Reasons To Be Cheerful: Why Transformers comic creator Simon Furman loves the new Hachette partwork, out now in the UK

Transformers Collection - Promotional ArtTransformers: The Definitive G1 Collection – Hachette’s superlative Transformers Partworks hardback book collection, has just got its nationwide launch here in the UK, backed by TV advertising – and a signing to promote the title, featuring some of the the top British talent involved in the comic mythos, will take place in London next week.

Simon Furman, who has written more Transformers comics than, possibly, anyone on the planet, is just one of the creators at the Orbital Comics signing on Saturday 14th January and is delighted at how the collection has come together.

Transformers delights - the new Hachette collection includes every Marvel UK-published Transformers story
Transformers delights – the new Hachette collection includes every Marvel UK-published Transformers story

Comprising 80 volumes in total, starting with Target: 2006 (the books are released non-sequentially), Simon says part of his brief as one of the team on the project, working alongside Hachette’s Managing Editor and old Marvel UK colleague Steve White, was to make this collection unique. Given the amount of Transformers collections already out there in some shape or form, that wasn’t automatically a given.

Simon Furman (2015)
Simon Furman

“There’s the basic things of course – hardback, spine art that builds up into one overall image, superb production values, bumper-sized editions, etc.,” Simon notes. “But what makes it unique among other Transformers collections is that for starters, the collection is sequential, and – for the first time – the Marvel UK/US strip will appear in the order it was published in the original Marvel UK Transformers comic.

“In other words, the strip will go from UK originated to Marvel US strip in the same volume, giving you the sense of one through story (rather than UK collections or US collections). And then the end of the Marvel era will feed directly into Regeneration One to wrap up Transformers/Marvel storyline.

Transformers Dreamwave #11“All the Dreamwave G1 material that saw print in single-issue form will also be collected,” he reveals, “including the rare Summer Special story, ‘Welcome to the Jungle’, and their ongoing G1 series. These stories have never before been collected.

“When we say ‘definitive’, we mean it!”

And Simon’s personal favourite “reason to be cheerful”, excited and for any Transformer fan worth their salt to subscribe immediately? For the first time, all the UK black & white strips – published in Transformers UK #215-289 – will be reprinted/collected in glorious full colour.

“I can’t tell you how long I’ve been pushing and hoping for a publisher to come in and get this material colourised,” he says, “and thanks to Hachette this is finally happening. John-Paul Bove, he of Regeneration One and many other IDW/ Transformers colouring gigs, is bringing his unique (chameleon-like) colouring skills to bear on classic strips like ‘Aspects of Evil’, ‘Perchance to Dream’, ‘Out To Lunch’ and many more. And what’s more he’ll be colouring them as if we were back in the late 1980s, in the style of the time (albeit fully digitally).

“Anyone who saw John’s amazing colour work on Transformers: Regeneration One #0 (a multi-artist/ story issue reflecting different eras and iterations of G1) will know how he goes the extra half-mile (and then some) to meld modern colouring techniques with the look and feel of the time.

The third release, ‘The Primal Scream’ in the DefG1 series, features the first of this newly colourised material – but there’s more (much more) to come. This is a true exclusive/first for Transformers: The Definitive Collection.”

Andrew Wildman Transformers art in progress revealed
Andrew Wildman Transformers art in progress revealed

As if these weren’t reasons enough to buy subscribe to the series, each volume comes with all-new background material created especially for the Definitive Collection. Plenty of behind-the-scenes action with the likes of “Meanwhile, in the Offices of Marvel UK” and “Creating The IDW-Verse”, plus Sketchbooks, Cover Galleries, Commentaries, Character Profiles, Story So Fars and more.

“With new input from the likes of me, Chris Ryall, Andrew Wildman, E.j. Su, James Roberts and many others, and in-depth creator profiles, each collection (as well as being part of the whole) is very much its own self-contained entity (with a contextual introduction),” Simon explains.

“Where possible, we’re sourcing visual materials to go along with these features that are exclusive to the DefG1 collection – like Ted McKeever’s art for an early iteration of ‘Hearts of Steel’, part of my original pitch for RG1, or unseen Andrew Wildman cover sketch variants.

“We’re layering on the extra value with a trowel!”

Transformers Signing - 14th January 2016 - Orbital Comics

You can subscribe to the whole 80-volume Transformers G1 set over at Hachette’s website here

• The Collection will get a special launch at Orbital Comics in London on Saturday 14th January 2017, with a signing by Simon Furman, Geoff Senior, Lee Sullivan, Jeff Anderson, John-Paul Bove and Stephen Baskerville, some of the creators who have helped shape the Transformers comics mythos over the years, starting at Marvel UK. 

The first three releases (books are released in non-consecutive order) will all be available – so come along and get your copies of Target: 2006, Stormbringer and The Primal Scream (featuring the first of the newly coloured – by John-Paul Bove – a UK black and white strip) signed

• Check out Simon Furman’s Official Blog: simonfurman.wordpress.com

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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