Andrew Wildman
interviewed in: June 2004

Andrew Wildman penciled numerous covers for the original UK Transformers comic and as of 198 onwards was one of the comic’s regular artists. He later transferred to the US comic (whilst still providing pencils for some of the UK black and white stories) starting with issue 69 (UK Issues 306, 307 and 308), and was the regular artist on the title until the comics run case to an end with issue 80 (UK Issues 331 and 332) – during which time one of his notable achievements was adding toilet doors to Unicron. More recently Andrew provided pencils for Dreamwave’s The War Within: The Dark Ages series with long time partner in crime Simon Furman. Andrew and Simon also share the production company Wildfur, which amongst other things produces the online graphical story The Engine. Andrew’s full biography can be read here.



Thanks again for agreeing to answer some questions for us. Predictably we’d like to start with a few questions about, shock, Transformers, and then we’ll move on to your other work…

1. Before War Within you stated in an interview for Transfandom that the 'scariest thing' was going to be the reaction you got to your new work. Now that the project is in the bag what are your impressions of that reaction?

The reactions that I have seen/heard are generally good. Strangely the book did not look as I had expected. Dreamwave took a very 'dark' approach to the finishing of the art. On the WILDFUR site we are giving people the opportunity to see how the original pencils looked. I always find it interesting to see original pencil artwork as the processes that it goes through after that change add or in some cases detract from the original work.

2. Can you tell us which characters you were responsible for retro designing? Did Dreamwave lay down any specific guidelines around this?

There were no guidelines other than to consider how Don Figueroa had done it and go for some consistency. I was responsible for retro designing Sideswipe, Broadside, Whirl, Sandstorm, Mirage, Perceptor and Blaster. Not all were used to any great degree and there may be a couple I have overlooked.

3. How did working for Dreamwave compare to working for Marvel? What were the differences and the similarities?

Being a comic publisher there were a lot of similarities in the technical side of things like actually doing the work and shipping it over (to Canada). Being a freelance comic artist is a fairly anonymous existence. All communication was done via email and I have as yet never met or spoken to any of the Dreamwave people, although all being well I should have the pleasure of meeting them at the upcoming Chicago Convention. From a practical point of view the biggest difference was that Simon wrote it as a full script rather than the Marvel style breakdowns.

4. And how did all this compare to working on the sadly short lived UK Armada comic?

After a number of slight tweaks and changes of direction Armada was just beginning to hit its stride when the book had to be cancelled. There are a number of reasons why this happened but I think it was mostly due to the fact that Armada didn’t have quite the same toy presence here as it did in the States.

5. On a more general note, is there one issue of your Transformers work that you would pick as a personal favourite or that you are most proud of?

I think War Within number three was the best of that series and the one where I had really become comfortable with it all again. Of course the sad thing was that it was limited to six issues. From the Marvel run it is a difficult choice between 70 and 78. Maybe 70. Loved all the stuff on the Ark with Prime and the MegaRatch. That is when I was really into that work.

6. Finally on the comics front can you tell us which artists you look up to and who’s work you are currently enjoying?

I have always cited John Buscema as the biggest influence on my work. I loved it while I was growing up as a reader and I now look back on it as some of the most defining and technically excellent work to ever appear. Kirby was a great master of style and drama but for me it was Buscema who set the Marvel style and set the benchmark for everything that happened up until the more recent Manga style kicked in.
Don't read a lot of comics. In the world of Transformers I do consider Don Figueroa to be the best thing to happen in a Transformers comic since...
Generally I enjoyed California Out There by Augustyn and Ramos. Other than that I tend to look at books with a more European style and sensibility.

7. You have spent some of your career in the video games industry. Are you a video games fan? Have you played/seen the new Transformers Armada game?

The New Armada game is great. It really shows what can be achieved by a PS2 game. I am a sometime game player. I loved the Myst series but my all time favourite game was Re-Volt. Fantastic fun and an opportunity to be exactly where you wanted to be when you were eight years old.

8. From a personal perspective how big a part of your career have Transformers been? Is it strange that there are a whole bunch of people out there who still associate you with something that until recently you hadn’t worked on in a decade?

It’s all been very strange. When I finished the original Marvel series I was happy to move on to some of their 'proper' books. In hindsight I think it was the most fun I had in comics. To have had the opportunity to do it again has been cool. It’s nice to be contemporary rather than just 'that bloke that used to draw Transformers'. Some might feel that it is restraining to be so associated with one product but I find it all a lot of fun. Nice to be recognised for something rather than nothing specific. I recently had an email from someone who had remembered it as though I had done most of the Marvel run. Although they were mistaken it does make you feel as though you did make an impact.

9. Moving on from Transformers for a bit can we ask you about The Engine (Wildfur’s online graphic story telling project)? Do you and Simon have a finite plan for it, or is it an open ended endeavour?

The whole thing does have an overall story arc but recent events have now made us reconsider what we are doing with The Engine. We have recently completely revamped the Wildfur website and put all the News and Shop items on it. This has enabled us to now consider making the Engine site purely Engine. The site will be rebuilt and the content reconsidered very shortly. The existing three episodes will still stand but the intention of where we go after that will change. The long awaited episode four will be done for relaunch and there will be more cool stuff. Announcements for the relaunch will obviously be on the Wildfur site and should go through the usual channels.

10. Speaking of projects, what else is in the pipeline? Will we see more Transformers related stuff any time soon?

For me there is no Transformers work on the horizon. That may change. I am currently involved in the development of a couple of animated TV shows. One of these will appear on our screens April 2005. Working in animation is fun. My aim is to do more work in this area. As far as comics are concerned I have a pet project which has been in negotiation for some time but will hopefully get a green light soon. I also would very much like to do an Engine graphic Novel. The revamp of the Engine site is designed to increase the chance of this and I want to get those people who have been good enough to subscribe to the site to get involved in making it happen. More news will appear on the Wildfur site soon.

11. On a slightly random note - What’s the weirdest question you have ever been asked by a fan (bearing in mind this interview isn’t quite over yet...)?

What's your favourite cheese.

12. The obvious follow up to that question – what’s your favourite cheese?

There ya go. Um. Lychees? :-)

13. And finally, do you remember drawing this?

Oh good grief! Looks more like David Lloyd than me. Guess I need to do another one.

Mr Wildman, thank you very much for your time.

You are more than welcome. :-)

Additional Information

Fans will be pleased to hear that Andrew and Simon are currently selling limited addition Art/Script packs containing quality reproductions of the script and art (didn’t see that coming did you?) from The War Within: The Dark Ages series. You can purchase the packs here and visit the rest of the Wildfur shop here. Similar packs will be available for their Armada Uk work some time in the future.

US fans will be able to see Andrew at OTFCC, which runs from July 31– August 1.

Andrew will also be appearing at the UK’s premier Transformers convention Transforce. The event is being held at Canon's Leisure Centre in Mitcham, Surrey, on August 28th. See you there! – Andrew Wildman and Simon Furman’s production company. The site includes updates on their current activities as well as information on services and properties.
The Engine: Industrial Strength - Andrew and Simon’s online graphical story telling project. Check it out.
OTFCC - Official Transformers Collectors' Convention.
Transforce - The UK’s premier Transformers convention