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Old 2018-03-25, 01:38 PM   #1
Denyer
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Question IDW / Unicron event / reboot / the TF licence

Probably goes better in its own thread, yeah?

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Seems like with a sales slump and Chris Ryall getting out IDW is on its last legs?

https://www.bleedingcool.com/2017/09...ancial-report/
I haven't been following closely enough to pick up on news prior to this, since MTMTE/LL became the only title holding my interest (and with everything else going on, that hasn't exactly been forefront of the mind for the last year or so).

TRANSFORMERS: UNICRON Event is a 'Grand Finale' to 12 Years at IDW
https://twitter.com/Newsarama/status/977653366766620672

alientraveller: They haven't [lost the licence], they basically explained at WonderCon they wanted to preserve this post-war universe in amber and move on.

It's hard to imagine that having already jammed everything into a continuity (the previous AHM reset, Earth/Cybertron arcs that seemed from the outside to be one long dull blur, that Bumblebee miniseries, multiple crossovers with other properties) that having another crack at it would work better.

Personally I'd still like to see the continuity hinted at in Infiltration and a hard science fiction war type setup, but it's hard to imagine another reboot making a go of that.

Am assuming that Nick's closer to the truth with "Can the market sustain the amount of Patreons about to be set up by former Transformers creators?" -- https://twitter.com/NickRoche/status/977700564648775680

What would anyone else still here like to read / see?
 
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Old 2018-03-25, 03:43 PM   #2
Skyquake87
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Hmm...well, pumping out multiple covers for everything probbably won't have helped. I thought we left that rubbish behind in the 1990s...

I don't really follow IDW outside of MTMTE/LL, the occasional plugs in the back of their comics suggest rather a lot of licensed titles being the back bone of their operation. If there's no interest in those licensed properties, then I can see sales taking a hit and the company making a loss on them. Their original stuff seems to have an indie comics vibe, so I can't see those kinds of titles being strong sellers. Less so now the likes of Image have rallied on that area of the comics market (Image itself is turning out some pretty amazing stuff, which is staggering considering how it started out as a vanity project for creators). They just have a very odd USP, IDW.

When we had a person who gave us the sales numbers, it was staggering to see how readership/ revenues from even a key license like Transformers had declined over the last decade. My impression was of readership having boiled down to a hardcore fanbase of about 10 - 12,000 readers - and I've no idea if that includes digital sales, but if that's on one of your key licensed titles, that's not going to be great news...

This does all tie very neatly into Hasbro/Paramount shelving the Bayverse so who knows what's around the corner? It does feel like the brand is undergoing a deck-clearing to refocus and renew itself into the next decade. Probably no bad thing, given the scores of variations on Transformers we have now.

As for what I want? Something that feels fresh and invigorating. And for James Roberts to be involved. I bought the first two Lost Light trades (I'm giving up with the single issues, they're becoming too hard / too expensive to find and going digital for them. Progress, eh?) and I liked the casual details of how this alien society works he just throws in there. Stuff like that is really great and shows someone thinking about what they're writing.

Absolutely no Dead Universe guff though. Easily the worst concept foisted on Transformers and a real millstone around the neck of IDWs take on Transformers.
 
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Old 2018-03-25, 05:13 PM   #3
Denyer
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The hardcore fanbase seems to have halved, going by Diamond figures;

http://www.comichron.com/monthlycomi...8/2018-01.html

Allowing for a bit of a boost from digital and possible non-Diamond book sales, that's not particularly healthy although not bottom of the table by any stretch. Arguably it's as much due to readership age hovering around forty now as the comics themselves. I don't think IDW have lost the licence or that the comics are anything much to Hasbro except for a vanity line in the company portfolio / source of design idea, but there's no compelling reason to let the IP rest.

In a broader view it's difficult to see where Hasbro are going next either -- rising production costs, TRU and other retail outlets closing, and running out of stuff to rehash, but with hundreds of characters (and more willingness to use them in recent years) they don't necessarily need to do anything except loop back around. The movies could easily go towards less spiky nonsense and crank a few out to play on the recognition factor of the old and modern cartoons, or some other direction.

I'd like to see a more focused Roberts book, but suspect he's too invested in what he's doing at the moment.
 
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Old 2018-03-25, 06:54 PM   #4
Skyquake87
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Wow...those numbers are... awful across the board. I dunno, I never give much thought to numbers. Recent price hikes on the monthlies are telling though. To the point where I'm seriously considering switching to trades as I'm paying close to half a trade for a single issue on some titles these days. Which probably doesn't help the industry... Maybe they should just switch to producing 6 issue trades and have done? I dunno, looking at those figures, I'm amazed some of those titles are still getting published. It makes me sad...and a bit worried that comics will die off in the next decade. I mean there's digital, but if the Dandy can't make a go of that, is there much hope?
 
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Old 2018-03-26, 08:49 PM   #5
Red Dave Prime
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Not sure why but the average comic price came down in Ireland in the last year, something to do with the cover price having to match I think.

Anyway, for me the big mish mash of Hasbro universe killed this for me. Mixing with one property maybe might have worked for a limited time but to make it the norm with so many things was just idiotic. Also, and I hate to say this but I found so much of Barbers stuff threaded water for too long. I know Roberts has kept many of his characters in much the same way as they started but Prime has been the centre point of his own comic and still is facing the same roblems. Just different enemies. It became a chore to read and the different primes that came along were never fully fleshed out so are not really interesting. Roberts did more for Cybertron mythology with that one Annual than Barber managed through his whole recent run.

I'm rambling though. In short, I feel that the IDW has had an overall good run. We've had terrifying lows, dizzying highs, creamy middles but even without Unicron, this feels a good time to end things. For the future, I like the idea of a more mature version of the Furman -tion series (and by mature I dont mean violence, I mean intelligent well thought scenarios and resolutions) The idea that although powerful, the decepticons would infiltrate a planet to conquer was great and while the 6 stage protocol turned out to be more like the South Park Underpant Gnomes plan, the idea is good. In a way, the opening to the original Bay movie with Blackout using not just brute force but electronic manipulation to take down a whole military base is something I would like to see expanded.

And please, no matrix. Ditch the hubris of the mythology. Its not bad, but a real fresh take (maybe even, whisper it, one which stands on its own and doesnt constantly nod to old characters and events) would bring me back on board. We've had nostalga, twice in fact. Now its time to move on.
 
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Old 2018-03-27, 09:09 PM   #6
Warcry
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Originally Posted by Denyer View Post
What would anyone else still here like to read / see?
Good comics would be nice.

I know that's flippant, but modern Transformers comics have never been able to sustain even an average level of quality for very long. Roberts had a good run for the first few years of MTMTE, but after he burned through his initial burst of good ideas (around Dark Cybertron) the quality of that book became quite a bit more uneven. And that's still the longest sustained run of "good" that IDW has managed to produce. It's really hard to invest in something, either with time or money, when I know it's going to turn into a pumpkin within a few years.

I know it's not a fair comparison considering the level of talent involved, but I've read about two decades' worth of X-Men books over the last couple years. And while the quality has swung around a lot between "great" and "forgettable", I can count the "why am I reading this crap?" moments on one hand. But with Transformers it seems like it's the genuinely good moments that are the big outlier. But this isn't the Dreamwave days. Transformers is a genuinely huge franchise post-2007. The godawful Bay movies routinely outperform far better DC and Marvel films at the box office. They should be able to attract the level of talent that it would take to put together a sustained run of good comics (and in turn recover some of those lost sales).

On a story level? It would be nice if them being Transformers actually mattered. And I don't mean on a metaphysical level, like Furman's Primus/Unicron story from the 80s, or a cultural level like some of Roberts' work has touched on. The comics have never been great about using the characters' alt modes to their full potential. Neither have the shows, for that matter! But when I think about how effective even unarmed alt-modes can be in the TF video games, it leaves me wanting so much more from the fiction. I'd also love to see the aspect of them as Robots in Disguise get some play -- alt-modes should serve a stealth function, and not just against human eyes. Any time your heroes reveal themselves outside of their base, they should be worried that the parked car across the street is a Decepticon spy just waiting for a chance to shoot them in the back.

Because if transforming isn't a big deal, then why are they telling this story using Transformers?

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Originally Posted by Denyer View Post
Personally I'd still like to see the continuity hinted at in Infiltration and a hard science fiction war type setup, but it's hard to imagine another reboot making a go of that.
I think Transformers is a franchise that's just ripe for the picking when it comes to a hard sci-fi reinvention. Alien robots with unfathomably long lifespans who've destroyed their homeworld in an endless war and have now brought it to Earth actually sounds like a very "down to earth" story pitch, all things considered, but every version of the story that I've ever paid attention to has always chosen to steer it more towards the fantasy side of the spectrum.

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Originally Posted by Red Dave Prime View Post
Anyway, for me the big mish mash of Hasbro universe killed this for me. Mixing with one property maybe might have worked for a limited time but to make it the norm with so many things was just idiotic.
This was the last nail in the coffin for me as well. I like G.I. Joe but don't really have any interest in seeing the two franchises cross-pollinate. I think it ruins both of them, but particularly the Joes because it's impossible to tell a traditional G.I. Joe story while alien robots are bulldozing the White House. And I neither know nor care even a bit about any of the other properties they've shoehorned in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Dave Prime View Post
In a way, the opening to the original Bay movie with Blackout using not just brute force but electronic manipulation to take down a whole military base is something I would like to see expanded.
Yeah, this is something that I'd like to see emphasized more as well. Transformers are machines but the stories rarely ever emphasize that. They should have all sort of mechanical tricks up their sleeves, especially after fighting a war for so long.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Dave Prime View Post
And please, no matrix. Ditch the hubris of the mythology. Its not bad, but a real fresh take (maybe even, whisper it, one which stands on its own and doesnt constantly nod to old characters and events) would bring me back on board. We've had nostalga, twice in fact. Now its time to move on.
I like the mythology, but yes. It's been overdone, and even stories that don't mimic the G1 Primus/Unicron stuff still feel the need to create their own mythology from whole cloth. I've heard enough about gods and secret hidden histories and The Thirteen Primes to last a lifetime. Just give me robots fighting each other, none of this "greater threat from our secret past" nonsense.

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Originally Posted by Skyquake87 View Post
It makes me sad...and a bit worried that comics will die off in the next decade. I mean there's digital, but if the Dandy can't make a go of that, is there much hope?
I honestly can't fathom how anything that sells less than 10,000 copies could possibly be commercially viable. That's only around $40,000 in sales (with the shops and distributors taking a big chunk) coming in to pay the writer, artists, editor, printers, shipping, marketing, and who knows how many other little bits of overhead. And I can't imagine they're raking in much on advertising, not when newspapers with circulation in the hundreds of thousands are struggling to scrape by. Meanwhile sales keep dropping and the companies seem to have no idea how to transform their businesses to make a profit in today's world.

But on the other hand, you have to wonder if Marvel and DC are even expected to make a profit anymore, or if Disney and WB see them as more of a marketing expense that's only needed anymore to draw eyes to their infinitely more profitable TV and movie divisions.
 

Last edited by Warcry; 2018-03-27 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 2018-03-27, 09:25 PM   #7
Cyberstrike nTo
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Frankly I am sick of comic book reboots thanks to Marvel and DC and right now the only way to get me to buy a reboot comic is that IDW get very high quality writers and artists but I doubt that IDW and Hasbro will do that.
 



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