dubbilex wrote:Wait, about that Techno-X thing, would that even have been possible for Marvel to publish? Doesn't Hasbro own the rights to all those characters (minus Circuit Breaker, who first appeared in SECRET WARS II, an appearance specifically done to secure her as Marvel's property instead of Hasbro's)?
A good point actually. My first thought was that, considering Furman had made sure to get Death's Head under Marvel copyright a few years earlier, some sort of sneaky dancing round the edges had been done to ensure they weren't owned by Hasbro.
But... G.B. Blackrock is in the pitch and he definitely under Hasbro ownership. So the exact mechanics of it have left me somewhat puzzled, Marvel did still have good relations with Hasbro at the time (keeping up the GI Joe book from them through the end of G2) so if it had gone forward Marvel/Furman may have assumed the toy company would be OK with doing a simple deal on the ownership.
It's a really interesting bit of trivia, that proposal. It makes me wonder if Furman specifically introduced the Neo-Knights with an eye towards their own series. It would explain the jarring nature of their existence when compared to, well, just about everything else in his run.
I'd say almost certainly, it wasn't the first time he'd done it after all, when he saw the Death's Head design he went out of his way to work out how he could easily become a solo Marvel hero before he'd even seen any reader feedback (and it's telling that even before he'd seen the design half that issue was given over to a non-Transformers character having his own little mini-adventure and getting to take part in vital exposition. I think he had itchy feet even then).
The Doctor Who: A Cold Day in Hell
trade is worth a look as the interviews making of exras have some very interesting stuff about Marvel UK's apporach at the time, Richard Starkings was very much trying to create a shared Marvel UK Universe that included everything they published, licensed tie ins and all.
The book also contains a couple of incredibly mediocre stories by Furman that show he didn't really have the knack of Who (the companion he created lasted one story before being sent back to their own planet. Literally).
I was going to write a reposte about Death's Head (for obvious reasons), but I do think there's a lot of truth in what you and dalek said. His original book seems to jettison all the interesting world building in 8162 with the Undertaker and various mob based shenanigans the minute the book looks like its in trouble for a (really awful, unbearable) team up with the Doctor, and crossover with the Fantastic Four (good fun - and a shame Marvel US didn't show any interest in Geoff Senior) and Iron Man 2020.
I think part of the problem Death's Head had in his own book is most of his villains were rubbish. A good anti-hero works when they're up against someone who is even more of a bastard than they are (Wolverine has the even more feral and nuts Sabbretooth, Judge Dredd gets the "All life izzzzz a crime" Judge Death and so on). Closest DH came to someone like that during his original run is Big Shot... who looks more than a bit silly and isn't that exciting an antagonist.
dubbilex wrote:Re: Furman's approach to characterization - Sorry, Inflatable Dalek, I just don't see these quick character sketches you're talking about. Are you approaching it from the perspective of someone who already knows what's on the tech specs? Maybe that makes a difference. If you know the tech specs, then you can go "Oh, Furman gave so-and-so that line 'cuz he's the hot-tempered one," whereas if you're ignorant of them, it just seems like an arbitrarily assigned line because the characterization is so brief.
I have the tech spech perspective now, but certainly didn't back in ye olde days and even then always thought the "proper" coloured stories did much better character work that the "Lots of dots" colours one.
Something like the Hunting Party probably shows Furman at his best when it came to characters, Needlenose, Spinster and Snarler and all quickly laid out in five pages and feel like distinctive characters very quickly. Or how the Sparlklebots manage to all get a little bit of individuality despite débuting in a plot packed issue full of big hitters.
He did have his misses as well (Triggerbots, ouch) and not everyone got focus, but considering we're talking about a series that introduced 30ish characters in its first issue and only went up from there I don't think it would have been possible for anyone to balance the characters better than he managed.
I think the first instance I noticed this was in the "Target: 2006" issue narrated by Ironhide, where he makes the decision to get Megatron's help. When a character is the freakin' *narrator* of an issue, you'd think he'd evidence at least some tiny spark of an original personality. But no, Furman doesn't once give him anything other than Generic Autobot words and thoughts. I swear, it's like the only reason it's Ironhide in that role is because Furman randomly picked his name out of a bag.
I don't know, with that example it's Ironhide as the no-nonsense pragmatist who does what he thinks needs to be done. Of the Autobots featured in that story he'd be the only one I could easily see digging Megatron. There's also a lack of flourish or embellishment to his narration that fits his character as well (compared to Ultra Magnus' narration a few issues later as he explains his fight with Galvatron where even in a totally serious situation there's a bit of dry sardonic wit which isn't there for Ironhide).
The current "G1" version of Ironhide, the out and out angry hothead wouldn't behave like that, but that was never what the Marvel version was like (being more an exaggeration of how he was in the cartoon). Same as Furman's current take on Ultra Magnus wouldn't be cracking self aware jokes at Galvatron as they fought (as I suspect we'll see at some point in Reg).
Even in Perchance to Dream where he's insubordinate and ends up annoyed with the humans his take down of the terrorists is still well done in a cool efficient way.
Warcry wrote:I've never read any of Furman's non-TF stuff, but after reading this paragraph I felt compelled to pop in and say how uncannily similar this sounds to Furman's first Beast Wars miniseries. The poor grasp of time travel, the shoehorning of a popular character who has no real impact on the story....
That's harsh on the She Hulk story which is very very very very very very silly but ultimately harmless.