Transforming Comics: Brad Mick on 'Transformers G1'

Wed, February 11th, 2004 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Seth Jones, Staff Writer

"Transformers "G1" #1 Wrap
Seven years ago, Brad Mick was receiving cease and desist orders regarding Transformers logos he was slapping on T-shirts, hats and surfboards at a surf shop in North Carolina.

Now, his name is (legally) on more Transformers gear than he ever would have imagined, as Dreamwave Production's go-to writer for all things that are more than meets the eye.

Thankfully, luck can change as quick as a Decpticon.

Mick, who just survived "Transformers Month" in January with "Transformers G1" ongoing #1 hitting the stands, finds it hard to believe that he has made a career out of playing with the same toys he did when he was a kid growing up in New York.

"It's pretty funny, now working with Hasbro on all this stuff," Mick says. "It's a dream job, I'd do it for free."

"Transformers "G1" #1
Mick was a college student at North Carolina State University at the time he first became acquainted with the folks from Hasbro via the cease and desist order. His next meeting, when discussing the comic book series he was about to begin work on, was much more friendly.

"I mentioned the cease-and-desist story to them," Mick says. "I don't think they thought it was as funny as I did."

Scary Movie 3

Mick admits he was more of a G.I. Joe kid growing up.

"Like every kid I was like, 'Holy shit, these are trucks and fighter jets,' but the (Transformers) cartoon got teasy," Mick says. "The G.I. Joe cartoon was deeper -- not as status quo. As far as comics, I had stumbled across some old Marvel Comics of my uncle's from the 1960s. But then I saw 'Transformers' # 24 (Marvel series) with Optimus Prime getting blasted on the cover, and then the movie came out... I thought, this is gonna be the best movie ever, but then I'm in tears in the first twenty minutes because they killed half the Autobots!"

But like most kids that were scarred by the 1986 release of "Transformers: The Movie," Mick recovered and rediscovered his favorite group of form-changing aliens when he got older.

"Transformers "G1" #1
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"I was in college and getting up early just to watch 'Beast Wars,'" Mick recalls. "That was very smart, very well-written. My girlfriend at the time even liked it."

It is the stable of characters that keeps people interested in a revived franchise such as the Transformers, Mick believes. As long as the stories are intelligent and consistent, Mick says the Transformers train could keep rolling for a long time.

"There's a great cast to work with and some amazing concepts," Mick says. "I like the Grant Morrison stuff, guys that make a wide-screen adventure once a month. He has a very hip, very outlandish style, but he applies it to comic book formulas. That's what I'm trying to do here, something that's hip, yet a solid, proper story."

Mick says that the new ongoing series is equal parts him having fun and him working toward a larger story. In fact, Mick has the next three or four years of "Transformers" continuity already mapped out in his head.

Politics of the Transformers

Thinking small isn't something Mick seems to do too often, and with the "Transformers G1 ongoing," he hopes to develop something on the scale of a large trilogy, with a clear beginning and ending.

Part of that plan involves a new miniseries with co-writer Adam Patyk that involves the Micromasters that will debut in June.

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"When (Adam and I) were writing 'More Than Meets the Eye,' he came to me with some really weird write-ups, I take my hat off to him. The question he had was 'why would you create little robots to fight giant robots?' What we came up with was it was survival of the fittest -- these small robots were like cockroaches, surviving a nuclear fallout. Energon is all about energy, and these things can survive using less energy. So we tied it into the elements of the Great Shutdown. I want to say this has a 'Road Warrior' vibe," Mick says.

"I think that story could allow us to come up with a lot of commentary -- about the politics of the Transformers. Another thing we want to do is, in comic books in general, the characters are very reactive. But what if the good guys make the move first? Does that make them the bad guys? This is a big story that could really define these characters. Adam went out of his way to give these guys really cool origins, and there's definite G1 tie-ins."

For G1, Mick hopes to keep readers on their toes with big action and stunning scenes that would make any Transformers fan happy to have this outlet of their long-time toy favorites. He also stresses that in his eyes, this will always be a team book, and don't get mad if your favorite character doesn't show up right away.

"This isn't just Optimus Prime and Grimlock, all of these characters are vital," Mick says. "Optimus isn't going to show up for quite a while, maybe a year before he's roped into the mix. And I love Optimus Prime, he's a great character, an icon like Superman."

Mick says the only Transformer characters he doesn't like are the whiny characters -- like Huffer. But the thing is, the characters he really loves? He also loves to put them through hell.

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"I really like Ultra Magnus, and people didn't like that character for a while because there was a whole series about him making decisions ('Transformers G1 Vol. 2')," Mick says. "Megatron is another character I love, but I'm still putting him through hell, too."

Time-tested

Mick is enjoying having the keys to the toy chest that contains the Transformers. He says that one day he'd love to take a shot at penning G.I. Joe, but for now, his world is full of robots with names like Bumble Bee, Iron Hyde and Ratchet.

"Transformers stand the test of time. I can meet someone at a bar, tell them I write Transformers, and they'll say, 'Holy shit!' and start telling me about how much they loved the toys... everyone has a toy they really remember, and for a lot of people, that toy is Transformers," Mick says. "This series will continue to be successful -- the trick is to keep to the core elements."

 
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