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The realization that something you used to love and look forward to is no longer worth the disappointment it brings can be both freeing and deeply saddening. The latter more than the former, perhaps. Acknowledging that it's time to let go lifted a weight off my shoulders but now it's heavy at my feet, holding me still. I've thought of this series as my One True for so long, with more certainty than any other before it, I can hardly imagine moving forward.
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I was digging through my Photobucket account for the first time in years and stumbled across a bunch of tacky or just not-good banners and such that I did way back when I was trying to get a Naruto fanzine going. Among the such in question, I found several images of the first cover (in various states of completion) and the wallpaper I made from it. I. I gotta be honest with you here, I've romanticized this image in my mind for years now. "I'm sure it wasn't perfect," I'd say to myself, "but I remember it coming out looking really good!"

You guys:

three images under the cut )

Like I did the absolute least with Sakura's ribbon and shirt, it's so obvious that I did Ino's shirt and both their hair in colored pencil and then scanned (why???), the noise effect on the flower field, omg, the super obvious divide between the field and the real life photo of the sky I used on the wallpaper, that border effect on the "sky" in the first image... My younger self so embarrassing :,D She tried hard, though, I'll give her that.
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This is an established general fact, but the evidence currently on the table regards IDW Publishing's run of Transformers comics. What's so wrong with IDW's Transformers collections, asks absolutely no one? Well, I'll tell you.
A bit of context first: IDW has been putting out Transformers comics steadily since acquiring the license in 2004, starting off their run on the brand with a succession of miniseries and one-shot character-centric Spotlights set in a rebooted Gen One universe that took cues from Marvel's Ultimate universe, written and built primarily by Transformers veteran Simon Furman. These books sold, but weren't drawing the warm reception that the company hoped for. In 2008, they switched tracks. While still putting out miniseries and one-shots, they tugged the reigns from Furman's hands and passed them along to newcomer Shane McCarthy, who revamped IDW's main output with ongoing title All Hail Megatron. Telling a story somewhat more inspired by that of the original cartoon, it was intended as a jumping-on point for new fans, especially casual fans more familiar with the cartoon universe. It, uh. It didn't go over well. Reconfigured as a maxiseries, the title wrapped up in 2009 after sixteen issues. It was soon followed by yet another intended jumping-on point ongoing, this time titled simply The Transformers, helmed by another newcomer, Mike Costa. It... wasn't terribly well-received either, though it ran nearly twice as many issues as its predecessor. IDW took another chance on yet another jumping-on point and found the third time to be the charm. One-shot The Death of Optimus Prime set the stage for twin ongoings Robots in Disguise and More than Meets the Eye, penned by John Barber and James Roberts respectively, both still running today-- though Robots in Disguise has been through a renaming and both titles are set to be renamed and renumbered in October-- and both critical and fan darlings.
Of these two, it's More than Meets the Eye that holds my heart. I was introduced to the series through [community profile] scans_daily  and finally checked it out proper thanks to Humble Bundle offering, as I recall, all then-current volumes and issues available-- in digital, natch. I've been following pretty faithfully since then, also in digital. More and more, however, I've been craving the series in hard copy. For all digital's advantages, I like to have something to hold sometimes when I'm reading. Having a physical copy also grants me the option of lending the title out to people I've been trying to get to read it. And, at a glance, I'm in luck! IDW is pretty quick to collect their titles in trade, and in a small variety of options even. So, again no one asks, what's the problem? A combination of questionable choices on the publisher's behalf and my own picky aesthetic preferences.
More than Meets the Eye is available in nine-- soon to be ten-- volumes. Only, no, it actually isn't. Remember those Spotlight one-shots I mentioned earlier? Those pretty much came to a halt back in 2009, with only one being published in 2010 and then only because the story, originally intended as part of the ongoing The Transformers, was needed to placate irate fans of the title character (Prowl) after a questionable bit of characterization. The Spotlight line made a brief comeback in 2012, however, as a series of pack-in tie-ins to the Transformers Generations toyline as well as forming together a soft prequel to the then-upcoming Dark Cybertron event. Two of the six titles, Spotlight: Trailcutter and Spotlight: Hoist, take place between the pages of More than Meets the Eye. Despite this, the powers that be have not seen fit to release a More than Meets the Eye collection which includes them.
But, okay, so a couple of character-focus issues are missing. They have a bit of foreshadowing and some characterization context, in addition to featuring characters who don't usually get the-- if you'll excuse me-- spotlight, but ultimately don't affect the story in any major way. A person could go through the run never knowing either of them-- Hoist in particular-- exist and not have any trouble following what's going on (though they may wonder what Trailguy's beef is in More than Meets the Eye #6 and wonder when Rodimus started handing out medals modeled after his own face). Is that enough to say the series hasn't "really" been collected? Even I would agree that, no, it isn't-- but that isn't all that's missing. You know what else you won't find in any IDW volume with More than Meets the Eye written on the side? More than Meets the Eye issues #23 through #27, that's what. See, those issues are the title's tie-in to the aforementioned Dark Cybertron event, a crossover marking the first time the casts of More than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise would meet again since the titles launched. Because they form a whole story along with issues #23-#27 of Robots in Disguise and the event's beginning and ending one-shots Dark Cybertron #1 and Dark Cybertron: Finale, they are instead collected-- understandably, even I can admit-- in the Dark Cybertron trades.
What does that mean for a shelf of More than Meets the Eye trades? It means, if you want the series in order, you go from More than Meets the Eye Volumes 1 through 6 to Dark Cybertron Volumes 1 and 2 (or the full run Dark Cybertron hardcover) to More than Meets the Eye Volume 7 onward. To round the title off, you'd need the upcoming Titans Return event trade, which will be collecting issues #56 and #57, which form a two-part tie-in story to the Titans Return event. And you'd still be missing Spotlights: Trailcutter and Hoist, unless you also stick in the Dark Prelude trade, in which all the 2012 Spotlights are collected; they'd be out of order, though, since they take place between the fifth and sixth issues of More than Meets the Eye, which are both collected in Volume 2. Some, perhaps even many, would be unbothered by this disarray. I am not among those many. The very idea curls my lip.
Lo, but there is another way. Starting in 2010, IDW sought to collect its entire output in oversized (typically over three hundred-page) hardcover volumes in a roughly chronological/"suggested reading" order. Phase Two of the initiative, collecting The Death of Optimus Prime onward, began hitting shelves in 2014. The day is saved, right? Not exactly, for a few reasons.
First and foremost-- Phase Two Volume 4, due out this month, will see More than Meets the Eye collected in this format up to issue #16; the title is currently on issue #56. If I want the full run on the title in my mits, this isn't going to satisfy me anytime soon. The second reason casts a wary eye upon the first phase of the line, which is riddled with questionable placement of stories. There's been no tell of such a thing so far in Phase Two, but there hasn't been much to mess up yet either, since the collection is at a point where IDW's Transformers output wasn't terribly busy. Not that the post-Death years in general have been nearly as busy as IDW's first few, and the story has been told in a more linear fashion, but there are one-shots and miniseries still to be collected, as well as a third ongoing title. I can't help worrying. The final sticking point is easily the pettiest, relating to one of said miniseries to eventually be collected in this phase. It is Sins of the Wreckers, loose sequel to the only pre-Death story I especially care about, miniseries Last Stand of the Wreckers. Last Stand is also the only pre-Death IDW Transformers comic I own-- in fact, I own it physically, in both soft and hardcover, though I'm looking to sell of the former. It's been my intention to get the softcover trade and later the hardcover of Sins for some time, but I won't need to if it's properly collected in the Phase Two hardcovers (admittedly questionable, as the first phase hardcovers are missing Last Stand's bonus story content). Which would mean having everything post-Death in the Phase Two collections and then just Last Stand on its comparatively little lonesome. Or everything post-Death in the Phase Two collections, plus an extra trade of Sins. Which would be on the opposite end as the lone Last Stands, if I maintain the order, as is my wont.
I'm not going to deny that I have petty grievances-- but, honestly? Yeah. Comic collections are really freaking obnoxious.
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Do you ever get really wrapped up in wondering about something that ultimately doesn't matter much and that you can't really do anything about anyway? I've been stressing on and off about an anon ask I got on Tumblr yesterday and. Like, it's not rude or creepy or anything like that. It's really not that big of a deal, y'know? But I'm so effing curious, y'know?? It's in regards to the latest issue of Transformers: More than Meets the Eye-- or, more specifically, in regards to one or some of the live-blog posts I made about it. Or so I suppose, anyway, or else this is even more befuddling.

The ask reads as follows: "Wow. Prowl is one huge asshole and not in a good way."

Yes, that's it, in full. The anon is not incorrect, if you were wondering. But, I just. Who? The tone of the ask suggests to me that whoever it is is taken aback by the jerkitude Prowl displays in panels I used for my live-blogging. I can't imagine anyone who would've been in the tags or who follows me and is a fan of the series would be unaware of the kind of person Prowl is*. Ergo, my foremost thought is that this is someone who follows me but is not familiar with the series. Which, okay. But, I just. Why? Why send an ask instead of replying to one of my posts? As far as I know, I don't have any non-Transformers followers who are too new to do so. Why send an ask about this over anything else I've posted about in my live-blog posts? I've live-blogged every new issue for months and while Prowl hasn't been around in that time, to my recollection, a) he's hardly the first jerk who's come up and b) this isn't the first time he's appeared, in all his tarnished glory, on my blog. Why send an anon ask? This isn't a controversial opinion by any means; even if they're unaware of that, assuming they are unfamiliar with the series and fandom, I made no secret in my posts of what I thought of his behavior.

I just. Yeah. Like I said, not a big deal by any means. But still I have so many questions...

*Prowl is actually written really oddly in this issue-- I would not be surprised if next issue reveals he's drunk, aside from I can't imagine him drunk-- but not in the sense that he's any more of a jerk than usual. Just in the sense he's a jerk differently than usual.
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Watch this space for details you probably don't care about!
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Some guy tried to carjack someone in our parking lot last night at gunpoint. I don't know the specifics of what happened next, since I was on my lunch break when most of this happened, but the guy ended up inside the store somehow, waving the gun around and threatening people. He retreated back outside at some point and tried to hide in the bed of someone's pick-up truck, but was quickly surrounded by police and arrested. No one was hurt, but people were pretty freaked out and I must admit it gave me chills hearing about it.
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Not that I could blame you guys, tbh. I'm not about to sit here and pretend that I've been keeping up myself.




Idec how stupid this whole thing is because. Just. Yes, Sakura, my queen-- I did think you were just going to sit back and play damsel in distress. It wasn't you I doubted, my love, it was Kishimoto. I doubt him still, but for the time being, I am eating this with my fingers.
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I can't remember for the life of me now, though. Instead, I shall post things that I intended to post recently before succumbing to laziness. Whoo? Just for kicks, I shall list these tidbits in the order I would have posted them anyway. Whoo again?

First of all, something ridiculous that brought a smile to my face a few nights ago: I was on break at work and bought a box of Sour Patch Kids. I always eat them in a particular order-- all the green, all the yellow, all the orange and, finally, all the red. I was down to my last few red pieces, carefully inspecting their quality so as to determine what order I should finish them, when I noticed one was shaped a tad oddly. It was sort of squished on both ends, not resembling a cartoonish person at all; rather, it looked fish-shaped. There was a moment for that to sink in, followed swiftly by far too much excitement. I sucked all the sugar off and, sure enough, it was not a Sour Patch Kid at all; it was a Swedish Fish. I can't explain my love for this sort of thing, but I can say that this tickled me even more than the time I found a shell noodle in my macaroni.

Okay, enough about that. Now for something that won't make people wonder how much sleep I've been getting. I was on my way to work the other day, barely ten minutes into the walk, when I noticed something in my way. Not immediately in my way, mind, a good ten paces ahead. What caught my attention was that this something was a rabbit. A living, capable rabbit just sitting in my way and looking at me. I froze; the rabbit looked bored. I greeted it awkwardly, figuring the sound of my voice would get it hopping; the rabbit looked bored. I pulled out my phone and stepped closer for a picture; the rabbit looked bored. I put my phone away and made shooing motions; the rabbit looked bored. I can only guess that the rabbit was a teenager. What made it finally take off was me almost stepping on it as I kept on my way. Bonus: It stopped right in the middle of the road and stared at me while I made half-panicked gestures at it to keep going. Brat.

Finishing on a sour note because just thinking about it somehow annoys me enough that I don't care about finding something positive to follow it. At work, we occasionally have to make announcements overhead regarding the ~great savings~ we're offering on clearance merchandise. These announcements are made by whoever is at the fitting room at the time the announcements are supposed to be made. The other day, I covered the fitting for someone I'll call Bonnie's lunch break, which made me responsible for one of the announcements. I made it, all was well. Until Manager Know-It-All decided to call and tell me, in the most condescending voice ever, to be more alert about putting announcements out on time because he hadn't heard the last one. I informed him that it was my first go on announcing that day but that I was there when the last announcement was made and it was on time. He responded that he hadn't heard it because he'd been talking. UM, YEAH, OKAY? SO YOU CALLED TO SCOLD ME FROM ON HIGH BECAUSE...? Some of the managers, I don't even know.


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