The Transformers (IDW, formerly "Robots in Disguise")

The IDW Comics universe has had such a different take on G1, one that's now significantly represented by the Generations toys, so they share a forum. A modern take on a Real Cybertronian Hero. Currently starring Generations toys, IDW "The Transformers" comics, MTMTE, TF vs GI Joe, and Windblade.
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Dominic
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Re: The Transformers (IDW, formerly "Robots in Disguise")

Post by Dominic »

Which is fine, on some level--it probably is what's keeping the store afloat in this economy and area--but it's still shitty, right?
That is a pretty standard thing for comic shops. As one manager I knew years ago put it, they do not want the comics hanging around. (Back-issues were his least favourite thing. They took up space and moved slowly.)

If I am buying a "cape" book, it's typically because the concept interests me
Have you checked out "the Vision" from Marvel?

Except for the apparent Comics Mecca that is the Boston area, where Dom can afford to just up and take his business to a different comic shop, the nearest comic shop other than the one in my town is over an hour away in any direction.
Do not get the wrong idea. Stuff sells through here. That is why I use my pull-file.

And, keep in mind, the competition in Boston is fed by the colleges. And, it does not keep the stores in competitive shape.

I bailed on two shops in the last 6 years because they sucked. One had a generally bitchy attitude about pull-files, and the guy running it regressed to high school level maturity in general. (Sometimes, the cool kids never grow up.) Another, the second largest chain in New England), did pull files, but did them badly. The chain did not specifically order or allocate compilations. They did not allow for it. In early 2012, after they failed to get my hard cover "Last Stand of the Wreckers", I was done. I had three viable options, and opted for the one closest to where I live (which also happened to be my childhood comic shop).


On a Thursday, the day after New Book Day! What a crock of shit. But that's what my store is. That's my only option.
Ordering to sell through is fine. It makes sense. But, the lack of pull-files is another thing.

Comics are sequential. If I buy one, I probably bought the one before it and will likely buy the next one. Pull-files exist to ensure that people can get their stuff consistently. (There are not many casual readers.)

As much as I love comics, I would have long ago stopped reading comics just by virtue of having missed too many comics. (I gave up on the Black Library because Games Workshop sucked ass at distribution.) At the very least, I would be reading far fewer.

The store I currently buy comics at is pretty good. Aside from a certain amount of human error, I get my stuff. (And, some of the error is *mine*, when I forget to order something.) They are willing to check other stores in the chain to find things.

Most importantly, if it is offered in the Diamond or Marvel catalogues, they can try to order it. It is possible, albeit expensive, to subscribe to action figures. I know people who subscribe to "Marvel Legends" figures the way I subscribe to comics.

The branch I go to easily has 100+ files, including people whose pull-files consist of Diamond boxes under the back issue bins. Every Wednesday, they start pulling an hour before the store opens. Then, they sort stuff after the store opens. (In theory, if somebody gets to the store early enough, they might end up buying their stuff off the shelf.)

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Re: The Transformers (IDW, formerly "Robots in Disguise")

Post by Onslaught Six »

I understand the model to keep these smaller, independent shops in business. But it sucks for a customer who is not necessarily part of that group, which is me.

What's the deal with Vision? (Maybe this should go in the comics thread now.)
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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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Sparky Prime
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Re: The Transformers (IDW, formerly "Robots in Disguise")

Post by Sparky Prime »

Shockwave wrote:Well I'm still actually getting all IDW TF books each month and regularly enjoying them. But apparently I'm the only left here that's still actually getting them every month.
I'm keeping up with them, although I only visit the comic book store once a month so I don't necessarily get the issues when they come out... It just doesn't seem like anyone that's still getting the issues has been discussing them, save for anderonh1 who just dropped it.
Dominic wrote:
Which is fine, on some level--it probably is what's keeping the store afloat in this economy and area--but it's still shitty, right?
That is a pretty standard thing for comic shops. As one manager I knew years ago put it, they do not want the comics hanging around. (Back-issues were his least favourite thing. They took up space and moved slowly.)
The comic book stores I've gone to always seem to order more than enough copies of issues for customers in the area as well as walk-ins. The only time I've ever seen them run out is when it's a highly anticipated issue (like the first issue of the Justice League Darkseid War storyline). In fact, the store I regularly go to has a pretty big back issue section as well as a small 'back issue hub' in the same plaza.

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Dominic
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Re: The Transformers (IDW, formerly "Robots in Disguise")

Post by Dominic »

I'm keeping up with them, although I only visit the comic book store once a month so I don't necessarily get the issues when they come out... It just doesn't seem like anyone that's still getting the issues has been discussing them, save for anderonh1 who just dropped it.
I picked up the Barber/Ramondelli one-shot. Planning to read it next week. (I notice that Barber does better with one-shots.) I also have "Sins of the Wreckers" (much lower) in my pile.

In fact, the store I regularly go to has a pretty big back issue section as well as a small 'back issue hub' in the same plaza.
By "back issue hub", I assume you mean "wharehouse of wonder". The chain I buy from has a wharehouse near their flag-ship store. Most of that building is high-end, Silver Age, stuff. Some branches have more back-issues than others.

I have seen some store that mark back-issues down, as they would rather keep the space open for other stuff.

But, as a fan, I appreciate stores with back-issues. When I hit a new store, I generally check the bins before checking the racks.

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Sparky Prime
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Re: The Transformers (IDW, formerly "Robots in Disguise")

Post by Sparky Prime »

Dominic wrote:By "back issue hub", I assume you mean "wharehouse of wonder". The chain I buy from has a wharehouse near their flag-ship store. Most of that building is high-end, Silver Age, stuff. Some branches have more back-issues than others.
It's no where near that big. I think part of the building the 'hub store' is in was originally set up to be an office, because it's barely big enough for 2 rows of shelving units they've got in there, and a desk for the register. They have more space with the back room, but I assume they use that for extra storage for the main store 2 doors down.
I have seen some store that mark back-issues down, as they would rather keep the space open for other stuff.
Yeah, there was a store I found a few years ago that sold all back issues for $1. Although their back issue section was still huge.

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Re: The Transformers (IDW, formerly "Robots in Disguise")

Post by Shockwave »

Well I guess that leaves Sparky and I as the only ones still getting everything that comes out. I don't necessarily go every month either (although I've been better about that lately) but I do have a pull file so I don't miss anything. And my shop seems to do quite well traffic wise so he seems to have a lot of regulars with pull files and a lot of casual traffic as well. He's got a decent back issue section but I hardly ever go through it as I usually get comics I want when they come out and hardly ever get rid of them. My entire complete run of the original Marvel G1 was the exception and I still have the titan compilations so I can still read those anytime I want.

As for location, I don't really have a shop that's less than 20 minutes driving from my house and, while there are several comic shops in my city, they're all about a half hour drive from me in any direction. The one trend I've noticed for comic shops in my area is having dedicated gaming areas as that seems to generate a lot of income from the CCG and table top gaming crowd.

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Re: The Transformers (IDW, formerly "Robots in Disguise")

Post by JediTricks »

Last night, I finally sat down and started reading some comics. I started on TheTF #46, and didn't really enjoy it at first. It had been too long since I had read #45, and in reading the "previously" page in #46 I spent minutes reading the Wiki wondering if had read #45 at all - I had, but none of this felt familiar to it. This book is carrying a LOT of baggage right now, including baggage from Windblade no longer being a series at the moment. Let me break down my thoughts a little on #46:

- Galvatron and his Decepticons feel like a generic threat which doesn't fit anywhere at all. They aren't doing much of anything, it's all setup for something that the book is trying to play close to the vest. Not only does this mean we don't really get to see an idea of their goals, but we have to trust that the leadership is smart enough to be playing several moves ahead, and in this case the book hasn't done anything to support that. Galvatron simply doesn't carry the weight of a genius tactician right now. Soundwave seems out of character and going in 3 different directions at once.

- Optimus Prime's crisis of conscience is interesting and the singular compelling thread for me in all of this. He is challenged by Caminus and by the faith in him as a deity, by Cybertron and the symbol of war, and by Earth in his heart wanting to be their protector. Earth seems to be a symbol of his purity and is at threat of corruption by every outside force. Aileron is an interesting counterpoint with Prime, I enjoyed their interactions quite a bit, and ultimately it was their talk that made me keep going.

- Jazz's team, their story is lost in the weeds at this point and I had entirely forgotten how they got to this point. I didn't get until right now reading the Wiki entry that Blackrock was trying to dissolve them, this book needs more focus if it can't communicate that, less machinations and plotting, more plot about machines.

- Arcee's team is sorta blithering, I had forgotten how they got tot his point as well and forgotten what point that was. It seemed far-fetched that Galvatron or anybody would be planning to use them in the current state they found themselves.

- Cosmos running to Soundwave when there was nobody left, WHO IS THIS CHARACTER?!? This was a total WTF, didn't make a lick of sense, it was interesting if you didn't mind that it was entirely out of character. I vaguely remember them setting up this seduction of the innocent in the previous issue(s), but this Cosmos doesn't remind me of any previous.

- Blackrock finally feels like he's getting to a point where he's compelling, but he's also a loon. At least it makes Spike less annoying.

- Starscream and the Cybertronian politics angles keep trying to make me care and I keep wanting to, but my shoulders keep shrugging.

So at the end of that book, I was frustrated, and moved on to MTMTE.


After that mtmte read, which I really enjoyed, I decided to come back to TheTF #47. This got better, and it's weird how Barber can write these and feel like 2 different script teams even though editor Carlos Guzman is always the same editor, while Roberts' with Barber as his editor is rock solid storytelling. Then again, I suspect as editor Barber is trying to juggle all the story elements at once from MTMTE, Windblade, and the books of the past, which could weigh down the writing where Roberts doesn't have such troubles.

- I'm really compelled by the material between Optimus and the Torchbearers, and they are calling him out on his complex, his guilt, and his lack of faith. I don't know where this is going, it could really faceplant hard, but it's still interesting at least and a true conflict.

- Soundwave and Cosmos gets messy, I really don't know what to think of this. Soundwave doesn't seem like he's aiming for anything, he has a vague idea and it's not making much sense so far.

- Blackrock starts getting to the point, and it finally starts to work.

- The spaceport, Tracks, Needlenose... nice try, but it's still not working on any level for me. Starscream changes his mind after a conversation with Bumbleghost (which still feels mostly wrong, but Bee and Screamer did spend time together in the RID book for a bit when they were politically-entangled - it's thin though) and it doesn't really carry any weight.

This, while uneven, was enough to get me to jump right to the next issue. I think having less Galvatron helps a lot, and less Earth.


Issue #48, you wouldn't think a story about a dog and D0C would be in any way compelling, but it works better than it has any right to, maybe it works because it has focus for once. Right up until the last page where Galvatron and Skywarp swoop in and blah blah blah, a move which they have absolutely no right to know the timing on. It's a good issue but as usual Galvatron only operates as a plot device, never as a believable character. Blackrock's story turns out to be more ancient secrets stuff but at least it's gotten somewhere.
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Re: The Transformers (IDW, formerly "Robots in Disguise")

Post by JediTricks »

Issue 49 - compelling, if a little confusing.

Issue 50 (double-sized) - good stuff, weighty, strong on action and storytelling, feels impressive. Apparently Michelle Obama is president, judging on the art.

Issue 51 - ugh, back to Earth junk, this felt like a misfire.
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Re: The Transformers (IDW, formerly "Robots in Disguise")

Post by Dominic »

Flipped through the current issue yesterday.

Even discounting the art, the writing is enough to keep me away.

I am not conceptually against using "Robots in Disgrace" as the media-support for the current toys. That does not ruin the series as a whole. But, if they are going to use this series to push "Combiner Wars", then maybe the Combiners they have in the comics should be possible to make? I dunno. call me crazy. (The one thing that *almost* made the McGuffin of Combination tolerable was a presumed mandate to include combiners. In this case, Barber is making impossible Combiners from characters that no longer have toys on shelves.)

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Re: The Transformers (IDW, formerly "Robots in Disguise")

Post by Sparky Prime »

It's interesting this issue introduces both Galvatronus and Sky Reign. I really didn't expect to see them used in the comics. Although Galvatronus really isn't Galvatronus. He's a completely new combiner Galvatron pretty much just named after himself. And Sky Reign... Well he's got 3 characters used in the Combiner Wars toyline at least, between Sky Lynx, Sunstreaker and Cosmos, but Cosmos is used as a limb here, unlike the actual CW figure. Not really following Galvatron's plans here. As Skywarp points out, creating a combiner goes against Galvatron's idea of 'Cybertronian purity'. And no one seems to like Optimus Prime's plan to make Earth part of the alliance of worlds. Hoping this leads somewhere soon because at the moment it just seems like a mess...

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