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Old 2011-12-11, 09:52 PM   #21
Red Dave Prime
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Blame the editors by all means ( i certainly have over the past few runs) but you have to throw a lot of blame at costa for taking a job writing about a subject he had no passion for. At all. Thats the one thing that comes clearly through in the interview. I cant understand why he even agreed to take the position.
I don't begrudge him taking the job, it's the peril of being a freelance writer, unless you're really well established or independently wealthy you're not really in a position to turn down work if someone's daft enough to offer it to you.
In a regular day job, fine. If you are part of a team and not leading the way, fine. But if you are going to accept the position of head writer (or just about anything where creativity is a key part) you need to at least have some form of affinity for what you are getting paid to do. If he was just doing it for the pay packet he should quit bitching about the response to his work. You cant expect praise if you were never interested in the first place.
 
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Old 2011-12-12, 09:06 PM   #22
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And this destroys what little respect I have for Costa. No doubt any good that's in chaos or the more recent issues is the work of James Roberts and the others.

Heck, at the very least tossers like Shane McCarthy or, hell, Pat Lee are enthusiastic about the brand.
 
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Old 2011-12-12, 11:15 PM   #23
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I'd say that Costa's only crime is that he was poorly managed as a resource.
Early Furman and Wreckers are the main examples where writers haven't been poorly managed, and I suspect that's largely because a) Furman's better at beginnings than closure or even middle, and b) Roberts/Roche don't need managing.

I'm missing a block of time... can someone please remind me when we're getting Roberts issues again? Already started?
 
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Old 2011-12-12, 11:34 PM   #24
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I'm missing a block of time... can someone please remind me when we're getting Roberts issues again? Already started?
January. Roberts will be writing for More Than Meets The Eye.

Though, if you can't wait, he'll also be writing the final issue of the ongoing. The one that was originally going to be numbered as the 125th issue, but was renamed The Death of Optimus Prime instead of simply being, you know, the 32nd issue because I guess that'd be too hard to follow. But then, it is IDW.
 
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Old 2011-12-13, 01:14 AM   #25
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.Early Furman and Wreckers are the main examples where writers haven't been poorly managed, and I suspect that's largely because a) Furman's better at beginnings than closure or even middle, and b) Roberts/Roche don't need managing.
Can't remember the source, but I seem to recall some talk about Schimdt being very involved in Wreckers... Roberts and Roche are gentlemanly enough, though, not to reveal whether that was a good thing or not

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Heck, at the very least tossers like Shane McCarthy or, hell, Pat Lee are enthusiastic about the brand.
Was McCarthy a tosser? I mean, his comics weren't that great but if they'd been repackaged as a Sunbow 'Lost Seasons' deal they would have been a lot easier to take.
 
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Old 2011-12-13, 08:10 AM   #26
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McCarthy waded into the comic sales thread when someone pointed out how AHM #1 had sold only marginally better than Devastation in order to go "The Diamond sales figures are wrong! My comic sold loads and loads and loads more than that it did indeed", in the sort of arrogant posting style that's like having a cock slapped in your face. When other people asked politely how this massive sales disparity happened (was it a one off freaky thing that just affected his sales? Were all the figures off- in which case Devastation's sales would have been equally higher as well) he went strangely mute. So a not terribly smart liar at the very least.

To be honest though, even in the age of the fan writer the number of Transformers authors we've had over the years with any real passion of enthusiasm for the brand are still far outweighed by those who just did it for the money (including lest we forget, Furman when he started out. And possibly when he was in the middle as well. And arguably at the end too). There's no shame in being a writer for hire, it's how you approach the work that matters. I'd doubt the writer of Dark Awakening thought any more of Transformers than Don Glutt did, they still put the work in for their money though in a way that he... well didn't.
 
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Old 2011-12-13, 08:43 AM   #27
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Indeed. Most 'good' writers will search for an angle, an approach into a project that they can run with. You can also include Budiansky in the same breath as Furman too, and look what he came up with - all those profiles, the 'are all dead' stuff, and (amusingly in an age when this criticism is levelled at Bay) a focus on the TFs alien nature and how they would interact with humans.

Aside: I rather liked what McDonagh & Patyk were doing at DW. I wonder why IDW haven't approached them to do something..?
 
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Old 2011-12-13, 03:51 PM   #28
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Aside: I rather liked what McDonagh & Patyk were doing at DW. I wonder why IDW haven't approached them to do something..?
I don't think they escaped the whole DW debacle without a little tarnishing, so I'd be surprised if IDW would consider hiring them. In all the sh*t slinging that went on I think everyone got a little splattered. Furman was probably one of the few that escaped unscathed.

Wonder where that whole mess is now with regards creators getting paid, legalities being tied up and everything moving on. Would have liked to gotten my hands on some of the trades that could be printed when the whole mess is cleared.
 
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Old 2011-12-13, 08:16 PM   #29
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I believe they were (and possibly still are, they've been quite for a while) refusing to so much as even reveal any of their aborted storylines until they'd been paid, as that's pretty much unlikely to happen I guess we won't be seeing them again.
 
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Old 2011-12-13, 08:26 PM   #30
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I believe they were (and possibly still are, they've been quite for a while) refusing to so much as even reveal any of their aborted storylines until they'd been paid, as that's pretty much unlikely to happen I guess we won't be seeing them again.
Bless their spikey little heads.

The invocation of Brad Mick, however, should do to remind us all that pure, unadulterated love for the brand is not sufficient for the production of good comics.
 
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Old 2011-12-13, 08:50 PM   #31
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They were also a bit annoying going around forums proclaiming "We'd love to tell you what would have happened, and if IDW cared about the fans they'd see our money got to us so we could" style posts whilst arguing with some other ex-Dreamwave tosser who was going around telling people they were going to make Sunstreaker gay (which has got to be bollocks, can you see Hasbro approving that?).
 

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Old 2011-12-13, 08:57 PM   #32
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It was Transformers comics' 'bro' phase, wasn't it?
 
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Old 2011-12-14, 09:22 AM   #33
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Having now heard the interview (which, after all the new and preamble is probably about an hour and a halfish long)... Hmmmm.

First I should say it was a very well conducted interview, the two doing the questioning were obviously taken slightly aback by how honest he was being, but still managed to stay on top of it and (despite clearly liking him) asked the right difficult questions without being needlessly agressive or pushy. As always with Moonbase 2, a good job done and is well worth the listen for context.

And yes, he does come over better in it. More hesitant and apologetic than out and out hostile. But there's still a lot I'd take issue with, and most of his arguments are fairly lazy strawmen that could just as easily be used to prove the opposite ("People who liked Costa's stuff only did so because they don't read anough other comics to realise how bad he is" for example).

There's actually a lot I'd like to say in countenance to his thoughts (especially on why I kept buying a comic I wasn't enjoying for as long as I did), and will probably knock out a very long and dull blog on the subject later. But three points that especially grabbed me first:

1: Blaming Dreamwave for current continued bad sales is a very low blow, especially as IDW merrily carried on many of their business practices (half a dozen covers for each issue), mini series based structure and even most of the people working on the books. And GI Joe also started off as a number 1 book IIRC, but sales have still dropped off there over the years despite Devil's Due not being EVIL. Mainly due to the fall off in the disposable income of the 80's generation than anything to do with the quality as such. Strawmen again.

2: Up to now Roberts' (and possibly Barber, but I've not been paying any attention to what the lesser IDW lights have been saying) has said several times the two ongoings was an entirely natural result of end of Chaos. According to Costa it was the result of Schmidt going "I want two... maybe three books on the go at the same time" and the story being arranged to meet this requirement. Indeed, it looks as if Schmidt's shadow will be hanging over the book for a while as he set a lot in motion.

3: Costa hate's stories with lengthy flashbacks as apparently they're not dramatic. OK, lets ignore how stupid this and not go off on one quoting the many, many successful flashback based stories done in many medium... Is that a possibly subconscious dig at Chaos Theory? And what would Doctor Freud say about him using his last issue to turn all IDW's output into one long flashback?
 
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Old 2011-12-14, 02:04 PM   #34
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I would say that while Furman really isn't bad at them (e.g. Target 2006), flashback issues very, very often aren't well implemented - the amount of bad 1990s comics (especially Image, but a lot of Marvel as well) that start off with the hero getting batted around by some new villain for a nice dramatic splash page and start to an issue before being followed by narrative boxes of Wolverine/Spider-Man/Battalion/Bloodpouch using their time as a punch-bag to think "How did I get into this mess?" followed by a plodding recollection during said fight makes it a bit of a tired old cliche.

The blaming of low sales on DW is a pretty desperate thing, though, agree there. They can be blamed for a slow start, but a lack of growth or even maintenance of readership level (figures are round a third of Infiltration, and seem to be dropping by about a thousand with every fresh start the G1 book is given) is down to IDW. A lot more readers had their fingers burnt by investing in the Deadfurmanverse than ever did by DW. IDW have shown no loyalty to the reader, therefore readers show no loyalty to them.
 
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Old 2011-12-14, 02:14 PM   #35
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Aside: I rather liked what McDonagh & Patyk were doing at DW. I wonder why IDW haven't approached them to do something..?
I strongly, strongly believe they were punching it up on the fly. I think they had a couple of grand points planned and a few loose ideas, but beyond that... War & Peace is a six-issue self-contained mini-series with a plot that just changes about every ten pages. Both it and the ongoing have no more tricks than 'introducing' (then) 15+ year old characters every issue. Whole plots were contrived to allow widespread patisches of the '86 film (with Prime and Megatron both on the mend and scheduled for the big #12, do we honestly think it wasn't leading to "One shall stand, one shall fall?").
 
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Old 2011-12-14, 08:46 PM   #36
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I would say that while Furman really isn't bad at them (e.g. Target 2006), flashback issues very, very often aren't well implemented - the amount of bad 1990s comics (especially Image, but a lot of Marvel as well) that start off with the hero getting batted around by some new villain for a nice dramatic splash page and start to an issue before being followed by narrative boxes of Wolverine/Spider-Man/Battalion/Bloodpouch using their time as a punch-bag to think "How did I get into this mess?" followed by a plodding recollection during said fight makes it a bit of a tired old cliche.
Oh sure, there's going to be just as many bad example as good, that's what makes it a strawman argument. Plus he wasn't talking about comics specifically, but claiming flashbacks are bad drama full stop, which gets even sillier (there's an especially uncomfortable bit where he tries to get the presenter who is studying dramatic writing to agree with him).
 
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Old 2011-12-15, 02:56 PM   #37
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Was McCarthy a tosser? I mean, his comics weren't that great but if they'd been repackaged as a Sunbow 'Lost Seasons' deal they would have been a lot easier to take.
What Dalek said.

He's not as terrible as Pat Lee, but he keeps insisting that AHM is better by insisting that sales figures are wrong and stuff like that. Quite an arrogant fellow. And there's all that cock-waving about how Drift was 'the best character ever that has never been seen in Transformers before, Hasbro is sure to make a toy out of him, hur hur' thing.

I mean, like it's been brought up, of course not everyone can be in it for the passion and for the art, and money's into the equation as well, but it boggles my mind how someone who seems to be as uninterested in the franchise like Mike Costa can be made into the 'main writer' for the good part of two years or thereabouts, weaving in and out between giving half-assed stories and some almost-wonderful ones...
 
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Old 2011-12-15, 07:24 PM   #38
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The guy comes off as a straight douche. He spends half the interview criticizing, demeaning, and degrading the fans, then admits that he himself didn't have a goddamn clue how to write a Transformers story.

So you suck at your job, and the fans agree! Where's the conflict?

He makes it seem as though it's just impossible, by definition, to write a compelling Transformers narrative, even though others have done it before him. Fine - if you think it's that f*cking difficult, don't do it. I don't play for the Washington Capitals because I CAN'T F*CKING SKATE.
 
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Old 2011-12-15, 07:26 PM   #39
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Nice summary of the interview, Dalek. Glad you listened to it so I don't have to.

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What Dalek said.

He's not as terrible as Pat Lee, but he keeps insisting that AHM is better by insisting that sales figures are wrong and stuff like that. Quite an arrogant fellow. And there's all that cock-waving about how Drift was 'the best character ever that has never been seen in Transformers before, Hasbro is sure to make a toy out of him, hur hur' thing.

I mean, like it's been brought up, of course not everyone can be in it for the passion and for the art, and money's into the equation as well, but it boggles my mind how someone who seems to be as uninterested in the franchise like Mike Costa can be made into the 'main writer' for the good part of two years or thereabouts, weaving in and out between giving half-assed stories and some almost-wonderful ones...
I think that's my main issue with Costa's run. It's just so damn half-arsed and not thought through. There's no passion for the series, and annoyance from costa that everyone else doesn't see how brilliant it is, whether they've read no comics or all of them. The series is just not very good.

I did like the Drift mini far more than I expected. I also enjoyed the spotlight more once I'd read the mini. And yes I feel ashamed. And is anyone as terrible as Pat Lee?
 
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Old 2011-12-15, 07:43 PM   #40
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And is anyone as terrible as Pat Lee?
Nope. Stiffing some naive hacks out of a few thousand dollars makes him history's greatest monster.

There's a joke about perspective in there somewhere, but I'm a pretty lazy person.
 
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