Brad Mick, author of Transformers Generation 1 Volume 2 & Volume 3, many issues of Armada/Energon, and whose work was heavily featured in the More Than Meets The Eye G1 profiles book, recently sat down with The Allspark to discuss the G1 ongoing book, the future, and much more. Here’s what Brad had to say:
AS: What comic writers, who haven’t worked on Transformers ever, are your biggest influences?
Brad: Grant Morrison, Frank Miller, Garth Ennis, Alan Grant, and Hiroaki Samura. There’s a ton of others, but these are the main comic guys who stick (out) for me.
AS: Besides the overall art, the actual writing/story in a comic is often subjected to harsh criticism, how do you deal with such reviews?
Brad: We actually haven’t been getting too much heat in that department lately, which believe me is a good thing. It’s kind of upsetting, but a lot of the time, harsh criticism can be summed up to plain old sour grapes. You know, people who wish they were doing what you were doing, or people who are just miserable in general. Keeping that in mind, you need too take it in stride. Don’t get offended if someone has something shitty to say. Step back, see if there is any merit to their claims, and move on. However, I must admit that it’s very difficult to ignore the shiver that runs up your spine when people come up to you at a convention, or send you letter, or even a message board post, praising your last issue. It always means a lot to hear that kind of stuff from the fans.
AS: When you came into Transformers, you were thought of as a bit of an unknown…tell us a little bit about how you came to work for Dreamwave, were you ever involved in the Transformers “fan fiction” scene? If you weren’t writing comic books, what do you think you would be doing for a living?
Brad: A “bit of?” Dude, I was a complete unknown. I definitely have to take this time to thank Pat Lee for taking a chance with me. The guy believed in me when nobody else did. That means a lot.
I was never really much of a fanfic guy, so I never really got into that scene. Actually, “War and Peace” wasn’t only my first attempt at writing a comic script, but also my first crack at ever doing a Transformers story. I guess it all kind of snowballed from there…before I knew it I was writing, editing and doing development work on everything from TF/Joe to Armada to War Within II to More than Meets the Eye. And now, I get to do the new ongoing series…can somebody please pinch me?!
AS: You’re working on the ongoing Generation 1 series…how do you intend to take these characters in a direction that they’ve never been before? And was it difficult to incorporate the first volume of Dreamwave’s Transformers into your own vision of what the Dreamwave Transformers universe should be?
Brad: Yeah, it was a bit tricky to navigate around the first volume of G1, but I think I was able to do so…without suffering too much collateral damage. Still, I stand by my story that the first series was recounted by Spike’s son Daniel. I actually did an interview for another Transformers site a while back (that never got published) that tried to explain some of the inconsistencies between vol. 2, vol.1 and War Within.
AS: There is very little information out there about writing a comic script…any advice you can give to aspiring comic writers?
Brad: It sound kind of corny…but practice does make perfect. Working out the kinks goes a long way. Time is something that I wish I had had a little more of, because before I knew it I was in the mix and learning as I went along.
AS: Generation 1 ongoing question…which characters haven’t yet been written of by Dreamwave that you’re dying to use, and are there any that have but you really want to use them in a more starring role? And the opposite of that, are there any characters you feel have really been overused in G1, that you’d like to shy away using in the ongoing?
Brad: I want to try and get everybody in the there somehow. I have some big plans for Bumblebee. I’d also really like to play up the Dinobots (sans Grimlock) a bit more. Especially Slag. I mean, if Optimus can’t keep Grimlock under control…what hope does he have for Slag? Also, keep your eye out for Megatron…I refuse to let him meander into the foppish villain he was in the past. To me, he can be the ultimate villain. In this continuity he’s Lucifer!
AS: New take on an old question…Bob Budiansky and Simon Furman. Not which one is better, but which one do you think has the most lasting effect on Transformers comics? Which one do you think 30 years from now, if there are still Transformer comics, his vision of Transformers will still be used?
Brad: Both. In the same interview I mentioned earlier, I actually stated how my Shockwave is based largely on Budiansky’s. I mean, Simon’s my man, but you can’t look past what Bob brought to the table. It was a different era then, so people may look at what he did today as a bit cheesy, but you have to take the sensibilities from back then into perspective.
Actually, Shockwave’s ongoing speech in War and Peace #6 was a tribute to Bob’s Shockwave (specifically issue #5). You know, the Shockwave who would brag to Megatron how he accomplished all that he couldn’t, or admit to his face that he was trying to kill him. He’s like that guy from your college days, who would sit in lecture hall and spout off every answer using a plethora of polysyllabic words just to make sure everybody knows that he’s the smartest guy in class—while covering for his own insecurities. Just because Shockwave is calculating and logical on the outside, doesn’t mean he’s above emotional weaknesses (at least to some degree) on the inside.
AS: How long does it take to write your usual comic script, from when you start all the way to the final draft?
Brad: Not too long…but that’s always subject to change. Often the stories have been floating around in my head for months and it’s just a matter of cleaning them up and placing them on paper. Too be completely honest, working on the G1 ongoing is way easier than I thought it would be, simply because Don and Espen are so damn good! Those guys are so talented, that I just want to write just so I can see their art!
AS: What does the future hold for you? What Transformers series would you like to write about that you haven’t yet? (Beast Wars, etc.). And are there any other mediums other than comics, be it television, movies, etc., that you would like to work in?
Brad: Oh, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve. One of which, will make Transformer fans very, very excited. They may even end up acting like animals!
Doing the Generation One comic is a dream come true. I know that sounds lame…but it’s so true! However, I guess if I was to shoot for the stars, I would have to say working with Mainframe on an all-new C.G.I. television series or movie based on my continuity would probably make me squeal like a school girl.
AS: Thank you for your time, and for answering our questions Brad. One last ongoing G1 question…is there one character that you really disagree with the past characterization, and would love to reinvent in the Dreamwave universe? And does your Transformers universe have room for Rodimus Prime? And finally, in case you haven’t heard this enough…is Wheeljack dead?
Brad: There’s a lot of the past stuff that I’m not too into, and that’s the main reason why I sort of fuse together or try to make more logical sense out of certain things.
And of course there’s room for Rodimus Prime…after all, he’s got the “touch,” right?
Thank you Brad for answering our questions, and best of luck on your future endeavors, including the new G1 ongoing, which officially kicks off with Issue #1 this coming Wednesday, February 4th!