Posts Tagged ‘Fictional Crossovers’

Recently I interviewed author Erik Burnham, who wrote the Transformers Ghostbusters comic book crossover, which I’ve previously reviewed here.

How did the crossover originate? I know there was a special toy made recently of the Ecto-1 that was a Transformer. Did it start with that?/Who proposed the crossover? 

It was pretty much that simple. Both Ghostbusters and Transformers celebrated their 35th anniversary in 2019, so a couple years before that, they decided to do the toy. Since IDW had both comic licenses, it felt like a fun thing to do. My Ghostbusters editor asked me to come up with a story, I saw the  design of the toy (even before he had a name!) And we built it out from there.  

The main character Eco-tron was a very interesting new Autobot. How did you come to develop him as a character?

He was trickier, since unlike every other character in the book he’s brand new and didn’t already have a voice in peoples’ heads. I had an idea of the type of character he would be and started to write him that way; kind of particular and nerdy. Dan Schoening said his dialog sounded to him like David Hyde Pierce, and when Dan said that, it came together for me. The voice started to have more of a particular rhythm, and that voice in my head informed the character and how he’d interact. 

Without spoiling anything, the opening scene of the crossover makes a pretty major and immediate shift in the status quo of Transformers. How did that idea come about? Was their resistance from Hasbro on this, or anything else in the story? 

There was no resistance. There are two ways to do these kinds of crossovers of characters from “different worlds.” I’ll use Marvel and DC as an example. In Green Lantern/Silver Surfer, the characters came from two different universes. The was a story element that allowed one character to bridge over to the other. In Spider-Man/Batman, meanwhile, for the purposes of the story, they had ALWAYS existed in the same world and knew of each other. Spider-Man made a joke about Superman, and so on. Either one would have worked, and given past Ghostbusters crossovers, people were expecting it to be a multidimensional story. I decided to turn that on its head by putting (a version) of the Transformers we know and love into the Ghostbusters’ universe and running from there. 

Speaking of status quo, there seemed to be an adjustment to the timeline of the Transformers franchise. Was there any special reason for this? 

Partly that was me misremembering — we did catch it! — but then decided, since we were changing the history of Cybertron a bit, we might as well change a few more things. 

The art style for the Transformers was straight from the G1 cartoons. The Ghostbusters characters however, were drawn in the style for the more recent comics. Is there any reason you are aware of that the art style from the 80’s cartoon could not be used? 

The Real Ghostbusters (the 1980s cartoon) is a distinct and different entity. The comic book designs (because of likeness rights of the actors) are the “movie” versions. The ones folks saw in 1984, and whose anniversary it is, just filtered through Dan’s comic book design. (He can draw the likenesses of the actors perfectly, but that adds more time to the schedule if, say, someone didn’t like how their eye looked in one panel. It would have to be redrawn until approved, and that easts up time.) 

RGB showed up in 1986 or so. They’re similar but slightly different in characterization (as made sense for an animated adaptation.) So that’s why Blonde Egon and his colorful crew weren’t there. 

One of the villains was a pretty deep cut into Transformers lore. How did that particular character come to be included?

Actually, Hasbro suggested we might throw him in, for fun. We made some changes to make him a little more Ghostbustery (while also using the version TF fans were familiar with.) They let me get away with so much, I took the input happily. 

There’s a blink if you miss it Quintessons  easter egg in the story. Care to elaborate on that? 

The short version is: Dan Schoening loves easter eggs. Things that are fun for him to draw and can be discovered over multiple reads. I’ve asked him on occasion to draw things in – so has our ace colorist Luis Antonio Delgado – but about 80% of those background gags are Dan. He basically thought it would be a hoot to throw in. (Sometimes it’s just that simple!) 

The story ends with another new status quo for the Transformers. Were there any talks/were there any plans for a sequel? 

We talked some possible ideas for it, high concept type stuff. There’s a starting point if they decide they want to do it. 

Transformers Ghostbusters: Ghosts of Cybertron is currently available from IDW comics.

Star Trek vs the Transformers is a 2019 graphic novel pitting the two titular science fiction franchises against each other. In this story, during the Star Trek timeline, the Transformers came to Earth, but then left during World War Three (World War Three is an official event in the Star Trek timeline). The Autobots left via Fortress Maximus, with the Decipticons on their tale, traveling via Trypticon. Similar to the first episode of the Generation One cartoon, they crash land on a planet and lay dormant for a very long time.

This crossover opens with the classic Star Trek crew of Kirk, Spock, Scotty etc, going to the planet Cygnus Seven, close to the Klingon border, where a distress call has been sent out from a Dilithium mine. Immediately the crew encounter the Decepticons, and later a small band of Autobots. 

The really cool thing about this comic is that it is drawn in the style of Star Trek, The Animated Series. So it looks like a meeting between the Star Trek cartoon of the 1970’s and the Transformers cartoon of the 80’s. Two characters that were original to the Star Trek cartoon, Arex, and the female catlike M’Ress, appear in the story. Arex is only shown in a few scenes on the Enterprise, but M’Ress is featured heavily, both fighting and interacting with the Transformers.

Naturally the Klingon’s show up, and side with the Decepticons. After the usual brief misunderstanding the Enterprise crew team up with the Autobots for a mega-showdown on the Klingon home planet of Kronos. Of course the Enterprise gets turned into a giant robot called Fortress Tiberius (Kirk’s middle name) and heavy action ensues. 

This story is heavy on the Star Trek references, the Eugenics Wars are mentioned, and there are a few “I’m a Dr. not a …” gags. There’s not as many references to Transformers lore, though Spock does use the “More than meets the eye” phrase.

The story ends in a way that leaves the door open to more follow up stories. I would be curious to see how Star Trek characters would react to the planet Cybertron, or how Next Generation characters like Data take to the Transformers, not to mention the Borg and Unicron.

In the meantime, Star Trek vs the Transformers was a fun quick read with a plot that figured out how the two popular sci-fi franchises would meet. 

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a series of comic book initially centered on Victorian era characters from early science fiction/horror/adventure literature. It is written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O’Niel. Moore’s initial concept was that of a Justice League of the Victorian era, using characters that have lapsed into public domain. Subsequent editions expanded in an attempt to include almost all of fiction.

The first two volumes were 6 issue mini-series. The latest edition is being released as three separate graphic novels. The first one was released in 2009.

Volume One, originally puin 1999, featured the team of Mina Murray (From the Dracula Novel), Mr. Hyde, The Invisible Man, and Captain Nemo battling Sherlock Holmes villian Moriarty.

Volume Two had the same team, with the aid of Dr. Moreau, fight off the Martian invasion from War of the worlds.

 

The first part of Volume III has a turn of the century league investigates an occult menace.

Between volume’s 2 and 3 was The Black Dossier, a sort of guidebook to the world of the League,revealing it’s long history and inclusion of many characters.

Other characters/works appearing, or at least referenced in the League include; Conan, Chtulu, James Bond, Fu Manchu, Popeye, Time Traveler, Frankenstein, Lupin, Lost World, Characters from Beatnik Literature, Shakespearean Characters, 1984, Dan Dare, Beowulf, Robin Hood, Gulliver, Batman, Fantomas, Phantom of the Opera, Metropolis, and countless others.

It should also be noted that there was a League movie in 2003, starring Sean Connery as Allan Quatermain. Tom Sawyer and Dorian Gray were part of the fictional cast. It was mostly unpopular with fans, hence planned sequels were never made.

 

In a sense The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is the Ultimate Crossover or sorts. In it’s own way it is that which I have always dreamed, one fictional world containing huge quantities of popular fictional characters.

Here are some League Links

Jess Nevins Annotations to The League and other comics.

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Very thorough site on the League. Details the various incarnations/memberships of the League as well as their missions of the centuries. Also has news on upcoming tales.

Science Fiction author Phillip J. Farmer developed the concept of the Wold Newton family, of which other authors have expanded upon into the Wold Newton Universe. The central conceit is that several early pulp fiction of novel characters are all related.

What ties together the Wold Newton world is the real life meteor that landed on 12/13/1795, at Wold Newton, Yorkshire England. Farmer created the conceit that several fictional characters were present at the meteor strike. Radiation from the meteorite affected the genetics of all present, and they, or their descendants, are the great heroes and villains of early adventure literature.

Farmer wrote two books chronicling his theories, Tarzan Alive, and Doc Savage, his apocalyptic life. Both are pseudo “real” biographies which link both characters to other works of fiction. Another conceit is that these characters exist in the real world, and the books, comics, etc we read about them are simply the accounts of real life exploits.

In 1997, Win Scott Eckert coined the actual phrase Wold Newton Universe on his website in 1997, and expanded upon the concept, including, by association of crossovers, Star Trek, Conan, Cthulu, and a large number of other fictional characters.

The following is taken from the Wold Newton webpage.

“Popular characters that Philip José Farmer concluded were members of the Wold Newton mutant family include: Solomon Kane; Captain Blood; The Scarlet Pimpernel; Harry Flashman; Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis Professor Moriarty (aka Captain Nemo); Phileas Fogg; The Time Traveler; Allan Quatermain; Tarzan and his son Korak; A.J. Raffles; Professor Challenger; Richard Hannay; Bulldog Drummond; the evil Fu Manchu and his adversary, Sir Denis Nayland Smith; G-8; The Shadow; Sam Spade; Doc Savage, his cousin Pat Savage, and one of his five assistants, Monk Mayfair; The Spider; Nero Wolfe; Mr. Moto; The Avenger; Philip Marlowe; James Bond; Lew Archer; and Travis McGee.”

Click here for the Wold Newton page,