Machine Wars #1 (a BW-era comic)

Discussion in 'Transformers Funnies' started by Sean Whitmore, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. Sean Whitmore

    Sean Whitmore Well-Known Member

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    I was looking through some papers from high school (by which I mean comics and doodles I drew during class), and came across something I hadn't thought about since those days: a completed first issue (and half of a second issue) for what I'd envisioned to be an ongoing Transformers series to complement/replace Beast Wars.

    The story was basically a Beast Wars clone: a small group of Maximals and Predacons gets transported to a mysterious place for mysterious reasons, though with some focus on a reoccurring supporting cast back on Cybertron. I just stole the name "Machine Wars" because it seemed to fit thematically, and hey, the toy line was already dead. This was sometime between '98 and '99, so I actually don't remember if at this point I knew BW was ending or Beast Machines was coming.

    On the one hand, looking at it makes me cringe a bit at some of the very basics of writing that I didn't know back then, and reminds me why I stopped drawing. (Hint: I can NOT draw vehicles) But on the other hand, it's not without its charm; a complete, black-and-white comic on lined notepad paper with an entirely new cast of characters. So I thought I'd share it (in three big posts; I can't imagine anyone being interested enough to follow along for several days).

    First, some profile pages with a bit of explanation, which will make understanding the comic a little easier. (Or, if you're feeling daring and want to take the chance at understanding everything in the order my 18-year-old self introduced it, skip to the bottom):

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Streak - My kid-appeal character. He has Bumblebee's earnestness and Rattrap's sarcasm, without the low self-esteem of the former or the experience of the latter. He's on the Throttlebot squad, which is basically the "small car" contingent of the Maximals' ground forces.
    Sky Stryke - Generic jet guy, my least-developed character. Not traitorous, despite being visually based on Starscream. My only excuse for spelling "strike" with a Y is I was 18.
    Strider - I had to have seen this name in an issue of Nintendo Power. I never got around to revealing it, but he was to have been an undercover intelligence agent. Like Tarantulus, but for the Maximals.
    Drill Bit - The strong, silent type, and the brains of this Predacon squad (Warcons). Also incredibly loyal, like cartoon Soundwave.
    Chopper - The highest-ranking officer of this small group of Maximals (but not the leader), and a bit of a by-the-book prick. He's a member of the Aerialbots, the Maximals' air force. Completely ripped off his transformation scheme from MW Sandstorm.
    Kamikaze - Unlike his stupid name suggests, he does not blow himself up. He's unbearably proud of the fact that his missiles travel farther, faster, and with greater guidance and maneuverability than anyone else's, and they never miss.
    Mach 10 - The mysterious de facto leader of this small group of Maximals. He's a former Autobot who remembers almost nothing about that life and lies about what little he does remember for reasons of his own. Traits of his appearance and transformation were taken from G1 Waverider and Strafe, I think.
    Ballistic - Leader of the Warcons, he is a rogue Predacon. But unlike Megatron, he's nothing but a brute, meant to take orders (and he would, but not from the gutless Tripredacus Council). He thinks he can reignite the war and win it with balls alone. The helmet and intended dark green/brown color scheme were to evoke the idea of a grunt soldier.


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Some annotations, for those interested:

    Page 1 - The recharge is a reference to "Rebirth". In the first of many ideas that I was unable to express through art, I imagined this city (unnamed) as existing miles off the ground, like the Jetsons. All giant buildings sitting atop big towers and a network of aerial bridges connecting them.

    Page 3 - I don't know from where I got the idea to depict transformations by having the robots' limbs flying off. It's an entire planet of partsformers. More unclear art to explain; the Predacons are on top of a building, not on the ground, which is still miles below. The bridge between them and the building with Unicron on top (more on that in a second) is obviously not the one they just blew up. This one's just a little walkway. The bridge they destroyed was the only way to get to where the Preds are by foot. As for the building in the background, that is the crowning example of my laziness. As the Walmart-esque billboard out front says, it's the site where the Maximals and Predacons formally ceased hostilities. The big ball is a statue of the Matrix...a statue that looks more like Unicron because I drew it from memory. Drill Bit is going to drill into the tower that the building's perched on. The "peace" banner was juuuuust in case anyone still didn't get it.

    Page 4 - The all-pointy dialogue bubbles are supposed to represent silent radio communication. Dialogue spoken out loud gets the Marvel-style boxes.

    Page 6 - All names are coincidental, so that isn't G1 Air Raid. And I don't know how clear it is, but the Maximals are so surprised because they've never encountered missiles this maneuverable and powerful at the same time.
     
  2. Sean Whitmore

    Sean Whitmore Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Page 8 - I read a lot of manga back then, can you tell? There is a plot-pertinent reason that the Predacons are insanely powerful, but it's a mystery at this point.

    Page 11 - The use of "Cybertropolis" suggests that maybe a couple episodes of Beast Machines actually did air before I started this. Unless I came up with the name on my own; it's not exactly super imaginative.

    Page 12 - King of Bad Exposition, that's me. Why would Sky Stryke be complaining about going against the Council NOW?

    Page 15 - I have no idea what "past the Shrine" means. I really don't. Past it how? I guess maybe I was thinking tha Maximals would blow them out the other side of the tower?

    Page 19 - Streak had a really stupid plan. Or he's just an bunghole. "I don't have to outrun the Predacon, I just have to outrun you."

    Page 20 - I had to work this out for myself...Sky Stryke was to remain in the tunnel to kill off Maximals chasing them through it. Kamikaze was in the Shrine, to kill any Maximals entering through the front door. Ballistic and Drill Bit are planting charges throughout the building. Chopper is scanning the Shrine from above, waiting for the Maximal cars and trucks to arrive.

    Page 21 - Enter Strider, a security bot who was already near the Shrine when the bridge was blown. This would have been explained in the next issue, where everyone properly introduced themselves.

    Page 22 - Sky Stryke goes down here (momentarily) because of a weakness built into the Warcons. After any significant energy expenditure, the Warcons need a few minutes to recharge their increased energy. During that time, they're vulnerable; still stronger than an average bot, but not indestructible. This would have been discovered by the Maximals in later issues (notice Strider is oblivious to it now).
     
  3. Sean Whitmore

    Sean Whitmore Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Page 23 - More bad storytelling, but Chopper is now free to enter the building because backup has arrived outside.

    Page 25 - Another example of the Warcons' weakness, as Ballistic takes a hit that stings a little.

    Page 26 - Mach 10 knowing Ballistic's name is a plot point. One that will never be explained. Such a shame.

    Page 27 - Ballistic recovers faster than the others, and blowing up one dude at a time is nothing much to him.

    Page 28 - Confusing panel-to-page continuity there, but that's one of the charges blowing a hole in the building, not Ballistic's blast.

    Page 29 - What I love about this page is that both teams ran towards the same hole in the middle of the room and apparently didn't notice each other until after they jumped in.

    Page 30 - Notice that at this point I'd forgotten my own "city in the sky" idea and drew the ground.

    Page 31 - Air Raid and Unnamed Guy here weren't in the heart of the explosion. They were outside the building and got nailed by a shockwave.

    Page 32 - Exactly where the Maximals and Predacons are as they're falling and why it's affecting their mechanics is part of the series' mystery.

    Page 37 - Dun-dun-duuuun! And yes, because of the cartoon, I remembered Iacon as a headquarters, not a city. And yes, I didn't remember what the headquarters looked like.
     
  4. The621

    The621 Fuck you, that's why!

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    So is this a photo comic or fan art?
     
  5. Noise Maker

    Noise Maker Well-Known Member

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    Hah, this is cool. You shouldn't be so down on your 18 year old self!
     
  6. Lock Cade

    Lock Cade Tarn Fangirl TFW2005 Supporter

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    This comic doesn't look bad. Heck, you draw the characters better than I can. I can't draw robots very well.

    It's a hand-drawn comic. It would probably best fit in with the fan art section IMO, but there are a few hand-drawn comics posted in the funnies that are serials... and since this looks like a serious comic serial, I think this comic could belong in either fan art or the funnies section. Just depends on how Shane or Seth Buzzard feels where this comic belongs.
     
  7. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 Man, I've been here a LONG time Veteran

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    I'll read over it and see what I think, but there's no reason hand-drawn comics can't fit here as well as photocomics. As long as it's sequential storytelling art, it's within the parameters of the board.
     
  8. weeklyhero

    weeklyhero Prototytan

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    Stonecrusher's Transformers Nexus is essentially hand-drawn, so I think this fits here just as well.

    For a high schooler's comic, this is very well done, I think. Especially the sequential part of it, you've got good pacing and panel layout. Much better than I used to do in high school, that's for sure.
     
  9. Plastic_nomer

    Plastic_nomer Doing the unmentionables

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    I like this so much! But please use regular paper next time. and if you can, Scan it. Lastly, I want to suggest you do some shadowing, they work wonders(and I'm sure you could pull it off) :D 
     
  10. Sean Whitmore

    Sean Whitmore Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, everyone!

    And apologies if this is the wrong board. I checked the rules thread, and this seemed to be the place for sequential art.
     
  11. Ray Kremer

    Ray Kremer Well-Known Member

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    Story aside, dude, your artwork is great. At 18 you were drawing ink lines that good without any pencil sketches. I'm also impressed that you had either enough instinct or planning to work the word bubbles in at proper sizes for the text. That's usually done on top of the art later, and I've seen people here working digitally mess it up. I don't know if you have any aspirations towards being a pro comic artist, but from where I sit it looks like you have the basis for that level of skill within reach.

    It's not the first.
     

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