Roll Out: Costa on IDW's Transformers

Since acquiring the rights to publish Transformers comics in 2005, IDW Publishing has launched a number of miniseries establishing a vast and complex universe for the massive robotic characters, but there hasn't been a central ongoing series to chronicle the epic battle between noble Autobots and evil Decepticons. That changes in November with the first issue of "Transformers," a new ongoing series written by Mike Costa and illustrated by Don Figueroa. CBR News caught up with Costa to discuss the new series.

The 25th anniversary of the Transformers marks a good point for a new ongoing series. "That's an occasion worth celebrating," Costa told CBR. "Also, though there are advantages to doing a sequence of miniseries, I think there comes a time of fan fatigue with that format. If you go on like that for too long it becomes difficult to remember or piece together how one series takes place chronologically in relation to another. Also, if you miss a few issues, it's difficult to figure out just what you missed if a new series has already started up with new numbering. Personally, I find something very satisfying in having a comic with a number higher than 20 on the cover. In comic book terms, it's a nice little reminder of history."

In the course of the epic "All Hail Megatron" miniseries and the various character spotlight issues, IDW's Transformers universe has seen a number of plot threads and mysteries begin, and many of these will ultimately fold in to the new ongoing series. "Andy Schmidt, Denton Tipton, Nick Roche and Zandar Cannon and I have been talking about all of this for months," Costa said, referring to the team of writers and editors working on the various Transformers titles. "We've sat down at conventions, talked over the phone and exchanged hundreds of emails working out what's going on with all the characters, where they've been left just before this new ongoing launches, and how all of this ties into their futures. This is a new series, but it's not a reboot. You'll see all of those stories."

Costa indicated that while there will be a core group as the title's focus, additional Autobots and Decepticons will enter the fray as the "Transformers" ongoing unfolds. "One of the great things about the Transformers universe is the huge cast that creators can play with," the writer said. "For simplicity's sake, we're definitely focusing on some core members, but we are also expanding that core to include some great characters who have never really had the chance to come forward, and we're using them in some hopefully unexpected ways. As for specific teams, check out Nick Roche's 'Wreckers' book."

When the new series opens, three years have passed since the end of "All Hail Megatron." "We wanted to give the Earth time to rebuild and set up a new status quo," Costa said, adding that details from the three-year gap would emerge as the series progresses, as well as through miniseries set during this period. "Megatron and most of the Decepticons are still gone, and the Autobots are still on Earth, but that puts them in an awkward spot. See, most people don't care to differentiate between 'good giant robots' and 'bad giant robots.' All they saw were giant robots that almost totally destroyed the planet. So we begin our series with the Autobots in hiding... in disguise, if you will."

Costa was coy about revealing further details of the ongoing's first arc. "I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that the situation the Autobots find themselves in is one they've never experienced before," the writer teased. "They really don't know how to handle it and morale is at an all-time low, which leads to some serious conflicts, really bad decisions, and one of them doing something that nobody, fellow Autobots and readers included, is going to believe."

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