SYFY WIRE Interviews Transformers vs. Visionaries Team

Transformers vs. Visionaries #1 was released this week – today announced to have sold out at the distributor level – and SYFY WIRE have carried out an interview with the book’s creative and editorial team. Read on to check it out, but beware of spoilers for the issue!

We’ve mirrored the spoiler-free section of the interview below, and you can head over to the SYFY WIRE website to read the rest.
Afterwards, you can discuss the interview and the issue itself in the Allspark’s dedicated comics forum!

Magdalene, what made Cybertron a likely home for New Prysmos and a launching point for the new Visionaries?
Magdalene Visaggio: That was decided long before I joined the team. When David Hedgecock first emailed me asking if I wanted to pitch for Visionaries, the initial starting point they gave me was basically “Prysmos has been destroyed and the Visionaries are refugees on Cybertron following the events of First Strike.” I got to decide what had happened to Prysmos and why they’d chosen Cybertron.
What I found so intriguing was the contrast – essentially a civilization of Luddites seeking refuge on a planet of robots. And Merklynn had chosen it so specifically; there had to be a connection. That’s when I realized that in so many ways this was a story about religion and ideology, about what the Prysmos as a non-technological society meant to Merklynn and the Visionaries. Prysmos represented an ideal, a blow against the rest of the technology-driven universe. Making Cybertron of all places the new Prysmos was about making a point as much as finding a new home.
David Mariotte: Editorially speaking, it just made sense. We had this MacGuffin, the Talisman, that we knew was going to bring the Visionaries to the universe. It’s even named after an old MacGuffin from the previous Visionaries comic. But through threads we were weaving in Revolutionariesand other books, it was clearly tied to the Transformers too. Plus, there’s this nice, natural conflict between the Visionaries, who gave up technology for magic, and the Transformers, who essentially are technology.
You had one season of television and a handful of six comics from Star Comics / Marvel Comics to pull from. What did you feel were the best elements, and which ones did you feel needed to be updated or brought to a more exciting place?
Magdalene Visaggio: There’s a ton of great concepts in the old Visionariescartoon from a storytelling standpoint. The basic structure of the show is super compelling. But I knew that that kind of content wasn’t going to fly in 2017. So I approached this much like Ron Moore approached Battlestar Galactica: What’s the stuff here that matters, versus what’s the stuff here’s that’s designed to sell toys? We only have five issues to work with, so everything needed to be streamlined; initially that meant paring down the cast and simplifying the magical system, which in the show involves multiple animal totems, with some of the players getting magical staves and others getting the power to control ancient vehicles. I basically stripped everything down to something that wouldn’t demand copious explanation: Everyone gets a staff that can summon holograms, nobody gets more than one totem, etc.
I also really can’t stand it when villains exist for the sole purpose of being evil. So I needed to figure out what exactly separates the Darkling Lords from the Spectral Knights. You know, what is the story the Darklings are telling themselves where they’re the good guys? So I landed on the idea that they’re both factions of a single organization run by Merklynn – the Visionaries, natch – with different philosophies that went into schism. There’s more there that’s gonna come into play as the book unfolds.
Fico Ossio: We kept the original concept, the idea behind Visionaries, and started from there. After we had the story, we worked on what this world and characters should look like and then matched that with the original designs/characters and IDW’s Transformers. But overall we wanted to do a complete update from the original for the most part.
Sarah Gaydos: For me, the key was having a believable situation where both the Visionaries and our current IDW version of Transformers all would exist believably in one place, so it just didn’t make sense to stick with a vintage look. Fico did a fantastic job of updating the character design and mechanics of the Visionaries. I couldn’t be happier with it!