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DF Interview: Transformers newcomer Georgia Ball brings us Robots in Disguise
By Byron Brewer
Cajun Texan-turned-Seattle resident Georgia Ball will soon be bringing the Cartoon Network’s Transformers: Robots in Disguise toon to comic books at their traditional home, IDW.
Known for self-publishing and writing (with husband artist Scott Ball) webcomic Scooter and Ferret for six years before attracting the eye of Ape Entertainment, Georgia Ball will take over the series with #1. (A zero issue is part of IDW’s Free Comic Book Day offering.)
Dynamic Forces caught up with the scribe trying to morph into a Corvette, but she stopped long enough to tell us the following about the new book.
Dynamic Forces: Georgia, you are new to Transformers. How did this project come about for you from IDW?
Georgia Ball: I was on editor John Barber’s radar after I pitched for Jem & the Holograms but Hasbro brought up my name for a Transformers project because we had a good experience producing Littlest Pet Shop with the editor I’ve worked with the longest, David Hedgecock. The first Littlest Pet Shop series didn’t take the direct market by storm but it did well enough in bookstores that we have another trade coming out this April. Transformers: Robots in Disguise is meant to have extra appeal for younger fans looking for an entry into the comics and I’ve been writing all-ages comics for the past five years so I’m sure that was a factor—Fortunately I’m a child of the ‘80s who was just as dedicated to watching Transformers as I was to watching Jem. I never paid much attention to whether a cartoon was meant for girls or boys when I was growing up, I also loved He-Man, Ghostbusters and G.I. Joe.
DF: We know this new comic will be based in the Cartoon Network TV show. Are these adaptations of those TV episodes or new stories?
Georgia Ball: All new stories! I was surprised how often this question came up on social media, actually. Beginning with John Barber’s issue #0 on Free Comic Book Day all of the stories are original to the comic. I’m researching upcoming show episodes and doing my due diligence to keep them aligned.
DF: Tell us about some of the stories you may have planned (in a non-spoilery way, of course). We hear there is a mystery afoot, with some emphasis on Bumblebee?
Georgia Ball: The meat of the cartoon series is the doubt Bumblebee is going through about his ability to lead. He doesn’t have the confidence in himself that the spirit of Optimus Prime seems to have in him and worse yet, his team is made up of a newbie cadet, a chronic rule-breaker, a mini-con with a skip and Dinobot who might be a criminal. The comic continues to develop Bumblebee’s journey as his past comes back to reinforce all of his anxieties. I built my first arc around the ending of John’s #0 that I think will have a lot of intrigue for long-time Transformers fans.
DF: Any new villains coming our way?
Georgia Ball: Right away, yes. There are new villains all over the first arc. The nature of the show makes it necessary as most one-off villains are safely in stasis by the end of each episode.
DF: Have you been a fan of the Transformers? Do you have a favorite character to write as of yet?
Georgia Ball: I didn’t follow Transformers between the end of G1 all the way through the Beast Wars period. I’ve heard Beast Wars was worth seeing but I remember rejecting it for no better reason than it wasn’t what I was used to. Prime appealed to me because it started the story over with characters I instantly recognized, even if I had to wait around awhile for some of them to show up (Shockwave!!). Favorite character: I’ve been joking around on my social accounts about my endearing love for Starscream. He seems to have met his end in Prime and hasn’t shown up in RID so I enjoy writing the banter between Strongarm and Sideswipe the most. Grimlock is also wonderful even if he speaks in complete sentences these days.
DF: I think we went over this, but for clarity’s sake: Did you write the Robots in Disguise Free Comic Book Day issue? If not, does that book dovetail in any way with what you will be doing?
Georgia Ball: Not only had John already written #0 but the art and lettering for it were completed before I was brought on board to pitch. John left me with a very interesting ending to use as my jumping-off point and he has exceptional instincts.
DF: What does artist Priscilla Tramontano bring to the table?
Georgia Ball: This is an opportunity Priscilla has more than earned with the previous work she’s done for Transformers comics. With the art already done in issue #0 I was able to see how everything was going to be handled and what I liked most was her character acting. This is a lighter book than the IDW’s other Transformers comics and that allows for bolder colors, larger characters and a bit less realism. It’s obvious she’s experienced and can pull off the action scenes without any trouble.
DF: Georgia, tell us about some of the other projects, present and future, you may be involved in.
Georgia Ball: I have a lot going on that hasn’t been announced yet. I’m doing something with Lionforge that’s for a younger audience than RID and two more all-ages short projects for IDW that will probably happen later this year. I have two R-rated horror stories going into Space Goat’s Evil Dead 2: Tales of the Ex-Mortis anthology comic and another digital-first project with them starting this fall. There is a major property I’ve been working on since last August with Amy Mebberson that may or may not kill me before it comes out. I wish all the time that I could give out the details. Meanwhile I’m continuing to write scripts for the creator-owned project I’m working on my husband Scott at Follipops.com and put up short stories and podcasts on the sci-fi-themed site EverTomorrow.com.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Georgia Ball for taking time from her busy schedule to answer our questions. Transformers: Robots in Disguise #1 launches from IDW in July!
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