Wired magazine asked me to do an illustration for them for the June 2007 issue, which I finished last week. They were pretty much open to whatever I wanted to do, so long as the image somehow incorporated the number of the month of publication (June in my case, or the number "6") and the number "15", corresponding to Wired's 15th year of publication. And they wanted this combination of numbers-- "15-06" --to be integral to the image, not tacked on as an afterthought.
When I found out the magazine would likely be featuring the long-anticipated Transformers film on the cover (it's either that or an image corresponding to the other big article from the issue, a feature on rocket science), I proposed doing my own version of the Transformer robots. Now, I love drawing robots. In my case, I imagined a sort of lurid sci-fi pulp paperback version from the 1940s or something, all bug-eyed-monster and paranoid vision. At first, the girl Optimus Alpha is holding was a Jayne Mansfield-type blonde bombshell with a skimpy tin foil bikini, curves galore, and cones-titties, but once she was drawn in pencil, it seemed to make the whole image too macho, too male-power-fantasy-trip. That's fine but not what I wanted for this picture. I think The Transformers are a lttle bit silly, so I wanted something more with a sense of play, of fun, rather than somehting all blown-up and sexy. I went for a more universal teenage girl, something more adolescent and innocent, more like the tone and feeling of my series THB.
There is an extensive history of the original Transformers toys, which grew out of the Microman line of toys in Japan (and which we here is the US knew as The Micronauts), at the microforever website: