Hey, they woke up!

Not only has finally posted up about Mari Iijima reprising her role as Lynn Minmay in ADV's Macross English dub, but they're doing a fan interview with her, which is to say, send 'em your questions and they'll pick some to pose to her.

I've got a lot of questions running in my head, but none for Ms. Iijima. My questions are more along the lines of, how many questions from ignorant Robotech fans and rabid, frothing-at-the-mouth Macross fans do you think HG have to sift through? For brevity's sake, I'll leave it at that.


My first notes on Prelude #2 ...

... and sorry, if you want them, you have to listen to them. Worse, you have to listen to me, which I'm very sorry about, but there was nobody else available -- especially anyone else who could ad lib Robotech continuity with any degree of accuracy -- and I just didn't feel like posting up a long list of things that I was later going to revise extensively or repeat in another post. So, I audioblogged it. Forty-one minutes of me rambling and ranting on Robotech continuity. Do try and enjoy it, OK? (Suddenly I have a whole lot more respect for Lt. Tylor at RDF Underground ...)

MP3 File

Well THAT'S rare ...

Hey, look, there's a Matchbox SDF-1 playset on eBay! Looks to be complete and in good working order, too.

Of course, I'm comfortable with letting all you guys know this because I already have one. ^_^

Cheap DVDs

Just thought someone might want to know ADV is having a Halloween sale. Uncut Japanese Southern Cross & Mospeada box sets for $15 each, original Robotech single discs for $3 apiece, Legacy Collection boxes for $11 each, and Robotech Remastered boxes for $10 apiece. They even have all the box sets (Legacy & Remastered) in stock. So if you're missing any Robotech episodes, this would be an excellent time to fill out the collection.

If you don't need any Robotech, there's always Megazone 23 Parts 1 - 3 for $5 a disc and Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino's classic fantasy mecha series Aura Battler Dunbine for $4 per disc. Shame about the latter show; ADV can't even GIVE those discs away -- they've tried -- but it's easily one of Tomino's best, right up there with Zeta Gundam. And you know who directed the Dunbine English dub? Why, it's our old pal Carl Macek. And boy does it sound like a Macek dub. (Take that as you will ...)

Still waiting for my Prelude #2. Tap, tap, tap ...

More on Mari

Spotted this news item on late this morning:

Mari Iijima has updated her site with an October 23rd posting that talks about her working on the series again. "I can finally play Minmay with all my experiences and heart. I take this project very seriously as one of the most important works in my life. I don't have any intention to re-play Minmay. To me, this is a brand new project." Recording begins for her next month at the ADV Films studios in Houston, TX.

Mari Iijima's website can be found here.

For the umpteenth time I say, this is going to be ... interesting, no?


So there's this kid at the elementary school where I work who I've been loaning out my hardcover collections of Simon Furman's classic run on the Marvel Comics Transformers series to. Good kid, loving the books as any clear-headed Transformers-obsessed individual should, and on Monday I finally handed him the last volume, with the big battle against Unicron and the sort of neat epilogue issues where Furman took the lemons given him (Action Masters and a swift, merciless cancellation) and made himself some sweet, sweet lemonade.

This past afternoon, the kid comes back and tells me I left something in the book and he thought I might want it back. It was this slightly mangled and smudged Post-It note, adjusted somewhat in Photoshop for better contrast ...

I had been sort-of wondering where that doodle, made during a really boring afternoon at work, had wandered off to. I know I can draw a better Breetai than that -- ask Evan Cass, he knows well -- but the rest of it I'm actually really happy with, as doodles crafted out of boredom on Post-It notes at work with no reference art available go. The kid actually thought it was pretty cool. I wonder ... hmmmmm ...

No, that's a bad idea. Very bad.


A Quick Bit ...

According to, ADV's upcoming DVD release of uncut, bilingual Macross (featuring, as noted earlier, the Japanese voice of Lynn Mimay, Mari Iijima, reprising her role for the English dub) will be seven discs in length. That comes out to five episodes on six of the discs and six on one of them. Somehow I doubt these discs will sparkle like the AnimEigo ones, which spread the series over nine discs and had only one language track to deal with. On the other hand, compared to other anime series releases, that's not a bad value there.

Now, if you don't care about the dub and just want the old AnimEigo discs, here's the full box set at, and here's the three mini-boxes at Right Stuf. The former contains all nine AnimEigo discs in a shiny full color box that Harmony Gold whipped for them, and is $125. The latter sets are in AnimEigo's sturdy original classy white-on-black packaging and feature twelve episodes per box at $40 each. Neither one's a bad value if you don't feel like waiting.

Hi there.

So I get into work and I've got a few minutes to spare, so I take a look at my hits today. The regular visitors among you DID notice I installed a counter on this thing early Monday morning, didn't you? Well, anyway, I discovered that between the time I went to bed and the time I jumped on-line at work, I had, like, thirty-five visitors. Doesn't sound like much, but all day Monday I had one hundred fourteen people swing on by for a look-see, so I put two and two together and discovered that Shadow Chronicles News is back up and running, and posted a link here. Great to have your site back, Darkwater! Truly, it was missed.

If you're coming here from there, really, you should have followed the link in the second paragraph he wrote leading straight to the Prelude #1 write-up. After all, you don't care about my morning, you don't care about some other old mecha show, and you don't care that I got a Sentinels trade paperback in the mail. You care about this. Clicky away, read it, tell me what you think.

And if you're wondering about Prelude #2, which was released to the world last Wednesday, I haven't seen a copy yet. Mine is currently in the back of some UPS truck somewhere out there. But rest assured, once it comes in you'll hear something from me on it, and then something like a week or so later it will get the full treatment.

That's all for now, but the day is young. I'll probably be back later today with some random junk. Just you wait and see.


Elsewhere in Mechaland ...

One of my absolute favorite 1980's anime series besides Robotech is the 1983 Sunrise series Armored Trooper Votoms, a totally grim, gritty fifty-two episode war epic, and the first big hit by noted mecha anime director Ryosuke Takahashi. This is the mecha show that was doing well when Genesis Climber Mospeada was languishing in its early Sunday morning timeslot. Central Park Media, the company that owns the rights to Votoms, has just posted the entire first episode of the series up on their website here, ostensibly to run on your PSP, but it'll work fine on your computer. It's a 107 meg file, Japanese language with English subtitles, and it looks a little grainy and soft in fullscreen on my laptop, but given the size of the screen it's been optimized for, that only makes sense.

Besides its airdate, the biggest tie between Robotech and Votoms is an American comic book artist. Back in 1997, "Invid War" and "Return to Macross" artist Tim Eldred adapted a Japanese Votoms prequel novel into a graphic novel called "Supreme Survivor" as part of CPM's first big push of the property. Votoms is Eldred's favorite science fiction work ever -- he says as much in his afterward to the book, which is currently available at Amazon here -- and given the quality of the work, how closely the art strictly adheres to the animation designs and how clearly the whole thing flows, it really shows. I like "Invid War" more, but "Supreme Survivor" is truly a masterful effort, hence the Amazon link.

Hey, I'd point you to a link for a trade paperback of "Invid War," too, if such a thing existed ...

Sorry for the digression, but I hope those of you who've got decent 'net connections give the show a look. I mean, geez, it's legal free anime. How can you pass it up?

Interlude - Recent Arrivals and Other Stuff

Looking for the big Prelude #1 write-up? It's here.

Looking for a write-up on Prelude #2? Well, looks like it won't be too long in coming -- my copy of the book has apparently been shipped from the comic shop today, which means it'll be here around, oh, maybe Saturday. We'll see how UPS does this time.

Looking for something new to amuse yourself with for a few moments? Read on.

Today in the mail I recieved one of the last few Eternity/Malibu Robotech publications I didn't own -- the third collected edition of the Sentinels comic book series, reprinting issues #7 - 10 of Sentinels Book I. This was released in probably mid-1992, about three years after the earliest material within its covers was originally published. Speaking of its covers, both front and back feature original art by John Waltrip.

When I talk about not taking the colors on the covers of the Sentinels comics seriously, this is sort of what I mean. Check out the fugly colors on the SDF-3 on both pieces and Rick and Lisa's pinkish purple uniforms on the back. Egads. While the front is a better piece, I have to admit a certain fondness for the back cover piece. Gotta love the giant looming Alpha Fighter, and and Minmei & Janice are so amusingly out of place in the composition. But those lime green Hovertank silhouettes on the bottom -- those are pretty sad looking. And check out that awful back cover copy: "Will Rick Hunter be able to save Cabell -- the only man capable of repairing the SDF-3 warp drive -- from his hiding place deep within Tirol before they both meet their end at the hands of the insidious Invid?" Cripes, who wrote that tripe?

The additional non-story art in this volume mostly seems to be taken from house ads for Sentinels Book II -- one even includes the Sentinels aliens, who certainly don't appear in this book, as it covers everything from the morning after Rick & Lisa's wedding to the REF's counterattack following the Invid crippling the SDF-3 in Tirolian orbit. Oddly enough, the Dave Dorman cover for Sentinels Book I #7 is missing, and instead another piece of art from the Sentinels clip file is used for the first "chapter" page -- the weirdly-posed Alpha Fighter Battloid that appears on the signed sticker plate in the second hardcover collection ("The Wedding of Rick Hunter & Lisa Hayes," containing Sentinels #5 & 6 and Wedding Special 1 & 2) and on several "back issues for sale" house ads that appeared regularly in Eternity's books around 1993.

This piece:

I probably wouldn't have remembered what the deal was with the omitted cover except that I actually just scored a Dave Dorman Robotech piece off eBay about a week or so ago for a little more money than I should have spent. It's the cover for Comico's Robotech Masters #21. Check it out:

Unlike every single other Robotech page and cover piece I've purchased over the years, this thing is on heavy duty illustration board and came with a piece of light wax paper taped overtop with masking tape. It also has instructions from Dorman to the colorist at the top:

"Colorist - Bowie is wearing an orange jacket. The Invid flowers have pink petals, white seeds, aqua blue leaves and stems. I think a gradule color tone (possibly purple/violet) from dark at bottom to light at top would work for background. Thanks"

For those who don't know, Dave Dorman is a big deal painter of Star Wars and fantasy subjects -- here's his website -- and right after I won this auction I got an e-mail from some guy going basically, "Hey, you paid this much for a black and white Dorman piece and skipped out on this painting over here that went for less? What's up with that?" I then went back to eBay and noticed that another Dorman Robotech cover -- New Gen #18, I think -- went for more than the painting, which was from I-don't-remember-what. Obviously another fan more of the subject matter than the artist. A lot of artists back in the day really struggled with the streamlined Japanese character designs of Robotech, including Dorman -- the Sentinels cover that wasn't included in that trade paperback is an excellent example of that. While he obviously can make a painted rendering of an assemblage of Star Wars figures sing like no one else, as he has done numerous times now for trading cards, novels, and comic covers, most of his Robotech work -- done in the late 1980's, outside his chosen medium, and in a style he doesn't really do -- is only so-so. Of that body of work, though, this would have to be one of my favorite pieces, a nice mythosy bit featuring the best-realized of Robotech's human-alien pairings. I've also always been fond of Masters #22's cover, with the fully armored 15th Squadron engaging in a firefight, and the bittersweet romantic cover to New Generation #19.

I leave with an image of the nerve center of my operation, where I spend most of my waking hours after work. This is the setup as I was trying fruitlessly to scan the Alpha Battloid piece from the TPB.

There will be more tomorrow. Oh yes, there will be more.


Prelude to the Shadow Chronciles #1 Annotations

page 1

"In 2022, an Expeditionary Force departed from Earth on a mission to intercept these threats at their source in deep space. After decades of struggle, this Pioneer Expedition led by Admiral Rick Hunter would reach an uneasy peace at the Robotech Masters' homeworld of Tirol, leaving only the threat of the mysterious Invid race. However, they would soon discover that the greatest danger lies within ..."

While early issues of the Sentinels comic book series suggest that the story begins in 2022, as the TV series was intended to (see Robotech Art 3), later writing by the Waltrips (Sentinels Bk. IV #0) suggest that the comic book series was following Jack McKinney's interpretation of The Sentinels to the letter, beginning with a departure in 2020, with the SDF-3's hyperspace fold jump taking five years and depositing them in Tirolspace in 2025.

The phrase "decades of struggle" can only refer to two decades at the most. The Robotech TV series timeline, according to Harmony Gold at this point in time, ends at 2044. One year passes from page 19 to page 20, so let's say the absolute latest that we could be starting is early 2043 -- and that's assuming no more leaps from here 'til the end of issue #5, which is probably a poor assumption.

Pioneer Expedition -- a direct reference to a turn of phrase used in the Robotech TV episode "Outsiders," though that episode's returning Major John Carpenter referred to General Reinhardt as his commanding officer back in deep space. That episode takes place in 2029, at which time Rick & Lisa Hunter may very well have been busy elsewhere -- an abbreviated involvement with the Sentinels campaign, perhaps?

In any case, Yune & the Waltrips are deliberately vague on how long the Expeditionary Force has been on Tirol and what they've been up to all this while, in case the Sentinels scenario is ever revisited. The image presented does suggest, however, that the SDF-3 alone arrived on Tirol during a state of Invid occupation and routed them out.

In fact, the art suggests that the SDF-3 has arrived during a moment of heated battle on Tirol. I suppose we can assume this is just visual shorthand, because both the Sentinels video and the comics show us a Tirol that is already occupied, sans resistance, by the Invid. (See panel from Book I #2, the Invid Odeons ushering the Tiresian citizens into internment camps.) Pay attention to the panel below it, from Book I #8, where an SDF-3 bridge officer's assessment of the state of the shuttle carrying Minmei & Janice is interrupted by the approach of Invid mecha from Tirol. The SDF-3 has just arrived over Tirol -- notice I also have provided a shot of the ship in hyperspace from the same issue.

The ships flying overhead are Garfish-class cruisers, as seen in the first episode of the New Generation segment of Robotech. It's described on as the "standard light starship of the later Expeditionary Force." The "later" Expeditionary Force, eh? Well, apparently in 2038 (the setting of the "Invasion" comic book series) they were pretty common, and talks about them being used against the Masters as well, so I don't know how much "later" we're talking about. I also can't remember -- can these things land in atmosphere? They don't seem to have parts to do that -- it would land on those mecha hangars, and looks like it would tip forward if it didn't crush the hangars in the process. So when they're done searching, would they fly up into orbit? Who knows? But that is a neat visual ...

The Tiresian Royal Hall appears in the background -- the design from the animation and not the huge, wide, imposing design from the Sentinels comics.

page 2
If you were here for the preview pages, you've seen this all before. If not ...

Flashback. A gavel strikes, referring (presumably) to the trial of Jonathan Wolfe, Vince Grant, and Breetai's Zentraedi where T.R. Edwards was revealed, via videotape recorded by Dr. Emil Lang and his godson Scott Bernard, as a traitor to the Expeditionary Force (Sentinels Book IV #12). Edwards then promptly flees (seen here).

A shot rings out. (Note different model of gun.)

Former singing sensation Lynn Minmei cries out.

A body, clad in a Robotech II: The Sentinels Expeditionary Force uniform, falls to the ground, dead.

These three panels refer to the final events on Tirol of Sentinels Book IV #13. Lynn Kyle came to the rescue of Lynn Minmei, his cousin and former meal ticket, who had been hidden away in the headquarters of power-hungry Expeditionary Force General T.R. Edwards ever since a failed attempt by Kyle (in disguise) to take her offworld in Sentinels Book IV #1 - 3 in a stolen prototype Veritech Fighter. After being revealed as a traitor by Dr. Emil Lang, Edwards returned to his headquarters to pick up Minmei. Having finally deduced Minmei's location, Kyle arrived to confront Edwards and rescue his cousin. Following a climactic struggle in which Kyle managed to clobber Edwards thoroughly, Edwards managed to shoot him dead and make off with Minmei.

When Lynn Kyle was killed in Book IV #13 he was wearing a flightsuit, not a standard uniform.

Expeditionary Force security officers bust down the door of the room where these events played out. Two Expeditionary Force officers stand in the back, clad in Haydonite-crafted light body armor.

The room appears to be the Expeditionary Force ruling council chamber. The trial did not occur here, because Breetai -- returned to full Zentraedi stature in Sentinels Book II #5 -- was on trial and had to be present. Nor did Kyle and Edwards' confrontation take place here, as Minmei was in a cell beneath Edwards' headquarters. Furthermore, the confrontation as presented in Sentinels Book IV #13 had two more casualties -- Lt. Rebecca Nicks, a character added to the regular cast in Sentinels Book III #1 following a "create a Robotech character" contest, and one of T.R. Edwards' men, Adams.

There is a *thing* on the floor that artist Omar Dogan drew in, right below the soldier next to Dr. Jean Grant, that I'm probably overanalyzing, but could be part of T.R. Edwards' broken old cowl. (It was present in the preview available on the DC Comics website as well.)

The two Expeditionary Force officers in the back wearing the Haydonite light body armor are Rick Hunter (last seen aboard the Ark Angel in Spheris orbit in Sentinels Bk IV #12) and Dr. Jean Grant (last seen on Haydon IV in Sentinels Bk. IV #9). Rick Hunter was last seen in this very uniform; the only major detail artist Omar Dogan goofed on was the line across the torso. There are also supposed to be black rectangles on the back of the forearm and the back of the hand, and straight lines are supposed to go down each arm, down each leg, and right down the middle of the body. (These details are actually fixed by page 15. Check it out!) This armor was given to the members of the Sentinels in Sentinels Bk. IV #9 as a reward by the grateful Haydon Prince Administrator Vowad for acting as the catalyst for the planet's liberation from Invid occupation.

Dr. Jean Grant was never seen wearing the Haydonite body armor in the Sentinels comic book series. However, Max and Miriya Sterling are seen wearing the discs that activate the body armor on their uniforms when they part company from the Sentinels in Bk. IV #9, suggesting that not just the characters seen in the armor for the rest of the series received it -- rather, all the Sentinels main cast probably did. By the way, as I point out here, the shoulder pads on Jean's Haydonite armor are purple in the finished comic where they were red in the preview available on the DC Comics website -- Rick and Lisa are the only two who appeared in color art in these uniforms, and being main characters, they both got the red trim, which is supposed to match the coloration on their regular uniforms.

As an aside, since the Haydonite armors are supposed to be based upon the outfit the person is wearing it on top of, do you think that means that when Rick and Jean power down their Haydonite armor discs they're wearing their Robotech II: The Sentinels uniforms? Hmmmm ...

page 3

"That's odd," Rick says as he looks at the unidentified dead body before him (Lynn Kyle). "He's wearing a Ghost Squadron uniform. Why would Edwards kill one of his own men?" Unlike every other Expeditionary Force character short of Rick and Jean, Lynn Kyle is wearing an Expeditionary Force uniform from Robotech II: The Sentinels. Rick's remarks place the largely lambasted Sentinels uniform design in the current continuity.

However, I betcha the Waltrips intended to have it be the Sentinels flightsuit. Any time you see Ghost Squadron pilots in the Sentinels comics, they're wearing their flightsuits, no matter the function they're serving.

"General T.R. Edwards is wanted for conspiracy to commit treason against the Robotech Expeditionary Force. By order of the Expeditionary council, arrest General Edwards at once!"

The conspiracy charge suggests that events played awfully close to the events of Sentinels Book IV #12, in which Dr. Emil Lang played the following remarks by T.R. Edwards for the Expeditionary Force ruling council:

"Here's the oath I'll serve! I swear to exterminate Rick and Lisa Hunter, and Breetai, after I've mad them suffer enough! The rest of you will either bow at my feet or die! I swear to have Huxley and Obstat and the entire council as my personal slaves! I swear the Earth ... and the galaxy ... will be mine! I SWEAR REVENGE!"

Cyclone-mounted troops ride through the streets of Tiresia. Cyclones are commonplace in 2038 as emergency vehicles, according to the previous comic book series, "Invasion." Scott Bernard says, however, in Robotech episode #61, "The Invid Invasion" (currently set in the year 2042 according to that his model at least is a "new" emergency vehicle. The Cyclones here appear to be roughly the same model -- they're equipped with the blaster that Rand's, which short of the weapons outfit is identical to Scott's, has. Note that in the old Sentinels comics timeline these events would be taking place in 2027 and the timeline the Waltrips were holding to (a modified version of the one used by Jack McKinney's Robotech novels) would have had Cyclones introduced three years later, in 2030.

As I've pointed out before, the first shot of Edwards is -- short of Edwards' expression -- strikingly similar to the cover of Robotech II: The Sentinels Book IV #12. Maybe I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, but I find this interesting.

T.R. Edwards activates the Invid Brain. He did this in Sentinels Bk IV #12 with the exact same results. This Invid Brain is the same one he made sure to recover ahead of Jonathan Wolfe in Sentinels Bk. I #16, ending the Expeditionary Force's battle for Tirol. (The combatants left behind by the Invid on the surface of Tirol were all Inorganics, robots controlled by the Invid Brain.) The brain appears smaller here than in its appearances in the Sentinels comics.

(See the Invid Regent in the first panel from Sentinels Book IV #12? We'll get back to him later ...)

The controls for the Brain are obviously different here. I've done you the service of circling them sloppily with the paint tool in Photoshop. If I had the room, I'd have also shown you the panel in Sentinels Bk. IV #12 of the Brain making similar sounds to those it makes in Prelude #1, reacting to Edwards playing with the controls. Both now and then, the Brain goes "blub" ...

As a side note, I wonder what became of loyal Benson, Edwards' aide since Sentinels Book I #2 (the blonde fellow in the two panels from Book IV #12).

If the fight with Lynn Kyle occurred as it did in Sentinels Bk. IV #13, Edwards should have some bruises on his face. (See panel from Book IV #13.) His Sentinels faceplate was destroyed in that fight; that would serve to explain why he's wearing a new, more form-fitting one here.

page 4

"It's Kyle!"

Like the Haydonite light armor that Rick and Jean are wearing, Kyle's appearance is *almost* perfect to the Sentinels comic book art. His facial hair in the Sentinels comics ran down his sideburns to his beard, but otherwise, this appears to be the same Lynn Kyle who gave Minmei one last good-bye kiss before breathing his last breath. Notice in the sequence from Book IV #13 the way Kyle pulls off the helmet in a "big reveal" moment. This is why he's supposed to be wearing a flight uniform -- it makes the helmet a little less conspicuous ...

"What's he doing here on Tirol?"

The addition of a benevolent stalker-like Lynn Kyle, who anticipated that Minmei would follow her military friends into space, was one of Jack McKinney's more obvious major alterations to the Sentinels story. (Carl Macek wrote in Robotech Art 3 that Lynn Kyle's story would not be picked up in The Sentinels.) Kyle made his first appearance in the Sentinels comic book series in Sentinels Bk. II #3 (seen here).

By the way, notice the RDF wing insignia on Kyle's outfit in the Book II #3 shot. You used to find those all over the place in the comics, and it used to really bug me. Now I find myself missing the old thing. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, I guess.

"Wait. If he's here, that means Minmei was here."

Rick jumps to conclusions, in a moment that recalls the original Robotech TV series at its worst ...

"Unit 5 to base, we're at Edwards' compound. No sign of --"

It was established that, during the reconstruction of Tiresia, T.R. Edwards acquired a personal command center -- I believe it first appeared in Sentinels Bk. II #17. It was depicted as a much larger building with a body that would appear circular from above, with a number of angled-out "spokes." The base has several vehicle entrances and a great deal of garage space for mecha and other craft to come and go, or launch for patrol and battle. While this may have been intended as the Expeditionary Force's command center on Tirol, with the Hunters absent and the ruling council blind to Edwards' ambition, it might as well have been his -- one look at his personal office would certainly give this impression. The building shown in Prelude #1, while far larger than the native structures, does not give off this sense of opulence and grandeur.

page 5

Just as Edwards activated the Brain again, so do are the Inorganics unleashed again. Only Scrimms and Cranns are seen -- no Hellcats or Odeons, the two models that actually appeared in the Sentinels animation. While previously they spilled forth from the base of the Tiresian Royal Hall pyramid, now they tear forth from the ground ... which, honestly, doesn't make much sense. Who put them there?

Do note that the Inorganics that appeared here are colored gray with red accents. In their sole canonical appearance, in the Sentinels video, all the Inorganics are blue. As I've noted before, notice that these are the very same colors that *everything* presented as lineart in Robotech Art 3 is -- they allow some green, blue, and yellow on the pages on the Flower of Life, but as far as mecha and character lineart goes, everything winds up gray with red accents. In fact, look carefully at which parts are red in Prelude #1 -- especially the Crann, the one with the whip-tongue thing going on and the two sensor eyes -- and you'll see that the colorist was probably working from the Art 3 lineart. (The Crann and Scrim tend to be colored red on the Sentinels comic covers, but due to the inconsistency of coloring that goes on with the Sentinels comic covers, this doesn't mean much.)

Notice that the Cranns all have blasters on their left arms. Despite the absence of anything that appears to be a long-range energy weapon on the Inorganic, McKinney describes Cranns specifically as firing on the Sentinels in "Death Dance" and "World Killers" (it is a Crann that fires the blast that kills the Haydonite Sarna in the latter book), and the Waltrips as early as Sentinels Book II gave them what appear to be hand-held cannons. According to the Sentinels Role Playing Game manual, these are hand-held weapons designed for the Odeon. On the two-page spread that ends Book IV #12, all three models of Inorganic are seen wielding these guns. Dogan's art suggests that he has decided they are built-in and exclusive to the Crann.

Also notice that the REF personnel in Sentinels Book IV #12 are using Southern Cross era hovercycles, not Cyclones. See previous note regarding the use of Cyclones.

"After being left in charge of captured alien technology for years, I don't think he welcomed the decision to hand authority back over to Dr. Lang. I suspect he was concerned that we would discover --"

Rick's dialogue seeks to create a context for Edwards making his move. However, it bears little resemblance to what was going on in the Sentinels comics while he was away. (And based on his and Jean's wardrobe, as well as the way he tries to summarize the situation, I get the impression that he HAS been away for a while, even in the revised continuity.) Edwards' plan all along according to the Sentinels comics and novels was to use the resources available in Tirolspace to build himself a fleet that he and his loyal men would crew. (We'll get to an example of that particular nugget in a moment.) He and his forces would then space fold back to Earth and hold the planet Earth hostage in a scenario strongly reminiscent of Dolza's assault on the Earth at the climax of the First Robotech War. There was not much about "captured alien technology" going on beyond looking after the Invid Brain and the Inorganics, which he obviously hadn't thought much about until he got desperate.

Regarding Jean's remarks about the disagreements between Edwards and the council ... look, I've provided some examples of him clashing with the council over some major issues. One also, were I to include the next panel, would illustrate his animosity towards Dr. Lang -- but then, if I really wanted to do that, all I would have to do is post the entirety of Sentinels Book IV #11 ...

pages 6 & 7

"Impossible!" Jean shouts. "Those new experimental battlecruisers aren't finished yet!"

The new starship bursts free from Edwards' command center. Like the Inorganics bursting out from the ground around Edwards' compound, I really should take issue with the notion of a full-size warship bursting through Edwards' compound. Then again, wouldn't the Tiresian catacombs be a wonderful place to hide any little projects you didn't want anyone to know about, especially if you're a xenophobic monster who doesn't care what happens to anyone else like T.R. Edwards?

The production of new battlecruisers was a major priority for Edwards, as you can see here in this panel from Sentinels Book III #10. See my remarks on his plan above to see why.

Oh, and this panel is the first one where you can really see Rick's temples graying.

As I remarked before, the ship Edwards escapes in *appears* to be a vessel from the upcoming Shadow Chronicles animation. (Note the structural similarities I have marked -- and trust me on the bit behind the sound effect, or just dig back and look at the original chart from the preview.) The filename on the outline that appears on is "Shimakaze," the name of a prototype Japanese naval vessel from World War II. I highly doubt this will be the name of the vessel in the animation.

Oh, and you can see a second moon of Fantoma right by that big red circle I marked #2. At least one more appears in an establishing shot in Sentinels Bk. IV #9 (not pictured). If you read the Zor Prime mock-up profile pages that I posted a few weeks ago, I claimed that Tirol was Fantoma's only moon. Apparently I had totally forgotten the Zentraedi exclamation, "Moons of Fantoma!" Just goes to show, nobody's infallible.

"Get Commander Grant on the comm! Have him meet us at the landing field. And notify the SDF-3 in orbit. Tell them to scramble their Veritechs to intercept!"

Vince was last seen on Haydon IV in Sentinels Bk. IV #9, staying behind with his wife Dr. Jean Grant, who was looking after pregnant Miriya.

The SDF-3 has been in Fantoma's orbit, undergoing repairs on its damaged fold and communications systems, since shortly after its arrival in Tirolspace -- the Invid damaged the ship pretty severely during their first engagement, a fair foreshadowing of the Invid's major victories against Expeditionary Force capital ships over planet Earth. However, last we saw it the ship was commanded by Captain Raul Forsythe, who took command over from Lisa Hayes Hunter in Sentinels Book II #6.

page 8

"You'll never get away with this, Edwards! Rick will shoot you out of the sky!"

You know, if the Sentinels animation had gone ahead, I could see a toy commercial with this very same exchange between action figure Minmei and action figure Edwards. Then a big plastic Alpha Fighter piloted by action figure Rick would swoop down and knock action figure Edwards over. "Robotech to the rescue!" indeed ...

Oh, and notice that Minmei isn't shown from the front. This holds true for the whole issue, and we'll get back to this fact very shortly.

"With you on board? You two must have had quite a falling out."

Edwards, on the other hand, sounds just right. He then goes on to say, "In any case, he can't shoot what he can't see," which is the first suggestion that Edwards has a trick up his sleeve.

"I've mobilized all ground units," Vince Grant says. "They've got the Inorganics contained." That was quick. In Sentinels Book IV #13, there is a two page spread of VF-1 Veritechs, Hovertanks, and Sentinels-era Destroids battling hordes of Inorganics in the streets of Tiresia with the following caption: "The REF had put so much time into rebuilding Tiresia after expelling the Invid from the planet. It was surprising how quickly they could tear it apart. Poor Tiresia was being razed again in a grotesque replay of the liberation. History repeats itself." Obviously the REF in Prelude #1 is much more on the ball than the one in the Waltrips' earlier Sentinels work ...

"We only have visual," Vince says of Edwards' ship. "It's not showing up on our scanners." It's interesting that while Jean and the other officers keep on calling Rick "Admiral," Vince just calls him "Rick" -- while it never really came off in any of the finished work, both the animation and the McKinney novels suggest that Vince was supposed to be Rick's right hand man. McKinney writes in "The Devil's Hand," "Technically, he was Rick's adjutant, a commander ..." Robotech Art III adds that, "Vince is one of Rick Hunter's close friends," though honestly, it never comes off -- McKinney could be accused of the exact opposite of what Macek accused the Japanese animators responsible for the Sentinels animation of. McKinney spent too much energy on the returning Macross characters at the expense of the newer cast members, especially Vince and Jean Grant. Harmony Gold has been more than making up for it these past few years with the current comic book projects, injecting Vince into not only the events on Macross Island prior to the launch of the SDF-1, but adding him to the cast aboard the SDF-1 during the Macross series, as seen in the image from "Love & War" above. (Right now all I can find is that he, according to McKinney, commanded a Destroid squadron at New Macross prior to the Pioneer mission -- this is according to "The Devil's Hand," and his invite to Claudia for Christmas dinner according to "Doomsday" corroborates this. Did McKinney ever say where he was before that?)

Oh, and based on Vince's words, guess what sort of technology Edwards has and the rest of the Expeditionary Force doesn't. (This is apparently what Rick was referring to when he said that Edwards has had access to "captured alien technology for years" that he wasn't giving Lang access to, and it comes off like some sort of Sentinels subplot we were never privy to.)

Rick, Vince, and Jean are aboard a Tokugawa-class vessel, the same class of ship that Major John Carpenter took back to Earth in "Outsiders."

Notice that the bridge officer to Lisa's right is female. As McKinney writes in "The Devil's Hand": "Of course, there were some changes that had to be allowed... The crew, for example: they were all men." Apparently no longer.

But that's not the only change to Lisa's bridge as we'll soon see.

This is the first really good look we've gotten of the SDF-3, which is dead-on to the classic Sentinels design and most resembles its animation counterpart in coloration -- sort of radish colored.

"This is Wolf Leader," Jack Baker says as he leads the Veritechs to intercept Edwards' ship. "We have visual contact of the bogey." Lisa tells him to try and force the ship down but not destroy it, showing a lot more concern for Rick's ex-girlfriend than he was. Jack Baker, by the way, was last seen aboard a Haydonite craft hovering over Spheris alongside the evolved Invid scientist Tesla, who was trying to control the Invid troops on Spheris' surface and was doing a poor job of it. This was in the B-plot in Sentinels Bk. IV #13. The cliffhanger was that some of the Invid that Tesla failed to control blasted the Haydonite craft and were on the verge of shooting it down. I guess it's safe to ignore that bit ...

I'm not sure which angle they're trying to play the Wolf Squadron reference from. Is this a reference to Jonathan Wolfe, who should be on his way back to Earth by now? (Remember, "Love & War" established him as a Veritech Fighter pilot -- more fitting with his appearance in the TV episode "Eulogy" -- so I doubt he'd be a Hovertank team leader in the revised continuity.) Or is this a cheeky reference to another Jack, last name of Archer, who led Wolf Squadron during the First Robotech War and in the years following as chronicled in the "Battlecry" video game?

page 9

This panel's linework is noticably thicker than the rest. The panel was cropped late in the day to obscure Minmei in the background, to give the creative team more time to come up with a new character design for her -- obviously not someone who's going to get to join the Shadow Chronicles crew in their first outing.

I wonder ... Jack's wingman is named Daryl Tailor. There's a character in the Shadow Chronicles cast list currently listed as Commander Taylor (played by Mark Hamill). Same guy, you think?

page 12
Our first good look at the redesigned bridge of the SDF-3. The layout has been changed from the comfortingly claustrophobic SDF-1 style seen in the Sentinels comics (and described in the novels) to the expansive "mission control" layout seen aboard the SDF-4 in TV series episodes #84, "Dark Finale," and 85, "Symphony of Light."

page 13

An excellent shot of the bridge section of the SDF-3. Seems like a happy medium between the details seen in the Sentinels comics and the animation.

An Invid carrier folds in. "It's the Regent!" Lisa calls out. The Invid carrier annihilates the SDF-3's reflex cannon. It attacks the SDF-3 with cannons from the two claws, destroying the reflex cannon. The only cannon the Invid carrier used in the animation is the main gun, on the middle "head" section, though the Role Playing Game manual says there are secondary assault lasers in each of the claws.

The last time we saw the Regent, in Sentinels Bk. IV #12, the following dialogue was had between him and Edwards:

Edwards - I think it best, strategically, if we unite our forces. I want you to send your army to get me and the people loyal to me.

Regent - Why do you need my help? You have the Brain you captured from us when you took Tirol. If you didn't destroy the Inorganics that were left after the battle, you already have an army there.

Edwards - Of course! The Brain! I should've known all along!

Regent - Do stay in touch.

Apparently the Regent rethought his decision.

page 15

As Rick sits at Lisa's bedside, Vince gives him a full report on the state of the SDF-3, but Rick doesn't seem to really care right now. We assume it's because he's much more concerned about his wife, but maybe it's also because he's heard it all before -- check out this scene from Sentinels Book I #10, immediately following the Invid's first assault on the SDF-3 over Tirol.

page 16

Dr. Lang's dialogue again is written out in the German accented speech patterns heard in the show. This is annoying. I was able to add the accent in my head for seventy-five issues of the Sentinels comic series, thirty-seven issues of Return to Macross, and at least seven Robotech novels. I don't need it spelled out for me now.

Lang, Janice, and a bald fellow who sort of looks like Exedore are trying to recover data from General Edwards' files in his burned-out command center. Janice's look is largely remeniscent of her Sentinels character design, but it has the gleaming red eyes of her Shadow Chronicles look. Janice indicates that the Shadow technology was developed with some assistance by the Invid, but says that with the data in its current state, she can't assist in reproducing it.

Janice was revealed to be an android to her allies in Sentinels Bk. IV #4 with minimal fallout.

"Fourth-dimensional reconfiguration? But Dr. Laslo Zand assured me dat his research had proven such a process to be impossible!" Lang says.

"Fourth-dimensional reconfiguration" is a bit of jargon directly from episode #83, "Reflex Point," used by Sue Graham when she's explaining the Shadow Fighters' ability to hide from Invid Protoculture scanners.

As for the man who told Lang it wouldn't work, Dr. Laslo Zand (usually spelled "Lazlo") is a character who emerged from the novels by Jack McKinney, a colleague of Lang's who would always remain the number two Earth-born specialist in Robotechnology. Despite the creepy, hunchbacked rendering of him by John Waltrip in Sentinels Wedding Special #2, he's not supposed to look quite that creepy -- and by the way, until the second issue of this series, that was his only appearance in the Robotech comics, despite being a central figure in the narrative of the novels.

Zand's background is intrinsically tied into the backstory of the exploration of the SDF-1 that was created by Carl Macek and embellished by McKinney. During the initial recon of the SDF-1, Dr. Emil Lang hit a panel he shouldn't have and blacked out. When he awoke, his eyes had turned liquid black (as he appears in the Macross animation) and he found he had a sudden innate understanding of the sciences surrounding Protoculture. While he and Zand might have been closer to equals before, now Lang was far above him. Zand sought to surpass him, so he hobbled together a formula -- a little fluid from a Robotech mecha, a little blood from human-Zentraedi hybrid Dana Sterling -- and injected himself with the Protoculture cocktail. He did this at the suggestion of one T.R. Edwards ...

"I was with him when it happened, Zand. Inside the Visitor. One minute he's touching things on the console in Zor's cabin; the next, he's out like a light. But when he woke up, his neural circuits had been rearranged--just like what happened to one of the recon robots we sent into the ship."

Zand wore a faraway look. "I would give anything ..."

"To take the jolt?" Edwards asked. "So what's stopping you?"

Zand cleared his head with a shake. "For one thing, Mr. Edwards, that console no longer exists."

Edwards snorted, then smiled affably. "There was nothing special about that console. It was just a matter of Lang sticking his finger where it had no place being. Making contact with that impermeable Protoculture of yours. Lang wasn't going for broke, Professor -- it was an accident. But don't tell me there isn't something you guys salvaged from the SDF-1, maybe something right here in the Center, that couldn't produce the same effect."

That was from McKinney's Robotech #19 "The Zentraedi Rebellion." Another bit of Edwards' advice is to join up with Anatole Leonard's Army of the Southern Cross, where he might be more appreciated. He does just that. In the next novel he has a large role in, "The Masters' Gambit," Zand spends a lot of time rifling through the SDF-1's main computer via a holographic simulation of Zor and makes early contact with the Robotech Masters, lending them a hand in return for some knowledge he never quite gets a hold of thanks to the intervention of some hacker kids. In the three Southern Cross novels, he spends a lot of time offing the men under his command, including Dr. Miles Cochran (who I've heard appears in the next issue of Prelude, sign #1 that Zand's chronology here is going to be a little different) -- explaining why you don't see many of the scientists in the Robotech Masters episodes of Robotech more than once -- and ultimately hooks Dana up to a machine in hopes of draining Protoculture-related powers from her, but ultimately the machine malfunctions and transforms him into a giant Flower of Life. Obviously things are going to unfold differently now, but of these things I am reasonably sure:

A) Zand is allied with Edwards and Anatole Leonard (see WildStorm's Robotech #6).
B) Dr. Lang and the Expeditionary Force can't trust a word Zand says.
C) Zand is out of his ever-lovin' mind.

I am curious how he's played in a Robotech universe without the Shapings of the Protoculture, and I also wonder if all this talk of artificially boosting minds is in effect. The artists on the first WildStorm series were careful to draw Lang with the all-black eyes, and I'd like to see if Zand is drawn the same way.

For the record, short of a flashback to Lang's first exposure to the Protoculture, the only time we ever see Lang with the all black eyes in the Sentinels comics is in Sentinels Book IV #11, when Lang is confronted by Edwards and, in a fit of rage, nearly kills him with his Protoculturally-enhanced strength.

page 17

The Expeditionary Force's ruling council convenes to discuss the situation with Edwards. Based on their discussion, it's obvious that certain events haven't occurred -- while Edwards has been having secret talks with the Regent much as he did towards the end of Sentinels Book II, the Expeditionary Force hasn't allowed the Regent onboard, as happened in Sentinels Book III #1, for peace talks at Edwards' urging. However, Lang confirms that Edwards' acquisition of the Invid Brain happened more or less as it did in Sentinels Book I #16.

General Reinhardt, the captain of the SDF-4 from the last two episodes of the Robotech TV series, is on the council. He's going to be appearing in Shadow Chronicles, so it makes sense to have him present at the big round table. General Reinhardt is not to be confused with Colonel Reinhardt, the gray-bearded fellow from the Sentinels animation. (The novels treat them as the same person.) Reinhardt remarks that Edwards has always been a xenophobe; an excellent example of this taken to the Nth degree is provided. You can also use that panel to compare the council table design between Sentinels and Prelude.

Rick continues to give Edwards the benefit of the doubt, despite the fact that Edwards' little pact with the Regent nearly killed his wife: "Edwards has never had confidence in this council to manage this mission. He's undermined its efforts from the beginning. He thinks he's the only one who can protect Earth by destroying every potential enemy rather than building alliances." And yet in Sentinels Bk. IV #11, Dr. Lang tells Edwards that he *knows* his goal is to build a fleet to conquer Earth. Is this a less megalomaniacal T.R. Edwards than the one we know from the Sentinels comics and novels, or is Rick being charitable?

page 18

Hello, Sentinels. One representative from each of the worlds of the Sentinels is present in the council chambers. Based on what is said and the characters' appearances, it looks like the group includes (from left) Burak, Kami, Veidt, Baldan, and Gnea, with L'ron in back. Of course, Baldan died in Sentinels Bk. III #5, transferring his essence into an egg of sorts that Teal "shaped" into Baldan II, who was just a wee boy when we last saw him. It would have made more sense to have Teal in this lineup. Burak, too, should probably be dead if all the Sentinels' worlds have been liberated -- he would have sacrificed himself to the psionic generator alongside either the Invid scientist Tesla or his brother Juryk to end Peryton's curse.

If I had to guess, I'd say that the more redesigned a Sentinel race is, the more likely you are to see it in Shadow Chronicles. If so, well, Karbarrans and Haydonites it is ...

It is highly ironic that Reinhardt, who boasts of his belief in "scorched earth tactics" in the Robotech TV series, assures the Sentinels that Edwards' betrayal shouldn't be representative of the human race, and that they came to the Southern Cross system to make peace.

Jack Baker assures his wingman that the Sentinels "[have] been fighting the Invid longer than we have. Their homeworlds have just recently been liberated. Their experience and knowledge can come in pretty handy when we take on the Regent again." To me, this sounds like the Sentinels have liberated their homeworlds on their own without any major REF assistance. (And did you notice that Veidt refers to as the REF, despite their insignia saying "United Earth Expeditionary Force"?)

page 19
Jean assures Rick that Lisa is going to recover. However, as Rick remarks that he was looking forward to Lisa resigning her commission due to her pregnancy, Jean tells Rick that she lost the baby. Rick Hunter's life stinks. However, nice way to segue from Lisa outranking Rick to Rick finally becoming this legendary "Admiral Hunter" that Scott Bernard and company yammer on and on about in the New Generation episodes of Robotech.

pages 20 & 21
One year later, a gray-haired Rick Hunter gives Vince a refitted Tokugawa to pursue T.R. Edwards. In another parallel to Sentinels Book I, Vince is being given command of Breetai's Zentraedi warriors to bring the fight to the enemy. (See Sentinels Book I #10.) Once the SDF-3 is rebuilt -- thanks to the Karbarrans and their shipbuilding skill, always useful -- it will follow behind and back him up.

Blurry in the background, behind the refitted Tokugawa, you can see the completely refashioned SDF-3, as seen on the cover of this issue.

Looking at the lineup of REF officers of all shapes and sizes lined up on these two pages, I'm curious whether I should be recognizing anyone. I've been told Karen Penn actually appears as a command officer in Prelude #2 -- is she the blonde on page 20 in the more command-styled uniform?

page 22

End of Issue 1 ...

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.


Um, yeah ...

Mari Iijima is playing Lynn Minmay again, in ADV's English dub of Macross.


That's all I got.


The Five ...

Okay, okay, for those who want to share in the fun of having too many copies of one anime TV episode littering their homes, here are all the different ways you can own "Boobytrap," the first episode of Macross/Robotech, on DVD in the English langauge market.

  • The unremastered 1985 broadcast Robotech edition, available on ADV's Robotech Vol. 1 "First Contact" and as a part of both the Robotech: The Macross Saga Complete Collection and the Robotech Legacy Collection Box Set 1.
  • The original 1984 Harmony Gold English dubbed Macross pilot episode, available on the extras disc included in ADV's Robotech Legacy Collection Box Set 5.
  • The remastered (and refoleyed) Robotech edition, available on the ADV Films Robotech Remastered Volume 1 two-disc box set and as a single-episode Ani-Mini disc, also from ADV.
  • The super-remastered Japanese langauge Macross edition (subtitled in English), available on the first volume of AnimEigo's nine-volume Macross TV series collection, available originally in a complete box set and later in three three-disc mini-boxes. This version is currently out of print since AnimEigo lost their license at the beginning of 2005.
  • And now, finally, comes ADV's newly English dubbed Macross edition, available on the first volume of their upcoming rerelease of the original 1982 Macross TV series (available with or without collectible series box for all the volumes you WILL buy ... in the meantime, it's a fine way to earmark the shelf space for them).

I believe there actually is another version of Robotech's "Boobytrap," with a different edit of the background music than the version that's been available off and on since the early 90's through FHE, Streamline, and ADV, but I've never seen it it, and besides, we're just talking about versions available on DVD. Someone brought up "Clash of the Bionoids," but that's a version of the 1984 feature film, "Macross: Do You Remember Love?" (oft abbreviated "DYRL"), which is a whole 'nother can of worms. Though of course, it is another English dubbed version of Macross, nigh to unwatchable as it may be ... it was strange watching that awful little tape for the first time, hearing those oddly accented voices coming out of these oh-so-familliar characters' mouths, and I suppose it'll be another adjustment hearing another slate of voices coming out of them anew.

Blogging from work, so no, no, no, you have to wait 'til the eve to see if I've finally finished working over Prelude #1 thoroughly.


Color Me Curious

Slept badly and intermittently last night, and had to get up at five a.m. to accompany a horde of fifth graders on a field trip halfway across the state, so do forgive me for not being finished with my work regarding the first issue of Prelude. Meanwhile, if there are any big, huge, major jaw-dropping moments or bits of bizarre revised (or bizarre unrevised) bits of continuity in Prelude #2 (which came out today), do e-mail me or tack them onto the comments thread here.

Meanwhile, ADV Films is putting out the first volume of their DVD release of the original Japanese-language Macross in January. In case you haven't heard, the interesting bit about their release as opposed to AnimEigo's famous "super-restored" edition is that ADV has been given permission to produce a brand-new English dub for the series. Don't tell me you're not the least bit curious about this -- the reason AnimEigo wasn't given permission to do this was because Harmony Gold considered the first generation of Robotech the English version of Macross, but all of a sudden, several Robotech DVD releases later, Harmony Gold shrugs their shoulders and lets ADV do their thing. Y'know, I haven't listened to an ADV dub since ... um ... Evangelion, but if I have a spare thirty bucks sitting around in January, I may well have to give this dub a look-see, just for the surreallity of hearing a new set of English language voices coming out of these characters' mouths, and having them actually refer to one another by the Japanese version names.

Though to be honest, I have to say, prepare for consumer confusion to the Nth degree. Bear in mind how often the question, "Hey, where does Macross Plus fit into Robotech?" comes up ... and remember that the full "Protoculture Edition" Robotech set is coming out mere months ahead of the new Macross discs. If I buy the new Macross disc, do you have any clue how many times I'll have "Boobytrap" on DVD?


Bonus points to anyone who can figure out all five.

Well, back to work ...


Since I misplaced my Robotech Art 3 ...

I need my copy of Robotech Art 3 to move forward in annotation-land, and it's probably buried under some Sentinels comics or some boxes or something. Hm. I think I know where it is. Let me check ...

*rummage, rummage*

Oh, there it is. But it's getting late anyway, so in any case, I give you something I found in a funny little Japanese Macross book and decided to color.

Super Deformed Breetai.

Isn't he cool? I think he's cool. Look, here he is looking stunned, or maybe confused.

More joy tomorrow. Gee, I wonder if tomorrow Harmony Gold will confirm or deny the whole Shadow Chronicles in January thing we saw in the new Prelude solicit. Hmm. We'll see, eh? What do you think, SD Breetai?

Yeah, that's what I thought.


Robotech Comics in January

Written by Tommy Yune, John Waltrip & Jason Waltrip
Art and cover by Omar Dogan
The epic tale reaches its shocking conclusion as Rick and company battle a horribly mutated General Edwards! Can the heroes succeed against this final, devastating threat? Plus, the final installment of the "behind-the-scenes" look at the making of January's Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles DVD release!
On sale Jan 18 o 5 of 5 o 32 pg, FC, $3.50 US


Oh, you don't know why my heart just leaped into my throat and tried to choke me, do you? Well, here's a little behind-the-scenes info, an excerpt from an interview between Evan Cass (former editor/publisher of Emissaries) and the Waltrip brothers, from Emissaries Issue #3, Summer 2002 ...

The biggest surprise we were planning was having General Edwards survive the Genesis Pit, if only briefly. Just as Rick and Lisa think he is gone forever, Edwards would rise up out of the Genesis Pit transformed into a giant, hideous monster. - Jason Waltrip

I never expected that thread to wind up in this series. It looks like Jason & John Waltrip will *actually* be able to wrap it up the way they wanted to. Oh, sure, we've got all this Shadow Chronicles lead-in stuff going on -- most of the folks on the cover there are the new Shadow Chronicles cast, don'tcha know -- but their big capper, a scene I've long turned over in my head, pictured with a big silly grin on my face, is actually going to see print. That's just cool. And like all the WildStorm books, it's more or less going to be considered canon for the current timeline, which is just *odd* ...

I've been working on the annotations -- the second pass through, doing scans and such -- for Prelude #1 since 11:00 this morning, and god willing, they should be done tonight. However, I got a distraction in the mail this afternoon, and I'm only on page four with the scans, and I've got to grab some dinner and get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight, so we'll see how this goes. If I don't get it done, I'm planning on just posting it as is so far and doing it piecemeal, like the preview.

Oh, and remember, everyone ... Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles #2 is out this Wednesday. I hope you all preordered your copies, because you know how comic shops are ... considering all the WildStorm Robotech #0's I saw in quarter bins at the last comic convention I went to, they probably aren't ordering Prelude in very high numbers, so it might be a wee bit hard to find.


New desktop image

Didn't think this would take as long as it did ... I was in the mood to do something addressing the forward motion of the Robotech saga, and who better to serve as a conduit for that than Rick Hunter, a character we see grow from a happy high-flying teen into a sullen twentysomething over the course of thirty-six episodes, fall in love and get married, and who we've now seen reel from the shock of not only seeing his wife nearly killed in battle but losing the baby she was carrying. The gray background images are from the TV series, the "From The Stars" comic series, the Waltrips' Sentinels comics, and the first issue of Prelude. Oh, and there's the one pic from the Sentinels video. It's a 1024 x 768 wallpaper, which is a bit small for my computer, but I figured would be good enough for most people ...


Oh, and Prelude #1 annotations no later than Sunday evening Monday afternoon, guaranteed.


Consider yourself warned ...

Sorry posting's been light-to-nonexistent. Busy week. That, and the whole three-day-shipping thing with my comics pretty much blew up in my face ... it took the comic shop practically three days just to get the package out the door. Ugh.

But hey, my copy of Prelude #1 FINALLY came in today. Of course that means I'm going to start writing the complete annotations for it -- how it does & doesn't link up with what has gone before, and what it can tell us about the future of the franchise -- tonight. Considering the work that's going to go into that, in terms of scanning this book and Sentinels back issues as well as possibly looking up snippets from the novels -- there's one reference in there that I'm pretty sure requires me to do it -- you may see it anytime from the wee hours of the morning on Saturday (if I'm not too exhausted by midnight) to sometime Monday (though I'm hoping to take use my day off on Monday to get Emissaries out the door). There's another posting I was working on this afternoon that I might finish, and a couple of other tidbits you might be interested in, that I might put up in the interim, but the big one will be up sometime this weekend or just after. Keep an eye out for it.

That's all for now.


"Black rubs off on oily fingers ..."

... or so I was told this evening, but then again, what you see below is just me playing around and will never reach anyone's fingers. But that's always good to remember. I wish Marvel Comics would consider that fact more often, or maybe go with that slick cover stock they use for the Ultimate books all around ... can't remember how many issues I've got laying around the house that have my fingerprints all over their battered covers due to dark artwork and crappy ink. Seriously, you'd almost think they were trying to make them so easy to damage to drive up after market prices on mint copies or something ... hmm ...

But enough about that nonsense. How about some more mocked-up "Robotech Art 1.5" pages? No? Too bad.

I think I've reached my comfort zone with Adobe InDesign. I think I'm ready to get that blasted Emissaries out the door. Hoo-hah!

Prelude interview @ The Pulse

Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles artist Omar Dogan is interviewed about the book at Comicon's The Pulse here. This also features a lot of pages from issue #1 without text, which is something I always enjoy seeing. It's mostly battle scenes, but if you haven't gotten a chance to see the book yet, it also offers a few shots of Lisa's redesign.

As a side note, everyone keeps saying to me, "You never see Minmei from the front," wheras I think we see that on the second page here (albeit in a long shot) and the coloring on Jean's uniform in the one long shot in which she appears (first page) hasn't been recolored the way it is in the final book (purple trim instead of red).

*grumble, grumble*

My copy of Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles #1, along with all those other comics I buy, is being mailed out today. It's being mailed out via UPS 3-day shipping, which means I should have it, what, Monday at the worst? This whole getting comics in the mail thing ... it really drives me up a wall. I need a local comic shop, bad ...

The only upshot is that this affords me time to work on some other stuff during the interim. As upshots go, that's not a very good one ... I want my blasted Prelude!

*grumble, grumble*


I Would So Buy This Book ...

I made this Robotech episode guide page using the last disc of my Macross DVD box for screen grabs (I'm waiting on the Protoculture Box for the Remastered discs), a space background I made for a website that I had sitting around on my computer, and an episode guide I've been slowly writing off and on for some years now. A thread on the forums about people wanting essentially a new Robotech Art book, as well as the need to figure out some new software (Adobe InDesign) to start working on Emissaries in earnest, sprang me into action. Only took me about, oh, three hours, and that's because I was learning the software as I went.

There's the next page, which took considerably less time. Boy, it's gonna take at least another page to finish this episode, isn't it? Perhaps I lowballed the estimated page numbers, considering ... hrmm ...

What do you think?


Robotech Visits the Right ...

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the latest news on the Shadow Chronicles production, including newly cut trailers and updated behind-the-scenes stuff is apparently being shown in three spots across the U.S. during the weekend of October 21-23 -- Oni-Con in Houston, TX, Reactor in Chicago, IL, and ... wha? The Liberty Film Festival in West Hollywood, CA? What in the ... ? "Hollywood's Conservative Film Festival?" Okay, kids, that just seems weird to me ...

The fans debate Robotech's place at such an event here, and while you're at it, review the United Nations 60th Anniversary PSA here at the Shadow Chronicles website. Frame it any way you want ... when the lead characters of your animated production are honoring the U.N. at sixty, and you decide to push it at a festival that's screening a film called "Broken Promises: The United Nations at 60," well ... that's just an, um, unique situation to put yourself in, don't you think?

Early Pre-Production Sentinels Art is Fun!

This and the image that followed it were, for me, the high point of the "Lost Robotech" panel at Anime Expo 2005/Robocon 20. It's a very early lineup of the Sentinels cast, featuring, in order:
  • Miriya Sterling -- already sporting her shorter, spiked Sentinels hairdo ...
  • Max Sterling -- hair shorter, but much more in the Macross style, along the lines of Max Jenius's look in Do You Remember Love, the 1984 Macross feature film ...
  • Lynn Minmei -- listed here as "Lynn Wolfe" (good lord, she married Jonathan Wolfe!), but still with the twisty locks that characterized her hairstyle back in her youth, as well as a skirted uniform design remeniscent of Marie Crystal's in Robotech Masters, which seem to be the norm for the more feminine girls in the lineup ...
  • Rick Hunter -- looking surprisingly like the Lynn Kaifun (Kyle) character design from Do You Remember Love, his hair shorter and, unless my crappy snapshot is fooling my eyes, almost totally spike-free ...
  • Lisa Hayes -- sans weird flip in her hair, sans early Macross rolls, much more in line with the "Captain Misa" design slated for the end of Macross and the Do You Remember Love design ...
  • Dana Sterling -- as noted below the image, about six to ten years too old in this lineup ...
  • unnamed commander -- listed as "not needed," which makes me curious as to who in the heck this is supposed to be ...
  • Becky Franklin -- the love interest character from Robotech The Movie (Yui Tanaka in the original), who I think had a different last name in the finished film, but that's not important at this point ... interesting that she and our next cast member are marked as needing "DIFFERENT FACES" ...
  • Mark Harris -- known in the finished film as Mark Landry, he would later be totally rejiggered into Jack Baker, which explains why Robotech Art 3 makes a point of having Jack and T.R. Edwards be bitter enemies -- if the original version of Robotech The Movie had gone ahead, and then Sentinels followed from that, these two would have fought to the death before!
  • Colonel B.D. Edwards -- who at this point is the SPITTING IMAGE of Megazone 23's B.D., down to standing in the exact same pose as B.D. in the lineart shown here! The scrawl beneath his picture says "Damaged face - due to battle injuries" -- injuries he would have sustained in the big fight with Mark Harris in the final act of Robotech The Movie ...
  • Eve II -- If you've read Robotech Art 3, you know this pose -- the android form of Janice is in this exact pose on page 132. The words underneath read "sexy robot," which is the exact term Macek uses to describe Janice's android form in Art 3.

A second page, which I got an even worse picture of, showed us early art of Dr. Emil Lang, Rolf Emerson, Jean Grant (with a giant afro, remeniscent of Southern Cross hairstyles), Bowie Grant (like Dana, too old -- HG asks the designers to to have him de-aged to about 5-7 years old), Jonathan Wolfe, another unused character design, Exedore (already with his proper Sentinels haircut), Colonel Adams (renamed Reinhardt in the Sentinels feature, which led to years of confusion), and Breetai (still wearing his original faceplate!).

Harmony Gold notes ask the Japanese designers to add Vince Grant to the lineup. The Japanese designers probably didn't add him because they figured Bowie already has a father -- Rolf. In the original Japanese Southern Cross anime, Bowie is Rolf's son, so the character designer for Sentinels probably just whipped up a mother for him and figured that would be it, not understanding that Macek & Co. had decided to tie together the only two major black characters in their multi-generational epic and sever the father-son bond, making Emerson's death so much more awkward in the process ... "My good friend!" indeed ...

The other major thing worth pointing out here is the evolution of the uniform designs. I'm sure we've all long noticed the strong Southern Cross influence on the finished Sentinels uniform designs. The influence is even stronger here. As I pointed out above, notice the skirts on half of the females in the lineup, and then notice the big Southern Cross uniform belts that cover up that awkward Zentraedi insignia-shaped bit on the abdomen of the final uniform design. I honestly think the Sentinels uniforms would have looked much better with those present. On the other hand, the uniforms are still skintight affairs, unlike the Southern Cross example I show here. Actually, the uniforms on the second page seem, in general, baggier -- unlike his final design, Breetai gets what looks to be an officer's uniform, with a sort of jacket-like bit below the belt along the lines of Rick's final Sentinels uniform. Exedore's uniform is similar.

My guess about the "different faces" remark is that by this point, Cannon Films, the distributor for Robotech The Movie, had laid down their "More guns! More robots! More shooting!" edict -- remember, the Robotech movie was their idea -- which forced producer Carl Macek to shoehorn footage from Southern Cross (the most recent of the three anime shows that made up Robotech) into the film, which changed the setting (originally 2009, contemporary with the first major story arc of Macross) and broke the ties between Sentinels and the movie. Now the Robotech The Movie characters would be living their lives after the Sentinels mission left for Tirol, which means they very well couldn't have been aboard the SDF-3. Based on this lineup, it looks like backup dancer Becky turned into pilot Karen Penn, which is quite the radical change. Turning Mark into Jack Baker, though ... not so radical a change. After all, spikey-haired anime heroes are a dime a dozen. As for B.D. becoming T.R., no big deal after T.R.'s backstory was set up in the 1986 Comico Graphic Novel.

Hope you all enjoyed this look at what could've, should've been, folks. Like I said, what I wouldn't do for a nice big artbook compiling all this nonsense together, along with a proper behind-the-scenes narrative. I'd buy it in a heartbeat.


Added link, Neat Picture Tonight ...

  • Added a link to the Robotech Underground Podcast, a weekly podcast by Lt. Justy Ueki Tylor (the most irresponsible man in space, don'tcha know) that was kind enough to mention this shiny new blog last week. Thanks for the plug, man, and can't wait to hear what you've got for us this week!
  • Meanwhile, tonight I'm going to post up something interesting I snapped during the Lost Robotech panel at AX/Robocon 20 -- one of those things you just don't see that often, and most people haven't at all. It's one of those things that makes me cross my fingers and hope, pray even, that one of these days we get a shiny new Robotech artbook filled with rare pieces from the unfinished, non-canon animation projects. Maybe if Shadow Chronicles does well ...


What's Past is Prelude Again: Examining the Shadow Chronicles Comic Preview (Part 5)

Finishing up this series a bit late, what with everyone having seen the book and all. But there's a couple of things still worth noting on the big two-page spread ...

As I note here, there is a page in-between this spread and the other pages bundled in the preview. It's the page where Rick and Jean see Kyle's face, and then the Inorganics start pouring out of the Tiresian Royal Hall pyramid, in a replay of this scene here in Sentinels Book IV #13.

The first point is the coloration of the Invid Inorganics. Scrims and Cranns, the models we see here, do not appear in the animation, as I recall, but all the Inorganics we DO see in the animation -- the Odeons and Cougars/Hellcats -- are blue. The covers of the Sentinels comics were notorious for bizarre off-model coloration, oftentimes making Invid green when they're always shown to be sort of magenta, fox-like Garudans a sort of forest green, and giving Rick's old Macross-era flight helmet a sort of green gradient effect which makes for a striking cover, but is hardly accurate. So the sort of rust red that the Inorganics sometimes appeared to be on the Sentinels covers seems to me a trifle dubious. Blue would probably be most apt.

And yet, here they are sort of grey. And I think I know the source of that color.

Robotech Art 3 is about the best source of information ever published on the Sentinels animation project. Unfortunately, a lot of the lineart in the book has thick, blotchy lines and has been colored in black, grey, and a very intense red. Hm, what colors are those Inorganics? Why, they're gray and ... red. Oh dear. The colorist was given the page from Robotech Art 3 to go off of, wasn't he? Ah well. At least it makes a kind of sense.

Then there's the matter of the ship Edwards escapes in. I think it's a new design that appears in Shadow Chronicles. I've snatched this outline of a ship from the mecha size comparison chart in the Shadow Chronicles section of and have circled the various points that lead me to believe this is the one. In the finished comic book it's referred to as a prototype, so I figure I'm probably right. The image file calls it a "Shimakaze," but since the filename for the ship we know to be the SDF-3 (it matches the design seen on the cover of Prelude issue #1) is identified as a "Shinano," I find the name highly dubious.

Shimakaze translates to "island wind," and was the name of a prototype naval destroyer used by the Japanese at the end of World War II (1943), fast and powerful as well as the pinnacle of warship technology at that point in history, but deployed a bit late to do much of anything to turn the tide in their favor. Shinano is also the name of a World War II Japanese vessel, a large one-of-a-kind aircraft carrier -- the largest built by ANYONE until the '50s -- completed November 1944 and sunk by an American submarine at the end of the same month. Shinano is also the name of a river in Honshu, Japan.

Who wants to take bets that these are the actual designations of these ship designs when Shadow Chronicles is released in Japan as a Mospeada sequel?

That wraps up the preview. Now, to patiently wait for my very own copy of the book itself ... and in the meantime, I've got a few odds and ends I'd like to bring up over the next few days, to keep you all coming back until then.


Here There Be Spoilers ...

So I got to read through the first issue of Prelude to Shadow Chronicles today, and I found it actually really damn cool. We'll go all in-depth around this time next week, but I've got some observations I'd like to share right now.

First, though, in lieu of spoiler space, I'm going to lend some advice to my fellow Robotech fans. Silly advice, but useful if you get in a completist collecting mood like I sometimes do. About a week ago, I saw an auction for Matchbox's Dana Sterling doll and the Hovercycle scaled to the 12" doll line. I thought, "Hey, that's cool," and put in a bid for it. However, the 12" Dana comes in a party dress. Naturally, if she's going out riding on the Hovercycle, I figured she needed her uniform. It was sold seperately. So I snagged one of those. The whole kit-n-kaboodle came in today. The Hovercycle is quite snazzy, and its rider arrived in good shape. But her uniform ...

Unfortunately, whatever shiny material is covering the fabric on the Southern Cross uniform has not aged well. It's gotten all sticky, has peeled off onto the twenty year-old tape that was used to package the outfit, cracked badly where it has stayed attached to the fabric (which otherwise is VERY see-thru), and got all over my hands, making them very sticky, too. It didn't help matters that the uniform boots are typical Barbie-style doll boots of the era, a pain in the butt to get onto the doll under the best of conditions. If you find yourself tempted by the Hovercycle and want to get a rider for it, I'd suggest going with the Harmony Gold release of the Dana doll, which comes wearing the Southern Cross uniform. Don't fall into this trap. I figured, "Oh, the Harmony Gold action figures are lower quality, so the doll probably is, too, so I should get this version ..." Uh-uh. Don't let this happen to you. From afar the end result doesn't look too bad, but poor Dana's uniform doesn't hold up to scrutiny well. She'd better not let Nova or Marie see her like this, or she'll never hear the end of it ...

Anyway, on to the Prelude first issue ...

The entire first issue is essentially all hell breaking loose in the aftermath of the trial. Despite the order of events in the Sentinels series, it looks like Edwards is unleashing them for the first time here. They all seem to be red rather than the blue of the animation.

When Rick and Jean discover Kyle's dead body -- we do see his face, and he looks more or less as he did in the last issue of Sentinels -- Rick realizes that Minmei had to be around, too. While we never see her (I looked, though I guess it's possible I missed her -- I was in kind of a hurry), it is made pretty clear that she's Edwards' prisoner now.

Lisa is not wearing Haydonite disc armor. In fact, nobody short of Rick & Jean is. Kinda odd. Makes me wonder where they were right before arriving on the scene. Also, unlike the Sentinels novels and comics, her SDF-3 bridge crew is not entirely male; there is one girl serving right by Lisa's side. Unlike Rick, I honestly think Lisa does look like herself, despite the change in hairstyle to a more pulled-back, older look.

Jack Baker is apparently the new leader of Wolf Squadron; I wonder if this is Colonel Wolfe's old group, and if so, I wonder if he'll be mentioned at all during the course of the series. In any case, Jack gets an action sequence here. It really is pretty cool; following some heated mechanized action, he rescues an ejected wingman and is forced to break off his pursuit of Edwards to save his subordinate. Karen Penn does not appear at all; knowing her, she's probably got her own squadron as well. But she's not even mentioned, which makes me wonder if she'll even make a minor appearance. My hope for her is that she turns up as the leader of the Skull Squadron later in the series, with Max & Miriya having retired to focus on raising their second daughter.

Amusingly, though, when Jack's team rushes into battle, there are Alphas distinctively done up in Max & Miriya colors -- their precise shades of blue and red -- to his right. Okay, so maybe they ARE still up and fighting ...

An Invid warship from Sentinels appears here, and the Regent is mentioned immediately, despite not appearing in person (though again, who knows, I might have missed him). Apparently he decided to bail Edwards out in the end after all. What a swell guy he is. I hope Edwards doesn't reward him for his loyalty by stabbing him in the back ...

While Dr. Lang and Janice (just as Shane told me, she looks like a cross between Sentinels Janice and the Shadow Chronicles Janice we've been seeing) are trying to figure out something regarding the equipment Edwards was using -- I figured he was talking about the Invid Brain, though the issue of Shadow devices does come up -- Lang mentions Lazlo Zand. I seriously wasn't expecting that. For those who don't remember, Zand was the creepy Robotech scientist from the novels who did all sorts of unethical experiments on Dana Sterling during the years of the Malcontent Uprisings and basically took Dr. Lang's spot in the corrupt Southern Cross regime. (See The Masters' Gambit and the three Robotech Masters novels.) At the end of the Masters adaptation novels he was turned into a giant Flower of Life for being such a grandiose delusional nutjob creep.

There is a creepy balding scientist hanging around the two who almost looks like a Robotech Master. I kept wondering if he was supposed to be a redesigned character I should recognize. I wasn't reading that closely, and kept thinking it might be Exedore, but instead of double-checking the dialogue to see this was the case, I kept on going. Hey, I'll have plenty of time to read it next week.

The Sentinels aliens do appear for a major scene towards the end. The Haydonites have been radically redesigned; they have hoods now obscuring their heads. The Karbarrans also have been redesigned, looking much less bear-like and cutesy. They've got longer muzzles. They also still have those fantastic shipyards; they promise aid to the Expeditionary Force in the aftermath of Edwards' escape and the near-destruction of the SDF-3. Perytonians and Sphersians didn't get much of a change in appearance. I don't recall seeing any Praxians, and I think the Garudans were there, but I don't remember what if any changes they got. L'Ron and Veidt are mentioned by name. When the Sentinels alliance is discussed, it sounds like they saved their own butts from the Invid instead of leaning strongly on help from the Expeditionary Force. Very, very interesting change.

The big event of the issue is a giant melodramatic bit where, with the SDF-3 trashed, Lisa is seriously wounded. Rick is assured that she's OK, and then off to the side mentions that she had been planning on retiring after their baby was born. He is then told that the baby is dead. Rick promptly breaks down.

The issue jumps ahead one year for the epilogue. Rick's hair is all gray all of a sudden, and Vince is given an upgraded Tokugawa (the same model of ship John Carpenter used in the Robotech Masters episode "Outsiders") to finally pick up the pursuit of T.R. Edwards. Meanwhile, the SDF-3 is nearly reconstructed at this point, so we'll probably see it unveiled at the end of the next issue. As I figured, Lisa has probably resigned her commission, leaving Rick in charge and completing his development into the figure Scott Bernard is looking up to throughout New Gen. I assume all the worry associated with the near-destruction of the SDF-3 is what turned his hair gray, while all the crap Edwards has pulled (kidnapping Minmei, killing Kyle, nearly killing Lisa and killing their unborn child) is what hardens Rick into the sort of person who would even consent to the development of the Neutron-S missiles and then accept a contingency plan that would involve them being used to wipe out planet Earth in the event of a possible Invid victory.

All in all, an extremely satisfying chunk of story, well worth the increased price tag ($3.50 U.S.). A comprehensive annotation will come next week when it is properly released and my own copy is in my hands.

Those of you who've also read it ... anything major I've missed here?