MTMTE Voice Acting

How do all these 'bots sound when they speak?

How do all these ‘bots sound when they speak?

AddAltmodeR and I have a little thing we like to do with the IDW Transformers comics, particularly More Than Meets The Eye, Windblade and the Dark Cybertron crossover comic: we like to read it to each other, sat on our sofa or in bed, whilst putting on voices for each character. We’re like a home-grown (and markedly less skilled) version of the Audio Knights Theatre, the group who make the podcasts of people reading comics (and whose work includes, but is not limited to, readings of MTMTE). Now, neither of us is an amazing impressionist, and we’re certainly not professional voice-actor material (neither of us can talk for long enough), but attempting to do this is good fun.

So, we tend to have strong opinions on the subject of how the characters’ voices should sound. This feeds into a perennial conversation topic: which voice actors we’d like to hear in a (hypothetical) animated version of More Than Meets The Eye. This post is going to be a long one. It’s also unapologetically self-indulgent; I’m not kidding myself that there are a huge number of people who care what voices we at AddAltMode put on when reading comics aloud to each other, but for the people who will find this interesting, I hope both of you enjoy it.

So if I was casting director for an animated series or movie set in the IDW universe, (and I had unlimited resources, so as to acquire the services of any voice actor I choose), here’s how it would sound…

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Free Comic Book Day 2016

So another annual staple of the Geek calendar has been and gone. What does Free Comic Book Day mean to you? To me, well obviously it’s a welcome opportunity to score some free comics, whether that means a few more gratis pages of franchises and characters I already know and love;  the chance to sample something new (or at least new to me); or just a one-off wildcard, it’s a fun way to expand my comic reading horizons. It’s a day to celebrate comics, yes, but more than that, it’s a day to celebrate the geek community in general and to have a little fun while supporting local businesses. I love going down to my local comic shops on Free Comic Book Day, more for the atmosphere than for the freebies even – since so many other people make a point of doing the same it’s a great way to catch up with old friends and make a few new ones a long the way.

Not just free comics, free cake!

Not just free comics, free cake!

The Guardian newspaper ran a preview feature on 10 of the best places to enjoy Free Comic Book Day in the UK. The event we attended, at Exeter’s Moving Pictures, actually came in at number 8 on the list, so that was pretty exciting (especially given the typically London-centric focus of that particular publication). It was also pleasing that the article mentioned Exeter’s “big cosplay community.” Those three words are all deserving of equal weight: for a fairly small city we are big on cosplay here and there’s definitely a big sense of community spirit, something for which I’ll always be grateful. Saturday was a prime example of this in more ways than one….

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Toy Review: Combiner Wars Mirage

So, when the Combiner Wars toyline reached the UK I wasn’t massively impressed. All the figures looked a bit same-y to me, perhaps because the Aerialbots were (mostly) the first wave to arrive, and they’re all jet planes. I liked the Optimus Prime, but I wasn’t impressed with much of the others. I decided to just buy any figures who stood out and looked interesting, rather than try to collect a whole team. (I figured early on that this policy would produce an anomalous result towards the end of this year: “known Decepticon sympathiser” AddAltModeR loves all the Combaticons, so the whole team have been pre-ordered.)

Autobot-wise, I’ve been largely disappointed. Among the Protectobots, only First Aid tickled my fancy, and among the current wave, which is made up of previously non-combining characters joining to form a new combiner called Ultra Prime (I appreciate the RID2001/Car Robots reference!), I’ve only really liked Mirage. Now, Mirage is a re-tool of the Decepticon Drag Strip, with a new head that more closely resembles the G1 cartoon version of Mirage, and a white colour scheme. I didn’t like Drag Strip much, on the grounds that he’s super-garish: lemon yellow and magenta is not a tasteful combination. Mirage is, suitably for a robot aristocrat, a much-more classily-attired bot.

Mirage in-pack. He comes with a sword, a giant hand/foot, and a comic.

Mirage in-pack. He comes blister-packed on a card with a sword, a giant hand/foot, and a comic.

So, my thoughts on this figure… Continue reading

Devcon Exe: podcasts, poses and purchases

Last weekend was DevCon Exe (the local convention formerly known as ExeCon), this was a two day event held, this time, in the Great Hall at the University of Exeter. The University was a great venue: well lit and with some interesting backdrops for photographs, plus much more spacious than this event’s previous home at St George’s Hall in the city centre, so although it felt like the place was nicely buzzing on the Saturday at least, things never got too cramped and as someone in a costume with wings I was grateful for that!

B had to work on the Saturday and couldn’t make it along, so our original plan had been that I’d go as Slipstream on the first day with some of our friends to lend me a hand getting in to the costume, and then both halves of AddAltMode would make an appearance in our Borderlands gear on the Sunday. For various reasons, the Sunday plans went awry so Tannis and Salvador didn’t get an airing, but Slipstream had a fantastic time there on the Saturday. I’m still slightly awed by how popular Slipstream is and how much love there is for my costume, both from people encountering her for the first time and from folk who were happy to see my Decepticon alt-mode again.

AddAltModeR as Slipstream, photo by We Shoot First

AddAltModeR as Slipstream, photo by We Shoot First

Read on for my highlights of the day and a few great sites and people for you to check out…. Continue reading

Windblade: Operation Stability (Shapeways product review)

There’s such a thriving Transformers fan community on Shapeways,”The World’s Leading 3D Printing Service & Marketplace.” I think it’s wonderful how the development and expansion of 3D printing has really taken Transformers fanart and engagement with the toys to the next level, allowing designers to do anything from making the official figures more show/comic accurate; creating replica parts and accessories to repair older toys or reinstate missing components; construct characters and properties that would never otherwise appear in the plastic (as B has been doing with his weapons and customs inspired by the now defunct Transformers Universe game). And, of course, 3D printing can occasionally provide a very welcome opportunity for fans to correct flaws in the official figures. Today I’m going to look at one such corrective product: the Upgraded Heel Spurs for Generations Windblade designed by Shapeways artist JohnBonhamatron. These are a great example of how a little modification can make a big difference…

Generations Windblade - Upgraded Heel Spurs by Shapeways artist by JohnBonhamatron

Generations Windblade – Upgraded Heel Spurs by Shapeways artist JohnBonhamatron

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Book Review: Armada by Ernest Cline

Title: Armada
Author: Ernest Cline
First Published: 2015

So what do you once you’ve turned the final page of a book you really loved? If you’re anything like me the answer might be:

  1. Feel a little sad that such a wonderful reading experience has come to an end.
  2. Start recommending said book to everyone you know.
  3. Find out if the author has published anything else and if so, buy it.

So you can imagine my glee when I discovered that, conveniently, I had finished Ernest Clines’ superb first novel, Ready Player One, just 3 days before his second book, Armada, was due to be published. Talk about perfect timing! Ready Player One may have presented a dystopian vision of the not-too-distant future but as far as reading experiences go, it was geek nirvana, laden as it was with so many contextually-justified references to the games, technology and pop-culture of the 1980s and 90s. Just like that novel’s protagonist, Wade, I’d been reluctant to logout of the enjoyably escapist virtual world laid out before me. But with Armada touted as offering a similarly pop-culture savvy experience to its predecessor it sounded like I wouldn’t be logged out for long. While Cline’s debut imagined the possibilities and the Pitfalls (Pitfall! Get it?) of a MMORPG style online world, Armada looks to the skies, and beyond: it’s an alien invasion narrative that promised to draw on every space shoot-em-up you’ve ever played and to offer a different context for all the sci-fi classic movies with which I grew up.

That all sounded so promising, and so much fun. You should never judge a book by it cover, of course, but it looked oh so promising too: what a great jacket design!

Armada book cover

Armada book cover

But…. while I can’t deny it was fun, overall, I have to admit I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so disappointed by a novel. I really wanted to like Armada but, though it does have some good moments, compared to the genius of Ready Player One, it just felt flat, forced and predictable. Son, I am disappoint.

Spoiler Alert!

Spoiler Alert!

What follows is a bit more on the novels’s themes as well as what I liked and the somewhat longer list of what I didn’t like about Armada. This is the kind of book that it’s hard to discuss without mentioning some key plot points so Rodimus is here to warn you that there may be one or two spoilers ahead.

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Toy Review: Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus

Our review of Combiner Wars Optimus Prime is (at time of writing) one of the most-viewed posts on this blog: I guess everyone loves the big red guy. Today, though, it’s the big blue guy’s day. I’d be lying if I said that Ultra Magnus hasn’t been one of my favourite characters in the Transformers milieu for a long time, in his various incarnations, so I was quite excited when I heard that a new toy of the character was being released in Leader size-class – slightly bigger than anything else in my collection.

He's pwning Galvatron in two of these panels. Take that, Galvatron.

Ultra Magnus, as seen in (Clockwise from top left) IDW’s More Than Meets The Eye comic; Toei’s Transformers: The Headmasters cartoon; Mystery of Convoy for the Nes; and Marvel’s Transformers UK comic.

So, if you want to find out my opinions of the new Ultra Magnus toy, you’ll have to hop behind the cut. There may be spoilers ahead for the current Transformers comic series More Than Meets The Eye.

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Female Transformers: News Round-up

So, a while back I posted a fairly passionate rant/ramble about female Transformers and being a female Transformers fan. It seems to have struck a chord for a lot of people as it got shared quite widely on Twitter, and continues to be one of our most viewed posts here. So it’s really nice to be able to follow up now by looking at all the femmebot-related news that has emerged since I wrote that earlier post because, happily, there’s quite a lot of it…

“TF ladies? Tell us more…”
Generations Arcee, Custom Slipstream, TF Prime Arcee

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