November 30, 2010

We’re not out of 2010 yet, and my first personal appearance of 2011 is already locked in! I’ll be attending Mark Millar’s incredible new Kapow Comic Con as one of the featured guests. The convention runs over the weekend of April 9th & 10th at the Business Design Centre in London. I’ll be there along with a host of comics, TV & film personalities, including (apart from Millar himself of course, and his Kickass co-collaborator John Romita Jnr) Dave Gibbons, Frank Quitely, Bryan Hitch, Paul Cornell, Noel Clarke and Brian Bolland. For full details of the Kapow Comic Con, check out the website here. Book early — this one’s set to be a sellout!


November 28, 2010

Here’s the second half of the outline for #32, ‘Armageddon pt1’:

Meanwhile, the sustained Terrorcon assault on the planetary defence shield continues. Rodimus points out that to establish a (rescue-style) spacebridge portal in the locality of Unicron they’ll need to open the shield and the Terrorcons are certain to pounce. Jetfire turns to Ironhide for a status report on Omega Supreme, his “stopper.” Ironhide responds that he’s having some teething troubles with the Artificial Matrix, but they should be up and running any time now.

Just then, a partial and scrambled emergency call comes in from Rad at the AlterEnergy test site in the Mojave Desert. They’re under attack! Though the message breaks up, Jetfire knows instinctively it’s Kicker they’re after and responds by sending the nearest available troops — Grimlock and Swoop. In the Mojave Desert, Kicker is fighting Demolishor (re-booted and upgraded by Alpha Quintesson — now one of his agents). At first, Kicker thinks he can handle Demolishor, until that is Demolishor shrugs off Kicker’s energon blast. Clearly, Alpha Quintesson has tailored him for just this mission.

An AlterEnergy rapid response team, led by Rad, does its best to waylay Demolishor but, as he says, “I’m Demolishor — it’s one of those does-what-it-says-on-the-tin names!” and proceeds to trash every armed/armoured vehicle. Demolishor bags Kicker and departs, but Rad vows — “I will find you!”

Back on Cybertron, in his underground hub, Over-Run is suddenly alerted to the proximity of Starscream, and — plugged into the planet as he is — sees Starscream’s ‘death’ at the claws of Scorponok (back in #19) and his subsequent evolution/recreation into a being of pure energon. He grasps that Starscream is consumed by an unquenchable thirst for more and more energon, in even greater concentrations, and currently senses Over-Run’s affinity with the very (energon fuelled) core of Cybertron. He urgently summons the Omnicons (Arcee, Strongarm, Signal Flare and Skyblast). But before they can arrive, Starscream attacks — and a massive explosion rips up through the surface of Cybertron.

And finally, we return to Optimus Prime. Deep within Unicron he taps into a low priority sub-processor, hoping to modify a neural command pathway that will disrupt Unicron’s energon supply. As Prime uplinks, his consciousness is pulled into the supply stream, all the way to its distant point of origin. Not Earth, as he’d assumed, but another planet, Nervissa, a world devastated and consumed by Unicron’s Four Horsemen! Prime realises: while they focused their shields and bases on Earth… another energon-rich world was dying!

To be continued…


November 26, 2010

Here’s the next bit of unseen/unpublished Energon, in outline form, the first half of issue #32’s ‘Armageddon Part 1’ (the beginning of the end for Energon):

Cybertron has become a dark, dangerous and lawless place, and gangs of Decepticons (emboldened by the resurgence of Megatron on Earth) now roam freely, openly, actively looking to re-open old wounds, enflame old hostilities. In sector zero, Dropshot encounters just one such gang, comprised of former Autobot Wheeljack, Skywarp and Thundercracker. Dropshot wants to go about his business, repairing a defective grid switch (part of a network that delivers refined energon across the planet), but Wheeljack and the others are intent on provoking him. Finally, Dropshot loses all pretense of diplomacy and engages weapons systems, ready for a fight. Wheeljack and the other Decepticons appear suddenly afraid… but not of Dropshot. Rising/forming behind Dropshot is the ghost-like Starscream, a deranged creature of pure energon!

Dropshot is seized by Starscream and hoisted twitching into the air. Wheeljack, Skywarp and Thundercracker flee in abject terror. Finally, Starscream discards Dropshot (his body almost completely drained of energon). To Starscream’s unhinged mind, all Cybertronians are merely “fragments of the eternal flame” that he must extinguish & consume!

In Avalon’s private chambers on Cybertron, the High Councillor communicates (via an interface console) with Alpha Quintesson. Avalon sees a way to remove the threat posed by Over-Run (to the coming ‘Inversion’) without raising any suspicion. He has divined a pattern of sorts in Starscream’s madness and believes that with suitable prompting/bait this ‘force of nature’ can be directed right to Over-Run’s door. Alpha Quintesson reports in turn that Unicron is now close to full reactivation, and that, as a consequence, their other rogue element (Optimus Prime) is running out of places to hide.

Sure enough, deep within Unicron, Optimus Prime is fighting a desperate and losing battle against Unicron’s lethal internal defences. And for every bit of damage Prime does to the larger infrastructure, every sector or zone he ‘kills,’ thirty others come on line. The only way forward, Prime believes, is to somehow cut off the steady supply of energon that is rapidly restoring Unicron to operational/aware status.

Earth: and Jetfire and Perceptor (combined Street Action Team) gauge the approach of Unicron, calculating 30 earth days until it reaches Cybertronian space. Jetfire wants all Mars base sensors trained on Unicron — as he hopes Prime will try and make contact. Perceptor conjectures that even if Prime is within Unicron (and they only have Megatron’s cryptic ‘belly of the beast’ message to go on) the chances of him being still alive are infinitesimal. But, above all else, Jetfire “believes” in Optimus Prime.


November 24, 2010

And here’s the second half of #31’s outline:

Earth: and in the desert Kicker is battling five airborne foes — using his energon powers to both defend himself and counterattack. Overconfident, Kicker is caught unawares by the unexpected versatility of his attackers and only just manages to deflect the final attack. It’s an AlterEnergy training exercise, overseen by Rad and Doctor Jones (Kicker’s father). Both are concerned that Kicker is not taking the threat to him seriously. Twice now he’s been actively targeted, and though both abduction attempts were thwarted they anticipate further attempts to capture him. They need to understand more about Kicker’s powers to know why the Terrorcons want him so badly, but Kicker is tired of jumping through their hoops and stalks off.

Cybertron: Over-Run is deep in past events, and we see Alpha Quintesson urgently calling for something called ‘the Conduit’, but before it can be brought to him for safekeeping, it’s destroyed. As Alpha Quintesson’s escape ship is pulled back into Unicron, he just manages to teleport the Initiator to… someone.

Back to Kicker, who decides it’s time he hit the road. He tries to flag down a passing heavy load carrier but suddenly it transforms and attacks. It’s Demolishor!

Finally, on Cybertron, Over-Run confesses a nagging fear that someone on Cybertron is a traitor, and the unseen listener is revealed as none other than Avalon — Autobot High Councillor and Alpha Quintesson’s secret collaborator!!!

To be continued…


November 23, 2010

Here’s the first bit of previously unseen/unpublished outline from the closing issues of Transformers: Energon. The first half of issue #31, “Doomsday Redux!”:

<<Six months later.

On Cybertron, Over-Run confides in an unseen listener. Hardwired into the planetary infrastructure/Hub Mainframe via the Mini-con Matrix, Over-Run has glimpsed the past and the future, a mute witness to Doomsday — times two! Over-Run recounts the destruction of Quintessa (though he doesn’t know the planet by name) by Unicron, thousands of years ago. And we see Alpha Quintesson, as was, scramble to save himself… and the future of the Quintesson race. He carries the Initiator (the device from #27). Over-Run can’t quite process the crush of imagery and information, but tells his solicitous listener he believes Cybertron was “seeded” and the harvest is now upon them.

We cut to Alpha Quintesson (current). He instructs the recently upgraded (and promoted to Terrorcon commander-in-chief) Doom-Lock to continue the assault on Earth. Doom-Lock can’t see the point now the planetary shield is active, but Alpha Quintesson insists. From an unknown location, the Four Horsemen (Death, War, Famine & Pestilence) report that their work is done and they are returning to Unicron. But Alpha Quintesson insists they remain where they are. In response to their various objections, Alpha Quintesson counters that Megatron is “contained,” content to rebuild his Decepticon empire on Earth and Jetfire’s Autobots (without Optimus Prime) have little recourse to their ‘spark of combination’ and are forced to use artificial constructs (we glimpse Omega Supreme under construction).

Back on Cybertron, Over-Run describes his glimpse of the future. We see: the Initiator launched from Cybertron in a special rocket; a portal open and Quintesson ships emerge, raining down death and destruction on Cybertron; and an orbital structure with a figure inside. Over-Run senses that the invaders don’t simply want to conquer Cybertron, they want to “bend Cybertron to their will.”>> ((More soon))


November 22, 2010

Back in 2004 I was deep into a series called Transformers: Energon (based on the toyline and, to a lesser extent, the TV show of the time). Issue #30 had just come out and #31 was at the printers. Then Dreamwave (the company publishing Transformers comics at the time) went bust — I’ll spare you the gory details, but a lot of creators, myself included, and other involved parties were owed a whole lot of money and never saw a penny — and Energon came to an abrupt full stop. Which was a shame, because artist Alex Milne and I were really hitting our joint stride on the book, and were about launch into the epic 5-part conclusion. It was all plotted. Some of it was scripted. Some of it was even drawn! Anyway, over at the IDW forums at the moment, there’s been a call from fans to know where we going and what was going to happen in Energon, and I’ve decided to have a go, here on my blog, at wrapping things up. I’ve decided to do that by publishing chunks of the outline for #31 & 32–36 in kind of serialized chunks, from time to time. All of which won’t mean much if you came in after (or didn’t bother) with the Dreamwave era of Transformers comics publishing. So, as a first step, I’m going to detail a kind of dramatis personae for Energon, as of issue #30, then kick into the first chunk of (unseen) outline at next posting. Here we go…

Unicron: planet-sized and planet-devouring bringer of chaos and destruction. Currently inactive.
Optimus Prime: leader of the heroic Autobots (naturally), and currently stranded inside Unicron, after being forced unwillingly into assisting in the re-animation of…
Megatron: deposed (and for 10 years officially dead) leader of the Decepticons. Currently in a new souped-up body and having just removed — permanently — current Terrorcon leader Scorponok.
Alpha Quintesson: mysterious alien creature and chief engineer of Unicron’s impending reactivation. Though appearing to serve Unicron loyally he has his own revenge-fuelled agenda, and was revealed to have a secret ally/conspirator in…
Avalon: a member of the current Autobot High Council on Cybertron, who possesses a mysterious technological artefact known as the Initiator. The full scope of his nefarious intentions remains cloaked in mystery.
Over-Run: time-lost Mini-con currently hard-wired into Cybertron (via the Mini-con Matrix) and delving deep into the planet’s forgotten past.
Starscream: former lieutenant of Megatron, thought destroyed, now existing in a strange non-corporeal (energon) form.
Kicker: meta-human teenager, capable of storing, channelling and releasing energon through his biological systems.
Mirage, Demolishor & Slugslinger: agents of Alpha Quintesson.
The Four Horsemen of Unicron: Death, Famine, Pestilence & War, four former Autobots transformed into incredibly powerful agents of Unicron.
Rad, Alexis & Carlos: human allies of the Autobots. Both Rad & Carlos work, in different capacities, for AlterEnergy, a company tapping the potential of energon as an alternative energy source.

Okay, as much as possible, that brings you right up to speed. Check back here for the first chunk of #31’s outline soon!


November 20, 2010

Signed Transformers goodies are up on ebay right now — and what’s better, it’s all in a good cause! Andrew Wildman’s Draw the World Together charity is auctioning off signed copies of Transformers collections All Fall Down and End of the Road (signed not just by the the two of us, but also inker Stephen Baskerville and colourist Nel Yomtov) and a host of other highly collectible items. For the full list of what’s up for grabs, click here and for all the details on Draw the World Together visit their website here.


November 18, 2010

It went so well last time, I’m doing it again! Barely has my dealer’s hat been off my bonce after the last National Collector’s Marketplace than it’s being dusted off ready for the next. Yep, I’ll be attending the December (5th) National Collector’s Marketplace at the Royal National Hotel, Bedford Way, London WC1 (nearest tube: Russell Square) armed with more boxes of comics for sale. A host of Silver/Bronze/Modern Age Marvels (plus some DC), not to mention a big box of Transformers, Death’s Head and other Furman-related stuff, await those who pass by my pitch. Wave silver coins at me and they shall be yours. I’ll even sign my stuff! Plus, I’ve unearthed a few rare copies of Alignment, the non-canon conclusion to G2 I did for a UK convention years back, which I’ll be bringing with me for sale. First come, first served! Hope to see you there! For more details on the National Collector’s Marketplace click here.

Picture credit: James Dodsworth


November 5, 2010

Just a quick reminder that I’ll be hawking my wares (comic collection or part thereof) at the Royal National Hotel in Russell Square this coming Sunday (7th Nov). In addition to a whole slew of X-Men, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and Daredevil comics (to mention but a few) from the 60s, 70s, 80s & 90s, I’ve uncovered a big box of Transformers comics (Marvel, Dreamwave & IDW) that I’ll be lugging along with me for sale and signing. Anyone around London town on Sunday, pop in and say hi. The event is the National Collector’s Marketplace and it’s free to come in and have a poke around. Kicks off at 12.


November 2, 2010

My latest Comics Candy round up of a choice ten comic titles that shipped during October is now up at totalscifionline.com. If you fancy hearing what I had to say about the likes of Angel vs Frankenstein II, Loki, Knight and Squire and Soldier Zero, click here.