Hm. I think I'm done. Goodbye, Lost Light.

Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by RNSrobot, May 13, 2017.

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  1. GoLion

    GoLion Sé que me estás robando

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    I'm going to try to be as real as possible with this post -- None of my typical BS.

    I think a huge part of my being overly angry lately in the LL threads is due to the fact that I also feel like I lost something... I don't know... substantial when this book changed into the LL. I shouldn't have been as negative as I was, but I just felt so emotionally raw and broken when the quality started to slip during the second season. I mean, this book was a breath of fresh air for such a long time, and to have it change into what it has lately feels like a kick in the guts.

    Then to get little peaks or glimpses behind the curtain with the Milne situation, and the... unprofessional way that was handled really rubbed me the wrong way.

    This book, in my view, was the gold standard by which other comics should be written. It's a shame that it's going to have that stellar reputation bruised by some of the very real problems it's having lately.

    And to those of you that disagree with my assessment of the book: More power to you. I think it's great that you're still able to enjoy it. I just can't say the same anymore.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2017
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  2. SteelWheels

    SteelWheels Well-Known Member

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    The one thing that I'm most worried about for Lost Light is the inevitable Knights of Cybertron reveal. At some point in the story we're going to eventually find out who they are, what they're doing, etc. And I'm worried it will be underwhelming. I've been reading MTMTE/LL for about a year and a half, but the series itself is 5 years old. There are plenty of people who have been waiting for 5 years to see the Knights of Cybertron, to see the people Rodimus and crew have been hunting down since the beginning. If James fails to make the Knights interesting or engaging then it will be a huge blow to the series.
     
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  3. RNSrobot

    RNSrobot Keeper of the Waspinator Swarm. Blam.

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    I think there is a strong feeling of being... betrayed?

    There is, of course, an entire and worthwhile discussion to be had about the relationship between creator and fan/consumer/reader in 2017, where we have direct access to said creators, feedback is near-instantaneous. And while I want to feel that my feelings are genuine and appropriate, we also can't ignore that fandom is often/frequently/jesus christ toxic. We can all think of examples in this forum or in the TF fandom at large where the entitlement, whining, nitpicking, etc etc is just too much. It becomes obscene.

    I don't want to come across as entitled. I don't feel entitled. I'm *thankful* and beyond grateful the TF comic became something special and meaningful. And now it feels like we've lost something special. It does feel like a loss, that's a great way of putting it @lordcryotek and @GoLion . And you know what? It's valid when a book becomes as important as MTMTE did.

    And more importantly, as the book became important, many of us also evangelized it. We weren't just readers, we recommended it to other people. We pushed for it to be considered by friends, even those who weren't into Transformers at all. I think Chris Sim's "The Transformed Man" series on Comics Alliance was profound. The guy hated TFs and read every single issue of RID/MTMTE (to that point) and came around. That was a big thing for a TF comic. Seeing it be nominated for and even win awards. Seeing it, despite fighting the stigma of being a "toy book," gain some traction as a terrific comic book (FULL STOP). I, and many of us, became invested beyond just as a reader.

    So when we get to the creative team reveals at SDCC featuring some new artist who isn't Milne; Milne finding out he's not drawing the book IN THAT FORUM; that hurts.

    Because to me, everything that's happened and been going on seems to suggest that IDW publishing doesn't give a goddamn shit about the readers who engaged so profoundly with MTMTE. They failed to see or understand or appreciate why and how the book resonated. They failed or refused to see how important Milne was to the book. And, ultimately, demonstrated that they simply didn't care about us.

    Now a writer, a creative person, they can't merely cater their work to the wishes of their fanbase. That's not now creating works. But I feel entirely dismissed by the powers that be. That my relationship with this book, mine and the profound connection felt by many others, was nothing. Our dedication, love, evangelizing, passion? Whatever. We're getting a new artist. Fuck this guy.

    Never been a statement from IDW or Jro on Milne. And moving past Milne, it certainly feels that James Roberts has no time or interest for any criticism of his book. Now, he may have his reasons for doing things, and that's fine. It's his book. But... is it? What is his book without readers? Maybe, as shown in this thread, there is something to be said for considering things. What is his book without Milne clearly translating his ideas into something more? Lawrence shows that, unfortunately, it's not that simple to draw James Roberts' Transformers. What is MTMTE without the passionate community that sprung up around it?

    I don't have an answer. Maybe there is no simple answer. But I certainly feel justified in saying that, at the least, IDW Publishing demonstrated absolutely no fucks about the people who have been investing so heavily in the book, well beyond the monthly cover price.

    * * * * * *

    In related news, considering the Knights of Cybertron. LL spent six issues in the Functionist Universe, progressed barely any plot or character, abandoned Megatron, and spend 1/3 of its pages on two brand new terrible characters.

    Hey, remember when Skids was pulled through the portal in Tyrest's chamber, and saw those weird symbol speaking energy beings? Remember when that gear symbol showed up in the Scavengers two-parter? In Grimlock's room? On those aliens?

    When the fuck are we going to get back to that, because it seemed a whole lot more fucking important.

    (and that's without reiterating that by the time LL #10 is released, and we finally get back to the Lost Light, over 18 calendar months will have passed).

    This is basically criminal at this point. These are the threads that need to be followed up on. This is bad storytelling.
     
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  4. lordcryotek

    lordcryotek Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, all of what @RNSrobot said. Roberts has been really quiet about this, which is...uncool. Solidarity, and all that, you know? His continued silence about the subject isn't really making him look good, but for all I know he's under contractual obligation to not speak about the subject, or...something. Still seems sketchy, but I want this to not be a situation where two creators have differences or what have you. As for the writing, as a writer myself the number one thing I seek is criticism. Obviously, not every criticism is going to have merit (one particular older woman in a writing group was convinced I shouldn't use any swearing...which, umm, fuck off lady, been listening to Carlin since I was a teen), but a large group of people who had previously loved Roberts' work are saying that it's terrible and headed down the wrong track, if I were him I'd listen and do my best to veer back on course. Actually, Roberts' weird handling of the identity of Tarn was a great way for me to learn to not try and be too subtle with my work and to avoid red herrings unless really well thought out, it inspired me to go back and do a few rewrites on the novel I'm almost finished with. That said, Roberts' response to criticism was to double down, now he's hinting about a time bomb thingy having effects nobody's noticed yet on twitter (probably because the art was too bad to make it clear) which, uh, come on, man. Still, I think the first step to getting The Lost Light back on course to being at MTMTE levels of greatness is to either bring back Milne (like so many want) or find an artist that's better at conveying the tone of his work. But yeah, IDW has forgotten what made it great in its golden age of MTMTE/RID, and that was its stellar art and long, episodic arcs (NOT FUCKING EVENTS) leading (hopefully) towards a franchise-wide payoff. Right now, it's just aimless, poorly drawn, and focused on characters almost nobody gives a shit about. Like, I love LGBTQ relationships in a very literal way (also, Sense8 is my shit, so glad it's getting a proper send-off, and I will drop what I'm doing the second I hear about a new Steven Universe ep), so you know the whole TailgatexCyclonus/AnodexLug shit has got to be putting off a lot of people, and not because of bigotry (those people are long gone) but because they're poorly written, uncomfortably forced, and, most of all, fucking boring.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
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  5. AutobotAvalanche

    AutobotAvalanche Wanna touch things I don't feel

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    This post kinda sums up how I feel.. Different circumstances, but yeah, MTMTE was something that was really.. There for me. I started with issue #11 (I do that. I'm weird and just buy random comics at first) and just thinking.. What the fuck was that? But in a good way. It wasn't what I expected out of a Transformers comic. The characters felt so tangible.. So real. And they looked the same way. I felt that somewhere out there in our universe, the Lost Light was doing its thing. I wanted more.

    I got hooked on the series. Really, really fast. I saw little pieces of myself in a lot of the characters. Hoist, Skids, Chromedome, Swerve, Cyclonus. Every time I read an issue, every fucking Transformer feels like a person to me, not a character. And I've never gotten that feeling with ANY other piece of fiction. It helped me see flaws in myself, and how I could move past them. Swerve's crippling self doubt? I was right there with him. And I cried when I found out literally everyone went looking for him on Swearth. I laughed when Nightbeat was a little too dramatic and methodical for his own good and got beaten at detective work by some of the quieter bots. I'm like him. I smiled when Brainstorm tried to make things up to Nautica. For such a morally gray dude he felt so genuine then.

    This comic showed me it is okay to be who you are. Even if I don't think I'm worth much at times, I have people there for me. Like Swerve. And even though I'm as icy as Cyclonus sometimes, I'm just as terrified of being all alone like Hoist. And, one of the big things.. This comic helped me realize it's okay to be bisexual.. I deeply admire Chromedome and Rewind. The love and compassion they have for each other dripped from the pages, the distance they'd go for each other stretched way beyond the panels of the book.

    I was with Season 2 all the way. Getaway pissed me off, and I don't usually get angry. But then I stepped back and laughed, because I was so surprised a comic about toy robots could make me feel these things. Season 2 made me think a lot more than season 1. Did Megatron deserve to be let off so easy? Was all that graffiti on the walls actually TOO weak of a response to him? Or were all these people broken enough that they would never try to murder him directly? I loved every second of it.

    I tried with Lost Light. I really did. The art threw me off but I got past it. I stopped and realized.. I shouldn't have to be trying. I loved these characters. These people. I knew them. I should be able to jump right in.. But it became clear to me that it wasn't the same. The Transformers in the comic are once again just that.. Nothing more. They're flanderized, overly comical. The emotion is forced. No nuance. No moments that actually earned my feelings. They just weren't the same.

    I lost Chromedome and Rewind. I lost Swerve, Nightbeat, Cyclonus, and all the others.

    I lost a little bit of me.
     
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  6. Bass X0

    Bass X0 King of Muay Thai

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    I don't have any problem with Lawrence's art. As long as it's clean and clear with appropriate proportions then its fine by me.

    That was the intention and he succeeded in doing so.

    What does Transformers being toy robots have to do with anything? Either a comic is good and enjoyable or its not; it really doesn't matter if its based on a toyline.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
  7. beardy

    beardy Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

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    He's the artist, not the colorist. If you speak about something 'tonally' in the art world it generally means the colour work, the hues etc...
    Joana Lafuente is in charge of that...
     
  8. RNSrobot

    RNSrobot Keeper of the Waspinator Swarm. Blam.

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    Mm. I think his art doesn't fit the tone of the writing.

    I get what you're saying but I think the reference is to the feeling/atmospheric "tone" vs the color palette "tone." Lawrence is TOO cute and cartoony. Imo his art takes away from the story rather than adds.

    Lafuente is a terrific colorist.
     
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  9. AutobotAvalanche

    AutobotAvalanche Wanna touch things I don't feel

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    The art itself definitely contributes to the tone. Would you be able to take a grim show like TF Prime seriously if the characters were animated like Teen Titans Go?
     
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  10. lordcryotek

    lordcryotek Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that tonally, not the other, I'd use tonality or just refer to "the coloring" or something if I was talking about the coloring. The coloring is just fine, Lafuente's great, Rod's new deco is one of the few highlights of The Lost Light. And by the tone not matching, I mean to say that I think the cartoony art style doesn't fit the dark story line at all. Also, I had the thought/hope occur to me: what if the time bomb effect he's referring to is actually the art? I'm not going to say I would like that, that's something that would feel like a rather cheap gimmick, but it would be an explanation for the abrupt change that could bring me back on board. I'm reaching, I know.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
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  11. RNSrobot

    RNSrobot Keeper of the Waspinator Swarm. Blam.

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    What's this about a time bomb?
     
  12. lordcryotek

    lordcryotek Well-Known Member

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    Roberts mentioned something on twitter about the geo bomb thing still having effects on the story, and I had the hope/idea that maybe that effect included the art, indicating a return to Milne. Probably reaching.
     
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  13. RNSrobot

    RNSrobot Keeper of the Waspinator Swarm. Blam.

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    Sigh. Have there even been in story clues?
     
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  14. lordcryotek

    lordcryotek Well-Known Member

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    Not that I know of? It does sound like something he would do, though.
     
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  15. Conran

    Conran Active Member

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    Honestly, the series started going down hill when it went into "relationships" and the social justice lite tedium. Made me miss the Dreamwave series, say what you want but at least it had interesting moments. But hey, got to broaden the appeal so let's follow Marvel's lead, did good for them, am I right?
     
  16. RNSrobot

    RNSrobot Keeper of the Waspinator Swarm. Blam.

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    I feel like you haven't read the thread. You're welcome to your take, of course, but the relationships and values are what made mtmte important to many of us.
     
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  17. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP AKA Beve Stuscemi

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    It wasn't relationships that sunk MTMTE for some, it was the reliance on them above anything else.

    Hell, the relationships were so subtle and nuanced, Chromedome and Rewind weren't even "confirmed" for a while. The brilliance was in the low-key approach and relative lack of focus, being drip-fed their status within much more engaging stories so it grew naturally and unobtrusively. Now most everyone's in a relationship or implied or has strong feelings, and what used to be seldom spoken phrases (not out of shame or secrecy, but just because they were so commonplace it wasn't a topic of everyday discussion) are now oft-repeated and central points of dialogue. ("Oh, are you Conjux Endura? What about Amica Endura?" and so on) It went from love in a war story to war in a love story.

    And I hate to say it, but relationships are not Roberts' strong suit. In hindsight they only really stood out as well-done because he didn't focus on it that much. And yeah, I hate to say it also, but a lot of it is very obviously done to appeal to the online fanbase much the same way the kookiness and references and violence were dialed-up. People just wanted the nice scenes and visual and verbal language versesus a proper story linking all these aspects appropriately. It's like when you have a favourite movie and just watch your favourite scenes on Youtube without the rest of the movie to balance it out.

    A good TF comparrison is whenever a fan of Beast Wars would say Code of Hero is the best episode, (and they're not exactly wrong) thus it should be an episode judged alone, or worse, shown to people to convince them of BW's greatness forgetting that the episode isn't even half as impactful without all the dedicated build-up to the events and history of the characters. It'd be as if every BW episode was Code of Hero, just as it was, without proper context, build-up or history, where every character had a heroic last stand and personal struggle... but you knew nothing of these characters or what they're struggling with. (it's actually my main point of criticism for TF: Prime, the expectation of emotional reasonance without the appropriate framework being constructed)

    It's just another example of Roberts lacking that nuance and restraint he had early on.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
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  18. johnbonhamatron

    johnbonhamatron Big ol' Nightbeat fanboy

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    My gut feeling is that you're kinda both right.

    Now, I'll preface this by saying this is just subjective. I'm not saying it's objectively what's happening, and I don't have much evidence beyond it feeling like this is the case, so eh, take this as ye like, and this is going to probably be a massive elephant I'm dumping into the room, but... it feels like Roberts' personal political views are bleeding into his writing more.

    Now that's fine, because every writer does that, including me, but only so long as it isn't done at the expense of the story (and it's irrelevant what those political views actually are, the problem is prioritising them over storytelling). I have literally zero evidence that's what's happened, or that it's affected the story, but it feels like it could have.

    I'm not saying that I expect him to Ayn Rand the shit out of it and give, oooh, say, Anode a 7 page speech, but I wouldn't be entirely surprised... :p 

    On the one hand, I love it when you say what I'm thinking, 'cos it means I can point to it and go "THIS" instead of typing out another massive wall o' text (because I'm fundamentally lazy).

    On the other hand, you did prevent me from typing out another massive wall o' text (and I'm also fundamentally a gabshite).

    Does , erm, that mean you're my nemesis? :p 
     
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  19. Conran

    Conran Active Member

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    This, a million times this. See, Transformers is a medium to escape real world bullshittery, pedantic identity politics, politicians people love or hate etc. Let's say for example your a Christian whose not keen on gay marriage (an example, I don't care either way for it, it's a non event for me) and IDW pushed some tedious storyline where "conjux endura" with only males on Cybertron was banned by Starscream and we had some log winded pro gay marriage message (again I reiterate, I don't care about the topic), both those with no interest on it and those who disagree with it end up being put off. Keep the futuristic fantasy just that, tedious storylines where you have to virtue signal should be left where it belongs; a Tumblr cringe compilation.
     
  20. Conran

    Conran Active Member

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    Also love of god, I used the gay marriage thing as an example, don't use it as a soapbox to sell either "evangelical" or "progressive" nonsense, it is merely a vessel for conveying a point.
     
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