IDW's John Barber took some time with Previews World recently to discuss the upcoming relaunch of the main Transformers comic as Optimus Prime
. In the interview they cover some background of where things are in the IDW universe now, and how it came to be that Optimus Prime would have a book all his own. As well, the topic of art duties shifting from Andrew Griffith to Kei Zama is addressed! You can find a quoted excerpt from the interview below, and a link to read the full article!
PREVIEWSworld: Without spoiling the story for anyone, what’s the direction for your work? Why does Optimus get his own series outside of Transformers?
Optimus Prime As Both Statesman & Soldier
John Barber: There’s been an overall plan I’ve had for a while. When I started writing the ongoing series, when it was Transformers: Robots In Disguise, the comic was about rebuilding Cybertron, and the politics in that. Around when it became just Transformers, the story had moved to Earth, and was about the politics and the relationship of Cybertronians on Earth. Now, in Optimus Prime, the two come together — the politics of Earth are the politics of Cybertron, and vice versa.
Because Optimus made such a bold move in annexing Earth, the story was necessarily going to focus on him — or, at the very least, he becomes the axis on which the story pivots. There’s still a big supporting cast — Soundwave, Arcee, Jazz, Victorion, many others; plus the human contingent — but the shadow of Optimus’ actions is so big they can’t help but be pulled into his gravity. We’ll be seeing Optimus through their eyes.
PREVIEWSworld: Describe your working relationship with artist Kei Zama. How have you two got along during production? How does the chemistry work, and why is Kei the best person for this book?
John Barber: I’ve known of Kei for a while — she’s friends with Andrew Griffith, who drew the Transformers series. I’d been working with him for years, and he — understandably — wanted to take a break from Transformers and work on some other characters for a little while. So I knew there was going to be a change.
Kei had sent her sketchbook over to me, and she did some covers, and then she sent some new sample pages, and I really liked where she was, and I thought the look of her art — the attitude of her art — would bring a really unique feel to the book. You could see some folks at Marvel agreed; they hired her for a Scarlet Witch issue off of what I assume were the same samples. Anyway, I loved working with Andrew, and if we were going to do something different, I wanted it to be really different.