Transformers: More than Meets the Eye season two discussion

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Cyberstrike nTo
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Post by Cyberstrike nTo » Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:15 pm

Red Dave Prime wrote:Still, I think your pick and choosing what versions of characters you like. Megatrons tech spec and cartoon character is so far removed from his marvel character. They share some traits but they are different. And Cartoon Prime would never have the doubts that comic Prime did (and continues to have in the never end "doubting prime" epic)
I think a lot of the problem with "the doubting Prime" of Optimus is not that he has doubts he constantly talks or shows his doubts at the worst possible times and gets old.

Optimus Prime makes a hard decision and then tells everyone around him that he has doubts about it. IMHO as a leader once a decision is made he should keep his doubts to himself otherwise it could lower the morale of those around him. Also after 30 years it's really getting old and annoying. A nice blend of the original cartoon show version and the comics version would be a nice change of pace.
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Post by Knightdramon » Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:42 pm

I don't view this as a pure G1---it's as much G1 as Prime and Animated are.

You've got named characters, some updated designs, you've got the same basic personalities [that has to do with how lazy or hesitant hasbro is, not necessarily a fault] and...not much else in common?

Pretty much every TF show/reboot is about Autobots under Optimus Prime fighting Decepticons under Megatron, the background is Earth, and the war has been going on for quite some time.

The backstory might be slightly changed per continuity [ie Decepticons lost the war in Animated before the series begun, who the f*ck knows what the actual story was in the movies, Autobots and Decepticons scatter to the galaxy in Prime] but I don't see those traits as characteristics of G1.

The problem with a franchise this, well, old, is that when you keep re-using the same cadre of characters, you will undoubtedly recycle concepts.

Doubting Prime has become as common, if not more common, than upstart Gladiator Megatron.

Rebelious Hot Rod, strict Ultra Magnus, scheming Starscream, brief Soundwave, logical Shockwave...we're getting the same bots, recycled over and over since 2007 or so.

This is one of the reasons that I like this series, in that a) it has picked a different cast to expand on and b) the characters and situations are fresh.

And I think part of it is that is didn't inherit many big names. Ratchet, Ultra Magnus and Hot Rod are the only big names [at least at the beginning of the book]. Megatron has joined, sure, but that has actually moved things forward a lot.
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Post by Warcry » Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:39 pm

Red Dave Prime wrote:It could be argued back that the Skids in IDW was the daydreamer version but the war in that universe has changed him.
It could be argued. But it'd likely be wrong, because we've seen him before the war and he's not that guy -- he's the same quippy bundle of superpowers, just with fewer things he's awesome at because he's younger.

In fact, I mentioned before that that's what they should have done. It would have made me a lot more interested in his missing backstory if we could see such a drastic personality shift had happened because of it. As-is, it can't have been all that traumatic for him because it seems like he's basically the same guy.
Red Dave Prime wrote:And if we play the tech specs game, Cartoon Optimus is far closer to the tech specs than the comic. (and nothing wrong with that, the comic was able to explore that aspect of a leader, the cartoon would have struggled)
But this is exactly what I said in my last post and you disagreed with it? That probably means I didn't get across what I was actually trying to say.

Cartoon and comic Optimus don't mesh perfectly because the medium gives you a different window on the character. But to me it's a difference of depth, not of kind. Cartoon Optimus is a surface-level sketch of the character and Comic Optimus is more fleshed-out, but there's nothing to say to me that they're distinct characters. Obviously you're free to disagree, but I think there's a very big difference between Optimus and Megatron, your other example, where his personality and behaviour was drastically different between the various portrayals over the years even within the same medium (I'd struggle to name any parallels at all between the cool, dangerous Megatron in the G2 books and Megatron the guy who went nuts and crushed Brawl's head when Prime died).
Red Dave Prime wrote:The problem I have with your argument is that it requires everything to remain static. Shockwave was this before, he must be this again. I know that's not an exact of your argument but it comes across that way.
Actually, that's not that far off of what I'm saying. G1 Shockwave is G1 Shockwave, and G1 fiction should at least try to portray the character in a consistent way. And yes, that does restrict creative freedom some, but I'm okay with that.

The reason why I'm okay with that is because G1 isn't the only Transformers universe by a long shot. I think it's fine to say that G1 Shockwave should be written similar to the way he was in the 80s, because there's been plenty of room for alternative interpretations of the character in Energon, Animated, Prime and the movies, and there's going to be just as much room in future productions. And I think that's the best of both worlds, because we can have new takes while still keeping the old stuff!

Even though they've put their own spin on it, IDW is still G1 fiction starring G1 characters. I wouldn't be reading it if I wanted to see those characters completely reinvented, because frankly there are plenty of other, often-better options out there if I did. But when I want new G1 fiction IDW is the only game in town, and the farther they drift way from that foundation, the less-interested I am.
Red Dave Prime wrote:Also, I don't understand why you have a problem with a character being defined as something else after so many years. If we take skids, he had a handful of minor cartoon appearances, a paragraph on the back of the toy box and 7 issues in the comic. He's now been portrayed for 50 + issues of the current run in a different way - by sheer volume of course that's going to become the way he is viewed - and should be viewed in my opinion.
I get what you mean, but I think your argument eats it's own tail. Because up until 2012 "a handful of minor cartoon appearances, a paragraph on the back of the toy box and 7 issues in the comic" was the bulk of Skids' portrayals, and if we follow your logic that's how he should have been viewed and he shouldn't have been reinvented.
Red Dave Prime wrote:If we take other comics, it would be like saying Batman can only be portrayed as the way he was in the first detective comics - which would miss out on some amazing comics.
Batman, like Transformers, is blessed with being reinvented from the ground up in a new format every few years, between all the movies and cartoons and TV shows. And like Transformers I don't see much issue with the different takes having different versions of characters and stories.

But if a new series came out using character designs and backstory heavily drawn from the 60s show but with all of the characters acting like they do in the Arkham games...people would complain.
Knightdramon wrote:I don't view this as a pure G1---it's as much G1 as Prime and Animated are.
But the IDW comics were designed from Day 1 to be as G1 as possible to appeal to the nostalgia crowd. They started with hiring the most G1 writer possible in Simon Furman, who proceeded to write exactly the same characters as he always did, and most of them in exactly the same ways as he had when he was with Dreamwave writing G1 comics for them. And when they axed him, they replaced him with someone who wrote the book as an "EXTREEEM KEWL" version of the 80s TV show with added blood.

Yes, they've gone off in unexpected directions since then and yes, they've attracted a much different audience now than they had in the early days. But does that fundamentally change what the book is? Can it be G1 originally but stop being G1 because of where it's gone over the last decade? I'm not being rhetorical here, it's a serious question. Did the book start as something G1 but "break out" somewhere along the way to become it's own thing? Or are you saying it was never G1 to start with?

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Post by Knightdramon » Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:03 pm

Warcry wrote:
But the IDW comics were designed from Day 1 to be as G1 as possible to appeal to the nostalgia crowd. They started with hiring the most G1 writer possible in Simon Furman, who proceeded to write exactly the same characters as he always did, and most of them in exactly the same ways as he had when he was with Dreamwave writing G1 comics for them. And when they axed him, they replaced him with someone who wrote the book as an "EXTREEEM KEWL" version of the 80s TV show with added blood.

Yes, they've gone off in unexpected directions since then and yes, they've attracted a much different audience now than they had in the early days. But does that fundamentally change what the book is? Can it be G1 originally but stop being G1 because of where it's gone over the last decade? I'm not being rhetorical here, it's a serious question. Did the book start as something G1 but "break out" somewhere along the way to become it's own thing? Or are you saying it was never G1 to start with?
I guess it depends on what you class as G1 at the end---how do you feel about the WFC/FOC videogames? Because that's the closest thing to my analogy here, just in another medium.

The are G1 themed, loosely based, but that doesn't make them G1.

For me the most G1 the books have been was during AHM, they were different before and different after.
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Post by Warcry » Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:48 pm

Knightdramon wrote:I guess it depends on what you class as G1 at the end---how do you feel about the WFC/FOC videogames? Because that's the closest thing to my analogy here, just in another medium.
That's a very good question and I'm not sure I have an answer for it. If I remember right the designers' intent was to make a purely G1 game, but at Hasbro's behest there's a pretty strong movie flavour to WFC and an even stronger TF:Prime flavour to FoC. And I know that Hasbro officially says it's a prequel to Prime, no matter how little sense that makes based on the plot of the games.

But the games are so derivative of other universes that I don't think there's a single unique thought across either of the two games, so I'm not inclined to call it it's own thing. And in spite of the bits and bobs that it's absorbed from other continuities, I think it's more G1 than anything else, so I guess I'd toss it under that umbrella, but it's not really a comfortable fit.
Knightdramon wrote:For me the most G1 the books have been was during AHM, they were different before and different after.
I get where you're coming from, but I'd have a hard time saying that Furman's stuff (with all it's tired Furmanisms, recycled ideas, plots and characters) was any less G1 than McCarthy's blatant nostalgia-fest.

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Post by Death's Head » Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:26 pm

But the IDW comics were designed from Day 1 to be as G1 as possible to appeal to the nostalgia crowd. They started with hiring the most G1 writer possible in Simon Furman, who proceeded to write exactly the same characters as he always did, and most of them in exactly the same ways as he had when he was with Dreamwave writing G1 comics for them
Nah, not really. The IDW books, starting with Infiltration, were pegged as "Ultimate" Transformers - your old faves in a new, more modern situation. The initial intent was for it to be as unbeholden to what had come before as possible - hence the lack of a 4 million year sleep and the whole new Infiltration/Phased invasion set-up, not to mention the galactic scale of the war. Whether it was successful at that is up to you, but I recall the intention was always to do something new with the characters and not the same old nostalgia trip.

It was McCarthy who went full 80s - allegedly at IDW's behest due to low sales (which, erm, persisted).
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Post by inflatable dalek » Fri Apr 08, 2016 1:04 pm

Yeah, I'd say the original Furman take was more an Ultimates reinvention than a "Straight" G1 relaunch, though it failed to stick for long (I'd also say that a decade in, the intentions when the line launched don't really matter now anyway, creators are allowed to change their minds over that length of time).

It's been odd over the last few years, really starting with MTMTE/Ex-RID kicking off, how "Brand synergy" has seen it become more and more an aligned thing. Clearly not planned (by IDW anyway. Andrew Wildman was fairly frank about how Reg had to twist and turn to meet the "We want all our Transformers to be a certain way" edict from Hasbro) or probably even desired that much, but the IDW Universe is a proper hodge podge now.
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Post by Patapsco » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:07 pm

Can we just all agree to blame Shane McCarthy for all of this?
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Post by Warcry » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:50 pm

Death's Head wrote:Nah, not really. The IDW books, starting with Infiltration, were pegged as "Ultimate" Transformers - your old faves in a new, more modern situation.
That's true, but "Ultimate Transformers" meant something very different in 2005 than it does today because the only version of Transformers that anyone cared about or took seriously outside of the fandom was G1. And there was zero effort from IDW to incorporate ideas from outside the G1 sphere until Barber came aboard, so I'd be hard-pressed to argue they meant anything more than "Ultimate G1" with that pitch. But either way, regardless of marketing or initial conception, once you hire Simon Furman and let him do whatever he wants without any editorial direction you quickly fall down the ladder from "Ultimate Transformers" to "just another version of what the guy's been doing for two decades".
inflatable dalek wrote:It's been odd over the last few years, really starting with MTMTE/Ex-RID kicking off, how "Brand synergy" has seen it become more and more an aligned thing. Clearly not planned (by IDW anyway. Andrew Wildman was fairly frank about how Reg had to twist and turn to meet the "We want all our Transformers to be a certain way" edict from Hasbro) or probably even desired that much, but the IDW Universe is a proper hodge podge now.
The last three of four years' worth of comics have certainly done a much better job of feeling "Ultimate" than anything that was done in the early days, but awkwardly so because the creators have to dance around the very, very G1 foundations that Furman and McCarthy laid down. Especially with Barber's habit of constantly revisiting past plot threads whether they really need it or not, it really feels like the IDW universe is trying to pull itself in two different directions at once and not entirely succeeding at either one.

Honestly, between Hasbro pushing them in a more "aligned" direction lately and the fact that the older books are more often than not just not very good, I wonder why IDW didn't just bin the entire thing after the Costa disaster and start over from scratch. Even if they'd kept the same basic post-war setting, I think both MTMTE and especially RiD would have been a lot better if they hadn't been bolted onto the old, G1ish stories of past writers.
Patapsco wrote:Can we just all agree to blame Shane McCarthy for all of this?
Yes.

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Post by Patapsco » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:37 pm

I liked the general concept behind Furman's "G1 with a twist" beginnings but it went so rapidly downhill so quickly that it just went kind of "meh" before being mercifully killed off. I would have liked to have explored the "humans are kind of collateral damage" that Furman was taking with the Autobots a little further than it went but alas, we never got there because dead universe and headmasters and stuff
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Post by Knightdramon » Fri Apr 08, 2016 7:09 pm

Warcry wrote:That's true, but "Ultimate Transformers" meant something very different in 2005 than it does today because the only version of Transformers that anyone cared about or took seriously outside of the fandom was G1. And there was zero effort from IDW to incorporate ideas from outside the G1 sphere until Barber came aboard, so I'd be hard-pressed to argue they meant anything more than "Ultimate G1" with that pitch. But either way, regardless of marketing or initial conception, once you hire Simon Furman and let him do whatever he wants without any editorial direction you quickly fall down the ladder from "Ultimate Transformers" to "just another version of what the guy's been doing for two decades".


The last three of four years' worth of comics have certainly done a much better job of feeling "Ultimate" than anything that was done in the early days, but awkwardly so because the creators have to dance around the very, very G1 foundations that Furman and McCarthy laid down. Especially with Barber's habit of constantly revisiting past plot threads whether they really need it or not, it really feels like the IDW universe is trying to pull itself in two different directions at once and not entirely succeeding at either one.

Honestly, between Hasbro pushing them in a more "aligned" direction lately and the fact that the older books are more often than not just not very good, I wonder why IDW didn't just bin the entire thing after the Costa disaster and start over from scratch. Even if they'd kept the same basic post-war setting, I think both MTMTE and especially RiD would have been a lot better if they hadn't been bolted onto the old, G1ish stories of past writers.


Yes.
I'm not sure if Barber is to hog in all the credit for the current series direction; at least not in that way.

I think that, broadly generalizing, there's zero effort from Hasbro to move the franchise forward at all. This is a sci-fi franchise that holds a lot of promise if treated right, but constantly wants to ground itself in "kiddie" territory. This sort of effort, or lack of, has been trekking down to the writers.

This is what you get when your basic premise is "sell toys involved in a civil war that takes place on Earth", and frankly, Earth is limiting in that aspect. How many times can you do the "robots in hiding, humanity mostly unaware, things escalate, robots in alliance, now humanity evolved and can fight back" thing over and over again?

It's not just a G1 or "aligned" thing, it's every single iteration with a few exceptions.

The thing is, once you hire Simon Furman to write transformers you will get the same things regardless of the decade you hire him in. Simon Furman is good in a limited way, but he was good for the 80ies, where comics and comic stories were their own little thing.

Simon Furman has proved [via his writing] that he's not really looking to move forward as a writer when he does this franchise. His vocabulary when writing is the same, his characters are mostly the same and the way he writes them is the same no matter what you get him to write. And I don't blame the guy; transformers people eat what he writes up because he's Simon Furman. Same thing with Andrew Wildman['s art]. An amazing cover, but then you open the issue and see that he never bothered to finish pencilling half the panels, but hey ho, it's Wildman, he did good art 3 decades ago and does a nice cover here and there, let's sugarcoat this!

Roberts and Barber are actually doing new things with the stories they write, and their writing is more...up to date, so to say. They've upped the profile of the comics so Hasbro took notice, and remembered that they can use the comics as a medium to sell toys, which actually hurt all the stories involved to an extent.

This is what happens when Hasbro takes notice and remembers that everything around the franchise is for selling toys. :lol:
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Post by Skyquake87 » Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:27 pm

Heh, true, you can't have your cake and eat it when the fait accompli of Transformers is "to sell toys".

The comics only seem to get latitude to steer their own ship when, well, Hasbro's attention is elsewhere. I do kind of like that there is that restriction on the comics, as its part of what makes them interesting, what I'm less enthused with is this whole idea of brand smoothing, or whatever you want to call it, and having everything the same as everything else. Thats boring. And leads to the comics equivalent of GAP stores (do they still exist? I remember they were very beige. Also grey). Especially with Transformers, which is often at its best when Hasbro just let the creators crack on and do something bloody interesting. Thats why things like Beast Wars resonate, and MTMTE and Animated.

In other news, I was considering the letters pages in the last two issues of MTMTE and how this book has come to mean so much to people and how diverse the readers are. I haven't read a letters page like this since The Maxx. Its a shame there aren't more letters, but then I haven't written one either (possibly because I'd feel a bit daft just writing in going 'Yaay this is really good! Thanks for this, as you were.", as I don't have anything much else to say apart from that, as witnessed by my feeble contributions to this thread). Perhaps I will though. Letters pages are ace when they're run regularly and have some comment from a decent editor and/ or one of the creators (I especially like Lazarus letters page for this atm).

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Post by Auntie Slag » Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:18 pm

The letters page in this issue is the only part of MTMTE I've not been able to read. Its so damn gushing and bland in its positivity. I love MTMTE too but christ, just about made it through the first page and a bit of the second and I was ready to spew.

"I was ready to give up on life, and then Chromedome found Rewind again and now I feel great. Thank you IDW, you've saved me".

"They said any more Lithium would severely poison me, but seeing Drift defend Ratchet made me realise I never really needed it at all. Thank you IDW, you've truly turned my life around".

"As a key component in the Libor rate rigging scandal I was ready to slash my wrists lengthways rather than let them take me, but when my comic fell open to the scene where the DJD executed Black Shadow and I realised there was so much more evil I could do. Thank you IDW, you're the best".


I find MTMTE massively entertaining. But it did not save my life, I have not had a revelation, I'm not a better person, I haven't learnt anything, I will kill again and I like your comic. Next time please fill this space with one of your ****ing excellent text stories and leave these poncy letters to the message boards.

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Post by Patapsco » Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:21 pm

Auntie Slag wrote:The letters page in this issue is the only part of MTMTE I've not been able to read. Its so damn gushing and bland in its positivity. I love MTMTE too but christ, just about made it through the first page and a bit of the second and I was ready to spew.

"I was ready to give up on life, and then Chromedome found Rewind again and now I feel great. Thank you IDW, you've saved me".

"They said any more Lithium would severely poison me, but seeing Drift defend Ratchet made me realise I never really needed it at all. Thank you IDW, you've truly turned my life around".

"As a key component in the Libor rate rigging scandal I was ready to slash my wrists lengthways rather than let them take me, but when my comic fell open to the scene where the DJD executed Black Shadow and I realised there was so much more evil I could do. Thank you IDW, you're the best".


I find MTMTE massively entertaining. But it did not save my life, I have not had a revelation, I'm not a better person, I haven't learnt anything, I will kill again and I like your comic. Next time please fill this space with one of your ****ing excellent text stories and leave these poncy letters to the message boards.

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Post by Red Dave Prime » Sat Apr 09, 2016 1:04 pm

This has been a really good thread of late, some great debate. Very enjoyable to read, and I think everyone has valid points.

So on a few things:

The letters page doesnt just border on gushing, it builds a wall and charges the cost. I've never been a great fan of letter pages but the letters are so ridiculous (Auntie Slags parodies could easily be real) that they make me feel like being less of a fan. Its great that fans have taken to the book so well but some of the praise is so extreme that it really has no value.

On the ultimates comparison, The Ultimates, if I have it right, were Marvels way of creating a fresh jumping on origin story for several key characters for new fans. They took many of the key points but approached it in a fresh way but the key is that they created their own origins. This is pretty much exactly what IDW did and the opposite of DW. The Dreamwave story carries on from a certain point in the cartoon - I'm not 100% but I get the feeling it was pre-movie, post-Season 2. IDW is from scratch - it is not linked at all to a previous TF story other than its a transformers story. Is it heavily influenced by G1? Absolutely. But its not G1.

Its well worth looking at the tf wikis account of IDWs first run -
tf wiki wrote:Initial ideas for IDW's Transformer line included a Crisis on Infinite Earths-style story crossing over with the new Cybertron toyline, starting ongoings in both G1 and Cybertron continuity. The G1 cast would suffer Cybertron's destruction and learn Unicron's death had destabilized the entire omniverse, forcing them to try and assemble an artifact called the "Decepticon Matrix" in order to resurrect Unicron. This would parallel with the Cybertron plot, in which the Autobots seek out the Cyber Planet Keys to revive Primus, and Vector Prime would have appeared as a guide in both series. It seems that series would then have come together with the concurrent Cybertron comic as Transformers from across the multiverse were brought together for a final, epic clash.[2]
This was considered too confusing for new readers, however, and dropped for a continuity reboot of Generation 1. Furman mostly oversaw this, creating a more sophisticated universe around the familiar characters and tropes: Marvel Comics' Ultimate line was the inspiration, and Furman deliberately borrowed the more leisurely pacing of Ultimate Marvel.
Also regarding why they didnt start from scratch after Costa - I cant say for certain but I'm guessing for the same reason they re-tooled AHM to include Furmans stuff (really feels like a separate universe until issue 6). It may be small but there was an exsisting fan base that was invested in what Furman had put out over 35 or so issues. They didnt want to jetison all that. I also think LSOTW and Chaos helped massively in convincing IDW to keep the history they had created - It may have been a mess but Roberts and Roche showed that there could still be value in building on that past.

IMO, if MTMTE and ex-RID do fall away, than thats the time to reboot. Because I think you wont be able to do too much more with the universe in its current state but if the comic went away for a bit and came back with another fresh take on the origins, you could get the current fanbase AND the fanbase who were around for the initial DW series to give a new start a try

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Post by Patapsco » Sat Apr 09, 2016 1:13 pm

Shall we start the "no gushing here grumpy crew"? because battle lines are being drawn
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Post by Red Dave Prime » Sat Apr 09, 2016 1:23 pm

I'm happy to jump aboard that wagon. I think its Karen Marie Burda and Tj99joy that win the prize for most over the top praise in issue 51. Look, I think MTMTE is a fantastic comic series overall and is very well written but ... wow, just wow.

Makes me wish Cliffjumper was playing the Soundwave editor role for the MTMTE letters page.

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Post by Skyquake87 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 4:05 pm

Heh. I think those letters are coming from a good place, but it would have been nice to have a bit of balance and some slightly less OTT ones, I agree. Big hit with the LGBT crowd, though, so that's a thing. Makes me pointlessly want to change my profile picture to a rainbow in solidarity, which seems like too much effort as I've still not changed it from Paris or whatever Frog Song-style "we all stand together" meme is doing the rounds this week.

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Post by Patapsco » Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:33 pm

Yeah, I think OTT is the correct turn of phrase. I like the book, despite it's fairly obvious flaws which we have discussed ad nauseum in other threads but I'm not going to write a gushing letter saying that the love affair between (the emotionally unstable) Chromedome and (pining for his lost lover) Rewind is the greatest thing I've ever read
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Post by inflatable dalek » Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:41 am

It'll be interesting to see if there's an about face on this when a familiar name pops up on the letters page to either 52 or 53...



(I'm reliably told the really good letters were held back from 50 to give the others a chance)
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