OUT WITH THE OLD…

As 2007 draws to a close, I thought I’d look back on the year and consider the high and lows and bits inbetween. A year ago, this blog wasn’t even a glint in my eye, and yet here we are with my 125th post, and over 95,000 visits (from you lot) on the clock. Who’d’ve thunk it. Due credit to Andrew Wildman, who pretty much told me to do a blog and set things up for me here on WordPress. Mind you, if ever there was a time to start blogging, it was 2007, which was exceptional in terms of the sheer high profile of Transformers, largely (though not totally) due to the advent of a certain live-action Michael Bay blockbuster. Naturally enough, given how intertwined Transformers and I have become, my workload and the scope of the yearly signing/convention circuit expanded accordingly. The year kicked off with the movie uppermost in my mind, as I was working on both the Movie Prequel comics (with IDW’s Chris Ryall) and DK’s Transformers: The Movie Guide (book). The former was very rewarding, both in terms of the co-writing (which I hadn’t done a lot of) and the finished product (with Don Figueroa proving once and for all that he’s great at drawing more than just giant robots). The latter was less so, largely because we kept running into both the lack of available imagery (meaning that certain characters, such as Starscream and Ironhide, never made it into the book at all) and limitations on the scope of the book itself. Great (in my opinion anyway) spreads on the human cast sadly fell by the wayside (though I did get a more complete movie/book experience with the later Top Trumps/Transformers book). And, above and beyond the TF movie-verse, I was still rolling out scripts for the ‘ongoing’ (Escalation and then Devastation) series and the Spotlights, crafting the ever-expanding IDW/TF-verse. It’s here, perhaps, that I felt my most solid work of 07 was to be found, simply because we were building something we largely controlled from the ground up, something that was unique in and of itself, and thereby the amount of latitude to do something grand and cohesive was immense. Odd sidelines, such as the Madman/DVD insert comic, which bridged the gap between the G1 cartoon and the animated movie (sort of), were also great fun, not least because artist Nick Roche clearly was having such fun with it. 07 also saw the second series of Beast Wars in print (for the most part) and–finally!–the Beast Wars Sourcebook. The only low in all this was Don Figueroa’s subsequent decision to more or less finish on Transformers (hopefully for the time being only). Can’t say I blame him, given how much was asked of him, but Don… you’ll be missed! Overall, it was a great year for Transformers work, made more so by the launch of Titan’s UK Transformers comic/magazine (the first homegrown title since Panini’s brief foray into the world of TF Armada). Working with Geoff Senior again on a Transformers comic strip was truly an event to be treasured. Hope we get to do it again (soon). Beyond the world(s) of Transformers, there was Terminator 2 – Infinity, a five-issue series for Dynamite that I was, after the event, genuinely pleased with in terms of both execution and story (I’m hyper-critical of my own stuff when it sees print, and yet I found little I’d actually want to change in T2 – Infinity). Nigel Raynor’s art was exemplary (consistently so), which always helps. Then there was Wallace & Gromit and A.T.O.M. and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Cougar (though that’s yet to see print) and probably other bits and pieces I’ve (already) forgotten about, all of which provided a welcome change of pace from battling robots. And, in the midst of all this, film journalist Mark Salisbury and I even got to write a (spec) film script, which got us some positive feedback from film companies and agents but no actual deals. Had great fun doing it, largely because it flexed a very different writing muscle, and (having done one) we intend to do another in 08. Of course, there were projects in 07 that got so far but no further. Casualties include The Horror Collection, a New Line ‘monster’ themed partworks from Eaglemoss (to which I contributed several text features). That one didn’t get past its 5-issue test run. Various mooted Transformers partwork-style projects (from the same company) came and went too, though the movie version (The Transformers Battle Card Collection) did get at least get its (limited) 5-issue test run. The final verdict’s still to come on whether that one will go any further. I’ll keep you posted. Other things that didn’t fly were a Battlestar Galactica series I pitched to Dynamite and my attempts to get some work on the Shaun the Sheep animated series. Can’t win ’em all. Appearance-wise it was a very busy year, with conventions in Derry (my personal favourite), Bristol, San Diego, Dublin and London and assorted in-store signings (Orbital, Forbidden Planet et al). Strangely, I didn’t go to a single Transformers convention (there were, bizarrely, no UK conventions in 07 and Botcon was just too close, time-wise, to the San Diego Comicon to make it workable). The overall verdict… a packed and eventful year, with Transformers holding sway over all else. Finally… my film of the year: Last King of Scotland. My book of the year: Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child. My album of the year: Back to Black by Amy Winehouse. My cultural moment of the year: visiting the Terracotta Army exhibition at the British Museum. My Transformers moment of the year: sat in a San Diego hotel bar (called DW’s Bar strangely enough) with Eric Holmes, EJ Su and Don Figueroa, just putting the world to rights. “Priceless,” as they say in the credit card ads. Look for my ‘… IN WITH THE NEW!’ trailer/teaser for 08 shortly!

2 Responses to OUT WITH THE OLD…

  1. Dawfydd says:

    Nice one Simon! You’ve certainly had a packed year. I know some of us forget just how much non-TF material you put out, but it’s great to see you’ve enjoyed the year thats passed. As a personal highlight from your work this year, finally having the complete Death’s Head 1 on the bookshelf is very groovy….that and yet more Beast Wars!
    All the best for the new year, and here’s hoping your projects for ’09 are equally, if not more, succesful

  2. Hasief says:

    My favourite aspect of the Transformers movie was seeing all those people finally realise the awesomeness of TF, especially those who were familiar with the original cartoon and toys but had forgot about the property altogether. I got a huge kick out of being someone who’s stuck with TF all the way, especially the comics – and I sincerely doubt that would be the case if you didn’t have a big hand in it all. Keep up the good work, sir; this ride just keeps getting better and better.

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