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.
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?
My first mistake was ever agreeing to do anything anyone asked me to. As long-time ComicsAlliance readers are probably already aware, I don't like the Transformers. There's no particular reason for it, it just never got its hooks into me when I was a kid like GI Joe did, and since my only real exposure to the franchise was when our former editor sent me to review the third Michael Bay movie, there hasn't been much to make me like it. And yet, whenever I bring that up, tons of people tell me that I need to read IDW's Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye, because, according to them, it's actually one of the best comics going.
So finally, just to get 'em off my back I said "sure, I'll pick 'em up if they're ever in a Humble Bundle sale or something," which I assumed was a devious ruse. After all, there was a Transformers bundle less than a year ago, so surely there wouldn't be another one anytime soon.
That was last week. And now I have to read all these Transformers comics.
You can't go to a retailer these days without running across at least one of the many different toy lines Hasbro's released based on Marvel's various characters and properties. We're not complaining. If anything, we want more. Lucky for us, Hasbro's Toy Fair 2015 offerings had just what we were looking for--more Avengers, more Legends, and most of all, more Misty Knight.
Last year saw the debut of a fan-chosen new character to the IDW Transformers Universe, as Windblade came to comics courtesy of writer Mairghread Scott and artist Sarah Stone. The four-issue mini series Transformers: Windblade saw the character living on Cybertron, where she worked alongside her ally Chromia against the scheming of Cybertron's ruler Starscream to try and keep the planet in one piece.
Following the success of that miniseries, Windblade will be back later this year -- but she won't be alone. She's going to be an integral part of the six-part event crossover 'Combiner Wars,' starting in March, which sees the arrival of the Combiners. Combiners are groups of Transformers that can assemble together into giant, hulking great new machines, and these new Transformers could threaten the very existence of everyone Windblade knows.
Giant planet-threatening robots? That's the sort of thing ComicsAlliance can really get behind. So to get a better look at what "Combiner Wars" means for Windblade - and the Transformers in general - ComicsAlliance spoke with Scott about her plans for the storyline.
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!
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.
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.
I love my job. I make Transformers vs. G.I.Joe comics on a monthly basis (with the help of my co-writer John Barber). As part of due diligence, it's my duty to see Transformers: Age of Extinction. My ticket is a business expense. I'm making my comic not just for fans of Transformers and G.I.Joe, but for the rest of planet Earth, too. As a Transformers author I need to know how the larger world percieves Transformers so that I can play up to certain expectations and run counter to preconceived notions. In that capacity, I documented my observations about the film.
Each weekday, ComicsAlliance brings you a carefully selected variety of links from around the web about comics and comics-related media, including movies, video games, toys, and whatever else might be worth noting. Quite frankly, these are items you may just need to know about to have a productive day. Take a look at today's hand-picked links after the jump.
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