Transformers: Regeneration One #86

SLAG!

Hey gang,

I’m back! The school year is about to end, so i’m going to make sure more blogs happen! At least one or two people will read them. 2013 will bring more awesome Transformers comics to read, and also news of my own comics too!

This past week saw the release of the latest issue of Transformers: Regeneration One (#86) and it launches the next story arc from Simon Furman and Andy Wildman. Lots of buzz about this comic, which is of course linked to the TF81 petition that I co-ordinated last year with wild success. (We still have a facebook page running with updates here). I’m going down to Phantom Zone this weekend sometime to grab it, and then i’ll listen to The Underbase review!

The awesome gang at “The Underbase” podcast have reviewed the comic and I recommend you check it out. These guys do amazing reviews of all the Transformers comics, and coupled with the fact that this year the quality has been excellent, they’re a joy to listen to! Go to fullmetalhero and follow the link. You can also subscribe on iTunes really easy. Plug in “the underbase” and you’ll be set. They regularly do interviews with the comic pro’s too, so check it out.

You may be wondering why i’m plugging The Underbase so much. Well, aside from their awesomeness, I also co-moderate the IDW Transformers forums with Ladywreck – but more importantly, when listening to their review of Transformers: Robots in Disguise #11 last week I had some real contrasting views to co-host Matt’s position on the issue. Coming in my next blog!

Cheers!

Luke

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Comics Vs Movies – link

Hi all,

 

between my regular reading of Transformers, TMNT and other great comics, novels and also playing the Marvel Facebook game Avengers Alliance I noticed this article posted recently about the mediums of Comics and Film.

I thought it eloquently put a great deal of the conventions of film and comics alongside each other, with a veneer of nostalgia for a loved form and it’s more flashy, bigger brother.

Ivan Brandon (who has written Avengers, Batman and others) posted this back in July and it holds true for my POV on the limitations of comic-book movies when compared to the open possibilities of comics.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Article

LOST LIGHT = More Than Meets The Eye?

 

How much can one rave about a comic? Let me tell you, the internet has not seen enough!!!

Aside from being content-filled, mystery-induced, spark-eating, Transformer-lovingly awesome, More Than Meets The Eye is a great comic.

A group of Autobots and friends, led by Rodimus (formerly known as Hot Rod), set off to find the ancient, mythological “Knights of Cybertron.” And their ship is called the “Lost Light.”

Well, here’s my question:

How can this ship NOT be a Transformer, in disguise?

On the right: Head, complete with helmet, visor, chin, beard and hair

On the left: torso, 4 limbs (1 obscured by “hair”), hands and feet

IT’S ALL THERE PEOPLE!

 

We have not seen many zoomed out shots of the ship, but I’ve included 3 of the key ones here, and in the second two in this post I believe it’s clear that we can see a helmet/visor over a face and the rear could easily be limbs.

Now it has to be said, James, Alex, Josh and Nick are masters at what they’re doing in this story. There are so many twists and turns that the fans are speculating about which character is Agent 113, who are the DJD and WHO PUT OVERLORD IN THE BASEMENT?!?

So, I guess I could be going waaaay out there with this one, though, if anyone had a secret plan for the ship their on to be a Transformer, it’d be these guys!

Check this out: this panel it has a NOSE AND MOUTH!!!

Sooo… yeah. The Lost Light is enjoying it’s not-so-quiet journey with a radical crew. What is it going to take to spark this thing back to life?

 

Sci-Fi, Maybe?

I love science fiction, and this term I’ve been lucky enough to be teaching Speculative fiction and also Sci-Fi films to my year 9 class. They’ve really dug it and we’re also gonna have a brief look at comparing Sci Fi in novels and films to gaming. Halo and Mass Effect here we come.

We’re also starting to see a renaissance of excellent Sci Fi in film. District 9 was a stand out and I cannot wait to see Blomkampt’s Elysium (with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster) next year.

Also coming next year is Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim, which looks to bring all of DT’s monster mash love with a heavy dose of giant, epic robots. (How could I not love that?!?)

I just read a great post on Ain’t it cool news, and it reminded me that Sci Fi is quite special. Whether people disregard it’s ‘genre-ness’ out of ignorance or dislike, it often does something that other cinema often ignores. There are mysteries and puzzles in Sci Fi that Pirates of the Caribbean just don’t attempt. (Which is fine)

Check out the post here.

Cheers,
Luke

A Father’s Day Poem

I haven’t written much on this blog in a while (despite thinking about it over and over!) but I wrote a poem for my dad that I thought i’d share. It may be fairly obvious from reading it, but my parents have been away for about a month and got back this weekend, just in time to celebrate Father’s day! (Also, I and my parent’s have nothing against the country’s mentioned!)

 

‘A Father’s Day Poem’

You’ve had enough of Canada
You travelled through New York
We skyped you on your birthday
But now to record a thought.

You’re back in Oz
With no delay
(In fact, quite early)
We all say:

Happy Father’s Day, Dad
Both in and out of law
Swing a tale like a bag round your head
(Don’t mention mum’s accursed flaw)

What timing to rejoice with you
Our dad, father and our kin
Blessing, man, and good friend
We love you, thanks for everything.

 

Cheers all!, G’night

Luke

(p.s. For my mum’s sake, because i’m making this public, the “flaw” was her losing her bag while travelling. It turned up courtesy of some wonderful people at Chicago Airport I believe, so all was well)

 

Transformers Comics – Blog Series: Intro

Transformers Comics Blog Series: July/August 2012

‘They’re more than meets the eye’

It was only 5 short years ago that the first live action Transformers film hit cinemas world-wide and introduced a global audience to Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron and co.

At that point I still felt like somewhat of a novice in the geek world. It was only back in 2004 that I really started collecting comics, following superhero movie hype online and buying whatever Transformer toys took my fancy. Good times.

The 80’s nostalgia boom was mid-stream, and I gradually became part of the online community of fans through Don Murphy’s website and forums. A few other websites caught my eye for good movie and comics news and I browse their quite often. But In 2006-7 IDW Publishing launched their first series of Transformer comics and I was more than ready to dive in.

It’s now 2012 and IDW have expanded the universe with two monthly Transformers books and I’m wholeheartedly on board. In fact an expansion of their series was something I thought should happen, and this year has been perfect timing. The response from fans has been overwhelmingly positive, with plenty of constructive thoughts because like all art, there are plenty of tastes in comics.

The two series (‘Robots in Disguise’ and ‘More Than Meets the Eye’) are quite simply amazing. Thematic, classic, psychological, witty, political, dramatic, violent, touching and heart-wrenching.

Over the next month I will be blogging a series of posts exploring both ‘Robots in Disguise’ and ‘More Than Meets The Eye’ as well as a very extensive analysis of EVERY panel and narrative balloon in contemporary Transformers comic in the past two or so years vs other mainstream series. That one has taken me 7 months to develop!

So if you enjoy Transformers and comics, these will be especially for you! And if you’re not, then they will be even more so for you as I convince you of the glorious narratives that are being weaves by IDW Publishing!

Transformers Comics – Blog Series: coming soon –
1. TF: RiD
A study of innocence.

2. TF: MTMTE
How come I care so much.

3. Comic Analysis
Transformers Rule!

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The Amazing Spider-Review

It was a cloudy, grey, windy day, but a beautiful day nonetheless. Having a day alone with my wife, Melissa, is a rare thing and we got to spend it in a few of our favourite ways, including seeing the brand new film “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

I always get excited for new superhero movies. Every student I talk to at my school knows to ask me the geeky questions, and it’s great to be able to geek out a bit. I don’t mind being the comic loving teacher. 😉

But this film perplexed a lot of them, and some of my friends. Older or younger, Spider-man is fresh. His films had set records and been part of the opening wave of blockbuster, entertaining, kinetic superhero films. So why was this new story coming without Raimi and Maguire? Why reboot? (The word ‘reboot’ had been thrown around a lot but I don’t really think many people had considered the inherent negative association they gave it or questioned it, they seemed to go along with the critical view of some journalists and observers online).

I don’t mind getting caught up in a bit of hype. And this year we’ve already had a bunch with the Avengers film a couple of months ago (woah!) and The Dark Knight Rises in a couple of weeks. So I followed this film and it’s production and gradually became interested and also believed that it could succeed. Because I never truly saw the Peter Parker or Spider-man in the Raimi Trilogy that I had always read in the comics.

So, now I have seen The Amazing Spider-man, and I believe it’s an amazing taste of 50 years worth of fantastic Spider-man storytelling.

I don’t want this to be spoiler filled. I want to give a chance for people that are skeptical to think afresh.

What is your idea of Spider-man? Is it the web swinging? Is it New York? Is it the motto? Or was it just the guy in the tights in a few movies?

Because Spider-Man to me has always been about adolescence smashing against power with a lot of guilt thrown in. What should he really do with his power? How can he become a true hero? These are some of the questions that are raised and answered in this film. Who is Peter Parker. Who is Spider-Man.

The cast are wonderful and the directing is deft, careful, flamboyant and at times lets you dwell in his world, as Spider-Man, just for a moment. Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Denis Leary – names that form a 5-strong team that all connect with Peter, played by the amazing Andrew Garfield.

Peter/Spider-Man has a voice here that pangs of loss, guilt, exuberance, joy, cleverness, love, confusion – and it’s played in a way that lets this all work for the film.

Melissa and I both enjoyed it more than the earlier trilogy, and we don’t mind comparing. We felt the connections of the Parker parents with the origins of Spidey brought depth and meaning that was missing from the original film’s high school excursion accident. Gwen Stacy is a more rounded, powerful, interesting character that MJ was and the different family dynamics create soft, yet tense moments for a young man that has missed out on his parents for most of his life.

Seeing the birth of Spider-Man represented here again is nothing new to any seasoned comic reader. Our heroes get reborn, re-birthed, resurrected all the time. It sometimes seems like an endless cycle.

So if you’re asking “why bother rebooting?” try to move past that question, and try to ask the question once more: “Who is Spider-Man?”

I think you’ll enjoy the answer.

Happy FCBD!

Happy Free Comic Book Day!

Today is Free Comic Book Day. The first Saturday in May over the past few years has been filled with fun when I take Isabella and Melissa down to my local comic shop, Phantom Zone, and the FCBD comics are out on the tables and they have great sales and it’s just a fun vibe.

This is an international celebration of comics and not enough people I know get into it. For a simple trip down to Parramatta so many people I know could check out the stories of the characters they love to watch in movies in their original context.

This year though, is something special.

From late March 2011 through to June I co-promoted and ran an online petition requesting comic publishers IDW Publishing to bring back the original Transformers comics series by writer Simon Furman.

It wasn’t until San Diego Comic Con that they said anything publicly – and they announced that they were going to do a 20 issue run with Furman AND artist Andrew Wildman.

Many of my blog readers know all about this. We got lots of fan artists and pro’s doing promotional pieces of art that helped to promote the petition. We had a Facebook page and twitter account and put flyers in our comic shops. We even had some news sites report about the petition.

And now it’s FCBD 2012 and the first issue, a prologue issue 80.5 is here!

I sincerely hope that all the fans that supported the petition get out there and grab a copy and try to take as many friends in to get one as well!

The series starts in June at #81 and I can’t wait to see where the creative team will take the series!

Happy FCBD everyone!

Sunday Supanova Spectacular!

Supanova Sunday Spectacular

I love alliteration. And now I can definitely say I love Melbourne.

We only spent 4 days here but the culture, charm and coffee won me over.

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I would have posted my Sunday blog on sunday night but had no 3G or wifi access in our hotel. It was a great room though. The Pensione Hotel about 100 metres from Southern Cross Station (fast becoming the biggest station x shopping area in the city) and our room had a bed for Bella and a double for us. It was partitioned with a wall creating two small areas that were surprisingly spacious – the elegantly tall ceilings did their job perfectly.

Anyhow, we dropped our big luggage at the hotel after having our slowest, relaxing morning at Renee and Bernie’s. (Wow, I just realised I should’ve titled this “Weekend at Bernie’s”. 😉 Sorry mate.)
They were extremely generous and hospitable opening up their bungalow for us and it was special for Isabella to meet and spend time with their girls Ava and Sienna. We thought we had everything packed but tragically left Bella’s prize teddy bear ‘Kevin’ behind – we had to buy a new cuddle toy at Supanova (a ‘Roo’ from Winnie the Pooh).

We dropped our luggage and went off to see a bit more of Melbourne city. Caught a couple of trams, got some coffee and a pistachio macaron – awesome – and then had lunch on the Yarra River.

Now it was time to head off to Supanova for some final panels about comics and tv.

Saturday was a very full day so I wanted to ease of the pressure on Sunday and we planned to only go for about 3 hours. We started by finding Roo and a couple of little bits n pieces and I then met Christopher Sequeira, a Sydney based comic writer and we chatted about the local industry, as small as it is, and he was very forthcoming with tips and ideas on where to start with my script writing.

Chris was very generous with his time and I grabbed a copy of horror-Sherlock Holmes series ‘The Dark Detective’ which I’m eager to read, but it had to be packed away with my other signed comics. (I’ve now read it and it’s an interesting take amongst the other Sherlock media)

A common theme amongst lots of people I talked to was how the communities in Melbourne compared to Sydney. After this weekend Mel and I could easily live in Melbourne, for totally different reasons. There are SO many comic shops all over the place and the people that read and also create them are supportive and it seems like a more valid part of society down here. Sydney, on the other hand, well, there are some shops but they are few and far between and the creative community seems much harder to get together regularly. Something that Chris, and Paul Abstruse on Saturday as well as myself, would love to see changed.

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After chatting to Chris I wanted to head to the FilmInk Features room to hear from young actor Chandler Riggs. He is most well known for playing Carl Grimes, son of Sheriff Rick Grimes, in The Walking Dead TV series. He is a fantastic kid and all in attendance appreciated his candor and clarity when answering questions about zombie blood, tongue-zombies and lots of other awesome things. He loves his job and genuinely appreciates being in the privileged (fun) position he is travelling to Australia while his friends in Georgia, Atlanta worry about homework and tests. It was cool to hear he loves Sci Fi and hoped to be cast as Ender in Ender’s Game and looks forward to having some more intense moments in the TV show next season.

We then dashed to the other end of the con to the Seminar space and Brandon Sanderson was just finishing up. I know my brother would’ve loved to have heard from him and even get stuff signed, but I was there for more Bendis. Lis and Bella chilled at the back with the fresh air and I found a spot dead centre near the front to hear from the amazing creator for the third time.

He had been tweeting that morning that he was holding onto some special art that hasn’t been seen publicly anywhere and he wasnt wrong. Over the weekend he totally sold me on Spider-Men. A mini-series coming out from June which sees Peter Parker (the Amazing Spider-Man) from the regular Marvel universe crossing over into the Ultimate Marvel universe and meeting current Ultimate Spider-Man, the young Miles Morales. We were shown multiple variant covers and some interior pieces and Sara Pichelli’s artwork has never looked so gorgeous. Purely amazing. Now that IDW’s infestation 2 is over I can see a space in my budget for this series!

Bendis fielded lots more questions today and they ranged in topics from his creator owned works to Avengers and Spiderman comics. He continued the line that whatever he’s doing post his Avengers run is big. And still used his non-answer about X-men.

Well, that was it for Supanova. I’ve got lots of thoughts and inspiration to go over about creating comics which I’ll put together this week and post Friday night. And I am totally going to be at Supanova again when it comes to Sydney in June!

Supanova Saturday

What an awesome and frenetic day. It has been awe-inspiring to have chats with local and international comic creators, especially Tristan Jones and Brian Michael Bendis. I also chatted with Sydney artist Paul Abstruse which was cool.

We started the day watching people stand in line for the main exhibition hall, which we avoided because I wanted to hear from Tristan talk about Ghostbusters and TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the uninformed) comics from my fave publishers IDW Publishing. It was a quiet start in this room, there were heaps of people there but they were mostly there for the main hall. There was a keen group of people though and we got to geek out talking about the Tobin Spirit Guide and Walter Peck (willy) amongst other things.

It has been awesome to meet the real people who make comics and not just connect with them from afar over the Internet. This is one of my goals for the next year. To gradually connect and hopefully build some relationships with people that are like-minded and can also do great art too!

From here we rushed down to the Supernova Seminar area to hear from a live Skype chat with Iron Man, Thor and Avengers actor Clark Gregg, who plays SHIELD Agent Coulson in the films. We had a chance to find a seat and chill while they got the connection in order. It was a Q & A event, and there has been a lot of stuff popping up online about the film, tv spots and some interviews, but we were able to ask questions and only once did someone ask about the army that Loki has and he looked aside and couldn’t really give an answer (“they’re actually Oompa Loompa’s” was his eventual response).
He discussed the comparison of Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans’ biceps, with Aussie-boy Hemsworth winning that battle (played for the crowd but man, he is HUGE in Thor). I also asked a question regarding his own thoughts or visions for the character in any future movies. Honestly, the character can go anywhere and do anything cause in many ways he’s a blank slate. Gregg played the question nicely and mentioned the possibilities are endless, and that is very exciting.
The crowd was impressed and responsive, as Clark is a very charming, honest and humble man. He’s worked in showbiz for a long time (I recall an early cameo in The Usual Suspects as the doctor looking after the Hungarian burnt guy) but his candor and brevity are fresh and plain and simple, enjoyable. Melissa enjoyed it just as much as I did which was great, compared to the more comicy times amongst the rest of the day.

We pottered around a bit to check out the shops and artist alley was packed. Grabbed some bread rolls and cold meat and stuff to make our own lunch from the Coles next door and chilled outside. I bought the first volume of Ultimate Comics: Spiderman for Bendis to sign (amongst some other comics I brought) and got ready for the last major session I wanted to check out.

This was a Q & A panel with Bendis and two comic artists, Billy Tan and Carlos Pacheco. They’ve both worked in the industry for a while and are pros.
The questions were genuinely directed to Bendis and focused on his Ultimate Spidey and Avengers work, but the guys all gave insightful comments about their own challenges and experiences in the comics world. After reading transcript after transcript of these types of events I really came to love Bendis’ charm and way with the crowd. And later this afternoon I was able to grab his signature on a bunch of books and just thank him for coming down under for the fans. He (like the other guests) is an affable and generous man, and I’m looking forward to his final session tomorrow afternoon.

That was pretty much it. I’ve got some spending money left but I’m not sure what to grab tomorrow. There’s not too much Transformers gear, but I did see the Walking Dead board game and some Game of Thrones gear so I may grab something in that vein tomorrow. We’re also heading in to stay at Melbourne for one night and will be visiting an old friend at his church in the evening.

We’ve been truly blessed by Melissa’s cousins, Renee and Bernie (and they’re who awesome daughters!) who have put us up in their bungalow and let us crash here. It’s been awesome to hang with them and the kids and also the animals they have in their back yard. Check out this pic for a view of our comfy accommodation the past couple of days.

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So, a huge thanks to Renee and Bernie for having us! We’ve loved Melbourne and your hospitality has been amazing!

Tomorrow, more comics PLUS Carl Grimes from The Walking Dead (Rick’s son), Chandler Riggs!