Alan Moore, say hello to Transformers

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Mako Crab, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    Recently I was reading "The Dark Knight Returns" trade paperback. Excellent story, by the way. The TPB comes with an introduction by Alan Moore where he talks about Frank Miller and what he did to help shape the legend of Batman. This will all come back to Transformers in a moment, but first I'd like to quote Mr. Moore.

    "Beyond the imagery, themes, and essential romance of the Dark Knight, Miller has also managed to shape The Batman into a true legend by introducing that element without which all true legends are incomplete and yet which for some reason hardly seems to exist in the world depicted in the average comic book, and that element is time.
    All of our best and oldest legends recognize that time passes and that people grow old and die. The legend of Robin Hood would not be complete without the final blind arrow shot to determine the site of his grave. The Norse Legends would lose much of their power were it nor for the knowledge of an eventual Ragnarok, as would the story of Davy Crockett without the existence of an Alamo. In comic books, however, given the commercial fact that a given character will still have to sell to a given audience in ten years' time, these elements are missing. The characters remain in the perpetual limbo of their mid-to-late twenties, and the presence of death in their world is at best a temporary and reversible phenomenon.
    With Dark Knight, time has come to the Batman and the capstone that makes legends what they are has finally been fitted. In his engrossing story of a great man's final and greatest battle, Miller has managed to create something radiant which should hopefully illuminate things for the rest of the comic book field, casting a new light upon the problems which face all of us working within the industry and perhaps even guiding us towards some fresh solutions."

    As it applies to Transformers, are we missing the element of time? Their war goes on endlessly for millions upon millions of years with little change. Autobots become Maxiimals. Decepticons become Predacons. The names change but little else does.
    Death seems to hold no power over the likes of Optimus Prime, Megatron and many others, who consistently "die" and come back to life, usually in a new body, keeping them young and fresh, ready for battle. Essentially stuck in their mid-to-late 20s.

    Batman can grow old and tired. He can become an old man. Optimus Prime gets an upgrade every few years, and he's perpetually young. How do you apply time to a species that is basically immortal? The Last Days of Optimus Prime attempted to give Prime a deserved send-off, but I'm left wondering if he truly did die. Is this the Transformers equivalent of "The Dark Knight Returns"? And if so, did it succeed?
     
  2. taterx

    taterx Lurkin since Transfandom

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    Wow, I never would have thought Transformers would be on his radar. That is the author of the greatest comic book story commenting on the work of the author of the second greatest comic book (in my humble opinion) and he uses Transformers to bring home his point. Now that's cool!
     
  3. girafeswordsman

    girafeswordsman Well-Known Member

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    ^Alan Moore didnt mention Transformers...
     
  4. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

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    Alan Moore doesn't touch Transformers. His quote references the essence of time and how it is absent in comic books.

    The author of this thread touches on Transformers.
     
  5. Moonscream

    Moonscream YES, We EXIST!

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    I think there is an element of time to Transformers...but its the opposite of how we should expect it to progress for humans. With their long lives and particular physiology, it would be unrealistic for them to change as quickly and as radically as human characters should.

    The way comics are is perfect for them.

    --Moony
     
  6. Josh

    Josh Comic Color-guy

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    i hear ya

    its actually something i've been thinking about lately. Transformers and their fiction.

    Eternally locked in this war. Everytime we read a story its about the same war. spanning across eons.. is there ever any down time? Is there anything else to Transformers besides war? surely there is. the HAS to be. I mean, there's more to our own existence than wars and battles. One could say that our existence has been filled with nothing but war but my own life isnt consumed by it. im not...we're not engaged in battle every moment of every day.

    One thing i wish we'd see is that there's more to Transformers than just the same old battles. There's life. There has to be something outside of that.


    I been kinda goin through this a bit lately i guess. just kinda thinking about TF fiction [well..comics to be exact. but mostly cuz thats the field i have the most "input" in] but there has to be another story to tell. There has to be another way to tell a Transformers tale. There has to be more to it. There has to be a meaning to it all. I think TF fiction gets too consumed by itself. its war. its battles. its rabbit trails. Just ONCE i'd like to have a Transformers story with a solid, structured story. Its happened time and again but every series starts off well enough. Starts off simple enough and then it begins to be consumed by all the different stories its trying to tell within the one, that it loses sight of the story it was originally trying to tell [and i guess i mean that most in regards to the IDW-verse. It started off so well. Such a great new way to go about things until thread after thread after thread after thread of sidestories began to take play. That we were forced to now try and follow and resolve all of these sidestories that we lost sight of the original story. the original ideas. And here we are 3 years later knowing not much more about the main story than we started off with. I mean, out of 3 years of story telling...this is it??? this is the story they set off to tell? thats it? i dont mean to come across as just dogging the IDW stories because it happens in all incarnations to a degree.

    I just hate getting lost in the re-tellings. the cliche's. Let optimus prime die. let him die for reals. let someone else take command. it happens in real life. you dont see ceasar agustus still in rule just cuz he was "teh awesome and we cant do it without him."

    nah. a newer generation takes its place and history moves on. the stories continue but with new casts.
    People, battles, leaders all come and go. just let it happen.

    i realize that as far as transformers is concerned hasbro feels they need the optimus and they need the megatron to sell toys but. at least in comics, thats not the goal.


    i dunno. i, like you, want something more. something more definitive. something fresh.

    i tire of getting the same product just in new packaging. stuff should happen. things should be shaken up.


    i dunno. i guess those are just my own ramblings. im sure i got well off subject but :p 
     
  7. Coolhand

    Coolhand Spiff's Stunt Double

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    Cool, this a very interesting thread.:thumbs2: 

    I agree. “Time” for Transformers would run along a different scale than it does for us, in the same way that time no doubt runs on a different scale for cats or for those mayfly larvae that only live for a day. And Robots can replace parts and upgrade their systems so they are not subject to physical aging the way human heroes would be. So in a sense, some of what Moore says cannot be applied to the Transformer universe. Transformers are, in some ways, more like the Greek or Norse gods than Batman or Robin Hood: Un-ageing powerful immortals.

    Hell, I’m all up for someone writing a whole series that deals with things other than the war, as long as they can tell an interesting story with it. However, I do think that Transformers is a concept designed for the action adventure format, and war is a great device for generating drama. After all, Indiana Jones spends a lot of time teaching archaeology, but the movies focus on his adventures and not the time he spends marking papers. But the movies do touch on that more ordinary aspect of his life, and there’s no reason why Transformer fiction shouldn’t do the same.

    I think part this problem comes from the fact that, when you’re running a franchise, you don’t have one guy who can sit down, plan out a rich, detailed story with a definite beginning, middle and end, and who can walk away at the end and say “the story is OVER,” the way you can if you're writing your own novel or filmscript from scratch. It always has to be left in such a way that another guy can come along, pick up where the franchise left of and write the next adventure. So it’s harder to kill people off, or write complete, satisfying conclusive arcs for characters, or take events from an obvious beginning to an obvious end, especially if the story is about a bit more than just Autobots Vs Decepticons on the battlefield. Perhaps one writer will decide to kill Prime off in a stunning and pivotal scene with much drama and impact, but the next writer or the those running the franchise didn’t like that decision, and so bring him back, thus undoing all the hard work that the previous writer did.
    I’ve only just started to read the IDW-verse, so I don’t know how much of what I just said applies to that specific story.

    Personally, I think that a truly great war story has to be about more than just the war. It has to be about the people caught up in it, or explore themes that the war brings up. For example, although it had some kick-ass battles in it, Lord Of The Rings wasn’t really about the War of the Ring. It was about friendship, and about sacrifice, and loss, and about how power does or doesn’t corrupt people, and a host of other things. I think a truly great Transformers tale would have to be about more than just who is shooting at who, and who is trying to build a mega-weapon and why. It has to be structured from the ground up to explore deeper themes than that.
    Just my:2c: 
     
  8. Josh

    Josh Comic Color-guy

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    QFT

    i concur

    :D 
     
  9. Ramrider

    Ramrider TF Art Lad

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    I definitely agree that the Transformers story needs to be about more than the war. Though I admit it doesn't seem likely that a story focusing on the day-to-day lives of non-combatant Transformers (assuming there is such a thing :p ) would do well in the long run, I daresay it could at least handle the odd miniseries - some of the Mosaics certainly do a fine job of expanding on the personalities and interrelationships between characters in downtime better than the comics do (whether you agree with the author's personal interpretations of the characters or not).

    Heh. Can you picture a TF soap opera comic..? :lol 

    As for the passage of time, yeah, it is something that tends to lack at lot of the time - the war seems to drag on and on with nothing long-term really changing. Dreamwave *ducks* did try to touch on that aspect with the Micromasters series, with a batch of newly-created Transformers thrust into a war they didn't understand, but whether you liked how they handled or not... it's still only four issues.

    I agree, let Prime die sometime, and stay dead. You know one of the good things about fiction? Time is subjective. Just 'cause someone's killed your favourite character, there's nothing to stop you going back in time and writing a story set when he was still alive...
     
  10. Backscatter

    Backscatter Autobot Brainmaster TFW2005 Supporter

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    Naw! Let Megatron stay dead and have an era of rule by Starscream. It wouldn't be all war then. False peace maybe, but not always open warfare.
     
  11. Wodicus

    Wodicus Active Member

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    I've been doing a lot of thinking about the Transformers fiction as well lately sort of a long the lines of Josh. I have grown up with Transformers and looking back they are always engage in some sort of conflict and all we see them as are soldiers. But lately I've been wondering who are these guys? What I mean is there is more to a soldiers life then just being a solider, and yeah Transformers are robots, but at the same time they are always portrayed as being more then just robots, like they have thoughts, feels, opinions, ect and are shown to be more like real individuals rather then programmed automatons. Before the war they obviously did something that was not related to conflict, the IDW verse has shed some light onto this. Like in Megatron Origins we get to see that Megatron was a disgruntled miner who finally took action when the government shut down the mine he worked in. And during the course of that story we actually got to see a little tiny bit of what pre-war Cybertronian life was like.

    Since I read that series I have been wondering, what was pre-war Cybertronian life like? What form of government did they have? Was it elected? Did they have art? Sports? Did they work 9-5 style jobs, or were they like robots always working at the one job? What was the culture like? Their civilization? I know those seem like some unimportant, or nitpick questions... but the reason why I am wondering is because every war has something that is being fought over.

    When Transformers first came into existance it was a simple sotry children could understand, we have good guys and bad guys, the bad guys want to conquer the world and the good guys want to stop them. Simple enough. But as the original fan base has gotten older, and developed more complex interests you would think that the story would of as well. Basically what I am getting at, I want to know why do the Autobots and Decepticons fight? The IDW verse has hinted at there are wider reasons for the war other then the classic good guys vs. bad guys fight. What do they fight for? I know there is a "decepticon cause" but is that just what ever Megatron says it is? Are they just fighting for power? Or do they actually have an ideology, like are they a revolutionary army seeking some sort of political goal? What about the Autobots? Do they actually fight for something other then to stop the Decepticons?

    How could they explore these ideas? I'm not sure, a full length comic series wouldn't work I don't think, mostly because I don't think people wanted to read about the everyday lives of a Transformer. But what might work I think is they do something like the mosaics in a more comic form, perhaps taking a comic, dividing it between two characters, or more, and tell a little story about who they are before the war. What their lives are like, ect. might be an interesting way to explore the wier world of the Transformers.
     
  12. repair_bay

    repair_bay Scramble Power!

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    ^This

    I want to see new characters as well. Also what I'd like to see is maybe the Transformers as they were before the war. Or after. I want to see into their lives, into their homes. Something I have to explain to my friends when I talk to them about Transformers is that they're not just war machines. They have feelings, they get hurt, they can die. Its not necessarily good vs. evil. Its political (sometimes). Its just like any war we have, but longer. To them, we're aliens, they're on a strange world. The fact that TFs are human in the sense that they're sentient and can feel has always been something big with me. I just want to see less war.
     
  13. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, sorry about that. I was just reading what he wrote about Frank Miller and Batman and applied it towards the Transformers. I should've put the whole thing in a big quote box or something. Sorry for the confusion! :p 
     
  14. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    Something I've found too often in the history of TF fanfiction for my tastes (one is one too many for me) is that Transformers end up acting like humans too much. By this I mean that instead stories exploring what life is like as a Transformer, we get things that are essentially humans with robot bodies that still act too much like humans. If one were to take a lot of the stories and just strip away the descriptive element of what little on the characters resembles "robot", one would be left with just another comic book story. I'm specifically thinking of TF boyfriends and girlfriends, essentially boiling down to a nerdy soap opera or something. Even in some of the "cannon" stories, I've seen this and I just have to say I've never liked it.

    I think many of you guys have hit the nail on the head. I'd just like to push the ideas a bit further with an emphasis on "Transformers". What's it like to be Cybertronian? How do sentient robots act differently than humans or any other creature in existence? There are commonalities with Transformers and humans, but isn't there more differences than just metal bodies and transformations? What are these? What's being part of a gestalt group like? What's it like to be a gigantic base Transformer? How does a robotic body differ than a human body? I'd like to see more answers to these questions explored (plus what you guys have discussed).

    As for the "war stories", I'm not tired of them, but I would like to see them done in different ways. Perhaps a war journal of sorts from a particular TF (or TFs)? What about a Transformer chronicling the history, analyzing where the Cybertronians have been and where they are going? What is integrating weapons systems like for a Transformer.

    Transformers are persons, but they're very different persons than humans and I'd love to see this concept explored more . . . .
     
  15. Velcrohead

    Velcrohead Banned

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    I don't see that there's a problem with the war encompassing all the stories. I mean, there are a billion different angles one could take, especially given all the characters, teams, and complex missions that could be undertaken.

    I get it that the "official" canon has to be war-centered, because the conflict sells toys.

    But fanfiction or even official fiction has a wealth of as-yet untapped territory available. For instance, what happened to Character A when Prime and the Autobots left Cybertron? What did Character B encounter on his way from Cybertron to Earth? What did Character C do on a furlough? What's the future fate of Character D? The options are almost endless.
     
  16. General Magnus

    General Magnus Da Custodes of the Emprah

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    The Mirrorverse fiction "Mind of a Menasour" actuaklly gives a good insight to the mind of a gestalt, as a colective and individual parts.
     
  17. Fairlady_Z

    Fairlady_Z Official Voice of Flareup

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    For a lot of comics and fiction I would say that I do want an ending. Over the past couple of years I've come with some cynicism to view comics as "the never ending story" but when it comes to TFs I feel a bit different. TFs are so long lived anyway and I love the fiction of TFs so much I'm not sure I want it to ever end. But if we do have to have an ending to the Great War, I'd say BM fit the bill nicely. Normally I'd say I hate the ending if I expected the story to continue, but as perminant ending to Great War and that continuity period, bringing peace to all of Cybertron "happily ever after" I think it wraps things up in a satisfying manner, if that makes any sense.

    On the whole I still think there are just way too many stories left to tell in the TF universe. Even after all these years I still feel like the the storytelling possibilites of G1 have barely scratched the surface. And that's why I write fanfic.
     
  18. Josh

    Josh Comic Color-guy

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    get out of my head xD
     
  19. Midnight

    Midnight Nerdicon

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    in the beastwars story the ascending,magmatron becomes traped in an alternate space and is able to travle forwards and backwards in time.

    in the story he says that he travles to the very begining of cybertron to its end,the latter showing unicron destroying cybertron.

    it could be said that its one of many possible endings but its basicaly an apocalypse scenario for cybertron.a ragnarok if you will.
    kinda deppressing but i kind of like it too,in a twisted sort of way.
     
  20. Velcrohead

    Velcrohead Banned

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    I think we HAVE seen what it would be like to move beyond the "Megatron and Optimus" Transformers before... and that's the era we call Headmaster, Masterforce and Victory.
     

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