On the 19th July 2007 Titan Magazines released their Transformers comic, a first for the compnay which had previously only re-printed older Transformers comic material. At the helm was Steve White, editor for Titan Magazines, a former member of the original UK Transformers Comic team in the Marvel UK days. Alongside Steve was Transformers scribe Simon Furman, whom many fans feel is the true Allspark / Matrix / Vector Sigma of the Transformers universe, at least in comic form. For issue one another member of the original Transformers team was bought back, fan-favorite Geoff Senior (well known for his "action poses" in the 1980's-90's Transformers comics). The comic was to feature new content, in the form of a new story, as well as posters, profiles, letters pages and re-printed back-up strips of the IDW Transformers series.
The comic cover features Transformers Movie Optimus Prime, in robot more, using the standard "Transformers Movie advertising pose". At the top left corner there's a nice picture of Optimus Prime, drawn by Geoff Senior, in a nod to the original UK Transformers comic. The issue comes with two free Dog-Tags, featuring the new "TF" logo, from the Transformers Movie advertising campaign. It's interesting as that logo is not actually used that much. The second tag features the Transformers Movie autobot logo, and the overall feel of the comic is like a Computer Game Magazine (it looks very similar to an issue of Playstation 2 Magazine which feautred Transformers The Game).
The inside cover gives you your contents and full credit list (please refer to the end of this article). Again another Geoff Senior picture of Optimus Prime's face is used, looking very G2 comic like. One point I'd like to make is the top credits, where Steve White's name is, appears very blurry and makes it a little difficult to read.
Page 3, the actual first page of the magazine, is a brief who, what, why, when, where on the Transformers universe, to get you up-to-speed. The artwork in the background, used on the Transformers Movie packaging, looks fantastic due to the size of the comic. The image of Movie Bumblebee is a standard Transformers Movie advertising image.
Page 4 is an advert for two Transformers novels and Page 5 starts with the actual contents. The story is called Optimus Prime, and gives a brief description of events which took place before the Allspark was launched into space.
Credits for Optimus Prime Story
Script - Simon Furman
Art - Geoff Senior
Colours - Robin Smith
Letters - Jimmy Betancourt (Comiccraft)
I won't give much away of the story, but if you're a fan of the original G1 or G2 comic art, especially Geoff Senior, then you'll love this story. Geoff is right back where he left off over 10 years ago, and although the colouring of Optimus Prime is technically wrong (he is depicted as red and blue in protoform mode), I actually think it looks better, and can understand why the colourist wanted to do this (as it's easier for the readers to identify the character as Optimus Prime.
The drones in the background, which Optimus Prime is fighting, have one eye, like the drones from the Transformers The Game / toys (such as Swindle, Dreadwind etc). I thought this was a nice touch and showed what research had been done. Megaton also reminded me of Thunderwing, from the Marvel UK days (in appearance).
A new character is introduced, Arctus, and there is one image of Optimus Prime's face (please see the photographs below) which reeks of the Generation One days (it reminded me a lot of Dreadwind. Most of the artwork / colouring is very G2 like, and the addition of the same font really give the comic a retro feel. Some fans may not like this, if they are used to the Dreamwave / IDW artwork / style, so be warned.
The story doesn't fit exactly into the Transformers Movie universe, but I enjoyed it (it has to be different from the film, just like the original comic was different to the cartoon) and I'm certainly looking forward to more of this. The comic ends on page 14 (so there is only 10 pages of the strip).
Note: Does anyone else think that the green drone Prime fights looks like Liege Maximo?
Page 16/17 is a profile of Transformers Movie Optimus Prime, which is based on the Transformers Movie Guide book. It is very very similar in layout and style to that book, and although the stats are not 100% accurate, you'll have to remember this is a fictional series.
Page 18/19/20 is a poster / comparison between Ratcet and Barricade. I'm a fan of Transformers Movie Ratchet, purely due to the toy being far better then I thought it would be.
Page 21 starts the IDW Transformers Movie Prequal story, running for 7 pages (with adverts and posters in the middle).
Story - Chris Ryall
Written By - Simon Furman & Chris Ryall
Art - Don Figueroa
Colours - Josh Burcham
Letters - Robbie RObbins
Editor - Dan Taylor
It will take along time to reprint, and it is a shame the comic is monthly not weekly or fortnightly. If you don't own the comic already, then you'll be pleased to get this. We own the IDW Prequal stories, and Beast Wars, but nothing else, so we're looking forward to re-prints of the other IDW stories in the future. The artwork is an enlargement of the original publication, the artwork on it will not be to everyone's liking.
Page 26 / 27 is a 2 page Optimus Prime poster, using the cover artwork.
Page 34 / 35 runs a competition to win a copy of Transformers The Movie: Ultimate Edition tin-box set. The question has to be written by Simon Furman, as it's about Dinobots ... (joke)
Page 36 starts with a background story to the Beast Wars comic, which is reprinted on Page 37, and the second half is another competition this time for the newly released Beast Machines Boxset.
Credits for Beast Wars The Gathering
Writer - Simon Furman
Art - Don Figueroa
Colours - Josh Burcham
Letters - Tom B. Long
Editors - Chris Ryall and Dan Taylor
This is the first, of what will be many, reprints of the IDW Beast Wars The Gathering series (4 issues in the US). We loved the Beast Wars comic, and Beast Wars series, so seeing Don's image of Magmatron in such large print is fantastic. Again if you already own the comic you may be disappointed with another reprint, but for the targeted audience these are all "new" stories.
There are only 6 pages of the comic, which is a shame, but it looks fantastic.
Page 44 / 45 is yet another Transformers competition, this time for Transformers Movie toys and t-shirts, provided by Thumbs Up UK Ltd. It's interesting that the Optimus Prime voice-changer helmet is shown, as it's not a prize in any of the competitions (there are actually 3 on this page).
Pages, 46, 47,48 and 49 are letters (way more than the original comic had). Some of the letters appear to be fake, as they usually are for the first 1 or two issues, although some of them (maybe all) are genuine. For those wondering how people would have seen the Transformers Movie before the comic was released, as it was published a week before the Transformers Movie hit the cinemas, you have to remember we gave away 100 tickets to a special premier showing.
It's interesting to see Sven Harvey, Autobot Assembly organiser, has his name in print. We've had letters printed in both the original Marvel comics (5 of them) and Transformers Armada comic, so I've got to find something to write in about now.
The last two pages give you a preview of what to expect in Issue 2 of Transformers as well as an advertisement for the lastest Transformers Sticker book from Merlin Stickers ,this time based on the Transformers Movie.
I'm off to place an online registration, as finding the comic in my local area took two days, and I don't want to miss out.
Editor - Steve White
Designers - Robert Farmer and Matin Stiff
Deputy Editors - Andrew James and Ned Hartley
Assistant Editor - Den Patrick
Publishing Manager - Darryl Cutris
Admistrative Assistant - Hannah Tibbets
Reprographic Operator - Robert Moss
Production Supervisor - Kevin Ebanks
Production Controller - Bob Kelly
Art Director - Oz Browne
Studio Manager - Marcus Scudamore
Subscription Coordinator - Filiz Tumburi
Subscription Marketing Executive - Sabrina Iken
Circulation Assistant - Monira Begum
Circulation Promotions Manager - Suzanne Macintosh
Circulation Marketing Executive - Jessica Batt
Circulation Executiev - Steve Tothil
Circulation Director - William Pearson
Web Office - Rupindar Kour
Marketing Office - Monica Patel
Marketing Executive - Tracey Devlin
PR & Marketing Office - Ricky Claydon
Marketing Manager - Anne Marie McBride
Advertising Manager - James Willmott
Managing Editor - Brian J. Robb
Publishing Director - Chris Teather
Operations Director - Leigh Baulch
Executive Director - Vivian Cheung
Publisher - Nick Landau