19 July, 2012

The Transformers: The Big Shutdown!

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Originally written 24th February, 2009

In August 1989 #230 and 231 of The Transformers (UK) comic featured a short black and white detective story called ‘The Big Shutdown!’ Written by Simon Furman with art from Lee Sullivan, it saw the introduction of various characters including the Autobot detective Nightbeat. In it he and his partner Siren investigate an Autobot corpse that has been found on a beach in California.

It’s a story I’ve always liked and so I was chuffed to bits when a few years ago I was able to purchase the artwork for all ten pages and #231’s cover from Lee.

A difference between the two parts is that for part 1 the art is on A3-size plain card, whilst part 2 is on Marvel-branded boards which are slightly taller, but not quite as wide as A3.

Another difference is that part 1 features blue pencils whilst part 2 features grey. In an e-mail Lee explained that

“I was still using blue pencils, which meant for a while at least my inks also have some of the pencilling visible (not to the camera) which is pretty unusual, I think. It was a technique that technical illustrators (which I was partly trained as) used.”

You can’t really tell from these scans but the pencils are VERY visible in part 1. Apart from slight character and background differences there are character names pencilled in and a few instances where speech bubbles and sound effects were pencilled in a different place to where they finally appeared.
I’ve cranked up the blue in this picture as an example. However it’s nowhere near as visible as it actually appears.

The images below (one from each part) are two cases where a panel appears to have had changes made to what was originally drawn.

In the first one, paper has been pasted on top of some sections and all three vehicles have been redrawn.
In the second, Siren’s head and leg have both been redrawn.



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