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Interview with John Barber and James Roberts

Posted on 02-01-2013 at 01:22 AM by ORIO under Comics
Mtmte13A
Last year, IDW Publishing relaunched the Transformers comics as we know them. Writer Mike Costa ended his run on the Transformers Ongoing comic and the Transformers comics were relaunched with two new titles; More Than Meets The Eye and Robots In Disguise. Two books, that over the last year, have revolutionized Transformers comics. This newsie will gushingly recommend, talk about and force these books down the the throats of Transformers fans as well as comic book bans. MultiversityComics has posted an extensive in depth interview with both writers of these books, John Barber (RID) and James Roberts (MTMTE). In this interview the writers discuss everything from how Hasbro has been a fantastic supporter of the books (sometimes asking the writers to push the envelope even further than they have), to how they became involved with the Transformers books, to their writing techniques. They even discuss what we have in store coming up! There is so much more that we can't even fit in this space, so please take the time to read this. If you haven't read either of these titles yet, seriously, what are you waiting for? You're missing out in the worst possible way.

Additionally, the second cover for More Than Meets The Eye #13 is revealed in this interview. The book is due in stores next week, February 6th. The most exciting part of this cover? It features Holomatter (aka hologram) avatars of Skids, Rung, Swerve, and Rewind. Ultra Magnus is also featured on the cover, using Verity Carlo as his avatar!

You can read the entire article at the link above. Check out the new cover and discuss everything by clicking the title bar.
Views: 7,357 / Credit: Sockie
Mechafire
Haven't read the interview yet but that cover... what in the world?

Okay, looking at it a bit more I think I may have it somewhat figured out: Cybertronians aren't allowed on Hedonia so Magnus, Rung, Skids and Swerve all choose human avatars of themselves to go instead.

Still dunno why Verity's there though.
ZacWilliam
Yeah... Wow on cover stun-age.


-ZacWilliam, god these books are sooooo good. I dearly hope they go on forever. MtMtE should be weekly.
Sockie
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechafire View Post
Haven't read the interview yet but that cover... what in the world?

Okay, looking at it a bit more I think I may have it somewhat figured out: Cybertronians aren't allowed on Hedonia so Magnus, Rung, Skids and Swerve all choose human avatars of themselves to go instead.

Still dunno why Verity's there though.
http://multiversitystatic.s3.amazona...TE_13_cvrA.jpg

Examining it at full-size, it looks like all of the humans there are holograms, including Verity. There are spots on all of them that look "blurry." And considering that Magnus and "Verity" are both in the same poses, does that mean Magnus' holo-avatar is a Verity look-a-like? That's kind of... odd.
Yggdrasil
This is gonna be one weird issue man

Also it makes sence for Uncle Magnus to take Verity as an avatar. Which other human can say to have stared Overlord into his oversized freaky lips and lived. She's badass enough to be his avatar

Love Rewind's camera guy and Swerve is so perfect it's not even funny

And Rung you're sexy Victorian beast you are!


Also incredible read! You must respect these guys weather you like the comic or not they know their stuff when it comes to writing!
Mechafire
Just finished the interview. Absolutely fantastic read! Love these guys' attitudes.

Quote:
JR: Issue 16 of MTMTE kicks off a multi-part epic that wraps up a huge number of the storylines that we’ve been seeding since issue 1, while sowing lots of new ones. All I’ll say is: not everyone is who they seem.
Hmm...
Magnus' Mate
Great interview.
Autobot Burnout
Is it wrong that I now must demand for a HA Rung w/ the Victorian Badass holo-Avatar? Because if so, then screw being right because I want it.
Yggdrasil
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechafire View Post
Hmm...
My bet is on Tailgate! Just listen to his track record dude is waaaaay to perfect for someone as clumsy as him! There's something up with him I'm sure!

Also HOLY SHIT MAGNUS IS SMILING! Look at that smug happy face in the backgound! Awww :3
Digilaut
Is Skids' hologram James Bond?

Awesome cover!
bossprime
Very nice I'll gonna wait and read this soon.
1984forever
Barber is wrong about one thing though, not everybody likes Swerve. Roberts shoulda used Bluestreak if he wanted a chatterbox. If his reason for not using decent Transformers is that he is planning on killing a bunch of these guys... then I forgive him.
ZacWilliam
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1984forever View Post
Barber is wrong about one thing though, not everybody likes Swerve. Roberts shoulda used Bluestreak if he wanted a chatterbox. If his reason for not using decent Transformers is that he is planning on killing a bunch of these guys... then I forgive him.

I've been a fan since 84. Some (though not all) of my favorite characters are from the first two years, but I would LOVE it if IDW killed off every Pre-87 character permanently. I would just laugh so hard imagining your response.


-ZacWilliam, and then I'd go right on enjoying these AMAZING comics and their awesome, diverse and well written casts of cool Transformers for years to come.
Yggdrasil
Quote:
I would just laugh so hard imagining your response.
I would at first but considering how that would probalby cause him to do a suicide-bombing on the IDW HQ or die from a heart-attack or a rage induced aneurysm I think we better not do that yet
General Tekno
Well, Magnus with Verity as an avatar is hilariously awesome. I can't wait to see if he acts any differently because of that (You know, the whole idea of liberation/roleplay/how people act differently online).

Also, not everyone is what they seem? Hmmm.... I've heard Tailgate bandied about as that, but there's also Swerve - except we know he's not quite what he seems. SOMETHING is up with Chromedome though, methinks...
Lbsammills51
Really cool interview. I'm really pleased that the Hasbro creative team is totally on board with what they've been proposing/doing. I looooooved seeing the "shades of gray" reference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZacWilliam View Post
I've been a fan since 84. Some (though not all) of my favorite characters are from the first two years, but I would LOVE it if IDW killed off every Pre-87 character permanently. I would just laugh so hard imagining your response.

-ZacWilliam, and then I'd go right on enjoying these AMAZING comics and their awesome, diverse and well written casts of cool Transformers for years to come.
I think that burst of rage/despair will be so epic it'll rival the Second Impact from Evangelion.
Anguirus
Nice interview! I just wish we heard more about Hasbro's "crazy in a good way" ideas...I am intrigued.
Iro the Dude
Man, I'm really loving this cover. Can't wait to see what Whirl, Cyclonus, and Tailgate end up looking like.

Also, the interview was a really good read. I hope we have these two series continue for at least a couple more years.
1984forever
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZacWilliam View Post
I've been a fan since 84. Some (though not all) of my favorite characters are from the first two years, but I would LOVE it if IDW killed off every Pre-87 character permanently. I would just laugh so hard imagining your response.

Sshhh! Don't give these guys any more bad ideas! Barber's book is shaping up nicely, let's not spoil it with radical suggestions!
dunerunner123
I'm calling it, one of the aliens is going to hit on Ultra Magnus.
HeroicC300
Swerve's holoavatar is totally Coop from MEGAS XLR.
ArmoredSwampert
Oh wow, this gun be gooooooooooooooooooooood. Hopefully these avatars won't look as horrible as Ratchet's on Delphi.
Acteon
I want that cover as a poster, it's frikkin' awesome! And any excuse to get Verity back in the book (avatar or no) gets my vote. I can't be the only person that really liked her? I'd love to see her return at some point, she's got to be the only decent female character in TF fiction (okay, Sari was quite cool in the end, but not a patch on V)

All those avatars are superb though. Man, Roberts just keeps getting better doesn't he?
SG Roadbuster
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeroicC300 View Post
Swerve's holoavatar is totally Coop from MEGAS XLR.
holy hell it is. *mind blown*
and now i shall henceforth imagine Swerve with David DeLuise's voice. also after seeing what appear's to be Rung's classy sumbitch of an Avatar, he shall henceforth be voice by David Hyde Pierce
CelticMutt
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acteon View Post
I want that cover as a poster, it's frikkin' awesome! And any excuse to get Verity back in the book (avatar or no) gets my vote. I can't be the only person that really liked her? I'd love to see her return at some point, she's got to be the only decent female character in TF fiction (okay, Sari was quite cool in the end, but not a patch on V)

All those avatars are superb though. Man, Roberts just keeps getting better doesn't he?
Nah, I like Verity too. I'd love it if she returned full time. The only problem (well besides people whining "NO HUMANZ!") would be that the settings of both ongoings aren't exactly made to deal with the biological needs of organics. Then again, she did ok in LSotW, so maybe they could accommodate her.
TF14
are we sure the guy in the suit is Skids'? I think it might be Trailbreaker's because he's there with Swerve, Rung and Ultra Magnus standing behind the "No Cybertronians Past This Point" sign.
Digilaut
Quote:
Originally Posted by TF14 View Post
are we sure the guy in the suit is Skids'? I think it might be Trailbreaker's because he's there with Swerve, Rung and Ultra Magnus standing behind the "No Cybertronians Past This Point" sign.
I'm sorry, but the robot in the background is Skids, not Trailbreaker. The colors are kind of fading because they're in the background, but that's definitely him.

Not saying the holodrivers they pick always make the most sense (some characters during the -ation run of IDW had holodrivers that didn't seem to match their robot counterparts - although I will admit there's no rule on why they should, but I like it when that, like the altmode, reflects the character), but a James Bond kind of guy in a suit fits Skids, and not Trailbreaker.

Especially since Skids is rumored to be an Autobot spy, 'Agent 113'
TF14
Whoops my bad it does make more sense for him to be skids anyways
Yggdrasil
I guess this will be the "fun feel good issue" to relax us before shit hits the fan hard in #14 and #15.
MECHADOOM
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1984forever View Post
Barber is wrong about one thing though, not everybody likes Swerve. Roberts shoulda used Bluestreak if he wanted a chatterbox. If his reason for not using decent Transformers is that he is planning on killing a bunch of these guys... then I forgive him.
I think I'm going to use the folloing quote from the article any time 1984forever brings up the idea of limiting the cast to the 84-86 Transformers:

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Roberts
JR: There are literally hundreds of characters in the Transformers Universe, and it seems short-sighted and unnecessarily limiting to focus relentlessly on the same 15 or so big hitters when anyone and everyone out there, from Slugfest to Sunrunner, has the potential to be as popular a character as, say, Jazz or Grimlock.
Sideswipe80
Glad I dropped these books.
Yggdrasil
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sideswipe80 View Post
Glad I dropped these books.
Good for you. Are you now going to post that same sentance in the next 20+ threads just to hammer down the point like you always do? Or do you always do that because you're such a huge attention whore that is constanly annoyed when no one gives a fuck that you don't like the books?
edgs2099
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sideswipe80 View Post
Glad I dropped these books.
Sweet. You and 1984forever can sit around and high five each other and talk about how cool you are.
Sideswipe80
Quote:
Originally Posted by edgs2099 View Post
Sweet. You and 1984forever can sit around and high five each other and talk about how cool you are.
? I don't get it.
Dark Magnus
Quote:
Originally Posted by SG Roadbuster View Post
holy hell it is. *mind blown*
and now i shall henceforth imagine Swerve with David DeLuise's voice. also after seeing what appear's to be Rung's classy sumbitch of an Avatar, he shall henceforth be voice by David Hyde Pierce
It's funny you say that, because I said I heard one of the Fraiser brothers when I read Rung way back in that thread about the voices we hear when we read the comics...
HeroicC300
Quote:
Originally Posted by SG Roadbuster View Post
holy hell it is. *mind blown*
and now i shall henceforth imagine Swerve with David DeLuise's voice. also after seeing what appear's to be Rung's classy sumbitch of an Avatar, he shall henceforth be voice by David Hyde Pierce
I don't know the latter.

So, that's Coop's VA? Then who would be Jamie and who would be Kiva?

The only thing separating Coop from Swerve is Swerve doesn't level everything in sight.
Boy Blunder
As a lifelong Marvel Comics fan, it really says something that I look forward to these two books every month more than any of the Marvel books I keep up with. JR and JB really hit it out of the park, and reading this interview just makes me love them more, simply because of their own love for the franchise and the stories they want to tell within it. Great to hear how supportive Hasbro's been, too; I just wish they'd market the books a little more to the toy-buying public, because everyone needs to know these books exist, even if it doesn't end up being their cup of tea.

Also, as for all the 'not everyone is what they seem' speculation, my money's on Skids. Yeah, I know, obvious choice is obvious, but considering the circumstances of his appearance, the holes in his memory, and how the flashbacks of Crystal City show the Circle of Light being attacked by the same '1984' robots as Skids killed, there's something fishy going on...

All I know is that it had better not be Cyclonus. That'd be too hackneyed.
SMOG
Oh joy... Holo-Avatars... my least-favourite plot device in IDW!

This issue looks like it's going to be a bit of a one-off romp, so I guess I can hack it. Although the pseudo-science and application of those Avatars really bugs me, they do offer some interesting potential in terms of storytelling.

Verity for Magnus makes a lot of sense, really. Swerve is pretty identifiable. I think Rung's steampunk glam is a bit much, while Skids would see to be way more of a Jason Bourne (at this point, with his memory in shreds) than a suave Bond-esque dude. Also not digging Milne's human stylings that much. Giving me J.Scott Campbell flashbacks (which is not a good thing, seriously).

But all that aside, looking forward to it. I trust the team to deliver good stuff, and hopefully not get too ridiculous within the confines of the "shore leave/holodeck" cliche.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1984forever View Post
Barber is wrong about one thing though, not everybody likes Swerve. Roberts shoulda used Bluestreak if he wanted a chatterbox. If his reason for not using decent Transformers is that he is planning on killing a bunch of these guys... then I forgive him.
Y'know, while I generally disagree with the motivation and rigidity behind most of your complaints, I think you're correct on this count. I feel like there are other characters that would have fulfilled the "chatterbox" type (Bluestreak is just one), and I don't like it when Roberts takes on a character pretty much just to impose a new persona on them for his purposes.

Of course, between the list of dead guys and the division of characters between Roberts and Barber, there are certain constraints, so I can forgive it to some extent. Also, Swerve traditionally doesn't have much of a personality besides being a metallurgist and a bad driver, so what Roberts is doing with Swerve is additive, rather than subtractive. It bothers me a bit more in the case of Tailgate, who had a very distinctive neurosis that made him stand out among Autobots.... although I still love who IDW Tailgate has become.

zmog
Mechafire
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sideswipe80 View Post
Glad I dropped these books.
"He chose... poorly."
Acheron
Rung's Auto-Avatar is the most posh, suave motherf_cker I have ever laid eyes on.
Anguirus
Quote:
So, that's Coop's VA? Then who would be Jamie and who would be Kiva?
Jamie is already Prime Starscream. And yeah, DeLuise is a great choice for Swerve. Not much room for Kiva in IDW's sausage-factory universe.

Quote:
Skids would see to be way more of a Jason Bourne (at this point, with his memory in shreds) than a suave Bond-esque dude.
I think he's a Bourne plot-device married to a slightly more Bond-ish character. He's not just a canny ass-kicker (like the rest of the crew), there's something "posh" to him.
HeroicC300
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anguirus View Post
Jamie is already Prime Starscream. And yeah, DeLuise is a great choice for Swerve. Not much room for Kiva in IDW's sausage-factory universe.
I meant for Swerve to hang around with. VAs aside, who would match them decently?

And the whole lack of fembots thing isn't that bad: it is, and it's not focused upon or forced.
Wheeljack_Prime
Quote:
Originally Posted by SG Roadbuster View Post
holy hell it is. *mind blown*
and now i shall henceforth imagine Swerve with David DeLuise's voice. also after seeing what appear's to be Rung's classy sumbitch of an Avatar, he shall henceforth be voice by David Hyde Pierce
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Magnus View Post
It's funny you say that, because I said I heard one of the Fraiser brothers when I read Rung way back in that thread about the voices we hear when we read the comics...
James Roberts himself said that if Rung ever appeared in a show he would like RUng to be be voiced by DHP or Brent Spiner
SMOG
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acheron View Post
Rung's Auto-Avatar is the most posh, suave motherf_cker I have ever laid eyes on.
Maybe it's a wish-fulfillment avatar? The reason it feels off to me is because Rung is so clearly such an isolated, mousy, unobtrusive little nerd who builds toy spaceships in his spare time (which is all why we love him so). This debonair, urbane, somewhat affected steampunk popinjay feels far more like a fangirl romanticization than an accurate reflection of who he should be. I feel like the point of Rung is very much the fact that he is unflamboyant and unglamourous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anguirus View Post
I think he's a Bourne plot-device married to a slightly more Bond-ish character. He's not just a canny ass-kicker (like the rest of the crew), there's something "posh" to him.
Yeah? I don't really see the poshness in him, and part of that is probably because of his "superlearner" status. His skillz are clinical... just something he does, as an appendage to his intellectual versatility.

And honestly, Bond has always struck me as more of an arrogant sociopathic thug sitting beneath a smarmy veneer of masculine sophistication (and I do mean always, not just since Daniel Craig took over). I don't get that same alpha-dog vibe from Skids at all.

In other words, it feels like in going for the Bond cliche, they simply attached to him the most blatant archetype of "the spy", rather than articulating any of the more legit permutations within that genre.

Well, that's MY critical analysis of the cover.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheeljack_Prime View Post
James Roberts himself said that if Rung ever appeared in a show he would like RUng to be be voiced by DHP or Brent Spiner
Yeah, I'm willing to bet most of us have been hearing one of those two voices playing in our heads while reading this series for sure. I mean, Rung basically IS DHP's Niles character, except with a greater capacity for empathy.

zmog
Anguirus
Quote:
Yeah? I don't really see the poshness in him, and part of that is probably because of his "superlearner" status. His skillz are clinical... just something he does, as an appendage to his intellectual versatility.

And honestly, Bond has always struck me as more of an arrogant sociopathic thug sitting beneath a smarmy veneer of masculine sophistication (and I do mean always, not just since Daniel Craig took over). I don't get that same alpha-dog vibe from Skids at all.

In other words, it feels like in going for the Bond cliche, they simply attached to him the most blatant archetype of "the spy", rather than articulating any of the more legit permutations within that genre.
Well yeah, I was sort of pegging onto the Bond caricature of the "tuxedo spy" than Skids actually being much like the character of James Bond.

I really don't see him as Bourne, probably there is a totally different archetype that would fit him much better.
shroobmaster
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sideswipe80 View Post
Glad I dropped these books.
I know right?

If I hadn't dropped them inside my shop cart I would've never enjoyed such delicious fiction!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SMOG View Post
In other words, it feels like in going for the Bond cliche, they simply attached to him the most blatant archetype of "the spy", rather than articulating any of the more legit permutations within that genre.

Well, that's MY critical analysis of the cover.

zmog
They should've made him look like Maxwell Smart.
edgs2099
Quote:
Originally Posted by SMOG View Post
Yeah, I'm willing to bet most of us have been hearing one of those two voices playing in our heads while reading this series for sure. I mean, Rung basically IS DHP's Niles character, except with a greater capacity for empathy.

zmog
Does it date me that I read Rung with Alan Alda's voice?
ArmoredSwampert
A thought just occurred to me. What if one of the aliens they meet is aware of previous events and is wondering why there are humans in deep space with a bunch of Transformers sitting around outside the gates?
Josh
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acheron View Post
Rung's Auto-Avatar is the most posh, suave motherf_cker I have ever laid eyes on.

I think that Rung is based off of me

[if i were handsome and dressed shnappy]
Mechafire
You ARE handsome, Josh. You are a handsome sexy manbeast.

Continue: Interview with John Barber and James Roberts Discussion on the 2005 Boards!

 
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