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DreamWave on Transformers
By Jake Forbes
When it comes to big name licenses, it seems to take forever for deals to become final - but when it came down to it, DreamWave finally got the prize that they wanted: Transformers. On December 12, 2001, the announcement came that DreamWave had finally gained the rights to produce not only comic books, but also a wide-range of Transformers-related products including posters, calendars, lithographs, and wall scrolls. Animefringe got to chat briefly with the staff of DreamWave about their plans for Transformers and for their company.
Animefringe (AF): This must be quite a relief for you! How long did it take for DreamWave to finally close the deal with Hasbro for the Transformers license? Can you tell us a little bit about the journey to signing this much-anticipated deal?
DreamWave (DW): Well, without getting into specific timelines, after we did the Wizard Transformers piece, we were swamped with questions on when the comic book was coming out. At the time, we had no real plans to ever publish a Transformers comic book. But, with all these e-mails and posts, it kind of seemed like a good idea. So we approached Hasbro with a proposal, and the rest, as they say, is history!
AF: Does the fact that DreamWave has broken away from Image have anything to do with the timing of this series?
DW: Actually, we broke away from Image before we even knew we were going to get the Transformers contract. Obviously there was a lot of competition for the license, and some pretty big names, so we were not sure to get it by any stretch of the imagination. While it was in the back of our heads, it didn't ultimately determine whether we would stay or leave.
AF: What made you finally decide to break out of the Image group?
DW: It was just time for us to get out on our own, and try things out. Everyone has been very supportive, and we appreciate everything that's been said/done for us. The next step in evolution for a comic book company is self-publishing......and the Transformers license helps, too.
AF: Will Transformers be the first comic independently released by DreamWave?
DW: The Transformers comic book will coincide with us publishing some of our own material, as well. As of April, DreamWave is publishing all comic book series that were published through Image ourselves. That means that Transformers will be one of a couple of titles you will see in the DreamWave section of Previews.
AF: Who will do the pencils/inking/writing for the Transformers comics?
DW: So far, we know for certain that Pat Lee will pencil the 6 issue G1 limited series, and Chris Sarracini will write both the G1 series, and the ongoing series next year based upon the new Transformers toy line.
AF: How much freedom is Hasbro giving you with the license? Are you locked into any existing continuity?
DW: We're not locked into any specific continuity. The ongoing series is being based upon the new toy line, but we plan to have many other stories based upon all elements of Transformers continuity (G1, G2, RID, etc.).
AF: Will the new comics relate to any current or future animation projects?
DW: The new comics will relate to the new toys that Hasbro is releasing next year.
AF: You couldn't say before, but now that it's official, can you say if the comic will take place on Earth or on Cybertron?
DW: While the main comic will in all likelihood take place on Earth, we quite possibly will have other stories that take place on Cybertron. There are many interesting things that can be done in that setting.
AF: Are you allowed to create new Transformer characters?
DW: Well, we're not being contracted to create new Transformers, if that's what you mean. In the ongoing series, it would be pretty pointless to create new characters that no one will ever see in toy form or in the cartoon series. So, we'll probably be staying clear of that little issue (although I wouldn't be surprised if you saw some additional characters in the other continuities).
AF: What are your thoughts on Devil's Dues GI Joe comics? Do you think that the success of that retro relaunch bodes well for Transformers future?
DW: Retro is very popular right now, but as with all fads, it will fade with time. As people grow up, different things become retro, so the retro sales of Transformers will fade. The one thing about the Transformers license is that it has always existed in some incarnation, whether it be RID, G1, or Beast Wars. Hence I wouldn't really say that Transformers is retro, simply that the G1 representation of Transformers is retro. The GI Joe comics are well-made, and certainly hit people right in their retro souls, and that's probably something that we want to explore with G1. But there has to ultimately be another reaosn why people are reading the comic book, besides retro, and we hope to be able to address that, as well.
AF: If I may return to your newfound "independence," what kinds of changes can fans expect from the new DreamWave? Any plans for products beyond the usual comics, graphic novels and action figures?
DW: Right now we're focusing on the comic book aspect of DreamWave. That's the business that we entered into years ago, and that's the business that we want to solidify right now. There will be no changes in quality, and if fact you'll see more titles from us, and on time as well! We are making sure that past mistakes don't affect us now, and any problem areas we are working hard on improving as we speak.
AF: How does will DreamWave work as a publisher compared to other comic publishers? Will you work from an exclusive talent pool, or will you work with freelance artists and writers? Any new names joining your roster that you'd like to announce?
DW: We work from a specific talent pool, but will also work with freelance artists and writers. Obviously if someone has talent, we'll work with you, regardless of the situation. At this time, though, there are no big names to announce.
AF: Is DreamWave working on any other big licenses, or will the focus remain on original properties like Warlands and Dark Minds?
DW: We are planning a couple of other licenses (although we cannot divulge anything), but also want to spend time on our own titles. To that effect, we ultimately plan on having roughly half creator owned, and half licensed properties, so that licenses don't totally take over our company.
AF: This is "Anime"fringe, after all. What anime or manga series are you watching/reading these days?
DW: Anything that ADV sends us. They rule the planet!=)