It was kind of a given that I’d like Windblade #1. With Mairghread Scott and Sarah Stone making it the first Transformers comic outside of fanzines and message boards with an all-female creative team, with it introducing a new female Transformer who’s not only pushing IDW to diversify their cast but pushing Hasbro to diversify their toyline as well, it would have taken some epic blunders for me to dislike it.
Despite all it has going for it, Windblade could have still been as mediocre as so many other comics on the shelves today and in the past decade. It could have been a great idea bogged down with a bland story and muddy, unreadable art. It could have failed to hold a candle to the other excellent Transformers comics currently running, More Than Meets The Eye and Robots in Disguise. It could have challenged my desire, my need to like it.
I’m happy to say that’s not at all the case.
Continue reading Review: Windblade #1
Over on their Tumblr, IDW’s been tossing out teaser images for what comes after Dark Cybertron with the “After The Dark…” tagline. The first one, with Optimus Prime (or possibly still Orion Pax?) over a planet that looks suspiciously like Earth, was a bit of a surprise after IDW swore off Earth-based stories a couple years back. The second, with Windblade and Cybertron, surprised no one (but was nice to see!).
It’s the third one that’s the real shocker, not so much for the character it features – Megatron – but for the details. Yep, that’s an Autobot symbol on Megatron’s chest, and his associated setting? The Lost Light.
Things just got a whole lot more interesting.
We here at Iacon Underground strongly support what IDW has done in choosing Mairghread Scott and Sarah Stone, both women, to work on the Transformers: Windblade comic. We are well aware that the othering of women that has run through the Transformers series, from the moment Hasbro told Bob Budiansky that Ratchet couldn’t be a female, is problematic, and as much as we love every iteration of Transformers we feel that not only bringing more female characters into Transformers but letting female creators define them is a huge step towards inclusivity for the brand.
What that means is that Iacon Underground is no place for the sort of misogynistic commentary that’s been rampant on other sites. If you want to criticize the need for gender among a race of giant alien robots who have never truly been anything but a race of people who happen to be giant alien robots, then you are welcome to do that over on TFW2005 – you are apparently welcome to do that in any other corner of the fan community except certain corners of Tumblr – but not here. If you want to argue that it doesn’t matter because all Transformers are genderless when you mean All Actually Your Own Gender So It’s Okay, you have no shortage of other places to go. If you want to make valid criticisms of other things, like maybe Sarah’s art isn’t your cup of tea? Go for it. But this is not the place to feel comfortable posting terrible bigoted comments. Think of it as a Bizarro Fan Site that way – we’re here so the NON-bigots can be comfortable for a change.
Let’s be clear: This site is run out of the pocket of a woman who has been involved with the fandom since G2, who is homosexual, who is non-Christian, and who is very politically progressive. She has the right to toss any comment that she finds offensive into the trash heap. She has already had to do so on this very topic. On the flip side, she is not some twenty-something guy who needs to be schooled in Gender Studies, so if you want to get attention by “calling her out” for, as in one instance, referring to “Ms. Scott” instead of just her last name because she finds the custom of referring to someone by only their last name patriarchal and only does it when formality is required, you will be schooled and/or ignored. She welcomes feedback, though, involving groups to which she does not herself belong. She loves the idea of social justice but hates the bullying some do in its name, and that is the spirit in which this site is run.
We’ve been lax with the boards here (Well, I’ve been lax. –Trixter) but with everything going on in the fandom right now we feel it’s a good time to remember why they’re needed in the first place: Because there is a need in this community for a forum that celebrates inclusivity and tries to make everybody comfortable – unless those people are assholes.
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.