Thursday, January 29, 2015

Author's Reflections- Comic #280

In order to try to give the Decepticons more reinforcements I wanted to add in the latest Starscream repaint Hasbro named Acid Storm. It was a loose homage to a background character that harnessed acid rain seen briefly in one episode of the Generation 1 cartoon, and though they were both green, the cartoon model had bright neon green compared to the dark camouflage green on the toy. I easily could have changed the name of the toy and added him in at random but the thought crossed my mind that it would be funny if the ‘acid’ in the character’s name was about stomach acid instead of acid rain. It was one of those ideas that immediately grew and writing the backstory became effortless…extremely, unforgivably silly, but effortless. Acid Storm was going to be the byproduct of an energon cube and Onslaught’s vomit…but then why would he look like one of the Decepticon jets? The answer immediately became obvious with Skywarp around. When you gotta go, you gotta go right? It was one of my lowest common denominator ideas but I ran with it and it was pretty well received, especially once Acid Storm began to evolve as a character.

Author's Reflections- Comic #279

Erector’s upgraded form isn’t actually a true Classics styled update…it was a repaint of a toy from the Cybertron toyline released as part of the toyline for the 2007 live action movie to pad out the line and get more toys on shelves. Since it was much much bigger than a Micromaster I had to think of some reason for him to come out of the machine and adding energon cubes seemed like the easiest way to explain it. I won’t say that’s the best excuse, but you know I rarely used logic in this comic anyway!
I felt like I was walking a thin line of the no politics rule the website has with Hot Shot’s comment but to my relief no one said anything.

Author's Reflections- Comic #278

With Onslaught having dropped into the comic out of thin air I wanted to give him a little bit of time before giving him his upgrade and this seemed like a good time to do it. It’s nothing special but there was some good back and forth dialogue between him and Starscream.
Those who are familiar with the various Transformers toylines would immediately notice that this toy isn’t actually Onslaught…it’s a repaint of Onslaught that was included in the 2001 Robots in Disguise toyline named Mega-Octane. I never had any of the Combaticon toys when I was a kid and at this point in my collecting I was content with forming the Bruticus combiner out of Mega-Octane and the Generation 2 limbs. It made for a horrible looking combination. I’ve since added a true Generation 1 Onslaught (and Bruticus) to my collection. I made due with what I had for this comic.

Author's Reflections- Comic #277

The next obvious Decepticon choice to get an upgrade was the newly released Onslaught, but other than a couple other characters, there weren’t as many new Decepticon toys as there was Autobots so I had to get creative.
I didn’t own the G1 Micromaster Erector until I had the idea to add him to the ranks as an Autobot traitor, and I was able to score one in great shape on eBay for $10. Erector reached notoriety through the Transformers fandom for his suggestive name more than anything else, though I’m happy to say I included him in this comic before fans voted him be a candidate for the Transformers Hall of Fame in 2011. I never really thought of him as a real bad guy in this comic, just someone who got sick and tired of everyone making fun of him so he switched sides out of spite.
Skywarp keeping his arm up for most of the comic wasn’t at all intentional…I didn’t notice until I was halfway through taking pictures that I hadn’t put the toy’s arm down after the first panel and I didn’t want to retake all the pictures. I added in Starscream asking him to put his arm down in panel 4 on the fly…it seemed like something he would say, besides I didn’t want to just leave it as-is without addressing it and of course it seemed like it was something poor dimwitted Skywarp would really do, so it worked out just fine.

Author's Reflections- Comic #276



The Autobots weren’t the only ones that had updated G1 characters to recently be released, there were a few Decepticons as well. Obviously Octane was the first to receive the honor of getting an upgrade thanks to Ratchet’s upgrading machine but I needed to figure out a way for other Decepticons to commandeer the machine and get an upgrade of their own. I never wanted to pass up an opportunity to use Starscream’s traitorous power-hungry side and a story quickly unfurled from there. I jumped at the chance to use Skywarp and Thundercracker as well, and #276 marks the first time the original Seeker trio was featured as a group in the comic. All in all this comic featured characters I absolutely loved writing for and I think it showed in the dialogue. As a standalone comic it’s not the greatest but I love it, plus it set up what came after it very nicely.
Some of my favorite lines here are Skywarp, referring to himself, saying “Aw that guy’s fists hurt like hell…”, and Starscream explaining that scientists are more than just pocket protectors and Peanut M&Ms.
For the Commentary trio, Hound’s character had long evolved into the perpetual bright side good guy, but every now and then I liked to show his patience for Cliffjumper was limited.

Author's Reflections- Comics #273-275






Although I wanted to stretch this out for the lack of a story, I didn’t feel the need to show all five characters walking out of the machine. I wanted to take a little extra time to explain why Powerglide came out of the machine white (which his updated toy was strangely colored) and I skipped Silverbolt and Sunstreaker’s upgrade debuts completely. I don’t think we missed anything by doing it this way.
The actual explanation for Powerglide being white made no sense, I definitely put no effort into thinking up something plausible but I never thought it was something that needed a good explanation anyway.
Optimus’ ‘conundrum of rational thought’ insult in comic #273 was clunky and needed spelling out but I definitely wanted to poke fun at Powerglide being a MINIbot, yet transformed into a plane. I thought it was silly when I was younger and that transferred to me as an adult. I know a lot of fans didn’t like that Powerglide’s updated toy was one of the bigger size classes but I was one of the few that was happy about it.
The only other thing that needs mentioning in these comics is Grimlock’s line at the end of #275 when he drags out Powerglide’s name. In the first part of the G1 cartoon episode ‘Dinobot Island’ Grimlock said his name in a similar way, pantomiming how Powerglide referred to himself in the third person in a dramatic way. I’m not sure it worked in the setting of this comic.