The 30th Anniversary Collection.
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Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:40 pm
Bumblemus asked me to share my thoughts on this IDW book from over at the Archive, and as he has scary mind powers I comply:
Yeah, picked this up whilst on holiday in distant and exotic London, and as a fluff tabletop book it's actually quite nice, with (mostly, we'll come to that) a decent cross-section of the English language comics. The unused pages from issue 1 probably justify the existence of the whole thing by themselves.
The interviews, which fill up about a page before each reprint, are solid, if still very much aiming for celebratory rather than for any depth, but for this sort of thing that's fair enough, and there are some interesting new facts here and there.
The odd one though is the Pat Lee interview. Now again, this is a celebratory book so the darker corners of the last 30 years were never going to be explored, but it's still really strange that what is, to the best of my knowledge, only the second interview Lee has done on Transformers since it all went tits up only talks about his art style. That's like getting an interview with Ian Huntley and only asking him about what it was like to be a school caretaker.
[When I made that joke on Facebook I put a bit after to say I was just using mindless hyperbole so my family wouldn't think I was odd, between you and me I'm being completely serious and think the two situations are a perfectly fair analogy. Not rewarding the people behind Micromasters with money is exactly as bad a crime.]
Impressively for a book with a Pat Lee interview Mike Costa still comes over as the biggest collection of knob cheese mashed into the shape of a human ever associated with the comics. He barely goes a paragraph before describing his work as "Pretentious" in what is presumably supposed to be a self-effacing way but just reminds you what a pretentious in all the worst ways tit he was. His justification for using the titles of actual good science fiction books is hilarious as well, he wanted to signpost what styles of "Real" SF he was working in with each story.
Which is odd considering that not only do none of his stories read as a genre homage, instead mostly reading exactly the same, but I'm reasonably sure the version of The Stars My Destination I read, has no points of commonality with Costa's at all. What with it being good for a start.
The generally well thought out presentation of the book does fall apart at the end though, where after the reprints there's a "Further Reading" section which has brief little interviews on a variety of other TF books... and they're all IDW stuff. Which is a shame as the balance between old and new would have been about right otherwise.
What would have been better than that is if they'd found time to cover some of the more esoteric stuff, which the book otherwise only briefly touches upon with the inclusion of the JaAm comic. Throw in more than a token mention of the Japanese stuff (which boils down to "We thought about including some but didn't"), touch on the German additions to the Marvel continuity (and any other European countries that did similar), maybe even mention the other British comics.
Or at least leave out Beast Wars if there is going to be anything other than an apology for it.
And as an Archiver asked for a summery of contents, I'll repeat that as well:
Return to Cybertron Part 1.
Victory from the second UK Annual;
The Galvatron and Magnus fight Target: 2006 issue (which weirdly has a Transformers logo added to the last page, I think this might be a holdover from when IDW first reprinted it and for some reason took the odd number off issues and rather than just doing one issue with three UK issues in it did one with two and nearly all of a third but put the last page of the final issue at the start of their next issue...).
Eye of the Storm.
The "Bludgeon Dies" Tales of Earth stuff from G2. Furman is at best incrediably patronising in his comments about Manny Galan ("He came on in leaps and bounds", at worse something of a hypocrite for someone who doesn't like it when creators slag off each other.
Dreamwave issue zero.
War Within issue 6.
The original unmolested version of what we all now call the JaAm comic.
AHM 1 (McCarthy wheels out his spiel about how it brought in loads of new readers who for some strange reason never showed up in the official sales figures again).
Last Stand 5.
One issue each of Reign of Starscream and Animated, does anyone care which?
The "Further Reading" devotes a page each to MTMTE, RID, the Silly Dille stuff, Reg; , Ironhide, Drift (he wasn't created with the intent of being a big deal apparently. Hmm) and Prime.
Then half pages on Beast Wars ("I was a big Beast Wars fan" Furman declares, lucky us, imagine what the comic might have been like if he wasn't) and Sector 7.
An Issue By Issue Look At The Marvel UK Transformers Comic.
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