to speak up. Nevermore has things to say about my writing... funny thing is... I AGREE WITH HIM. As far as the Wiki goes, I've seen things on there and it's very, very informative. I personally don't agree with a lot of the humor that's seemingly forced into it, you know? But that's just my opinion. Hell, I'm so stupid, I don't know how to add to it. I'd love to add the details of some of the supporting characters I've made such as Agent Salazar, Professor Vine, Agent Salani, etc.

And as far as the IDW boards go, I think things have calmed down. I encourage everyone to give them another shot (not trying to take anything away here, Kalidor!). I know people have been rude before and I apologize for that. But Jeysie has expressed similar feelings and everyone has a right to an open discussion without fear of backlash. I hear that you're back on there now, too, Jack. Welcome back. I'll always applaud someone that can make sense of a discussion instead of rambling on like I do.

#10 Reload

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 11:33 AM

QUOTE(Mowry @ Nov 14 2009, 11:18 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE(Mecha KJ @ Nov 14 2009, 07:20 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
For someone who puts in the insane amount of work and hours he does, his attitude and commitment to his work is amazing.

Thanks for the nice words, Mecha KJ.

You're absolutely right about Ryall. I had originally applied for a job (via Craigslist) as an Assistant Editor. Ryall told me that the job was already filled, but he'd keep my information around should they have any future openings. I wrote back and said "Thanks!" and something about being at the Con and it would be cool to say hello. Keep in mind that I didn't even know who IDW was or anything. I'm not that into comics. But anyway, Ryall struck up a conversation with me and we had a fairly lengthy email exchange. When I noticed that his title was Editor-in-Chief, I was amazed. Why the hell was this guy talking me when he has so much to do? Because he's one of the most genuine and caring people I've ever worked with, that's why. If you have never talked to him, please do. I forget the name of the radio show that he helps out with, but you should give it a listen or call in. Sheesh, ask him about ROM. He loves to talk about ROM.

But yeah, Ryall is awesome.


Yeh, I can't imagine saying a bad thing against Ryall.

For some reason my IDW account wasn't working and he took the time out to email me back again and again in an effort to get it to work.

That's pretty awesome right there.

#11 Mowry

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 11:43 AM

QUOTE(Nevermore @ Nov 14 2009, 11:00 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Generally, I think that the tone in addressing criticism about one's work is, intentionally or not, perceived as an extension of ones attitude towards the work itself.
Locking yourself up in an ivory tower and ignoring complaints? Arrogant, not interested in feedback at all.
Overly defensive and thin-skinned? Identifies personally with the work to a degree where it becomes something personal, and criticism of the work is equaled with a personal attack.
Upfront, polite, non-confrontational and willing to take the blame even for the errors of others? Dedicated and genuinely interested in putting out a good product and satisfying the customers.

Chris, maybe you should become an editor... with the attitude you're currently displaying, I think people would be more willing to forgive you the occasional slip-up as long as they can see the intention.

What a great way to state your feelings, Nevermore. I totally agree with you.

For me personally, I want to hear the bad things about my work. How the hell am I going to improve if I can't see what mistakes I'm making/have made? I would take offense if someone said "Mowry should slit his wrists" because for one it's stupid, but for two, how is that giving me any information to work from? There were so many comments about Shane personally, that it got really old and dull. So my belief is that if someone (like yourself) is going to be critical of my work in an informative and constructive manner, then you'll get a response from me personally and hopefully a friendship can be born from it. I WANT to know what I can do to make your experience more enjoyable. It's your money that you've paid me (in a roundabout way), and dammit, I need to deliver or get the hell away from the keyboard.

But to go back to your point... it is my personal opinion that anyone in any kind of "entertainment" position (writer, singer, artist, etc.) has NO RIGHT to be in that position if they're not willing to take criticism. Nobody's perfect and we're all going to die someday. Might as well get along while we can and learn from one another.

Editor? I tried. Take it offline sometime and I'll elaborate. icon-hotrod.gif

#12 Jack Cade

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 01:24 PM

QUOTE("Mowry")
I think slagging off Michael Bay is unacceptable. Yeah, he probably deserves a lot of criticism, but he really did bring the franchise back.


As a matter of principle, I think restricting ourselves to treating everyone in the world like they were in the same room as us is unrealistic and unnecessary. Bay is so far removed from everything that goes on here that I think personal attacks on him, when done with a sense of perspective and when reflecting a genuine grievance, are OK really. Absolute bile and hatred is ugly to see anywhere, but spiky, call-it-like-you-see-it comments are often part of gamely banter. If anything, it's just the flipside of being rich and successful.

As a matter of opinion, I tend to think all Bay did that was credit-worthy was take the chance on the property. I really think a TF movie would have been just as successful, if not moreso, in the hands of almost any other director willing to run with it. Against that is Bay's questionable socio-political sensitivity and the fact that he seems to have almost no interest in retaining anything from pre-existing TF fiction except the general concept and some of the names.

But that's another topic!

#13 Bass X0

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 01:46 PM

QUOTE
But someone like Crankcase? Do we really need to see him in a future story?


No. If he wasn't introduced into a story just to be killed off then he wasn't going to get any appearances in any story at all. He and several others aren't going to get used in some character focused storyline later on. I still maintain my stance that lowly characters being killed off is better than using generics that nobody cares about or will ever care about.

Crankcase's appearance sticks in my mind because he's a toy character. Sure it was brief but then really, that was all he deserved. A generic taking his place would be instantly forgettable. I won't remember what a generic looks like or anything about them months later or even what happened to them in the comic.

Now some people don't like seeing their toys killed off in the comic as an unimportant character but personally I'm thankful that a toy gets some face time. It doesn't matter whether they live or die just that they get some face time at least - some lowly characters introduced only to die actually get more facetime overall than a lowly character who doesn't die. There's some toys over fifteen years old that have yet to make an appearance in any comic.

Edited by Bass X0, 14 November 2009 - 01:48 PM.


#14 M Sipher

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 02:16 PM

QUOTE(Bass X0 @ Nov 14 2009, 01:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE
But someone like Crankcase? Do we really need to see him in a future story?


No. If he wasn't introduced into a story just to be killed off then he wasn't going to get any appearances in any story at all. He and several others aren't going to get used in some character focused storyline later on.

That's pretty presumptive, isn't it? On quite a few levels. You've basically just determined his only, ONLY use is as quick fodder, for pretty much no good reason whatsoever, a conclusion I cannot remotely agree with.


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#15 Bass X0

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 04:15 PM

But its been proven time and again that the only characters that are going to get any decent coverage at all are those that actually appeared in the movie. They're not going to be writing about Crankcase when they could be writing about the likes of Sideswipe and Soundwave. Even the most prominent characters in Reign of Starscream and Defiance that didn't appear in a movie will be shafted as soon as the next story arc comes along. We may see Thundercracker again but then he is the movie-verse incarnation of an original G1 seeker. And with new off-screen characters coming out every month, they're really weren't going to go back and give the likes of Crankcase any significant exposure even if he hadn't died. I seriously doubt the majority of the off-screen toys from the '07 movie will be used in any new comics except perhaps when they're looking for someone to kill off. And even then thats unlikely. The movie cast is quite large now if we count the obscure movie toy characters such as Trenchmouth, Spinister and Wreckloose as well. What I'm saying is there is no chance that they can give everyone the kind of exposure you desire for them to have. Hey, I too would like Wreckloose and others to get a Spotlight equivalent story but realistically that is just not going to happen. Realistically the only decent chance these obscure characters ever have of appearing in a comic is to be killed off.

#16 Monzo

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 04:39 PM

QUOTE(Bass X0 @ Nov 14 2009, 01:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE
But someone like Crankcase? Do we really need to see him in a future story?


No. If he wasn't introduced into a story just to be killed off then he wasn't going to get any appearances in any story at all. He and several others aren't going to get used in some character focused storyline later on. I still maintain my stance that lowly characters being killed off is better than using generics that nobody cares about or will ever care about.


G1 Crankcase...That's a fairly substantial resume for someone who is basically an evil, data-collecting Grouchy Smurf, and yet Movie Crankcase won't ever have the chance to reach those same heights because now he's a rusting carcass.

I'm not a fan of killing off toy-based guys, because, you know, I buy the toys, and with the extended movie fiction, I am ending up with a lot of guys whose only contributions to a story are as part of a body count. This is not helping sell these guys to me. Yes, I already own them, but that's not the point. As a TF fan, I am conditioned to my fiction trying to make these plastic guys seem impressive, if only at their introduction. Now we have guys whose deaths apparently don't even warrant depicting!

Every toy is a character in its own right (okay, sometimes it's MANY characters in its own right), and killing them off for the sake of killing them off just doesn't jibe with me. Not only is it usually a meaningless death for someone I haven't been made to care about - but what if someone DOES find a need in a future story for a guy with such-and-such's talents? Or what if a guy who gets killed off comes back again in the toyline?

I'm not saying there shouldn't be any character death - the movies in of themselves are far more brutal about this subject than basically any prior mainstream TF fiction - but I do think some restraint wouldn't hurt.

Edited by Monzo, 14 November 2009 - 04:41 PM.


#17 M Sipher

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 04:41 PM

I don't recall ever saying I wanted every character to get a spotlight story. That would be ridiculous.

But as it happens, a character like Crankcase could very easily be the core of a very entertaining one. Being a Decepticon has got to suck. A grunt-level view from within the ranks, told through the perspective of a constant complainer, looking UP at the heavy-hitters so far above his station, getting inside his head to enjoy the litany of whinges... that would make a fun one-off, a nice break from cosmic apocalypse and epic. But, well.

I wholesale reject your assertion that the only way non-A-listers will/should get appearances is as dead mechs walking. That's frankly lazy and unimaginative. It's capitulating to an unfortunate yet not remotely irreversible trend in TF writing.

There ARE chances they will get more, but introducing toy-characters just to kill them in two panels is basically squandering those chances, and then more or less eliminating any future chances. Plus, this leads to issues, because Hasbro's proven they LIKE bringing off-screens and obscures and such back for second-gos... "Reign of Starscream" killed Elita-1, yet it looks like hey, one of those bike-girls from the ROTF non-movie-verse is Elita-1! Oops. (Hasbro's proven that all bets are off lately. They will bring back just about anyone.)

Dreadwing was quite interesting in "Reign", and he started his "life" in our world as a drone unit in a video game. By your assertion, he should never have become the interesting character "Reign" made him, and that would be weak. By the way? I'm fine with him dying at the end of that storyline. He DID stuff, and his death was a nice ending for that plotline.

The non-film fictions are the PERFECT place to let the non-film characters shine, and to do so they don't HAVE to take the spotlight. Memorable, lovable second-bananas and supporting cast abound in other fictions. They should more often in ours. They're untapped potential, with a lot more use than "walking corpse".


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#18 Chip

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 04:44 PM

Does a character have to die just because he's never going to be A-list? The whole point of off-screen toys is that they can have their own adventures in the fans' minds and living rooms. Killing them off before they get to do anything, and in many cases before they even get the form represented by the toy, throws away characters that otherwise had a lot of potential. There's nothing wrong with toy characters dying off, but before they have an ending they at least deserve a story. If a character isn't going to get that, I would much rather see an all-new character used.

This isn't unique to the movie comics. IDW's G1 comics have made good use of a couple of previously unexplored characters like Banzaitron, but they've reduced a lot of equally interesting characters to single-panel cannon fodder. That doesn't accomplish anything except to make me look forward to the next license-holder, so maybe a Leadfoot or a Drench can finally get a story.

Edited by Chip, 14 November 2009 - 04:55 PM.


#19 Esser-Z

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 04:48 PM

I, uh, was writing a post. But I don't think I can say it better than Siph and Monz did.

#20 Mowry

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 04:54 PM

QUOTE(Haro-Z @ Nov 14 2009, 04:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I, uh, was writing a post. But I don't think I can say it better than Siph and Monz did.

So when I have a movie script where none of these guys appear(edit—or are even mentioned), and I have Hasbro telling me not to kill off certain people, I think I'm fairly limited to who gets to experience the horrors of war. I'm really sorry if you're Air Raid's biggest fan, but he wasn't going to play a huge part in the movie, so why not have him die in battle? I mean, does everyone really want everyone to live and only drones get killed in the fighting? Things just don't work that way.

But maybe I'm completely wrong and if you're offended by what I've done, I apologize. I'm not writing anything else and you won't see this kind of thing in the Arcee book. Unless you're a sap for drones and then maybe you will have a bone to pick.

Again, sorry.

Edited by Mowry, 14 November 2009 - 04:55 PM.




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