IDW Mike Costa Reflects with UB Podcast Interview - Stories, Fans, and More

Discussion in 'Transformers News and Rumors' started by Kickback, Dec 8, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Coolhand

    Coolhand Spiff's Stunt Double

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Posts:
    3,954
    Trophy Points:
    151
    Likes:
    +16
    I'll do that. I wasn't aware of the Underbase podcast until now and I love it when I find a cool 'cast with a nice stock of back issues to listen to. :) 
     
  2. Bass X0

    Bass X0 Captain Commando

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    Posts:
    14,282
    News Credits:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    362
    Location:
    England
    Likes:
    +10,689
    Body switching is okay. Look at what happens to Optimus Primal and BW Megatron from the very first episode of Beast Wars up until the end of Beast Machines and think about how many different bodies they had during that time.

    BUT the writer shouldn't have the freedom to make up completely new bodies as and when they want to make an unsuitable character fit into a particular situation they wanted to write about. The only bodies I feel they are allowed to come up with are Cybertronian modes for those characters who don't have a Cybertronian toy, an Earth mode for those characters who only have a Cybertronian toy and a modern day alternate mode but still based on their usual alternate mode.

    And they really shouldn't be thought of as data that can be uploaded and downloaded. They have sparks that are a physical object in their bodies.
     
  3. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2002
    Posts:
    9,577
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    337
    Likes:
    +7,432
    I do understand where Costa is coming from, despite my knee-jerk reaction to his insults. But I know, we all know, that our fandom is full of bitchy, whiny, man-children. And I'm not being an apologist for Costa, but if it were me and everyone bitched non-stop about my work for 2 years, I might snap after I was done too. Especially if I had no desire to one day return to writing for a book I neither liked, nor fully grasped the concept of.

    But like it's been said, it's the same with every fandom and every established character or franchise. And in this day and age, there really is no excuse for comic creators to be surprised that every franchise out there has a passionate group of fans somewhere.

    And with something as big as Transformers, how could he not know what he was walking into? You gotta know that no matter what you do, no matter how widely accepted, there will always be a vocal minority (or majority as the case is here) that absolutely hates what you're doing. And the haters are always, ALWAYS the most vocal. Being a professional means you understand this, deal with it, shrug it off, whatever. Don't let it get under your skin, and move on.
    I've come across a few people that absolutely loathe Last Stand of the Wreckers. Don't hear that point of view too often, but it's out there. And I know at least one person that absolutely loathes James Roberts' writing. No fandom anywhere is every 100% united on anything (except maybe Star Wars fans' dislike of midichlorians).


    I was just wondering what Costa's hangup with Transformers fans only reading TF comics is. What's the "so what?" of that statement? His statement seems to stem from the fan-backlash he's felt, so is he saying that if TF fans were more well-read and understood the conventions of the larger comic book industry, that they'd somehow be more appreciative of his work? And if so, then that's a naive statement to make. I know lots of fans that read both the TF comics and many others, and they still don't like Costa's writing.
    But even if TF fans only read the TF comic and nothing else, so what? Was there some master plan to use Transformers to lure in readers to buy other IDW comics (possibly original IDW titles that they'll retain the rights to long after they lose the TF license?)? And if so, I'm guessing that crossover of readers isn't happening judging by his comment.

    I sort of agree with his comment that TF fans kept buying his comic even though they hated it, though not for the reason that he stated. Of everyone I know that's disliked the book, they kept getting it in the hopes that it was going to get better. Everyone kept saying, "Wait and see," and everyone kept promising that it was going to get good, so they stuck it out.
    So while the reasons they kept buying it may differ, the outcome was still the same. And personally, it drives me a little crazy too. When the fans keep buying a product that they dislike out of hope that it'll get good or just brand loyalty, it sends the message to IDW that they can crank out anything regardless of quality (Hearts of Darkness- I'm looking at you), slap the Transformers name on it, and know that they'll sell.
     
  4. KA

    KA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2003
    Posts:
    23,426
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    412
    Likes:
    +277
    Just discovered this topic.

    Man, how hard was it for him to draw ideas from 20 plus years worth of material even if it was on and off.

    I dont blame him for putting a spin on it, hes got the next gig to think about so hes trying to save his rep in the industry.

    But what a douche.
     
  5. Hobbes-timus Prime

    Hobbes-timus Prime TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Posts:
    4,545
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    292
    Likes:
    +6,812
    See, again, I don't think that's fair. My imagined perfect execution of these ideas would require a full reboot. Costa was specifically working within an established continuity. And that's no different than picking up the reigns of Spider-Man after the clone saga, for instance - you may not like the baggage you're saddled with, but you execute the stories within that framework as best you can.

    It doesn't make you wrong for bitching about the clone saga later on.

    My complaints are more on a macro franchise level, and nothing to do with Costa's specific work (which I liked a lot, all things considered).
     
  6. Coolhand

    Coolhand Spiff's Stunt Double

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Posts:
    3,954
    Trophy Points:
    151
    Likes:
    +16
    I don't think it would require a re-boot, not if you use the idea that this is a long dormant ability, lost millions of years ago and forgotten until it gets rediscovered by a Decepticon black ops team, who start using it to, say, covertly jump undercover operatives into the autobot ranks, or some other such scheme.

    Like I said, you could plot a whole story arc around it's rediscovery and the impact on the Cybertronians, to whatever degree took your fancy as a writer.

    But my overall point isn't specifically about how you would use that specific mind swapping idea. You clearly have a specific vision of what you'd like to see happen with the fiction, and that's great. I have my own specific vision of what I'd like to see happen with the fiction. So does every other fan here.

    My overall point is that usually, with a little imagination and brainstorming, you can think of a decent way to introduce MOST reasonable concepts into an ongoing, pre-established fiction as long as you handle it well. DC and Marvel have been doing that for decades. Sure, you're always lumbered with franchise baggage to a degree, but the IDW continuity hasn't been around long enough to generate DC or Marvel levels of baggage. Sure, Hasbro may veto it, and then you're kinda stuck, but IDW have indicated that Hasbro don't really get too involved in the stories as such.

    Which gets me back to my basic point: If Costa felt stressed and was struggling to work with the material he was presented with (and by his own admission in the interview, that was indeed the case. In his own words, it was "not fun"), then that struggle wasn't due to the inherent limits of the franchise as presented in the IDW verse, because he should have been able do what we're doing: Brainstorm, imagine, and world build to find an angle he liked, and a way to work that angle into the existing material.

    Rather, the thing limiting Costa and causing him to struggle appears to have been Costa, either in terms of his interest in the franchise, his skills as a writer for this specific type of fiction, or a mix of the two. And rather than be honest about that, or simply leave and say nothing at all (which would have been the smart move both professionaly and artistically) he gave a public interview in which he tried to blame the product, the fans, the company and everyone but himself for any perceived faults with his work.
    And that is the thing that rubs me the wrong way.
     
  7. ARCTrooperAlpha

    ARCTrooperAlpha Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2011
    Posts:
    1,416
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Likes:
    +6
    Ebay:
    Duly noted, my Lady. We shall all go and have a giggle. : )



    I just want to say, I like your argument. and Seriously, weakness of a network was done in Battlestar Galactica ?! Which episodes were those ? (I've never been able to watch it unfortunately)



    I. Like. This. Btw, could you tell why people hate Last Stand for the Wreckers, I certainly liked it and would like to hear an opposing view. :) 



    Dude, come on !!! explain "established continuity", there was barely anything on that, besides references to past events.
     
  8. Hobbes-timus Prime

    Hobbes-timus Prime TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Posts:
    4,545
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    292
    Likes:
    +6,812
    First of all, I think introducing the idea to what exists now misses the whole point - I'm talking about redefining what it means to be Cybertronian in a much larger context - making the alien robots actual aliens. Not unrelatable, but creating a unique culture and POV for them that has thus far been missing in the whole of the franchise. You can't (or, at least, shouldn't) just try to introduce that after the fact. You should start over.

    But, granting you could introduce the idea to established continuity if you wanted to, still means the writer has to start from the flawed beginning, and you still have to approach starting your story by juggling those inherent contradictions in robots who are millions of years old acting like humans who are thirty. It doesn't solve Costa's problem or make Costa wrong to point those things out.
     
  9. Coolhand

    Coolhand Spiff's Stunt Double

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Posts:
    3,954
    Trophy Points:
    151
    Likes:
    +16
    I'm not sure if this counts as a spoiler, since it's the whole basis of the series from the very first episode, but the reason that the Cylons are able to wipe out 99% of the human fleet at the start of the series is because the fleet is all networked, from Battlestars down to Vipers, and the Cyclons just hacked into the ships, shut them down, then start shooting. The Galactica survived because she was obsolete tech and Commander Adama had refused to allow her to be upgraded with networked computers. Ironically, she was TOO OLD to be vulnerable to the Cylons and tended to kick serious Cylon ass whenever she met them in combat.

    Fair enough. :)  I don't agree with you but I can't think of anything to say in support of my point that I have not already said, so I think we'll just have to agree to disagree I guess. :) 
     
  10. Hobbes-timus Prime

    Hobbes-timus Prime TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Posts:
    4,545
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    292
    Likes:
    +6,812
    Agreed.
     
  11. mrgalvaprime

    mrgalvaprime IDW2019 Stan

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Posts:
    2,843
    News Credits:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    172
    Likes:
    +30
    Just to be clear:
    As a writer : Nothing against
    As a person: Wat a Martha Focka
     
  12. Dinobot Nuva

    Dinobot Nuva Johnny 3 Tears Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Posts:
    8,609
    News Credits:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    347
    Likes:
    +2,836
    Hell I liked Costa's work, especially building on McCarthy's Thundercracker. But the generalizations made in some of his comments are just, I dunno, off-putting to put it bluntly.
     
  13. RedAlert Rescue

    RedAlert Rescue Banned

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Posts:
    13,223
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    236
    Likes:
    +18
    I think it's a bit unfair to say because every Transformer can't do everything the others can that there's something wrong with that.

    I really do feel it's best to not think of them as Robots - robot is just a handy short hand for them - I feel they should be thought of as Mechanoidal "Aliens". as soon as you start thinking about Machine intelligence and networking you start scouting awfully close to things like SG1's Replicators and Doctor Who's Cyber-men networking to me seems to remove individuality.

    Perhaps a better model is to imagine someone Human had had their essence copied into a robotic body they might not know how to deal with computer modes of thought as they'd only exist within the context of the simulation of a human being.

    So I imagine Transformers act the way they do as they are like mini versions of their creator and even if you like the Quintesson origin more than the Primus one that should still hold true. Quintessons are very advanced beings but they don't seem to network either.

    So I say leave them as they are so as to not damage any sense of individuality or their "essence of self".
     
  14. Autobus Prime

    Autobus Prime Transit Former

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Posts:
    8,742
    Trophy Points:
    337
    Likes:
    +758
    Meanwhile, in an alternate universe...

    Yes. In this alternate universe, Michael Bay made an MLP movie in 2007.

    And GI Joe has respectability.
     
  15. Greyley

    Greyley Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Posts:
    839
    Trophy Points:
    101
    Likes:
    +10
    This is great. :lol  Substitute any cartoon title in there, and it highlights how silly Costa's comments are. A good writer can make *anything* into a believable story.

    It probably looked something like this (my old sig):

    [​IMG]
     
  16. SMOG

    SMOG Vocabchampion ArgueTitan

    Joined:
    May 13, 2006
    Posts:
    21,005
    Trophy Points:
    412
    Location:
    Robot Narnia, Quebec
    Likes:
    +5,295
    For once, I'll try to be succinct, and say that my feelings have been summed up by so many others here.

    Good riddance, Costa. Your failings always eclipsed your contributions (and there were some), and this parting interview only crystallizes how you had no interest in growing within the fiction. I always suspected you were phoning it in for the paycheck, and barely containing your contempt for such a "silly" property.

    Writing Transformers as a non-fan certainly isn't easy... I'll grant you that. You have my sympathies there. However, I can't say that you managed to rise to the occasion. Not only did you NOT find a way to engage with Transformers precisely on the level of their alienness, their difference, or how they can be "people" even despite this, but in the end you also failed to tell good stories. Starting with an interesting concept and then sleepwalking through it doesn't cut it. The storytelling itself has to be interesting.

    On top of all your complaints about writing Transformers, there remains one ostentatious, cock-eyed fact: That the one prominent HUMAN character in your run ended up being one of the most reviled, superficial, pretentious, poorly-developed and unlikeable protagonists in in any of the (many) mainstream comics I read on a monthly basis.

    The material can be awkward and challenging, and the fandom (as in ANY fandom) can be difficult... but the problem was with you. Accept it and move on. Geez.

    zmog
     
  17. SMOG

    SMOG Vocabchampion ArgueTitan

    Joined:
    May 13, 2006
    Posts:
    21,005
    Trophy Points:
    412
    Location:
    Robot Narnia, Quebec
    Likes:
    +5,295
    :lol  :lol  :lol 

    "He does add that it's this same attitude and desire to comb things that kept the franchise alive in the 90's all the way to the 2007 movie."

    Brilliant! :D 

    zmog
     
  18. Hobbes-timus Prime

    Hobbes-timus Prime TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Posts:
    4,545
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    292
    Likes:
    +6,812
    I don't think anyone wants to damage the individuality of the characters. I don't think anything that's been suggested necessitates that. Having a skill like "medic" is not the same as having a character. Allowing other robots to access the information necessary to make a repair does not eliminate the need for Ratchet as a character. You just have to write better characters so that they aren't defined by their skill-set or the weapon they carry or the thing they turn into.

    I don't know, I just think it's frustrating to watch the franchise actively ignore the basic conceit - "It's a story about robots, but please don't think of them as robots." and clearly this thread became a window for that venting.

    Some of us (*ahem*) got into the Transformers when we were kids because it was a cool story about robots. But, instead of watching the robot story evolve along with our ideas about technology, it's all remained static and we haven't allowed IRL advances to fuel our imaginations and now fans are saying, "Just ignore that they're robots."

    The storytelling, in general, has suffered over the last decade or so because this huge contradiction has become part of what people are expecting from the franchise.

    How can Costa not be dead-on with his complaints when there's this massive contradiction between what the franchise is about and what the fandom wants from it?

    "Just ignore that they're robots."
     
  19. Kaijumaster

    Kaijumaster 335

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2004
    Posts:
    7,320
    News Credits:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    211
    Likes:
    +29
    I've been mulling over his final issue for the last few days, and notice one HUGE disparity between his work, his final interview and the fiction on the whole.

    He states that it's so outragous the MASSIVE jumps in time that these character live for, and yet he does a Time jump of 15 MILLION years...... thats beyond ridiculous. at least the original series fleshed that out with 1/2 the characters being in stasis, and the rest of the population consiouscly prevented from advancing by Shockwave.

    15 MILLION?!? Beast wars did an amazing job and showed MASSIVE changes and development in the course of only 300 years!

    And in his final issue, the line about "Optimus and Megatron still being out there" Costa must have been a huge fan of "These are the voyages" to whip out the "Just to make sure no one else can tell a "later on" tale" move.
     
  20. KA

    KA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2003
    Posts:
    23,426
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    412
    Likes:
    +277
    Autobus :lol 
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.