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TF Views • View topic - IDW or Dreamwave?

IDW or Dreamwave?

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.

IDW or Dreamwave?

Postby andersonh1 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 1:33 pm

Since we're done with IDW's Transformers continuity, first iteration, and it's all in the rear view mirror, which do you think did a better job with the Transformers franchise: IDW or Dreamwave? Which do you prefer, if that's a separate question?

Looking back on IDW, I feel that it started strong but in the long run really petered out. I enjoyed Furman's storylines and All Hail Megatron and most of Costa's run, but that's where the rot set in, at least for me. I don't think the post-war setting was as full of potential as I had hoped, and I soured on both series for various reasons. Given how much the sales dwindled, I'm not the only one who gave up. But I thought Furman's initial setup with the intergalactic war and the six-phase battle plans of the Decepticons was a nice concept and lent itself to the long form storytelling he had in mind, if the readers had been willing to stick with him. Everything after that felt like an attempt to find a new direction that resonated until the post war universe was finally what was settled on.

Dreamwave is the reverse: a slow start with quality that improved as time went on, and some solid mini-series. The ongoing Armada/Energon comic is my favorite series set in that continuity, and I even like Micromasters. Dreamwave probably leaned too heavily on the cartoon series timeline rather than going off in its own direction, but within that framework they still gave us the first character redesigns with War Within, and they told some nice side stories. And of course, with everything cut off in mid-stream we never got to see where they were going. Call them the more traditional approach.

I have a fondness for Dreamwave that IDW never quite managed to live up to. Both companies had some innovations in their storytelling and some good artists and writers, but I'm personally going to go with the more traditional take on G1 as my preference. It's not a fair comparison since it was all cut short suddenly, but I was in no way tired of Dreamwave, while I'm very much ready for IDW to give us something different and hopefully more to my liking.

What do you guys think?
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Re: IDW or Dreamwave?

Postby Dominic » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:24 pm

I am not sure that the comparison between IDW and Dreamwave is entirely fair.

Dreamwave held the license for <3 years. IDW held the license for that long over a decade, and is unlikely to lose it any time soon.


The weakest aspect of Dreamwave's G1 was Sarracini's run, which still had a manic joy that was only matched by Sarracini's "Armada". While Sarracini's G1 had some techical issues (that would have been caught by competent editors), much of the complains about his run were from Gee-whiners.

G1 had one creative team change (McDonough and Patyck, along with various artists, replacing Sarracini and Lee).

Sarracini's "Armada" was....amazing. It was exactly what it needed to be. It had the manic joy that we remembered out Saturday morning cartoons having, and worked on enough levels that an adult could read it without feeling deficient. I liked Furman's later run with "Armada". But, I would have been more than happy with Sarracini.

"War Within" was the "year one" story that TF was due for. And, it was beautiful on every level. The only mistakes were caused by a colorist trying to fix a problem they found, and were unaware that an editor had cleared. (Dreamwave explained what happened, and fixed the coloring issue in a later edition.)

The Dreamwave sourcebooks are still some of the best sourcebooks that I have every read. They missed a few minor characters (Wingthing and 1 or 2 others of similarly low profile). But, the entries were well-written and avoided the wankery of IDW's "Beast Wars" sourcebook. The only thing that the Dreamwave sourcebooks really lacked was an index of significant appearances by the characters. But even that was forgivable, considering that Dreamwave only held the license for <3 years.

IDW has had multiple creative team changes over the course of 13 years, which is standard for the industry. Dreamwave never produced anything the level of "Last Stand of the Wreckers". Dreamwave would not have dared to experiment and produce something like "Police Action", because Dreamwave played to the Gee-Whiners. (When Dreamwave's first TF/Joe cross-over failed on every level, their next move was to push full-retro.)

Dreamwave may not have played to the Tumblr crowd, or been otherwise as offensive. But, they arguably never had the chance to go that route. (And, if Dreamwave held the license much longer, the proto-Tumblr crowd would have
wailed and nashed their teeth about McDonough and Patyck. We have no way of knowing how that would have played out.)

By numbers, IDW has impressed me more than Dreamwave has. But, Dreamwave offended me less than IDW.
Both of those things are functions of longevity with the license. (At this point, I have not consistently read TF for several years, the same amount of time that Dreamwave held the license.)
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Re: IDW or Dreamwave?

Postby Sparky Prime » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:03 pm

Overall... I'd have to say I enjoyed Dreamwave's run more.

I did appreciate IDW did something original with Transformers by not following the same G1 premise again, and I thought they had a lot of interesting ideas over the years, particularly Roberts introducing concepts like .1% sparks, and hotspots and Wreckers was great. But they also had a lot of mistakes over the years. I hated AHM, their BW Sourcebooks were a disaster (and still were even after they "fixed" it for the TPB), and so many of their story arcs just... fell flat.

Dreamwave, I think told better stories, and had better quality (although they weren't perfect, I still have to wonder what Pat Lee (or who ever actually drew it) was thinking with the end of issue 4 of the first arc).
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Re: IDW or Dreamwave?

Postby andersonh1 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:59 am

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Re: IDW or Dreamwave?

Postby andersonh1 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:01 am

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Re: IDW or Dreamwave?

Postby Shockwave » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:03 pm

Between the two, I think I like IDW better. For the most part. DW's "War and Peace" remains one of my favorite TF stories to date, but it's hard not to look back on DW without all the behind the scenes stuff that killed it and remember what a tragedy that was and the stories that didn't get finished and wound up abandoned. I've enjoyed the new directions and concepts from the IDW books, it was nice to see stories that weren't just the same old thing rehashed (at least for TF). So... a draw? I guess?
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Re: IDW or Dreamwave?

Postby Dominic » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:08 pm

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Re: IDW or Dreamwave?

Postby Shockwave » Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:59 pm

I do think some comparisons can be made: Both series had stories involving a post war setting. DW with War and Peace and IDW after the ongoing. Between the two I liked the way DW handled it better. Having both factions work together out of necessity only to devolve back into those factions after the necessity has passed was an interesting idea. But I also liked the idea of some Autobots and Decepticons becoming friends after the war like Optimus and Soundwave in IDW. The other thing I think can be compared is "Femmebots". IDW established early on that the TFs were more or less genderless with the "female bot" concept coming much later in the run. DW was obviously going to address this as having always just been a thing with the unreleased issue 11 of G1 titled "Ladies Night". I'm actually wondering why IDW couldn't finish off some of the abandoned DW projects. They have Simon Furman who wrote War Within and they already went back and did ReG1, which sets precedent. And that was mostly well received. Between the two I think I have to give the win to IDW for being willing to do more with franchise and to expand on the concepts and stories that we got while DW felt more like it was pandering to fans of a cartoon from (at the time) around 20 years ago.
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Re: IDW or Dreamwave?

Postby Sparky Prime » Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:38 am

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Re: IDW or Dreamwave?

Postby andersonh1 » Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:49 am

Didn't the whole Dreamwave Transformers books get a boost due to enthusiasm over a Pat Lee drawing in Wizard Magazine? It was an article, if I recall, about 80s properties that needed to come back, and the response was very good, even within Hasbro.
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