Tom Whalen - Transformers The Movie header

Transformers: the Movie means many things to many people. To some, it was a formative tale of the death of a loved one. To others, it brought the words “You’ve Got The Touch” into the popular vernacular. And it’ll always be remembered one of the final films of Orson Welles’ career, giving the movie a unique place in popular culture.

All of that comes together in the latest poster officially licensed by Hasbro for the Acid Free Gallery. Tom Whalen has made a gorgeous representation of the 1986 cult classic featuring all your favorite characters from the film: Galvatron, Unicron, Hot Rod, Spike, Sharkticons, and even the “Ba weep granna weep ninnibon” guys.

Plus, it’s going to be released both in a limited edition variant as well as a three day timed release, meaning they’ll print as many as are ordered. Below, read more about the print including an exclusive interview with Whalen, and get a full look at the posters.

Here’s Tom Whalen’s Transfomers: The Movie. Regular on the left, variant on the right. Head to acidfreegallery.com for the sale or follow @acidfreegallery on Twitter for more info.

These are both 24 x 36 inch screenprints that’ll be released at 12:30 p.m. EST Thursday August 29. The variant is an edition of 86 and will cost $75. The regular is a timed edition, which means it’ll be on sale for three days straight on the above site and they’ll print as many as are ordered. This is the first Tom Whalen poster to be released like this. It costs $50.

We asked Whalen about that when we spoke to him about the poster. Here’s what he had to say.

/Film: You’ve done multiple posters and prints that centered on the Transformers before. What made you want to do another one for Transformers: The Movie?

Tom Whalen: I had tackled just about all of my favorite G1 Transformers characters in my previous designs for Acidfree, but I hadn’t gotten a chance to illustrate the plethora of insane characters that were part of “Transformers : The Movie”. I wouldn’t have been complete without drawing a Quintesson.

This is your first timed release. What are you feelings on that? Should it be the norm? On occasion?

I definitely don’t think it should be the norm. Love it or hate it, limited editions makes the poster collecting hobby what it is. If there was an open or timed edition for every release, the thrill of the hunt would cease. However, I do think on occasion, a timed release serves the purpose of allowing a bunch of folks a (relatively) easy path to securing a poster for a popular property. And for people who don’t care for it, there’s always the variant edition with traditionally low numbers to scratch that “hard-to-get” itch.

What’s your most distinct memory of Transformers The Movie and how did that affect your poster?

I can remember walking out of the theater shellshocked because A.) Spike cursed and B.) THEY KILLED EVERYONE.

I love listening to commentary on the creation of this film. The decision to kill off so many of the existing characters was purely a way of cleansing the palette to make way for the next course of toys, but the fact that kids (like me) freaked out when they saw the film speaks volumes to how much we loved these characters… and continue to.

Galvatron and Unicron are the two biggest characters on your poster. Was there a reason for that? Was there another version that was more Autobot centric?

No, in my mind, they were always going to be the main focus, as they’re the biggest threats and look the coolest. Having them large also allows me to make Rodimus small, echoing his unforseen ascent from “nobody” to Autobot leader.

Though Optimus Prime dies in the film, he’s still a major character in Transformers lore. Is it hard to do a Transformers poster and make him such a small part of it?

Yeah, of course you’d like to put him front and center so the poster screams “Transformers”, but this film isn’t really his story. Even though his death is the iconic scene in the movie, it’s really just a turning point in the narrative. I wanted to make sure I paid homage to that moment without making it the centerpiece. Also, I saw this project as a way to really showcase all of the new designs that the movie presented. I didn’t want to retrace my steps by rendering characters I’d already tackled in previous TF posters.

Were there any particularly difficult or fun parts of doing this poster?

Unicron. His rendering took almost a full day to execute.

Besides edition size, talk to me about how you choose which colors to use in the regular versus a variant.

My color palettes are always in a state of flux as I work. I’m constantly changing, tweaking, adjusting colors as I build a poster. Once I have the initial design finished and I’m happy with the colors, I’ll copy the file and push the existing colors in different directions to create the variant. Maybe I’ll push all of them towards cooler ones, maybe I’ll select a few and wash them out. There’s a ton of trial and error.

Anything else you’d like to tell me about the poster, your thoughts on creating it, how it’s going to be sold, etc?

I’m always grateful to be able to add a little of my own style to a universe that I grew up with. If I could go back in time and tell the 12-year-old me that I’d be working on a “Transformers : The Movie” poster in the future, my head would have exploded. I’m grateful to Acidfree for the opportunity.

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