Posted May 9, 2016 at 12:30 pm

Hey. Team Robo will be at this year's TCAF and if you are anywhere near the icy wasteland of Tor'Onto then you should drop by. Look at our pretty faces.

We'll be on the third floor where all the best and coolest people go (obviously). If you can't find us, I suggest going to every corner until you do actually find us. Why would you want to drop by? Lemme tell you something about our table at TCAF. We will have, for the first time anywhere, ALL NINE ATOMIC ROBO HARDCOVERS FOR SALE. So, y'know, you should get one or nine of them from us. If you backed the hardcover Kickstarter campaign (thanks!) then you'll get yours as soon as they're out of Customs and signed. We'll keep you posted!

But don't worry if you don't live anywhere near Toronto, we've got some news for you too. Guess what comes out Wednesday, May 11th? Why, it's the trade paperback edition of Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire. You can pick it up from your local shop, or Amazon, or your favorite online retailer like maybe Midtown Comics. For those of you who are, let's say, invested in the hardcover edition of our fine books all of a sudden, just hang in there.

Posted May 2, 2016 at 12:02 pm

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.

Anders L.

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.

Todd M.

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)?

Arthur L.

Basically? Yes!

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?

Nicholas P.

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.

 

Hi guys.

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?

Kevin B.

Oh, Jenkins, Jenkins, Jenkins.

On the one hand, he’s officially dead. On the other, Robo doesn’t believe it. And we know the other guy in that explosion lived.

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?

Wayne P.

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?

Tim N.

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.

 

Posted April 25, 2016 at 12:23 pm

The third and final Atomic Robo jumbo book from IDW Publishing, The Hell and Lightning Collection, is now available for pre-order. Check it out!

Hey. 

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.

Posted March 30, 2016 at 01:19 pm

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.

Posted February 23, 2016 at 10:29 am

I did an AMA approximately one million years ago, but now there's a dedicated reddit for all things Robo. Check it out if you dare.

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.

Posted February 5, 2016 at 10:29 am

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.

Grab it from your local shop, or our favorite online retailer, or Amazon.

Posted January 26, 2016 at 10:43 am

Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire ended today. And that ending brings with it changes 'round these parts. But don't worry. In the interest of kindness and benevolence to all mankind, we're giving you more comics so you can ease into it. Here's the deal.

First up, we'll soon move into the next chapter, Atomic Robo and the Temple of Od. This one takes place shortly after Robo's first top secret mission for the military. Turns out Helsingard wasn't the only fellow trying to conquer the world with a crazy energy weapon.

But! We need a bit of a buffer before we get to that. Back in our print days we'd need something like four to six months between the end of one series and the start of the next. That won't be the case here because we don't need to worry about soliciting and printing and blah blah blah. Which is why it'll be a while before IDW brings you the print issues for the new series, but you won't have to wait too long for it to show up online. We just need enough of a buffer to guarantee you guys get regular updates without stressing us out too much. Should be about a month? We'll keep you posted. Anyway, we can't leave you guys with dead air, so we're gonna start you off with a few short stories including an all-new one that takes place in the aftermath of Ring of Fire with art by Tessa Stone -- Patrons got a sneak peek at the cover in progress!

That ought to be more than enough to keep you guys going, but we're not done! 

Remember that thing where we started putting Real Science Adventures online too? We did! And we are! In fact, the entire second issue just went online today. It's full of Annie Oakley and Wong Kei-ying with art by Caanan Grall who sounds like he has a side hustle as the king of barbarians. There will be more. And don't forget: when we get to the end of this story, there will be an all-new RSA chapter featuring the Flying She-Devils with art by Lo.

Oh, and I think we're done with the daily half-page update schedule. It was an experiment, and looking back at the whole volume, we're not sure the benefits outweighed the cost. Response was never bad, but it wasn't promising either. Mixed would be about the best way to put it. Going forward, we will return to full page updates three times a week. As well, I'll turn Ring of Fire into full pages in the archive at some point this week.

Posted January 21, 2016 at 02:01 pm

In case you missed the big news, there is now a whole other website for even more free Atomic Robo comics. Check out realscienceadventures.com. We're launching the site with a tale of Nikola Tesla and the Centurions of Science vs The Billion Dollar Plot. Start at the beginning! The first issue is drawn by our friend Erica Henderson and she was good enough to provide color for the whole series as well.

Posted January 12, 2016 at 12:10 pm

The fifth and final issue of Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire will go on sale January 27th, but you can pre-order yours. And you really should! It's what keeps the lights on over here.

If you had a lick of damn sense in that thing on top of your neck, you'd run out to your local comic book shop right now and make sure you're gettin' the goods. It comes in two varieties. Regular and Gurihiru.

Enjoy!

Posted January 7, 2016 at 11:38 am

It's that time again, when the boys and girls of the Tesladyne Patreon get to thow us questions, comments, and whatever else pops into their brains. And then everyone gets to see the results.

In a couple of weeks, we'll have been doing this webcomic thing for a full year. Time flies when you're posting pages. To commemorate our One Year Insanity, which is like an anniversary except you put your entire catalog online for free and hope it all works out and oh my god what have we done, we've got some big news to share with you guys.

In the meantime, let's get with the questions and then with the answers!

 

Atomic Robo has many characters that are active for decades, for different reasons. Robo most of all seems to be feeling the weight of his years lately. Edison also seems to greatly regret being *alive* so many years after 'his time'. But Helsingard, who is even older than Robo (by a fair margin) never seems to lose his particular brand of enthusiasm. Does he never really have a moment's doubt? It seems like he's happily building crazier machines every time we see him, in yet another underground base. What sets him apart? Other long-lived characters, like A.L.A.N. only appear for short periods, but seem to vary from 'irretrievably insane' to 'we don't really know' in how they deal with their isolation and the vast changes in their lifetimes. Maybe Helsingard just doesn't really have anybody he cared about? Since Majestic-12 have just barely managed to build robot suit soldiers as good as he could 60 years ago, maybe we're just insects to him?

Justin C.

 

Well, Edison may or may not have been driven insane by having his consciousness scattered an unknown field of energy for seventy years. To what degree he was aware, in that state, of time or of himself, we can’t say.

Robo of the 21st century is definitely getting, I dunno, weary. He’s kind of stuck, really. The world is a vastly dangerous place, and about half of it is his fault whether directly or indirectly. And The Ring of Fire is demonstrating how no one else is really equipped to cope with those dangers. He’s not gonna mope about it, because that’s not how he handles problems. And, anyway, even if you put that stuff aside, it doesn’t get at the real problem. Robo is already a couple generations removed from most of the people running around today. And that’s only going to keep getting worse. It’s just a matter of time before he gets a stern talking-to.

The thing to remember with Helsingard is that it’s (almost?) never the same brain. I think it’s mentioned in the RPG, and sorta hinted at somewhere in the comic, but it’s never explicitly spelled out, so it’s easy to miss.

Helsingard spent much of the late 19th and early 20th centuries spinning multiple concurrent plots to conquer the world. Each particular plot worked as the backup plan for the others. His ultimate backup plan was to seed the world with multiple cloned copies of his own brain that could take over his empire in the event of his death. If he’d conquered the world, then the clone brains would ensure his immortal reign. If he hadn’t conquered the world before dying, then the clone brains would continue the fight. Simple!

Now, Helsingard was a brilliant scientist. I mean, he cloned up brains somewhere around 1899 or 1905 or whatever. Amazing! But not infallible. The system to awaken brains upon Helsingard’s death malfunctioned, so the continuity between one Helsingard and the next is a little muddled. There are gaps with no Helsingards at all and occasionally several active Helsingards at once. This latter condition complicates things further because all the clone brains believe themselves to be the original Helsingard brain recently awakened after the events of 1938.

 

1. Will Atomic Robo be in 2016's fcbd, floppies?

2. Scott, if you had the time to draw a RSA story, who would it be about?

3. Can we get a stand alone Jenkins story about his whereabouts during volume 10?

4. How about a Jenkins: War Journal annual? Just one issue a year dedicated just to Jenkins! 

Shawn M.

 

1. Nope!

2. Jack Tarot! Or She-Devils. Or Tesla’s crew.

3. Be careful what you wish for!

4. I’m afraid Jenkins falls under the same Coolness Inversity Clause as Dr. Dinosaur wherein the best way to utilize a favorite character is to minimize his uses.

 

Has RIFTS©®™ just totally ruined me?  I know Dr. Dinosaur was inspired by a character from some long-forgotten campaign, but now my brain is seeing RIFTS©™®€£π everywhere!  Alan parallels A.R.C.H.I.E.!  Killer orbital satellites that shoot down anything that comes near! I'm sure some sourcebook somewhere has terror birds!  Also, the vampire dimension!

Or, y'know, it could just be that RIFTS©®™ has historically included any idea anyone has ever uttered within earshot of its creator, and thus vague parallels to nearly *anything* are easy to find.

Will I ever stop seeing the hand of Palladium everywhere?  Please say yes.

Eric L©®™

 

When it comes to RIFTS, it’s a chicken and the egg kind of scenario. It’s impossible to say if RIFTS included something, be it a character or archetype or plot or whatever, because that specific idea already existed and thus had to be rifted in, or because it would have to be invented in RIFTS for the idea to exist in the first place.

For those poor fools not in the know, RIFTS is a massive kitchen sink kind of RPG. The basic idea: Earth is ravaged by these dimensional rifts that allow anything and everything to show up in a kind of worldwide proto Red Dragon Inn. Mostly it was an excuse for the publisher cross-market all its game through one setting like an enormous comic book crossover event. Only even better because this was a crossover that never had to end and it never had to screw up the original titles. You could keep selling your fantasy game to your fantasy fans, but now your sci-fi fans had an excuse to check it out too. Simply brilliant.

And that’s the major influence RIFTS had on Atomic Robo as a setting. RIFTS showed us how much fun it would be to throw all of our favorite things together. This is partly why we’re working on the eleventh volume of Atomic Robo and the third spin off volume while other indie creators are on their third or fourth all new property: it’s very easy to slot new ideas into the Atomic Robo setting. Arguably, the other indie creators are much smarter about this. Every new property is something else they can pitch to TV, film, whatever. Meanwhile, Scott and I are stuck pitching this one thing that’s too big and crazy and expensive for anyone to take the risk on it.

 

I wanted to say thank you.  As an avid comic reader or as many titles as I can get my hands on, I am thankful for Atomic Robo.

There are lots of great comics available today telling millions of different stories. What separated Atomic Robo for me and got me involved with Patreon to support was this.

Thank you for avoiding the anchors that drag down many comic creations. Your comic is witty, well paced and just tons of fun.  Thank you for doing it your way and crowdsurfing your way to something that you're passionate about and trusting your fans to hold you up.

Thank you for your commitment to an excellent product and the obvious care and effort that goes into every panel.

Sincerely,

Jake B.

 

Thanks, Jake!

We just wanted to make a comic that we’d want to read if we weren’t the ones making it. Imagine our delight and surprise when we learned there were other people out there looking for something just like it. We’ll keep making them if you guys keep buying them.

 

Hey,

I was just curious if Atomic Robo: Last Stop was part of the Robo canon?

Morris U.

 

Nope!

 

Dear Tesladyne, 

You guys are awesome! You know what would be more awesome though, Atomic Robo Action action-figures. Can this be done? Also keep up the good work, and did you hear about the Lab in Australia that made a quantum logic gate? Matrix here we come.

William E.

 

I won’t promise “action figures” because that concept conjures up a different image for everyone and there’s no reason to get anyone’s hopes up about what a purely hypothetical product may or may not look like. But more physical non-comics items of a figure-like nature are 100% on the Big List of Stuff. Our main priority is always to deliver the best comic books we can, so there’s only so much time we can devote to figuring out the action figure problem. But it’s something we’re looking into!

 

What was it like coming up with Robo's redesign? Was it a challenge to make it familiar yet different, or was it something you guys had been sitting on?

Wyatt

 

Let's turn to Scott for that one:

Redesigning Robo for Ring of Fire was a ton of fun! In the eight years since we started making this comic, I've learned a lot about character design and there are many things about original Robo that I've come to see as less than ideal. I won't spoil that with details, but if you read through the archives you can see Robo's design evolve as I learn what I am doing.

Re-Designing Robo -- the final version we see of him in Ring of Fire was great. In the production sketches I got to add all sorts of modern little details that would be out of place on an early 20th century design. Robo as a head in a box, or Boxbo, was hilariously fun to design. God, those hands! I think Brian was a little horrified at the idea, which only made it more fun, haha! Partially it was a homage to one of my favorite scenes in the original Ghost in The Machine manga.

Interim Robo -- the Boxbo mounted to an arm/leg rig was the most fun to design. A pure delight. And a nightmare to draw over and over in the comic. Thus you did not see a lot of that one. 

Skinny Robo -- the nearly final but still battery powered version, was interesting to research. It was based on the tons of generic drone soldiers any Google search will turn up. They look neat, but every concept artist seems to draw them exactly the same, with only minor variations between the designs. I wanted Skinny Robo to have a kind of generic look like that, but filtered through the lens of the tech and ‘bots you’ve seen in our series.

 

howdy, my query is around the current storyline - was it intentional to set it in almost exactly the same circumstances as the Pacific Rim movie, or is that a happy coincidence ?

thanks. keep robo-ing along,

Oliver M.

 

All we knew about this storyline was: Tesladyne in tatters; Robo has to go through several iterations before being fully rebuilt; Majestic has action science as we know it on a global lockdown while they cope with a crisis that threatens to destroy mankind; the crisis is only exacerbated by the lockdown; Robo and the ragtag remnants of Tesladyne come up with a desperate last minute solution utilizing international cooperation. 

We were already leaning toward Biomega as the central threat because it had been a while since we last saw any. And something so big, literally and figuratively, would put Robo and his crew up against the wall in the worst way possible -- how could they hope to defeat the largest biomega outbreak in history while they’ve lost Tesladyne and the connections/support that comes with it?

Then we saw Pacific Rim and that cemented things. About the only thing we liked about it was, well, everything before the Jaegers get built. And then we realized that what we’d been thinking about for this series was already our version of that part of the movie: the initial discovery of these monsters and the early attempts at repelling them.

For a movie all about giant robots fighting with giant monsters, Pacific Rim actually makes a terrible case for the use of giant robots fighting giant monsters. You kind of go along with it because the movie only proposes one alternative solution, giant walls. And, it’s weird, because they’re already proven to be a failure by the time the movie mentions them as the alternative, so all you’ve done is propose that your giant robots might be better idea than an idea already known to be terrible. That’s really, if you think about it, not a resounding triumph for the use of giant robots.

But whatever! There is a common wisdom in the cultural zeitgeist that pits giant robots against giant monsters, so we knew that would be Majestic’s go-to solution, and we knew that would have to be shown as a failure so that Robo and his crew could sweep in and save the day with the far more logical and realistic defense system that would also be far easier to implement than either giant robots or walls.

And then we made the title Ring of Fire just in case anyone missed it.

 

Do you like questions in letter pages? I like questions in letter pages.

1) Your timeline in the Atomic Robo RPG Guide has Robo and 2 Sparrows thwarting Dr. Valkyrie control of the Spear of Destiny and crater-izing Marconi's Venezuelan Science City in 1968. Is Marconi's orbital weapons system "The Spear of Destiny" related to Projeckt Longinus in the Ring of Fire?

2) I imagine Undead Edison has been spending his time buying pharmaceutical patents and raising prices from $13 to $750 (because who would do that?), but are there any plans for the underground villains like Edison or Delphi to make a comeback in Atomic Robo?

3) Before the Hackers reveal, I built a brief headcanon that Bernard gave the rest of the team backstories based on an interrupted Tesladyne GURPS campaign going on with him, Phil, George, and Ananth. Any thoughts as to what Tesladyne employees did in their free time pre-ULTRA?

Paul M.

 

1. They are the very same thing! We tend to have this kind of vague idea that Marconi was a genius and probably an okay guy. But he was a huge supporter of Mussolini and fascism and Hitler and, whoops, not so okay guy after all. So, in our stories, Marconi fakes his death and devotes his life to running what will become the Nazi Space Program deep in the wilderness of Venezuela. The main goal of this outfit was to produce the orbital weapon platform “Longinus” to secure an Axis victory and global domination for all time.

But, as so often happens with these things, there were unforeseen complications and the launch was delayed until a few days after Germany’s surrender. Which, hey, would’ve been great anyway, because an invincible satellite weapon is the kind of thing you can use to obliterate any treaty’s “no backsies” clause. So, what went wrong? Guess we’ll find out!

2. Big time. We thought we were smart as heck when we made the call to tell the story of Atomic Robo’s life anachronistically, but the biggest unforeseen problem with that approach is: it can take a long damn time for us to circle back to the seeds we planted in the narrative to pick the fruits of our labor and share them with you. It seems weird, for example, that Helsingard is a big threat to the world and yet we hardly see him. Shouldn’t he be the Magneto or the Lex Luthor? The guy who pops up as a major problem all the damn time? And then there’s things out there like DELPHI and Undead Edison, like you mentioned, or Project Daedalus and some other weird stuff.

We can only ask for you guys to hang in there and enjoy the ride in the meantime.

3. Life on Tesladyne Island was probably a weird mixture of a dorm, a military base, and a food court. Well, we know Jenkins cultivates orchids. Everyone else has their own side projects and hobbies.

 

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