GI Joe/Transformers cross-overs

Ancillary, non-main-line stuff. Star Wars TF, Speed Stars, Titanium Series, Robot Heroes, that sort of thing. They're kinda neat, but we all know they're not really that important. Admit it, you know it's true.

Re: GI Joe/Transformers cross-overs

Postby Shockwave » Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:37 am

I remember Hot Rod and Jazz being 70's pimpmobiles. That alone was worth. I'll have to read it again, but I don't remember there being any inconsistencies in either the art or the story.
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Re: GI Joe/Transformers cross-overs

Postby Dominic » Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:05 am

Character models changed issue to issue. I recall the artists changing as well. And, even some of the single panels could/should have looked batter. A cross-over like this could be carried by art alone. This was better than the DW cross-over. But, that is the sort of damningly faint praise that makes one wish for out-right criticism.



Also, I take offense at your video game comment!


Why?

Video games are not typically known, or admired, for their narrative. Ultimately, the games are about the playing. When I play "Total Annihiliation" or "Kingdoms", I sometimes play "in-character". But, even then, I am more interested in coming up with tactics that will win the game/scenario.

And, mid-way through issue 1 of DDP's second cross-over, there is a two page spread that read like the title screen (or maybe a stage-select) of an 8-bit video game.


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Re: GI Joe/Transformers cross-overs

Postby Onslaught Six » Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:01 pm

Dominic wrote:Video games are not typically known, or admired, for their narrative. Ultimately, the games are about the playing. When I play "Total Annihiliation" or "Kingdoms", I sometimes play "in-character". But, even then, I am more interested in coming up with tactics that will win the game/scenario.


Perhaps in the 80s, but things have changed a lot! I can think of five games in the last 6 years that've seriously moved me or otherwise had great stories, without even trying!
BWprowl wrote:The internet having this many different words to describe nerdy folks is akin to the whole eskimos/ice situation, I would presume.


People spend so much time worrying about whether a figure is "mint" or not that they never stop to consider other flavours.
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Re: GI Joe/Transformers cross-overs

Postby Dominic » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:57 am

Volume II: (Blaylock, Jolley and various artists)

This volume reprints the first two Devil's Due Productions cross-over series from not quite years back. At the time, (beginning in late '03), the first cross-over shipped, both Joe and TF were relatively "new" as relaunces go. It had been about a year since DDP and Dreamwave began publishing regular ongoing books. Rather than attempt to tie two unrelated books, published by two different license holders, together, DDP opted to treat the cross-over as an independent setting. Assuming that there were no difficulties with the license, they would be able to publish cross-over books without worrying over how it would affect the "normal" titles for either property.

General notes on volume 2:
IDW tends to be shameless about reprints. Reprinted material is cheap, and IDW does not feel the need to add any value to newer editions of old material. This volume takes that to a new level. Along with an expected lack of introductory material, the second volume of cross-over reprints also lacks sketch pages and even a basic cover gallery. (Each issue of DDP's cross-over had at least 2 cover variants. But, this volume only includes one cover per issue.)

And, as has happened with other IDW reprints, there are a number of pages with faded colouring. Given how often this happens (in this and other books) I am guessing that there is some inherent problem in IDW's reprinting process. But, I have no idea if it is a question of IDW using damaged master copies or the toner running low at certain points in a print-run. (Does anybody know what is going on here?) Either way, the problem is likely fixable, which only makes it more bothersome.

And, finally, the character redesigns are less than inspired. When I first read this, the "WOW" factor of seeing TFs turn in to iconic Joe vehicles was enough to dazzle me in to over-looking the sloppiness of the control art. At the time, I appreciated Figueroa's and Lee's redesign work at Dreamwave, which was both visually and technically sound. But, I was not going to fault DDP for not matching that effort. But, my standards have gone up since then. The art should be able to carry this type of story, and should never be this much of a detriment.


Given that the original material is less than 10 years old, I was not expecting to find anything new while (re)reading this. The basic plot of DDP's cross-overs was fairly simple.

The first DDP cross-over was largely set-up. It assumes that the Joe team was formed as a response to Cobra reverse engineering alien technology (and enslaved aliens). In very broad terms, this is not unlike what many children of the 80s may have envisioned when looking at their various Joe/TF collections. Both "GI Joe" and "Transformers" are assumed to co-exist and interact. At its core, this is better than Marvel's efforts, which established vague and often contrary connections between the two. But, the execution would be lacking.

Despite a strong concept and competently written early chapters, the later chapters fall back on cliche and predictability. (The end of the first story is especially tedious, running from one crowning moment of kewlness to the next.) But, ultimately, DDP delivered the goods, and brought two franchises together.

One place where I was actually taken aback while (re)reading the first DDP cross-over was the art. I knew it was bad. I knew it was bad when I first read it, (despite being more forgiving on this sort of thing ~10 years ago). But, it is so much worse than I recalled it being. Listing every individual mistake would result in a wall of text (to say nothing of the time it would take to double check the list to make sure I got everything. In general terms, the art is characterized by sloppy errors of scale, proportion, perspective and even basic panel to panel consistency. Characters that are strongly implied to have died, and in some cases are shown to have died, show up later. Spash pages and double page spreads that should be enough to carry even a poorly written book look like little more than hasty sketches that were coloured at the last minute.


The second story takes all of those problems....and makes them worse.
In this story, one of Shockwave's plans goes awry, resulting in a large number of Joe and Cobra agents being transported to Cybertron right before a large number of TFs are sent to various points in Earth's past and future. If the Cybertronians are not found and returned to their own time, Earth is doomed....or something. One of the plot points, (that the time-tossed TFs have to be found and reactivated) is abandoned about half-way through with a handwave. (I get the impression that the writer simply changed his mind half-way through.) The art is no better. The sequence where TFs are being sent back through time is unclear, but a few characters can be clearly identified. Unfortunately, one of the (the always distinctive Wheeljack) is never shown or otherwise accounted for by the time-hopping Joes and Cobras. Character models change between issues....for no reason. Character locations change....for no reason.

The whole thing is such a jumbled mess, that I am not even sure who to blame. It might be the writer providing only a vague script. it might be the artists being lazy. (The art team changes every issue, with EJ Su doing a competent job on the second part.) And, of course, one would hope that an editor would at least catch the more egregious problems.



Grade: F
There is not getting around it, I pissed away nearly $30. I cannot fault IDW for the piss-poor content. That damage was done before they had the license. But, I will fault them for poor presentation. There is no reason for a reprint volume to lack basics like a cover gallery or sketch pages. Given the history of both properties, it would have been easy enough to write at least a general introduction.


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-might actually skip the third volume.
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Re: GI Joe/Transformers cross-overs

Postby andersonh1 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:15 am

Dominic wrote:And, as has happened with other IDW reprints, there are a number of pages with faded colouring. Given how often this happens (in this and other books) I am guessing that there is some inherent problem in IDW's reprinting process. But, I have no idea if it is a question of IDW using damaged master copies or the toner running low at certain points in a print-run. (Does anybody know what is going on here?) Either way, the problem is likely fixable, which only makes it more bothersome.


Based on what I could tell from the Armada and Energon trades, it looks like IDW didn't have access to the original artwork or electronic files, and had to scan actual comics. At least that's what it looked like to me. They obviously understand how to produce a good printed product based on looking at their own books, so it seems likely that they could do the same with reprinting older comics, if they had the right source materials in the first place.

I wonder if all of Dreamwave's assets are still tied up in bankruptcy court? Who knows what happened to all that stuff?
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Re: GI Joe/Transformers cross-overs

Postby Dominic » Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:40 am

The original art may well be lost. But, given how little it costs IDW to reprint previously made material, it would not kill them to fix the colouring issues. You work in graphics. You know how fixable that sort of problem is. Yes, it would cost time/money. But, the cost would be far from ruinous.

Every so often, there are going to be problems and stuff is going to slip by editors. But, this sort of thing happens too often for that excuse.


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Re: GI Joe/Transformers cross-overs

Postby andersonh1 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:22 pm

Dominic wrote:The original art may well be lost. But, given how little it costs IDW to reprint previously made material, it would not kill them to fix the colouring issues. You work in graphics. You know how fixable that sort of problem is. Yes, it would cost time/money. But, the cost would be far from ruinous.


Time may be the big factor here. Someone has to be paid just as much to re-color old material as they do to color new pages. It's not really any easier or quicker. And if IDW was forced to scan in old comics, i.e. material made up of halftone dots, there's no real way to get rid of those apart from retouching every last piece of artwork. I suspect IDW made the calculation that old material isn't going to sell as well as new material, and it wasn't worth the time and cost to do that. I can't entirely disagree, but then the shoddy look of the Energon and Armada collections made me skip them, so who knows how many people made the same choice?

I don't think this is the case with every reprint they've done. The collections of old Marvel issues seem to have been treated far better, and I think the collection of Dreamwave's A to Z character bios looked better as well, if I remember right. Maybe they found the art for those.
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Re: GI Joe/Transformers cross-overs

Postby BWprowl » Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:39 pm

andersonh1 wrote:I can't entirely disagree, but then the shoddy look of the Energon and Armada collections made me skip them, so who knows how many people made the same choice?

I can confirm that the Armada collections are not...the most definitive. You're very clearly reading scanned comic pages in all of them, and while the first volume looks pretty good, the second volume has issues with the scans being too dark, and there's what appear to be page-order written-in numbering and circled editorial elements left in on a couple of pages. The third volume tops this by having a whole page where ALL THE DIALOGUE BALLOONS have had their words replaced with the dialogue from a later page, which repeats itself when that page actually comes up.

Otherwise, IDW's reprints tend to be pretty good. Their Marvel G1 collections were nice, and they made good by making NEW reprints that include all the material licensing issues prevented them from including the first time around. What they're doing with the UK collections is nothing short of wonderful, they're clearly putting a ton of effort into those.
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Re: GI Joe/Transformers cross-overs

Postby Dominic » Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:49 pm

How do they fuck up reprints that badly?!?!?!?!?

The third volume tops this by having a whole page where ALL THE DIALOGUE BALLOONS have had their words replaced with the dialogue from a later page, which repeats itself when that page actually comes up.



Everybody phones it in sometimes. But, for fuck's sake. This is creating problems where there were no problems before.

I do not even know where to begin.......



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Re: GI Joe/Transformers cross-overs

Postby Dominic » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:58 pm

IDW's Volume III came out today. It reprints the third and fourth DDP Joe/TF cross-over stories.

However, I am skipping it. Putting aside the fact that my pull-file is getting a bit congested and that I am trying to cut back on how many comics I have let alone bring home), this is just a difficult purchase to justify.

IDW's reprints, as mentioned earlier, tend to be lack-luster. They do not even consistently have cover galleries (which are standard for this sort of thing). On top of that, there is the fact that I recall the fourth volume of DDP'S Joe/TF crossover book being unimpressive when I first read it years ago. At some point, if I have a slow week at the comic shop, my pull-file is closer to being empty, I have extra money that I feel like spending on comics *and* I have not yet dug down to my origional compilations of the content in this volume, I might consider getting this if I can find it easily enough to buy it on something resembling an impulse.


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