A moment of Emissaries business ...

I got an e-mail from one Emissaries subscriber this week saying that his copy of Vol. 2 #2 finally appeared in his mailbox. Honestly, it feels like I mailed the 'zines out forever ago (though it's not even been a month yet), so hearing that one of them just reached its destination this week kind of caught me off guard. So a show of hands, folks -- anyone who's got their latest Emissaries in-hand, leave a brief comment.

If you want to discuss the 'zine at length, however, either pop over to the long-inert Emissaries forum here or drop a message into the Emissaries in-box, emissaries [at] hotmail [dot] com. Bear in mind that I'll probably be mining these messages for the next issue's "Thoughts from Tirol" letters column.

In other news, I just got next issue's cover art in my e-mail. I'll share it with you all in about a month or so, when Emissaries Vol. 2 #3 is more than a piece of super-cool Waltrip art and a few slapped-together thoughts scrawled on a sheet of notebook paper at work.

Finally, I can't see any reason why the Prelude notes won't be up this weekend. I can't say for sure that I won't have some sort of sorry excuse on Monday, but I really don't think that's likely. After all, I don't have anything better planned. And if you're wondering why I'm saying this now, it's because today's had this strong feeling of being Friday all day for me. That's probably because all I'm going to have to do tomorrow is sit around and watch a couple of my students participate in the county spelling bee. Yep, long hard day of work ahead of me ...

A moment of amusement ...

It's been a long week, folks. Maybe I'll get a chance tomorrow to relax and get Prelude notes finished once and for all. Then again, I've thought that on more than one occasion this week so who knows?

In the meantime ...

I was surfing around eBay this afternoon, as is my wont, and came across this description of Sentinels in an auction for the Laserdisc edition of the unfortunate hobbled-together film:

You are bidding on Robotech II: The Sentinels laserdisc. It's such a cheesy and so very wrong continuation of Macross that you've got to turn away in spots. This disc looks and plays like brand new, the sleeve is also in perfect condition. If nobody buys it I may be tempted to chop it into pieces and mail it to Harmony Gold. But I'd rather mail it to someone who might love it.

If for some reason you need Sentinels on LD (I know I do), here's the auction. I just was amused by the candor of the seller.

As always, more later.


Post #100 - Verbal notes on Prelude #4 & 5

powered by

MP3 File

This one gets kind of aimless and rambling at the end, but I think I'm getting better with each audioblog I do. Helps when you've got a script in front of you and know where you're going so that even if you wind up on some tangent, you can find your way back. There's some speculation in the middle I haven't seen before anywhere, but then again I haven't really gone looking for Prelude speculation, so maybe it's all old hat by now. I dunno. See for yourself, or wait patiently for me to put up my typed and illustrated notes for the whole thing and see then. By my estimation, you only have to wait for the weekend for that. Of course, I've been wrong about things like that before ...

Robotech Things I Miss ...

The ROBOTECH universe is anything but a static place; things seem to change all the time, sometimes for good reason, other times just because a writer or a fanboy-turned-HG-representative thinks he has a better idea, or thinks the old way somehow violates the letter or spirit of the show. There's all sorts of reasons why things get tinkered with, rejiggered, retired, and replaced. Here's two things I miss from "ye olden days" of the franchise, with more to come if I think of them.

1. The Vertical Robotech Logo
I've always found the vertical ROBOTECH logo to be far more distinctive than the typical horizontal one, and far more eye-catching. Part of this, of course, is because it takes up so much more space when it's vertical -- it only looks good when it takes up the whole vertical length of the page, so it winds up scaled to fit that area. As you can see here, on the Laserdiscs they had to use a somewhat squat, thick version of the ROBOTECH logo font to get the logo to fit at the size they wanted in the space they wanted. On the original printings of the novels (see below), the logo is attractively set off to one side against a solid-colored background, which allows it to not quite fill the space but still look not-bad. This also led to a bit of a problem on the later books, because Del Rey decided to place the title and author's credit behind a solid color rather than place it against the artwork, since they used stock art for books #19 & 20 that wouldn't crop right to fit the skinny space available. For #21 they commissioned a new piece that would fit that area, but whoever laid out the cover just stuck it into the template for the previous two books, so Ken Steacy's terrific Before the Invid Storm cover gets cropped to all hell ...

But I digress. Between the novels & LD's, which made up most of my ROBOTECH intake prior to 1997 or so, I got extremely used to seeing the vertical logo. Other media used variants I also liked, such as the Matchbox toy packaging's sky blue logo with white outline (also used by FHE for their VHS releases of the series), but for the longest time the vertical one was the real logo to me. So naturally, like any other nostalgia-sick twentysomething, I want things back the way I remember them ... but on top of that, I think the sparse white slightly beveled/embossed/whatever logo they've been using for the original series for the past few years is just plain boring. In contrast, I really like the somewhat flattened red & black Shadow Chronicles logo. Still, I'm thinking, if and when a novelization of Shadow Chronicles is released, it'd be really nice to see that logo broken apart, with the ROBOTECH part set vertically to one side, in a reprise of the classic novels' trade dress ...

2. Bill Spangler's chronicles of Jonathan Wolfe's horrible, horrible life
Starting in The Malcontent Uprisings issue #2, Bill Spangler began detailing the low points in the life of dashing action junkie and soon-to-be war hero Jonathan Wolfe, a "legendary" one-off character from The New Generation who was placed into the cast of Robotech II: The Sentinels in hopes of beefing up his backstory. Unfortunately this had the side effect of complicating his storyline; he was already established as having a wife and child in New Gen, Catherine and Johnny, and yet during the course of Sentinels he was supposed to be romancing Lynn Minmei before she falls under the sway of T.R. Edwards. Yikes. Sure, during the current timeline, which extends the post-Masters, New Generation era to over a decade, this works more or less, but back in the mid-80's the timeline was a little more, how shall we say, compressed, leaving little room for Wolfe to have a wife & son unless ...

Unless he had a family before he joined up with the SDF-3 mission, which is what Jack McKinney (Daley & Luceno) established in their novels, and then Spangler elaborated on in Malcontent Uprisings, the first ROBOTECH spin-off mini-series, twelve issues of action and politics filling the time between The Macross Saga and The Sentinels, and then Invid War, the buildup to the events of The New Generation. First we see Wolfe's marriage collapse during his assignment to Cavern City in South America, as he befriends Max Sterling and distinguishes himself against the Zentraedi terrorist cells, leading to his assignment to the SDF-3. Then, when he returns to Earth, we see him leading the fight against the oncoming Invid horde -- after all, he'd already fought them alongside the REF -- until he discovers that the Invid have captured and enslaved his estranged wife and son, and he decides to try and rescue them instead of joining the first desperate assault on Reflex Point. He never recovers from this decision; his fellow resistance leaders kick him to the wayside, and though he continues to gather supporters around him at his base, "Soldiertown," it is only because of his name, his facade, not because of who he is now ... because the man he is now is a broken, drunken wreck of a man desperate for Protoculture cells and in with the Invid.

It's not so much that I miss this story, because all the comics still sit in the two short boxes beside my computer where I can leaf through them at my leisure; no, what I miss is the notion that this story matters, that it's a part of the whole of ROBOTECH. Love & War established Wolfe as a pilot aboard the SDF-1 when Max Sterling was still just a wide-eyed teenager -- in fact, he was the one who picked up Sterling and brought him aboard the ship during that fateful day on Macross Island, and then he was there when Sterling & Ben Dixon were training to become pilots. That undercuts the story as presented in Malcontent Uprisings. Then on the other end, the expansion of the timeline for New Generation pretty well breaks Invid War, especially since one of the key conflicts along the way -- the one that causes Wolfe to make that desperate gamble to rescue Catherine & Johnny -- is him butting heads with a grown-up son in issue #2, and that only works the way it does because Wolfe lost those five years to the SDF-3's mysterious "five year fold," McKinney's way of keeping the SDF-3 busy for so long without having to write as much for it and its crew to do in the Southern Cross system.

It would be nice to see some of this material adapted somewhat for the new timeline, because it's such a compelling tragedy. Wolfe is a great warrior, a great war hero, but his personal life is such a wreck that it nearly destroys him, until Scott Bernard's team and their idealism and determination turn him around at the last minute, at which point he meets his end. He makes a nice contrast with the straight arrows of the Macross Saga survivors -- I remember the issue of the Waltrips' Sentinels run where he's on monitor duty and he misses the shuttle leaving Garuda carrying Rem to the Regess' base on Haydon IV because he's drunkenly making out with a Praxian he mistook for Minmei, and then next issue Max chews him out for it. Seeing this behavior, all the events in his life that led up to his sorry state in "Eulogy," makes for compelling drama, of the sort that we really haven't gotten out of ROBOTECH lately -- short of Invasion, so much of the modern material reads like plot points checked off of a list, or retreads of material that at least I've already read. (Yeah, couldn't help but take that swipe again -- it's a bit too easy. Sorry.) While I doubt we'll see much of anything new until the release of the Shadow Chronicles feature, afterwards I really hope in addition to the franchise charging forward (sooner rather than later) we also get some of this background material shaded in -- including Wolfe's.

Well, enough out of me -- anything that seems to have slipped away that you'd like back in the ROBOTECH saga/franchise?


From Days of Long Ago ... UPDATED

Despite this being the wrong season for it, the other day LoneWolfMX sent Darkwater a copy of an old ROBOTECH Christmas image featuring pretty much every character from every generation of the series, Sentinels included. It used to be tacked up at Rick Lowry's Robotech X website, that lamented repository of hilarious, stupid-ass ROBOTECH humor that went under in 2001 when the jig went up on Xoom/NBCi's highly unprofitable free webspace service. Hop on over to the (Unofficial) Robotech Reporter and take a gander at the pic here. The art is credited to one David Thomson, and looking at it got me thinking, "Wait, didn't he do some other fan project of note?"

It took me but a second to remember; he was the artist on Greg Flynn's Robotech Evolution, one of my favorite old long-running post-New Gen fanfics.

From Robotech Evolution episode #303 "Last Stand"
Story by Greg Flynn / Art by David Thomson

Unfortunately, it seemed to have vanished from the internet proper. Google it and you'll find an old Tripod page where it used to be housed that points you to a site at Modus Productions, but that link goes nowhere. As late as 2004, Rick Lowry was talking on about an impending relaunch of RT:E that he and Flynn were working on, but at least at Modus those plans seemed to stall and the site went away.

From Robotech Evolution episode #303 "Last Stand"
Story by Greg Flynn / Art by David Thomson

While the last iteration of the site at Modus before the planned relaunch -- minus a certain number of illustrations and other graphics, alas -- was saved at, which is where I found it anew, the story actually has had a new home since the end of last year here with a cleanly designed, slick new site filled with tons of Thomson's excellent art. Which isn't to ignore the terrific storyline those images illustrate -- indeed, I'd suggest hopping on over right now to soak in Flynn's fifty-seven completed episodes of post-New Gen action and intrigue. Go now.

(Honestly, I haven't looked at the season 1 scripts since stumbling back across all this -- Greg always told me he wanted to rewrite them to make them suck less, and doesn't seem to have ever gotten around to it. But season 2 and on is, I assure you, quality stuff.)

Oh, and those of you mourning Robotech X might want to check out the "Extras" section of the RT:E site.

I've got one word for you:




New Toynami Macross goodies - UPDATED

Yep, according to, we've got a small raft of new domestic Macross toys on the way. Here's what I've been able to cull from their gallery:
  • 12" Macross Hikaru Ichijo doll / April 2006 / $79.99
  • 1/100 scale (approx 6") Macross transformable VF-1 assortment 1 / July 2006 / $19.99 each
That assortment includes Hikaru and Max's VF-1A's from Do You Remember Love and, of course, Roy's VF-1S Skull Leader. The prototype window box features Hikaru/Rick's classic VF-1J (with the Battlecry Tommy Yune artwork on the front) -- according to's article, that's due in assortment 2, out in the fall, along with Max & Milia's VF-1J's.

Happy to see character merchandise at long last, and boy, that Hikaru looks awesome. I have enough Valkyries, thank you very much -- but I'll so take that Hikaru. Spiff-tastic. According to the article, a Max Jenius doll will follow later in 2006, which I'll also take, thanks! Huzzah!

But this all gets me thinking ... say, didn't we see, um, a freakin' Masterpiece Beta last year? And promises of Cyclone figures? I seem to recall ... hmm ... ah, yes, here we go.

Thank you, handy photographic evidence! So, um, yeah, how about that stuff, Toynami? That Hikaru is cool and all, and I won't begrudge cheap American-issued Valkyries, but what about the promised New Gen goods, hm?

EMISSARIES WEEK (and then some) - The Devil's Hunters Squadron Bk. 1

Robotech: The Devil's Hunter Squadron
Book 1: Squadron of Relics

by Christopher Crosetto

Chapter 1

"I seriously doubt she'll be pleased with the replacements you are sending him, Admiral." Tristan Moore placed the mug of coffee on the table in front of REF Fleet Admiral James Murdock. "Matter of fact, Director Sabarra was very adamant that you send in a more veteran squadron to deal with not only this raiding threat, but also to assist in the new Veritech development program. And here you are telling me this fresh squadron is all you can send?"

They were in the small kitchenette area of Moore's Tirol apartment that he used while acting as envoy for the Liberty II Space Station. The newly created station was also being used as a testing ground for new Veritech Fighter designs to replace the aging Alpha and Beta fighters used during the Sentinels war. So far the testing had been successful and the designs and prototypes were now ready for trial runs. The only thing the project lacked was pilots. Liberty II director Joanne Sabarra had requested that Murdock supply her with a veteran Alpha squadron to use as not only a defensive unit, but also as test pilots for the new fighters. She was about to not get her way.

Admiral Murdock took a drink of his coffee and gave Moore a stern look. "Unfortunately, Mr. Moore, the REF does not have the resources since the Zentraedi attacks to support ALL of her requests. She will have to make due with what we can supply." The fact of the matter was, the REF was extremely low in men and material since the Zentraedi raid. The fact that High Command even allowed a new squadron to be assigned to Liberty II was taxing to the REF defense line.

"I understand your position, Admiral Murdock. And I do thank you for your candor in this matter. As you said, we will have to make due with what we get for the time being. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to pack for my trip back to the station."

Murdock stood up and headed for the apartment door. On his way he dropped a data disc on the counter. "That is the dossier on Lieutenant Harris and his squadron. Attached you will find all the material he will be bringing along. Good day, Mr. Moore," he added as he slipped quietly into the hallway.

Moore grumbled under his breath after Murdock left and opened the dossier. Skimming through the personnel files he came to the equipment manifest that this squadron would be bringing with them. He looked twice before slamming the dossier down and calling Liberty II. "This is Moore, get me Director Sabarra. She's not going to like this."

* * *

Lieutenant Justin Harris walked down the halls of the REF command center on Tirol towards the loading bays where his new fighters were to be claimed by his squadron. Along with him, Sergeant Mitch Forbes, a friend of Justin's since childhood. "I can't wait to see these new fighters, Mav. I wonder if we'll be getting Shadow Alphas or the new Mark II Standard Alphas?"

Harris simply laughed and looked to Forbes. "We'll get whatever the REF gives us and no complaints. I've been waiting for this for a long time."

Justin had been one of the first recruits out of the rebuilt Robotech Expeditionary Force Academy after the assault on Tirol five years earlier. While he had not been top of his class, his merits did earn him the rank of Third Lieutenant after graduation. He had spent the last two years in officer training classes and pilot training. His instructors had been impressed with his ability to pilot the Alpha Veritechs so smoothly. One even told him his skills came near to Max Sterling's abilities. He was a large man for a pilot at 6' 2" tall, but he had made himself at home in the cockpit of the fighters of the REF.

"Yeah I know that, Mav, which is one reason I'm thrilled. How come you picked me to be your first officer for the squadron anyways?" Forbes had much of the same story as Justin, although he had scored lower than him in the academy and eventually dropped out of the officer-training program to become an enlisted soldier. "You do know that regs specify a second or third lieutenant should really be in command behind you. So why choose me for it?"

"Easy." Justin smiled at Mitch as they neared the entry to loading bay thirty-seven. "You have skill in an Alpha and served time with an active duty squadron. Those are things we won't be seeing in the pilots that wil be with us." Justin grimaced at the last comment. "The REF has left us with a bunch of raw recruits out of basic training. You and I, Mitch, are going to be playing babysitters along with combat trainers."

Mitch began laughing hysterically and looked to Harris. "So you're telling me the great Justin 'Maverick' Harris has been reduced to watching over kiddies? Oh this is too good to pass up. Prepare to recieve endless pranks, Lieutenant." Forbes would have continued had Justin not been at a dead stop twenty feet back with a look of pure pain on his face. "Oh come on Mav, it was a joke! Besides we'll get these kids trained in no time. Oh yeah, speaking of which they are due to report to us in an hour."

Justin said nothing for a moment, then raised his finger and pointed behind Forbes. It took him a moment to ralize he had been laughing so much he had walked into loading bay thirty-seven. Forbes turned around and looked at the contents of the bay. Twelve fighters all lined up in launch readiness position. "Mitch, tell me this is a mistake. Tell me we are in the wrong bay."

Forbes looked down at his data pad and looked to the door. "No mistake, Mav, these fighters are ours. Can I say now I hate this assignment and request a transfer, sir?" Forbes looked to see Justin walk up and smack him upside the head. "How could they leave us with these?"

Justin just shook his head and looked to the dozen VF-1 Veritech Fighters in the bay. "I don't know Mitch. But these were in the simulations in training so at least we know how to fly them." He looked to see each fighter had been equipped with Super Veritech armor and boosters. "And we'll be going suicidal speeds. This is going to be interesting."

Forbes came up to Justin and handed him the pad. "Just one problem Lieutenant, none of our kiddies has been certified in these."

Justin slammed the pad on the ground and walked out of the bay muttering "Great ... just great. Let me know if anything else goes wrong will you?" He left Forbes to check the fighters out.

To be continued in Emissaries Vol. 2 Issue 2 ...

This is a side-story to my own ongoing Emissaries fanfic feature, Robotech: Conqueror. The Devil's Hunters Squadron storylines features the members of the title squadron before they joined the tossed salad that is the cast of the Conqueror saga. The backstory you should be aware of going into this is that just as the Invid Regess departed Earth, a mysterious fleet of upgraded Zentraedi warships folded over Tirol and blew the better part of the remaining REF into spacedust. Five years later, the Expeditionary Force is on the mend, but they're short on manpower and supplies, and the SDF-3 is still M.I.A. This is the world that Justin Harris has been thrust into, and I'm interested in seeing how Chris deals with this dangerous time -- a time where an increasingly paranoid REF Command keeps stamping out unruly Zentraedi outposts and colonies as their true foes sit back and cackle wildly, a time where the defenders of Tirol and the Sentinels Alliance are stretched nearly to their breaking point across the cosmos -- and what the nature of the threat he'll be throwing these untested heroes and their relics against will be.

I haven't kept up with Chris Crosetto as much as I have with some of my other old RTMB compatriots, but I'm glad to have him writing for Emissaries -- very nice to see all the old familiar names throughout the 'zine. These days he can be found on the interweb at I'm also glad to hear from him that he really liked the issue. Those of you who've gotten it, what do YOU think? Drop me a line in the comments or send an e-mail to emissaries [at]

Oh, and subscribers, remember, deadline for next issue is Saturday, April 8.

Random Robotech Panel of the Night ...


From Robotech II: The Sentinels Book IV #11, by John & Jason Waltrip. For the record, I believe this is the only panel in the entire Waltrip Sentinels series where Lang has the all-black eyes. This panel appears in the middle of the scene where Lang spells out how he's going to finish Edwards' reign of terror during a recess in the court martial of Jonathan Wolfe & Breetai; Edwards runs at him, but Lang grabs his arms and starts to squeeze. Owwww ... Remember, kids: never threaten a mysteriously mind-boosted uber-scientist.


Regarding the Robotech for cell phones thing ...

Reported yesterday by your friendly neighborhood (Unofficial) Robotech Reporter and the folks at, it seems HGUSA has inked a deal with Montreal-based Airborne Entertainment to put shiny, glitzy ROBOTECH nonsense on your cell phone.

As for my cell phone, well ...

I think they're a bit late.

Plays Rick Hunter's theme when you call it, too.


Tangent - Tekkaman Blade/Teknoman on DVD!

About darned time ... looks like starting at the end of May Media Blasters/Anime Works is releasing Teknoman on DVD. This is Saban's 43 episode mid-1990's English adaptation of the super-slick 49 episode 1992 Tatsunoko Production Star Knight Tekkaman Blade, itself a remake of the 26 episode (cancelled in mid-story) 1975 Tatsunoko series Space Knight Tekkaman. In short, it's a hacked down dub of a spiffy-keen remake of a cool unfinished Tatsunoko hero show. You might have realized by now that the key reason this is anywhere near on-topic is because of the Tatsunoko connection -- they're the folks who animated most of the footage you see in the ROBOTECH TV series, as well as all the Sentinels animation.

It's funny, there are people I've known who can't stand ROBOTECH for all its changes and edits who recall Teknoman with a certain fondness, though I expect it's largely because they haven't watched it in an age that they see it through such rose-colored glasses. Seeing how it's a Saban release I expect to see a lot of references to death and killing cut out, and ... well, look at the numbers, Teknoman is six episodes shorter than Tekkaman Blade, so I figure a lot of footage was left on the cutting room floor. In fact, I don't have to figure -- you can read all about the edits made here. Personally, I'm gonna wait patiently for the uncut/subtitled/remastered Tekkaman Blade DVDs they say are coming down the pipe later this year, unless I can find a heck of a deal on the Teknoman sets. Mind you, the Teknoman discs are already a pretty good deal, 14 to 15 episodes per $60 pack, and that's average retail price, but still ... having watched Saban's Dragon Ball Z episodes where people go to "the next dimension" and cities that are being annihilated are "deserted because it's Sunday," um, yeah, I might still want to wait for the uncut Japanese version ...


Before the Beginning ...

Yeah, I haven't gotten the notes ready for the last two issues of Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles -- I had a long day yesterday and was pretty tuckered out when I got home. So instead, let's dig around in the past for a moment's reflection.

Two key moments in the lives of our Macross cast, focused through the lens of ROBOTECH comics.

Breetai loses his right eye courtesy of an Invid Scout, from Return to Macross #1 (January 1993) by Bill Spangler & Mujib Rahiman ...

Not sure if the modern canon's leaving that be; personally, I've never been a big fan of sticking Breetai on the planet Zor was seeding with the Flower of Life -- as a mere foot soldier, no less -- and then giving him his most identifying mark then and there. I've always thought that Breetai should lose his eye in a moment that defines him, not in a moment shoehorned into the event setting everything in motion, turning it into a mere footnote. On the other hand, Rahiman's depiction of the event almost sells it to me just on the basis of how damn cool the scene comes off. (Because I'm stingy I'm leaving out the moment immediately after, where Breetai skewers the Invid with the bayonet of his rifle. That shot is even cooler.)

Then on Earth, Lisa Hayes loses her mother, from Return to Macross #20 (April 1995) by Robert W. Gibson & Sean Bishop ...

The minister and his wife pull Lisa's mother's body back into the house, hoping that she'll be alright, but it's obvious how the story ends from Lisa's expression as the flashback fades back into memory. I suppose if you'd like to shoehorn this into the modern canon, you could say she survived but never quite recovered, but then there's the fact that in Return to Macross Lisa's parents' names are Nicholas and Christine and in the modern canon they're Donald and Sara.

That story was overwritten in Mars Base One Part 1, published in Robotech Invasion #1 (February 2004), by Tommy Yune, Omar Dogan, and Simon Yeung ...

The thing that bugs me about this scene, in light of its conclusion, is that Lisa's mother never gets out of the car -- she's merely a silhouette, a plot point rather than a character. Sure, it's a six-page backup strip, and it's more important to get the framing device in, and then set up Karl Rieber and Lang, and so on, but geez, even a token line of dialogue, a moment to see her face, to sell the moment emotionally. Both scenes are very cliche -- in the former, it's the foolhardy woman following her love into the danger while ill prepared, while in the latter it's a good ol' car bomb -- but in Gibson & Bishop's cliche you get to see some energy and emotion, you get to see the end of a character rather than a plot point ticked off a list.

I'll be talking more about plot points being ticked off of lists in the coming days, as we wrap up the notes on Prelude ...


EMISSARIES WEEK - Interview with John & Jason Waltrip

Emissaries: Okay, first off, how did you guys come to write Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles?

John & Jason Waltrip: Tommy Yune called us and asked us if we were interested in being involved in this project, a bridge mini-series between Sentinels and the new Shadow Chronicles story. Of course we said yes. It was a chance to sort of finish Sentinels, though perhaps not exactly as we would have, but it was better than nothing. It was a way of attaining some closure regarding Sentinels.

E: How much latitude did you guys have with the storyline? Obviously the point is to guide the franchise into the Shadow Chronicles movie, but did you get to exert much control about how it did so, or did Tommy e-mail you a list that said, "Okay, this, this, this, and this have to happen, and they have to happen this way ..."

J&J: We did have some latitude with the storyline. Tommy asked us to do a few story outlines which ultimately were too close to the novels and tried to cover too much in too little space.

E: By the same token, how much control did Tommy, who recieves a co-writer credit on the series, exert over the storyline?

J&J: Tommy then provided us with an outline which we followed, in some ways word for word and other ways we made changes and rearrangements of events. Tommy was very specific in how he wanted to start the story. However he was vague at other points of the story which we pounced on to flesh out. He then kept or changed what he liked or not in our scripts during the revision process.

E: So, how was each issue written?

J&J: We took turns writing the scripts. One of us would write a couple of pages. And then the other would take over and write his couple of pages. Since we were following Tommy's outline, we both knew where the story was going.

E: The backstory for Prelude is left vague throughout the series -- intentionally vague, I would imagine. How much direction were you given in regards to what of Sentinels could be left intact in order to tell this story?

J&J: In the beginning, we weren't given any hint as to how much of the Sentinels storyline was going to remain. That's why we were sort of at a loss to make a workable outline. There were so many changes being made to the story, we didn't know what to keep or what to leave out. There were only a few narrative points from the Sentinels novels that were kept, though changed slightly, as to fit the new story outline.

Continued in Emissaries Vol. 2 Issue 2 ...

Boy, aren't the Waltrips awesome? I think anyone who doesn't find the Waltrips awesome deserves cancer of the soul -- or maybe they already have cancer of the soul, and that explains why they cannot grasp the awesomeness of everyone's favorite twin ROBOTECH artists. Jason Waltrip's cover of Sentinels Book I #15 hangs on my wall and every time I see it -- which is every time I look to the right while I'm at my computer -- I let out a little awestruck sigh. That is the power of their art. (No, I don't have a complimentary piece by John Waltrip; one can only afford so much, y'know.)

In any case, having just briefly leafed through the final issue of Prelude last night (it arrived at Roboblog World Headquarters yesterday, at long last), I am at once saddened that there aren't any new ROBOTECH comics coming down the pipe anytime soon, but heartened that the Waltrips managed to cram so much cool stuff into those last twenty-two pages. It is one jam-packed book. I definitely need to sit down and slowly go through it all again before I can start annotating the hell out of it, as is my lot in life.

Speaking of which, expect an audio rundown of the last two issues either later tonight or tomorrow, and a grand double-sized set of notes & pictures sometime next week. Also, immediately following that, I'm going to be hitting Tommy Yune with a follow-up barrage of deeply geeky questions regarding Prelude's creation and storyline, a compliment to the Emissaries interview with the Waltrips, that will be posted here at the blog for your reading enjoyment. But remember, if you don't get your Emissaries, you're only getting half the story! ^_^

Garland tidbit ...

Last night my friend Levi called me with an additional tidbit about the transforming Garland toy. Apparently he was on the phone with a representative from Yamato yesterday afternoon and found out that the Garland will come with a figure of series lead Shogo Yahagi (Robotech The Movie's Mark Landry), and you can in fact transform the toy in such a way that the Garland will encase him in robot/armor mode, just like in the show! I don't know about you, but suddenly I'm a little more sold on this thing than I was before.

This is not the first time that Yamato has done something this cool -- their 1/12 scale Scopedog Votom from one of my other favorite 80's robot franchises, Armored Trooper Votoms, was compatible with a 1/12 scale fully poseable figure of that show's lead, Chirico Cuvie (see pic below), but Chirico and his mecha were both sold separately. My understanding at this time is that the Garland and Shogo will come as a set.

Now that I think about it, it's kind of a shame that the Garland isn't 1/12 scale -- mixing and matching pilots would be fun -- but I imagine that would make that already pricy Garland even more expensive.


At one road's end ...

So there I am at work on Tuesday, in-between gangs of little bright ones looking to be educated (or, rather, to chit-chat and ignore me and throw pencils around the room, but I digress), and I've got my AOLIM going, and Tom Bateman strikes up a conversation, 'cause he's looking for the running time on Codename: Robotech. Alas, I don't have it -- while there is a ROBOTECH DVD in my work bag (I mean, geez, doesn't everyone keep at least one ROBOTECH DVD handy at all times?), it's not the right one. But I keep the conversation going because, hey, I'm bored, and I've got the next lesson all planned out, and I figure I keep pushing, I'll get something out of him.

I eventually ask him the question (and I'm paraphrasing here), "So, if you were going to describe when Shadow Chronicles will be done, would you say, 'soon'?"

Tom tells me, "As we speak."

And my eyes promptly bug out of my head. Just as I have finally gotten my silly little fifty-four page xeroxed pamphlet done, the folks at Harmony Gold have also reached the end of their current mission.

If you're doubting the veracity of my story, news has already spread, as Darkwater discovered today. Today while at work I poked Tommy Yune with a sharp stick and, after saying, "OW! Why'd you do that?" he told me that he's already onto the next items on his to-do list -- marketing his shiny new finished product, putting together the OST, and getting the ball rolling on the next stage of the Amazing Saga of ROBOTECH. (I think Tommy's OK with me saying all this, because he was certainly acting like he was giving me Official Statements. But if I totally misread all that, um, sorry? ^_^;)

To which I say, "Ooooh, the next stage!" I wonder ... Prelude left a lot of players on the map who haven't appeared in cast lists for Shadow Chronicles. Perhaps we'll see more of them in the Next Exciting Episode of ROBOTECH. Certainly something to think about if you're in the mood for some idle speculation.

If only I had a bucket filled with money ...

... I would probably be going to New York at the end of the month (Feb. 24-26) for the New York Comic-Con's "Anime Exodus" event, just to see Mari "Lynn Minmay" Iijima on-stage. See the details here at Plus, it would give me another chance to hassle the folks at Harmony Gold and for Tom Bateman to demand of me, "What are YOU doing here?" like he did at Otakon in 2004.

But I have no bucket of money, so I'm just going to have to settle for AX06 this year. Oh well.


EMISSARIES WEEK - Robotech: The Regulators Chapter Seven

Robotech: The Regulators
Book 1: Legacy
by Ian Melton


“When you stare at the mirror, whatever is behind your eyes stares back.”

Admiral Instinct, when asked about
Earth Security Telepath Coordinator Dr. Gerring

How does a man see himself when he sleeps? Often visions of his perfection and idealized goals can materialize, but the ruin and failure he carries with him can also appear. For Zol it was always both. He saw himself at the beginning, before the Masters, before the Elders, before Robotechnology. He remembered his small beard, how it had itched. He remembered his wife, her beauty. He remembered his son, his precious Zor. His perfect son still echoed in his mind from before. Before the fall of the Republic, before Protoculture, before his death ... his mind could be found there, and after that? He could be found there too. The experiments, the cloning, the clone bodies ... Zol could look to his hands, feet, bald head, but he could not remember which clone body this was. How many had he had? How many times had he been reborn? How many had he killed since then as the Elders’ “joke”? Questions like this kept him eternally awake, except for those instances where “death” forced him to a new home, a new body. During that time while the new body adjusted, and as insanity dulled, his mind was forced to recall the past. It hurt, so he tried not to recall the pain, but focus on the hate. It was all he had left that was tangible.

* * *

The hatch opened slowly, dreadfully slow to Mara, like Zol wanted them to wait. When she arrived to accompany Kang he had been quick to greet her, brief her, and go. She liked that about the Commander, especially since he was male. While the concept of love was foreign to Mara, what she felt for Kang was close, and also close to immense respect. Such feelings did not have a sexual connotation; sex was something she did with inferiors. Her feelings for Kang were more pure, as were her feelings for Zol.

Zol was as Mara always remembered him, dark and bald, but unlike the Robotech Masters his features were more rounded and somewhat angled in the ears and around the eyes. His eyes, though, were always surrounded by shadows, and Mara had never once seen the color of his eyes. His garb was more Zentraedi-like than Tiresian-like, tight to the body, black, and with no capes. Practical clothing, like a warrior should wear.

“Kang. Mara. Why are you here?” Zol spoke with scorn.

Around Zol stood three eight foot tall clone Terminator units, each carrying a large rifle, swords at their sides. Besides being notable for their height, for Tiresian clones, they wore black angular armor with large visor-domed helmets that were open in the back, allowing their long purple hair to hang out. Mara wondered how Zol thought these “ants” would protect him from Kang or herself if they took Zol’s tone seriously, but she dismissed the thought as Kang lowered his head.

“We have come to report.” Kang’s slow words and bowed head were not meant to show true respect but to feed Zol’s ego. As turbulent allies that needed each other, Kang was willing to be humble to the little idiot ... if it would win the war.

“Report what?” Zol raised his eyebrow. It was very noticeable with his shaved head reflecting the light of the room.

“The location of the son of Zor, and what his plans are.” Kang smiled, his head facing down but his eyes peered up to try to catch Zol’s face.

Zol sneered. “Why would I care to be told what I already know?” Mara’s shock and Kang’s disgust amused Zol so he continued. “I am well aware of his location. My soldiers reported it as soon as he broke orbit.” Kang remained irritated; Mara became angry. “In addition I know where he is going and we’ve been able to predict when he’ll make it to Tirol.”

Kang gritted his teeth, he knew what was coming next.

“Kang, I want you and your subordinates--” Kang peered an eye toward Mara and then looked back at the bowing Zentraedi, “--to join me in Tirolian orbit. I want a larger compliment of ships then what we normally send to subdue a planet.”

“Your men alone can’t handle the Son of Zor?” Mara asked.

Zol whirled around and screamed at the Zentraedi duo. “Do not refer to him as my son’s son! He is a curse, a freak ... an abomination!!”

“Aren’t we all?” Just because it was the truth didn’t stop Zol’s anger.

“It won’t matter once we destroy them and retake the SDF-5!”

“That still doesn’t answer why you need both our forces ...”

Zol smiled. “We have intercepted another communication to Karbarra from Earth.” He stopped speaking and turned away from Kang and Mara and waited for the knowledge to sink in.

“The Son of Zor left Garuda to come to Tirol because ... the humans are coming here!” Mara’s eyes seem alit with joy and malice.

The tone pleased Zol enough he did not scream again about the choice of words. “They come here ... with their new ship. What they hope to find--” Zol’s eyes gazed toward the screen where Fantoma shone with brilliance in the background. In the foreground though, dominating the screen was a broken and battered orb. Marks and devastation were visible on Tirol from orbit. Large craters could be seen outside the former capital. Zol looked away. “--I doubt they will find.”

* * *

Tirol had nothing left. The cities were mostly craters now, scenes of great destruction; the roads led nowhere. The planet was marred. No Tiresians could be seen on its streets. The once proud cradle of one of the greatest spacefaring races--or butchers, depending on who you were--had no one left to call it home.

They did not call it home. It was theirs’ to protect, but they did not allow themselves to call it home. They had not yet repented enough. The Traitors kept their eye on the husk of Tirol, waiting for their pardon. When the time had come ... it seemed so long ago ... they had chosen badly, and paid the price. Now they were the lone sentries, the few remaining Tiresians, who still stood on its shore. But they did not call it home. They were not allowed.

Before, when Zol had come, they had chosen to rally back to the banner of conquest that the Robotech Masters had held so high. In doing so they had lost all individuality, been reduced to mere clone stock for Zol’s Bioroid army. The Son of Zor had freed them and told them that they were traitors with a chance to atone. They adopted the name the Traitors and promised to defend Tirol to the death against Zol ... until the Son of Zor returned to liberate the planet.

They were still waiting while Zol’s ships hung in orbit. At least three large orbital ships were always visible from the surface, low enough to retaliate against any presence on the surface. The Bioroids were often dispatched when the Traitors’ presence was spotted. They had gotten good, though, at avoiding the Bioroids, at hiding and waiting. When they had to, they would attack, blow the Bioroids from the skies and watch their giant red frames crash to the ground, the clone pilots’ screams always audible. They tried not to think about it; tried not to dwell on whether they were clones of themselves or whether they were just clones. It made the fights easier, but the high-pitched clone screams were always haunting. Only one had killed himself because the screams were too much. The rest hung on, endured the high pitch wine every time they went into battle, and waited for the day the Son of Zor would return.

Continued in Emissaries Vol. 2 Issue 2 ...

Ian Melton was the first friend I made on the internet, thanks to the magic and wonder of the ol' Robotech Message Board, as well as the fact that he had some ROBOTECH comic back issues I desperately needed. Over the course of the past several years, he and I have racked up considerable phone bills chatting about ROBOTECH, Transformers, comic books, and our personal miseries and triumphs. We spent two or three glorious days wandering the streets of Tokyo together, gleefully browsing through manga shops and toy stores, piling up stacks of Japanese-language artbooks and manga. We watched Transformers: The Movie together on a laptop in a cramped Japanese hotel room, probably the hundredth time both of us had seen the flick, but hey, any excuse to do it again is a good excuse. Over one spring break, we jointly jammed the complete history of the Transformers franchise into my friend Levi's brain during long car rides throughout Ian's neck of the woods up in the Pacific northwest. I suffered some overzealous hospitality to attend the man's wedding; I was happy to be there for such a joyous occasion in his life, but on top of that it was worth it to go to a real life wedding and hear "Together" from Robotech II: The Sentinels during the reception. Good times, man. Good times.

Way back in the distant past, when I was in high school and the only way I knew Ian was through words on a computer monitor, he mailed to me a rough printed copy of the first chapter or so of The Regulators, his fanfic sequel to the ROBOTECH novels by Jack McKinney. Taking their lead from both those novels and the comics derived from them, specifically Jason & John Waltrip's Legend of Zor and Bill Spangler & Tim Eldred's Invid War, Ian has brilliantly set the stage for a new conflict by identifying and drawing out the remaining loose ends of the ROBOTECH saga as chronicled by Daley & Luceno, liberally throwing his own mad ideas into the pot, and doing a nice slow burn on the whole thing that intrigues as things escalate out of control and the ROBOTECH universe so many of us are familiar with from those twenty-one novels is shaken to its core. Seven chapters in, and already the playing field has changed -- relationships have been tested, a world has fallen, the government has proven its incompetence once again, and numerous new players have joined the action. It may seem all new and strange to you, but there's a recap to get you up to speed in every issue of Emissaries, and besides that, when was the last time you jumped into the deep end of a fiction pool, picking up names and relationships through context, laughing as you make foolish assumptions and are proven wrong? I don't know about you, but I always found that fun when I was a carefree youth. Honestly, I think we could all use a little more of that. Trust me, so far this has been a blast, and every time I get another chapter, it never disappoints.

Remember, visit and click one of the top two buttons on the left to subscribe; if you're nervous about making a commitment, stick four bucks in the virtual tip jar and I'll mail you just the latest issue.

More tomorrow!

Yamato's Transforming Garland

As you may have noticed on the "Future Releases" bit on the sidebar, we've finally got a release date for the first of the two upcoming transformable Garland motorcycle toys from Megazone 23 Part 1 (a.k.a. the MODAT-5 from Robotech The Movie: The Untold Story) -- it will be unleashed upon the high-end collectable toy-buying public in May. This is the Yamato one, and if you order it from Hobby Link Japan right now, it's only 15,960 yen, or a little over $135 (plus shipping). Expensive? Yeah, but I expect the engineering and construction won't disappoint -- Yamato's stuff has been getting steadily better from their 1/60 VF-1 series some years back onward. Sure, it's 1/15 scale, about ten inches long in bike mode, so it's totally out of whack with most of the rest of your ROBOTECH collection, but I'm sure you realize that the collection just isn't complete without it. Personally, I'd argue that the collection will never be complete the way things are going, but I'm a crazy one -- I still demand a solid die-cast Centaur Hovertank. You know, this thing, from the Malcontent Uprisings comics series:

Go ahead, call me Captain Obscurity. They'll probably get around to that right after they've gotten me my damned Masterpiece Logan.

Back to the Garland, bear in mind that this isn't your only option for die-cast transforming bike love -- you can always wait on the Max Gokin one, but somehow I think that'll be even heavier ("max gokin" = MORE METAL!), and thus even more expensive. So of course, I'm thinking that might be the one I want. After all, what's a toy worth if you can't club someone to death with it?

Emissaries-ness will swing 'round again later today, probably in the evening.

One less obstacle?

I've been trying to figure out whenabouts Shadow Chronicles would or should be released, seeing what releases other companies have on the schedule that might lure attention away from our favorite franchise's long awaited sequel. For instance, Marvel & Lion's Gate's Ultimate Avengers: The Movie, based on the Marvel comic book series The Ultimates by Mark Millar & Bryan Hitch, comes out February 21. Obviously they might want to avoid that date, since both releases will be going after the same audience. For a while I thought that March 28 might also be off-limits, because Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children -- the long awaited, much delayed, and lushly animated CG feature from the fine folks at Square Enix, picking up where the PSone role playing classic left off -- was slated to hit Region 1 DVD on that date.

Now, apparently not. From The Digital Bits:

By the way... you fans of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children will be pleased to learn this. Mike Stradford told me that Sony's working hard to get the film released on DVD here in the States by the end of 2006. Apparently, it's taking a little extra time to work with the director to get all the supplemental elements finished, but the title is on track for release sometime later this year. I seem to get at least one e-mail asking about Advent Children a day, so there you go!

The words sometime later this year make me think, hmm, looks like the field of first quarter dates available to Team Shadow Chronicles has opened up wide ...