Tuesday, 6 December 2011

It Never Truly Ends...

I can still remember the day the final Transformers UK issue came out. Getting to the end of the issue to discover that that was it, the end. No more. Imagine my surprise 21 years later when I heard that they would be continuing the book I grew up on, with the writer and the penciller AND the inker that worked on that defining book. Imagine my even greater surprise when I learned that I would be the one working with them on colouring the interiors!

Its no understatement to say that I look up to the Simon Furman (writer), Andy Wildman (penciller) and Stephen Baskerville (inker) as it was Furman's run on the book that made we want to tell my own stories and I think of the countless hours I's spend trying to copy and/or trace the artwork from those books, only to discover that I wasn't very good at drawing! What they did has stuck with me, and has stood the test of time well, and to be in the same company as these gentlemen is nothing short of an honour.

Chris Ryall put this page up earlier so its now safe for me to show too. Needless to say getting the feel of this book right is a priority for everybody, and with that wonderful classic pencil and inkwork its hard to deviate too far from the classic colour schemes without it looking wrong. Striking a balance is hard as people have such expectations of what a TF book looks like now, and indeed what it looked like then, and great pains have been taken to get a look that fits somewhere in the middle. So when you read the issues you can see the DNA of the original books and yet see the modern era, almost as if this is the "missing link" between those points.

As a huge fan of the original book, all I can say is that from what I've read and what I've seen you are in for a treat like no other. Seriously, the best is yet to come.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Review

I won't lie - this is the first TF film I've been excited about. The first two I've been anxious about more than anything. But this one I had the opportunity to see a preview of this in California earlier in the month where I was blown away with the spectacle of it (for one made more enjoyable through the use of 3D) and that the tone seemed darker after the silly hijinks of Revenge of the Fallen.

I hate getting excited for a film, because I always get let down.

But I loved the hell out of this installment. From the start the tone takes a shift toward more real, though the film does indulge the more improvisational and anarchic comedy used in the second film particularly during Sam's hunt for a job, but its fair to say that the light stuff only makes way for the dark as the plot unfolds. The plot and many of the characters introduced are scattergunned across the screen a bit carelessly but most get a few good moments to shine, and even a couple of the robots actually get a bit of time to display some personality (about frickin' time) though still none are totally fleshed out. But when some of them die you will feel it this time. You either like or hate Shia Le Bouf, and this film won't shift you one way or the other. I like him. His bit of stuff in this film is actually better than I thought she'd be, hardly ward winning, but she feels real despite that mouth. Their relationship works well and a bit more grown up.


Part of the problem I had with the previous 2 films was that the plot was "don't let bad robot get bad thing or bad things will happen". Then the end battle with the impossible to kill baddy would take about 5 seconds to resolve. In this film not only do the bad guys have the thing from early on but the shit hits the fan by half way and victory is hard fought. The tone of the film gets darker, and the stakes get higher throughout. Again, about time.

Now, the 3D. I've watched quite a few 3D films and I'm firmly of the opinion that it's all a gimmick that adds little to anything. Avatar's day glow 3D did nothing for me, nor anything I've seen before or since. Until this film. The set pieces and action scenes are incredible and the 3D actually adds to the experience because those kibbly robots have perspective which makes following the action in Bay's busy movies that much easier and much more fun. He's staged the scenes to make the most of the effect with only a couple drawing way too much attention to themselves. Indeed looking back at his previous films a lot of the action is staged in planes, the camera always in motion which translated to 3D works pretty well too.

So there it is, the review I never expected to make. Michael Bay seems to have acknowledged his mistakes from the second film and delivered something a bit more meaty. He's still the king of explosions but somehow you care a bit more about the stuff blowing up.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Bots of Hono(u)r Begins!

I recently had a chance to write for a continuityless new Transformers online story called Bots of Honor from the Transformers Mosaic lord himself Josh Van Reyk. I had a lot of fun writing the stories I did and as the theme was sort of Batman Brave and the Bold I went for a Batman themed story and go for a real comic book story for TF, and making some sense of Pretender technology too.

Linework was done by the epic Ger Hankey who I got to work here for the first time here (and hopefully not for the last time) and my words made manifest by HdE's excellent lettering.

I hope you enjoy it!