As Foretold ...

All subscription and comp 'zines are in the mail!

The monkey, at long last, is totally off my back, shoved into its cage, and sated with a bushel of bananas.

Finally, I can relax.

Until April.

Yes, the Emissaries Vol. 2 Issue Three / Spring 2006 deadline for contributing stories/art/etc. is April 8, 2006, so those of who subscribe and those who'd like to subscribe, start getting those pens/keyboards/mice/styluses/whatever in gear with that target date in mind.

The shameless plugging continues ...

EMISSARIES WEEK - Macross II: Lost Voices of the Galaxy

Macross II
Lost Voices of the Galaxy

by James Pickens

chapter one: an ancient sound

The warm winds of the Atlantic Ocean washed over her, her light sea green hair gently drifting in the wind. The U.N. aircraft carrier was almost an antique, yet it served its purpose, as they drew closer to the ruins of the Protoculture city on Earth. The young Lady Liana stood in her Emulator robes, watching as the island and its towers came into view. Much of the great city was destroyed by its sinking, followed by the Zentraedi attack and then the Meltrandi attack upon the Macross before the final battle. It was here that the love song was found and it was here that helped give rise to the people of Earth, much like the Protoculture helped raise the Marduk so very long ago.

It was believed by many that the Marduk legends, much like the Zentraedi fleets such as Boldolza's, all had beliefs that descended from the Protoculture. Yet no one clearly knew what happened to the Protoculture, only that its effects on the various worlds of the known galaxy could be seen.

Lady Liana closed her eyes, and let the sound of the wrld tell her Earth's story. She could, even at this distance, hear the wind whistling thorugh the ancient ruins of the Protoculture. She hoped that song would be the key to finding the answers ... of the Zentraedi, the Meltrandi, the Marduk, the humans, and how it all tied together.

"Lady Liana." Her concentration was disrupted by the Marduk commander walking up behind her. "Are you sure you are ready to do this?"

"Yes, Lord Rylen, I'm ready to go."

Behind the young woman stood the impressive figure of one of the Marduk Commanders, Lord Rylen. Rylen was large and well built, in full uniform with a grim look on his face. His long silver hair was parted down the center and flowed down his back; his face wasn't too worn from combat, being younger than most commanders. He looked to be in his late twenties in human reckoning. His dark red eyes were focused upon the storms brewing behind them. "They say that storm will overtake us in about three hours. They'd prefer us to be back in two hours, if at all possible, so we'll need to make today's operation just a quick reconnaissance."

Lady Liana turned to Rylen. "This isn't a military operation ..."

"I understand, my lady. We cannot take any risks, however. I do not feel comfortable without any sort of Marduk support with us."

"Lord Rylen, you mustn't worry so much. The U.N. Spacy will take good care of us. They will not try to break the peace treaty signed by Grand Lord Feff."

Lord Rylen smirked, and Liana knew she had spoken the right words to calm the commander. Of course, a Marduk commander would not be as trusting of human society, but it was the Emulators who could feel the truth of this planet. It was the Emulators who were so moved by Ishtar's song.

"Well then, my lady, our shuttle awaits us."

Continued in Emissaries Vol. 2 Issue 2 ...

Yeah, I know, the first selection I pulled to promote the ROBOTECH fanzine isn't even a ROBOTECH story -- you want to make something of it?

Seriously, James told me that his ROBOTECH fanfic idea -- a reimagining of an old Zentraedi tale he's had knocking around his noggin for years and years -- was falling flat, and he was putting some folks through a game of the old Palladium Macross II RPG, so that's kind of where his head was at the time this story was concieved. I hope his head's still there, because I honestly can't wait to see where he's going with this.

I'm still kind of fond of Macross II -- I still think it's the best adaptation of Haruhiko Mikimoto's art to animation ever -- though I'm nowhere near as fond of it as I was when I first saw it, nor am I anywhere near as fond of it as James is. I swear, when I first encountered him years and years ago on the old Robotech Message Board, you couldn't find a bigger Macross II fanboy than he was, and honestly it amazes me to see that he's still taken with it enough that he'd want to go back there in such a major way. I mean, when I watch it now, all I see is another fun but ultimately undercooked early 90's mecha OVA; as anyone who makes it through the first chapter of Lost Voices of the Galaxy will see, James obviously sees something more.

Fun fact: Because it was something like four in the morning when I finished assembling and editing the new issue of Emissaries, there are more typos in the printed copy than there are in the above (retyped from a printout I had handy) excerpt. Whoops!



It's only taken me the better part of a year, but ... Emissaries Vol. 2 #2 is DONE!

Today it'll be taken in to the printer.

Tuesday it'll be mailed off to the subscribers.

By the end of the week, some of those subscribers will finally have it in their hands.

And for the rest of you, well, visit the recently updated and drop four bucks in the PayPal tip bucket along with your address and I'll send you a copy when it's ready.

*whew* I'm beat, but I'm not going to get more than an hour's sleep if I go to bed ... or worse, I will and I'll be late for work. Ah well, the monkey's off my back until April, so when I get home tomorrow, all I need to do is eat dinner and sleep ...

Oh, and if you haven't noticed ... yep, Emissaries shameless plugging week has finally begun. Article excerpts will begin later today!


On Hitching One's Wagon ...

Harmony Gold finally released their big long list of conventions they're hitting this year yesterday, and all I have to say about that is, well, I know which one I'll be going to: it's another July 4th weekend in Anaheim for Jonathan, as I head out to Anime Expo again. And this year Evan says he'll actually make it, despite the fact that there's no Robocon 20 this year. Doesn't matter; I know we're going to have a blast.

Let me tell you the reasons why I picked AX again.

A) It's in Harmony Gold's neck of the woods during the peak of anime convention season. While the subsequent San Diego Comic-Con sometimes gets trump card news, there's still usually some rather golden nuggets revealed at AX. Remember, AX04 is where the project formerly known as Shadow Force was first revealed; last year we got the first (and still my favorite, the presence of the filmstrip in the new one notwithstanding ^_^) fully animated Shadow Chronicles trailer. What wonders lie in store for us this year, I wonder?

B) It's Southern California. I honestly try every year to make it out to Southern California at least once just because it gets me away from the stifling humidity of Southeast Kansas. Indeed, one of my absolute favorite memories of visiting Anaheim is when my sister and I were at AX01, and we were in our hotel room watching the news and the weatherman comes on and goes, "Well, it's another muggy day out there," and we're all like, "What the hell! You call that muggy?! You people don't even know the meaning of the word!!"

C) I remember at the end of the Robocon 20 festivities there was a feeling among my fellow fans -- at least the ones I met and talked to -- of, "Hey, let's get together and do this again next year." Honestly, I can't remember names worth a damn, but faces I never forget. If there's a chance of seeing some familiar faces in the crowd, hey, that's all the more reason for me to go here rather than elsewhere. (Mind you, a few of my favorite people in the world live down south in Texas, and I'd love to see them again -- you know who you are -- but, well, see #2.)

So, I guess I've got five months or so of saving money ahead of me. Mind you, there's a couple of tempting items on eBay right now ... but no, I must resist! I must be strong! Errrgh ...

Anyone else getting their convention-going plans for the year in place?



... unless you already have, in which case you're probably asking again, "Okay, WHEN is this coming out?" And then I shrug at you, because y'know, we still don't have a release date.

But ah! Behold the filmstrip at the start, cut off at the final frame of the TV series ... hear just a hint of the sound of the ROBOTECH theme coming through, enough to remind you what you're looking at ... meanwhile, Rick Hunter radios for assistance aboard the SDF-3 ... Scott Bernard finally lets go of his hate as he holds his Invid girlfriend in his arms ... and the Invid Regess makes the same sort of vague, boastful proclamations we heard time and time again throughout the New Generation episodes. Ah, bliss! And ooh, such shiny CG mecha work ... so very shiny! Yay for CG Alpha Fighters!

So, um, release date? Guys? Somebody? ANYbody?

All in good time, I guess.


Good grief, people ...

Sometime yesterday, Harmony Gold finally switched a couple of silhouettes in the Shadow Chronicles mecha size comparison chart, as you can see here (registration required). These two reveals include the Shimakaze-class vessel, the one Edwards made off with at the outset of Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles, and the redesigned SDF-3 Pioneer, which looks all Mospeada-y and stuff. Seeing it there, I suddenly really, really wanted to see the good ol' Sentinels SDF-3 alongside it, for curiosity's sake.

Ah, but as Beholder 01 noticed, there may be a very good reason we don't see it there.


On top of that silliness (okay, so in the context of Prelude it sort of makes sense, advances in technology and major aid from the Sentinels aliens and all), there was a major super-sweet Shadow Chronicles update at promised today that still hasn't materialized. Darkwater has been reloading the page all day ... it sounds like he's starting to get fed up. Poor guy, actually expecting something from HG to pop up on time ... shouldn't we all have learned our lessons by now? I mean ... seriously.

Sweet Shiny Transformable Goodness

Hey, it's new pics of Macross Zero and Megazone 23 toys! Looks like the image is down. Ugh. Knew I should have downloaded it and posted it up when I had the chance ... looking for another copy now ...

Ah! Here we go ... numerous prototype pics of the Garland in both modes, including cycle with rider, at the Robot Japan boards here -- including the two page magazine spread of the VF-0S and the fully detailed Garland bike mode. Enjoy!


Are you tired of the Emissaries updates yet?

Honest-to-god content will resume later this week. For now ... well, I'm racking my brain trying to remember large stretches of late June & early July for the Anime Expo '05/Robocon 20 report for Emissaries. Yeah, I suck, I forgot to take notes and put off writing it for, yikes, over six months. (And Kenneth Olson over at Robotech Research thought he was late when he put his report up in October! By the way, there's no links on the site since the last update that point to his report -- it can be found here.) Funny the things I do remember, like the sensation of making it through the ridiculously long line for registration on Thursday night, only to ascend an escalator and find myself ... at the end of another line!

Actual text from the report later this week, when I start shameless Emissaries plugging week ...


Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz ... err, WHA? Oh, um, hey guys!

Been sleeplessly plugging along on the latest Emissaries, due to hit the printer this week! A lot of the work has been printing out copies of the finished pages, squinting at them, and then going back into InDesign and fiddling with a font size, which throws off the entire layout, which means pulled quotes need to be swapped, pictures need to be shoved, and so on and so forth ... meticulous and annoying work, I tell you what. Only two or three more stories to go! Heck, I could get the whole thing done tonight and have it mailed out by Saturday! Hoo-hah!

In niftier news, remember that kid at the elementary school I was loaning my Transformers comics to? Well, last week (with some amount of trepidation) I loaned him my first Robotech DVD. This week he's asking me for the next one. Between this development and having two of my students independently decide that every good spaceship needs a drill on the front of it, this week everything's coming up aces. YEAH!


It finally arrives ...

Got my Robotech 20th Anniversary Soundtrack today via FedEx. Eight damn dollars shipping, and it arrives in a cracked case -- a small nick on the top of the front cover, a split along the bottom of the cover that prevents the case from ever closing securely again, both of the tabs holding in the booklet on the side of the cover opposite the hinge broken off and floating around inside, a small pair of cracks along the right hand spine, and a tiny crack on the back to match the one on the front. There's also a nice long crack on the inner tray. Thankfully, there's nothing wrong with the discs, but man that case is in really iffy shape.

The new music is interspersed nicely among the original tracks from the 10th Anniversary Soundtrack, slotted into logical spots in the course of the original playlist. I especially like how "Reflections" is placed right before the eyecatch -- that just sounds right to me. I also like how the alien sound of "Cosmic Harp" breaks up the the very department store muzak sound of "Minmei's Theme" and "Sweet Sixteen," which used to be one right after the other. "Hard Times" is a fairly common New Generation piece that I didn't realize I'd missed until I heard it; its very urgent synth sound comes after the mournful "Reconstruction Blues," another transition that somehow feels right. I haven't listened to the vocal disc yet; "Lifeline" and "Flower of Life" have been floating around on the internet for years, so I've heard them plenty, and "The Right Move" is only the four lines that appear in episode #28, if the lyrics in the booklet are to be believed.

The booklet is awfully nice, containing the introductions from the 10th Anniversary edition, three interviews (the Michael Bradley one is especially candid and amusing) and lots of appropriate images placed throughout -- tons of screen shots, and some new and recent Tommy Yune artwork of each generation's key singer. I was awfully surprised to open the case and see, on disc 1, a shot of Musica's legs and hand, holding Flowers of Life as opposed to the microphone Minmei is holding on the front cover. Secondary acknowledgement of Masters rather than New Gen ... that's something different. Then again, I suppose putting Lancer's crotch and legs on the front would have been sort of ... awkward.

While I would have preferred something a little more different from the release from ten years back, with a little more new material, I'm still well satisfied with my purchase. Though I'm honestly more than a little peeved at the cracked case ... seriously, I've never owned a two-CD set that hasn't wound up with a cracked case within the first day or two, but still, to get it in this shape ... ugh.

Another Emissaries update

Just finished formatting the Jason & John Waltrip interview regarding Prelude. Three pages total. Most of the questions go on and ramble, while the answers are nice and concise. Yeah, like I need help looking like a total doof ...

I was looking over the last issue and comparing it to the pages I've finished so far of this issue, and I suddenly realized just how much bigger this issue is going to be. Oh, wow. Evan, Ian, and I have been talking back and forth about how much of a monster this is going to be, but it's really starting to sink in here at Emissaries central. Egads!


Because updates are rare birds ...

The musically-obsessed Tom Bateman has written up a little behind-the scenes article regarding the shiny new Robotech 20th Anniversary Soundtrack (which I still don't have) that can be found here at

At the bottom where it tries to sell you the soundtrack, it adds that the booklet (I assume it's the booklet -- the CDs, after all, are jammed full of music) includes interviews with singer-songwriter Michael Bradley, music editor Steve Mortarotti, and the late Arlon Ober, who composed a ton of the music of Robotech. Plus, we get all the lyrics to all the vocal tracks, so we can all sing along ... and correct the lyrics in all our Robotech fanfics.

Wasted Effort ...

This afternoon I started writing a post about what I sort of think DC & HG should do about the future of Robotech comics. I then took a good long look at it, thought about the editorial I wrote for the first page of the new Emissaries, and went, "Aww, crap." Because honestly, this is better than that was. So unfortunately, you don't get to read my rant on the epiphany I reached regarding Robotech comics unless you get your hands on the new Emissaries (out this month), and I've got the better part of an evening's work out the window.

Ah well. You'll all at least be able to read part of it when we reach "Emissaries shameless plug week."

So, um, I'm gonna go work on that now.

Oh, and my Robotech soundtrack? Still not here yet. Quite vexing. Seriously, I must have paid for "effing slow" shipping.


Regarding Robostuff arriving (and NOT arriving) on my doorstep ...

It's taken long enough, but I finally got my copy of Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles #4 today. Woo-hoo! So those notes, in one form or another, should be soonish. Already noticing little things, minute parallels and possible hints here and there.

Meanwhile, my credit card was charged for the 20th Anniversary Soundtrack on the 4th and I'm wondering how long it's going to get here. Anybody got it yet? Oh, hey, look, apparently somebody does! Hmm. Maybe he went out for primo shipping or something.

Oh, and let us mourn the passing of Shadow Chronicles News -- AH, darned force of habit! Well, clicking that link will take you nowhere, because like I said, it's gone for good. I totally get why, too. Oh, you don't know? Well, go ask Darkwater about it sometime. I suggest getting him drunk for the best version of the story. ^_^


File under: things I wish I could afford ...

Super Scale Max's VF-1J on eBay, Buy It Now for only $1,600.

Unfortunately, this is more like what I can afford these days ...

Okay, is it just me, or is this going to be confusing?

Yes, for some reason ADV has decided to use the same cover art on their uncut + dubbed Macross volume 2 DVD as on their old Robotech volume 2 DVD. Now I realize that those old original Robotech DVDs aren't out there in the marketplace the way they used to be -- certainly not after the brick sets, the Remastereds, and now the Protoculture Collection entered to take their place -- but still, doesn't anyone else think this is a potential recipe for confusion? Isn't there some other piece they could have used? Cripes.


Let's see what the depress-o-matic has for us today ...

So, where does issue #3 of Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles fall in the grand scheme of comic books sold during the month of November? Well, in an awfully abysmal spot, of course, as has been the trend. From Comicon Pulse's DC Comics Month-To-Month Sales: November 2005, by Marc-Oliver Frisch.

(170) ROBOTECH (WildStorm)
10/2003: Robotech: Love & War #6 (of 6) -- 16,608
10/2005: Robotech: Prelude to Shadow Chronicles #1 (of 5) -- 11,735
10/2005: Robotech: Prelude to Shadow Chronicles #2 (of 5) -- 10,811 (-7.9%)
11/2005: Robotech: Prelude to Shadow Chronicles #3 (of 5) -- 9,837 (-9.0%)
2 years : -40.8%

Not impressive by any stretch.

Frisch reports that the average of sales across the WildStorm line was 16,255. Prelude was fourteenth out of the sixteen WildStorm titles published in November, beating only the poor-selling Winter Men, about Soviet super-powered soldiers left behind after the fall of the Soviet Union, and ABC A to Z, a guide to Alan Moore's all but defunct "America's Best Comics" line.

So, um, yeah. That's not good. Doesn't bode well for the future of Robotech comics, at least not at DC ...


WIth the new soundtrack shipping this week, I've been listening to my copy of the old soundtrack this afternoon. When I opened the case, I was struck by the ad for the old "Robotech Perfect Collection" tapes. Remember those? Each tape had two episodes of Robotech, plus the two corresponding episodes of not very well subtitled Macross, Southern Cross, or Mospeada. (The first Southern Cross tape had three episodes of Robotech -- "Dana's Story," if you'll recall, was pieced together from footage used elsewhere in both Southern Cross & Macross.)

The remark that made me laugh, regarding the uncut original Japanese episodes: "This is the only way that the original uncut episodes will ever be marketed in this country."

I'm sure they never thought VHS would become an obsolete format either.

Leftover Scraps

This is probably the only posting I'm going to get done today -- didn't get any work on Emissaries done on the 3rd, so tonight's going to be all Emissaries, all the time.

Now, apparently the Robotech 20th Anniversary Soundtrack started shipping yesterday; the tracks added on top of the material available on the 10th Anniversary Soundtrack have been available to sample for a while. I know Tom Bateman & Co. have managed to cram as much onto these discs as the Redbook CD format will allow. My question to all of you out there in Interweb Robo-Land is, what's still been left out?

Off the top of my head, I can think of two tracks. First is the Sentinels musical cue when Max Sterling and Karen Penn attempt the trans-docking maneuver. Yeah, I know, it's Sentinels synth stuff -- but still, that's a cue I kind of like. The second is the Lynn Minmei version of "The Way To Love," which you can hear in the Sentinels video faintly in the background when Jack Baker is taking his exam and gets his invitation to Rick & Lisa's wedding and the SDF-3 mission. Seriously, turn up the volume there and listen -- it's there. Honestly, as far as Reba West Minmei songs go I'm happy to have "The Right Move" instead (you never hear more than a couple of lines of that one in the show, and the Lancer version of "The Way To Love" is better anyway), but it's still a still-"lost" track.

So, honestly, any other cues you can think of? Any at all?


Emissaries update

Cover formatted, tentatively priced.

Opening editorial formatted and finished.

Letters page formatted, filled and answered.

1st page of news formatted and filled.

Rolling right along!


Rambling Man (Part 2)

Well, here's the episode of RDF Underground with the rest of Lt. Tylor's interview with me, presumably complete with my, "Err, um, geez, closing remarks? Uhh ..." descent into babbling nonsense. Honestly, I really wanted to finish off with a remark combatting the overly cynical atmosphere that's risen within many of your long-time members of the on-line Robotech fan community (see: my old pals at the RDF-HQ board), but as the words escaped my lips, well, they came out to my ears as pro-HG propogandist gobbledeygook. Ah well, at least my intentions were good ...

If you listen to any of the interview stuff and have any follow-up questions, please deposit them in the comments thread and I'll get to them as soon as I can; in the meantime, it's back to working on Emissaries for me.


Happy New Year!