Posted June 25, 2015 at 09:30 am

Okay, ladies and germs, it's that magical time when we answer questions from our Patrons. Here's how it works. You join our Patreon and then you can ask us questions and then we answer them in the public forum of this here blog.

I love that Atomic Robo wears clothes, but I have never seen him do any laundry that I can remember. 

Does he do his own?  Do they have a laundry area at Tesladyne Industries?  Does the whole gang go around the corner to the local Fluff and Fold and hang out and do their laundry there, on every odd Tuesdays? 

You cannot be an Action Scientist and not look clean and pressed!

Thanks for all the Robo AWESOMENESS!

Yours For Science,

Nathan

Well, Nathan. You went and done it. You asked me something about the Atomic Robo setting with no solid answer.

No, wait. WAIT. I can power through this.

Deep breath.

Tesladyne must have its own laundry onsite. They get up to all sorts of dangerous radioactive and exoversal nonsense, so it’d be irresponsible to expose third parties to that stuff.

Ha! That was a close one.

 

Hey Guys!

I'm in the process of running a B.P.R.D./Atomic Robo crossover game (using the ARRPG rules) and wondered if you guys had any advice or comments about the situation. Can Atomic Robo and Hellboy exist in the same universe? Have the two organizations run into each other again?

Ruben

The most important thing about your Atomic Robo game (using the ARRPG rules) is that it doesn’t matter what we say. It’s our comic, but it’s your game. Do whatever makes sense for you and your players!

So if you guys really want Hellboy, the BPRD, Atomic Robo, and Tesladyne to co-exist, then go for it. It doesn’t matter what our opinion on any of this stuff is, because we aren’t in your game! But here's some questions you should ask yourself. The answers are whatever you think would be fun or interesting...

Do they investigate the same kinds of cases?

How rarely or how commonly do their investigations interfere with one another?

How much respect is there between the agencies?

Does BPRD have a higher jurisdiction because it’s an official government agency? Are there things it can do that Tesladyne cannot as a result? And vice versa?

Is BPRD kind of like a Weird DARPA and sometimes Tesladyne does work for them?

Is BPRD more like a Weird EPA vs. Tesladyne’s Ghostbusters?

Do Robo and Hellboy get along even in the face of organizational antagonism? They have a lot in common. Then again, sometimes that’s why we don’t like people!

 

1) In our world, science doesn’t get much play unless it’s “sexy.” Potential alien life, cures for cancer and other wonder drugs, fancy new computers, the LHC… that stuff gets the media attention and, sometimes, the funding. But the nuts and bolts science that build on our understanding, we never hear about it, and it’s hard to get it funded. You’ll never hear about the latest research into scorpion bioluminescence or about a new computer algorithm for predicting weather.

How is this different in the world of Atomic Robo? Obviously, science is a much bigger deal, but are there still overlooked, underfunded areas that are considered “boring”? Basically, the shortest version of the question is this: what makes a science groupie tick?

2) In spite of Tesladyne having “a lot of departments,” the ones we have seen and heard about seem physics/math/engineering based. SigInt, Exotic ballistics, lasers, and so on.  This makes sense, given Tesla’s areas of expertise as founder of the company. Likewise, Big Science Inc, with its history of dealing with Biomega, seems much more biology and energy oriented. Science Team Super 5’s projects included viruses, crops, and exobiology.

Without tipping your hand too much, is this a common thing? Are most of the big science firms focused more on one area than others?  And, by extension, is this the kind of thing that can cause problems down the road? If someone who only has a hammer treats every problem like a nail, does Robo/Tesladyne treat every problem like a physics problem?

Eric

Well, for the first one, nothing in our culture exists in a vacuum. It’s not enough to identify the fact that most scientific pursuits are underreported, underfunded, and underappreciated. We have to consider why might that be.

The answer is a complicated, nuanced, and interconnected one. But the TL;DR version is: due to a convergence of factors, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to communicate the relevance and importance of modern scientific pursuits to most people.

This is not a lack of will among scientists and it is not a lack of imagination among the population. It’s a sort of diminishing returns situation. We’ve got the basics figured out at this point. The cutting edge stuff we’re discovering now is weird. And it’s getting weirder. Our discoveries are becoming more removed from the day-to-day concerns of most people with every passing day. And then the basic stuff also gets overlooked because many of our schools are overcrowded, underfunded, our teachers are overworked, and our parents are on a spectrum between exhausted and apathetic.

How do you explain the importance and relevance of, as per your example, scorpion bioluminescence to the average person? Especially when most of us are maximally pre-occupied with just keeping our lives from falling apart. Meanwhile there are hundreds of other demands upon our attention that are easier to access. Indeed, exactly unlike the universe, which has no responsibility to make any goddamn sense to us, our distractions have been specifically engineered to rob us of time -- from video games to movies to television to the outrage industry to sports and celebrity culture.

Scientific literacy is a luxury of time, energy, and resources. And the more esoteric the field, the more luxurious it is to know about it. And luxury is disappearing along with the middle class. 

Scientific illiteracy is often discussed as a lack of imagination or curiosity or intelligence among a generation or class -- “These kids today with their Pokemans” if you will. It’s not. A desire to know how and why things work is the root of human experience. It’s how you learned to speak. It’s where language as a concept came from in the first place. It’s how we figured out agriculture, cooking, and smartphones.

Scientific illiteracy is a lack of opportunity. It is of more use to the status quo to maintain an ignorant and entertained populace than a learned one that’s asking questions because it wants to know more.

So, in that sense, Atomic Robo’s world mirrors our own rather closely. I suppose the major difference, other than the robot adventurer running around, is that certain esoteric scientific pursuits seem more immediately relevant than they would in our world simply because the fate of all life on Earth was saved by them. Like, astronomy would get a real shot in the arm in terms of public interest and worldwide funding if we knew a couple intrepid scientists narrowly saved all life on Earth from a rogue asteroid while the rest of us were all, “Duh, what?”

But even then, y’know, consider any given Man On The Street bit. They’re a demonstration of the uphill battle we face, re: getting most people to pay attention long enough and deeply enough to fully absorb complex information outside their immediate spheres of interest and perceived relevance. It ain’t easy! And I feel it's irresponsible to blame the individual for the fact that the struggle exists. I don't think you were doing that with this question, but that's often the direction taken when people have a discussion on this topic. 

Dang that was a long answer. Your other question’s much simpler though: yes.

Posted June 19, 2015 at 10:52 am

The Ring of Fire is rocking and rolling. Catch up with the prologues if you haven't already, or skip straight to the first issue.

Did you hear the news? IDW Publishing is putting Atomic Robo back into comic shops starting with Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire #1.

But that's not all. They'll also complement our fancy hardcover editions with multi-volume softcovers. The first one will collect The Fightin' Scientists of Tesladyne, The Dogs of War, and The Shadow From Beyond Time. We posted the details over at Kickstarter, but here's the TL;DR version...

  • The hardcovers get the nice new lettering and the all-new bonus content.
  • The softcovers do not get the new lettering or all-new bonus content because the folks at IDW are moving at lightning speed to get these out there, so we don't have time to get the new stuff finished for them.
  • There will not be softcovers for individual volumes.
  • Think of it like this. The hardcovers are for the hardcore Robo reader who wants the best and most stuff possible. The softcover omnibus editions are for cramming as many comics into your face as possible.

Nothing about the IDW deal changes how the website works. You will still get your comics here for free. In fact, we'll have given away something like half of The Ring of Fire series by the time they publish the second issue.

We're very excited to partner with IDW Publishing in our ongoing efforts to pave the Earth with Atomic Robo comics.

Posted June 16, 2015 at 10:38 am

What have you guys been up to?

Okay, shut up.

We've been toiling away at the all-new bonus content for the hardcovers. The use of "we" in that sentence is an enormous god damn lie because I'm the dumb jerk who's got to make it all. We'll do a backer update when there's some interesting news to share about that. Here's what there is far: "Uh, about halfway done."

Meanwhile! Here at The Website, the last of the prologues wraps up tomorrow. The first page of the first issue of The Ring of Fire will go online Thursday. Be there! Well, here. Be here.

Posted June 6, 2015 at 10:25 am

You guys did a hell of a thing. We were just along for the ride.

Now, if you'll excuse us, some stuff has got to get made to fulfill all them stretch goals.

Ninety pages of bonus content.

Nine rejected doom monster designs.

Three spin-off volumes.

Wait a second. I'm the guy who has to do all that? Nobody told me I would have to work. Suddenly this whole thing seems like it was a terrible idea.

Posted June 5, 2015 at 09:10 am

Hey. Did you what all the new covers look like? Check it. They're kind of amazing.

So, this thing's coming to a close today at 5pm Eastern. We're gonna ride it to hell on a livestream starting at 3pm Eastern. We'll edit this post to include a link so you can join us.

ATOMIC ROBO LIVESTREAM 3 - 5pm EASTERN

BE THERE RIGHT NOW

You guys annihilated every stretch goal we put in front of you, so you've forced us to take extreme measures. Behold THE ULTIMATE STRETCHGOAL "WE BOUGHT A SILO"

 

Posted June 4, 2015 at 10:31 am

Our Kickstarter ends Friday at 5pm, so we're nearly at that magical moment when I finally shut the hell up about it. We've got the final(?) batch of stretch goals, but first I wanted to share the latest freebie bonus postcard with you guys. This one is from our long time friend Jim Zub whom I always type out as Jib because I'm racing to get that last name.

Jib did a nice process post about the whole thing and you can read Skullkickers online.

Wanna see some new stretch goals? YEAH YOU DO SHUT UP.

Another volume of Real Science Adventures for everyone at $175k and an animated Atomic Robo short by some cool people at $200k. These are truly the stretchiest of stretch goals, but we can do it!

Posted June 2, 2015 at 11:10 am

Yeah, that's right. We're throwing most postcards from fictional spaces at you. This one is from our friend and yours, if you are a robot, J. N. Wiedle who draws skelingtons or something.

Good news! We're in the final days of the campaign, so we'll shut up about it soon. But not yet!

We're gonna cap off the campaign with a Fancy Live Draw starting Friday, June 5th, starting at 3pm Eastern. We'll keep that going to the end of the campaign at 5pm. Scott will be drawing, uh, something. A new page? A new cover? Monster designs? Join us and find out. We'll post the details Friday here on the blog, on Kickstarter, Patreon, Twitter, pretty much everywhere that matters.

Posted June 1, 2015 at 02:23 pm

Big update on the ol' Kickstarter today. You can read the details here or stay tuned for the TL;DR version below.

First, we're revealing two more postcards. The first one is from Kory Bing of Skin Deep.

The next is by Lo Baker of Aquapunk.

Since we're so close to the next stretch goal, we figured: what the hell, let's share the one after that with everyone. 

That's right. A fourth volume of Real Science Adventures. We've got a batch of stories in mind, but we'll let our backers vote on which one we'll do. But that's only if we break $150k by June 5th. That's this Friday whaaaaaaat!

And don't forget, there's new tiers available to turn YOU (or a friend) into an Action Scientist featured on the official Tesladyne corporate website. Or to get the original art of Dr. Dinosaur's rejected weird doom monster designs. Go, go, go!

Posted May 28, 2015 at 10:03 am

We revealed the deluxe bookplate in our latest update. This is a special one-of-a-kind bonus going to any backer who grabs all nine hardcovers. Behold!

Click that guy for more details, a process post, and a lot of needless ranting. 

Meanwhile. You pushed us over $120k. Jerks! Now I've got even more work to do because we're committed to delivering an all-new volume of Real Science Adventures about the early days of The Flying She-Devils of the Pacific.

It won't be an origin story. That's boring. They found each other. It will be the story of their first big heist/caper. Similarly, The Deadly Art of Science wasn't Robo's origin either, but it was his first big adventure. And we all got a kick out of that.

What's next? Let's take a look!

Why do I keep agreeing to stretch goals that make me work more and give away our books? I must be an idiot. Punish me with dollars.

Lastly, our good friend, Phil "Yelling Guest Star" Broughton, is selling more of his weird super coffee. That alone isn't newsworthy, but he's added to the pile of Atomic Robo branded weird super coffee with Dr. Dinosaur.

Posted May 25, 2015 at 12:37 pm

The first page of our second mini-prologue starts today. It stars a gal you've seen before. So, yes, that means our first mini-prologue concluded over the weekend because we're crazy enough to update seven days a week now. Maybe you missed a page, I dunno, so start at the beginning just in case.

The Kickstarter is still forging ahead. We've got some cool reveals for you today.

I'd like to reveal the first of our guest postcards. These are included in a bunch of our reward tiers as free bonuses because we love you(r money).

Tessa Stone (of Twitter and Tumblr) was kind enough to hit us up with this little number.

And we revealed the $120,000 stretch goal: a new volume of Real Science Adventures. Ninety-six pages, probably starring The Flying She-Devils of the Pacific. All backers will get it in PDF. Don't worry, the rest of you slobs will get to read it online eventually.

You've got until next Thursday, June 5th to get on that action.

 

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