Discussion in 'Transformers Funnies' started by Blade Raider, Feb 6, 2018.
Merry Christmas everyone!
ATTF 100/TAOWAR 50 NOTES
Warning: Wall of text incoming. If you don't care about the note, you can skip to the end where there's a teaser of ATTF101.
Haven't done notes in a while and whenever I've tried on the last few comics, I felt they got too bloated even for me because there was a lot of customs to go over and a lot of things I wasn't happy with in those (I'm my own worst critic after all). Anyways, let's get into one of my favorite comics I've made in a while, an adaption of A Christmas Carol. I wanted to adapt A Christmas Carol for a few years now, but every year I was either in the middle of something else, didn't have time, or didn't have the ability to do it if I did have the time.
I got serious about finding an angle for this adaption back in 2020 when I made ATTF 82, which was Halloween/horror themed. At that point, Scrooge was to be Blade, which I think I had a decent set up for, but then I started thinking about using one of Blade's summons because I've been wanting to make more stories focused on those characters. While Blade is a toy collector, Shortround offered so much more as a Scrooge of toy collectors. Then in early November this year, I got new BotBots and had the sudden realization that those were my Ghosts. While I'm thinking of it, quick shout out to Iacon45, who makes the Optimus Primal in The Invasion Of The BotBots comic. I bounced a bunch of ideas off of him and he was a huge help.
I started with a quick outline. It's A Christmas Carol, I can tell that story without blinking. My outline was basically just adapt Scrooge to toy collector and at the end of the haunting it turns into a an action comic. However, before I started making or even writing beyond random bits I had in mind, I had one thing to do. A promise to myself: I listened to a unbridged audiobook while reading along (The best way for me to experience a book). I wanted to adapt Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, not Mickey's, not George C. Scott's, not Muppets', etc. Though I did look at those, especaially Mickey's because it's short and I had to abridge a lot like it. I listened and read that book back to back like seven times over the making of this. Because I was on a time limit, I wrote as I made it. I find I make my best comics this way, but I always create trouble for myself this way to.
Let's get into the comic itself now.
Spay-C was picked for Marley because I consider that old TAOWAR bio I made for Shortround to still be canon. There it mentions his past as an Transformer actor aka a Go-Bot in my comics. Making Spay-C a collector friend of his made since. Plus I got to bring back a handful of Go-Bot characters I haven't used in more than a decade.
Wheelie as the collecting for chairity character worked perfectly. Whenever I need "children" he's normally one of them. Also of note here is remember how I always create trouble for myself by writing as I go? Well, the BotBot Critically Complained was shopped in long after the fact. I didn't realize he needed to be in this scene until I got to the twist near the end. Whoops. All things considered, I think I got him to blend in pretty well.
I almost cut the door knocker scene because I felt it was to effect heavy and I needed to choose my battles wisely with effects. I decided to just turn it into a simple gag. I'm insanely happy with how easy it was to give Spay-C angry eyes. I repeat this effect later.
Shortround's house took a bit to put together because it needed shelves for the toys and boxes, etc. and I had to have a basic idea of what areas would be used throughout the comic. And then the first problem happened, Spay-C was too tall for the set. He is mistransformed on purpose to help with that, but a few panels I couldn't get without the top of the set showing. I thankfully was able to extend the walls in editing.
The Ghost of Christmas Past was originally going to be Greasebowl, the toilet, but I decided I didn't like him as a spirit and eventually he was written out altogether save for a name drop. When I recasted Past, it came down to Crikets... or Dr Flicker. Dr Flicker is probably closer to the book being a Bunsen burner, but I had decided early on that the BotBots haunting Shortround would be child like (especially Past) and Dr Flicker just didn't fit. Crikets... is a criket and while I'm adapting the book first and foremost, I adore the Mickey's Christmas Carol and Jiminy Cricket as Past. Plus, just look at Crikets... face. It's perfect. Critically Complained also appears here to clue in the reader that more is going on here. Not because I didn't want ghosts, I just felt that while Shortround is Scrooge, he isn't completely intolerable like Scrooge at the beginning. Made more since to me that someone was trying to trick him.
Why old Billy Dee as old Fizzywig? Because I like that Lando toy and I recently saw that really silly Scooby Doo episode with Billy Dee Williams with his school of cool in it. Plus I needed a toy that could pass as an actor easily. Now for one of my favorite parts, Leader-1 and Leader-1 Jr's cameo. They haven't appeared in a very long time. The moment I realized they could appear I was so happy. For those that don't know, Leader-1 (Go-Bot) was my first season long villain. He took over the White House with an army of Zombie Go-Bots (including Spay-C). Leader-1 Jr. (Minicon) was part of the Bots in Silver that helped the heroes defeat the Zombie Go-Bots and the Go-Bot's son. Near the end the Go-Bot Bugbite (using the Botcon toy) became the final boss of the arc. I don't have that toy anymore, so I just had him call from off panel. Bugbite was killed at the end of that arc, Leader-1 (Minicon) left the planet, and Leader-1 (Go-bot, this is getting Armada confusing to write now) eventually died at the hands of Atra Deus in ATTF #38.
Page 10 was the page I realized I needed two Shortrounds in the same panel and I needed to be able to tell them apart. There is a lot of effects work on these pages. In every panel with the present day Shortround, I had to cut him out and add a glow around him. I think this effect works really well even when there's only one Shortround in the scene. Shortround name drops Greasebowl he because he was suppose to have a role later. I decided to leave it in there because it's a fun name.
Fracture was chosen as Belle because of the whole Go-Bots equals actor thing. Now Crasher was in the Zombie Go-Bot army (the original toy) and I while it's not in the comic, I consider that character to have been her stunt double. Calling her Fracture instead of Crasher just helps with the whole actor thing to. This scene would've taken place all inside, but like the last set, Fracture was way to tall for it. I like this outdoor area though.
There's plenty of background cameos here, but I quite love Jeff Goldblum dancing with Slash the Dinobot. Now then, one of the very few things I would've changed in this comic if I had a at least one or two more weeks would be the execution of that song. It's an NSync song that was played to death around the year this took place. I feel that just dropping the lyrics in didn't do the job. I would've placed a TV in the background with pictures of the music video on it to help guide the reader that it's an NSync song. I realized this the day before release and it just wasn't going to happen.
This was hard to write. I wanted to make sure Fracture wasn't breaking up with him because of the toys. I also wanted this to be a fast scene because it is rough regardless. That said, I love Shortround yelling at himself and the toy he's playing with does have that action feature, so it helped in writing a bit. Like most adaptions, past ends with the break up scene, but there is one more in the book. More on that later.
The Ghost of Christmas Present was a bit hard to cast because there's a very consistent look to this ghost. Originally this was going to be Cold Turkey, the roasted turkey BotBot. Aiming for it being one of the foods the ghost is surrounded by (Which Cold Turkey still cameos as). However, I have a personality in mind for Cold Turkey and it was so different from what I was going for in this comic that I recasted. Yule B. Bored eventually won because I thought the fire would look really cool in the opening shot where he's huge and he wears a Santa robe similar to the ghost's green robe. To habe the panel where Yule B. Bored is huge, I had to quickly get off of Shortround's house set to have room for that. There's also some dialogue on page 16 that's being silly with book quotes and I threw them in just because I had a lot of extra room on that page. I'll admit that it doesn't segway back into the main dialogue very well.
Present is the longest part of the original story. It starts in the town, then goes to the Cratchits, then goes to the nephew's party, then to a coal mine, a light house, a ship in a hurricane, and then finally what a lot of adaptions assume is back in the town near the graveyard. There's a lot. I decided that the main cast of TAOWAR would replace the nephew's party. Because I loved the Leader-1 stuff earlier, I wanted to something equally nostalgic for myself and use the 2003 TMNT lair playset, which use to be my main set called the safehouse. I went off the book a lot here because I wanted to have some old style TAOWAR silliness with this. While most of Blade's summons appear (and a couple of Thief's summons), not all do because I felt some just wouldn't make it. I do wish I had Break and Waddlepop appear though. The last 3 panels of this page was me doing two things: cameo by an old main cast member and a quick "we are here in the plot of TAOWAR" because I wasn't sure this was going to release in continuity order. If I hadn't finished in time, this comic would've been saved for next year. If the middle panel seems like they change subjects fast it's because I added some lines much later to better set up the ending and barely had room to work with.
The other thing I wanted to do was better resolve the last comic where I kind of felt I dropped the ball. Everyone seemed to still be mad at the end of that (Rightfully so, I kind of went too far). While I'm fine with Blade and Roz being pissed at Empp, that's kind of the default for most characters interacting with Empp anyways, I needed to not leave Thief and Empp where I did. What better way to clean this up with some Christmas love. Sir Mervyn should have his fishing hat, but I couldn't find it. I think it's at the bottom of a tote.
For this entire scene I was channeling my love for the the Muppets Family Christmas (even name dropping it). If I wasn't trying to keep the pacing moving, I could've done many more gags. Just today I was thinking I wish I did a bit on Steiner believing in Santa. Still, love everything I did make.
I didn't mention this earlier, but ever since page 17, Shortround had that glow around him again. For present and future, I did not add this effect until the week before release. Adding that effect is time consuming and I wanted to have the rest of the comic together before I added that for Present and Future. Anyways, party games. Blade draws the Fightning Jackel helmet from Kamen Rider Zero-One. Why? For strangely enough a Family Guy bit. I almost forgot Seaspray's bubbles here. One thing I didn't realize until I was in the middle of making this is how often you can see Yule B. Bored from behind with that huge hollowed area.
The hardship and grief line is from the book in the coal mine/light house selection. Probably works in the next scene beter, but it's still good. The dialogue here was changed later on. Originally Shortround said that summons can reverse summon their summoners. This was set up for something that didn't happen, but then I changed the ending to summon the bulk of the old cast so the rewrite was much easier.
So this replaces the Cratchits' scene, but it's also inspired by the rarely adapted last past scene I mentioned earlier. In the original when Scrooge asks to see no more, the ghost says no and shows him the family Belle made for herself. Then the ghost seems like they're about to do it again an Scrooge attacks the ghost and takes the cap (for putting out candles) and extinguishes the ghost. The extinguishing scene is kept in a lot of adaptions and many of them feel quite abrupt because they ghost stops when asked in most versions (skipping this scene is partly why I didn't use Dr Flicker). Here I wanted Fracture to double as both the fiance and Cratchit since Shortround wouldn't have a Bob Cratchit in his employee anyways. I broke out the orphans trope here which isn't in the book beyond collecting for the poor in general. I felt this made since because I like the idea that one of Fracture's goals was to set up a home like this. I kind of wish I went back and added dialogue about that in the break up scene. Also I just liked the sound of "Fracture's Home for Lost Bots." Wish I had time to make a logo for that (and yes, it would've been based on Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends' logo). Now I did make one rule here. Fracture had to be married. The reason is simple, the scene in the book was meant to show Scrooge what life he could've made with Belle if he hadn't let greed consume him. I picked Reci P. Cooker as the spouse when this was still a dinner scene. A few panels in I realized that the dinner brings in the hunger element that didn't apply to Shortround's Scrooge.
Okay, let's talk about Tiny Tim. I have mixed leaning on negative feeling about Tiny Tim. In the book and the closest adaptions, he represents a class of people that the society Scrooge is a part of leaves behind to suffer and die (did I mention I read/listened to the book for this multiple times?). The point of Tiny Tim is to be the counter argument to Scrooge's refusal to help his fellow man. Once you start taking out that element, Tiny Tim feels more and more like he's just there to be a disabled person trope, which he absolutely is in the best of times, but now he doesn't have a purpose in the story I'm telling. The book is from the 1800's, but that doesn't excuse like 99% of the adaptions from not changing a damn thing about Tiny Tim. Even the best ones. Because of that I did not want a Tiny Tim. He was not applicable to Shortround's Scrooge. The only reason he's in this comic is pure obligation. I casted Gamerguy1027 because the pop out head made for a good bit. In an early draft, Tiny Tin had a disability, but I eventually cut all of that except a tiny little stutter to make of what you will. Hindsight being 20/20, I should've merged Tiny Tin with one of the mischievous BotBots so that his character would be more then just an obligation of the story. It was a failure on my part to not properly fix this.
Back to lighter stuff. I used Conjunx Endura and Choosen One Day from the IDW comics since they're all Transformers here. And of course using the word Primus in the famous line. On page 24 when Ol' Tic Toc tells the time, those knocked over BotBots are the result of the toys dominoing. It just happened to work in the panel so I didn't fix it.
Now onto surprisingly the easiest to cast ghost, Future. Iacon45 suggested Grave Rave and it was perfect. There was never a reason or need to recast. Hell, when I started taking pics I realized he was even better than I thought because the toy can only lift the arms to the side and point with them. That's all Future needs to do. Also Swindle is here! Spindle is here to. I love this. I just wish I still had Cybertron Hardtop. He would've replaced Iguanus if I did. This scene was so easy because Swindle is so perfect for it.
To keep things moody, the white between panels are now black from the point Present disappears all the way to the reveal at the end.
You wouldn't believe how much editing I did on these panels. The background had a lot of obivious breaks in them because I was using multiple sheets to make them. I basically replaced the entire background in some panels.
When Grave Rave is in gravestone mode, I edited the skull to line up properly.I did this on every panel except the last one on the next page. Even though I knew Grave Rave was perfect, I was considering Skitter Chatter as Future as well because that toy is pure nightmare fuel. I finally compromised and made Skitter Chatter jump up on Grave Rave and paraphrase Pete from Mickey's Christmas Carol, who was given the one line. This worked really well here because writing Shortround's name on Grave Rave would've been very hard to do and I'm not sure it would've looked decent at all.
Time to talk about the original ending I had planned. In it, Greasebowl or Skitter Chatter would be revealed as the mastermind of all of this and for some silly reason wanted to get revenge or some nonsense like that on Shortround. It would've lead to a fight scene in which Shortround summons Blade, Shortround has his change of heart while telling Blade what's happening, and they unlock Blade's and Shortround's fusion form to win the day. This was to uniform with my other recent TAOWAR comics where most leads to a fight (You know, "And Then They Fight"). Long before I got to this page, I kind of already knew I was dropping it, but as soon as I finished page 28, I knew I was wasn't going to do that. It was much more in line with the spirit of the story if it was just mischievous children trying to do something good for others by tricking Shortround.
In the script I had Shortround yelling "Spark no!" instead of "Scrap no!" because I have played way to much Xenoblade 3. Changed it because I replaced heart with spark on the page before. Not to toot my own horn, but "To the clearance aisle!" is one of my favorite punchlines I've written in a long time. Starting in the final panel of page 30, Critically Complained has a smile on his face for the rest of the comic. One thing about BotBots I love is the mouths are surprisingly easy to edit the expressions of sometimes.
Oh, I forgot to mention on Skitter Chatter that he has 2 robot modes. The nightmare fuel one is more what's on the checklist while the one used in the Home for Lost Bots is the intended robot mode from the designer. In the intended robot mode it's suppose to be a spider, but it doesn't look a thing like one because they striped out transformation joints. I went with the nightmare fuel mode for the 'ghost' so he could have arms and look like he came out of a Spawn comic.
I decided Shortround didn't need to appear in this scene because Scrooge doesn't go to the Cratchits in the book on Christmas day and honestly, why would he? But he does send them a gift like here. I accidental wrote 3 lines for the 3 BotBots of Past, Present, and Future that vaguely sounded like they were based in their times, so I rewrote them to make it a bit more obvious. I like it. Donomics was created by Headmaster Don/HMRC4EVR, perhaps you've heard of him.
For the last two pages, I wanted to have Shortround to join the main TAOWAR cast at the party, but I really wanted a cameo by the bulk of the older TAOWAR cast and that's when I added the group summoning ability. I had been vague on where Shortround lives. Because he's a summon, it's assumed he's on the planet Mu, but for this you can take it as him living on Avalon, which is where the original main cast comes from. I also took this chance to give Unilla a Kai Blast. Probably should've spent a little more time on that effect. So the characters appearing on the final page are Wolfangel (appearing in a different body than the last time she appeared, but same head), Archangel (Blade's brother from earlier, in his epilogue/ATTF#1 body), Star the Wanderer (in his epilogue/ATTF#1 body), Robert Clamcake (in his epilogue body), Tusk of the Desert Sands (who really shouldn't be here because he lives halfway across the world, but it's Christmas), Scarlett (still using her original toy), and finally there's a character behind Archangel that's kind of blocked. That is Blade's and Archangel's sister who only appeared in And Then They Fight #1 Megazord VS Voltron. Her face was never shown, so I continued that here. The ending narration was adapted from the last paragraph of the book. Took everything in me not to use some wording from the book that sounds funny by today's standards.
And that's TAOWAR A Christmas Carol. Now you might remember that I said ATTF 100 was done, but not ready to post back in August. Yeah, ATTF 100 was not originally A Christmas Carol. What happened to that comic? I held it back because I wanted to get further into the comic after it (slowly chipping away at it), then it just happened to become Christmas season and I realized I could make A Christmas Carol and release it where it properly fits in continuity order. And because I don't want to renumber this comic again, I will be releasing it next week on the 12th. Here's the cover of And Then They Fight #101/TAOWAR #51: The Kamen Rider Underground. See you then!
Meant to post earlier today, but just now got on the computer. I present And Then They Fight #101/TAOWAR #51: The Kamen Rider Underground:
Love that Final Fantasy bit
Thanks. I loved every moment of making an Ex-Aid style Kamen Rider with a Final Fantasy theme.
And Then They Fight 102 The Saber in Your Hand
And Then They Fight 103 The Hunt
Not so fun when the lion can shoot back, ain't it?
And Then They Fight 104 Dem Bugs, Dem Bugs, Dem Green Bugs
Shoot em all!
And Then They Fight 105 The Ringing of the King!
And Then They Fight 106 Batcave
Still working on the next story comic, about half way finished with it, just going a lot slower than the last couple of big comics.
Separate names with a comma.