More Than Meets The Ears with Transformers Music News

Over the past week, Transformers fans have had not one, not two, but three announcements regarding TF-related music.

First, Hasbro and Sony released a new album Transformers Roll Out last week to coincide with Record Store Day.  This new album contains tracks inspired by the continuous battles of the Autobots and Decepticons and features rock, alternative, and alt-pop artists, including Beck, Elle Rae, and Crash Kings.  The press release is at the end of the post.

It’s an interesting idea, to be sure.  I’ve not been a huge fan of “inspired-by” albums.  Usually, I stick to the actual music from the movie or show, rather than music that is only tangentially related; that’s just my personal preference.  Still, any album that includes Beck shows that effort went into the crafting of the record and not just slapping some random artists together.  Definitely one to preview on iTunes.

Second, last week the AllSpark mentioned that Robert Walsh, composer of the background music of Transformers Generation 1, GI Joe, JEM, and other Sunbow productions, has teamed up with Sony to release the music in some form.  This is huge news.  For years, fans have clamored for the music to be put on CD, and while the cries have been rather quiet lately, it’s always been one of those “Wouldn’t it be great if…?” ideas.  Whatever format it’s released in, count me in to get a copy.

Finally, on Wednesday, Vince DiCola talked to his fans via Facebook to thank them for their support at BotCon 2016.  Unbeknownst to me, he had new items for sale at the con (and nobody bought them for me, thanks a lot), including new copies of the Transformers: The Movie soundtrack on LP, the music from Saturday Morning R.P.G., and a new DiCola/Kenny Meriedeth album “Of Two Minds”.  Thankfully, all this can be ordered online either physically or digitally, so if you weren’t at the concert, you can still purchase Vince’s music.

Sign me up for any new DiCola music.  You don’t have to tell me twice.

Truly this is a great time for music of a Transformers nature.  Let’s hope the G1 soundtrack gets finished and in our hands relatively soon.  I can’t wait.

After the jump, you can read Vince’s post as well as the official release for Transformers Roll Out.

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Under Pressure: Dept. H #1 Delivers Tension and Mystery

DeptHCoverI love underwater stories.  I’ve been fascinated by SCUBA diving ever since I was a kid, finally realizing my dream twenty years ago (aside: I just realized it was twenty years ago holy crap I’m old).  Even before I was a diver, I loved reading and watching stories about the world below.  I’m of the opinion that even a horrible movie can be partially redeemable if there’s diving or underwater sequences.  Case in point: I will unironically watch Jaws 3.  And that’s a bad movie.

So when Dark Horse announced Dept. H, on sale tomorrow, by Matt and Sharlene Kindt, I knew I’d be reading it.  An underwater thriller?  Written by a great writer?  I’d read it even if it was by some horrid writer, but with Matt at the helm, consider it a Done Deal.  Matt provides the words and the art, and his wife Sharlene provides colors.  Together, the two of the spin a taut mystery miles below the surface of the ocean, and it’s a story that grips you from the start.

Mia is an investigator, hired to uncover the truth about an incident that happened in her father’s underwater research station, Dept. H.  The official story is an accident killed one of the scientists, but Mia suspects the truth — it was murder.  No one has left the station since the killing occurred, meaning when she travels six miles down, she’ll be there with the one who did the deed.

Pressure abounds both via the expanse of water over her head and by the people she’s meant to question in her investigation.  She needs to find out who has sabotaged the research, and she needs to find out without the killer getting her as well.

The art is quite moody for such a tale, and you are immediately submerged with Mia.  Matt and Sharlene present an array of suspects, and I’m sure there will be red herrings as this story progresses, but for now, any one is a suspect, including one of Mia’s old friends and even her brother.

Dept. H is looking like it will be a winner for fans of intrigue, suspense, mystery, and thrillers.  As an underwater junkie, I was here for the environment and will stay for the story.  Matt and Sharlene have a tale that should not be missed.

Dept. H, from Dark Horse comics, is on sale starting Wednesday at your local comic shop or online in print or digital.

Requiem for a roBOT CONvention

This weekend is Last BotCon, they say.  One last go for the stalwart of the Transformers fandom.  As the great scribe William Joel once penned, “Stack the chairs on the table tops, hang the sheets on the chandeliers.”

BotCon was life changing for me as I suspect it was for many of you.  The friends I have made, the places I’ve gone, the things I’ve done thanks to this convention — it’s astounding when I step back and think about it.

I wasn’t at the first BotCon; no, silly me thought it was stupid to drive six hours to a town I barely recognized to be with people I only knew of online to talk about Transformers.  Surely, it was pure folly, something I didn’t need to go to.

I was stupid back then.  (I’m stupid now, too, but for different reasons that are irrelevant to this discourse.)  After reading how much fun it was, I decided I would have to go to the next one, if there was one.  So in the summer of 1995, I and several online friends packed my old Dodge Caravelle and made the trip to Dayton to meet more online friends.  We planned to leave early Sunday, but I dragged my feet and we stayed longer because I simply Didn’t Want To Go.

Not wanting to go is how most of my BotCons ended.  Sure, 1996 was rather pathetic in terms of professionalism, but that’s where I met a good many people who I’m still friends with today. The weekend was fun because of my friends and in spite of the foul ups.

BotCon 1997, the first 3H con, truly set the high bar.  Guests! A comic!  PETER FRIGGIN’ CULLEN!  VINCE FRIGGIN’ DICOLA!  (Front row seats, too.)  The first MSTF! (Hey, it was important to me.) This con the standard for all BotCons — heck, I’d say most unofficial Transformers conventions — to come, including Last BotCon.  If there hadn’t been any more after 1997, the fans would have had a great final BotCon.  But instead we got more.  We got the East Coast.  We got a multi-year story.  We got more intricate toys and packaging.  We got more guests.  We got more activities. We got me as a performer in MSTF. (Again, important to me.)

We got The Split.

Ah, yes, the 3H/BotCon/OTFCC rupture, one that did kind of tear the fandom apart in ways.  Some sided with the Hartmans, some sided with Glen.  I went to OTFCC and BotCon.  I had considered all of 3H friends, or at least good acquaintances, and I wanted to support both.

The OTFCC years were interesting.  I won’t go into everything because this is about BotCon. Yet, a lot of BotCon was in OTFCC, and I must say that if it weren’t for Glen, I wouldn’t have had one of the highlights of my life — playing a duet with Vince DiCola at OTFCC 03.  OTFCC wasn’t called BotCon, but it felt pretty much like BotCon.

And then came BotCon 2004 which was, at the time, thought to be Last BotCon, a celebration by the Hartmans again, done out of love to the fans.  We knew the Hartman BotCon was going away, later we knew OTFCC was going away, and we didn’t know what was coming.  It’s very similar to today’s uncertainty.

In some ways, BotCon 2004 should be considered Last BotCon.  When Fun Publications took over, BotCon changed. The focus shifted.  Toy output increased… and so did the prices.  We heard all about the collector, and little about the fan. But FP did good, as evidenced by BotCon growing by leaps and bounds.  Having a big budget movie helped, sure, but FP didn’t squander the opportunity, and having BotCon 2007 at Hasbro, with a tour, and guests, and the movie, and Generation 1 themed toys — it also set a high bar.

These high points came at a price, though.  And in this case, I’m being both metaphorical and literal.  The cost of attending BotCon went higher and higher.  Many of my friends were priced out of attending, and those that could afford it now were older with other priorities.  Today, we have box sets tickling the $400 mark, Golden Tickets at even more insane prices, and walk-ins get a cheap price but virtually nothing more than a handstamp.

Hasbro has said this is the last BotCon in this format, and I feel sad, but not just because it’s done.  I feel sad because in a way I’ve been saying goodbye to it for a while now.  I was at nearly every BotCon through 2008, including ten in a row.  I stopped going because of finances or distance until last year.  And I was amazed at how small the convention was, and how few of my friends were there.

In 1999, Rob “Tengu” Gerbracht and I talked about how BotCon was our family reunion.  Today, that family has found other ways to reunite, and I have to admit: 

BotCon isn’t BotCon any more. 

I write this with no malice intended, but now that Fun Publications’ time is over, it’s time to take a long and hard look at what we received. I personally experienced higher prices, long lines, dismissive statements by those in charge, insane delays in registration, credit cards not being kept safe, and a variety of other issues — and that was just me! These and other things drove my BotCon family away, and I can’t be okay with that.

Still, I wish I was at Last BotCon, because, well, it’s BotCon.  Some of my best friends in the entire world I met at BotCon, and I wish I could be there to spend one final weekend with them at BotCon.  Because whatever comes next, it won’t be BotCon as we know it.  Even if there is a fan convention, it may not be called BotCon, and even if it is, it may not be, you know, BotCon.

We’ll keep you alive, BotCon, in that unknown future.  Because no matter how much the convention structure changed, the core essence of you was still there.  It may have been hiding deep, but you could still see it peeking out every now and then when the BotCon family got together.

For the people you allowed me to meet, for the experiences you allowed me to have, for allowing me to be on stage two hours making jokes with friends — thank you, BotCon.  To the friends I met at the con, the friends I spent a long weekend with every summer — thank you for being a part of that.

Good bye, BotCon.

Battle Tribes Launching Today from Spy Monkey Creations!

Dropping tonight from Spy Monkey Creations is Battle Tribes, a new 2.5 inch compatible line of toys.  These are perfect for you Glyos fans. This first wave consists of four figures, each oh which has five heads, three weapons, a shield, and removeable armor. This allows a lot of customization for the buyer, mixing and matching as she or he wants.

They look really neat! See the gallery below and the press release after the jump. You can buy these at 6:00 pm Pacific Time tonight in the Spy Monkey Creations Webstore


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Win a Trip to San Diego Comic-Con 2016 from Dark Horse!

original_SDCC16-Survey-Header-FNL.111550

 

Okay, this is pretty cool of Dark Horse. Take a survey, maybe win a trip to Comic-Con?  Seems like a great deal to me! Good luck!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MILWAUKIE, OR—Have you ever wanted to attend the greatest pop culture event in the world? Well, Dark Horse Comics is now giving you the chance to party in style at San Diego Comic-Con!

To celebrate Dark Horse Comics’ thirtieth anniversary, we are offering a trip to San Diego Comic-Con that includes:

• Two (2) four-day passes (July 21–24)
• VIP access to Dark Horse events and activities
• VIP wristbands for all ticketed Dark Horse booth signings
• Hotel room for four days and three nights
• Round-trip travel for two to San Diego, California
• $300 spending money
• One (1) Dark Horse Comic-Con exclusive of your choice

And what do you have to do to win all this, you ask? Simple: take a five-minute survey about your interests in comics and pop culture! That’s it! There’s nothing to buy!

To the many fans and readers who have been with us over our thirty years in business, we want to give something back to all those who have supported us along the way. And what’s a better way to say thank you than an all expense paid trip to San Diego Comic-Con? So come help Dark Horse Comics ring in thirty years by taking our quick survey and letting us know a little bit more yourself and you may be heading to Comic-Con International this July!

The sweepstakes opens on April 4, 2016, at 12:00 p.m. (PT) and closes on May 30, 2016, at 11:59 p.m. (PT). Winner will be announced June 3, 2016. All official rules, regulations, and details are available online.

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About Dark Horse

For 30 years, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. Founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson, the company is known for the progressive and creator-friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists. In addition to publishing comics from top talent, such as Eric Powell, Mike Mignola, Geof Darrow, Brian Wood, Gail Simone, Stan Sakai, and Guillermo del Toro, and comics legends, such as Will Eisner, Milo Manara, Kazuo Koike, Neil Gaiman and Frank Miller, Dark Horse has developed its own successful properties, such as The Mask, Ghost, X and Barb Wire. Its successful line of comics, manga and products based on popular properties includes Dragon Age, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan, Tomb Raider, Halo, The Witcher, Serenity, Game of Thrones, and Avatar: The Last Airbender. Today Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent comic book publisher in the US and is recognized as one of the world’s leading entertainment publishers.

Transformers 2016 Hall of Fame Nomination Period is Open!

It’s time once again to nominate winners for the 2016 Transformers Hall of Fame! We once again have three categories that need your nominees, but the second one is new.

• FAVORITE TRANSFORMERS CHARACTER (Fictional Robot Character)

• FAVORITE UNDERRATED TRANSFORMERS CHARACTER (Fictional Robot Character)

• BEST TRANSFORMERS-RELATED MUSICAL ACT (Real Life Humans)

For the first two categories, you can not vote for the following characters:

Arcee, Bumblebee, Dinobot, Grimlock, Ironhide, Jazz, Megatron, Megatron – Beast Wars, Optimus Prime, Predaking, Prowl, Ratchet, Rodimus, Shockwave, Soundwave, Starscream, Ultra Magnus, Waspinator, Wheeljack

For the last category, you can not vote for Stan Bush or Vince DiCola.

All polling result lists from each fan outlet will be combined together (each outlet getting an equal voice). The resultant point values will be used to generate the final ballot, with details to follow on voting.

Winners of the final polling will be announced at BotCon, the official Transformers Convention, in Louisville, KY, April 7-10.

Here at ASM, we believe in the sanctity of the ballot.  Okay, not really, we’ll let you vote up to four times:

1) Email your top three nominees for each category to tfhof@asmzine.com . Multiple emails will result in only the most recent email being counted. One email address per person only.

2) Tweet your nominees to @ASMzine with the hashtag #ASMTFHOF. You may use one tweet per category, but duplicate tweets for a category will result in the most recent tweet being counted.  Use C1, C2 and C3 to designate the category.

3) Post a comment to our FB wall (http://asmzine.com/FB) with your nominees and the #ASMTFHOF hashtag. One post with all categories; multiple posts will result in only the most recent post being counted.

4) Leave a comment on this blog post.  One post with all categories; multiple posts will result in only the most recent post being counted.

No matter which method, all nominees must be in to ASM by 5:00 PM EDT on Tuesday, March 8, so we can deliver the results on March 9.

Happy nominating!

Toy Fair 2016 Is On!

 

In case you didn’t see, TOY FAIR 2016 is going on right now! Click over to http://toyfair16.asmzine.com!

Toy Fair 2016 – What I Want To See

Toy Fair is upon us once again, and it seems more than ever, there are fewer surprises, what with official reveals promised to various media outlets and leaked images popping up everywhere.  So, this post is not truly 100% prediction or speculation — this is what I hope to see this weekend.

HASBRO

TRANSFORMERS – We know we’re going to see Titans Return all over the place. So, I want to see Powermaster Prime and Fortress Maximus on display, as well as Victorion. And then give me Headmasters galore – I want to see the new Hardhead and Brainstorm. I hope there’s a Nightbeat shown in some form.  (EDIT: And Hasbro Pulse has just showed us artwork for some Headmasters. Toys will be seen tomorrow.)

And let’s get some Beast Wars love, okay? I’d love it if Masterpiece Optimus Primal was announced. I’d be okay with some more BW Generations figures, too.

STAR WARS – Well, no Rogue One, we know that. So give me more TBS TFA characters. Give me a Rey with Speeder.  Give me a 6″ Maz to complement the 3.75″ character.  Give me Luke and Leia.  Give me Kanji Klub. Give me a Rey/Finn pack with Roamer-6 breath masks and Falcon parts.

MARVEL – We’re getting 6″ 90’s Rogue in Marvel Legends, as well as Spider-Gwen.  That’s my wish list right there.

But let’s throw in Silk, some Dr. Strange stuff, and some Netflix people like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Kilgrave.

And now that 12″ Marvel Legends have been announced, let’s hope for more than just Captain America and Iron Man.

PLAYSKOOL – For Transformers, I’d like to see some non-Rescue Bots designs. Let’s throw in RiD and G1 (and BW if we’re pipe-dreaming).  For Star Wars, I’d love Kylo Ren and Shuttle, Rey and Speeder, and a troop builder pack of First Order Storm-, Flame-, Snowtroopers and TIE Pilots.

MATTEL

DC – How about some 3.75″ figures from the DC TV Universe, like all of ARROW and FLASH? I’d love toys of Oliver, Black Canary, Merlyn, and Nyssa with some Flash, Reverse Flash, Firestorm, Captain Cold and Heatwave.

FUNKO

My God, what don’t I want to see? I love everything they do. For Pop figures, I want to see more Arrow and Flash. I want to see more Star Wars (if they could tap into the Legends Expanded Universe, say, Mara Jade and Thrawn). More Transformers.

I’d love to see a Knight Rider Pop! Ride. Think about it — Michael Knight with KITT and… okay, it’s not canon, but Garth Knight with KARR.  (Hey, it would be an easy mold reuse; keep those costs down!). Note: These will not happen.

Rumor is we’ll see new 3.75″ figures. Bring them on.

KOTOBUKIYA

I always love looking at their Star Wars and Marvel figures. Let’s see some Force Awakens items.

MISCELLANEOUS

If anyone — anyone — makes “Quantum Leap” toys? I will buy every damn QL toy they make.  Note: These also will not happen. Damn it.

The show starts tomorrow! Be sure

Hasbro Announces New TRANSFORMERS: EARTH WARS Mobile Game; Features Cullen, Weller, Furman

I love Transformers. I love mobile games, as they’re the only gaming I do these days. I love Peter Cullen and Frank Weller voicing their G1 characters. And Simon Furman’s G1 story will always hold a special place in my heart.

Did Hasbro make this game just for me?

Below is a press release about a new TRANSFORMERS: EARTH WARS mobile game coming this spring, featuring Cullen as Optimus Prime and Welker as Megatron, with a story written by Furman.

Just add Vince DiCola music and I’d buy stake in the company.  And now that I have an iPad, I can try both iOS and Android versions. Can’t wait to try it out!  

Hasbro, Backflip Studios and Space Ape Games Bring The Fight Home with TRANSFORMERS: EARTH WARS; Game Coming To iOS And Android in Select Markets Spring 2016

Battle as AUTOBOTS or DECEPTICONS and Fight Against Live Opponents Around the World In First TRANSFORMERS Real-Time Combat Strategy Game

Boulder, CO (Feb. 10, 2016) – This spring, fans of the beloved TRANSFORMERS brand from Hasbro, Inc. will have the opportunity to harness legendary characters, including  OPTIMUS PRIME, MEGATRON, BUMBLEBEE and STARSCREAM, in the palm of their hands with TRANSFORMERS: EARTH WARS – the latest real-time combat strategy mobile app. Published by Backflip Studios (DragonVale, Ninjump, Paper Toss) and developed by Space Ape Games (Rival Kingdoms, Samurai Siege), TRANSFORMERS: EARTH WARS brings the excitement of the battle between AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS to supported mobile devices with fast-paced gameplay and beautiful 3D animation, allowing the characters to attack, battle, and change form right before a player’s eyes.
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comiXology Cyber Monday Sales

For the first time ever, comiXology is having a HUGE Buy One, Get One Free sale on all DC Comics and Vertigo titles released digitally before 9/1/2015! Just use the code DCBOGO at check out to take advantage of this great offer that includes comics that inspired TV shows and upcoming movies like The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, iZombie, Batman vs Superman and Suicide Squad.

Also, on Cyber Monday they have sales on select Dark Horse trades, select VIZ manga, as well as continuing Black Friday sales!

DC Comics Buy One, Get One Free Sale – Use promo code DCBOGO at checkout

Dark Horse Sale – 30 trades for $3.00 each
Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone
Aliens: Fire and Stone
ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times
Avatar: The Last Airbender – Smoke and Shadow Part One
Archie vs Predator
Big Guy and Rusty
Conan Red Sonja
Courageous Princess Vol 1
Drug and Drop Vol 1
EI8HT Vol 1: Outcast
Ghost Fleet Vol 1 Deadhead
Green River Killer
Halo: Escalation Volume
Heart in a Box
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D: 1952
How to Pass as Human
Lady Killer
Predator: Fire and Stone
Prometheus: Fire and Stone
Plants vs. Zombies: Bully For You
Rat God
Rexodus
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind
The Goon Vol14: Occasion of Revenge
The New Deal
The Witcher: Vol 2 – Fox Children
Tomb Raider Vol 1 : Season of the Witch
Veda: Assembly Required
Buffy: Season Ten Vol 1 : New Rules
BloodC Vol 1

VIZ Sale – 10 volumes for $4.99 each
My Hero Academia Vol 1
Assassination Classroom Vol 1
Ultraman Vol 1
Twin Star Exorcists Vol 1
Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1
Time Killers Vol 1
Demon Prince Momochi House Vol 1
Kiss of the Rose Princess Vol 1
My Love Story! Vol 1
Spell of Desire Vol 1

Marvel X-Men & The Black Vortex Sale
The Black Vortex Alpha #1
Guardians of the Galaxy #24-25
Legendary Star-Lord #1-11
All-New X-Men #38-39
Guardians Team-Up #1-3
Nova #28
Cyclops #12
Captain Marvel #14
The Black Vortex Omega #1

Continuing Black Friday Sales:

Image Comics 50% off Sale – Use promo code IMAGE at checkout

Marvel Black Friday Collection Sale
Avengers/X-Men: Utopia
Avengers Vs. X-Men
Death of Wolverine
Fear Itself
House of M
Marvel 1602
Original Sin
Secret Invasion
Secret Wars
X-Men: Battle of the Atom

Marvel Spider-Verse Sale
The Black Vortex Alpha #1
Superior Spider-Man #32-33
Spider-Man 2099 #5
Amazing Spider-Man #1-18
Spider-Verse #1-2
Spider-Verse Team-Up #1-3
Spider-Woman #1-4
Scarlet Spiders #1-3
Spider-Man 2099 #6-8
Amazing Spider-Man #1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 16.1, 17.1, 18.1, 19.1, 20.1

Kodansha 99¢ Black Friday Sale
Attack On Titan Vol 1
Say I love You Vol 1
Seven Deadly Sins Vol 11