Windblade Comic Announced – With Women on Words and Art!

Let’s be honest: In geek media, women are usually done either really well or really poorly, with little in between. So when the results of Hasbro’s Fans’ Choice poll earlier this year got us a female character who we were promised was going to make it into the mainstream of IDW’s G1-based comics, there were concerns. Though it’s hardly the fault of the current creative staff, IDW’s Arcee was handled less than ideally, especially compared to other contemporary characters of the same name. With heteronormativity already tossed to the wind how would they approach another female Transformer?

But it looks like the lady will be in good hands. An early preview has now confirmed that Windblade will be introduced in her own comic (though whether a one-shot or a miniseries is as yet unknown) written by Transformers Prime writer Mairghread Scott with art by Sarah Stone. In addition to her female-character-friendly work on Transformers Prime, both the show and IDW’s Beast Hunters comic, Mairghread has been enthusiastic about encouraging the female side of the fandom. Sarah has previously done work for Hasbro-owned Wizards of the Coast as well as some very female-gaze-friendly Transformers fanart.

There are still no details about where Windblade comes from in a race that’s been Word-of-God-ed into definite genderlessness, but it looks like whatever the story, it’ll be told by people who have at least one very important thing in common with our new robo-lady.

Wiki Wednesday 12/25/13

I emerge from deep within the trenches of the War on Christmas to give you another look deep into the treasure of the Transformers fandom and the envy of every other, the TFWiki! I’m afraid I’ve been too busy tossing Yule Log grenades and Solstice shurikens to come up with anything too clever this week, so let’s just pull up a nice cup of hot apple cider and read about how the magic of Christmas has affected our favorite robots and their friends!

Scrounging the Smelting Pool

One thing I kinda miss (not really, but Nostalgia Feels) from childhood Transformer collecting was the money gathering exploits to buy my plastic robots.  My family’s income…fluctuated throughout most of my childhood.  My dad worked the same job since I can remember until we move to Arkansas when I was 14, my mother flipped between trying to run her own business and going back to bookkeeping/accounting for different companies, usually in the restaurant business.

I got a 5 dollar allowance for pretty much my whole adolescence, so if I wanted toys, it was buy one or two small ones maybe on Saturday or supplement/find/scrounge up cash otherwise, cause Christmas was once a year and that was pretty much my parents’ rule for the only time they would just buy me stuff (until we spent that year REALLY on the high hog, but that’s another tale).  I got the occasional off-season toy purchase when my mom or dad were just feeling like it (comics were a free pass weekly from the drugstore, my parents had no issue with me reading, same for comic strip collections and regular books, just had to ask), but mostly, it was up to me. Continue reading Scrounging the Smelting Pool

Wiki Wednesday 12/18/13

With the fifth installment of IDW’s Dark Cybertron storyline out today, a certain Autobot detective has returned from the dead and gone straight into the spotlight. But what makes Nightbeat so popular, so enduring that he’s being brought back from the dead and possibly joining up with the regular cast of one of the ongoing comics? Is it his Bogart-esque charm? His Holmes-esque habit of deducing everything from the smallest of details? Or is it because…

Generation 1 Nightbeat is often seen wearing a trenchcoat and fedora, due to their connection with detective fiction. He pulls it off pretty well, actually.

That’s right, this week’s featured article is Transformer Clothing!

Wiki Wednesday: Jesus

We here at Iacon Underground love the TF Wiki. Some of us write for it! (Others have been discouraged due to our strong but not necessarily canonical feelings on subjects such as the Aerialbots’ team dynamic and the origins of Mini-Cons.) So once a week, on the appropriately alliterative Wednesday, we’re going to highlight a page from the site.

For our inaugural post, we’ve picked someone you may be hearing a lot about this month. But just who is this character? And what is his history with the Transformers?

Jesus is presumably a human, but no facts are directly known about him or her, only other people’s claims. For example, Sam Witwicky and his teacher both agree that, if Jesus were in the teacher’s shoes, he would give the boy a dishonestly inflated grade to trick Sam’s father into buying Sam “a car.”

Click on over to the TF Wiki to find out more!

BMOG Kickstarter Almost Over – But It Still Needs Your Help!

Painted BMOGAt just just $3,000 shy of its production funding goal with 70 hours left, the Kickstarter campaign for Trent Troop’s “Bio-Mechanical Ordinance Gestalts” (BMOG) project still needs your help! Designed by longtime fan community members Troop, Alex Androski, and Greg Sepelak, BMOG is a series of animal companions for your action figures that separate into weapons and accessories for anything using a 5mm port – including modern Transformers. The Kickstarter will fund production of the first two in the series: Mantax, a manta ray, and Ursenal, a “bear made of guns” – the origin of BMOG.

The campaign welcomes pledges of any amount, but a mere $15 will get you Mantax, $20 will get you Ursenal, and $30 will get you both – but only if it gets funded! Let’s help some fellow fans make toys!

Do Transformers Stories NEED Humans?

It’s considered a given that Transformers stories will have a few Token Humans as part of the regular cast. Only the Beast series managed to avoid it. And in a lot of quarters it’s argued that, while they’re sometimes annoying and sometimes, like in the live action movies, take up WAY too much screen time, they’re absolutely necessary narrative devices to give audiences, especially audiences of children, someone to relate to.

But with a cast of alien robots who are psychologically nearly indistinguishable from humans, do we really need humans so we have someone to relate to?

Continue reading Do Transformers Stories NEED Humans?

Longtime Fandom Members Launch BMOG Toys Kickstarter

jazz-armed-for-bearThere’s been a lot of buzz about Transformers-inspired toys made by third parties over the last few years, but over on Kickstarter there’s a campaign to fund something more than just an updated Galvatron or Devestator: BMOG, or Bio-Mechanical Ordinance Gestalts, animal partners for your Transformers that break down into weapon sets!

Created by Trent Troop, Alex Androski, and Greg Sepelak, all of whom have both been active in the fandom and involved with official Transformers work for Hasbro, BMOG takes advantage of the 5mm peg size that’s lately become standard with many toy lines including Transformers. On their blog they’re keeping a running list of toy lines compatible with that size as they find them, and it currently includes mainstays like Lego and TMNT as well as some older and more obscure lines like Starriors and Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad.

The Kickstarter campaign offers the smaller Mantax toy for a $15 pledge, Ursenal at $20, or both at $30, with additional colors and options available at higher levels. And, of course, you can bid as little as $1 just to show your support.

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Fandom on the Other Side

MakotoItoEssayV2For an American, knowledge of the Transformers fandom outside of the United States in the ’90s was fairly limited; not so surprising when one considers how limited the information about the line itself outside the US was, mind you, but the twin barriers of language and fledgling global inter-connectivity made foreign communications rather dicey all around. In particular, Japan was a cornucopia of mysteries, with brief English episode synopses and thumb-sized pictures of the country’s various toy offerings being the norm.

There was, however, a contingent of Japanese fans who made regular sojourns to the North American BotCons of the era (among them Fumihiko Akiyama), and through a process I can only guess at, eventually a pair of Japanese Transformers fan comics – doujinshi – ended up for sale in English at BotCon 1998. One of these was “Epoch of the Cybertron” by Makoto Ito (who is not Makoto Ono), a fan whose art had previously made a trip across the Pacific for BotCon 1995. Included in this fan comic is an essay I’ve always found fascinating, describing Ito’s dissatisfaction with the domestic handling of the property circa the late 1990s. For your viewing enjoyment, I’ve reproduced the essay above.

Unfortunately, I did not scan Ito’s survey when I scanned the essay, and at this point I’m not entirely sure where my copy of “Epoch of the Cybertrons” is. Well, always something to dig up later, I guess…