Thursday, December 27, 2007

Me on deviant art

I finally made the step, Warlog now has a place on deviant art !
click here to check it out. there are only a few pages now but that will chance soon enough I think. take care ! gr johan

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Review: KO Mirage

(There are several versions of Mirage on the internet right now. One is the classic blue color scheme; one is Diaclone red; one is clear and one is clear black).


Mirage

Price: $70 Usd (purchased from www.agesthreeandup.com. The price varies depending on color scheme and where you purchase it from. Prices go anywhere from $50 - $75).



The Good:

- Sturdy mold for a KO.

- All parts included (rifle, missile launcher, three missiles, sticker sheet and instructions).

- Box came in pristine shape.

The Bad:

- Toy was loose from cardboard backing inside box. (I'm starting to think this is due to cheap glue on the card).


(The above review was of the red Mirage toy KO. I also have a blue one but haven't opened it. The Blue one is on it's card inside the box fine but the outside box isn't in as good shape--like some idiot folded the top over or something).

Conclusions:

- Seems like a decent KO toy to me. I would recommend it if you don't have an original or want something newer to display (remember it's a knock-off though--they're only so good quality, no matter how good they may be).
- Btw... apparently, the original red Mirage (from the Goodbye Convoy set) had yellow eyes while the reissue has blue ones. This does not bother me at all, though since I just wanted a Mirage toy.
- Be careful who you buy these from. Reputable dealers like Agesthreeandup.com or digital-toys.com are okay but some of the ebay dealers don't care about the condition of the box--0ne guy explicitly stated in his auction that he would fold the top flap over for shipping (like with my blue one--although that dealer did *not* put that in the description or send it that way. But the box flap had previously been bent before he sold it to me. I can see the stress marks on it).
- Even though red was reviewed, I presume it's safe to apply this to the blue one as well. I can't see there being much of a difference between the various versions.



(Picture credit: Pictures taken from the agesthreeandup.com website).

Review: KO cassettes

(There are several sets kicking around the web. One is of Frenzy/Laserbeak; one is Frenzy/Ratbat and one is Rumble/Ravage.)


Frenzy and Ratbat

Price: $15.99 Usd on ebay (price fluctuates wildly. I got mine decently priced but I've seen them for as much as $40).



The Good:

(Frenzy)

- A pretty good representation of the original G1 toy.
- Sturdy (given his size and the mold's fragility).
- Weapons fit well into back.

(Ratbat)

- Has eyes on his head (my original G1 Ratbat didn't. Or they'd worn off already when I got it likely).
- Metal chest like G1 toy.


The Bad:

(Frenzy)

- Stickers are cheap. Arm ones came off easily (which is okay--I never liked those anyway. They don't help the toy's look in robot mode).
- No diecast feet (not a big thing either since the original G1 toys didn't always have those either).
- Paint on eyes is a little sloppy with the paint going off to the right on head a little bit. (Actually... didn't the original toy just have silver eyes? These have red ones! Maybe that should be under "good"?)

(Ratbat)

- Loose wing joints right off the bat (er, pun not intended :).
- Lost one of his ears immediately upon transforming him (I think this was a problem with the real thing too, though, as my original never had ears to start with).
- Left gun doesn't stay in chest hole as well as it should.

- Also, the card's plastic bubble was very slightly coming loose in the middle when I got the toys (I chalk this up to cheap glue).

Both toys have silver weapons, btw (some had gold in G1 and some had silver).

***

Rumble/Ravage

Price: $19.99 USd (boughten from www.agesthreeandup.com)



The Good:

(Rumble)

- Same notes as Frenzy.

(Ravage)

- Diecast legs.

- Missile launchers fit tight into body (I have never, ever had a KO Ravage do that before! It was always one tight, one loose.)

- Card for both toys was in pristine shape when I received it in the mail.

The Bad:

(Rumble)

- Same critiques as Frenzy.

(Ravage)

- Actually, I didn't find anything bad about him.


Conclusions:

- Frenzy, Rumble and Ravage are fairly solid KO toys. Ratbat is the worst of the four but even then, his original G1 toy wasn't that great either. (I don't own a KO Laserbeak so I have no opinion on him.)
- I would mildly recommend buying these if you need some replacements or just want extra cassette-like toys to play with. (Just remember: they are KOs, so don't expect superb quality).
btw... my very first TFs were KOs of Condor (Laserbeak), Robot (Frenzy) and Jaguar (Ravage). They were cheap but fun so to have new KOs of them is extra cool.


(Picture credits: Frenzy/Ratbat pic from ebay auction I won. Rumble/Ravage pic from agesthreeandup.com website).

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Review: KO Dinobots

As you may be aware, there has been a recent influx of Knock off Transformers from China. Some are of the mini-cars, cassette Decepticons, G1 Mirage, Metroplex (really!) and the Dinobots. I've bought a few and here's my thoughts...


Sludge

Cost: $69.95 USd at www.digital-toys.com



The good: A nice toy of G1 Sludge. I never had an original, official Sludge--just a KO from about 15 years ago (ironically). Unlike KO #1, this one has facial details (read: paint apps). He transformed fine and seems relatively sturdy (my old one had the arm snap off when I transformed him one time so I was really careful with this one).

The bad: For some reason, I keep getting these damn KOs with the toy separated from the cardboard backing (essentially, open within the package). The box itself is in pristine shape but the toy is loose inside it. I don't know if the original seller is doing this, customs or what. Maybe the glue holding the bubble on is cheap? (If you'll recall, the original G1 toys mostly had styrofoam inserts--these KOs have a bubble on a cardboard backing inside the box).
- Sludge is also missing his rifle. He technically is supposed to come with a long black rifle, short missile launcher gun and a sword. His rifle is nowhere to be found. The pics online have him with one so I assume this toy's gun is MIA. Was it stolen? Did it fall out somehow (unlikely)?

***

Swoop

Cost: $69.95 USd at www.digital-toys.com



The Good: Really, nothing...

The Bad: What a flimsy toy! I can only assume the original toy was a flimsy piece of crap too (design-wise). This has the addition of cheap plastics to compound the problem with standing up straight. The lower arms are snapped together and if you use too much force start to come apart (but can be pushed back together).

- Lousy toy and quality. Epitomizes the term "knock off".

- Gun and sword won't stay in right hand or right wing. They literally won't fit down like they're supposed to (but the left side's just fine).

- Missile won't stay in one launcher (springer/launcher piece loose).

- No stickers (should be there but missing).

- Loose from card in box.

***

Slag

Cost: $69.95 USd at www.digital-toys.com



The Good:

- Toy on card properly. Stickers included.

- Decent quality plastic on figure (despite tail piece breaking).


The Bad:


- Hand holes not drilled all the way through on top. I had to pry at them with the gun butt to open them up so I could put the gun in.

- Flimsy sword. Should be hard plastic but is soft plastic instead.

- One tail piece broke off on first transformation (can be reattached, I think).

- Launcher won't hold missile. Launcher piece loose.


Conclusions:

- Stay the hell away from Swoop!

- Sludge is probably the best of the three...

- One great thing is that the boxes are nearly indistinguishable from the original G1 toys! Great for nostalgia and use for tech specs, box art, etc. (just be careful someone doesn't sell you one and pass it off as the real deal).

Unless you never had the Dinobots as a kid (me) and need something vaguely resembling the real thing, I'd pass on all of them and save some money. For about $15 these *might* be worth it but not for $70. All they're good for, for certain, is a diorama with junked Dinobots and Shockwave/Devastator standing triumphantly over them.

(Note: The pics in this review were taken from the agesthreeandup.com website. Some are not 100% accurately representative of the final products).






(Three KOs and a G2 Grimlock)






Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Adding my fanzine to the fray... :)



After being delayed for over a month (due to my parents being in the hospital mainly), BOP #34 is finally done and now available!

At 22 pages, the physical issue costs $3/US issue for those who want the whole thing. Email me at tkphoton@hotmail.com to get a copy!
(BOP #33's story will be up on my website soon).



BOP #35's story is still not written but parts of the issue are done already. Barring any unforeseen delays, I expect to have the FINAL ISSUE of Balance of Power done by late January! Afterwards, I also hope to either have all the stories collected together as a file or, if that's too big, do them up on CD-ROM (in their entirety--covers, intro columns, profiles, stories--the works!)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Transmasters Magazine Issue 5

Well, it's finally done. Here's the link to Mag issue 5:

http://transmasters.fortunecity.com/tmmags/tmmag05/index.html

Let me know if any of you have problems with the G1 Cartoon goofs pages. I made them in MS Publisher 2007 and they may not work right in browsers other than IE.

I hope to get the xmas special comic done before the 25th, but it will depend on free time. I've done up a few drawings for it already. I start work on Monday for my new job as a iTunes email tech support-seasonal but I've got to start somewhere if you know what I mean. Take care and I wish you all happy holidays.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Warlog Volume 2, Issue 3 OUT NOW !


Hi,
Finished the issue yesterday and thought I'd put it up today.

Features:
New Cover,
4 colored pages instead of black and white.
some new dialogue put in.
and the Never seen in print Cover for Warlog 2. (back in the time I wanted
to make an 2000AD style mag, but never happened. this has been sitting in the archive for some time.)

Facts:
Warlog Issue 3. (Trial of Superion part 3 of 5)
10 pages.
3.4 Mb size
cbr format
Next issue 04 April 2008 !

I will adapt the warlog site later on.
If any of you read it, could you please give comment/remarks so I can make it a better issue ! via mail or below this box....

DOWNLOAD (yes it's free)

greetings johan

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Short Music Review...


Transformers: The Score

Composer: Steve Jablonsky

Track listing:

1. Autobots
2. Decepticons
3. The AllSpark
4. Deciphering The Signal
5. Frenzy
6. Optimus
7. Bumblebee
8. Soccent Attack
9. Sam At The Lake
10. Scorponok
11. Cybertron
12. Arrival To Earth
13. Whitwicky
14. Downtown Battle
15. Sector 7
16. Bumblebee Captured
17. You're A Soldier Now
18. Sam On The Roof
19. Optimus Vs. Megatron
20. No Sacrifice, No Victory

I recently purchased the instrumental soundtrack to the recent live action Transformers movie and decided to share my thoughts.

In case you don't keep up with this stuff, there are two TF soundtracks to the recent movie. The first one (with a side shot of Optimus' face on it) is full of pop songs that are in the movie/inspired by the movie. This is the other one with strictly instrumental music on it (and it came out more recently too).

The tracks don't seem to follow any real order from the movie but that doesn't really impact the sound of the music. In short, the music is grand and orchestral. It befits an epic storyline full of action and excitement.

And yet... the music doesn't really stand out in my mind. It's not bad by any means--certainly, it's sufficient for any modern action epic. But it doesn't capture my imagination the way some soundtracks of the past have. The original TF movie soundtrack by Vin Dicola is far more distinctive as are soundtracks like James Horner's beautiful Star Trek scores, John William's Star Wars music and Chris Franke's Babylon 5 compositions.

All and all, a good effort. Not outstanding but still a solid release and worth checking out if you like instrumental soundtracks.

Friday, November 16, 2007

TF Comic Review...


Transformers Spotlight
Ramjet

Writer: Stuart Moore
Artist: Robby Musso

(covers by Guido Guidi and Robby Musso)

Synopsis: Ramjet is flying along on Earth when Skywarp shows up and the two talk. Ramjet tells him of his great scheme to take out Megatron and replace him as Decepticon Leader. Skywarp seems casually interested but warns him of the old Cybertronian saying; "Always bet on the Leader." Ramjet continues with his schemes (parallel to the Escalation storyline). He contacts a human facsimile he's created and asks if he got the missile launcher codes he ordered him to get. Later, he has his mini-constructicons make him a "Universal Cybertronic tracker". He goes back and gets the missile codes from his human facsimile and outlines his plans to overthrow Earth's society, develop an Energon substitute and take control of the planet and the Decepticons. Before he can act further, Megatron shows up behind him and beats on him while Ramjet heroically fights back by talking about how smart he is. Megatron defeats him (possibly ripping out his spark). Epilogue: Skywarp muses how no matter how great your plans are, how simple or complex, always bet on the Leader...

Comments: An interesting story that's a one-off with no real effect on the main direction of the story (unless Furman decides to incorporate it somehow later on). Ramjet's plans go nowhere ultimately but it was a good tale for what it was and this story expands upon Ramjet as a character, making him more then just a brute that likes to ram stuff in his plane mode. The story was written by Stuart Moore, who did the recent New Avengers/TF crossover for Marvel (I didn't read it). I liked Ramjet's distinctive head design a lot--it made his generic robot mode more interesting (his jet mode is identical to his old toy form. No modern changes). I found a typo in the story, when Ramjet thinks he can track "...the Autobots" anywhere but its supposed to say "...Autobots and Decepticons" because the sentence makes no sense as it appears (he's referring to watching where Megatron and Prime/the Autobots are). I liked most of the art except for the final page and Megatron's stupid looking smile, for no apparent reason (it adds an air of cheapness to an otherwise good story). I also wonder about the logic of allowing a "Universal Cybertronic tracker" in this continuity. A device that can track any TF anywhere in the Galaxy is too powerful and shouldn't exist because it's very existence makes the story susceptible to characters being able to use apparently casual technology to find any other character at any time in the story and makes for potentially lazy writing. Finally, I got the Guido cover because it was the only one the shop had (which is unusual. That store usually has plenty of both). For once, one of Guido's covers was not too impressive and the good cover (by Russo) wasn't available to me. I wish they'd just go to one cover period and be done with it.

Recommended.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Transmasters Comic Issue 5

Well, it didn't work so I set up another account for the new stuff:

http://transmasters.fortunecity.com/tmcomics/tmcomic05/

Hope you enjoy the issue, let me know if you have any problems. I put a lot of work into the issue so, comments please? If you are interested, I'll also be posting character studies for 2 of the Quintesson characters featured in this issue at my deviant art page.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Just dropping a line to show you Pierrimus' update


I've been working on this update for my Pierrimus character for the Binaltech/Alternators, or like I like to call it: BINALTERTECH. I tried to link my profile to the image hosted on the google picasa web thing, but it woud not work. A bigger/better image is on the deviant art page. I'll get to creating a profile later. The vehicle is based on the 1988 Audi Aztec Italdesign Giugiaro Spider, a rare concept vehicle that I think looks very cybertronic. The dual cockpit design is interesting and I just liked the car, one of those, "I'll never be able to afford to buy it, but it looks neat," kind of cars.


I built a new freebie site on awardspace.com, but it seems there might be a 24 hour period prior to being able to access the files I uploaded...so I'll post the link here to comic 5 once I'm sure it works. Hopefully tommorow.

Let me know what you think, I know I could have done more....but I had to also stop sometime.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

TF Comic Review...


Transformers Beast Wars
The Ascending #2

Writer: Simon Furman
Artist: Don Figueroa

(covers by Don Figueroa and Nick Roche)


Synopsis: Unicron's spirit tells the evil Fuzors (in non-fuzor modes) that the Ascending is threatened and the Vessel must be protected. He has two go to continue propogating the Angolmois energy while he sends one to Earth and the Beast Wars. On Earth, Razorbeast's Maximals and Ravage's Predacons continue to fight. The Preds seem to be gaining the advantage but then Grimlock arrives to save the day. Snarl goes to aid his comrades, leaving Ravage alone. He rises, breaks off his bonds and grabs the temporal gizmo from last issue and activates it. There, Magmatron grabs him and warns him of the impending doom coming to Cybertron. On Cybertron, meanwhile, the Magnaboss team (aka the Imperium) ponders the civil unrest on their world and summons Big Convoy. B.C is busy investigating an attack and discovers more Angolmois energy present... Elsewhere, Shokaract absorbs more and more of the Angolmois energy, declaring that he will soon be a god! Elsewhen, the Pack arrive in the past above Earth and find their comrades. With the added reinforcements, the Maximals easily triumph. Then, Ravage reveals himself and tells them what's going on.But before they can do much, the Fuzor Rartorata (aka the U.S. Injector) shows up and attacks, taking out Razorbeast and making him turn all evil and enraged!

Comments: A bit better then last issue, to be honest. Unicron is back--groan! But the story might go some interesting places on the way to do battle with him and his forces. I may be wrong, but I'd always assumed that Shokoract was a powered up version of Rampage not a new character with the same look (I base this off the old "Omega Point" BotCon comic)--or perhaps he was and they changed it for this new continuity? I dunno. All in all, a decent issue.

Mildly recommended.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Niel Kaplan videos

Perhaps you remember me saying I went to the Sacramento Anime Convention in 2006? I took video of the discussion with Niel Kaplan-RID Optimus Prime for those who may not know. I posted it onto Google's video service in four pieces:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3935412747565789075
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6495866625749546835
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4042026377166432542
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1824586801924585164

Just in case any of you are interested in hearing what he had to say about voice acting. I was a bit late to the event (I checked the web site the night before and it said a different time, got there and saw that I was already late. Oops.) I have to give kudos to the guy for being so accessable, this wasn't that big of an event held in Sacramento CA.

I'm targeting the 29th for the release of the next comic issue, just to let you know. Thanks.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Classics Bumblebee Animation

I know I've been promising to get this done up for a while now. I think the files were sitting around for probably a year now. The drawings are by hand, of course, and the compositioning was completed through a combination of Corel Draw and Ultimate Paint. I'm posting the .wmv version because it's smaller and hopefully you can all watch it. I had originally made an animated .gif file format, but at this size it was 9 megs compared to under 1 in .wmv format. I hope you like it.

BTW: I have also created a myspace account http://www.myspace.com/pierrimus where I've been posting pics of what I've been up to, some of my non-TF sci fi/fantasy stuff and about me articles. (In case you were curious). This video below and that one I did of my Buzzsaw repaint are also posted there.

I've also begun to upload some of my oil painting work and photographs to the deviant art page. A project I've begun is to try to scan all my family's pictures and I'll probably post some of them there too, who knows someone might buy something?

Warlog Volume 2, Issue 2 finished !

Actually I finished the art yesterday at 03:00 AM but the final touches required another night so here it is.

DOWNLOAD

Warlog Issue 2. (Trial of Superion part 2 of 5)
10 pages.
3.3 Mb size
cbr format
Next issue 12 December 2007 !

If any of you read it, could you please give comment/remarks so I can make it a better issue ! via mail or below this box....

now I can continue drawing for the Transmasters comic.....

greetings Johan,
This Saturday......AMSTERDAM.....IMAX.....TRANSFORMERS !!!!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

BOP #33...


Despite what I initially thought, BOP #33 is actually on time (I'm as shocked as you are. :) Anyway, it is now done and available for ordering! It costs $3/US issue for those who want the whole thing. Email me at tkphoton@hotmail.com to get a copy!

EDIT: The stories from BOP #31 & #32 *are* now up at:
www.karmicsalt.com/boparchive.html


In regards to the future issues, BOP #34 is done in rough and #35 is not written yet (only plotted). It's likely issue #34 will be out on time in November.

- Thunder

TF Comic Review...



Transformers Devastation #1

Writer: Simon Furman
Artist: EJ Su

(covers by EJ Su and Nick Roche)

Synopsis: Nightbeat discovers that the computer with the surveillance data about the abandoned Decepticon base in Nebraska has a homing device in it, thus explaining how the Machination have been able to track them to-date. He suggests to Optimus Prime that they move Ark-19 immediately. Elsewhere, Hot Rod and Wheeljack home in on Ironhide's signal and plan to go rescue him before he's destroyed in a scrapyard. Megatron tells Sixshot to get out there and destroy the Autobots--he's sick of their interference. Nearby, the other Decepticons fear Megatron's gone mad and look to reactivating Starscream so he can dare to reason with their Leader. In Brasnya, the Skywatch put Ravage out (who's under their control) and tell him to find the other TFs.... Ravage subsequently howls like a dog (even though he's supposed to be a Jaguar). The humans whine how no one's listening to them while Prime orders Hound, Sideswipe, etc to return to Earth ASAP. Ratbat watches from a higher position as Ark-19 lifts off and informs Megatron. Megatron launches Sixshot after the Autobots, who attacks them mid-flight and their ship begins to crash--right in the middle of suburbia!

Comments: A great cliffhanger ending! The rest of the issue was decent too. I have to say I'm getting a little tired of all the background plotting, though. We have two groups of covert humans running around; the missing Sunstreaker and Hunter; Autobots vs. Decepticons and who knows how many other plot threads waiting to come into play. I want to see something conclusive come of the story called Devastation, like Earth gets destroyed or the Machination are revealed--or something already! Enough plotting, it's time for some pay-off! Other things of note: Ravage howls like a dog, for some reason (did we forget he's a cat?) And where exactly did Ratbat come from? He's never been mentioned before now. Otherwise, a decent issue...

Mildly Recommended.


***
Transformers Beast Wars
The Ascending #1

Writer: Simon Furman
Artist: Don Figueroa

(both covers by Don Figueroa)

Synopsis: Magmatron is temporally displaced after the events of the first mini-series. He can go everywhere in time but not affect anything at all. He witnesses the end of all Transformers then hops back to the Beast Wars once again and watches events. Ravage's Predacons assault Razorbeast's Maximals... Ravage uses the battle as a distraction to try and retrieve the Chronal Phase Facilitators (that Magmatron had tried to use to take Megatron back in the last series) because the main Beast Wars are over and Optimus Primal and the others are returning to the future and Cybertron. Razorbeast defeats him and Magmatron goes further back, to when they originally tried contacting the Maximals on Cybertron for help. The signal never reached Lioconvoy but somehow Magmatron can enhance the signal so it does reach Cybertron this time around. Lioconvoy and the others plan to launch a rescue party, ASAP. Somewhere else, a tyrant(Rampage?) plans to ascend to Godhood (or something nefarious)--is Magmatron's plotting too little, too late?

Comments: Another chapter of the IDW Beast Wars story... hmm. I found the first series to be a bit disappointing so I approached this issue skeptically. It seems like Furman is setting up some kind of new, cosmic apocalypse storyline--one possibly involving Shockoract/Unicron again. Yawn, how exciting... (I'm just tired of Unicron stories in general. I'd like to see him take a long rest in the TF mythos). It's too early to tell whether or not this story will be good or tank. With four issues, I'm not overly hopeful we'll see a resolution soon but perhaps he'll surprise us.

Mildly recommended.




Monday, October 01, 2007

Warlog preview art

Hi everyone,
a co-woker asked me to upload some art, mainly because he scanned it in for me and wanted to see the 'before an after' results.
So I thought I'd make it an item on the Blog and the regular warlog site.
It is a page that hopefully will be featured in the next Transmasters comic.
chek it out here on the news page >>>>> preview art

Greetings Backbreaker.
....Warlog issue 2 coming 10 october 2007....

TM Symbol/logo update

So, I've been playing around with Corel Draw a bit lately and wanted to come up with a more professional look to the club symbol. Below is a mini version and a sort of quickie-TF Animated themed logo...not really the one I preffer. I'm partial to my movie logo one, but thought I'd share. I'll post some bigger versions of the symbol on my deviant art site or if you have Corel Draw and want, I'll email the full file to you. Thanks.


New Cybertron Legends KOs

Just for the sake of being able to post something that might be relevant for the next week or so I was able to pick up these MORPHOBOTS, basically Cybertron Legends toys at the dollar tree yesterday. Here are some pics. The 3rd one is a comparrison with the Legends toys I have.








































Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I'm a deviant --artist that is.

Finally decided to check out DeviantArt for posting files to. You can check out my first 3 submissions at:

http://pierrimus.deviantart.com/

They include 2 brand new MTMTE template files themed for the TF Classics line and Bumblebee's bio as a sample. (Click for full view, then right click save as to save to your computer.) I like using this site because I can post them at full size rather than how the first MTMTE templates I posted here, they were reduced. I might post more stuff there later and expect to see a set of Dinobots done in this style for the upcoming Octobot (err...October) Transmaster comic. I just didn't want to wait to post these as other fans may also get a kick out of using them. Let me know if you'd be interested in more of these templates...now with an official Beast Wars guidebook coming out it might be cool to do more up for the different generations?

I'm going to be throwing out the "no crossovers" rule entirely. So you should go wild with creativity if ya wanta. I'm going to do something for the cover of the comic that will be a blast from the past but fit in with the whole halloween thing. I'm still working on the short 5 page intro comic to my Binaltertech story (Yea, combo of Binaltech and Alternators so I can pull characters from both lines...you'll see.) Tons of new Trans Blunders...'cause they're easy to draw.

One of these days, hopefully sooner than later, I'd like to revamp the main Transmasters site so it gathers together the blog, our comic/mags and other stuff into a better organized system. I tend to just refer things to the blog, but it's not really where people go to join the club....ah time, ever elusive isn't it? Take care.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Comic Capsule Review...


Transformers Spotlight
Optimus Prime


Writer: Simon Furman
Artist: Don Figueroa

(covers by Don Figueroa and Gabriel Rodriguez)

Summary: Optimus Prime is troubled and in need of answers. During his recent brush with death, he felt another presence out there... someone who should be long dead--another Prime! He travels to see Omega Supreme and get some answers. We learn Nova Prime went missing along with the original Ark and that he has expansionist ideas--that he believed Transformers were above other lifeforms. In the middle of their conversation, the Monster Pretenders break in, combined as Monstructor and attack. After a fierce battle, Monstructor is beaten and Optimus swears he will try to help them in their condition then returns to Earth.

Comments: I've largely been enjoying the Spotlight series most of anything IDW has done and this was another fairly good issue. There's not a lot of characterization for Optimus here--certainly nothing beyond what we normally see (i.e. he's self righteous, strong and perpetually worried like usual). The story works though and Furman continues revealing hints, bits and pieces toward whatever his ultimate story goal is. Nova Prime, like Sentinel Prime in the Megatron Origin comic, seems to not be a bastion of goodness but rather another flawed character with potentially dangerous ideas about his people and the universe. It was also cool seeing Omega Supreme in a story as well as the introduction of Combiner teams (one story glitch I noticed--Optimus calls the gestalt "Monstructor" even though Omega Supreme never calls him by name once). The artwork here was standard IDW goodness.

Final verdict: Recommended.

***
Transformers: Megatron Origin #3

Writer: Eric Holmes
Artist: Alex Milne

(covers by Alex Milne and Marcelo Matere)

Summary: Megatron gets repaired in his hide out as Soundwave joins him. He tells Megatron has he done as he commanded and retrieved a flyer for him--not just one, but three: Starscream, Skywarp and Thundercracker. Megatron tells them he has great plans for them... Elsewhere, the Autobots mourn the loss of their two comrades (red shirt #1 and red shirt #2 from last issue) and plan to make the outlaws pay for their crimes. The proto Decepticons go out and commit several acts of sabotage, including kidnapping the Senator from the previous issues. Their mysterious benefactor watches footage and muses how this has gotten out of control... Elsewhere, Megatron gathers a legion of outcasts and proposes they join him on his mission to reshape Cybertron itself--but all are attacked immediately thereafter by the Autobots and arrested.

Comments: Another issue and this one's been the best of three so far (which isn't saying that much really). I've started wondering if this whole story wouldn't have been better condensed down to one or two issues--it seems to suffer from that whole decompression thing that lots of modern comics do. There's a good idea here or there but far too much story padding around it. Also, like many people and the Star Wars prequels, I kind of wonder if we need to have every murky TF back story detail written out and clearly explained--honestly, I preferred it when the Megatron/Decepticon rise was a bit murkier. Still, issue #3 is an improvement over the previous issues... mainly, because a lot happens in it. The art is decent but one complaint I have that's specific to Milne is that he does some panels where I just don't know what's supposed to be happening (like some in this issue where Sentinel Prime is preparing his weapons--or something--before asking the Autobots what they're going to do about the outcasts).

Final Verdict: Mildly recommended.



Saturday, September 08, 2007

BOP #32 now available!





I think I've set a new record for getting a subsequent issue of BOP out. Following less then a month since the last issue, BOP #32 is now done and available for ordering! It costs $3/US issue for those who want the whole thing. Email me at tkphoton@hotmail.com to get a copy!

The stories from BOP #31 will be up soon (likely by the end of the weekend) at www.karmicsalt.com/boparchive.html


In regards to the future issues, BOP #33 may take a bit longer to do up. I've been quite busy with other stuff of late but I'll try not to take too long on it... (#34 is not ready neither is #35 so they may also take a bit more time to do).

- Thunder

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Received that "Sig" from Sunstar at Siebertron.com


OK, so it's corny and probably not what I was expecting when I entered. (For some reason I thought I'd get to choose what to have done...nope. And I was kind of thinking along the lines of a blue flame Alt. Roddy for a new Pierrimus...)
Just to let you know, I'm working on some small .gif animations and images that are from way back in 1993. Do you remember the funny art pad thing you could hook to the TV and draw with, I think it was by Vtech but can't really recall and I haven't been able to find it again doing a google search. It was about $65 back then...but it's resoloution wasn't very good. Well, due to time and age I decided I should use my All-In-Wonder to digitize these old color images, I've removed most of the bottom seciton that used to be the tool/color selection bar on the screen. The process had the worst time with red or pink backgrounds and you'll be able to tell. One of the problems I had was that these cheap VCRs no longer have tracking and if you've changed VCRs over the years you probably know how fun it is to playback recordings. These will probably be posted with the next comic unless you clamor for them now...
I was going to post one here, but it seems a bit too big and I might have to shave it down to post elsewhere. Bummer.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

BOP #31



BOP #31 is done and now available for ordering! It costs $3/US issue for those who want the whole thing (the physical issue). Email me at tkphoton@hotmail.com to get a copy!

(I had intended to have it out faster but I discovered several profiles that needed to be colored and added to the issue so that slowed me down as did doing the elaborate cover).


Also, the stories from BOP #30 are now up and readable at www.karmicsalt.com/boparchive.html


In regards to the future issues, BOP #32 is 95% ready to go (I need to do the cover). I have two more Autobot profiles that need done up (but will likely wait until issue #33). BOP #33 is done in rough draft while a couple of scenes of BOP #34 are written. BOP #32 will be out in early September on schedule and hopefully #33 will be out on time in October.

- Thunder

Soundwave superior, constructicons inferior...


I got my Soundwave mp3 player last week and thought I'd post my thoughts here. First off, I had to go out and get a mini-SD card for him... I put some files on it and nothing happened when inserted--it turns out you have to hold down the power button to get it to play! The files work fine--some better then others. I think this player has a limited range of sound. According to the Japanese on the box (which I can suddenly read and fluently) it says something about best sound at 128k and 60hz -16khz. Some of my files are far higher quality then that though... the lower ones sound better. It comes with space for one battery--stupid, since it limits the play time (why not two?) The toy itself isn't bad either--he transforms weird compared to classic Soundwave and uses different snap-on hands (one is the neutral hand and folds into him for a complete player mode while the other type is a "grip" one to hold his gun--but that one doesn't fold smooth into his player mode). I don't own any other mp3 players but if I did, I'd say this compares poorly with something like the iPod. No LCD screen, limited battery life, etc. The gimmick of a Transformer that can play sound files is cool though--I can see TF fans digging it big time while non fans should likely pass if all they want is a good mp3 player (also, the white color scheme looks better in-person then on-screen).



Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Good times in the UK !

Having just gotten back from the UK from a lovely vacation with my girlfriend, ofcourse I scoured the shops of London for TF stuff ! My aim was to find the new UK comic with artwork from Geoff senior but more on that later.....


The visit to Harrods was quite dissapointing, a TF race track, more than a couple of starscream protoforms, and assorted stuff like a mr potatoe optimus prime.....in the books section I got more lucky as they had the "ghosts of yesterday" novel.

later in the week we got a chance to visit the Forbidden Planet store in London and after that a couple more comic shops because we decided it was to be a nerd day :)


No UK comic there ! did pick up Infiltration and Escalation tpb's and the movie adaption, also by Alan Dean Foster.


finally on the last day, monday the 13th of august we found some of them at the WH Smith branch in london at Oxford street. at first I saw only the one with the autobot dogtags but my girl made sure that I did not forget the one with the Decepticon dogtags !!!!


So.....great vacation !

greetz johan


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Remember the pic at the end of the last mag?

Well, my first time out trying to enter one of the photocontests on Siebertron.com and I won:

http://www.seibertron.com/news/view.php?id=11404

Yea, a custom sig's not that much, but I still can't beleive it.

Hope you're all doing well. I keep trying to get to squeeze in some drawing time here. Chat later.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Hmm, I'm not sure why but I'm not getting emails

Lately I have not received a single email when anyone posts to the blog. I just went and rechecked my settings and they all looked like they were alright. This began about the time I "upgraded" the account over to my Google account. Hopefully I'll figure this out. (If lucky this message should arrive in my inbox, if not I'll have to see if someone else has had the same problem.)

Great comic review.
Good work on that War Log, liked the comparison page. Supesbaby.

Thanks.

Comic Capsule Reviews...

Transformers: Megatron Origin #2

Writer: Eric Holmes
Artist: Alex Milne (p. 1-11, 20-22); Marcelo Matere (P. 12-19)

(Cover art by Alex Milne and Marcelo Matere)

Summary: Megatron slays a warrior in the Kaon Gladiatorial fights. Legions cheer him on! Elsewhere, some forces take note of his prowess and began to plan vaguely... Meanwhile, the Autobots have become aware of the rising popularity of the fights and together with Sentinel Prime plan to hunt Megatron down and capture him. Several units go out to various locations looking for the next fight and one unlucky unit finds them but is picked off before they can report back, thanks to Soundwave and his Recordacons. Soundwave also makes himself known to Megatron, offering him armaments to further his cause. The lone Autobot survivor is interrogated by Soundwave then killed by Megatron because he called Megs a "psychopath".

Comments: Much like last issue, I didn't care that much for issue #2. The artwork is okay (no confusing panels this time around) but the story still bothers me. For one thing, Megatron is hesitant to finish off his opponent at first (who looks like the old Gobot, Cykill, btw). Then, when he's cheered on, he decides it's okay and kills him (I guess he can't think for himself and will do anything for others' admiration). This makes him seem weak and unlike the Megatron we all know and love. I also get the impression that Soundwave and his employer are out to start the Decepticons (or something similiar) without a good rationale as to why being presented in the story. Once again, Megatron is a victim of circumstances, unable to come up with his own ideas and take control of his own destiny. Fan-wank moment: Cykill being in the comic and Megatron removing his helmet--which is supposed to be his actual head covering). On the good side, I liked seeing Skyquake in the background during the issue--I think this is his first official comic appearance.

Final verdict: Pass.



***
Transformers Timelines #2

Writers: Story by Forest Lee, Peter Sinclair and Ben Yee (Forest Lee, script)
Artist: Alex Milne

(Cover by Alex Milne)

Summary: Ultra Magnus leads a team to Earth in pursuit of Bug Bite and his crew. On Earth, Bug Bite awaits Megatron's arrival in a few hours time... elsewhere, Optimus Prime carries a wounded Hot Rod and Jetfire follows him into Autobase. They catch Bumblebee up on their recent battle where Cliffjumper disappeared (see the club comic). Meanwhile, Grimlock gets a message from Springer to come meet him and he takes off, with Mirage in pursuit (unknown to him). At Bug Bite's ship, Starscream, Ramjet and Skywarp arrive and meet with him. They detect the cloaked Mirage immediately (which seems odd) and capture him. Nearby, Magnus and his crew watch and as Starscream goes to finish Mirage, Bug Bite shoots him and his warriors, stunning them long enough to implant them with Cerebro shells. He orders Starscream to take them to Megatron directly--Mirage can be a peace offering. Later, Bug Bite attacks Megatron and tries to take control of him as well... outside, Elita-One deals with Ravage so Magnus' team can invade the ship. Megatron fights off Bug Bite's mind control and before he can use his warriors to attack Megatron, the Autobots activate a jammer to render the other Cerebro Shells useless. The Autobots attack just then, many die and Megatron kills off Bug Bite. The Autobots escape and Megatron shakes his fist, vowing revenge... epilogue: Magnus and co. say goodbye to Optimus Prime and leave Earth orbit.

Comments: Well, like the last couple of club/convention comics, this one gets the job done storywise. It introduces the convention toys in a story, uses them and/or kills some off. Check. It's not the greatest TF story ever but a decent attempt. The artwork was fairly good for a change--imagine my surprise at having no Dan Khanna at all in this comic (I hate his sequential art, so good riddance!)

Final Verdict: Mildly Recommended.

(btw, I got a copy of the Convention version of the comic. However, there is also a regular comic shop edition as well--but I had trouble finding a copy when it apparently hit the store shelves).



***
Transformers Spotlight
Galvatron

Writer: Simon Furman
Artist: Guido Guidi

(Cover art by Alex Milne and Guido Guidi)

Summary: Some aliens study a spatial anomaly when suddenly they're attacked from something that emerges from the anomaly. It is Galvatron and he destroys the aliens completely. On Cybertron, Sideswipe, Hound and others are stationed there passing the time when Galvatron arrives and thinks back to the past... when he was part of the crew of a ship called the Ark and out in space exploring. They encountered the Anomaly/nothingness back then and Galvatron decides that rather then study it or let it stop them, he would take them inside it, to learn it's secrets. In the present, he kills Leadfoot and the other Autobots attack him. He manages to incapacitate them all--he was ordered to kill all of them but decides he will not bother. Later, he returns to the cave and tells the others he has succeeded--he has brought the body of Thunderwing!

Comments: Easily the best comic of the ones reviewed this time around. Finally, we get some answers--about what the cave from Nightbeat's story is as well as what happened to the original Ark and it's crew. Galvatron makes reference to serving a "He" but not specifically what that person is (hopefully not Unicron for a change). The art and story work very well here and I look forward to finding out more yet...

Final Verdict: Highly Recommended.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Transmasters Magazine Issue 4 has arrived! Yippie

First thing's first, I have to retract something I posted in the last comic. Johan Piest will still feature his War Log comic in the Transmasters Comic. Yea, I bow to Backbreaker's superiority and skill!

On to the Magazine:
http://merwin.freeservers.com/tmmag4/index.html
please let me know if you are having difficulties. Some people stated they had their virus checker go nuts on freeserver's pop-up ads. This will probably be the last item posted there,
but I'll mirror it elsewhere if you still have problems. Thanks.

Hmm...let's see, if I count August, there's 5 more months in this year. I'd like to see at least one more comic issue and magazine issue out before the year's end. What say you folks? I know that I will have to probably get another job soon, say in less than 2 weeks. New jobs are a bit of a hastle and will more than likely occupy a bunch of my time so definitely not within August. I'm going to just punch out a date for when I'd like to publish the next comic and pray I make it. Let's try for October 31 for issue 5 of the comic and then November 30 for issue 5 of the Magazine. Maybe a small quickie "special" holiday themed comic December15-22?

Let me know what you think both about the above schedule and this issue. I have the first chapter of the Classics story in draft mode already. Well, everyone take care and stay safe. (If not, at least have fun when you get into trouble, hey, hey.)

Warlog Volume 2 Issue 01

I have to say...finally.
Warlog is back !
as it's waaaaaaaaaaay past my bedtime and I have things to pack because holiday starts tommorrow(yeah !), I'll keep it short.
First issue ! 11 Pages ! Color ! CBR format !
Next issue 10 October 2007 !
Download here
Warlog_V2_01.cbr

if possible....let me know what you think.

greetings and sleep well
Backbreaker

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

New proposed segment for Magazine?


Ever seen a toy and thought "that would make a perfect ______________"? I know I have. And here's my first attempt:


I call it Classics Seaspray. I'll try to make up some sort of M.T.M.T.E. entry in the future. But let's get back to the objective of this new section. Try to come up with your own repaint/remold of existing toys. I don't care if it's G1 through the movie toys, just give it a go and share with the rest of us. In the image to the right I used colors off the other various color schemes in the TF Cybertron series (this came from one of the hasbro key code unlockables).

We'll need a name for this segment. I've also been toying with the idea of designing your own "exclusive" characters and sharing them. Since I don't have the money to probably have my designs made into toys, I figure I'll probably end up sharing them. I have one that's just sort of a sketch of a larger (say 20th An. Prime sized) Roller that transforms into a robot. I've missed this little guy even if he was just sort of a drone. If you remember he was always referred to as another character in the Autobot camp during the cartoon. (Heck Hasbro could even repaint it twice, once for MP Ultra Magnus and then for a possible MP Nemisis Prime/Scourge.)

Let me know what you think. Thanks and keep on Transforming.

Transformers: The Movie (2007): My Impressions



First off: WOW! I am definitely impressed at the great lengths of detail in the movie. I'll do my best here not to give anything away so those who may not have seen it yet will not have the experience ruined for them. I'm happy that we did not get to see the entire movie in the previews (one of my pet peeves because you sometimes pay and are excited when you go in just to have it be a gigantic let down since you already saw the coolest parts of the movie and the rest was blah anyhow). Michael Bay's promise a while ago about not having seen anything yet held true to form, he may have let out 5% of the movie in the trailers. A complaint I have was with the theater placards for this movie, the word "Transformers" was so small and placed between Optimus and Megatron's heads that it was virtually unreadable, good thing for those people that take your tickets and give you directions.
If you are one of the group that believe the story should be entirely from the point-of-view of alien robots you'll be sorely disappointed. This centers mostly on the human characters and their development within the crisis of “their war, our world”. It is how the human characters rise to the challenges around them and their interactions with the robots that give the movie heart. I was dreading before seeing the movie that Mr. Bay would strip out the part of G1 that made us fall in love with these characters in the first place. I now have to say that I haven't laughed so much at the Transformers since perhaps Beast Wars, and that is a testament toward the job the script writers and Mr. Bay did to bring this vision to life. (Problem with laughing so much is it makes me want to go to the little boys' room during the worst possible times. Attempting to hold for a lull in this movie and you won't have many chances, believe me. I know...a little too much information there Pete.)
Bringing these characters to life was perhaps magical in itself, but there were times I found it difficult to follow the action. Especially during close quarters fight scenes where robots are smashing into each other. The fluidity of movement was fiercely cool and the robots were effected by those battles. I'm hoping when the DVD comes out we'll get to see any scenes cut and perhaps a documentary on the making of the movie. It seemed to me that there should have been a counter scene where we saw the Decepticons arrive on Earth.
Character development for the TFs was very limited. I wish there'd been more of them interacting with each other in a more verbal way. There's only hearsay from Optimus as to why the Decepticons are bad, of course actions do speak louder than words. There was too little interaction between the Decepticons to get a sense of the things people will have to learn by purchasing the toys and reading the bios there.
It was great to hear Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime again! There's not enough to be said for this. I swear eBay must have paid big time for their plugs in the movie. (If not, they should have.) I think they must have asked the script writers to see if their name could be mentioned fifty times ( or so it seemed). Anyone connected with the Internet would already be familiar with eBay, so did it need that much pushing? (Never mind...I know, big blockbuster movies cost a lot to make and any sponsorships help.) I laughed when Burger King was in one of the shots. (Sad thing is we lost our Burger King about eight years ago and the closest one to me is an hour drive away. Wish Hasbro had stuck with Mc Donalds, there are at least 6 of those still in my county.)
Overall I'm hopeful for the sequel. I won't say too much here until most fans have had a chance to see the movie. I'd love to discuss the ending and its ramifications toward the future sequel(s). So if you haven't seen it go check it out. I'd give it a solid 4.5 faction symbols out of 5. (Deducting a bit because a few key characters should have stayed functional.) Also, why didn't they change the name of Demolisher to Brawl? His name's only shown about three seconds, come on!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Transmasters Comic Issue 4 posted, finally!

OK, I'm using an account on Freeservers, so if you have difficulties please let me know. I've run out of room on the Geocities account and this one still had room. So here we go:

http://merwin.freeservers.com/tmcomic4/index.html

It's scary to realize that it's been almost a year since I posted issue 3. The files were dated August 2006, bot what have I been doing? Not going to make any promises, but I'd hope to at least put together a small issue every 3 months again, sheesh!

Well, like I say in the last page, I want to get the next Magazine issue out sometime mid-July or begining of August. It may be a bit short, but I hope to have a Transmasters Cybertron: Epilogue (to wrap up a couple of questions readers may have), at least a Prologue to my Classics story, a KO Korner (cheapy OP KOs), and something related to the Movie toys/merchandise. (heck maybe even a what I thought of the movie since I'll probably see it by then and I'm hoping to pick up the PS2 version of the video game.)

Thanks for hanging in with me.

Monday, June 25, 2007

a little update

Hello,
It seems I finally found the account data for this blog after it got lost on my harddrive/brain and thought i'd give a little update on things johan/TF/Warlog.

as I'm sure everyone has read by now, we had a Transformers convention in Holland on the 10th of June. the news was on Seibertron.com
ofcourse I attended, be it a little later on the day due to a baptism in a church which I had to attend also.

Fan made photos of the convention can be found here:
http://www.transfanclub.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2986&sid=46febb6e7e3f046ab17f9bcc56db2f1e

http://s44.photobucket.com/albums/f20/Sun78/Transformations%202007%20IJsselstein/

and raymond T 's official seibertron photos:
http://www.seibertronianspacestation.com/index.php?option=com_rsgallery2&Itemid=42&catid=1

ofcourse i'm not on these photo's, wasn't even there yet ;(
I did however participate in the Art contest they had but didn't win,
the competition was very talented !
I had "Primus" ready for some time, just promo art really and the "Ready for Battle scene" was one I made just one week before. the winning drawing of the 2 contenders was.....
"Ready for Battle"
....both drawings are shown below....

oh and I should mention that the Warlog site has gotten an overhaul since there will be 'exciting' new content on it in a couple of weeks !
Greetings Johan


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Comic Review: Transformers: Megatron Origin


Transformers: Megatron Origin #1

Writer: Eric Holmes
Artist: Alex Milne

(Covers by Alex Milne and Marcelo Matere)

Synopsis: A Cybertronian Senator travels to a remote mining colony to shut it down, placing its work force out of jobs so they can be replaced by automation. When a dissenting worker is put down, another miner (Megatron) objects and kills a guard. The miners are then "pacified" (read: shot) and the survivors placed aboard a prison ship. However, they quickly break free and take control of the ship then go to hide out in a seedy part of Cybertron.

Comments: I had some reservations going into a mini-series about Megatron's origin--namely because I've read at least a couple of his origins in the past and some were less then stellar. If I don't like this one, well, its official, so too damn bad for me.
Anyway...
I do wonder about the title. "Megatron Origin" is the best thing the marketing wizards at IDW could come up with? A story proposal called "Megatron Origin" I can understand but an actual finished, published comic? Not very imaginative, imo.
Apparently, this writer, Eric Holmes is a long time fan. This can either be a blessing or a curse, depending on his story telling ability (I did enjoy Nick Roche's recent Kup Spotlight issue, to be fair). On the other hand, I've read some genuinely bad fanfic in my time too...
Issue one's story is decent but short. Megatron is apparently an Energon miner but when he and his fellow miners are going to be replaced by automation, takes matters into his own hands (how can robots be replaced by machines? The idea seems ludicrous! I mean, I get it but it's sort of silly when you think about it). We don't get much of a sense of who Megatron is in this first segment--apparently he has a sense of justice (he rebels when another miner is put down for being a dissenter). Yet he seems confused about his own motivations later on--I'm not sure what they're going for here. Is he supposed to be shocked or prone to some sort of psychosis? Beyond his limited actions, we don't seem to know much about who he is or what he's about (and this story is supposed to focus on him so that's bad). And if he's the one planning in the end of the story, presumably, he seemed to get over his confusion quite quickly.
The art is confusing in places. Generally, it's good but there are panels where it's hard to figure out what the hell is going on--this is due, in part, to Milne's using generic drone style robots as security. When they're fighting off the miners, it's hard to tell who's who.
I also wonder about using established characters so quickly, like Rumble/Frenzy and Prowl. Why do the established characters already have to be around so early on in Megatron's own origin? It seems needlessly convenient... Also, while I like Sentinal Prime's look, I think he resembles Optimus Prime far too much--Rodimus, Ultra Magnus and Fortress Maximus look nothing like Optimus Prime so why would one assume his predecessor would resemble him either? (Yes, this is nitpicking but still a fair question).
I also wonder why a Megatron origin story is truly necessary (beyond being a cheap excuse to sell another comic to the masses). At this point in the main story, all Megatron's even done is help Prime stop Thunderwing by nuking Cybertron then later on, come to Earth to conquer it. We've seen little of his personality/motivations in the IDW universe in the present. So little, in fact, it seems pointless to try and explain his past motivations at this point in time...
And, on a personal note, I really hate stories where Megatron is a victim of circumstances beyond his control. Raksha's Megatron origin fanfic years ago was beautifully written but made Megatron out to be a pawn of fate--and this IDW series seems to take a similar approach thus far. Why can't Megatron simply emerge out of the chaos of pre-war Cybertron and become a charismatic symbol because he wants to? Why must he have a defining, traumatic event to explain away his evilness? He's not Darth Vader, for cryin' out loud! He could simply be a politician that saw an opportunity or a "hero" of the down trodden that fought for a change he saw was needed among his people. Whatever the take, I want him to have pursued his course because he chose to, not because fate conspired against him!

Final Verdict: mildly recommended.

Monday, June 18, 2007

BOP #30... at long last...


BOP #30 is done (it's been delayed for months thanks to family problems and other jazz) and now available for ordering! It costs $3/US issue for those who want the whole thing (that is, the physical issue). Email me at tkphoton@hotmail.com to get a copy!



Also, the stories from BOP #29 are now up and readable at www.karmicsalt.com/boparchive.html


In regards to the future issues, BOP #31 is 95% ready to go (just add art!) while BOP #32 and #33 are done in rough draft. BOP #34-35 are plotted but not yet written... so expect a fairly regular schedule for BOP for the next couple of months anyway.

- Thunder

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sorry for the extremely long absense

I hope to do better from now on. I've given the blog a bit of an updated look. Hope you like the new Movie-esque logo. I'm still trying to get a few little quirks corrected.

Basically I ended up just getting so frustrated with my job as the Security Training Supervisor for McKesson that I quit. (Gave my notice and they talked me into staying an extra two weeks, I'm just a sucker for punishment right.) So now I'm probably going to be taking a couple of months off. (If you can call working on all my parent's projects time off...not to mention my own fix up projects at the place I rent...)

I should be able to knock out the next issue of the TransMasters Comic before the end of the month and quickly follow up with an issue of the Magazine (short but sweet). Mostly the movie stuff you've probably begun to get sick of and a bit of KO Korner. Anyone else here think it sucks that Hasbro let the Official Club do Classics characters? I like the work they've put into them, just don't like the high prices and possibility these characters won't be made for the mass market. Ah well, Hasbro's tossing all it's eggs at the Movie stuff right now and I hope they don't throw away the basket too. Anyone notice how the new movie toys do not have the Takara name on them, just the Tomy one? I was sort of saddened to see this.

Siebertron.com had an article recently about the two different versions of the Speaking Optimus Prime helmet. Make sure you get the one that says "Try Me! Featuring Real Movie Voice." If you want to hear the lines done by Peter Cullen. I'm actually amazed at the quality that went into this helmet, it actually fits me and I even have enough room to put my glasses on too. 8-)

I'm hoping to finish up my Cybertron story and begin a new one with the Classics line. I ran my thesis by another fan in my area. He didn't like it, but perhaps he just doesn't see the potential. Yes, it'd be another new begining for the TFs story. (Like we need another, but to do the story the way I want it has to be done.) Short of it is in this version the Autobots are the ones that kicked *ss on Cybertron, mostly because with the Matrix and Vector Sigma under Autobot control they were able to beat back the Decepticons through sheer numbers (For every Auto that fell 10 were built). Shockwave of course was able to predict the extinction of Decepticons without an outside source for new sparks centuries ago. He implements a plan to search out and find "compatible" sparks. (Only about 10% of the human population are acceptable and they die during spark extraction.) Circa today: He's suceeded and the Decepticons have launced the Nemisis in a last ditch move to use humans as their raw material for more warriors. Warned by the Matrix, Optimus Prime takes a small group of Autobots to Earth to stop the Decepticons from possibly creating a dark matrix. For the sake of the story all G1 characters will have to still be in play, though they may look different. I'd better not say more right now, since I'm still toying with a couple of ideas with just the characters released into the toy line so far. Wonder if the Official club'd get upset if I used their botcon characters? *snicker*

Sunday, May 06, 2007

TransformersCon 2007...

Only a week late... better late then never.

To save you the preamble, I went out to Ontario to visit my old friend Matt and we took in TransformersCon last weekend as well. Here, now, for the first time... are my thoughts on the show. :)


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Saturday: Matt and I got up at six in the morning and got ready. After a quick breakfast, we hopped in my rental G6 and zoomed off to Toronto, the Canadian center of the Universe. We stopped somewhere along the way and had a drink/donut at Country Style Donuts (they’re all out of business where I live) because I was getting tired from the drive (like I said, I didn’t sleep that well for a lot of the trip. I had these sexy nymph ghosts in Matt’s spare room that kept trying to have me–it was all I could do to stay awake and alive!)
We got to Toronto around 10 (I think). We quickly found the Doubletree International Plaza Hotel–the site of TransformersCon (the second largest annual gathering of Transformers fans™). This was my first time at a TF convention that wasn’t Botcon (of which I’ve been to five). Anyway, the show had already started but hadn’t been on long... they’d had some sort of get together the night before for pre-registrants but I hadn’t bothered registering because I knew we wouldn’t be able to be there anyway. That morning also had a pancake breakfast (really, what goes better with Transformers then some flapjacks? :) But, again, we didn’t get there in time for that so I didn’t sign up for it either.
We paid $20 to get in the door and I bought a souvenir t-shirt. We also got free TF movie posters–Matt got the Autobot one (“To protect”) and I got the Decepticon one (“To destroy”) We also got little Decepticon logo pins... they had a limited edition repaint of WST Slag (green, like G2) but I skipped it as well as skipping the comic (it was an old Dreamwave one left over from a couple years ago). They also had an Alternators lithograph by Alex Milne but I didn’t buy that either.
We got through the door security (they were a bit too into their jobs) and checked out the Dealer room. It had lots of interesting junk in it... I noted kooltoyz.ca had MP Megatrons there. I went out to get some money from the cash machine for one and returned shortly thereafter to find they’d already sold out! (There was a literal swarm of fans around their table because they were the only dealer with it).
At the cash machine, I ran into Colin. He’s a fan from Ottawa that I met at last year’s Botcon. We chatted a bit–I recall yakking about this year’s Botcon set and saying I likely wasn’t buying it and some other TF nonsense. He said he’d see us later but actually we never did see him afterward.
I noticed a CityTV van outside in the parking lot and believe they were the ones going around with cameras and covering our little show. I guess it’s cool a geek gathering gets TV coverage on the news (now they know what we look like! Quick, hide!)
We sporadically went to the dealer room throughout our day there and I bought four TPBs of the Marvel US comic series (now, I have about half of it). I also got a $10 KO of the Macross Veritech fighter/G1 Jetfire toy (the Happywell one). Matt got two DVDs–one bootleg of B5 bloopers and one of SW fan films (hope those people are getting something for someone putting their stuff on a DVD). I looked at other stuff too but held off buying anything.
We also checked out a TV playing TF episodes in the lobby. They had some G1 the first time I looked and later on were playing Victory eps (the TV had chairs near it which is why I mention it at all).
There was a panel room too. We went to the first panel–“Customizing Panel” starring that guy from marksprojects.com (not sure what his name is... ;) and some other guy too. He had a large, unfinished Metroplex he was building and an MP Ultra Magnus with blue light-up optics. The panel was a bit technical and I almost nodded off several times throughout it (damn sex nymph!) Mark and the other guy were out in the lobby later with his famed transforming TF costume.
The second panel was, by far, the best. It had G1 voice actor Michael Bell present. He answered many questions and told many fascinating stories (somehow, I snapped awake for his panel and listened intently). I missed the Botcon he was at (whichever one it was) so this was a new experience. Michael Bell is as interesting a guest as the best voice actors I’ve yet seen at the Botcons that I have been to.
After his panel, Michael went to sign autographs outside in the lounge (where the TV was). The line-up was long and frankly, I don’t feel like having someone sign something just so I can hauck it on ebay so I passed.
The next panel was “Transformers Movie 2007 Panel”. The MC guy (an east Indian/mid-eastern fellow–I didn’t catch his name) hosted it with another guy and went over several slides basically clarifying what is definitely known of this project. This panel also had me awake and interested... it also had some entertaining moments. One, was an Asian fan at the front of the room that kept interrupting to “clarify” facts for the people hosting the panel (apparently they’re idiots that aren’t in the “know” like him). When discussing the police car Decepticon and his “to maim and protect” logo he commented that “nobody could possibly fall for that”. Because, naturally, all the peoples of Earth know what a Decepticon logo means and that it’s not some kind of logo for a special unit/something. Another amusing moment was when a different fan in the audience asked “If Scorponok’s on our side then why is he fighting our troops?” The guy hosting the panel gave him a funny look then explained the obvious–the Decepticons are bad guys! (You can’t make this stuff up).
Next up, was the “Transformers Comic Book Panel” with Alex Milne, Matt Moylan and Matt Hansen. Of the three, only Alex is really doing anything with IDW while the other two were more Dreamwave related. One guy is editor in chief of some sub-branch of Marvel that adapts sci-fi novels into comics while the other guy does a Lilformers web comic. The panel was okay but not overly informative and we learned little new (except that Alex hates movie Megatron’s design–but who doesn’t?)
After that, we’d had our fill of nerds and robots for the day and decided to return to Belleville. We missed “Live Script Auditions and Reading” (yawn!) and “One-Shall-Stand Transformers Trivia” (also, yawn!) They’d also had a showing of Transformers: The Movie later in the day–but since I’d rather gouge out my optics then see that movie again, we passed.
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All in all, not a bad show... I still prefer Botcon but this was a decent stand-in.


Hopefully, that didn't bore you too much. If it did, I apologize--but you can't have those minutes of your life back! Ha-ha!

t.k.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Comic Capsule Review...

Transformers Spotlight #5
Ultra Magnus

Writer: Simon Furman
Artist: Robby Musso
(cover art by Klaus Scherwinski and Kieran Oats)

Synopsis: Ultra Magnus is a bounty hunter, charged with hunting down the worst of his kind. The type of Transformer that has no regard for their laws and blatantly interferes with other races. Upon hunting down Swindle, he is offered a great opportunity--for releasing Swindle this time, he can have an even greater prize: Scorponok!


Comments:
I have to say this was the weakest TF spotlight to date. Ultra Magnus is a cool enough character but here he's presented as law enforcement for some reason and even that isn't really expounded upon enough to make him truly interesting. The tale ends on a murky note, which seems like a set-up for a future story. Alas, the story as it is doesn't really hold up that strongly by itself, making it all just seem like a prologue to some future tale instead of something good on it's own. The internal artwork was good but the cover choices were a bit bland--neither convey the story within the comic very well and neither are that exciting as a result (I got the Scherwinski one).

Mildly Recommended.


***

Transformers Escalation #3


Writer: Simon Furman
Artist: E.J. Su

(covers by E.J. Su and Klaus Scherwinski)

Synopsis: Megatron uses his human facsimile (clone) to attack an oil pipeline in Russia, sparking off a military conflict between the rebels and government there. The Autobots discover what's going on and Optimus leads a force to the nation to try and engage the Decepticons. Meanwhile, Ratchet and the humans discover a possible lead to Sunstreaker's whereabouts and Ironhide tells them he'll join them on their mission.

Comments: Some action in this issue and the promise of more to come. Could we, hopefully, be about to see a real Autobot/Decepticon fight here? I sure hope so... this series needs to, er, ratchet up the action a bit more. A decent issue and the set-up for more to come.

Recommended.


Monday, January 29, 2007

(belated) Comic Capsule Reviews...

Transformers Spotlight #4
Sixshot

Writer: Simon Furman
Artist: Rob Ruffalo
(covers by Rob Ruffalo and James Raiz)

Synopsis: Sixshot is the most powerful Decepticon period. He thinks of himself as a soul-less force of nature. When his associates, the Terrorcons (the combiner team), go missing on a routine mission, he follows after them, determined to investigate their ultimate fate. What he finds when he arrives puts his powers to their greatest test yet.

Comments: Another interesting look at a TF character. In this case, Sixshot has had no prior comic appearances (to my knowledge, anyway). Although he was a prominent character in the japanese Headmasters cartoon. I like Furman's depiction here--that Sixshot is basically a destructive force of nature. In this case, Sixshot needs to decide if that is all he is or if he can be something more then the sum of his parts. The art was pretty good--it didn't really stand out in my mind but was good enough not to detract from the story.

Recommended.




***
Transformers Escalation #2

Writer: Simon Furman
Artist: E.J. Su

(cover art by E.J. Su and Klaus Scherwinski)

Synopsis: The plot continues to unfold as Ironhide recalls what happened to Sunstreaker last issue to Optimus Prime. Prime, Jazz and Wheeljack track down a garage with Sunstreaker's remains where they're attacked. The humans start to get away but Prime stops them (and how!) Elsewhere, Megatron continues with his plan to assert control of Earth.

Comments: Generally, I've been enjoying this iteration of Transformers. I have to say, though, that this issue seemed mostly like filler. I also got the impression that Megatron would be some sort of tank in this series--I'm more then a little disappointed they gravitated back to the gun. Yes, it's classic but I thought the whole point of this series was to make things "now" and turned some of the established lore on it's head. Art was good and the surprise about Sunstreaker's fate was welcome...

Recommended.




***
GIJOE vs. Transformers (volume 4) #1 (of #2)
"Black Horizon"


Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Andrew Wildman

(Cover "A" by Tim Seeley, Jeremy Freeman and Jean-Francois Beaulieu;
Cover "B" by Tim Seeley, Robert D. Atkins and Rob Ruffalo;
Cover "C" by Tim Seeley, Clayton Brown and Jean-Francois Beaulieu)



Synopsis: Starts in the 70s, when the original GIJOE, Joe Colton, leads his adventure team against some Chinese soldiers in Tibet. They are quickly captured by Cobra-La. In the present, Hawk has been possessed by the Autobot Matrix and is haunted by visions of destruction. The Autobots lead a covert operation against the remains of Cobra, retrieving their stolen Cybertronian technology, with the aide of Hawk and Firewall. Later, Optimus, Hawk and Flint go to the location of Cobra La, seeking something... The Autobot ship meanwhile, is attacked at it's underwater location by the Monster Pretenders. Back in the caves, Prime fights Bludgeon while Hawk and Flint are beseiged by Cobra La soldiers. Firewall calls the rest of the GIJOE team and tells Duke they need their help immediately! We get a history lesson--how Unicron came to Earth 160,000 years ago but Cobra La threatened him with a metal eating spore. They tell Unicron to come back some day, once humanity has evolved sufficiently. He can eat civilization, leaving the world behind for Cobra La to solely inhabit. It's revealed Prime, Hawk and Flint are reading this from cave paintings. Then Cobra La finds them and they prepare to make their final stand when Joe Colton returns and tells them to come with him if they want to live.


Comments: This continues the story of the three previous crossovers. To be honest, I skipped most of them--the stories didn't exactly fire my imagination. They had the feel of extended cartoons to me... Fortunately, this forth volume is a mere two issues (double-sized ones) and I thought I could tolerate the story for that long. The story is decent and attempts to combine all the elements of Joe and TF lore in one shot. The art is decent but not Wildman at his best--there are several frames which lack detail and/or are unclear (does Optimus stare at Hot Rod or actually hit him? I can't tell from the art). It seems like Wildman's getting lazy--or perhaps he was rushed. Firewall's pig tail look annoys the hell out of me--what grown woman wears their hair like that? (a minor thing, but...) The story is a who's-who of Transformers--Eject, the Monster Pretenders, Skids, Bludgeon, etc. I'm a bit neutral on this aspect, it just was a lot of characters running around. It was cool to see Joe Colton thrown in there (along with the kitchen sink :). I do question Cobra La's plan though--why not have destroyed Unicron and then turned their power against humanity? It's likely Unicron would destroy much of the surface in an attack--or even the entire planet, in defiance of them--so, why take that risk? They could've destroyed Unicron, crushed humanity then built their own
civilization in lieu of man. Finally, Cobra-La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la! (so irrestibly corny! :)

Mildly recommended.







(borrowed images of the Joe/TF crossover covers from seibertron.com obviously--saves me time buying them all).