Early this year, Blizzard Senior Vice-president of Creative Design Chris Metzen and his pal Flint Dille (Transformers) joined up to write Transformers: Autocracy — a 12-issue digital comics available on iPhone and Comixology.

If you are a Chris Metzen fan, like myself, this will blow your socks off. IDW Publishing unveiled the Transformers: Autocracy (Paperback) last week at San Diego Comic Con. If you missed the digital version or waited for the paperback, here it is. Grab it while supplies last.

The sales went so great that IDW has pledged to the creative minds of Metzen and Dille for a second round.

According to a Twitter message, both authors and Livio Ramondelli (Artist) are joining up once more to create a Transformers: Autocracy sequel titled Transformers: Monstrosity (January 2013).

For those who missed it, Transformers: Autocracy was set after Chaos Theory and Megatron Origin. This story portrays Orion Pax and Megatron uniting to fight a common foe: Zeta Prime. A chaotic world that makes path to the birth of Optimus Prime from the ashes of Orion Pax. The moment in history when Orion Pax finds and dons the Matrix.

I’m nigh 40 years old. Back in the 80s, I didn’t miss a Transformers TV Series chapter. I loved to draw Optimus Prime, back then. It’s absolutely cool to read how Optimus Prime came to be his heroic self from the pen of Chris Metzen and Flint Dille. After reading the 12-issue digital comics, I wished to see more of Metzen/Dille, and my wishes were granted. Monstrosity continues the saga. As per Dille’s words: “Now that they have freedom, what do they do with it?”

Image by Seibertron

Transformers: Autocracy (Paperback) Letter from Chris Metzen

We joked that one day we’d find enough time outside of our day jobs to collaborate on something epic!

Well, when the opportunity presented itself to work on a Transformers story for IDW, that collaboration kicked into high gear. I had a number of themes I wanted to chase in the story; ideas and things I’d wanted to see rendered since I was a kid (how Optimus got a lot of unfinished character business from the ’80s that he wanted to make good on (Hot Rod’s impetuousness getting Optimus killed, the root of Megatron’s evil). Writing Autocracy allowed us to scratch all those itches at once.

We knew Autocracy would be a fairly dark, gritty story about the fall of Cybertron’s former governmental system — a theme that both Flint and I were fascinated with. We had talked a lot over the years about the world we live in today and the challenges of developing pop fiction in the post-911 world. We talked a lot about what it means to be a good soldier — about what roles real (or fictional) heroes play in a society where achieving celebrity has seemingly become an end in and of itself — and about how the “cult of personality” shapes and breaks leaders’ careers on a daily basis. It seemed to us that this was all really interesting DNA for a story … a story of how a banged-up cop who’s lost his faith in justice opens his heart to his people — and leads them to real freedom.

Flint’s unbridled energy and constant stream of ideas really charged me up, and pushed me to reach deep to find the soul of this story. I learned a lot about franchise-storytelling from Flint over the course of developing this series (that I hope to leverage in my day job). But really, getting to work with one of my heroes on a franchise that he helped define has been a staggering honor. And, seeing Flint get to chase ideas he always wanted to tie up — and revel in the sheer geeky glory of the Transformers universe again — was great fun.

Of course, none of our highfalutin ideas would have come to life without the vision and talent of Livio Ramondelli. A newer artist on the Transformers scene, Livio turned out to be the perfect artist for this series — and the “missing third ingredient” to finalize our vision. Having grown up with Transformers himself, Livio’s instincts for these characters’ feelings and motivations really helped galvanize Autocracy’s core storyline. But it was his materful rendering of Cybertron’s scarred, immortal warriors — and the contrast between its stark urban collapse and hopeful, dawning horizons — that gave Autocracy its distinct visual authenticity.

Under Livio’s digital-brush, each page of this series literally strobed between darkness and light — and cut straight to the core of this beloved franchise; good vs evil — hope vs nihilism — all lovingly rendered in every detailed panel … Livio’s cinematic eye for storytelling and drama didn’t just define Autocracy’s look — it changed the way I’ll look at Transformers forever.

I also want to thank the very talented editorial team at IDW — who have kept the Transformers torch lit for years. First, to Scott Dunbier who suggested I take a swing at writing a Transfromers story “one day”. Props must be paid to Andy Schmidt (former series editor) for taking the chance on a couple of comics-newbies and allowing us to tell our story.

I want to give special thanks to the current Transformers editor, John Barber, for not only keeping us on track, but for shaping this story with us from the get-go. John’s patience, encouragement, and creative support were instrumental in getting this project across the finish line!

And, I’d be remiss to not thank all the great writers whose stories paved the way for Autocracy — especially Simon Furman, James Roberts, Mike Costa, and Eric Holmes. It’s been a great honor to help weave this evolving mythology alongside such great talents!

On behalf of Flint and Livio, I dearly hope you enjoy this tale — collected here in print for the first-time ever! It’s been a very rewarding adventure so far!


Chris Metzen