Dreamwave, Looking Back

Submitted by: Wreckgar

As of today, the fate of Transformers came into question. The publisher of Transformers comics for the last few years has closed its doors and has left the property hanging.

Dreamwave, a company founded by brothers Pat and Roger Lee, was a major player in bringing back Transformers into main media. They began as part of Image Comics and soon ventured out on their own as an independent publisher. One of their first comics was a Transformers miniseries. It was a top selling book and put Dreamwave on the map of publishers to watch out for.

For fans, it was a blessing. Finally the Transformers were back to comics, something not seen since the early 90s. A new style, a new story, the same old robots. It was like a dream. Then they branched off. A new Transformers series was on the horizon and Dreamwave was taking it to print as well. This because Armada.

After a few issues, Armada found its click of fans. But something just didn’t feel right. Then it happened. The man known for major Transformers mythos was back, Simon Furman. Not only did he script the comic equivalent of the TV series but he also reinvented the origin of the Transformers as we knew it. This is when we saw The War Within.

Simon took the old ‘bots and told us the story before the story. He gave us the origins of Optimus, Megatron, Starscream, and the bunch. And who was our artist on this? Actually a relatively new face to the comic industry. His name was Don Figueroa and he drew some amazing books.

Before working at Dreamwave, Don was actually an online comic artist. Though not a paying gig, it launched his career and the fans are extremely thankful. His bots looked fantastic. Fans craved more and after his initial run on War Within, he took artist duties on the main title, Transformers Generation 1 ongoing which was previously done by the man in charge, Pat Lee.

But before the ongoing came out, there was a second miniseries. Despite the success of the first miniseries, a different writer was introduced. His name was Brad Mick. Later we found that his name was James McDonough but it didn’t matter. Fans craved his stories. It was like a fan writing a fanfic and actually having it published. Characters were what we remembered and we wanted more. Then along with Don, Mick was handed the keys to the main title.

Around this time, another change was going on. Armada was changing its name to Energon. Furman was still in charge despite the rotating artists, all of whom were great. Furman reached a new high in his longest run at a Transformers comic.

His other work, The War Within, came out with a second and third volume. The second dealt with a divided Cybertron and focused on characters other than Optimus and Megatron. And another familiar face to Transformers was back. Andrew Wildman was the artist for the second installment. It was as if the UK comics had come back. Furman and Wildman, two of the greatest in the business were together again. It was 6 issues of old school Transformers.

Then the third volume came out. As I write this, it is only halfway complete but still has kept pace. Joe Ng was the new artist but just because his name wasn’t Lee or Wildman didn’t mean a thing. Joe worked on Armada/Energon and did a fantastic job. His work here was nothing less.

But if you really want something old, Dreamwave took a page from the old Marvel handbook and took the two most popular 80s properties and put them together in Transformers/G.I.Joe. Former Captain America writer John Ney Reiber wrote a gripping World War II story of how the Joes came to befriend these machines from another world. The art was done by Sentry artist Jae Lee. The series was something completely different and that made it work. Between the dark style and new story with familiar faces, fans found an interesting mix that just clicked. Though some didn’t feel the same, it still stood out and made people talk.

So today we salute all who worked at Dreamwave. We offer our thanks for the past few years. It may not have been the steadiest of rides but it was fun and we the fans have some great memories. Whether it was enjoying a story between the covers or having a conversation at OTFCC or one of the many appearances that were made throughout the countries, there certainly was no shortage of having Dreamwave as part of Transformer fans lives. You have been part of us and we want to extend thanks, offer respect, and wish for everyone continued success in this time of uncertainty. Good luck and we hope to see you in the funny pages again.