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What's with the name?

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Interview

Meet Windblade Part 2: An Interview with Mairghread Scott and Exclusive Character Designs!


A couple weeks back we put up a short recap of the “controversy” around fan-made TRANSFORMERS, Windblade, that’s debuting in her own 4 part comic series, along with her own Hasbro toy. That article was meant to be the first half of a piece where we got to interview Windblade’s author, Mairghread Scott, but the latter half of that was unavoidably delayed for a bit. So it was much to my delight to receive that interview back today, and OH BOY does Ms. Scott deliver! Want to know more about Windblade, the bots appearing alongside her, and her place in the larger TRANSFORMERS canon? Well wait no longer, friends!

As a double-plus bonus for the being patient with the wait, IDW and Ms Scott have given us several previews of Windblade supporting characters, including BlurrChromia, and Starscream!

Jaydot: The TFWiki entry about Windblade is pretty sparse. We know she’s got a “fancy sword” and turns into a jet, and there’s almost literally no other info about her. Without getting into too much background detail, which I understand might be spoilery, can you elaborate at all on who/what Windblade is?

Mairghread: To be fair, beyond being a jet and a sword fighter I started with a pretty blank slate when I developed Windblade, so don’t fault the wiki for that one. The most important thing for me when constructing Windblade was to make her a fully three-dimensional (read: flawed) character, so if I had to pick one word to describe her I would say that Windblade is trying. She’s an optimistic, hard-working Transformers character who is genuinely interested in helping others, but she’s also been dropped in the aftermath of a millennia (for real) long war that she was not really part of, so while she’s a very competent character, she’s way behind the curve when it comes to knowing who’s who and what’s what on Cybertron. This actually makes Transfomers: Windblade a really good starting point for new readers because almost everything on Cybertron is as new to her as it is to someone just entering the brand.

What’ll be the overall tone of the book? Transformers can run the gamut from very kid-friendly to very mature (although even Transformers Prime had its extremely dark moments, see the whole Silas storyline, for example). While I have no doubt Windblade will have its emotionally impactful moments, are you aiming overall for something lighter or more fun, or is this a much more serious endeavor?

Transformers: Windblade is, at its core, a story about hope: who has it, who doesn’t, what does it cost and when is it worth (and not worth) that price. So you should expect a story that runs the entire emotional gamut. That said, Transformers: Windblade will definitely be fast-paced and fun because Transformers as a brand is so fast-paced and fun, but hope in the hands of someone like Starscream can be a very dangerous thing and Windblade, who is so centered around the idea of hope, is going to learn that the hard way.

Despite being a fan-made robot, there is some controversy over the idea of gender in Transformers in general. Some would make the argument that there’s no need for gender when you’re dealing with giant robots, that the binary falls more along the lines of robot form/vehicle form (or beast form), which nominally makes sense, but it’s pretty plain to see that most transformers are coded as male, one way or another. However, they get to be male without any justification – they just are, as if that’s the default. How much do you plan to address Windblade presenting as female, or do you plan to let her just “be” female without justification, much as the male Transformers are?

More female inclusion within the brand is a great thing and Windblade’s “female-ness” is unusual to many of our characters because of past continuity, so we will talk about it somewhat. But, on the flip side, I think the best part about female transformers is the fact that they aren’t defined by their sex/gender “in story” and I’m not interested in changing that. Windblade is a jet, Chromia is a bodyguard, and while the characters in story are aware that they both use the pronoun “she,” it’s far from the most important thing about them. When your world includes a hovering robot shark, people with two heads and your species can be anywhere from knee-high to planet-big, you tend to take a pretty broad view on “diversity.”

Female transformers are pretty sparse without question, which means Windblade has a pretty heavy burden to bear with regards to representation. Are there plans to introduce or mingle Windblade with other female transformers so as to spread that representation around? (or put more simply – we can haz more ladee robots? Plz?)

You can haz more ladee robots. In fact, Windblade is introduced with two other female Transformers characters Nautica and Chromia in Dark Cybertron and Arcee continues to be a vital part of the IDW universe. Now, we decided to “spread the wealth” a bit, so I do not have every female Transformers character in my comic, but Windblade is not alone.

A question I scooped from an informal nosing around on twitter, will Windblade be a forged bot or cold-constructed, and will her origin be addressed in the Windblade comic?

SPOILERS ;)

Ahahah ok fine. Well, in that case, what’s the #1 (or #1 through #5) thing you want people to know about WINDBLADE? Either the comic as a whole or the character.

When it comes to the comic, you should be reading it.

If you’ve loved Hasbro and IDW’s Transformers comics for years, you should read it: Sarah and I have really tried to push the envelope in both storytelling, artistic style and that wonderful point where they meet. We’re going to open whole new worlds for you both in-story and on the page and you are not going to want to miss it.

If you’ve never read Transformers, you should read it. Transformers: Windblade is a perfect jumping on point and designed to show off all the best (okay, all my favorite) parts of this brand: fantastic characters, imaginative landscapes, awesome fight scenes and, yes, even humor.

And if you’re an impulse buyer, you can order issue 1 from your local comic store right now: FEB140337 E  TRANSFORMERS WINDBLADE #1 (OF 4) gets you the Casey Coller cover.

FEB140338 E  TRANSFORMERS WINDBLADE #1 (OF 4) SUBSCRIPTION VAR gets you Sarah’s cover.


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  • Joanna

    I love Windblade’s design.

  • http://runt.org/ Adrian

    I’m new to the Transformers comics universe. Can anyone explain what the difference between forged and cold-constructed is?

  • http://pontoonification.blogspot.com/ AverageDrafter

    I thought Devastator had balls…

  • http://anna.balasi.com/ AnnaB

    I’m still baffled by the outrage. When “Transformer: The Movie” came out, they had a robot that was distinctly “female”. Her name was Arcee and she had a lady shape–she was even Sprinter’s (a triple-changer) “girlfriend”. Personally, I didn’t identify with her. She was pink and she had no personality other than to be the token female autobot and Sprinter’s love interest, but I didn’t hear anyone complaining. I guess that was it, wasn’t it? She didn’t impose and she was nice and quiet, so she was alright.

  • Elias Algorithm

    And some would argue she was *too* female. She was basically a stereotype, sort of weepy and weak. I prefer the Arcee from Prime. She was tough.

  • Betty Anne

    Arcee from Prime should have been named “Chromia,” because that’s who she more closely resembled.

    That aside, “Arcee” keeps getting “re-imagined” in the Transformers universe because more fans are familiar with her. That pink-Princess-Leia look, unfortunately, sold.

  • http://anna.balasi.com/ AnnaB

    Correction made.

  • Elias Algorithm

    Retracted.

  • Elias Algorithm

    To be fair, Susan Blu (who voiced Arcee) turned around and became a well respected voice and casting director. She was also Stormer in Jem and JB McBride in Bravestarr.

  • http://adronbuske.com/ Adron Buske

    The recent Transformers Prime cgi cartoon is worth checking out to see how they handled Arcee. The series only focuses on a small handful of main characters (and often puts the villains forefront) and Arcee is primary and well realized. Also, the Gina Torres-voiced Decepticon Airachnid is deliciously devious and downright freaky.

    “Prime” is sort of a merge between G1 and the movies, but I think it cherry picks the best bits and delivers a very satisfying story with very complex characters.

  • Betty Anne

    Yeah, I don’t have a problem with the actor; it’s the writing and design that annoyed me. I know why Hasbro did (and does now) go the direction they go in, but it’s still annoying.

  • Chris McFeely

    Those terms are all quite new to the old-guard fandom too, as they’ve only just recently been introduced through IDW’s comics. A “forged” Transformer is one whose spark (the physical manifestation of their “lifeforce”) was “born” through natural means, emerging from the matter of their planet. A Transformer “constructed cold” had their spark manually generated from the Matrix of Leadership by a government program.

  • Elias Algorithm

    Forging is natural birth, infused with a spark by Vector Sigma on Cybertron or one of its moons. Cold-Construction was invented by Nova Prime because natural construction was slowing down, so he started bleeding the Matrix to create new sparks. Rather than being a spark that goes into a body, thousands of bodies were cold constructed to house mass-produced sparks. Eventually the forged Cybertronians came to look at Cold-Constructed as “knock-offs” and had them segregated into slums.

    The biggest proponent of resurrecting the process was Shockwave, which should tell you something.

  • Elias Algorithm

    You explained it better than I did. :)

  • Elias Algorithm

    She reminds me slightly of Nijika the Sky-Dancer. An android Perceptor briefly took over by accident in season 3 of G1. The pattern on her crown mostly.

  • Elias Algorithm

    Am I the only one taken aback by Armada Starscream? I mean I love the design (it’s the only Armada figure I have) I’m just surprised to see him like that.

  • http://www.shortpacked.com/ David Willis

    Here’s a working link to Windblade’s TFWiki entry: http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Windblade_(G1)

  • Anonymous

    I have heard about the claimed ‘gender-less’ transformers in IDW’s comics, and the offensive representation of Arcee in them. I do hope that that is discussed or changed because that is a major factor in why I do not read the IDW transformers comics. If Windblade can introduce the world in a well made manner, with good representation I may consider picking it up.

  • Elias Algorithm

    You mean the psychotic Arcee that was turned female by Jhiaxus? Yeah, “maddening maelstrom of contradictory sensory input” is a great way to describe potential readers. You know you’re in for it when Shockwave sounds humane.

  • http://runt.org/ Adrian

    Are any of the hero characters in these stories cold-constructed?

  • http://runt.org/ Adrian

    Do you mean that Shockwave is FOR making more cold-constructed? Or that he is FOR segregating them into slums? Or both? Where do the moral heroes of the story side?

  • http://skemono.blogspot.com/ Skemono

    Several characters were revealed to be cold-constructed, in More Than Meets the Eye #20, split among Decepticons and Autobots. Not sure how many are main characters, though.

  • Elias Algorithm

    It’s Shockwave. You say “segregate” and he just goes “incinerate”. It was long enough ago that only Orion Pax would have had much of an opinion on it and that’s just because he’d have read about it in the archives.

  • Chris Whitt

    Originally, TF Prime Arcee’s character model looked more the the original. They changed the color at the last moment because they didn’t want to put a male character on a pink bike, sadly…

  • Elias Algorithm

    Red Alert, Blaster, Ravage, Starscream, and Prowl are all confirmed as cold-constructed. The Insecticons are the results of experiments. Ratchet, Soundwave, and Fortress Maximus are forged. Only a few others have been specified one way or the other.

  • Elias Algorithm

    What gets me is that if you’re assuming your race are genderless yet they appear and behave as male, it makes MORE sense to have an otherwise genderless character appear and behave as female. And I don’t mean Tracks.

  • Chris McFeely

    Oh, yes, it’s not a case of “goodies forged, baddies constructed cold”. The character responsible for the cold-construction program (a mentally-unstable lawmaker) comes to think that all cold-constructed Transformers are tainted with a kind of “original sin” and holds himself responsible for perverting his race, but in reality we’ve seen both kinds on both sides. The period in history hasn’t been fully explored, but it’s even been established that there was apartheid over the divide.

  • Mark Brown

    He’s getting a new Classics toy, so he’s in that body now.

  • Anonymous

    Reminds me a little of Avatar Kyoshi from ATLA.

  • Ronnie

    IDW Arcee was also damn tough, and went through hell and back to punish a man who’d tortured her. She’s The Bride from Kill Bill, more or less, and that’s honestly a lot more awesome than anything Prime did, from start to finish. The only continuity where she was outright weepy and weak, IMHO, would be the earlier 3H comics where she went emo because Daniel died.

  • Silverwisp

    Looks pretty cool (could do wwithout the lipstick, but that’s nitpicking).I might give this a shot.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    It still bugs me to see a robot in Kabuki makeup…I can understand the idea of aestetics, but does lipstick serve any purpose for something without lips?! O.o

  • Ronnie

    She has lips. Female transformers have always had lips, and some of the guys implicitly as well what with the whole ‘mouth’ thing. It was always more prominent in the toys than the cartoon but that was an economy of detail issue.

    (Rodimus Prime’s lips, in art and on toy for comparison- http://www.transformers-universe.com/content/images/galerie/pics/412/41211_Rodimus_Profile.jpg
    http://static.seibertron.com/images/toys/files/03/r_rodimusprime024.jpg
    )

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    ……Huh….
    Why the heck do transformers have lips then? O.o

  • Luke Allen

    Chromia is blue, fast, and brash. I hear her with Ashleigh Ball’s “Rainbow Dash” voice in my head. And of course, since Windblade is a young, somewhat naïve bot with access to mystical wisdom beyond her years, I imagine her with Tara Strong’s “Twilight Sparkle” voice. (I hear the existing characters with their G1 voices, FYI.)
    Now I just gotta figure out who to map Nautica to…