SDCC 2016 - New Names For Ex-RID and MTMTE - Optimus Prime And Lost Light! Plus Till All Are One!

Comics Alliance has posted a new interview with John Barber, James Roberts, and Mairghread Scott to follow up on the IDW panel at Comic Con! We get some more news about the post-Revolution Transformers world, and foremost in that news is a pair of name changes: The Transformers is now Optimus Prime, and More Than Meets The Eye is now Lost Light. Till All Are One seems to keep its title - but that means it gets two #1 issues in the same year! Keep reading for more details. SPOILER WARNING: The cover to Lost Light may reveal some spoilers about next week's issue of MTMTE!

ComicsAlliance: Since it’s the one that’s set on Earth, it seems like the post-Revolution combined universe is probably going to affect your book more than the others. How do you go about integrating the history of the Transformers on Earth into all of those disparate stories?

John Barber: In a macro sense, the GI Joe comic hasn’t really delved into the deep history of Earth and of the universe the way Transformers has, so there’s not a whole lot of back-time that’s irreconcilable. There were big Earth-shattering events that have happened in Transformers, and to a lesser degree, in GI Joe, so maybe there’s some squinting that needs to be done to make it all fit, but… I mean, we don’t name-check real-world tragedies in the comics with a great regularity. That doesn’t mean those tragedies didn’t happen, or wouldn’t have impacted the characters, it just doesn’t necessarily come up in the midst of a story focused on tracking down Tomax or Galvatron or whatever.

To me, there are two really big plusses that outweigh any of the incongruities:

One: I am really happy that the GI Joe stories laid out over the years still “happened.” I know that sounds silly, and when I’m reading a comic I really love, like [Ed] Brubaker and [Sean] Phillips’ Sleeper, and the universe that comic occurred in no longer has new comics set in it… it doesn’t bother me at the moment of re-reading Sleeper, but there’s a little pang that that universe is gone. I’m happy that these characters still remember Chuckles from the Cobra series.

Two: I really like that the Earth Optimus Prime is in is a rich and thriving place where there are other stories with big conceptual weight; where GI Joe and MASK and Rom and the Micronauts and Action Man all have histories and futures and impact the present and can interact or not interact as works for any given story. I like that this is about Optimus Prime on a living Earth — not him in a world designed to react to Transformers stories.

But, I don’t know. That sounds real stuffy. Kei Zama and I are just really excited to get into some action-packed, emotionally-centered stories about Optimus, and the people (metal and flesh) around him.

CA: Why relaunch now? Up to this point, MTMTE has been built on the idea of paying off a complicated series of events and rewarding readers for paying attention — even going back to stories like “Chaos Theory.” Is giving readers this kind of clean break the sign of something more than just existing in a new universe?

JR: Why should MTMTE miss out on all the fun of a big, brash, heavily-promoted “new readers start here” mega-event? No, but seriously, it made sense for MTMTE to be renumbered alongside Transformers and to have a new issue one alongside all the other post-Revolution books.

But don’t worry! I want to make it absolutely clear that the main MTMTE storyline is continuing. We’re not sacrificing any of the backstory, nor fiddling with future plans. Transformers: Lost Light is MTMTE behind a different cover, referencing and building on and playing off five years of backstory.

The “clean break” isn’t a clean break in the sense that it jettisons all that’s come before. It’s more a jumping on point — and it’s come about entirely naturally. As I say, we’ve just reached the end of “Season 2,” which ran from issues #28 to #55 of MTMTE. Had Revolution not come about, we’d still have had the Titans Return crossover in issues #56 and #57, and then we’d have used #58 to launch Season 3.

I always use “season premieres” as an opportunity to grab new readers’ attention — I did it with #28, which started with a ‘Six Months Later’ caption and a scene featuring Megatron on a psychiatrist’s couch. And for reasons that will become apparent, the situation we find ourselves in at the start of Season 3 makes for a perfect jumping on point. So nothing’s been lost or sacrificed by taking on a new name and starting again from #1 — the hope is that we’ll attract new readers who have heard good things about MTMTE but who felt they’d missed the bus first time round.

CA: Of all the characters that you’ve focused on — Windblade, Chromia, and Starscream being the main ones — I don’t think anyone expected Swindle to be the most important character of the recent stories. How did you arrive at that decision?

MS: I saw a fan tweet that they just couldn’t accept Swindle was dead after we shot him in Combiner Wars, and I thought, “Huh, I wonder if anyone on Cybertron would feel the same way?” After all, lots of Transformers have been hidden in secret prisons and survived way worse injuries. He could be alive… but who’d want to save him?

Thus began the infamous cry, “Swindle Lives!” How can you not love the idea that a low-life huckster nobody even liked has become the rallying point for an entire people (Decepticons) sick of being brutally oppressed and denied at every turn. Rightly or wrongly, Decepticons on Cybertron have suffered some extreme “collective punishment” and Swindle’s “death” and seeming-abduction by Starscream was the breaking point. It could have been anyone, but it’s Swindle.

Even better, the location of Swindle’s body has become this big mystery for several of our main characters because there’s no reason for anyone to steal him… unless he’s not dead. Unless he could ruin everything. Doubt is a terrible thing and it’s running rampant on Cybertron.

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