Saturday, April 28, 2012

Transformers Legacy

The cybercat is out of the bag!  Today, at the BotCon IDW panel, we announced my next Transformers book.  In 2013 (or perhaps earlier... we shall see) you can look forward to a new, high-format book from Bill Forster and myself.  Legacy: The Box Art of The Transformers is going to be something special.  I've been working on it for a while now, and I'm really amazingly pleased with how well it is going.  We've been working with Hasbro, Part One (the parent company of eHobby), and numerous private collectors to pull together the definitive coffee table book of Transformers packaging art.

A lot of things, like the date and the page count, are still up in the air.  However, here's what has already been decided on:
   1: The scope will be G1 and G2.  No Beast Wars or beyond.  We'll be covering every year in the US, as well as the entire Japanese set of releases.  It's possible that we might get Europe in too, if we can find the material.  That remains to be seen.
   2: The extras will be substantial.  We're talking essays and interviews with the original artists, modern repaints of vintage artwork (think eHobby exclusives), unused box art, production sketches for box art and more.
   3: In terms of scale, we've got more then 750 images in hand, and a few more last-minute leads to pursue.  I'd like to get those numbers up, so if you are a collector of the originals, drop me a line!

This is the big one.  Transformers box art.  Tell your friends.

Many of you are asking what pieces I'm looking for.  While there are many I'd like to have, here are the biggest omissions so far:

US G1:

US Astrotrain (Train Mode)
US Trypticon
US Piranacon

Action Masters:
    Bumblebee, Jackpot, Rollout, Skyfall,
    Sprocket (bot), Wheeljack (bot), Optimus Prime (Bot only), Prowl (both)
    Banzai-Tron, Devastator, Krok, Shockwave, Treadshot
    Starscream (both), Axer (both)

 US G2:
Dinobots (color variants, possibly Italian only), Windrazor, Autobot Cyber Jets,  Auto-Rollers Roadblock, Gobots (2nd wave). I'd also like the watch artwork.  Unused G2 artwork, especially from the tail-end of the line, would also be very cool.

Japanese G1:
Dino cassettes: Graphy, Noise, Dial, Saur
Sparkdash: Hardspark, Hotspark, Wildspark

Rocket Base
Battle Patrol (Micromasters)
Super Car Patrol (Micromasters)

Virtually all, but especially at least one of the battle murals from the back.  Pyro and Clench are personal favorites. I find the Rescue Force and the new Scrapper art pretty cool too.

Catalog and Puzzle:
There was a bit of catalog and puzzle artwork created in the same style around this time frame, I'd like to feature some in the book.

Diaclone / Microman:
Diaclone and Microman artwork is also of interest.  Omnibots, Bumper (that is to say, MC-04 Mini CAR Robo 02 Familia 1500XG), Kronoformers, Powerdashers would be high on the list of priorities. I'm also partial to Powered Convoy, and the blue Blaster Microman artwork. 

I'd like to get my hands on the micromaster combiner back-of-the-box artwork that's in a kind of cartoony style, especially from the Combiner boxes.  Oddities, like the Tyco sets, are also of interest.  Any unused package art, guys that never actually came out or alternate variants for guys who did, are of keen interst.


There are also some that I have decent quality pics of but I'd like to upgrade, mostly from 87:

Terrorcons minus Hun-Grrrr
Japanese Computron, Strafe, Lightspeed, Afterburner
Laser Optimus Prime
G2 Sideswipe 
G2 Gobots (wave 1)

If you have originals or transparencies for any of these guys, you could help me out a lot and get your name in the book.


Heroic Decepticon said...

Oh my gosh, this is great news!!! I don't have original images but I have scanned and edited a lot of images for Botch the Crab over the years. Will email you to see if you need anything.

D.M said...

Will Microman & Diaclone TF related boxart be featured in the extras? :D

Carlos said...

One of the few TF books I'll ever preorder without the need to preview any interior pages. You guys earned my trust with the first Ark book, you know that ;)

Hope you're doing great.

Carlos Oliveros

Jimtron said...

Heroic Decepticon: please do get in touch. I've actually been coordinating with Botch a bit, he's a great guy.

D.M.: If I can get clean examples and Hasbro say yes, then yes, they will. It's something I'm keenly aware of.

Carlos: Glad to hear it! I think you'll be really happy with this one.

Hursticon said...

This is absolutely amazing news! :O

As a big fan of your 'Transformers: The Complete Ark' book, as well as what Heroic Decepticon and Botch the Crab have managed to achieve over the past couple of years; A book comprising such material would be simply delectable and defining! :D

Should this book be successful though, which is a redundant question really - as if it could be anything but :P, would there be any sort of a possibility of Beast Wars seeing a similar treatment?

I think I'd die of excitement if you were able to fit a BW style art book into your future schedule, but 1st things 1st...

I very much love the old-school art that accompanied both Diaclone & G1 Transformers boxes, so I wish yourself and Bill Forster (As well as all those who are also involved) nothing but the very best of luck in realising this essential effort! :)

Hans said...

Great news, I've been hoping something like this would happen (now all that is left to hope for is a release of the full G1 cartoon soundtrack with all the background music, hehe)!

I trust Jeffrey Mangiat will be a big part of the interview section of the book? Since he did the box art for the likes of Jazz and Mirage (their Diaclone releases had pictures of the toys, so Hasbro had to ask Mangiat to create new boxart, unlike with Hoist or Wheeljack where existing Diaclone art was used), and of course he did the big back-of-the-box posters.

I know that Paul Hitchens of the Spacebridge used to have a pretty big collection of original boxart, featuring the likes of Skullcruncher and possibly a lot of European exclusives as well. Have you contacted him? Maybe he still has it.

Tets said...

Wooo! That will be an enjoyable little book to have! This news has made my day!

Jimtron said...

Huristicon: I wouldn't rule out a BW book, though I don't know how much material exists or how keen Hasbro is to revisit that era right at the moment.

Hans: Mr. Mangiat will be involved in a big way if I have my say.

Eric Warren said...

This is going to be excellent; as a lover of TF Art I can't wait. Consider it purchased!

Hursticon said...

Jimtron: That's really great to hear mate! :D

I don't believe there is as much art for BW as there is for G1-G2; But what is there is absolutely just as stunning and in my eyes really conveys the 'Beastial' nature of that line & era, so the smaller volume 'should' make it slightly easier for you. :P

It'd certainly be a rather interesting investigation, IMO, to try and track down the artwork as I believe that there were Laser Disks produced at one point which I believe contained a great deal of the BW Box art. :)

You're very right though; Hasbro does seem rather stand off-ish at present with regards to the Beast Era (Sadly :(), any efforts on your behalf at a later point though would be greatly appreciated regardless. ;)

Thanks for your response Jim & best of luck to you, Bill and the team with the G1 Art book. :)

Ben said...

This sounds fantastic! I'll be preordering it as soon as possible!

Freight Train said...

Jim, how best to contact you? I'm a collector of original TF box art. I've several of the G1/G2 production art transparencies & packaging proofs made from the original paintings, including Action Masters, plus four of the actual paintings, one of which was a proof of concept for the Pretenders.

Nice thing about them is that they also display the bots' artwork as they originally appeared before any corrections were made. I know one or two of them also has notes involving changes that Hasbro wanted made to the artwork.

Can you also use any images of the Transformers animation model sheets and/or production cels cels?

What I do need to know is what format and resolution you want these images and if you wouldn't mind them sent on a CD/DVD. My eMail system tends to get cranky whenever I send large graphic files through it.

LMK if you want me to try contacting you via your blog or through IDW.

Jimtron said...

Oh, and yes, I'm always looking for model sheets. I've published four books of them and have two more in the works.

D.M said...

More Ark books? :D

jeff p said...

Awesome news! I haven't been disappointed yet in your books so I'm in for at least one (and maybe one more as a gift). This news couldn't be much more exciting.

"...and have two more in the works."

And then it was.

Jimtron said...

jeff p, the two more books in the works are already announced, the two G.I. Joe animation model books.

jeff p said...

I somehow missed the announcement of the second Joe book so it's still good news to me.

Anonymous said...

This is extra cool. Looking forward buying 2 copies!


leokearon said...
Might have a couple of the Images you are looking for

Jimtron said...

Leokearon: I am, of course, quite familiar with Botch, and have contributed many pieces over the years. For the most part, his scans are of too low resolution for me to make use of, but Botch has been helping me track down some contributors of particularly high quality pieces.

Colin said...

Just emailed you off a test scan. I'll put an email package (or CD for post if you prefer) for end of weekend. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Wow. This one took me by surprise, but it's a pleasant one. Look at the number of comments already- 21 (make that 22)! Really looking forward to this one.

Carcass said...

Jim, I have a really strange transparency of Perceptor that looks like it was to be intended for the box art, but the lineart of which ended up being used for the instruction sheet. Don't know if that interests you for this book or not, but if it does, let me know and I'll let you borrow it.

Simon Hall said...

I am very excited about this news. I've been hoping this stuff would see a physical format one day.

I'm disappointed to hear that Hasbro have little interest in the Beast era stuff seeing the light of day. Particularly as Beast Wars helped inject new life into a franchise that could have been gone forever after the poor performance of G2. Mind you, Hasbro don't seem very keen on stuff that rakes over the brands past. Maybe its because they don't want the brand tarred with the 'retro' tag, or because they don't have much interest in the box art - or appreciate its value to some of us. I love it, and would love to see this work get its dues. I don't know that I'd be interested in anything beyond Beast Wars though. Most of the box art beyond the Beast Era has been pretty terrible and its only with the recent Powercore Combiner 5 packs and the Hunt For The Decepticon line that some decent artwork has shown up again., I'm rambling aren't I? :)

Unknown said...

I have a MIB Rotorstorm with his paperwork including the multilingual English/French comic. I'll see if I can get some scans done.

Unknown said...

Any update of when this book is coming out?

Brian said...

Any updates on this book? I was bummed that there was no news on it from Botcon. Love the original TF art and can't wait to have it all in one book!

Unknown said...

If you still need Quickswitch, I have the cardboard cutout of the robot mode...

Anonymous said...

Wow! This is something I've always hoped for but never thought would happen!! It fills a hole in my collection. A collection of those back-of-box fight scenes alone would make it worth it.

PLEASE include full sized prints of all the *catalogs* too. They were different in different countries. That's the final thing to make this awesome collection complete!!!

Furret said...

This sounds amazing, pretty much my dream book, but I couldn't help notice the weird image of Buzzsaw.

Is there a reason it's not the official box illustration? Is that an example of a placeholder that's yet to be replaced?

Jimtron said...

Michael, we have Quickswitch, though were're missing Sixknight.

Anonymous, we have some catalog art, but given the level of quality we're shooting for we only have a small sampling.

Furret, that's a proof-of-concept image from a year and a half ago. Have no fears, Buzzsaw will be gorgeous. The book won't look much like the above images.

Furret said...

Great, thanks for the quick reply!

I wasn't aware of your work before but I've just ordered Transformers: 30th Anniversary Collection from and can't wait for the artwork book.

Is there any chance that the back-of-the-box images in particular could be released as posters?

I've always wanted a really big version of the wave 1 picture, it's so iconic.