Being the massive Transformers fans that we undoubtedly are here on Bigcomicpage.com, we jumped at the chance to grab a few words with one of the iconic Marvel UK Transformers artists – and the artist for the ongoing IDW series ‘Regeneration One’ – Andrew Wildman.
I was also fortunate enough to pick up the first two volumes of Andrew’s creator-owned project ‘Horizon’, and was absolutely blown away by the quality. Please take a moment to check out my review (as well as details of where to pick up Horizon) HERE.
Big Comic Page: Your formed Wildfur Productions a while back with long-time collaborator Simon Furman. Going back a bit, how did you two meet for the first time, and how did you end up working on Transformers alongside him?
Andrew Wildman: I met Simon when I first started drawing for Marvel UK. I was doing some THUNDERCATS work for the editor, Steve white. I hand delivered some pages to the Marvel UK offices and Simon was sitting at the desk next to Steve. Simon was the editor of the UK Transformers comic. He had seen my work and asked if I would like to draw some TRANSFORMERS. I didn’t know what it was at the time but as a young hungry freelance artist I said yes. I guess that was about 1988. We then worked a lot together on the UK book and then the US book.
BCP: What kind of work do you guys do at WildFur, and what prompted the formation of the company?
AW: WILDFUR was formed in about 1999 as a company name to front our THE ENGINE online comic. We then started to develop some other ideas and currently have one of them optioned by a UK based TV management company. We also used the name WILDFUR for the small Atari Transformers booklet that we produced. THE ENGINE is a long time favourite project and it would be nice to take it further at some point. We currently have an animation property optioned and with a company in London.
BCP: You started your career off as a graphic designer before moving into the world of comics with Marvel UK. Were you a big comic fan growing up, and was it always something you were interested in doing?
AW: It was always comics for me. Design was just a way of getting to Art College. Every piece of work I did while at college seemed to have a comic book style to it, much to the annoyance of the tutors. I had always been a fan of comics and was determined to find a way into the industry.
BCP: You released the first volume of ‘Horizon’ last year, your first foray into the world of writing. Is writing something you’ve always wanted to do?
AW: Part two of HORIZON is now available and it is an absolute joy to write. I wouldn’t say that I find it very easy but it is definitely something that I intend to do more of.
BCP: You were such a massive part of a lot of people’s childhoods – myself included – with your work on Transformers back in the 80’s. 20 years later, both you and Simon Furman have gone back to Transformers with IDW’s Regeneration One. How did that rebirth come about?
AW: Long story. but in a nutshell; They asked, we said no. They asked again and asked us what we would like to do, we told them, they said maybe, we waited, they came back and said yes. Oh, that and a load of fan pressure ;-)
BCP: Obviously there’s been a lot of changes in the Transformers world in the twenty years since you and Simon worked on the original series, three blockbuster movies for starters. How has the reception been to the work you’re doing on Regeneration One so far, and do you think a lot of new readers have been drawn in by the popularity (at least commercially) of the movies?
AW: The reception has been amazing and we have picked up new readers. The thing about Regen is that it is the continuation of and the conclusion of THE Definitive Transformers storyline. You can’t argue with that so a lot of people want to be on board to see how it goes. Everything else – great as they may be – is just a spinoff.
BCP: What’s the collaborative process like between you and Simon? After so long together, there must be a high level of trust between the two of you. How hands-on is he with his scripts?
AW: He writes, I draw. We chat about stuff occasionally but I think deep down we have such a mutual respect for what it is each of us does that we tend to let each other get on with it. But at the same time if there is something niggling we know each other well enough to just say so.
BCP: It’s safe to say that Transformers has to be considered an ‘evergreen’ franchise. While other similar properties like Thundercats, He-Man etc. all go through a revival every now and again, Transformers has hardly ever ceased production (in one form or another) over the last 30 years. What do you think the appeal of the franchise is?
AW: Transformation. The best way to have a long and happy life is to have the ability to transform who you are ;-)
BCP: Bit of a dorky question, and I’m sure you’ve been asked it a million times, but I owe it to myself as a fanboy to ask… favourite Transformer to draw?
AW: It changes a lot. I always like Galvatron because he was more like a human character to draw. But I guess I would have to say Optimus Prime as I have done him so many times that I feel I know him really well.
BCP: And finally, do you have any projects coming in the future that you’d like to mention?
AW: Have finished a decent run of storyboarding Doctor Who and am currently working on a new pre-school children’s TV show. Other than that, Horizon book three.
BCP: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Andrew.