Allspark Interview with Don Figueroa

Recently, Don Allen Figueora, of War Within, Armada, and G1 Ongoing fame, sat down with The Allspark to discuss many topics, including Macromasters, fan artists, and his fellow artists at Dreamwave. Here’s what Don had to say:

AS: Before you gained notoriety for the Dreamwave comics, you worked on your own fan series entitled Macromasters, here you crafted some astonishingly detailed homemade toys. While you’re most likely not able to revive the Macromasters series, is there any chance of us ever getting an up close and personal look at the toys? OTFCC perhaps?

Don: Ah well, I’d really like to see the Macromasters continue, but I can only do so much right now. I’ve had offers from other people to take over it, but I guess they just didn’t realize how much effort it takes. As for them seeing the toys, maybe if I drove them to the con? (If it was close enough). I’d rather not risk any of them getting confiscated in the terminal. =)

AS: 2003 was the first time at an OTFCC or Botcon for you. What did you think of the whole thing? What was the highlight of the con? And, how different is it to attend a convention as an actual “celebrity guest” as opposed to just
a fan attending?

Don: Actually, my very first one was at the ’98 Botcon at Anaheim . I was onlyable to go on the last day and I managed to haggle some good deals. I just started going online for the first time that year and when I found out about BC, I didn’t have time to prepare or save up. So, I just decided to go at the last minute with only about a $100 budget. OTFCC was a cool experience, I’ve been to a few Comic/sci-fi cons so  I know the routine. Unlike regular
comic conventions, I don’t get asked “Who are you and what do you do?” I never really thought of myself as a “Celebrity guest” or anything, I was just happy tagging along with the DW crew. It was also nice to finally meet
some of the people I chatted online with as well.

AS: The fandom is full of talented fan-artists and writers. Heck, you yourself came up from the rank and file of the fan community to be the “next big thing”. If you had the reins on a “dream project”, who are some of the fan-artists you’d like to see penciling, inking, coloring and writing?

Don: Hmm, let’s see.. I don’t know a lot of fan-writers. Myself being one, I try not to read any Fan-fiction just because I don’t want to accidentally steal any ideas. As for the other positions, I really like D-Con or Grungewerx on pencils, Jake as inker, and Josh on colors.

AS: Masterpiece Convoy, known in the states as 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime, is set to be a huge hit in Japan , and is sure to be a hit when it’s released in the US . If Hasbro/Takara chose to continue the line beyond Prime, who would you select as the next Masterpiece figure?

Don: A Masterpiece Rodimus Prime would be great, one which incorporates the trailer into the robot mode like the one in the show. It should also have a Matrix similar to Prime’s, or maybe they can just share. It should also have
a feature where a wire can be cut then he collapses and a Masterpiece Springer would have to revive him.
Maybe Magnus as well, just repaint Prime and give him clip-on armor, kind of like the one he had in G1 Vol. 2. Maybe the armor pieces should connect to form his trailer as well.

AS: You’ve worked on comics for Dreamwave, box art and concept art for Hasbro; up to now, what’s been the highlight of your career– the one thing you got to do that you think, 20 years from now, people will still remember?

Don: Not sure about what other people will remember, but one thing that still stands out for me is during the blackouts in the north-east. The TRL Times Square billboard got stuck on Toys’r’us’ Transformers Armada ad which featured some of my drawings and all the news footage I saw of the blackout always seemed to pan that. That was pretty awesome!

AS: Other than Transformers, what else are you interested in? Books? Music? Video Games?

Don: I listen to all types of music. I’m not a fan of a particular genre. I don’t get to read a lot of books nowadays, not even comics since I don’t have that much free time. Same goes with video games unfortunately.

AS: Art wise, is there any character or design that you find yourself having a hard time drawing? And what is your favorite part of a TF to draw?

Don: The Quintessons are always hard to draw, all the non-toy characters are always tricky since you have to put on a dvd or flip through older comics to find reference pics.

AS: With the ongoing G1 series, what kind of different approach do you have to take drawing characters who are fairly set in how they should look, as opposed to The War Within where there was a lot of room to “re-imagine” the
characters?

Don: I’ll probably take some artistic licensing here and there but nothing drastic. I’ll update them a bit, adding more technical details and such, but that’s basically it.

AS: You’re working on the ongoing G1 series with Brad Mick, who was highly praised for his work on the 2nd G1 series. In the end, how do you think Brad is going to compare to the all time great Transformers writers (Furman,
Budiansky, etc.), and is there any difference in approach working with a “rising star” over a writer like Simon Furman who has decades of experience?

Don: He’ll do great, Brad’s stories draw from both comics and cartoon lore as well as putting in his own spin into things. He’s got a very contemporary interpretation of Transformers, it almost has a movie-like quality. There’s really not much difference between working with Simon or Brad, they both have very detailed descriptions and scenarios but still leave enough room for me to contribute artistically.

AS: Thank you for your time Don, we all look forward to seeing your work in the ongoing G1 series, which we’re all anticipating. Now, for a final question…in 10 years, where do you see Transformers comics? Do you see any
major changes in style, be it art or storytelling? What aspects of Transformers would you like to tackle that you haven’t yet? Beast Wars?

Don: TF comics in 10 years? It’d be cool to have animated panels know?  Actual moving scenes with sound chips so you can also hear it, like the newspapers in Minority Report! 😀

Thank you for your time, and for answering our questions Don, we look forward to reading your work on the G1 ongoing comic, which is already getting rave reviews and we’re sure will be a huge hit.
“Energon Prowl ,drawn by Beamer and colored by 1stdegreeburns, is a great piece of fan art for the current Transformers line. Click on the pic to tell the artist what you think.”

“What happens when the most dangerous criminals in Cybertron’s history are merged with the imperfect minds of ten Humans? Menasor and Bruticus “happen”. In this work, Allsparker Stormrave shows us what it’s like to be not only a team of death-dealing Decepticon warriors, but to have the ghostly memories of long-dead human “masters” bouncing about subconsciously. “Fire in the Wires” is the Allspark’s Fanfic of the Month for February, and is definitely worth a read.”

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