interviewed in: March 2005
||Jeff Anderson inked and coloured
a number of issues for Marvel's Transformers UK before his pencilling
debut with Issue
65. After that Jeff was a mainstay of the comic, contributing
to such classics as Target:2006
and pencilling the first telling of the Transformers' origin
Legacy of Unicron. Jeff's other comic work includes Judge
Dredd and Captain Britain.
Thanks very much for agreeing to do an interview for us.
1. Can we start
by asking how you got into comics, and who your early influences
I’ve always been interested ever since I can remember; I
think originally it was a cousin who stayed with us buying me some.
My first memories are from comics around 1963, early Marvel but
mainly DC - I loved Curt Swann and Carmine Infantino, I just wish
I still had them.
2. Moving onto Transformers,
how did you land that particular job?
I’d been to the Marvel offices with my work and been given
a few things to do. It was just as the Transformer material was
starting to be commissioned. I think the first thing I did was ink
a story pencilled by Mike Collins for one of the Annuals.
3. Did your art briefs from
Simon come in the form of full script or Marvel-style overview?
As an artist which is more helpful?
Always full script. I don’t mind which way I work, full or
Marvel style script. Though if I was pushed I think I would say
the Marvel way is more interesting from an artist’s point
of view, as it probably allows you to be more in control of the
4. Did you have a preferred
inker or colourist to work on your pencils? Did you prefer to ink
them yourself where possible?
In a perfect world I would always rather ink and colour myself
- again you have more control and if the finished version looks
rubbish you have no one to blame but you. On Transformers I enjoyed
working with Steve Baskerville, he was brilliant at making all the
robots metallic and shiny!
5. You also inked and coloured
other artists' work at times, as well as painted your share of covers.
Do you have a preference for a particular role?
Painting. I love colour and having to produce the whole thing.
If I’m doing a lot of inking I hanker after doing some pencilling
and visa versa.
6. What aspects of Transformers
drawing do you consider your forte? And was there anything which
proved a particular nuisance to draw?
Lots of Transformers in one panel! Not sure if I had a particular
forte, you would have to ask someone else… maybe getting the
job in on time. Then again maybe not.
7. Which were your favourite
characters to draw?
The more ‘human’ ones, Galvatron in particular.
8. You debuted several non toy
characters during your stint on Transformers, including Impactor,
Flame, and the Firebug. Were you responsible for their designs?
How would you go about realising a new character?
Quite often for incidental characters like these I just read the
script, look at the character traits and try to reflect that somehow
in the design. More often than not you have very little time to
think about it seriously and just do it as you go along!
9. On a similar note, for the
striking entrance of Galvatron, Cyclonus and Scourge in Target:
2006 the character models were noticeably based on the toys. Next
issue they changed to what looked like the animation models. What
was the reason for this?
While we were doing this story to coincide with the release of
the movie, [we were] getting all the character designs from the
filmmakers. The designs didn’t turn up in time for the artwork
deadline. The toys had just appeared in the shops so I used the
toys as reference. By the time the next episode had to be drawn
the designs turned up and away we went.
10. What are you most proud
of from your Transformers run?
Those chapters just mentioned I think, and I’m quite fond
of the ‘Firebug’ story.
11. As one of the longest running
artists on the UK comic, how much do you feel the title changed
over the years?
Well with Simon writing it always had strong stories, but there
was less room for experiment as the page number dropped and it went
b/w. Towards the end I think the toy manufacturers wanted more control
which isn’t always the best thing for doing the artwork, as
they tend to want a generic style, leaving little room for individual
style and interpretation.
12. Was there ever any competition
between the artists on Transformers UK?
Not that I can remember, it was all very gentlemanly, apart from
the kidnapping and occasional threats.
13. Were you aware at the time
how big the Transformers phenomenon was? Did you expect it to be
so strong so many years later?
No not really, my kids were too young at the time so it was difficult
to gauge what was going on, apart from sales and conventions.
14. You went to your first Transformers
convention (Transforce) last year. How did you find it?
Enjoyed it immensely! Great meeting up with Simon again and meeting
15. Do you foresee ever working
on Transformers again?
Don’t think so at present but never say never as they say.
16. Finally can you give us
an idea of what you have been working on since you finished up on
Transformers, and what you are working on now?
I spent four years or so illustrating the Bible,
which came out ’99 and has just been republished recently.
Apart from that I just work as a jobbing illustrator, and later
this year my first comic work for years is published. Its set in
the middle ages and is called ‘Riddler’s Fayre’,
and marks some sort of milestone as the covers are my first pieces
of work I’ve produced digitally.
Mr Anderson, thank you very much for your time.
Cover to Riddler's Fayre Issue 2
Target 2006 Prologue based on original toy