Thursday 14 November 2013

Ceno Kibble Interview

Masterforce had the opportunity to sit down with Mastermind Creations writer Ceno Kibble about his work, but to make things interesting we turned the questions over to our customers on Facebook and posters on TFW.

Q. Does the name Ceno Kibble mean anything?
A. The pseudonym is a reference to the company aim of reducing kibble as much as possible.

Q. What have you worked on altogether?
A. My first work for MMC was the Hexatron comic dialogue, although the Airborne Squadron (MMC steampunk) seeker comics came out first. We've still not seen the release of the fourth seeker, the Vehicon-esque drone, and that concludes the Lenin story. All six issues of the Feral Cons comics are written by me, as well as the Mech Ideas profiles.

Q. Is there any place where your stuff can be found collected together? Any plans to put together a .cbr archive?
A. So far, we have collected all the releases on my Facebook page, but a .cbr file would be great. There has also been talk of collecting story arcs with extra content as small run graphic novels at some point, if the fandom are interested.

Q. How does the process start between you and the toymaker? Who approaches who? 
A. They approach me for the most part, although I have really pushed to make the Techno Toon Titans line happen. More on that later.

Q. How much time on average do you spend researching a toy/character's heritage and history before deciding how to approach their story for the products you work on? 
A. I'm already familiar with most of the characters, but a new project does give me an excuse to hit up Tfwiki or re-read old Marvel UK comics.

Q. What's the balance between retreading our shared source material (G1, IDW) and bringing something new to the table? 
A. Just that, a fine balance. With the IDW comics it is a growing concern which could very easily lead to contradictions, so we used the end of the Furman run (Devastation) as our jumping off point. The stories have to be new, but the characters have to feel familiar.

Q. How long do you get from the 3P companies to produce your material for them? 
A. It varies massively. The Feral Rex comics I've had over a year to think and plan them, which might end up with them being massively over-thought yet, we'll have to see, (laughs). Other stories have been full of constraints and time limitations and that can often lead to happy accidents.

Q. Of the projects you have worked on, which has brought you the most satisfaction and why? 
A. The Airborne Awakening Squad comics, because I got to play around with Russian history. If I had Bluster and Trench action figures on my shelves right now, that would have been my answer.

Q. Which figure that you worked on do you think came out the best? 
A. Feral Rex, the best is yet to come.

Q. What change to a figure from the original concept most disappointed you?
A. Thankfully, I don't think we've had this happen at MMC.

Q. Of the main G1 Combiners, which ones would you like to make, and in which order? 
A. (Laughs) I'm rejecting the premise of this question. If I answer this, people are going to take it as fact or conjecture that we're following up Feral Rex with another combiner, so I'll skip this one.

Q. Is there any character from comic continuity (current or older) that you'd personally take a lot of pleasure in helping to bring to the 3rd Party scene? 
A. Emirate Xaaron, Flame (the crazy zombie master) and Scrounge (with his magic hand of course).

Q. Which random/obscure character that MMC or even other 3Ps are unlikely to tackle anytime soon would you most like to work on? 
A. I love most of the G1.5 /G2 Turbomasters and Predator jets, especially Boss.

Q. If you could have worked on the story of one TakaraTomy/Hasbro product released in the last 3 years, which would you have chosen to be a part of? 
A. I think the best official Hasbro product at the minute is the IDW MTMTE comic by James Roberts and Alex Milne, and I would love to play in that universe, but those guys are doing more than fine as it is.

Q. What kind of limits are there for 3rd party companies in regards to their stories? Has this eased up? Do you find you can get away with more now than in the past? 
A. MMC have been very good at giving me free reign.

Q. Is a 3rd party stand alone transformer comic series something you would consider doing on your own or perhaps just one full comic that isn't a pack in with a toy?
A. The best thing that could happen would be for a multitude of 3P toy companies to trust me with their characters and products, and let me write a monthly/quarterly shared universe 3P comic book. But unfortunately I don't feel there is a lot of trust between the companies and they would fear one company would try to undermine the other, and I feel some companies would get very, very precious with their products.

Q. Is a collection of the Feral Rex comics something that could happen? 
A. Fingers crossed. If people want it to happen, make your voice heard.

Q. If you were in charge of the next transformers show, what would be your general plot and who would be your central cast? What's the main thing that you would put an emphasis on doing differently from previous shows? 
A. Ooh, wow. That is a huge question. I have two concepts but that'd be telling (laughs) and at the moment I'm more focused on creating original characters for original IPs.

Q. Any comics of your own in the works? 
A. Three separate novels I'm working on command most of my time, a TV show concept and a few half thought-out comic series ideas which mostly sit in a folder without much happening. I've been let down by artists in the past which is why I've started to work with prose a lot more.

Mech Ideas
Q. Are there any other members of the Wrecking Crue in development and are they based off the IDW Last Stand cast or the classic lineup? 
A. Nothing I can talk about at the moment. These things are all decided between the designers and engineers before I get involved. They're the real talent.

Q. Do you get much of a free hand with the likes of MMC in terms of what you can write or does the company have a plot/plan you have to use already? 
A. Penguin One always has some very interesting ideas to contribute, and we have a big picture and an end game in sight which would wrap up phase one of the MMC fiction.

Q. Which, if any, of the MMC toys have you named yourself? 
A. Honestly, it is very collaborative. I really pushed to change the name from Ferocicus to Feral Rex because I really disliked that original name, but coming up with all the names for the characters and agreeing on the final name for the team and gestalt literally took an entire day of back and forth emails with the whole team.

Q. How has MMC's direct line of approach with the consumer affected your view of the fandom? 
A. think the question should be “how has MMC's direct line of approach with the consumer affected their view of our company?”. And I think the answer would be “very positively indeed”. I think it is safe to say we have gone out of our way to engage directly with consumers and retailers alike. We don't just say “by the fans, for the fans”, we show we really mean it.

Q. When is MMC's Overlord scheduled to come out and will he have "those" lips? 
A. There will be a choice of heads, for those who want traditional G1 and for those who want Nick Roche's Roman nose and luscious lips.

Looking forward
Q. How are the Techno Toon Titans coming along? 
A. Slowly. But good things come to those who wait, right?

Q. You're launching your own company soon and own toy line, tell us more about that. 
A. Yeah, a bunch of third party designers and myself have come together as “Mayhem Mekanics” to create a universe we call “Robo Dominion Saga”, and our first story and toyline “Unrustable Bastards” is coming together nicely. There is a blog which was once weekly, but we've been so busy with other projects and finalising the designs of the main characters that the blog hasn't been updated for a while.

Q. How does working on a project like the Unrustable Bastards stack up to working for an already established third party? 
A. Well, I've said “by the fans for the fans”. This project is more “by the fans buying”. We're looking to sell this as a kickstarter or other type of crowd-sourcing project, as it is a completely original IP, and we would like to see the universe expand into other mediums. If the support for the project isn't there, it won't happen. It is that simple. A lot of fans talk about new and original projects, with strong supporting fiction, well, that is exactly what we're attempting to do.

Q. Boxers, briefs, or boxer-briefs? 
A. I'm English, so I'll go with pants. We wear pants underneath our trousers you see, and because of that it is a much funnier word.