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John Barber

The Decepticobranomicon: Tom Scioli On ‘Transformers vs. GI Joe,’ Part Two

Transformers vs. GI Joe, IDW

To say that Tom Scioli and John Barber‘s Transformers vs. GI Joe is an unusual comic is underselling things quite a bit. On paper, it’s a natural fit, an ongoing series that follows in the footsteps of earlier books that have combined the two toy lines into one massive interplanetary battle. In practice, though, it’s something a lot bigger, a comic that almost assaults the reader by cramming in as much big, wild stuff as it possibly can — a toy comic so weird, and so great, that it almost feels like it shouldn’t exist.

With the book's second storyline well under way, throwing in everything from vikings to old gods to Dinobots (and a new printing of his amazing American Barbarian on the way this summer), I talked to cowriter, artist and occasional ComicsAlliance guest contributor Tom Scioli about the series. Today, he talks about building a history for a universe that's even more important than our own, the two-page Free Comic Book Day story, and why his book isn't a paean to Snake Eyes.

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The Transformed Man, Act 5: Interference Patterns

Transformers: Robots In Disguise vol. 2

I’ve never liked the Transformers. The franchise never really got its hooks into me when I was a kid, and while I’ve tried to give it a shot as an adult, it’s never really clicked. But now, with the recommendations of almost everyone I know and a well-timed Humble Bundle sale, I’ve found myself in possession of three years worth (and counting) of IDW’s More Than Meets The Eye and Robots In Disguise comics. I’m working my way through a story arc every week, and if I have to read about these robots, you’re coming with me.

This week, the Decepticons have a time machine. So, you know. That's not good.

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Tom Scioli And John Barber’s Two-Page ‘Transformers vs. GI Joe’ Strip Is The Best Thing About Free Comic Book Day

JTF01

If you were just going by what was on the covers when you grabbed your Free Comic Book Day titles on Saturday, you might have missed one of the best comics on the stands. I almost did --- as much as I've been enjoying IDW's Transformers comics now that I'm finally reading them, I haven't had much of a chance to watch the new cartoon, and as a result, I skipped over the FCBD tie-in comic when I picked mine up.

It wasn't until I flipped through it later that I realized there was a short story from Tom Scioli and John Barber in there, tying into their GI Joe vs. Transformers ongoing series. And it's amazing.

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The Transformed Man, Act 3: The Autonomy Lesson

Transformers: Robots In Disguise v.1

I’ve never liked the Transformers. The franchise never really got its hooks into me when I was a kid, and while I’ve tried to give it a shot as an adult, it’s never really clicked. But now, with the recommendations of almost everyone I know and a well-timed Humble Bundle sale, I’ve found myself in possession of three years worth (and counting) of IDW’s More Than Meets The Eye and Robots In Disguise comics. I’m working my way through a story arc every week, and if I have to read about these robots, you’re coming with me.

This week, the Cybertronian Provisional Government gears up to rebuild society. So basically it's House of Cards if Kevin Spacey could turn into a truck.

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Things Go Nuclear In ‘Transformers vs. G.I. Joe’ #6 [Preview]

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If you haven't been reading Tom Scioli and John Barber's Transformers vs. G.I. Joe series from IDW, you may be somewhat confused by the images you're about to see. The series is a beautiful, weird thing of beauty that does virtually nothing that a longtime comics reader might expect from a licensed comic book featuring two of the biggest franchises in movies, cartoons and comics.

Instead of focusing on years and years of continuity, Scioli and Barber take these toys out of the toybox and play with them as if that's what they are, filtered through a lens of Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko and lots of other Silver Age artists. It opens up incredible avenues for storytelling. That's what makes it great.

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Our Resident Transformers Skeptic Reviews the IDW Series in ‘The Transformed Man’: Act 1: ‘The Death Of Optimus Prime’

The Transformed Man, Act 1: The Death of Optimus Prime

I've never liked the Transformers. The franchise never really got its hooks into me when I was a kid, and while I've tried to give it a shot as an adult, it's never really clicked. But now, with the recommendations of almost everyone I know and a well-timed Humble Bundle sale, I've found myself in possession of three years (and counting) worth of IDW's More Than Meets The Eye and Robots In Disguise comics. I'm working my way through a story arc every week, and if I have to read about these robots, you're coming with me.

This week, it's The Death Of Optimus Prime, in which Optimus Prime does not actually die. Spoiler warning?

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‘Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #5′ Has Snake Eyes And Duke Fighting Robothulhu, Do You Even Need To See Anything Else?

TFG00

There are a lot of amazing things about Tom Scioli and John Barber's Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, and one of the most amazing is that it somehow keeps getting weirder. I mean, it's been a pretty wild ride since day one, to the point where the fact that it even exists continues to be surprising, but next week, it looks like the bizarreness of a book that's already brought us the Serpentress is going to hit critical mass in an issue that opens with Snake Eyes and Duke -- who is wearing a t-shirt that says DUKE -- battling it out against Robothulhu.

Yes: The Joes are fighting a multi-faced tentacle monster floating in hot pink space, and it is amazing. Check out a preview below!

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Escalation: Tom Scioli And John Barber On ‘Transformers vs. G.I. Joe’ Volume 1 [Interview]

Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, art by Tom Scioli

If you asked me to pick my favorite comics of the year, there's not even a question about it: Transformers vs. G.I. Joe would be at the top of the list. Even aside from my well-known love of America's daring, highly-trained special missions force, writer/artist Tom Scioli and co-writer John Barber have been doing something amazing with this book, creating an ongoing series combining two toy franchises that has the kind of raw, unstoppable energy that you almost never see from corporate comics.

Now, with the first volume of the series hitting shelves this week, I spoke to Scioli and Barber about how they created one of the most transgressive comics of the year, why they think of the Jose as "nasty, destructive creatures," and just how much more they want to push the book until it's as strange as they want it to be.

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Scioli & Barber’s ‘Transformers vs. G.I. Joe’ #1 Goes Higher Than The Concept You Expected – Way Higher

Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1, IDW

With the possible exception of those Sailor Moon toys that I dropped two hundred bucks on, Transforrmers vs. G.I. Joe #1 was the most exciting purchase I made last weekend at San Diego's Comic-Con International. It was pretty much guaranteed to be that way, too -- the #0 issue that came out on Free Comic Book Day and set up the ongoing story that Tom Scioli and John Barber would be telling was easily one of my favorite comics of the year so far. It was bright and engaging and weird, in exactly the way that a comic based on taking two toy properties and smashing them together to make one big story should be.

As far as weirdness goes, though, this first issue outstrips it by a long shot, and it does it by taking the high concept that I think we all expected from another Transformers vs. G.I. Joe story and turning it upside down, launching it into an entirely new echelon of strangeness. And it is great.

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Tom Scioli And John Barber Talk ‘Transformers vs. G.I. Joe’ [Interview]

Transformers vs. G.I. Joe by Tom Scioli

Transformers vs. G.I. Joe is a crossover that sells it self, but the downside of that is that it's been done often enough that it can be difficult to get excited about the next version. Unless, of course, you tell me that it's going to be co-written, drawn, and lettered by Tom Scioli, the man who wrote the line "Robot Dracula is an efficient torturer" and rendered all other comics obsolete. If you do that, you have my attention, and that's exactly what they did when they announced that Scioli and John Barber were kicking off an ongoing series about the two teams, set to launch with #0 on Free Comic Book Day.

To find out more about how the project came together, I spoke to Scioli and Barber about how the project came together, Scioli's massive pitch document, and how their life-long and relatively recent love of the comics influenced their storytelling. Believe it or not, I don't think we talk about Destro at all.

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