Saturday, 14 May 2016

Dawn of Predacus Q&A With John-Paul Bove


Today on Geek Mash we welcome JP as he talks about his love of Transformers and his work on a new comic he's written bridging the gap in continuity between the Transformers original G1 cartoon and Beast Wars: Transformers.

I jumped at the chance to ask him some questions as I'm a big Transformers fan myself.

We've featured JP's work before with the UnEarth comic which you can check out HERE , but today is ALL ABOUT TRANSFORMERS BABY!!!

So, on with the questions...

So Transformers: Dawn of the Predacus bridges the gap between G1 and Beast Wars,  how hard was it to source everything and get a time line in your head?

Well Beast Wars has a complicated relationship with continuity to say the least. Beast Wars has definite mentions of events from both the G1 cartoon and Transformers the Movie and also mentions characters like Primus and has characters like The Vok which either come from or are connected to the Marvel G1 and G2 comics. The problem is that the cartoons and the comics are two different and conflicting timelines.

Soooo... When sitting down to write this,  I didn't want to do some big multiversal thing, but as a fan and a writer I needed to pull the threads together somehow without undoing the seams... That's what led me to the central MacGuffin in the story which is a material called "transmatter" which is an impossible substance which defies becoming any fixed thing. Organic, technological, matter, energy, past, present, large, small, near or far. It can rewrite the reality of an individual, or a race, into any potential possibility. Now that is a technology that no-one can yet control in the story or take to it's fullest extent but they are playing with it. One of the consequences of that is that transmatter allows tiny amounts of reality creep, other possibilities can also bleed in. And just as if the past was changed we would not know things had changed because we'd be living in the resultant timeline. So characters may mention Primus and remember the Quintessons but never see the discrepancy. So there might be little creep from Marvel G1 and G2 but I think it is largely connected to the cartoon continuity (or a continuity that while not literally the G1 cartoon universe certainly shares a substantial number of shared touchstones and events).

Beyond that super sci-fi answer the story first was pitched as a 4 issue mini telling the events of the Great War ending. In drawing up that outline I started mapping out a series of stories that wrap around gaps in the G1 story and predate the Beast Wars so I have roughed out about 300 years of continuity which was why when pulling out just 48 hours of that story to tell was both easy because I knew the timeline and heartbreaking because there are so many more events, and characters, that were slated to appear.

Who can we expect to see or is that spoiling it?

Well we're going to see some familiar faces and some new guys and some old guys with some unfamiliar faces and modes! It's a big story, with a big cast and huge implications for the past, present and future. It charts the end of the Great War which had lasted millions of years. We know that the Autobots won, but we don't know how and more importantly we don't know how the Decepticons lost, and it's not how you might expect... There's appearances from G1 familiar faces and BW folk too both familiar and unfamiliar.

The book came out first at Botcon 2016 in the US and will be published worldwide later on this year, I'll have to let you know the exact dates when I know!

Favourite Comic Story?

Marvel US running from the Autobot surrender 'til the very end for me!

Favourite Episode of G1?

Probably War Dawn... That shot of Prime shooting towards camera and that musical flourish was epic.

Favourite Episode of Beast Wars?

There are so many but it's hard to not pick Code of Hero for the sheer maturity and power of what happens in it. It was a heartbreaker and elevated itself above a simple kids toy TV show.

Favourite Autobot,  Decepticon, Maximal and Predacon?

Autobot - I want to say Powermaster Prime but I'm going to say G1 comic Grimlock. Love how they dared to make him leader when he was plainly a bad choice, but also had admirable qualities.

Decepticon - Let's say Soundwave...

Maximal - Silverbolt. There's something about his earnest dumbness that I adore.

Predacon - Tarantulas - I love his design and his crazy laugh!

Favourite G1 toy?

There really are so many, but I'm going to say Fortress Maximus because I coveted that massive brick for over a decade before I was finally able to get hold of him. But my 8 year old self imagined what playing with that would have been like!

Favourite Modern Toy?

Hmm... Probably Masterpiece Ultra Magnus, he is not my favourite character but he is an incredible toy to transform.

Favourite Prime?

Powermaster Prime. I love the look of him in the comics and I collect Powermaster Prime artwork. It was my idea for him to appear in Regeneration One!

Trukk or Munky?

I love both to be honest. There is a place for both in my heart and the best thing is that the continuities are connected! I generally prefer vehicles to animals so I prefer the later, more vehicular Beast Wars toys suit me more, and the G1 toys and the modern G1 inspired toys are almost all fantastic. The G1 comic and the Beast Wars cartoon are two defining loves of mine.

If you could create an alternate time line of Transformers,  which history would you choose to change? (i.e. Someone else getting the Matrix,  someone else dying etc)

Hmmm. One of my dreams was to tell a story that connected G1 to BW which I have partly managed to do, though there's a lot more to the story than the one issue so I hope to be able to flesh it out forwards and backwards one day with some stories both G1 and BW tales.

Quite a while back, I had an idea for a time line that would have followed the Classics/Generations toy line, which would have seen Optimus and Megatron as colleagues going to various worlds and harvesting energy until they got to Earth and discovered a life form they had never encountered before - humans. In the story they would have no frame of reference for organic life, no way to even recognise them as life so when they discover what they're doing to our world Prime and Megs have a difference of opinion as to how important human life is...

What would you want to see in the live action films and what should they do different?

They absolutely need to focus more on character. The Transformers in the movies have just been robots that spout catchphrases and then cut people's faces off... They don't need to mirror what the comics are doing or have done but I'd like to care about the non-human characters. Humans too actually...

Which story would you make into an animated movie?

Hmm...that's really tricky. So many of the stories I loved were quite open ended in nature so wouldn't suit an animated movie well. I'd love to see the old Marvel UK story Time Wars tackled in animation somehow though.

What is your proudest achievement working on Transformers?

Writing my first Transformers comic was pretty high on the list but I think my proudest moment was when I was told I was going to be working on Regeneration One with Simon Furman, Andrew Wildman and Stephen Baskerville. These guys shaped my childhood and my adulthood and I have never been prouder than that journey with my heroes.

(Regeneration One is a continuation of the old comics, of both the stories and issue numbers with there being a 21 year gap between the two  )

So, who's YOUR favourite G1 and Beast Wars Transformer?

Let us know in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter!

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