Apr.20.15 at 04:36 pm

Hope you guys enjoyed reading The Flying She-Devils of the Pacific. It was a tough one for us. We'd been talking about it since we finished Fightin' Scientists of Tesladyne. We kept pushing it back because we knew we weren't ready. Scott's art wasn't up to snuff and I could barely keep a story going for more than one issue.

We figured out that we'd never really be ready for it. So one day we just decided to stop running away from it and do the damn story.

This week we're bringing you The Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur. For the first time it's a direct sequel to a previous storyline, The Ghost of Station X. For those of you reading it for the very first time as we're putting it online, I'll just say: if you think we've ever done a cliffhanger before, wow, are you in for a heck of a ride. And it's not gonna end for a while.


Meanwhile! We've got some super huge news coming at you guys in the next month or so. I hate to be so cagey about what we're brewing up, but argh, you guys. You guys!

Okay, fine. I'll give you one little glimpse of one of the things.

What could it beeeeee?

Apr.16.15 at 09:55 am

If you'd like to participate in our letters column, just sign up with the ol' Patreon and send us a dang letter!

Like these chumps did.

So my question is kind of a multi-aspect one.  One of the wonderful things about Atomic Robo is, of course, the historical aspect.  And one of the wonderful things about comics in general is the collaboration between artist and writer.  And so I find myself wondering about how the historical characters get developed.

Historical characters; how much is fact, how much is Brian, how much is Scott, and how fun is it to blend it all together?



It’s a tremendous amount of fun to play with historical figures, that’s why we use them so often!

There’s no set ratio of realness to fictionality. We do our best to stay true to the spirit of the historical personality because what the hell is the point of putting them into your story if you’re going to make up a character for them? Just to have a famous name associated with your own? Sounds kinda crappy to me. 

That said, we aren’t slaves to historical fact either. We got big fun time sci-fi stories to tell. And, I mean, Atomic Robo himself is the most historically inaccurate thing in the pages of Atomic Robo the comic book. But Tesla was one of our earliest pioneers in what could reasonably be considered robotics, so while it’s impossible for Atomic Robo to be made by Tesla, at least it’s within the purview of Tesla as a character to make something like Atomic Robo.

Similarly, Edison never pursued an immortality formula as we posit in Volume 5, but he was definitely an ambitious business man and innovator who dabbled in spiritualism.

Ever since we read volume one both my dad and I have loved Atomic Robo. Obscure science! History! Robots punching things! It's all here! I have volumes 7, 8, and 9 right next to my bed ready to read. We've got the Patreon too, and the RPG. But enough gushing about this awesome action science comic. It's time to turn on the swinging lamp because I have some questions for Brian and Scott! Respectively!

Brian- Do you have any plans to include Sergei Korolev in the future? He's a great obscure science guy who spearheaded the soviet space program.

Scott- What's the secret to the Wegener crud/weathering surfaces?

Dave & Gabe 

No specific plans for Sergei. Yet. But don’t worry. I’m a huge fan of the space race, especially the early Soviet efforts. We’ll soon plant some seeds that could lead us to elaborating on what our version of Sergei got up to back in the day. Stay tuned!

Scott had this to say about his cruddiness…

There's no real secret to be honest. When I first started drawing comics I just wanted things to look kind of scuffed up and gritty. As a kid Star Wars looked like this totally lived in and thus believable universe, and that always stayed with me. I loved the abstract way that Mignola did that, so I just applied little abstract shapes to anything and everything because I thought it looked cool.

In other words I had no idea what I was doing, so it was successful about 50% of the time.

Eventually I started looking at this desire to create a specific look with some purpose. In The Deadly Art of Science I stopped inking my work and switched to very tight pencils instead of inking the pages.It's very easy for pencils to look muddy and just kind of gross and I wanted very much to avoid that. I wanted a nice clean and almost animated look to things. So I was no longer able to do any sort of shading because the pencil strokes would always show up no matter how careful I was, and I found it kind of broke my own immersion in the fictional world we were creating.

Enter the Crud.

I have learned, literally through years of trial and error, to use my crud/weathering as a shorthand to stand it for the visual depth that would normally be created with cross hatching and spot-blacks. Obviously my colorists also play a huge role in this. I find that when I get it right, the scuffs and stains that I use help create a sense of volume to characters and objects that would otherwise look very flat and bland. So I decide who or what needs to really pop and what can fade into the background, and then go to town making a thousand little tick marks on each page.

Apr.13.15 at 12:04 pm

Here’s the best links turned up by my research and general internetting last week. I offer this as a service to you weirdo degenerates who unaccountably do not follow me on Twitter.

World’s first head transplant "could result in a hitherto never experienced level and quality of insanity.” - Science Alert

Augmented vision while driving couldn’t possibly backfire and especially not at highway speeds oh my god what are you people thinking? - The Verge

Quantum communication gets a little more possible with fibers that can bring light to a practical standstill. - Phys.org


Apr.02.15 at 09:43 am
It's time for another MAILBAG.
What you do is: you become one of our Patrons. And then you send us letters. And we address them here for everyone to see.
Let's get rolling.
I'm curious why you guys decided not to have weird science filter into the mainstream universe a bit more.  I mean, sure, you've included enough secret societies and everything to make it plausible (heck ALAN by himself would work just fine as a reason), but, before you included all that, you had to decide "Are we going to have a world where Action Science has changed everything or one where Action Science is more hidden and hasn't affected the landscape of the world so much?"
I'm curious why you went with hidden science.  Also, if you're planning on making it less hidden anytime soon.
It’s a question of accessibility. That’s the feature of this series that we championed above all others. It informed the shape of everything we’ve done. It’s why Robo is a robot. You never need to see the origin story. You see a robot on the page and you never question why it’s strong, or invulnerable, or ageless, so we never have to waste time talking about it.
The robot main character lets us build a big and complex continuity across 100+ years without retcons or compressions. That means every story counts and with a little planning every story fits with all the others without any of them getting in the way. And that means readers can start anywhere and read the rest in any order. That’s less of a concern now as the whole comic goes online. But back when print was the only option, you could never be sure that any individual reader would have access to the whole catalog.
Anyway! A big part of how all that history fits together seamlessly is by making sure that it closely resembles our own so we don’t have to devote a lot of space to explaining How Things Are to everyone. Memory and Wikipedia do it for us. Super duper crazy science has to be suppressed or destroyed in the course of these super duper crazy science adventures to keep the world recognizable so we don’t have to keep reminding readers about Kennedy’s second term or when the Fourth Reich claimed Antarctica in 1972.
I mean, sure, that stuff is fertile ground for fun and interesting alternate history stories, they just aren’t the ones we’re doing with Atomic Robo!
Modern stories are going to be a little different. Volume 10 is our first glimpse of a little thing we’re calling Weird Future, the new ongoing “now” of Atomic Robo’s continuity. It’s not that this will be an era where the “hidden” science will become revealed at last. Rather, it’s clear that our immediate future of the real world is going to become very strange. It seems like every day I read articles about emergent technologies that would’ve been considered ridiculous as recently as a year ago. We'll have to let things get a weirder just to keep up.
We've seen a large number of maniacs, mad scientists and explosions in Atomic Robo.
What I gotta ask is if there have been any initiatives made by Tesladyne to reach out to the potentially deranged and help them? Be it to save out on the massive explosions that tend to be an end result of their experiments and/or projects.
With the general awareness of mental health these days, it's bound to have happened at least one, right?
-Kyle M.
Well, there’s a very in-depth psych evaluation for potential Tesladyne staff and their immediate families, but there’s only so much that can be done to screen for these sorts of things in the general populace.
And, really, there just aren’t that many mad scientists. It may seem like there are, but it’s only because we don’t do comics about days when Robo is bored out of his mind waiting for the results of the latest experiment to come back from the lab.
We've gotten hints that Robo, at some point, got extra A/V stuff wired into him -- the brain phone, getting RSS feeds in his head, watching TV with no screen. This begs all sorts of questions.
Is Robo a WiFi hotspot?  Can he 'speak' Bluetooth?  Does he have IR emitters so he can act as a universal remote?
Unrelated: Is canonical George dead?
What, no love for Canonical Ananth?
Without spoiling anything for readers diving into the Atomic Mythos for the first time via this website, there are events in Volume 8 that put the ultimate fate of, uh, 95% of the Action Scientists into the Question Mark Zone.
My philosophy is that these guys aren't dead until the comic tells us they are. They have become Schrödinger's cast.
As for the other stuff.
WiFi, yes.
Bluetooth, yes.
Universal Remote, no. But he does have a cell phone in there.
Has the transition to webcomic changed how you do each page? Before a reader would read each issue as it was released, but once the website is caught up readers will be reading a page at a time. So in a way each page is its own issue.
Does the fact that we are currently using more DC than ever before have something to do with Edison? Or has he moved on to bigger and better things?
Oh, and a third question, will we ever find out where Edison's Robot came from?
Thanks, Timothy T.
It’s funny, the webcomic transition is pretty much meaningless on my end because I was already writing Atomic Robo like a webcomic.
It’s a habit I picked up without knowing it until Greg Rucka told me. I tend to structure my pages to be specific units that will be experienced separate from all other pages because I spent ~10 years writing a webcomic.
Back in the wild days of 8-bit Theater I made sure there were several gags per page. With Atomic Robo there’s less of an emphasis on “gags” because it’s not primarily a comedy series. Still, something important happens on every page. Which you ought to be doing anyway, because my god, what was the point of that page otherwise?
I suppose the big thing is that there’s a sense of completeness to each page. It means pacing things so there is a natural pause at the end of each page. Even if the scene keeps going on the next page(s).
As for Direct Current, we use it so much because it’s so handy! Alternating Current is not a miracle technology for all applications as some Tesla nerds would have you believe. In certain contexts, it’s unquestionably superior to Direct Current. But DC is unquestionably superior to AC in other contexts. Having access to both of them is pretty great.
As for Edison’s robot, he built it! Probably the most successful out of what I assume to be Edison’s many attempts to build a better Robo.
Fun Fact. The robot is called the Dynamic Electro Consciousness Engine or DE-CE or “dee-cee” haha get it. Yeah, that was dumb.
Mar.28.15 at 10:23 pm

Wish we could've made it out to ECCC. It's probably tied with HeroesCon as our favorite convention. There's just too much happening on the home front right now for us to jet over to the Worst Coast.


Hope everyone's having a good time over there and to see see you at the next ECCC.

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