Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cybertronian Optical Code, revealed!

Thanks to the tireless Chris McFeely, his Annotated AllSpark Almanac Addendum is now updated!  Boy, that's a lotta alliteration!

The exciting bit for me is that he cracked my C.O.C., a new cipher I made up just for him, more or less.  Didn't figure out that clue, eh?  Cybertronian Optical Code, from the episode Decepticon Air!   I figured I'd make it not too tricky, so it's a simple variation on Morse code, with circles for dots and half-circles for dashes.  To make it slightly harder, I rotated the half-circles around at random, but the orientation is meaningless except to separate upper from lowercase letters.

If anyone is interested, you can download Cybertronian Optical Code here.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Lander's Transform

Welcome back, true believers!  Another edition of The Ark Addendum, extra model sheets not in  Transformers: The Complete Ark  (order it today!) , my 416 page tome of Transformers character models.

This week's offering is another transformation sequence from Masterforce.  I give you: Lander!  I find the last picture in the sequence especially nice, what with the clouds and the mountains.  For a pretty simple toy, he they sure make his Transform seem dynamic.

By the way, Landmine, the American version of  Lander, was my first Pretender.  I remember finding him in a drug store while waiting for my parents to pick me up.  Since the TF cartoon was long off the air and I hadn't yet discovered the comics, I was pretty thrilled to find a brand new Transformer.  I had almost as much excitement from looking at the 1988 catalog as I did from the toy itself.  Had I found Transformers #52 and #53 at this time, I'd probably have been pretty thrilled.  (Instead, I got into the comics with issue #69.  When I tracked down the back issues, I found this underwhelming.  I'd already grown bored with the toy by that point.  What a difference 18 months make.)

While I've got your attention, I did an interview with the folks over at Rusting Carcass, so read that if you'd like the latest on the Joe model book.  Also, the kind folks over at the What's on JOE Mind talk a bit about the upcoming Joe book, so check out their excellent podcast.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

G.I. Joe in Transformers Animated

G.I. Joe sure gets around, don'tcha know!  Of all the work I've done, the stuff that gets the most love is certainly The AllSpark Almanacs, so I thought I'd do a little post showcasing all of the G.I. Joe that found its way into Animated.

First off, we've got a lovely drawing of Shattered Glass Professor Princess.  Yes, in the mirror universe, Penny Princess does use girls toys to enact her agenda, no.  There, Private Princess dresses up in boys toys, namely G.I. Joe.  Oh, and her mount is not My Little Ponies based... it draws from Battle Beasts.  Awesome.  It's drawn up by the main man Derrick Wyatt himself, and it's just barely possible that we'll be hearing more about Private Princess in the pages of the Transformers Collectors' Club Magazine.

Next up, Snake Eyes!  This model featured in Where Is Thy Sting, a third season episode of Animated, and is one of the characters in the Ninja Gladiator game.  It featured in the The AllSpark Almanac II (order it today!) book, along with some awesome new pixilated designs from the always hilarious Walky.  One of them was another Joe model, based on the creature that lives under Castle Destro in Sins of our Fathers, though it was identified as an Inhumanoid.  Funny, that.  (Miles Mayhem, from M.A.S.K., also showed up, and I suppose technically he's a Joe villain in that V.E.N.O.M. was retroactively made a part of Cobra, but I won't count him.)

We worked some other Joe references into the book, including putting Cobra Commander on Mount Rushmore.  Mostly just name drops, such as the Mobat as an answer to a crossword question, Brekhov as a drink, the Lunartix as a threat from space, or Shockblast's serial number fit in there.

Finally, a bit of holiday cheer.  In the episode Along Came a Spider, we see many of the children of Animated dressed up for trick-or-treating.  We did a two-page spread of the costumes in the first Allspark Almanac (order it today!), including these three familiar ones. 

(Other Joe name drops in the first Almanac include Extensive Enterprises and Cold Slither, and the names of both the power plant and the prison.)

So, there you go, a brief overview of G.I. Joe in Animated.  More than you thought, eh?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Decepticon Headquarters, Cybertron

It's Tuesday, which means I get a guilt-free break from G.I. Joe in order to bring you another Ark Addendum.  This week, I started off looking at doing an Ultimate Doom addendum.  After all, I still have Part 3 from that three parter to finish of.  However, an opportunity to be a bit more focused presented itself, so I took it.  From both Ultimate Doom and its sequel, Countdown to Extinction, I had a number of views of the Decepticon headquarters on Cybertron.  In fact, the nicest of these wound up in The Complete Ark, but I had more.  Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ivan's Gallery: Cobra Commander

Iv├ín Mas recently got in touch with me with some more artwork to share!  Since I'm high on G.I. Joe right now, I figured I'd share this lovely piece.

Here is what the artist has to say about it:

Thanks to the friend Jim, a few days ago the Cobra Commander contact with me. He need a poster for when decide to stand for President of the E.U.A.

He need a poster, and will help you make a design that you would be familiar.

Although I prefer the Commander cobra with the mask metal, this I do not dislike
In any case, the Commander can count with my vote.

Hail Cobra!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

ANNOUNCEMENT: G.I. Joe Animation Model Book & The Ark Addendum - Arbco Submarine

Yo Joe!  The time has come for much rejoicing and cavorting.  I can now officially announce what many of you have guessed... my next book is going to be an Ark-style book of G.I. Joe animation models, out this summer.

(Nice Snake Eyes model courtesy of a frequent contributor to the model book, Tim Finn of A Real American Book.)

It's going to be pretty spectacular.  For some reason I've been able to find WAY more material than I have for Transformers.  As the illustration to the right jokingly illustrates, I'm going to be taking a few thousand model sheets and condensing the very best and most interesting of them down into one volume of a few hundred pages. I'm really stoked at my first work in this new and glorious arena.  I've come across some amazingly cool rare stuff, plus most of what you'd expect for a book about the Sunbow animation models. I'm still looking for more material, too, so if you're a collector of such things drop me a line.  I'm especially interested in material from the movie and the commercials beyond, as well as incidental characters.

So you see, my Roll Out Roll Call appearance is doubly fortuitous!  I can show off some early sneak-peaks of the book there.  Definitely swing by if you're in the UK.

In honor of my new announcement, a very special edition of The Ark Addendum: the Arbco Submarine from the Seacons commercial. 

What's Arbco, you ask?  Why, it's an anagram of Cobra, of course, one of the many legitimate fronts of that ruthless terrorist organization from G.I. Joe.  But what does that have to do with Transformers, you ask?

Well, you see, while I was going through Bob Budiansky's big box o' models, I came across today's addendum, a really cool looking sub.  It took me a while to figure out where it came from, the aforementioned Seacon commercial. I loved the design, but didn't have a good spot for it in any of my Ark books, so I mentally filed it away.

While putting together the Joe book, I cam across a very similar model, an early unused version of a Cobra submarine.  (The actual model was revised a bit, most prominently to include a giant cobra head painted on the front of the sub, and will almost certainly be in the Joe model book.)  Sure enough, the Seacons were menacing a sub from the same class of vessels that Cobra uses, seen here.  I think it's kind of neat to uncover yet another connection between the Joe-verse and Transformers-verse. 

In other news, I just sent FunPub the 2nd of our Collectors' Club magazine AllSpark Almanac articles.  Derrick, Bill, and I met for dinner and hammered out what this one will be, and it should dovetail nicely with this year's BotCon theme.  I think you'll all get a kick out of it.

Here is the Seacon commercial in its entirety. 

6/12/12 update - by the way, rewatching The Synthoid Conspiracy, the episode that introduces this submarine, and Destro makes a point of how shoddy the sub is compared to something he'd manufacture, so I'm calling it an Arbco Submarine instead of a MARS Industry sub.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

LA Ink - Redux

So, I was browsing through my documents when what did I find but the original license granted to Bill and to LA Ink about his tattoo.  I thought I'd share parts of it.  I don't think it's appropriate to share all of the various legalese, but the opening paragraphs lay out the basic purpose of the document.

For those of you who don't remember, Bill posted here about his experiences getting the cover of  Transformers: The Ark Volume 2 (order it today!) tattooed on his chest... on cable TV.  This was actually pretty difficult to set up.  You see, in order for LA Ink to be allowed to show a picture of a Transformer on their show, they had to have legal permission from Hasbro to do so.  We approached our editors at IDW to see if they could help make it happen.  The editors put us in touch with the Hasbro legal team, who were absolutely stellar and made it happen.  Bill might be the only person in the world with a licensed character tattooed on him and an actual license from the company permitting it.  I think that's boffo.

By the way, it's a 4th season episode of the show called "Feelings Rule."  You can download it from if you like.  You can also watch Bill's segment right here:

Kinda awesome, no?