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
The War Within: The Dark Ages series with long time partner
in crime Simon Furman. Andrew and Simon also share the production
which amongst other things produces the online graphical story
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
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
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
Generally I enjoyed California Out There by Augustyn and Ramos.
Other than that I tend to look at books with a more European style
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
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
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
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. :-)
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
The event is being held at Canon's Leisure Centre in Mitcham,
Surrey, on August 28th. See you there!
Wildfur.net – Andrew
Wildman and Simon Furman’s production company. The site
includes updates on their current activities as well as information
on services and properties.
Engine: Industrial Strength - Andrew and Simon’s
online graphical story telling project. Check it out.
- Official Transformers Collectors' Convention.
- The UK’s premier Transformers convention