The retcon stuff is all the more embarrassing as Scott has said specifically that they aren't going to do that. I think Barber would rather eat his own fingers than allow an out-and-out 'nuh-uh' to go by.
Yeah, and whatever side you sit on it, the decision to bring in a new female character wasn't IDW's but forced on them by Hasbro via the fans. Short of having Jhiaxus bring out his big Vagina Excavator (and the panel of that... thing pumped into Arcee's groin was probably the most misjudged thing about the whole comic) once again some sort of work round was going to be needed. Considering Furman's 30 year history with licensed properties you'd think that, even if he didn't like the change, he'd at least be more pragmatic as to why it's being done now.
And yeah, using the inverted commas was a terrible way to start. You don't have to go far to find some things that Scott has written. And, as you say, that Auto Assembly podcast you mentioned elsewhere has Roche, Roberts and Barber
Though to clarify, Barber isn't there (though the podcast isn't completely clear as the introductions have been cut off), the guests on the panel were Roberts, Roche, Milne (and apologies for one mistake I've made, it's Nick who says "He only drew it!" rather than Alex himself) and Griffith.
Having relistened to it today (and for anyone who hasn't it is worth hearing because both the lady asking the question and Nick Roche- who does most of the talking- in response are more clear headed and sensible on the subject that most people on the internet have been this week) I was surprised how awkward the atmosphere seemed at that point, I don't remember it getting quite that stilted in the room on the day so without the visual mannerisms something may have gotten lost. On audio only it seems as if everyone else goes Very Very Quiet whilst Roche and Roberts vamp desperately (though still intelligently as said).
I guess none of that showed up in Furman's Google Alerts?
Going by his post he seems to have been completely unaware that the treatment of Arcee was a controversial issue that was widely (though yes, not Universally) disliked as through that and the comments he seems constantly surprised. I don't proclaim to have my finger on the pulse of fandom by any means but I was under the impression most people thought the character and her treatment were terrible.
I mean, I made the point (albeit poorly and briefly) in my review at the time, and if I noticed the unpleasant undertone with my thick head I can't see it being the case everyone else has only just realised.
Lets not forget: Spotlight Arcee is a Transformers comic where a character undergoes an enforced on-panel (complete with big plug in her crotch) sex change against her will and as a result the one and only Transformer who goes by "She" (though the issue never explained that weird bit where all the Autobots have to have it pointed out to them they call her "She" despite not knowing she's a woman...) in all of IDW's fiction to date is a demented psychopath as a result. How can that be read as anything other than fairly horrible in its implications?
I mean, if nothing else, is robot-genital mutilation something we really want from Transformers comics?
I'm trying to think of a way to boil this down to an inspirational poster. Perhaps a kitten hanging from a tree with the words, 'If a bizarre and unloved piece of work you did five years ago becomes emblematic to a culture you don't undersand for the need of a minor shift in tone for a narrow band of fiction, for god's sake don't argue the toss.'
Yep yep and yep. I get he's annoyed and angry, and considering he's had to put up with IDW having a go at him to sell their current stories in the past (the whole "That Mosaic thing was never canon despite what Furman told you" thing which was basically Schmidt calling him a liar) I can more than sympathise with taking an extreme reaction.
But by responding in haste he's only succeeding in making himself look worse. Scott herself seems to have backed away from the whole thing now (or at least has better things to do than argue with people on the internet over New Year's), hopefully Furman will do the same and can regain some dignity.
I think that pretty much puts the nail in the coffin of any post-contracutal obligation Regeneration One stuff work for Furman at IDW in the future then doesn't it?
Oh, and to be completely fair, I don't think Scott's Jazz analogy works as IDW and Marvel are the main (only?) places where the Transformers are definitely genderless. The rest of the franchise is, at best, nebulous on the subject (the films and Prime have never, to the best of my knowledge, come down on where their ladies come from), whilst some others make having them gendered work (the Beast era, despite big boobies and Strika being the only one not to wind up a girlfriend) and some... are just odd. Like the original cartoon where they all have girlfriends and some of them want to bone humans and mermaids but their origins as manufactured goods should really make them definitely genderless. You'd think the cartoon was written by people who had no clue.
So recasting Jazz with a female actress would be more of a problem as he's never firmly been genderless in any of his on screen appearances. Mind, recasting him in a whole new continuity- no big deal at all. After all, of the two Doctor Watson's on screen at the moment it's the one who isn't Tim From The Office that doesn't completely get on my tits.