After years of writing Transformers stories for the UK and US, I’m proud to announce I’ll be notching up my first all-Japanese writing credit, courtesy of Million Publishing, who produce the amazing Transformers: Generations 2009 magazine series. Volume 3 of said publication features an all-new 2-page comic strip story written by me with art by fan favourite Guido Guidi. Interestingly, and with a kind of uncanny synergy, the story idea I initially submitted to Million Publishing employed elements from the two previous manga strips (in Transformers: Generations 2009 #1 & 2), to such an extent we were able to fuse everything together in a way that continues and wraps up that storyline. I hadn’t even seen those strips, let alone understood them, when I first pitched the idea to Million, so it all fitted together oh so very neatly. Transformers: Generations 2009 vol 3 is out later this year. For more information check out the Million Publishing site here. Once it’s out, I’ll provide a file featuring my original script version of the dialogue, thereby negating the need for a reverse translation from the Japanese (translated) text. I’ve a feeling, otherwise, it could get messy!
That’s StarCraft issue #2, as opposed to the much-anticipated StarCraft 2 game, due out later this year. The second issue of Wildstorm’s comic book spin off series, written by me with art by Federico Dallochio, hits stores this week (June 24th in the US, 25th in the UK), with our recently reformed, hard bitten team of ex-cons, The War Pigs, running up against serious opposition in the shape of space-going cutthroat mercs. Will their quest to find and ‘retire’ ex-marshal and StarCraft mainstay Jim Raynor collapse before it’s even started? Probably not, as this is issue #2 of an ongoing series, but there’s still 22 packed pages of searing story action waiting for you, with a twist or two thrown in for good measure. Things are really starting to hot up, and whether you’re a fan of the game or not, you’d do well to jump onboard now!
Blatant plug for Rad Robots, my coffee-table style book featuring the long, short, big and tall of the robot world, which officially hits UK stores today, June 22nd (no details yet on a full US release, but I’m sure it’s available via th’internet). Spanning everything automaton from the ancient Greeks to ASIMO, via the wondrous worlds of film, TV, book, comic and toy, Rad Robots takes an none too po-faced trawl through (almost) every robot to whir, clank and buzz across big and small screen, printed page and more, featuring such chapters as ‘When Robots go Bad,’ ‘Robots with Dangerous Curves’ and ‘Asimov’s Robots.’ Published by Kyle Cathie, the book is in stores, virtual or otherwise, now! BTW, I’ll be signing copies of Rad Robots (among other things) this coming Saturday (June 27th) at Orbital Comics in London (see previous blog entry) and handing out freebies (signed Transformers comics, StarCraft posters) for anyone who comes clutching a copy!
With the official UK release date of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen now looming, Titan have unveiled the first issue of its all-new Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen comic (issue #1 on sale today, June 18th). Re-starting from issue #1 the premiere issue comes with a fresh new look and an all-new (UK exclusive) comic strip, which ties into the movie and spotlights the Twins, Skids and Mudflap (along with a whole host of other new characters, including Soundwave, Ransack, Ravage, Sideways, Grindor, Sideswipe and more). The strip is written by me with art by Jon Davis-Hunt, who’s undertaking ongoing art duties on the title! And as if that wasn’t enough, there’s more comic strip (in the shape of All Hail Megatron), free dog tags, free sticker album (and stickers), character profiles and competitions.
Next up on my 09 signing/convention schedule is London’s Orbital Comics on Saturday 27th of June. I’ll be there from 2PM (to around 5PM), along with artists Nick Roche, Jon Davis-Hunt, Boo and Liam Shalloo, answering questions and signing stuff, including Rad Robots—my all things robots in film, TV, books and comics tome—which will be out and in stock by then. So come down and grab a signed copy of that or Transformers: The Movie Universe, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen movie adaptation (single issues or collected TPB) and StarCraft #1 and #2. Oh, and you can check out some amazing Roche original artwork in a special gallery display at the store. Orbital Comics can be found at 8 Great Newport Street (a stone’s throw from Leicester Square tube). See you there!
As promised, a note to let you know that Blizzplanet have published the StarCraft interview I mentioned in my last StarCraft blog update. The first two questions and answers can be read below. For the rest, check out the Blizzplanet website here.
How does your experience with The Transformers translate into your new role in the StarCraft comic book? And what’s your feeling on taking this project?
SF: Just to reassure people, the StarCraft comic is a robot-free zone as far as I’m concerned, though we do have a… no, maybe that’s just too much of a spoiler! I suppose if anything translates from my Transformers work to StarCraft it’s that I have lots of experience with licensed characters and working within a complex, highly intricate/interactive universe. When Blizzard Entertainment told me they wanted the comic as fully immersed in established StarCraft lore, locations and characters as possible I was delighted. I love to think that what we do in the comic has impact on and ramifications for the larger StarCraft universe, and that characters from the comic will then cross over into other StarCraft media. It makes me feel a part of something very big, evolving and exciting. Hopefully that’ll translate to the scale and scope and impact of the stories too. Four (or so) issues in, in script terms, and I’m having a blast. I try not to think of it as just a game, but as this whole sweeping, epic sci-fi/war opus, to which I’m now adding extra layers.
Who is the captain of the War Pigs and what can you tell us about each of its crewmembers?
SF: Well, that’s the interesting thing about the War Pigs, they don’t really have a captain or a designated leader. When we first meet them, Brock Valevoss is nominally in charge of the unit, but events in #1 force change on the War Pigs’ structure and their entire way of thinking (especially as relates to any one individual calling the shots). There’s a random, chaotic nature to the War Pigs anyway, and that’s reflected in the almost democratic way they plan and execute their mission(s). If there’s a driving force, story-wise, it’s Cole Hickson, the scarred Guild Wars vet with a dark, dark secret or three. But as we (and the other War Pigs) scrape the surface of Hickson, we uncover a whole other side to the man, which might just finish the War Pigs before they really get started. But then, given all our War Pigs are ex-cons facing a life stretch in prison or a death sentence, it’s safe to assume that they all have rocks they’d rather never got turned over. Nuura Joss, chief pilot of the War Pigs’ ship, the General Lee, has a traumatic past that still dogs her present, as do Turfa Dei, a former insurgent-for-hire with a penchant for blowing things up, Iggins, a man haunted by the cheating wife he murdered in cold blood, and Romy Pyrius, the crew medic with a big, bad STIMS habit and a whole medical college’s cupboard full of skeletons. This is one messed up bunch of desperate, unstable and dangerous individuals, all one short step from just crashing and burning, but, strangely, the War Pigs unit, a kind of last chance/last resort, gives them all the one thing they’ve never had: a sense of real belonging, a facsimile of ‘family.’
Final issues abound this week, as my second Terminator series, Terminator: Revolution, reaches its apocalyptic end. The story, begun in Terminator: Infinity, wraps up explosively, as the human resistance makes its all or nothing move against Skynet and the machines… without John Connor. He’s trapped in the past, safeguarding his younger self, with the T-Infinity and the Dire Wolf to contend with. And, of course, if anything happens to either John, whatever the resistance fighters in the future accomplish will amount to nothing! Terminator: Revolution #5 hits US stores today, June 10th (a day later in the UK), and it’s written by me with art by Lui Antonio (whose amazing work I just can’t praise enough). Oh, by the way, we really do wrap things up. A rarity in the many worlds of Terminator!
Out this week (June 10th in the US, June 11th in the UK) is the final searing, action-packed part of the 4-issue comic book adaptation of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Written by me, with art by Jon Davis-Hunt, the final battle between the Autobots, Decepticons and The Fallen runs from cover-to-cover, as the ancient secrets of the Transformers race are uncovered—literally. Obviously, I can’t reveal too much, but I will just say that Devastator plays a BIG part, Prime has a ‘Red Bull’ moment and Sam gives everyone a piece of his mind (again, literally). The film opens in the UK on June 19th, so there’s still plenty of time to get one up on your mates by reading the entire adaptation and winding them up something rotten for the whole of the following week!
Just back from the 2D comics festival in Derry, Northern Ireland, and—as ever—what a superb little convention it was. Every year seems to be bigger, better and busier, and this year’s was no exception. Both nights’ sessions in Sandinos were crammed, with panels ranging from the state of comics art, a David Lloyd/Bryan Talbot Q&A and the inevitable mad rabid rant that is the comics to movies session (which I compered). The Saturday was busy throughout, with a great mix of fans, kids and whole families. I was sat with Nick Roche, who turned out incredible sketch after incredible sketch, busily promoting Rad Robots (out soon!), StarCraft and generally teasing my trio of upcoming Tales of the Fallen Transformers stories. Organizer David Campbell, his crew, and Garry Leach (who does so much behind-the-scenes work for the con) should feel justifiably proud. It was a great event. Roll on next year!
My ’09 convention/signing schedule resumes next weekend as I head to Derry in Northern Ireland and the 2D Comics Festival. This will be my third time at the Derry festival and I can’t recommend it enough, so if you can, pop down and say hi (and get something signed even). Things kick off on Friday (June 5th) upstairs at Sandinos bar (evening), with comics panels featuring such industry luminaries as Garry Leach, Rufus Dayglo, David Hine, D’Israeli, David Lloyd and many more. I’ll be there too! So will Nick Roche! Then, on the Saturday (June 6th) it’s a whole day of talks, signings and more at Derry’s verbal arts centre. Not sure yet if Nick and I are doing anything wholly dedicated to Transformers but I imagine we’ll be in the near vicinity of each other on the Saturday so available to blab carelessly about upcoming stuff (that we probably shouldn’t talk about), sign stuff and sketch (well, Nick will, I’m sure). Then Saturday evening it’s back to Sandinos for more loose-lipped stuff in the panel room. For full details of the event, guests and schedule, check out the 2D site here.