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View Full Version : Assorted Grumblings, etc [snipped from "Comic sales discussion"]


Red Dave Prime
2010-11-03, 12:00 AM
Re-reading the furman era and I have to say, with a bit mure pushing to finish storys and removing one or two of the plot threads (sideswipes, replace the repaers with the dead universe crew to recruit the guys they needed and arguably arcee) that could have been a fairly epic story.

Instead of bouncing everything around at once if he had of used say 5 arcs which all contained small tidbits leading up to the 6th arc with the dead universe it would have worked wonders. I kinda think the following would have worked well

Infiltration
Stormbringer
Escalation
Maximum Dinobots
Devastation (no reapers but conclude the earth story)
Revelations

But re-reading it shows how far the overall all quality has fallen. Furman may have daddled too long but theres some good ideas, everything links up and theres a much more realistic feel to the concepts. When IDW get sick of costa, I wouldnt mind Furman taking over again but under stricter control.

Cliffjumper
2010-11-03, 06:35 AM
Personally I'd think it would need even more compacting than that.

Now that we know how things panned out, Infiltration is a slow, derivative story that clumsily dallies over a bunch of characters who don't really contribute anything while at the same time slowing progress down to a snail's pace. Read back now, it doesn't seem quite as bad when you read it in one block, especially as you glaze over all the bits with Rad, Veriy and Carlos because you know they're ultimately pointless.

Stormbringer, while respectable on its' own merits, was badly placed and in hindsight gave us a glimpse of how fickle and desperate IDW could be. It was a good story, I'm just still not convinced of its' merits relative to the 'present day' stuff. TBH, the epic events it depicted might have been better suited to teasing flashbacks in the main book, with the full story coming out a year or so down the line. Actually, the full story might have been better left to the imagination of the readers, but I'm not sure that this would have suited the readership.

Escalation is workable - just the odd bit or pruning to the script and the removal of more plot ends that went into cul-de-sacs.

Maximum Dinobots is/was diabolical, though. It's rotten to the core thanks to Furman's dreadful characterisation of the Dinobots as whiny flip-flopping Swoop and The Three Who Do Macho Lines, not to mention the Drift-esque handling of the Monsterbots. Aside from it dealing with a rather irritating, go-nowhere plot, it's the biggest sign of Furman's waning skills IDW have produced, because on paper there's no reason it shouldn't be a passable runaround salvaged by characterisation. But it isn't, because surely no-one could give a shit whether those particular Dinobots lived or died, forgave Grimlock or whatever.

Devastation was basically about nothing. You prune the Reapers from it, and that's a good idea on the face of it. But what are you left with? A contrived car chase that somehow managed to be completely mindless and yet unbelievably boring at the same time, and yet another all-mouth-and-no-trousers super-Transformer in Sixshot, the ultimate weapon who chalks up a total kill count of one of Jazz's arms and most readers' will to live.

And then Revelations comes in, in desperate need of the page count Furman has wasted with his peccadiloes of the past two, three years (I forget how long the Dead Furmanverse was putering along... my instinct is about 40 years, but I'm prepared to concede it just felt like that), and is both incomprehensible, unreadable without the prep of about forty other issues, and still leaves loose ends all over the place.

Furman's had an intermitant weakness with conclusions since the Marvel UK days (I maintain the rolling structure of the Marvel comic suited his style much better, as the low pressure "There'll always be an odd issue to tie that up" ethos avoided panicking him into some of the shite we've seen him prduce in the past decade), but the frequency has increased in recent times, to the point where I'm actually struggling to think of the last time the man produced a halfway satisfactory conclusion to a storyline - and I think we could well be talking Generation 2 here (that left people wanting more for the right reasons).

Basically I think Furman's utterly miscast as a writer on any modern comic. IDW have a big focus on inorganic EVENT storylines and arcs that fit compactly into a TPB. In those terms, Furman is a dinosaur, as unsuited to the format as Ted Cowans, Tom Tully, Pat Mills or Gary Larson would be. It's not necessarily something to be ashamed of, though the attempts to ape Mark Millar perhaps are, but it means that if he's ever given another gig by IDW, he'll fail in much the same way. He's clearly unsuited to being the top dog, and the ultimate failure of the War Within proved he's just as out of his depth as a fan sideshow man.

While I respect he has to make ends meet financially as a priority, the damage of taking on so much work he's inadeqautely skilled for in the past ten years has badly damaged his reputation. For his against-all-odds work on the Marvel comics, despite the faults, I'll always be grateful. But I'd happily never see his name on a comic again after the damage he's done since.

inflatable dalek
2010-11-03, 07:50 AM
I still think Revelations could have warpped everything up perfectly well and possibly even saved the whole arc by providing a decent climax if characters other than Dealer and Sideswipe had been chosen. Jetfire and Nemesis Prime were my choices IIRC.

The Magnificence stuff should have been done in Maximum Dinobots (and a bit more plot there could have avoided the repetition of the "Right Grimlock we're off!... Oh, we're back" stuff). Have Jetfire and Magnus work out what's going on through deduction from available facts rather than a magic 8 ball, don't bother with Sideswipe at all (hell, even he gets bored of his plot and buggers off), actually show the Arcee/Banzaitron team up and some of the fights, and keep Nemesis Prime the slightly tragic guy who just wants to go home was was initially rather than a raving loon with a McGuffin in his chest. It's a shame as the Cyclonus and Hardhead issues do it right and seem to show Furman really upping his game as a last bow. And then it all fails.

I liked large chunks of Maximum Dinobots, the main flaws being most of the Dinobots themselves (except Grimlock, I enjoyed him finally admitting he can't be a prick his entire life and taking some responsibility at the end) and the lack of plot of five issues meaning some stalling in the middle. And what did the normally faultless Roche do to Swoop's head?

I'm currently putting together my thoughts on Last Stand of the Wreckers for a review, and in to emphasise what a breath of fresh air it was I'm kicking off with a preamble on how crap the majority of the Transformers comics of the noughties were. It runs to two pages and I could possibly have gone on for longer...

Commander Shockwav
2010-11-03, 09:27 PM
Personally I'd think it would need even more compacting than that.

Now that we know how things panned out, Infiltration is a slow, derivative story that clumsily dallies over a bunch of characters who don't really contribute anything while at the same time slowing progress down to a snail's pace. Read back now, it doesn't seem quite as bad when you read it in one block, especially as you glaze over all the bits with Rad, Veriy and Carlos because you know they're ultimately pointless.

Stormbringer, while respectable on its' own merits, was badly placed and in hindsight gave us a glimpse of how fickle and desperate IDW could be. It was a good story, I'm just still not convinced of its' merits relative to the 'present day' stuff. TBH, the epic events it depicted might have been better suited to teasing flashbacks in the main book, with the full story coming out a year or so down the line. Actually, the full story might have been better left to the imagination of the readers, but I'm not sure that this would have suited the readership.

Escalation is workable - just the odd bit or pruning to the script and the removal of more plot ends that went into cul-de-sacs.

Maximum Dinobots is/was diabolical, though. It's rotten to the core thanks to Furman's dreadful characterisation of the Dinobots as whiny flip-flopping Swoop and The Three Who Do Macho Lines, not to mention the Drift-esque handling of the Monsterbots. Aside from it dealing with a rather irritating, go-nowhere plot, it's the biggest sign of Furman's waning skills IDW have produced, because on paper there's no reason it shouldn't be a passable runaround salvaged by characterisation. But it isn't, because surely no-one could give a shit whether those particular Dinobots lived or died, forgave Grimlock or whatever.

Devastation was basically about nothing. You prune the Reapers from it, and that's a good idea on the face of it. But what are you left with? A contrived car chase that somehow managed to be completely mindless and yet unbelievably boring at the same time, and yet another all-mouth-and-no-trousers super-Transformer in Sixshot, the ultimate weapon who chalks up a total kill count of one of Jazz's arms and most readers' will to live.

And then Revelations comes in, in desperate need of the page count Furman has wasted with his peccadiloes of the past two, three years (I forget how long the Dead Furmanverse was putering along... my instinct is about 40 years, but I'm prepared to concede it just felt like that), and is both incomprehensible, unreadable without the prep of about forty other issues, and still leaves loose ends all over the place.

Furman's had an intermitant weakness with conclusions since the Marvel UK days (I maintain the rolling structure of the Marvel comic suited his style much better, as the low pressure "There'll always be an odd issue to tie that up" ethos avoided panicking him into some of the shite we've seen him prduce in the past decade), but the frequency has increased in recent times, to the point where I'm actually struggling to think of the last time the man produced a halfway satisfactory conclusion to a storyline - and I think we could well be talking Generation 2 here (that left people wanting more for the right reasons).

Basically I think Furman's utterly miscast as a writer on any modern comic. IDW have a big focus on inorganic EVENT storylines and arcs that fit compactly into a TPB. In those terms, Furman is a dinosaur, as unsuited to the format as Ted Cowans, Tom Tully, Pat Mills or Gary Larson would be. It's not necessarily something to be ashamed of, though the attempts to ape Mark Millar perhaps are, but it means that if he's ever given another gig by IDW, he'll fail in much the same way. He's clearly unsuited to being the top dog, and the ultimate failure of the War Within proved he's just as out of his depth as a fan sideshow man.

While I respect he has to make ends meet financially as a priority, the damage of taking on so much work he's inadeqautely skilled for in the past ten years has badly damaged his reputation. For his against-all-odds work on the Marvel comics, despite the faults, I'll always be grateful. But I'd happily never see his name on a comic again after the damage he's done since.

God, it's refreshing to finally find someone who sees the same flaws in Furman that I do.

inflatable dalek
2010-11-04, 07:50 AM
God, it's refreshing to finally find someone who sees the same flaws in Furman that I do.


I know you tend to be in a bit of a wibbley woobly world of your own but you've hardly been a lone crusader on this subject. Hell, based on them effectively sacking him IDW themselves were thinking it two years ago.

Cliffjumper
2010-11-04, 02:36 PM
I'd also like to note that I thought IDW were shit from Infiltration #0, even when that was a telling off offence on here. So ner.

TBH, I don't think Furman's writing's necessarily got worse, just that it would be near-impossible in the modern climate to find a format that plays to his strengths while simultaneously dampening his weaknesses.. I mean, take Target 2006. In the UK weekly the conclusion wasn't a conclusion, it was time for a breather for a few plot threads (e.g. the Cybertron resistance) and set-up for others (Ultra Magnus v Galvatron, the time-jumping in general). However, either in trade form or in the IDW mini-series, it's a distinctly underwhelming climax. Even the US issues are like that - the Matrix Quest seems rather pointless as an arc in its' own right, but as one of the opening segments of the Unicron arc it makes more sense and fits with the building mood.

He tried to do the same thing with Armada, but even Dreamwave were trying to compartmentalise storylines into TPBs, so we had the Skyblast shooting something 'conclusions', and then the whole Energon time jump and then the Energon title itself (which was basically a dry run for his IDW work in terms of storytelling, but with less popular characters - 68 parallel plots that inched forward, deeply irritating humans, other-dimensional beings sending out their reapers, preposterous character armour) so it was pretty shit.

So I don't think it's even a case of givng him an ongoing to play with, because there's no such thing as ongoing comics anymore - all modern comics are basically sets of mini-series with continuous numbering, all done with the sole aim of being packaged into a TPB with a catchy, portentous title.

inflatable dalek
2010-11-04, 08:25 PM
I'd also like to note that I thought IDW were shit from Infiltration #0, even when that was a telling off offence on here. So ner.

I sometimes go back and reread the old reaction threads. We all used to be so carefree and cheerful in our optimism. Most of us even weren't so hard on Megatron Origin for the first couple of issues.

The turning point for me in terms of the main arc was the end of Devastation. A complete mess, storylines that had slowly plodded along for six issues get off page resolutions, a full page given over to previewing the Grimlock Spotlight, the totally irrelivant Reapers, Sixswitch having an easy off switch Stascream shouldn't have access to at this point (seriously, does Megatron never change his important security codes in case any little shit who's gotten demoted turns against him). The almost deeply stupid dragging out of who Mr. Big Head was.

The shame of it was Escalation was great, it all seemed to be working there. How did things go tits up so quickly?

I rather enjoy the Armada comic, the requisite dodgy climaxes aside it's usually a enjoyable bit of kids fluff. When it turned Energon though there was a bit of a step down, likely because the 18th handover issue was rubbish. Oh, and Smokescreen (?) getting shot point blanc in the face by Megatron and surrvivng was easily the worst Furman Dreamwave moment. Which considering the Lottery Hand was second place says a lot.

Commander Shockwav
2010-11-05, 02:31 AM
I know you tend to be in a bit of a wibbley woobly world of your own but you've hardly been a lone crusader on this subject. Hell, based on them effectively sacking him IDW themselves were thinking it two years ago.


On the British TF message boards, it's difficult to find someone who harshly criticizes the weaknesses of Furman. Cliffy is probably the only one I know who is holding Simon to the same standards McCarthy and Costa are being held too.

In essence, all three writers have been either average or subpar. IDW went from average with Simon to worse with McCarthy. What a blunder.

Rocherts on the other hand, now there's something to praise.

Warcry
2010-11-05, 04:49 AM
The shame of it was Escalation was great
:eyebrow:

I can never understand why so many people say that, TBH.

How did things go tits up so quickly?
Honestly, I don't think either Furman or IDW had any real idea of where they were going, and it was doomed from Day 1. The series jumped around from one idea to the next without tying anything off. Reading Infiltration and then going on to Stormbringer/Escalation, it reminds me of a TV series that was heavily retooled between the pilot and filming the rest of the show (Babylon 5 jumps to mind actually, with all the differences between the pilot movie and season 1).

Infiltration actually putting the premise of 'robots in disguise' to good use and you could tell they were trying to take a different approach to Transformers than what we'd seen before. Escalation paid lip service to that but was mainly about setting up a hollow Optimus/Megatron 'showdown' with no buildup at all. Everything else Furman wrote was either a part of Generic Furman Dead Universe Space Opera #14 or focused on the Machination, and either of those plots could easily have been bolted onto any of the other universes Furman has written for over the years. And that's without talking about the Spotlights he penned, which had a few brilliant moments but mostly seemed like him tossing ideas against the wall to see what sticks, then rolling even more plot points into the main book. Simon needed more focus, and failing that he needed to be kept on a tighter leash by his editors right from the get-go.

Even when they decided to give him the axe, things were probably still salvageable if only they'd decided to fire him right away and replace him with another writer who was willing to pick up where he'd left off. Telling Furman "you have nine more issues, tie up the four years worth of stories you had planned so we can start fresh with a new guy" was literally the worst thing they could have done. And then, thoroughly missing the point of what had caused the problems in Furman's run IDW proceeded to give the next writer free reign as well. And just like Furman, that magnified McCarthy's weaknesses and resulted in a sub-par book -- with the added bonus of dozens of small (and a couple really big) continuity errors that needlessly earned him the ire of a good slice of the fanbase. So IDW axed him too, replaced him with another writer that they gave a free hand to, leading to yet another story that could have been good but wasn't in the Ongoing.

Cliffjumper
2010-11-05, 08:25 AM
Mmm, both Stormbringer and Escalation read now as fairly heavy-handed attempts to get everyone back on side, or widen the audience, after Infiltration. Escalation had a few too many crowd-pleasing gestures thrown in, and while it read better from month to month than Infiltration did, it would probably be a bit of a stretch to describe it as particularly good. As the comics came out there was consistent promise, but very little of it was eventually converted...

This is and was my problem with the Dead Furmanverse - all of it was dependant on what came later and only Stormbringer and a few of the Spotlights really functioned as a stories in their own right. The rest of it is basically build up for other comics which failed to come off, and we're ultimately left with something which has the same dead-end reading value as, say, the last few issues of the DW ongoing, but in much greater quantity.

I mean, the reason Last Stand is so great isn't just because of the characterisation, the dialogue and the characters. It's that, despite being set in the same continuity, you can read Last Stand and nothing else - Spotlight Kup and Spotlight Magnus help, but it doesn't hurt if you haven't read them either. And if there's a theoretical second Roche and Roberts series following up on Impactor and Guzzle (or whatever, just something following on from Last Stand), and let's say for the sake of argument that it's rubbish, it won't matter because Last Stand still functions on its' own terms.

Whereas going down the line, the Dead Furmanverse needs all of Escalation, Devastation and Revelation minimum to work, and if one doesn't, it's predecessors are rendered pointless because all they do is build to the next one. The failure, in particular, of Devastation and Revelation effectively renders Infiltration and Escalation pointless, regardless of any individual merit. I mean, think of it as a four-part limited series - the first two issues have some promise; the last two generally fail to convert that promise. That's not a good series, is it? You're not going to go back and read #2 very often because it's just one of the higher points of an ultimately failed story.

Neuronutter
2010-11-05, 04:48 PM
Rocherts on the other hand, now there's something to praise.

4th reboot with Rocherts plotting and writing the ongoing and each of them handling an independent mini?

inflatable dalek
2010-11-05, 05:49 PM
To be honest, I'd rather they didn't. I got the impression from AA that Roche in particular prefers working in short sharp bursts and enjoyed taking a Transformers break after Wreckers, so I'm not sure how suited he is to chruning out 12 issues a year without the quality suffering.

Plus, how long before some boneheaded IDW decision makes something crap happen? It's amazing LSOTW lasted five issues with it really.

Warcry
2010-11-05, 07:14 PM
This is and was my problem with the Dead Furmanverse - all of it was dependant on what came later and only Stormbringer and a few of the Spotlights really functioned as a stories in their own right..
I think that pretty much hits the nail on the head. Infiltration is an introduction to a story that never happened, Escalation really doesn't have any payoff in its' own right and only serves to build up to stuff later on, Devastation and Revelations were both messes of about a dozen plotlines, etc, etc... I've never really thought about it like that, but I think you're right about this being a part of why Wreckers was so well-received -- it was a complete story and not just a snippet of a bigger arc.

Plus, how long before some boneheaded IDW decision makes something crap happen? It's amazing LSOTW lasted five issues with it really.
I don't think changing writers would make a difference at this point. Roche and Roberts would have better ideas than Costa but without a wholesale change in the editorial philosophy and the direction IDW seem to be taking the line I'm not sure that would translate into a better product.

Even though I loved it, Roche and Roberts' work still shows evidence of the same continuity problems that we see in every other IDW book...Springer taking over the Wreckers from Kup without any explanation, Prowl being part of a nebulous 'High Command' instead of just being in charge of a minor seven-man team, Magnus reading like he's straight out of the UK comics instead of being his IDW rules-lawyer incarnation, etc... I think the best thing about their writing is that it isn't nearly as decompressed as what we've gotten from IDW's other writers, which makes it a lot easier to hide their flaws. In that respect single issues and short, self-contained miniseries seem to cater to their strengths and minimize their weaknesses very well.

Decompression seems to be the order of the day for the main books, though. And until the editors start demanding faster storytelling and internal consistency (and stop trying to piggyback on the popularity of the movies) I think the Ongoing is going to be a train wreck no matter who's penning it.

horizon
2010-11-05, 08:10 PM
Furman used all his creative maximimum mind for the original marvel comics. Especially the end series with Unicron. I mean that was the most awesome writing for anything Transformers related.
(The biggest problem for the marvel comics was needing to introduce new toys as they where released, without that the marvel ones could've even be better as a complete serie).

Cliffjumper
2010-11-05, 08:22 PM
Last Stand worked for many, many reasons that probably wouldn't apply to a main title. It was clearly a labour of love, and I wouldn't be surprised if the basic outline had been in existence for years and then tweked and fiddled and refined for the IDW universe. It worked because the editors largely seem to have left them to it because it was an intentionally fannish book. It worked because it was such a massive contrast to what we'd had the past five years. It worked because it had just the right amount of telling and just the right amount of not telling (so there's no need, say, to find out whether Prowl crushed that chip or not). It worked because it was wilfully out of sync with everything else IDW have done, are doing and will do. The amount of detail, foreshadowing and simple drama could just not be maintained for an open-ended book - in that respect, Roche & Roberts are the antithesis of Furman, but sadly just as ill-suited to a modern ongoing.

I'd agree with Warcry that IDW's problems run so much deeper... There's really not actually been that much difference in broad terms between the work of Furman, McCarthy and Costa - all have different positives which will be to different people's preferences, but all three have had big problems, including recurring editorial/format trouble.

I'm also at the point where I just do not give a solitary shit about the ongoing. IDW are too cack-handed to ever let it be any good, it doesn't need another writer, it needs another licencee, one who'll just do a Transformers comic and get it right from the start and just leave it alone.

The trouble is licenced books are simply not going to attract particularly good writers by nature. So you're left with either jobbing vets (who can't be that good or they wouldn't be working on licenced stuff), The Guys Who Used To Write It (and the template for this going well, believe it or not, is right-wing fanatic Harry Lama, who's writing exactly the same comics he was 20 years ago, which is what people want from this sort of thing*) or fans (which are hit and miss).

* C'mon, be honest with yourself. We might all want something a bit different in theory, but right now we'd settle for something like the good old days (whenever they were) and take it from there.

Neuronutter
2010-11-05, 09:20 PM
I'm also at the point where I just do not give a solitary shit about the ongoing.


That's pretty much where I've got to. I've dropped the issues due to a lack of funds, picked up the 1st trade of the ongoing, LSOTW and that's it for the last 6-12 months. I had preorders for the second trade of the ongoing, Ironhide and Drift but I've cancelled them all due to waning interest and terrible reviews. It seems a shame but I've lost interest in TF at IDW.

Denyer
2010-11-05, 09:55 PM
the Dead Furmanverse needs all of Escalation, Devastation and Revelation minimum to work,
Yes. Although I disagree it makes Infiltration pointless. The first few issues were the teaser stage of a series, hinting at a big, active universe, and re-reading it you still get that same sense of scale.

who can't be that good or they wouldn't be working on licenced stuff
There've been a few excellent writers on Trek stuff. Genre doesn't have to mean low quality provided the writers focus on the story before the setting.

Ongoing series rarely work well; stand-out series in my experience tend to be clear arcs and have defined end points, such as with Transmet, Preacher, etc. Standalone minis also often produce sterling results. True ongoings veer all over the place in terms of quality and rarely satisfy, personally (almost any Marvel or DC cape book you care to mention; there'll be a few good arcs per character, and a heck of a lot of dead horse flogging.)

Cliffjumper
2010-11-05, 10:18 PM
Yes. Although I disagree it makes Infiltration pointless. The first few issues were the teaser stage of a series, hinting at a big, active universe, and re-reading it you still get that same sense of scale.

I don't know, I find the promise more irritating that way - the big stuff failed to come off, and the little stuff fell by the wayside too (e.g. Ratchet falling back from the large role).

There've been a few excellent writers on Trek stuff. Genre doesn't have to mean low quality provided the writers focus on the story before the setting.

Sorry, poor choice of words on my part... I probably should have said "toy" rather than "licence". There's always going to be a certain taint working for something which is primarily associated with toys that there just isn't for something else... But I agree that low quality isn't a given, just that it's statistically more likely due to being relatively un-hip.

Ongoing series rarely work well; stand-out series in my experience tend to be clear arcs and have defined end points, such as with Transmet, Preacher, etc. Standalone minis also often produce sterling results. True ongoings veer all over the place in terms of quality and rarely satisfy, personally (almost any Marvel or DC cape book you care to mention; there'll be a few good arcs per character, and a heck of a lot of dead horse flogging.)

I agree and I don't - obviously, ongoings are only as good as the people writing them, and only people like Larry Hama are going to stay on a book for 150 issues. However, a lot of 'cape books' actually work for whole runs at a time, presuming it's your sort of thing - Busiek's Avengers, David's Captain Marvel, Morrison's New X-Men, Ellis' Stormwatch, Davis' Excalibur, Millar's Ultimates, Miller's Daredevil. These aren't elite pieces of work that are essential reads for everyone, and they aren't revolutionary. What they did do, though, was provide two, three, four years of solid entertainment for readers.

Expecting something from Transformers that will stand toe to toe with Preacher is nigh-impossible. Expecting something from Transformers which will provide straightforward, uncomplicated, unpretentious entertainment on a monthly basis for a year or three isn't.

However, at the same time I'll agree that monthly comics now tend to be rubbish, due to the way retconning and discontinuity is so fashionable... It's not something limited to IDW's Transformers; the first thing most new creative teams on any 'hired gun' comic do is chuck out a bunch of stuff their predecessor did that they didn't like and generally throw their weight around.

Red Dave Prime
2010-11-05, 11:42 PM
Ok, so if (when) the fourth reboot happens what would we like to see?

IMO if we had 5-6 arcs a year with each arc being 6 issues that would be enough of a comic and wouldn't put too much strain on any one writer. And instead of the writers dictating the changing universe exclusively it would be the editor ( or head writer) that keeps track of the overall universe and it's plots and dictates what future arcs need to be.

Finally, the arcs don't need to always be leading to a next apocolypse. There's no problem in having the first five arcs have little nods to the year end season finale arc but even then it doesn't have to be "ZOMG the world are doomed! " all the time. Lsotw was epic in it's story but in the grand scheme was a small event. More of that, I think, would free the writers options up a lot.

inflatable dalek
2010-11-06, 04:08 AM
So, I take it that the comic sales thread is only for a very dry list of nearly enough exactly the same numbers repeated every month until we all die of old age then? In that case the "Discussion" part of "Comics Sales Discussion" should be removed.

Unless the person who split the threads offers a really good reason for doing so in the next two posts I will be rejoining them. And yes, I am genuinely annoyed by this. If I wanted to post "Assorted Grumblings" I would have done so in the 50 or so threads already there (some of which I started).

zigzagger
2010-11-06, 04:17 AM
Sorry, I did that.

Explanation? Umm. Well, it struck me as deserving its own thread, I guess, since it was kind of veering away from discussing comic book sales and more about IDW's output, writers, editorial practices and so on.

And as for the title...honestly, I wasn't trying to be snarky. I just couldn't think of an appropriate title at the time. I can change it.

Warcry
2010-11-06, 05:54 AM
I don't know, I find the promise more irritating that way - the big stuff failed to come off, and the little stuff fell by the wayside too (e.g. Ratchet falling back from the large role).
I have to agree with that. I like Infiltration quite a bit more than you seem to, but even though I've enjoyed it the times I've re-read it, it still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth because I know that none of the things I liked about it carried over into the stories that followed, and none of them are ever going to be picked up on.

Sorry, poor choice of words on my part... I probably should have said "toy" rather than "licence". There's always going to be a certain taint working for something which is primarily associated with toys that there just isn't for something else... But I agree that low quality isn't a given, just that it's statistically more likely due to being relatively un-hip.
I don't know if that's entirely the case either. Fifteen, twenty years ago weren't things like Star Trek and Star Wars lumped into the same category of 'undesirable' license work? These days they're considered big sellers and attract some pretty big names, even though they see even more meddling from the license-owners than the TF books do.

Transformers as a brand has 'grown up' a lot in the eight years or so that I've been in the fandom, going from a kids' show/niche 80s nostalgia market to a huge mass-media franchise that's a lot more visible to the general public. With the Bay movies pulling in a whole new audience and a fresh generation of fans, I think there's a good chance that Transformers will stick around as a highly-visible property for a long time to come. If it does, then sooner or later it's going to lose the 'license stigma', just like Star Trek and Star Wars did once they'd become ingrained deeply enough into pop culture.

Ok, so if (when) the fourth reboot happens what would we like to see?
Hire three or four different writers to cater to different tastes, and have the editor make sure that each writer works on the sort of projects that play off of their strengths. Have each creative team pick a set of characters that they want to work with, then set each of them loose and let them do their own thing. Give each team a limited amount of page-space to tell their stories (say, five or six issues max per year) and make it very clear to them that they're expected to tell a complete story within those five or six issues. Even if they're bundled under the banner of one or more Ongoing series, this would make for trade-friendly arcs and faster-paced storytelling.

If any writer wants to use another writer's characters or plot-points, make sure that they talk each other. If Writer A uses elements of Writer B's stories in one of his books, make damn sure Writer B reads the script and flags any errors or inconsistencies he can find before you publish the thing. Or to make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen too often, keep crossover between the different writers to a minimum. That would also have the happy side-effect of getting rid of casual "the world will never be the same" plots.

Every writer IDW has in their stable now has shown that they can at least occasionally write good short arcs/single issues, so even if they keep the same talent they have now this would hopefully force them to prune out the padding that is so evident whenever they're allowed to set a more leisurely pace.

inflatable dalek
2010-11-06, 05:40 PM
Sorry, I did that.

Explanation? Umm. Well, it struck me as deserving its own thread, I guess, since it was kind of veering away from discussing comic book sales and more about IDW's output, writers, editorial practices and so on.

And as for the title...honestly, I wasn't trying to be snarky. I just couldn't think of an appropriate title at the time. I can change it.

I'll send you a fuller PM explanation in a mo, but for the public record I'm a giant **** who let some other frustrations boil over into that little rant for no good reason.

I liked a lot of Inflitration, doing first contact from the humans point of view for the first time and the snowballing effect build up that escalated into... well Escalation. It does indeed all fall apart now though.

I don't know if that's entirely the case either. Fifteen, twenty years ago weren't things like Star Trek and Star Wars lumped into the same category of 'undesirable' license work? These days they're considered big sellers and attract some pretty big names, even though they see even more meddling from the license-owners than the TF books do.

I don't know, Dark Horse started their Star Wars comics about twenty years ago didn't they? Initially at least with a great deal of success (no idea how they're doing these days). Plus they had successful Alien, Predator and Terminator comics at the same time.

Trek has never done very well in comics, no one seems to be able to keep a title going for more than two or three years, ironically I think the most sustained run was alongside the Genesis trilogy where it was fairly hard to do a comic because of no Enterprise or Spock and the films leading into one another.

Transformers and GI Joe do seem to have bucked the dying off of the 80's nostalgia thing though, despite sales levelling off they're about the only ones of the various titles that launched about the same time Dreamwave did that are still going (and anyone who read that bloody awful Thundercats wank comic will know this is a Good Thing). I suspect both having long a long history with comics prior to this helped.

Warcry
2010-11-06, 06:02 PM
I don't know, Dark Horse started their Star Wars comics about twenty years ago didn't they?
I didn't realize it had been that long, but you're right -- Dark Empire started in 1991, and that was pretty much the start of the 'proper' Star Wars comics IIRC. I was thinking of the godawful Marvel stuff, but I guess that was more 1980s? Actually I'm probably thinking of the same time period for the Trek stuff too, I just have a hard time admitting that the 80s were so long ago because it makes me feel old.

Trek has never done very well in comics, no one seems to be able to keep a title going for more than two or three years, ironically I think the most sustained run was alongside the Genesis trilogy where it was fairly hard to do a comic because of no Enterprise or Spock and the films leading into one another.
Admittedly I haven't read a Star Trek comic in about fifteen years now, so I'm going off of second-hand information from the people who do and who have told me that it's gotten much better. Could be that I'm totally off-base here. :)

My experience with Trek tie-ins are almost exclusively with the novels, which absolutely have 'grown up' immeasurably in the last decade.

inflatable dalek
2010-11-06, 06:22 PM
I didn't realize it had been that long, but you're right -- Dark Empire started in 1991, and that was pretty much the start of the 'proper' Star Wars comics IIRC. I was thinking of the godawful Marvel stuff, but I guess that was more 1980s? Actually I'm probably thinking of the same time period for the Trek stuff too, I just have a hard time admitting that the 80s were so long ago because it makes me feel old.

We're not old. We're seasoned. I actually enjoy the Marvel Star Wars stuff, much like a lot of Bob's Transformers it's a silly kids comic most of the time but that's not always a bad thing.


Admittedly I haven't read a Star Trek comic in about fifteen years now, so I'm going off of second-hand information from the people who do and who have told me that it's gotten much better. Could be that I'm totally off-base here. :)

The list of publishers and AHM style relaunches that have had Trek is fairly staggering, it's been batted back and forth between Marvel and DC taking most of the smaller guys in as well. It makes IDW's handling of Transformers seem sedate by comparison.