In the shadow of the biggest Transformers event since ... well, since the last huge Transformers movie, I finished dotting the jays and crossing the cues on these two books and uploaded the final image files to IDW over the weekend. Obviously, the vast bulk of the work was done months and months ago, but last week I got the copy edits back and had to go in and make sure that all my quotation marks faced the right way and that I never used a dash when I meant to use a hyphen. I have to say, I'm really impressed with how IDW's stepped up its editorial process. They've always been good, now they're hitting excellence. At BotCon, we shared some pages that will be appearing in the book - I figured I'd post a few of them here, along with some impressions of each book.
Transformers: The Complete Ark (preorder it today!) is a fun book. Character models remain one of my strong loves, and this book is chock-a-block with them. If you have either volume, you've got a pretty good idea what this will be like. If you have both volumes, well, I like to think that the more compact size and the extra material I managed to cram in makes it worth your while. This is probably old news by now, but by removing material that was duplicated across both volumes, I had enough space to expand on the Masterforce section of the book. Now the Godmasters get just as much love as the Headmasters and Pretenders before them, something that always bothered me about The Ark II. I also added in a few other pages here and there, like the Decepticon's underwater headquarters as shown off at BotCon this year. Finally, there were quite a lot of pages where I had some extra model appropriate to a character, like say Motormaster's heads, so I added those in when I could. I even got the chance to speak to a few of the original series designers and get their input. But extras aside, I think that a combined volume is the ideal way to consume this material. This book puts models together from every Generation One Transformers season and show, and is as comprehensive as I could make it. I hope you enjoy it.
As fun as The Ark is, my magnum opus (that sounds vaguely like a Transformers name, doesn't it?) is definitely
The Allspark Almanac (preorder it today!). So many things made that book fun to put together. Just getting the chance to work with people like Derrick Wyatt and Marty Isenberg was an amazing experience. We were also fortunate enough that other stakeholders in the Animated universe, like Hasbro, Takara-Tomy, Titan Magazines, even the writers of Bee in the City, were willing to lend us their time to make sure that every aspect of this amazing universe got its due.
But the big difference was the availability of material. With The Ark, I had to hunt down old models, most of which required restoration. Even today, many models from G1 have eluded me, like the episode-specific fembots or the main characters from 1989 and 1990. With the Almanac, I had access to the entire Cartoon Network archives. Color or black&white, characters or props, background paintings, scripts and storyboards .... having this much material to work with was a sheer delight. It shifted the focus of the book from the acquisition of material to the disposition of material. As much as I love the b&w designs, getting to lay out color models and write up bios and character histories is much more creatively satisfying. Some of the pages we got quite experimental with, but given the whimsy that is Animated I think it all works. The decision to do the whole book from an in-universe perspective, while challenging in some spots (I'm looking at you, episode guides!), helped make this an absolute joy to write. I hope you find it as entertaining to read.
Big couple of weeks for Transformers in general and me in particular. Next week, once it's calmed down a bit, the blog will most likely return to its regularly scheduled program of Ark Addendums on Tuesdays. See you there!