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Beast Wars Sourcebook

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The Beast Wars Sourcebook is a 4-issue limited series by IDW Publishing, featuring expanded profile entries for most pre-Beast Machines Transformers from the Beast Era toy lines (including Hasbro, Takara, MicroVerse, fast-food, and convention exclusive characters). Entries are in a format roughly borrowed from the Dreamwave Productions' More Than Meets the Eye profile books and organized alphabetically.

In theory.

Issue #1 profiles

—Release date: October 3, 2007

Issue #2 profiles

—Release date: October 31, 2007

Issue #3 profiles

—Release date: January 4, 2008

Issue #4 profiles

—Release date: February 6, 2008

Items of note and errors

Sadly, the Beast Wars Sourcebook was best known for failing to deliver on almost every front. In addition to woefully amateurish design and layout work, featuring massive amounts of whitespace surrounding undersized pictures and small clusters of text, the book was plagued by coloring errors and artwork that was either mismatched or missing outright, arbitrary re-writing of character personalities mostly designed to purge any non-Waspinator-related humor from the Beast Wars universe, and numerous other editorial errors, such as lesser-known characters like Bigmos getting double-page spreads, while major figures such as Blackarachnia got only one. Produced at a time when the IDW editorial team was in flux, the first two issues received a reception that would be described as lukewarm at best. Despite promises that the stabilized editorial staff would mean the final two issues of the series would be much improved, the general lack of any improvement at all left the series as a distinct black mark for IDW.

In an effort to improve things for the trade paperback collection of the series, a topic was even started on the IDW forums so that all the mistakes could be listed. Artistic and typographic errors were duly amended (though much of the badly-drawn art pieces remained), and many of the page distribution oddities were amended, but the unsatisfying layout work and rewritten characters remained unaltered. In the notes below, italic text denotes an error that was fixed for the trade.

Art and coloring errors

SourcebookBB

I spent the night in Vegas and woke up like this.

  • Blackarachnia's images are solid gold-orange and black.
  • BB is similarly colored in nothing but gold-orange, with a little white.
  • Gimlet, Lio Junior, Magnaboss II, and Motorarm are all incorrectly colored as their Hasbro mold-partners Sea Clamp, Prowl, Magnaboss, and Ramhorn.
  • The hind legs of Magmatron's combined-beast mode are incorrectly colored as if they belonged to Skysaur, when they are actually the robot-mode arms from his Seasaur portion.
Silverboltbeastwarssourcebook

What. The. Hell.

  • All of the robot modes drawn by Frank Milkovich are drawn almost entirely mechanical, including all of the organic beast mode parts. See image on right, then try to un-see it.
  • Speaking of which, Milkovich's renditions of both versions of Rhinox, Scissor Boy, Silverbolt, Tigerhawk, and Tripledacus all have visible pencil sketch lines remaining. Additionally, Tigerhawk even has the edge of a comic draft page left underneath, as the word "issue________" can be clearly seen in one of his wing cannon barrels. Tripledacus has an edge guide corner visible in his foremost foot. It is conveniently covered by the IDW logo on the cover of Sourcebook 4.
  • Ravage's "original" Predacon body has his Transmetal 2 head.
  • Not really an error, but certainly bizarre: Scissor Boy is just a mirrored version of Powerpinch's art, with his minor detailing changed. At that point, why not just draw entirely new art?
  • Silverbolt II has his beast mode head for a face in robot mode. His robot head is omitted entirely.
  • Transmetal Tarantulas is colored in the black and white hues of his later "Fox Kids" repaint, instead of his original show-accurate colors.
  • And why are K-9's robot mode parts showing in the undercarriage?

Divergence from original sources

  • The books consistently misuse the term "technorganic" to describe Beast Wars-era characters, when the term should only properly apply to post-reformatting Cybertronians from Beast Machines or later.
  • Despite a stated policy to not diverge from the names of originally Japanese characters, some names have been altered, such as Elphaorpha to "Elephorca", Blentron to Blendtron, and Tasmania Kid to "Tasmanian Kid". The Ascending disregarded "Tasmanian Kid", but kept "Elephorca".
  • The book makes alterations to the personalities and intelligence levels of a fair number of the Japanese characters. Understandably, the cartoonishly stereotypical "Frito Bandito" aspect of the Jointrons was dropped, but their core personalities stayed basically the same. However, there are numerous instances of fundamental changes to characters. Mantis, a cold-blooded killer, is described as a smiling friendly guy. Diver is no longer a skittish coward. Hardhead is no longer dumb as toast. Infinitely loyal Guiledart is described as an utterly distrustful schemer. Moon isn't even remotely comedic. Ben Yee is on record as saying these changes were intentional and designed to fit certain characters better into the overall feel of the merged Japanese/American Beast Wars universe the books were creating.[1]
  • Despite being Scuba's cousin in the original material, Sourcebook states that Ikard is his brother.
  • The book contradicts Injector's original toy bio by saying he puts on a show of liking his beast mode, but really thinks it is ugly and he's ashamed of it.
  • Magmatron's three individual beast modes are claimed to have "only loose connections to actual reptilian lifeforms", seemingly ignorant of the existence of Giganotosaurus, Elasmosaurus and Quetzalcoatlus.
  • Ramulus is described as "even-tempered," whereas his toy bio and previous comic appearances portray him as a hot-headed jerk.

Editing errors

  • The artists' credits sections in the front of the books have numerous inaccuracies. Notably, Dan Khanna is credited with numerous pieces he did not draw (Dan himself confirmed this), including Blackarachnia, Dinobot, Hardhead, K-9 and Killerpunch. Blackarachnia was likely drawn by Nick Roche, and the Trade Paperback version identified Simon Williams as the artist for K-9 and Killer Punch with Jamie Snell as the astist behind Hardhead.
  • The alphabetical order of characters gets out of whack in numerous places. For instance, Scourge is absent from the third issue, even though it ends with Silverbolt, who should be many characters down the list in alphabetical order. He was included in the fourth issue instead.
  • Characters are not consistently placed in subgroups. Drancron is apparently not a Blendtron, nor is Longrack a member of the Pack. The Trade Paperback version meanwhile neglected to list Autostinger as an Auto Roller. On the flip side, Scourge is given the subgroup Transmetal 2, in both versions.
  • The entries of Beast Wars II characters are inconsistent on whether the factions are Maximals and Predacons or "Cybertrons" and "Destrons". The trade attempted to explain this by including different meanings for the terms in its glossary.
  • Issue 2 has a disproportionate number of pointless and incorrectly used parenthetical asides and additions, and sections of sentence between dashes for no good reason. For example:
Hydra: "The trouble is, everyone-who's ever had anything to do with Hydra-knows what to expect..."
Injector: "...his ungainly new (Fuzor) form..."
  • Gigastorm's "Abilities" section ends with a bizarre sentence fragment: ".. . built into its fists.built into his right arm."
  • Not so much an error, but the first two issues feature cover images of characters not in those issues. Magamatron is on #1, but his bio is in #2, Torca is on #2 but in issue 4. (However, "Elephorca" is in #2, so it's entirely possible the art is supposed to be him, and it's just miscolored.)
  • Ravage's cassette mode is labeled "NAME".
  • The back cover of issue 3 states profiles are listed from "Optimus Minor" to "Silverbolt" when the volume in fact starts with Onyx Primal.
  • Terrorsaur's name is misspelled as "Terrosaur" in his page's header.
  • Wolfang's name is misspelled as "Wolfgang" in his page's header and on the back cover.
  • The trade paperback version leaves out Galvatron's weakness, and made Break's Primary function "PRIMARY FUNCTION."
  • German Shepherd is spelt incorrectly in K-9's profile.
  • That's right, they got rid of some mistakes but made more. Sheesh.

Omissions

  • A glossary similar to that of the final issue of Dreamwave's More Than Meets The Eye was promised by Ben Yee to explain oddities like the inclusion of Moon with the absence of Artemis, but no such index was included.
  • Claw Jaw's bio is also lacking any mention of his "Transmetal" form (which was a pack-in redeco of his original toy and included a Beast Wars video in various European markets).
  • Quite a few characters with triple-changer abilities do not have their tertiary mode pictured, though art was often produced.
  • Characters who have had multiple bodies, such as Optimus Primal, Cheetor, Blackarachnia, and Megatron, are depicted with an inconsistent mishmash of their respective bodies' modes, with absolutely no profiles managing to include artwork of every mode of each body. This issue was apparently fixed in the trade for everybody (including Cybershark, of all 'bots) except Megatron, who still lacks any post-Season 1 artwork.

External links

References

  1. Ben's review of issue two. (See link above)

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