Tuesday, December 07, 2004

"If Optimus Prime is a dump truck, I will KILL YOUR FAMILY ..."

Meeting with directors for Fatal Frame today, so it's a bit nuts. In the meantime, please read this excellent post at Digby, which pre-empts a piece about Fundamentalism I was writing so brutally and elegantly I'm going to pretend my rough draft was a hitchhiker buried in a shallow grave. Never happened. But that was in another country. And besides, the wench is dead.

Oh, and TRANSFORMERS fans are ... intense. At Don Murphy's request, I stopped by his boards and said "hi." Some TF fans are very, very nice. Some are filled with inchoate rage that I'm not James Cameron. (Hell, I'm angry I'm not James Cameron.) My favorite was a guy who, during his rant about how I was unworthy to write the movie, kept putting my name in quotes. "John". Like that was my alias. If I was going to use an alias, it would be cooler than "John Rogers." I might use my porn name (first pet + first street lived on), for example. Which would be "Midnight Mannstreet".

... Be right back. I have to register something with the guild.

... back. This is the first time I've ever even come near a swirling mass of fandom of this intensity. It makes me shudder at the world people like my friend Mark Waid lives in. Mark is spectacularly non-plussed about the constant gallons of crazy fire-hosed his way as he worked on such fan-favorites as Captain America and Fantastic Four. (There's a post in there about how stand-ups handle confrontation and writers need to, but it'll have to wait until later.) Mark did tell me the truest thing about being a genre writer I've ever heard, originally crafted by the dazzling Devin Grayson:

"Writers don't have fans. We just have people who want our job."

... You know what's REALLY cool? What's just beautiful synchronicity? I Googled Devin's name to check the spelling, and accidentally spelled it "Devon." What's the first entry under Google in that variant?

People on messageboards bitching about how she's ruined Nightwing.

Wow, sometimes the rhetorical gods just drop a softball, don't they?


  1. I happen to be one of those Transfans (I’ve been asked by people I work with if the Autobot sweatband that frequents my wrist was some sort of medical alert symbol, because they’ve never seen me without it) and you're absolutely right.

    Sometimes my fellow fans make me weep. I posted a diatribe about celebrating the fandom instead of mourning it not too long ago on one of the Transformers boards, but no one really responded.

    I also happen to be (well, want to be) a screenwriter. I’ve got all the requisite wannabe knowledge about the biz, have done coverage for producers, work the meaningless day job in Van Nuys while I punch the computer keys every night, so I also posted some stuff defending you as the choice for writer. I tried to explain that just because you got a writer’s credit didn’t mean you were directly responsible for anything in the Catwoman movie. But they (the Transfans) seem happier bitching and screaming about stuff that hasn't even come to pass yet. Anyway, for what it’s worth, you’ve got me in your corner.

    Of course, I will hang you with a noose made of Murphy intestines if you guys screw it up…:)

  2. Anonymous12:17 PM

    Poor Mark Waid. The man does such a great job on all his stuff, but gets constant shit no matter what he's working on. His Cap was one of my all favorites.

    And Devon Grayson, damn. People just don't seem to appreciate women writing superhero comics. Her stuff feels a lot like Marv Wolfman to me, yet I've never heard anyone make the comparison. Because she's a woman.
    That quote is 100% right.

  3. I'm one of the posters there too. Don't worry too much about the group on Don's board. From the boards I've been on, it's sort of a worst case scenerio ensemble. On most of the other boards you'll find more level headed discussion and debate. (Though there are always going to be the pointless arguments)

    Your comments there won my confidance in your vision and ideas, and I hope that you'll be able to throw us a bone now and again as things progress.
    It's a good idea to release alternate modes early. That gives us time to get used to whatever changes come about, like Ratchet being a fire truck and Megs tank mode. Some I'll be fine with (Megs), others I'll be baffled by (Ratchet). But it's good to know ahead of time either way.

    Thanks for braving the barrage of loonies to talk to us. Transfans are the most passionate and usually inflexible fandom I've encountered. Ironic for a property that's based on change huh?

  4. it's D-E-V-I-N fellas .... and what she did with nightwing is not bad ... I know there's lot of fans from the 80's but Batman became the dark knight, would it be cool if the Bat family becomes dark too?? ... also Nightwing being in the Outsider is fun to read ( gee I sound like almost a total fanboy/comicbook geek here ) .... my Mom and some people still hate the fact my only entertainment and somewhere to escape is the Marvel and DC world ( also some independent there ) .... speaking of writers I am still pursuing my dream to break into the top 3 writer or illustrator ... speaking of women in comicbook industry what happened to Christina Z.??? ... is she taken or what ( LOL just kidding ) .....

  5. So, after reading that Digby post, is it safe to say that genre fans, like those who complain about Devin Grayson on Nightwing, or those who bitch about changes to their beloved Transformers, are fundamentalists?

    The five characteristics seem to apply, and I'd be willing to bet that there are people of all beliefs and religions, people who will vehemently disagree about everything under the sun, and yet when it comes to something like Transformers, or any other pop culture icon, they all share the same mindset. They all hold this one thing sacred and can come together because of it, despite their differences.

    I'm not sure if any of that makes sense. I've been sick lately, and my head is a bit fuzzy from all the meds.

    And I have to respectfully disagree with Ms. Grayson's quote about writers not having fans. I, too, am an aspiring writer (comics, movies, whatever), and I look at all the great things being written today, all the great stories being told, and in no way, shape, or form, do I believe that I can do what my favorite writers do.

    Granted, this could simply be a lack of confidence on my part, but when I read Bendis or Rucka or Azzarello or Vaughan, I don't sit there and say to myself "I can freakin' do that."

    I don't want to write what they write, or how they write. I want to write my own stories, my own characters. A person can be a fan of someone's work without wanting to do it themselves.

    I don't bitch about any specific writer's take on a certain character. If I see someone at a Con and I'm curious why they did what they did, then I might ask them what led them in that direction, but what's the point of complaining about it? These characters, they've been around for forty or fifty years. They've had tons of different writers in those years, and there's always a new one right around the corner.

    If you don't like how someone is handling a certain book, don't buy it, and wait until the next creative team takes over.

    I don't even remember what my original point was. Damn medicine...

  6. The first thing you should do is get rid of all those stupid giant robots. That will free up a lot of space to concentrate on the giant rabbits. It's your duty to just go ahead and remake NIGHT OF THE LEPUS. Fans be damned.

    I'm in your corner on this one.

  7. John,

    Glad to see that you've mentioned Transformers on your blog. I know that your blog will not be all about transformers and that's cool, I've enjoyed the posts so far. But what about some TF links. I frequent some of the big TF sites like Seibertron and tformers what about some links to them? I do read the posts that you have been leaving on Don Murphy's site and I am glad for the tidbits of information.

    So, unless the movie ends up being about space gerbils instead of transforming robots I'll most likely sit there on the edge of my seat with the rest of the fans with my jaw on the floor happy as the day I got my first Optimus Prime.

  8. But she IS ruining Nightwing.

    All joking aside though, just nail the spirit of the Furman comics and the better cartoon episodes and most Transfans will be happy enough.

    Frankly I think most of us are very pleased to get a live-action movie at all.

  9. Anonymous10:05 AM

    Forgive me if I sound totally fangirl Mr. Rogers. -_-;;

    First off, I'm very hopeful you'll do a great job on Fatal Frame. (and I hope your meeting with directors went okay) I'm *REALLY* looking foreward to the movie.. *fingers crossed* It's great to hear even remote 'snippits' of news about it. Have you played either of the games by Tecmo like Robert Fyvolent and Mark Brinker reportedly mentioned they did?

    Don't worry too much about Transformers fans...they are extremely intense sometimes. (or most of the time in the case of some of my friends..) ^_^;; Although, I guess Fatal Frame fans can be pretty intense too. I guess a lot of fans just get apprehensive when something they love makes it to the screen. Will it hold true and follow that which they've come to love and obsess about, or will it destory their expectations? Either way, you can never please everyone, and at the end of the day if you've done your best, that's all anyone can ask of you.

    I will definately be one of those people in line for Fatal Frame when it comes out, and thankyou for working on it. Hopefully the project won't be too stressful for you and you will have fun with it! (Especially if filming actually happens in Japan!)


  10. Hey John, I think I was the guy you're talking about, the one who put your name in quotes... at the time, all I'd heard was that your first name was John and you'd written for Catwoman. I was unaware that your last name was also floating around on the boards somewhere, or that you were not actually responsible for the shitfest that was the final CW script. Now that I know better, I apologise. Anyway... the rabid dogs would LOVE to hear anything that you and Don are considering for Soundwave's and Megatron's new vehicle modes. BTW, there is no "Energon Matrix"... it's the "Autobot Matrix of Leadership"... I don't care if Megatron is a tank or if Ratchet is a firetruck, I don't care too much what color Rumble is, how Grimlock talks, or even whether or not that rhyming retard Wheelie is in the movie, but I will fucking set your lawn on fire if you get the Matrix's full name wrong. Okay, I won't really, but do try to keep such arbitrary and unnecessary changes to a minimum, mmmkay? Change is all fine and good, but only if there's a reason for it... the fans are plenty pissed off already that Hasbro won't let Megs be a gun, no need to rub salt in their wounds.

    Also, if you can, talk to Joss Whedon and see if he's interested. He's like James Cameron with a sense of humor and a lot less ego. Watch Season 2 of Buffy and see for yourself. "John" :)

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