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Summerhayes
2012-10-28, 10:40 PM
Spurred on by Inflatable Dalek's "Transformation" series of reviews, I finally got on and read the full 332-issue run of Marvel UK. Its pretty good, isn't it? Anyway, here are my ramblings as a comicbook virgin who just had his cherry popped.

Generally people seem to think of Transformers as a cartoon and a toy brand, but actually the comics are where its at. By not being slaves to status quo, they feel a lot more like a story about a war than the cartoon ever did.
In my opinion, the silly Quintesson business is much less satisfying than the epic Primus and Unicron tale Furman told.
I hadn't realised that the comic was the source of so much of the lore. Obvious things, like the Ark having a name, to whole plotlines the movies used. Apart from the theme tune and Cullens incredible voice, the cartoon feels like it didnt bring much to the table now.

Obviously, there are a few negatives i came away with, especially when reading it all in a short space of time. A few dull stretches where little happened, an ove

inflatable dalek
2012-10-29, 08:59 AM
There was a cartoon?!

The current little thing that's surprised me (at the very early stage I'm still at) is Soundwave's hasn't hit the ground running and the first couple have this strange sort of hybrid where it him directly answering the letters mixed with him passing messages onto the editorial team.

Also, the way Chromobots smugly keeps referencing the same authors Matt and the Cat is getting more and more annoying.

As for origins... I actually like the cartoon one, whilst its probably the most obvious secret origin I think it adds some good stuff to the last season. Plus I love the Quintesson design.

Though it still can't compare with (the original, pre-done to death) Primus and Unicron stuff, and several subsequent versions have fairly smartly brought the best of the cartoon into it by having the Quints nebulously involved somewhere along the line in Unicron's plots.

Summerhayes
2012-10-29, 10:21 AM
Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate the Quintesson stuff. I'm a big Terminator fan so the idea that they started out as robots built for the service and then they rebelled is pretty cool.
I've got Eugenesis on my Kindle waiting for a read, and I understand that has a lot to say about Primus and the Quints?

Something I noticed but forgot to mention: Towards the end, the story actually touches on the idea of the Autobots and Decepticons living an uneasy truce on a ruined Cybertron which until now I had thought was totally original.

inflatable dalek
2012-10-29, 10:34 AM
I've got Eugenesis on my Kindle waiting for a read, and I understand that has a lot to say about Primus and the Quints?

Yeah, it contains some sequelish elements to Space Pirates is probably the least spoilery thing I can say.

I believe the page with the download on it also has one for a recap thing that sums up all the TMUK stuff up to that point that's probably worth a read as well for some of the background detail and a bit of clarification (such as it treating ALL of Marvel UK as having happened, no altered timelines or Earthforce off in its own bubble, all the events of every issue all occured in one history, if not always in the right order. IIRC this mainly boils down to Unicron having the special power to make people forget him so he can attack by surprise twice 16 years apart).

The book is basically the X-Files Movie to TMUK's X-Files TV show, it broadly works as a standalone but some foreknowledge does help.

I think the book is actually set around now (and into early 2013), so it's a good time to read it. In an entirely abstract definition of "Good" or course.

Cliffjumper
2012-10-29, 11:24 AM
Also with Eugenesis stick out the first dozen or so pages. They're pretty disorientating and, to be blunt, only partly relevant (they're not unrelevant, but they don't add much) to the rest of the story. Once it's up and running it's a very difficult book to actually stop reading. Be warned that it's a pretty bleak book, though if you liked the actual war (as opposed to the cartoon's cops-and-robbers) set-up this probably won't deter you.

Whole TMUK stories are devoted to solving the UK comic's continuity errors, especially some of the 'biggies', but they have a good habit of being solidly entertaining while doing so.

Denyer
2012-10-29, 07:37 PM
I've got Eugenesis on my Kindle waiting for a read, and I understand that has a lot to say about Primus and the Quints?
What's there works for me, certainly -- as a fan of Iain M. Banks and similar stuff.

Agree about the first chapter... don't recall it putting me off, but it's flavour narrative for other parts of the story.

Cliffjumper
2012-10-29, 08:31 PM
I don't think it's bad, it's just a bit of a rough intro for the unitiated. Again from what I've read it's a bit of a favourite trope of TMUK stuff (e.g. the meticulously detailed description of the chap at the South American market before he's crushed by Fire Convoy in Globequake). It's a nitpick TBH; it's more a sign of just how great Eugenesis is that it stands out as a 'problem'. It's one of the risks of digital books, though, isn't it? If someone's got that and 20 other new books on a Kindle or Reader there's always a chance that a slow intro will put them off whereas if they've put down six quid in Waterstones they're more likely to plug on.

inflatable dalek
2012-10-29, 08:44 PM
Though I'd forgotten it till Cliffy mentioned it, I'd agree about the opening as well.

But then, as a self published first novel it's not surprising its got some rough edges, what amazing is how much of it is so bloody good.

Based on the interviews and scripts I've seen, I think Roberts basically starts out writing lots more detail than could ever be fitted in a comic and then trims it back get it all in 22 pages. Eugenesis is to an extent what would happen if he could leave every single idea in.




Whole TMUK stories are devoted to solving the UK comic's continuity errors, especially some of the 'biggies', but they have a good habit of being solidly entertaining while doing so.

Considering their reputation I'm sure the original stories work better, it's just some of it looks a little silly when written down as a synopsis.

Denyer
2012-10-29, 10:28 PM
It's one of the risks of digital books, though, isn't it? If someone's got that and 20 other new books on a Kindle or Reader there's always a chance that a slow intro will put them off whereas if they've put down six quid in Waterstones they're more likely to plug on.
Yeah, in its original format, a several hundred page volume published for friends, for people at a relatively close-knit convention or bought sight-unseen over the net by a few random people I count myself lucky to be one of, a certain amount of indulgence more easily slides.

I've hardly ever put down a book unfinished, though -- I skim more, or come back when I'm in the mood if it's something where the language is particularly obtuse but worth persevering with, or something to savour. Paid or not doesn't really matter.

The flip side is that books need to express a decent concept in synopsis or review before I'll pick them up, and I write off authors pretty easily.

Cliffjumper
2012-10-31, 12:09 AM
I'm terrible with books, if they don't have me gripped I just don't put the effort in. Which is terrible really as I'll always sit through a terrible film.

inflatable dalek
2012-11-02, 02:46 PM
Back to the comics...


I'm genuinely surprised the first mention of the American book in the letters page comes as early as issue 25. I guess they hadn't formally decided on their policy of "Pretend it's all from us" yet?

Warcry
2012-11-02, 04:13 PM
I've hardly ever put down a book unfinished, though -- I skim more, or come back when I'm in the mood if it's something where the language is particularly obtuse but worth persevering with, or something to savour. Paid or not doesn't really matter.
I'm the same way. Off the top of my head I can only think of one book that I've given up on in the last ten years, because after getting about a hundred pages into it I was so unengaged and disinterested that I genuinely forgot I was even reading it. Usually I'll slog my way through anything that I was interested enough in to start with, and sometimes I'll be pleasantly surprised and find something to like by the end even in a book that I thought was dreadful at the start.

I'm genuinely surprised the first mention of the American book in the letters page comes as early as issue 25. I guess they hadn't formally decided on their policy of "Pretend it's all from us" yet?
On a similar note, in retrospect I'm surprised that the US issues not only acknowledged the UK comics in the letters pages but actually (IIRC) published letters that talked about how much better the UK books were. That was after Furman came over, though, so maybe there was some ego-massaging involved? Or perhaps I'm just misremembering.

I don't think it's bad, it's just a bit of a rough intro for the unitiated. Again from what I've read it's a bit of a favourite trope of TMUK stuff (e.g. the meticulously detailed description of the chap at the South American market before he's crushed by Fire Convoy in Globequake).
It's funny that you mention Globequake, because I've always thought that was a much, much better story than Eugenesis and wondered why it isn't remembered with the same fondness these days. Eugenesis isn't bad, but it lacks the sense of fun that permeates Roberts' official work. It's so relentlessly bleak that I had a really hard time identifying with the characters or their struggles. The story is more focused on Big Ideas than characters, too, so much so that it's hard to even identify who the lead characters are supposed to be other than Nightbeat. Everyone else, even big names like Optimus, Rodimus, Magnus, Galvatron, Soundwave, Kup or Prowl, just sort of seem to be passing through.

It's definitely worth a read, but I do think it's very seriously overrated because of the novelty of a fan-published novel (and the dedication that would have to be involved in producing something like that) as well as the serious lack of any new G1 fiction in the timeframe it was written.

Summerhayes
2012-11-02, 04:16 PM
I'm ashamed to say, I stopped paying attention to the letters pages after the first 100 issues or so. There was just so much to read!
Conversely, I read all of IDW's output up to AHM in an afternoon. The really don't make them like they used to . . .

I'm terrible with books, if they don't have me gripped I just don't put the effort in. Which is terrible really as I'll always sit through a terrible film.

I have an incredibly sad system of putting all my books in a pile in the order I'm going to read them, and carefully arranging it so that ones I'm really excited about come after the ones I expect to be a but dull and I'm more inclined to push on.

Eugenesis isn't bad, but it lacks the sense of fun that permeates Roberts' official work. It's so relentlessly bleak that I had a really hard time identifying with the characters or their struggles.

To be fair, a lot of his official stuff is pretty bleak. Kill every prisoner, Rung's "death" . . . he just has a great way of using the wacky to offset the horror.

Death's Head
2012-11-03, 12:31 AM
It's funny that you mention Globequake, because I've always thought that was a much, much better story than Eugenesis and wondered why it isn't remembered with the same fondness these days.

I've still got a lot of love for Globequake, though it's ultimate conclusion (http://theunderbase.co.uk/wiki.asp?o=Ouroboros) in his "Following Earth" series challenges Eugenesis for bleakness.

Graeme Brown (http://theunderbase.co.uk/wiki.asp?db=tfdb2000&o=Graeme%20Brown) also wrote a beautiful series of fanfics based around Globequake that are worth tracking down. Most can be found on the Yahoo E-group, and are brilliant.

Tetsuro
2012-11-03, 02:58 AM
I've read all the comics too...twice. And it won't be the last time, either - same goes for the cartoon.

I kind of coincide them so they proceed roughly at the same pace, ie. new characters appear about the same time in both.

no altered timelines or Earthforce off in its own bubble, all the events of every issue all occured in one history, if not always in the right order. IIRC this mainly boils down to Unicron having the special power to make people forget him so he can attack by surprise twice 16 years apart
This sounds really daft.

Warcry
2012-11-03, 06:37 AM
I've still got a lot of love for Globequake, though it's ultimate conclusion (http://theunderbase.co.uk/wiki.asp?o=Ouroboros) in his "Following Earth" series challenges Eugenesis for bleakness.
I've actually read that one before, and it didn't make nearly as much of an impression on me. That said, I read it before Globequake and had absolutely no idea what was going on, so giving it another read one of these days isn't a bad idea.

Graeme Brown (http://theunderbase.co.uk/wiki.asp?db=tfdb2000&o=Graeme%20Brown) also wrote a beautiful series of fanfics based around Globequake that are worth tracking down. Most can be found on the Yahoo E-group, and are brilliant.
These I don't think I've heard about before. I'll have to check them out when I've got time.

inflatable dalek
2012-11-03, 09:28 AM
On a similar note, in retrospect I'm surprised that the US issues not only acknowledged the UK comics in the letters pages but actually (IIRC) published letters that talked about how much better the UK books were. That was after Furman came over, though, so maybe there was some ego-massaging involved? Or perhaps I'm just misremembering.

Considering at one time there seems to have been a market for more than one Transformers book (as well as the various minis Bob's notes suggest Headmasters was conceived with the option of potentially becoming an ongoing) I'm surprised it never occurred to Marvel US to make more of the UK material than just two filler issues. Something like Target: 2006 would have given them six months of material for a sepperate series, is pretty much stand alone, promotes toys the American book was otherwise ignoring and would have been cheap as chips money for old rope.

Cliffjumper
2012-11-03, 12:32 PM
I dunno, was there a market? That they did do the same thing for G.I. Joe (European missions) suggests there probably wasn't (Bob wanting something to be an ongoing isn't necessarily more of a sign of things than Simon wanting Techno-X to be a series); 1980s Transformers sold preposterous numbers compared to the stuff DW and IDW shifted, but it was probably towards the lower reaches of Marvel's charts.

Tetsuro
2012-11-05, 05:42 PM
Something like Target: 2006 would have given them six months of material for a sepperate series, is pretty much stand alone, promotes toys the American book was otherwise ignoring and would have been cheap as chips money for old rope.
They probably could've (and would've had to) edit or just completely replace the first issue of Target: 2006 since it kind of follows a long string of UK stories, too.

And what was that UK story published in the US as filler anyway? I can't remember the name but I do remember that I've always just kind of skimmed through it because it's really not very interesting.

Cyberstrike nTo
2012-11-05, 07:25 PM
They probably could've (and would've had to) edit or just completely replace the first issue of Target: 2006 since it kind of follows a long string of UK stories, too.

And what was that UK story published in the US as filler anyway? I can't remember the name but I do remember that I've always just kind of skimmed through it because it's really not very interesting.

It was a two-issue fill-in to give the creators a break.

Skyquake87
2012-11-05, 08:19 PM
...and it was 'man of iron' the first uk originated story that the us book reprinted.it looks terrible done in the rubbish blocks and dots style of us colouring.

Cliffjumper
2012-11-05, 09:04 PM
...and it was 'man of iron' the first uk originated story that the us book reprinted.it looks terrible done in the rubbish blocks and dots style of us colouring.

Mmmm - the Collected Comics run of the thing is quality, however. Class story - presumably just a bit too cerebral and different for some to cope with, however.

inflatable dalek
2012-11-06, 08:07 AM
I dunno, was there a market? That they did do the same thing for G.I. Joe (European missions) suggests there probably wasn't (Bob wanting something to be an ongoing isn't necessarily more of a sign of things than Simon wanting Techno-X to be a series); 1980s Transformers sold preposterous numbers compared to the stuff DW and IDW shifted, but it was probably towards the lower reaches of Marvel's charts.

The Joe book had original material as well as reprints though didn't it? That'd up the cost (and were the reprints just older UK stories or did they represent US stuff as well? That'd be fine for the British readers in AFM but less appealing to the yanks).

And by '87 I doubt Bob would have been suggesting another ongoing off his own back, he was well into his JNT "Persuaded to stay" phase wasn't he? He wanted to be writing less Transformers, not more.

And Man of Iron is great. And very, very, very dark.


Apologies if there's more spelling mistakes than usual, I need to work out if I can add a Firefox style spell check to this tab when I use the blutooth keyboard (when I use the touch screen I get predictive text, but not with the actual physical board).

On the plus side, I can now read my entire TFUK collection anywhere I go. Woohoo.

Cliffjumper
2012-11-06, 09:27 AM
Nope. European Missions was just Action Force Monthly with a changed title on the covers. Literally nothing inside the issues was altered, not even "Action Force" for "G.I. Joe", not the page size, nothing.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G.I._Joe_%28comics%29#Additional_Series
(Which means Ancient Relics joined Man of Iron in being reprinted for the American market)

Which means sorting out any sort of continuity or even adding text intros saying "Don't be confused, all kinds of different stuff happens in the British comics" wasn't a concern. If the demand had been there for Transformers they wouldn't have let it not making any sense stop them.