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View Full Version : 30th Anniversary Collection.


inflatable dalek
2014-01-28, 04:30 PM
Yeah, picked this up whilst on holiday in distant and exotic London, and as a fluff tabletop book it's actually quite nice, with (mostly, we'll come to that) a decent cross-section of the English language comics. The unused pages from issue 1 probably justify the existence of the whole thing by themselves.

The interviews, which fill up about a page before each reprint, are solid, if still very much aiming for celebratory rather than for any depth, but for this sort of thing that's fair enough, and there are some interesting new facts here and there.

The odd one though is the Pat Lee interview. Now again, this is a celebratory book so the darker corners of the last 30 years were never going to be explored, but it's still really strange that what is, to the best of my knowledge, only the second interview Lee has done on Transformers since it all went tits up only talks about his art style. That's like getting an interview with Ian Huntley and only asking him about what it was like to be a school caretaker.


[When I made that joke on Facebook I put a bit after to say I was just using mindless hyperbole so my family wouldn't think I was odd, between you and me I'm being completely serious and think the two situations are a perfectly fair analogy. Not rewarding the people behind Micromasters with money is exactly as bad a crime.]

Impressively for a book with a Pat Lee interview Mike Costa still comes over as the biggest collection of knob cheese mashed into the shape of a human ever associated with the comics. He barely goes a paragraph before describing his work as "Pretentious" in what is presumably supposed to be a self-effacing way but just reminds you what a pretentious in all the worst ways tit he was. His justification for using the titles of actual good science fiction books is hilarious as well, he wanted to signpost what styles of "Real" SF he was working in with each story.

Which is odd considering that not only do none of his stories read as a genre homage, instead mostly reading exactly the same, but I'm reasonably sure the version of The Stars My Destination I read, has no points of commonality with Costa's at all. What with it being good for a start.

The generally well thought out presentation of the book does fall apart at the end though, where after the reprints there's a "Further Reading" section which has brief little interviews on a variety of other TF books... and they're all IDW stuff. Which is a shame as the balance between old and new would have been about right otherwise.

What would have been better than that is if they'd found time to cover some of the more esoteric stuff, which the book otherwise only briefly touches upon with the inclusion of the JaAm comic. Throw in more than a token mention of the Japanese stuff (which boils down to "We thought about including some but didn't"), touch on the German additions to the Marvel continuity (and any other European countries that did similar), maybe even mention the other British comics.

Or at least leave out Beast Wars if there is going to be anything other than an apology for it.

Terome
2014-01-28, 04:41 PM
I had no idea this book was going to exist / currently exists / has existed. Seems like a bit of a missed opportunity on the arcana but I suppose it's a 'present from your friend who heard you were into it' sort of deal?

This list is probably publically available but I am going to put you through your paces and demand you tell me which stories it covers. A sample from Marvel US, UK, G2, Dreamwave, and each of the IDW phases? No Blackthorn thrown in for yuks?

I have wondered what was up with Costa's titles. He is a very odd man.

Does anyone still defend the Beast Wars comics these days? I am struggling to think of anything that wasn't that double page spread that would have made some incredible box-art should it have been sent back in time.

inflatable dalek
2014-01-28, 05:08 PM
I had no idea this book was going to exist / currently exists / has existed. Seems like a bit of a missed opportunity on the arcana but I suppose it's a 'present from your friend who heard you were into it' sort of deal?

Yeah, pretty much, an overview and sampling big chunky hardback. Not anything to desperately hunt down, but mostly nicely done for what it is (you can't really hold Costa being an idiot against it).

This list is probably publically available but I am going to put you through your paces and demand you tell me which stories it covers. A sample from Marvel US, UK, G2, Dreamwave, and each of the IDW phases? No Blackthorn thrown in for yuks?

Pretty much bang on, in full:

UK #1

Return to Cybertron Part 1.

Victory from the second UK Annual;

The Galvatron and Magnus fight Target: 2006 issue (which weirdly has a Transformers logo added to the last page, I think this might be a holdover from when IDW first reprinted it and for some reason took the odd number off issues and rather than just doing one issue with three UK issues in it did one with two and nearly all of a third but put the last page of the final issue at the start of their next issue...).

Eye of the Storm.

The "Bludgeon Dies" Tales of Earth stuff from G2. Furman is at best incrediably patronising in his comments about Manny Galan ("He came on in leaps and bounds", at worse something of a hypocrite for someone who doesn't like it when creators slag off each other.

Dreamwave issue zero.

War Within issue 6.

The original unmolested version of what we all now call the JaAm comic.

Infiltration 6.

AHM 1 (McCarthy wheels out his spiel about how it brought in loads of new readers who for some strange reason never showed up in the official sales figures again).

Costa 4.

Last Stand 5.

One issue each of Reign of Starscream and Animated, does anyone care which?

The "Further Reading" devotes a page each to MTMTE, RID, the Silly Dille stuff, Reg; , Ironhide, Drift (he wasn't created with the intent of being a big deal apparently. Hmm) and Prime.

Then half pages on Beast Wars ("I was a big Beast Wars fan" Furman declares, lucky us, imagine what the comic might have been like if he wasn't) and Sector 7.


Does anyone still defend the Beast Wars comics these days? I am struggling to think of anything that wasn't that double page spread that would have made some incredible box-art should it have been sent back in time.


The amazing thing is, even Cliffy liked the first issue of the first one. That all went tits up didn't it?

Terome
2014-01-28, 05:17 PM
Cheers, that paints a good picture. Costa 4 is a good choice, that's the Thundercrackery one as I recall. Reign Of Starscream is a big ??? - would have thought Sector 7 or Defiance would have held up better but maybe Barber was being shy about putting his own stuff in there.

I remember finding that 'Bludgeon dies' issue of Generation 2 in a books-by-the-kilo shop. I wasn't aware that Generation 2 was a thing and it had been quite a few years since I'd read a Transformers comic. I think it motivated me to dig out my crumbling old Collected Comics and such.

The amazing thing is, even Cliffy liked the first issue of the first one. That all went tits up didn't it?

That is our gold standard. It was a decent set-up, barring a few terrible ideas, but probably would have befitted a low-stakes ongoing rather than immediately jumping for the Unicron like a bull at the gate.

inflatable dalek
2014-01-28, 05:35 PM
There is actually a good idea at the heart of it: With Beast Wars being such a begining-middle-end show, rather than trying to ram in unlikely missing adventures it basically creates a Beast Wars spin-off, which is clearly intended to be the basis for a long run of stories.

The problems (ignoring there being no reason for the new Maximals not to team up with the TV crew at the end, they have to act as if the Beast Wars are a part of their established history even though they all come from the same time and can't possibly know what is or isn't supposed to happen) start with the approach being so different from the small character led cast of characters approach of the show fans of it were always going to have a hard sell on the idea.

Then the shoehorning of Grimlock.

Then an unsatisfying conclusion (gasp, from Furman?).

Then a sequel that knows right from the off that there aren't going to be any more and just shuts down the whole idea of an ongoing run of mini-series in the most mean spirited and grumpy way possible (the closest thing the comic has to a lead in Razorback dies off-panel) whilst not explaining plot points that only make sense if you know the Japanese Beast shows the comic is ignoring (hey, it's like Furman's apporach to the UK material when it comes to Reg!) and have also read a Botcon comic.

Then the insanely badly written Profile book (why remove the silliness from the Japanse characters when the American show was hardly deathly serious? Why do separate profiles for identical toys that just had different names in America and Japan? Why not edit the damn thing sensibly?).

Cue massive massive cock up.

Plus, Don's first hissy fit resignation was probably the turning point on his reputation going down the pan as well.