It's time for another batch of READER MAIL from our Patrons. Are you excited? You better be, dammit! Join the fun yourself why not. You'll get access to behind-the-scenes bonus material, Scott's daily sketches (90% Star Wars or Transformers) and projects like this and livestreams that we share with the whole world wide web.
Think I'll start sharing my scripts on Patreon too. Could be fun! Meanwhile:
How far ahead do you write scripts for Atomic Robo? I'm worried about the update schedule if you never get that [Final Fantasy 14] bard hat.
You better start worrying, because all evidence suggests I will never get that goddamn hat. I’ve probably run that dungeon more in a month than anyone’s done in a year and still nothing. Not that I’m intensely bitter about it.
But that’s why we have a studio and regular work hours. I can’t play video games in the office! And I try not to work when I’m home anymore, so if I’m wasting the precious gift of life on an inane video game on my off hours, that shouldn’t Madureira our comic book in any way.
But to answer your question, I like to stay one complete volume ahead of Scott’s progress. That might not sound entirely insane unless you are also in the comics business in which case you’re probably looking at me like I have a problem. Fun fact: I definitely have a problem.
You know how you stayed up late to finish at least one big school assignment at some point in your life? I didn’t. I’m not saying it was always done early, but I never went to bed late or work up early to put the finishing touches on it. That shit got done.
And that weird deadline obsession continues to this day. On the rare occasion I’m hired to do some freelance comic book writing, my scripts are turned in no later than three days ahead of their deadlines. Preferably a week.
It’s a mental illness, but I suppose it’s good for me?
I don’t always manage to stay a full volume ahead of Scott, mind you. It’s just the goal. For instance, Scott’s about one-third through Temple of Od as I’m writing this, whereas I’ve only started outlining the volume after that. Of course, I get to cheat, because it takes much less time to write a whole comic book than to draw one, so by the time he finishes drawing the current series I should have already pulled ahead and if I haven’t already finished writing the next one, I’ll be darn close to it.
The main thing that’s been slowing me down of late is creating content outside of our main series. You’re welcome! First, the current six-part She-Devils story over at realscienceadventures.com, and now I’m writing another RSA bonus story you’ll get to see later this year.
Hi guys! Here's a few questions for you!
So we've finally had time travel, any thoughts on that other great staple of sci-fi: parallel dimensions? Does Robo have an evil counterpart somewhere out there with a goatee beard?
Would Robo ever have an adventure centred around my dear old Great Britain? Maybe something involving that Berwyn Mountains thing in the 70s?
And on that note, do you try to keep abreast of all the little real life historical mysteries and unsolved things out there in case they may pertain to Robo one day? Any favourites out there? I've always had a soft spot for the Kentucky Meat Shower, because the locals first instinct to identify the mystery meat was to taste some of it.
Thanks for continuing to bring the human race joy.
So many questions! Here we go.
1. We already dabbled with parallel dimensions! If you’re asking about things a little less completely monstrous, well, that’s complicated. On the one hand, we love screwing with genre conventions and reader expectations. And, certainly, parallel dimensions are a staple of big sci-fi adventure fiction, doubly so in comics. So, it’d be pretty funny if the only parallel dimensions in our big sci-fi adventure comic are filled with vampires. For one thing, there’s got to be a big story behind that, right? If we think of it, that’ll become a volume for you guys.
But then again I’ve always wanted to do our version of Crisis on Infinite Earths, so who knows!
2. Creamy old England is never far from our thoughts, so I wouldn’t count it out.
3. Oh, sure. We tend to use stuff like that in a more background capacity. There’s a little story with we did early on with Jack Parsons that came out of our research into real world weirdness. Arguably, the fact that Majestic 12 actually exists in Robo’s world and what we did with Groom Lake qualify as well. As well as Helsingard’s repeated attempts to conquer the United States via airship. My favorite might be the very small reference we made to Bermeja Island. It’s one little throwaway line that gives us a huge amount of material for adventures.
So you have established that in Atomic Robo action science applies the Indiana Jones model to all fields of science instead of just archaeology. Additionally Real Science Adventures implies that this action filled version of real world fields also applies to martial arts, escape artistry and writing. So my question is how far does this extend? Are there action concert pianists (dealing with musical conspiracies), action sewage technicians (maintaining monster filled sewers) or action babysitters (liberating child soldiers)?
An accountant can stumble upon a paper trail that leads right to the backdoor of a mad scientist or government conspiracy. A musician can hunt down a symphony that weakens the quantum barriers between realities and lets vampires leak in.
It’s a big and crazy world out there. Adventure is around every corner.
Tesladyne put together a fairly impressive orbital insertion in just *seven hours* in "The Ghost of Staion X.". What other space operations have they carried out? Has Robo been to the Moon?
None. That was their first and they were kinda making it up as they went. It’s impressive as hell, but keep in mind they had the hardware on hand, more or less, and they didn’t have to be too concerned about safety or life support of any kind. Or regulations. That was an illegal launch in every possible way.
Robo has been to the Moon, apparently, but it’d have been part of a NASA launch.
I was talking with my wife and daughter last night about Atomic Robo (as one does), and the subject of Jenkins came up. Specifically, his current metabolic status.
I'm not asking you guys to reveal if he's still alive, but do you know when such a decision might be made public? I told my 1st grader that if we have some Temples of Od, Spears of Destiny, Mirrorshade Overdrives and other volumes queued up before you get back to the present, she might not know about Jenkins until middle school.
Fair to say?
PS - Any plans to do a con in the San Francisco Bay Area or anywhere else in northern CA?
Oh, Jenkins, Jenkins, Jenkins.
But, yeah, we can’t confirm or deny anything related to Jenkins at this time. The good news is that you won’t have to wait quite so long as you’ve projected. We’ve fallen into a rhythm where we dive into Robo’s past for one volume and then revisit the modern day in the next one.
Temple of Od will wrap up and then we’ll jump back to “today” for the next volume, possibly called Spectre of Tomorrow but maybe not. Either way we’ll catch up with the changing face of Robo’s world and his place in it. We may or may not address The Fate of Jenkins there. Or the one after the one after that.
As for appearances on the West Coast, we’re afraid Emerald City Comicon is your best bet. We just lose too much productivity getting into your ridiculous time zone and back again to go there more often. If someone makes a Robo movie and we can afford to take a week “off” at some point, that’ll change things. Until then: you’re outta luck!
Who would you want to voice Robo in a movie and come to that, who would you cast in the other roles? Who'd be a good Jenkins, Sparrow, Helsingard, Bernie Fischer or Foley or anyone else?
Which volume would you prefer be made into a movie?
I’ll answer the easy one first. For me, anytime a Hollywood So-And-So starts talking to us, I push hard to adapt The Deadly Art of Science. It’s got everything: basically an origin story, father-daughter/son stuff, and a villain who needs to be stopped but who isn’t straight up evil.
As for the cast, that’s always a tough one.
Jenkins: The “Dwayne Johnson” Rock. I just like him.
Sparrow: Hayley Atwell has made a career out of auditioning for this role, I say let’s give it to her.
Helsingard: Mads Mikkelson maybe?
Don’t have much of an opinion on Bernard or Foley.
For Robo we always fall back to Ron Livingston. He’s got terrific comedic timing, a dry delivery, and he can bring a quiet emotional depth to a role when it’s called for. That’s everything you need for Robo. I would say Will Arnett but his voice is too cool for someone as essentially nerdy like Robo.
I've got several questions for you fine gents! Here goes:
What was the design process like on Robos new body? Did you have a new Robo design already done before he was a head in a box or did he develop more organically while he was being reassembled?
What's the thing on the back of New Robo’s head?
Which design do you guys personally like best?
Which would Robo rather fight: 1 horse size duck or 100 duck size horses?
We get questions in this vein all the time, well other than the duck / horse thing, and they all point to some confusion in the Atomic Robo Fandom about the “New” Robo! Don’t feel bad. It turns out we gave you no clues one way or the other, so you can hardly be blamed for coming to the wrong conclusion!
So, let’s clear the air.
There is no “New” Robo. Or, well, there is, but not forever. The “New” Robo was always intended to be a temporary solution to Robo’s immediate problem, i.e. no body, and his current goals, i.e. save the world using action science.
So “New” Robo will soon be replaced by “Newer” Robo when we come back to the modern day in the volume after Temple of Od. Elements of the “New” design will persist, I know Scott prefers the general idea behind the current arms to the older design, but we’ll definitely return to the classic Robo head. It’s not that Robo’s vain as such, but he’s accustomed to his face after having it for so long. Getting it right is important to him.
As for one horse-sized duck or one hundred duck-sized horses, I’m afraid Robo would vote for the former if only because Scott Wegener would have a heart attack at the mere thought of having to draw the latter.
Guess who’s going to TCAF for the first time ever? It’s us! Duh! Why else would I even bring it up? Sheesh.
As a native Floridian I harbor nothing but dread about the Canada. Fun fact: “canada” is from the Iroquoian word for “death and ice.” Luckily, we’ll be there in May, so there should be enough room between the glaciers to allow our plane to land.
We thought long and hard about how best to celebrate our inaugural visit to the vast northern wastes. There was only one answer: the Atomic Robo hardcover collections will debut at TCAF.
They were shipped double expedited express air at considerable cost. Also? I think we bribed a guy. There was a lady with a metallic trenchcoat and holographic sunglasses, so definitely some time travel got slipped in there too.
But the point is: the Atomic Robo hardcover collections will debut at TCAF.
“Hey,” you might be saying. “Where’s my pile of hardcovers from when I threw a giant stack of money at your Kickstarter?”
Here’s the thing about that. They’re still in Customs which, we have discovered, is the bureaucratic version of a god damn black hole. The latest news we have on our progress is: they’d like to x-ray our boxes and it seems they'll have to first re-invent the x-ray machine to do this.
I’d like to take a moment to ask why every box of books I’ve ever taken through an airport is immediately flagged for extra security theater. Does a bomb really look like a solid block with no moving parts? I find it hard to believe! But it must be true, because it's happenning to all our boxes of books now. Slowly.
Are you ready for Emerald City 2016? We are!
Look at these details!
We’ll be there every damn day. Sitting at Table D-9 in Artists Alley. You should drop by and visit our table and tell us we’re pretty and smart and then buy some stuff! We’ll have the first and second omnibus editions, handcrafted packets containing all five issues of Ring of Fire signed by the pretty and smart guys who made it, and artisanal one-of-a-kind Atomic Robo screenprinted posters pressed by Scott Wegener himself.
Hey! Here's a map!
In the meantime, and for everyone who can’t make it to Emerald City this year, you should go check out our other website realscienceadventures.com. We’re running an all-new story about the Flying She-Devils with art by our friend Lo Baker.
The trade paperback collection of Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire is available for pre-order at your local shop right now. You could click this to learn that it comes out in May and the order code is MAR160429.
More immediately, we're running a new mini-comic with art by Tessa Stone. It's a little thing we call Bug Hunt and it takes place shortly after The Ring of Fire. The cover went up yesterday and the first page goes up tomorrow. It will follow our new full page update schedule, so expect new content every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. When Bug Hunt runs its course, we'll hit you with the first issue of Atomic Robo and the Temple of Od. This one takes you back to some of what Robo was doing between this issue and this issue.
As some of you may know, Scott and I now live in the same city. Scott thought we did this so we could rent a little studio space and work without the internet or our home lives butting in all the time. The super double secret reason is that I haven't had a tabletop group in, like, eight years and I was going to trick him into running a regular game night.
The thing about super double secret reasons and Scott Wegener is that you tell him your plan so he can refuse to take part in it. Then you wait about three months and he's 100% on board like a very slow Salt In Your Eyes. He now runs a bi-weekly game of Star Wars via Evil Hat Productions' Fate Accelerated. We record the sessions and post them for our Patrons along with character sheets, art, maps, etc. Maybe you're the kind of dork who would enjoy that.
Hope you're enjoying our selection of mini-comics now that Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire is concluded. We'll continue with Atomic Robo and the Temple of Od soon. And don't forget the current Tesla-centric storyline over at Real Science Adventures. The first three chapters are online. Just three more to go!
But, hey, you know what's happening next week? Specifically Wednesday, February 10th?
The second Atomic Robo omnibus from IDW Publishing goes on sale -- THE CRYSTALS ARE INTEGRAL
In this runway-model handsome collection, Robo and his team of Action Scientists clash with secret government agencies, battle extra-dimensional vampires, and learn lessons in TRUE friendship. Collects Other Strangeness, The Deadly Art of Science, and The Ghost of Station X for your reading pleasure. Winkey-Face Emoticon. Hashtag-The-Kids-Get-It.