Matthew Barta (of Nerd Team 30) writes for Bleeding Cool –
Livio Ramondelli is known for his work on IDW's Transformers comics. I had the opportunity to sit with him at Phoenix Comicon for a short interview. We discussed his convention world tour and also get a little artist insight as to what's coming up in the Transformers Universe.
Bleeding Cool: I hear you have been going on a world tour of comic book conventions. How is that?
Livio Ramondelli: It's really fun. It's one of the perks of this gig. I never thought this would happen just getting to see the world. I was in Dubai about a month ago, I'm in Phoenix right now, and then in two days I go to Melbourne for Oz Comic-Con. I'm really excited.
BC: What was Dubai like? How were the people?
LR: It was amazing! It was really cool. It was my second time doing the convention. The city itself is amazing. People are really awesome and they're interested in the exact same stuff we are. There is not really that much of a cultural difference, you know, and it was great. They where super warm and the commissions, I was just drawing like crazy. The organizer is a really great guy. He invites some really good guests out there and it gets better and better every year.
BC: On to Transformers. What actually got you into Transformers? Are you an original G1 fan?
LR: I am definitely, yeah. I'm definitely a G1 guy, I'm a child of the 80's. I would watch the original cartoon after school every day and rent the animated movie over and over again. Yeah, I'm lucky enough to get to work on the comics today.
BC: Do you still collect Transformers figures?
LR: I do, I do. Not as much as I did when I was younger. I mean I'm a little more particular. I'll buy the Masterpiece line. Those are really cool. My toy tastes these days are more like the high end. I buy a lot of like Hot Toys, like that company. There are certain favorites, like when Masterpiece Soundwave came out I'm like "I have to buy that, and all the cassettes." I'm still waiting on Ratbat, I need that one, but I have all the other cassettes.
BC: Every Transformers collector has a Holy Grail figure. What is your Holy Grail?
LR: Oh, like something you really want? There is definitely some I see from when I was kid that when I walk by that I'm like "I never had that." There's a couple like the Sharkticon I never got. Trypticon I never got. Anytime I see both of those I'm like "That really is a missing piece." Then there are other ones that you get that are super nostalgic, like if I walk by and see a Shockwave or Optimus Prime of course. It brings back so many memories seeing those.
BC: How did you come about getting employed by IDW drawing the Transformers?
LR: I was really lucky. I started doing comic conventions, just setting up in artist alley for fun. Chris Ryall, Editor In Chief at IDW walked by and he liked my work. He gave me a card and said "Oh you should submit to us." So I submitted and then I got hired like the next week to start doing covers. Which is just really, really lucky. The two covers I started with where The Best of Optimus Prime, and The Best of Megatron. Not only was it a great gig, but it was like the two best characters, like the two main ones. It was really cool.
BC: IDW has the Transformers Revolution coming up which is the big combination of Transformers, G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K., & ROM. Who else is in there and what all can you tell me about that?
LR: Let's see. There is that, there's Action Man is also a part of it. It's a huge thing. I mean it will change everything. It's going to be a linked universe now. It's exciting too. It's funny to think about how like G.I. Joe and Cobra, like that world, if you introduce Transformers into it. How does that change Cobra as a terrorist network? Or like M.A.S.K., vehicles that hide the fact that they have guns. Now they are with vehicles that hide the fact that they are robots. It's a really interesting kind of thing. The creators involved are really cool. It's the same people who have been doing the main Transformers line. I think they are really committed to keeping story first.
BC: Is this going to be a continuation of the current Transformers Universe?
LR: It is definitely the same continuity. They are not wiping the slate clean. They are just kind of going to re-introduce where these things are coming from. Sorry, not re-introduce, but introducing the new status quo of what's going on.
BC: Are there any other projects coming up that you are working on?
LR: For Transformers I'm doing Titans Return right now, which about this cool character called Sentinel Prime who comes back that we saw Megatron take out way back in the day. He comes back and he sees this new world order where now you have Megatron as a good guy and Decepticons are working with Autobots and Starscream is a democratically elected leader so Sentinel Prime has a huge problem with that. That is going to kind of kick off into Revolution.
BC: One last question. Are they any other non Transformers projects that you are currently working on?
LR: I started doing some Star Trek books for this company called Inside Editions, which is really cool. So they are travel guides to basically the different Star Trek planets. I just finished one for planet Vulcan. If you're going to go on vacation there what hotels are you going to stay in? What sites would you see? It's really fun. I'm really, really enjoying it. I'm doing a Klingon one that's coming up next. That's been really bad-ass.
BC: Well Livio, it has been a pleasure talking Transformers with you. Enjoy your time in Australia.