The most interesting part of writing this comic has been watching it inform itself.
This sort of thing happens with all stories, I think. The act of writing out a story will take you down paths that never would've occurred to you. It's why you always hear "write every day." It's not just a PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE mantra, though it is that too, but it's because the writing is where all the work is.
Like, you can do *~world building~* until you're blue in the face, but that's not the work. To put it into terms of having a "real" job: worldb uilding is, at best, meticulously planning the route you will take to get to the office. It is literally the "thinking about going to work" of writing.
I mean, sure, there's a time and place and use for it. But I see so many people out there who don't know they're trapped by their own world building. They become so fixated on the world building itself that the story will never get written.
And I just want to explain to these folks, y'know, most of your world building happens by writing the damn story.
Now, fair warning, doing that means sometimes you'll have to delete something or re-write it. Oh, dear!
Uh, let's bring this back to its point: Atomic Robo the comic book informing its own premises. It's got to happen with every story, hell it happens to everything I write, but I think Atomic Robo is extra susceptible to it because of how the series interacts with time.
We're not tracking Robo's life in chronological order. So, time is already juggled up a bit. And then we can drop flashbacks into any story. And while that probably sounds simple on the surface, actually doing it is a bit like juggling chainsaws that are also juggling knives. It's why we have a timeline. That's not for you guys, it's to help us keep those chainsaws in the air.
So, with the setting being revealed to readers back and forth through its own time, we're given a little wiggle room to expand and contract the facts of the fictional setting as our ideas about them evolve while we move inexorably forward in our own time.
Hang on. Did that make any sense?
What I'm saying is: we can hint at ideas and drop plot hooks in, say, one volume that takes place in 2005, and then in another volume released years later that takes place in 1960 we can show you the payoff for those old story seeds, and we can do it with a greater understanding of the setting than we had back when we planted them. We'll have found more ways to hook the original idea into the setting in the intervening years of writing stories.
I'd cite some examples of this, but the earliest one I can think of happens across Volumes 4 and 5 and we haven't shown those to you yet. Technically there's stuff in Volume 1 that qualifies, but the payoffs for those don't hit until Volume 9, so no joy there either.
I'm probably thinking about this stuff because I'm re-reading The Shadow From Beyond Time as it comes out while also writing our eleventh volume, The Temple of Od. Most of Shadow happens after Temple, but the weird setting ideas that get expanded upon in Temple originate in Volume 5.
As you may or may not remember, we threatened you with new items in the Tesladyne Shop last week. And we have made good on those threats.
First up, we have the Camp Atvatabar T-shirt available in, like, several sizes. It looks so good even you will look good in it.
Then there's the Dr. Dinosaur Sticker Sheet. All proceeds from this item, like all the Dr. Dino merch, will go toward some kind of research fund blah blah blah probably something to blow up the sun. It's hard to get straight answers out of him for some reason.
Don't forget about the Dr. Dinosaur Button Pack. Stick them on to people you love. Or hate. Whichever. Just don't come crying to us when they start crying.
And the Dr. Dinosaur Poster. Are you sensing a pattern here? Like, maybe it was a terrible idea to put Dr. Dinosaur in charge of the Tesladyne Shop? Or that he's pushing out all these items with his jackass face on it because he's a vain jackass? Or that thing about blowing up the sun?
Lastly, there's my personal favorite, the SPACE poster. Get it before Dr. Dinosaur realizes we put something up for sale that won't earn him any royalties.
I just realized that in the Atomic Robo timeline, Nikola Tesla dies the same year that Marconi loses some of his patents based on Tesla's work. How does their dispute play out in a world with lightning guns and war zeppelins? What nastiness is Marconi up to before he turns his focus to Science City?
If there was to be an Atomic Robo anime series, which studio would make it and who would direct?Jon S.
Question about Atomic Robo history.
My first exposure to the tales of Nicola Tesla came in 1984, when OMD released their wonderful song, Tesla Girls:
Now I'm wondering if Atomic Robo was involved in that song in any way. Did he write it? Was he aware of it? How does he feel about it? And just what WAS Robo up to in the 80s?
Thanks for the great comics, guys!
One of my favorite things about Robo has been the use of real historical figures and events to add verisimilitude to the world you've created. Have you had a particular favorite person or event you've researched for a volume?
There's one part of the new atomic-robo.com experience we haven't talked about yet and that's The Tesladyne Online Store.
Whaaaaaat? Yes. Look, there's a big graphic and everything:
We've got a few items for sale that ought to be seem particularly desireable if you missed out on a certain Kickstarter campaign. We'll be adding new stuff all the time. ALL THE TIME.
Well, not now. But soon!
Has Tesladyne employee attempted using lab equipment (lasers) to emulate Superman using his heat vision to shave?
If so, who and why did they think it was a good idea?
I'm curious about character development. When creating, say, a new Action Scientist, do you start with a sketched silhouette, which will inform the personality and motivations? Do you write a fantastic pun, realize nobody currently in the scene could pull it off, and invent a character on the spot who can fill the void? Is there some way to blame it all on Dr Dinosaur?
Hi Brian and Scott,
I discovered Atomic Robo because of Free Comic Book Day, and I absolutely loved the 2011 FCBD story. The ending, with Emma arriving to join Tesladyne when she grew up really touched me (here's hoping she reappears in some issues in 2021 :) ). My question is:
Do you plan to still put out Atomic Robo stories for FCBD? And will there be print issues for comic book stores?
Curious question. Since this Patreon marks the beginning of making Atomic Robo creator-owned, what does this mean regarding your affiliation with Red 5? Will print versions of the comic still exist? If so, do you currently have a distribution plan? Atomic Robo doesn't seem to be Red 5's cover focus on this year's FCBD so I have the impression that you've cut ties with them altogether.
A long-time fan since Vol. 2,Chocolancer
BEHOLD THE GLORY OF A NEW AND WONDERFUL WEBSITE POWERED ENTIRELY BY CRYSTALS!
The newest addition to the archives is the first issue of Volume 2 and it starts right here.
You may have noticed some changes. You guys utterly destroyed our old host and website. So, we turned to the good folks at Hiveworks to fix everything. I think they've done an amazing job! Poke around and see what you think. We have to make some of the non-comics pages on the site better, but one thing at a time.
So, if you missed Our Big News last week, here's the low down.
Atomic Robo is a webcomic now. Check it.
We allowed our publishing contract with Red 5 Comics to expire and Atomic Robo's fate now squarely rests on Tesladyne LLC. Going 100% digital is something we planned for a couple years. Red 5 Comics and the Direct Market were very good to us. I mean, an indie book like ours that came out of nowhere by a couple of nobodies doesn't survive in this industry for seven years and nine volumes without the retailers and publisher doing everything they can for it.
Now it's just this comic and you guys. Some of you have been with us from Day One. Hell, some of you have been with us since 8-bit. That's reliable as hell. We figured: skip the middlemen and take this comic straight to you guys. That's what this change is all about. Getting the world's greatest science adventure magazine in front of as many people as possible with as few barriers as possible.
"How can I help support this brave new world of Atomic Robo?" you may be asking yourself because you're an amazing and thoughtful fan of our work.
There's a Patreon for that! This is the best and most direct way to continue your support of Atomic Robo. The webcomic will always be free for everyone, but just a few bucks a month gets you access to all kinds of behind the scenes material, bonus content, Q&As, and original art. Check it out!
"Okay, hang on. What about trade paperbacks? What about issues?" you may be asking yourself because you like to own those things.
We'll still sell trades. You'll be able to buy them straight from us and, we're like 98% sure, from your local comic shop. The webcomic is the new issue and it's free. Tell your friends. Oh, and you can keep getting Atomic Robo through services like comiXology if that's the sort of thing you're into.
"This is pretty big news. What else are you maniacs plotting?" you may be asking yourself because you're assuming the whole webcomic thing isn't a huge mistake that will doom us both to early graves.
First, we've got the entire Atomic Robo archive of nine volumes to upload. That's over one thousand pages. Uh, but not all at once. That'd be completely overwhelming to new readers. Instead, we'll add three issues -- that's sixty-six dang pages -- per week so you're only slightly overwhelmed. We'll add some old concept art and new commentaries to the old issues so there's still something new for you long time fans. And, hell, we wrote these things to reward rereading, so think of these uploads as your excuse to get on that!
Soon, we'll have an online store where you can get Robo brand goodies. Of particular note: some of the stuff from the old Kickstarter campaign.
Once we burn through the old material, we'll start adding all new pages from Volume 10: Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire. That should happen somewhere in May. Scott's already working on it and it's his best stuff yet! This is the biggest and craziest adventure we've ever done. It's the conclusion of the trilogy where "Everything Changes" starting with Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur and running through Knights of the Golden Circle. Vol 10 is our first glimpse at Robo's new status quo, "Weird Future."
Meanwhile we've got a new chapter of Real Science Adventures planned all about the Flying She-Devils. The fate of that one depends on how our Patreon works out.
As for Volume 11 - So far we're calling it Atomic Robo and the Temple of Od but that's not final. This one will take us back to some of Robo's earliest adventures -- after he confronts Helsingard in 1938, but before he joins the Flying Tigers in 1941.
Your support for the last seven years through the Direct Market has been amazing. We've streamlined our entire infrastructure to make it easier than ever for you guys to continue your support and to get the best sci-fi adventure comics in return. We hope you'll join us in our newest effort to create more of Dr. Dinosaur's sidekick, Atomic Robo.