Interview: Transformers Vs. GI Joe's Tom Scioli

Tom Scioli sat down with Max Robinson of Deadshirt.net at the Small Press Expo to talk about his work on The Transformers vs. GI Joe, his influences, his goals, and how success has put more eyes on his work at both Hasbro and IDW. Scioli is a smart guy with a good eye for comics and their history -and as usual, it shows in this interview. Keep reading for excerpts and a link to the full conversation!
MR: So, on Twitter you described Transformers vs. G.I. Joe as your ‘oversized licensed mini-comic,” and that definitely comes through in the way this feels like one of those little comics you’d find packed in with a He-Man action figure, or those late era Kirby Superpowers comics. Was that a deliberate choice or did that just sort of happen?

TS: You know what’s funny? Those comics are just so much a part of my DNA because they’re some of the first comics I ever read, so that’s definitely in there. But what I like about the word “mini-comic” is it actually means two very opposite things, especially at a place like SPX. When someone talks about a mini-comic, they’re talking about one of those little things that comes with He-Man, but it also means this alternative art comic that you created and xeroxed and sold at a show. And to me, this is both of those things.


MR: It feels like Hasbro and IDW have been pretty hands off with this project.

TS: They were pretty hands off in the beginning but in this most recent issue there were a number of things I was told I needed to change. So I had to change them, and in some of the cases I took that as an opportunity to make something better. In some of the cases I wasn’t able to come up with a solution and I had to go with an inferior element; I had to take something that I thought worked and take it a step down.

But that’s very, very recent, and I attribute that to, when this thing happened, it was just sort of a lark. Like “oh, let’s put out a Transformers/G.I. Joe comic and see what happens.” Now it’s a hit and it’s like “okay, we have something here,” so there’s more eyes and more attention on it. So it should be fine, I just wasn’t anticipating that change, so now with the next issue I’ll create with that in mind and lean towards things I’m interested in and want to do but that wouldn’t trigger a reaction like that.


MR: Are you working on anything else or is this it right now?

TS: This is it. It’s a job where I can do what I want with it, and I make an amount I’m happy with, so I’d rather put every ounce of effort, time and imagination that I have into this one project. Up until I got this project, I wasn’t exclusively making my living from comics, I’d try this and it wouldn’t work, I’d try that and it didn’t work. I’d have multiple things going at once that I couldn’t justify putting all my effort into but this is something I want to pour all my heart into. For me, the big goal you’re shooting for here, sort of the ultimate goal here, is to make one of the great comics of all time. And you’re not going to do that with divided focus.

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