Atomic Robo the webcomic hit one million pageviews Saturday afternoon.
One million. You did that in just ten days. Oh wait the site was dead for three days while we scrambled to upgrade everything because you guys killed the original server.
We couldn’t have bounced back so fast without our partners at Hiveworks. They got us new servers and built us a new site. In a weekend. They’ve been fantastic.
Where do we go from here? More pageviews! Swimming in them! Drowning in them!Coalescing into a star from a nebula of them!Collapsing into a timeless gravitational singularity of them!
Okay that got weird. Let’s just keep giving you guys more free comics, and you can keep reading them, and we’ll see where that takes us. Together! (awwww)
We’ll wrap up The Dogs of War this week and hit you guys with the debut appearance of Dr. Dinosaur on Friday. We're following that up with The Shadow From Beyond Time next week. For those of you new to Robo’s adventures, strap yourselves in, ‘cause it’s about to get Lovecraftian!
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?
We live in the era of safe laser hair removal thanks to the noble sacrifices of a few brave men and women. There’s a plaque somewhere.
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?
We’ll have a design, or a hint of a personality, and then put them on the page to let those things influence one another. And, in a way, the story tells us who that character is.
We have a very collaborative process that brings out the best ideas from both of us. The things I write don’t necessarily appear on the final comic page. And when they do, they don’t necessarily appear as I’d intended. Which, y’know, is fine. In general it’s little details. Things like a facial expression or posture. Or a character interacting with the environment in some way. These are great touches that add a lot of life to a scene. It’s Scott’s way of taking up the slack I leave in a script. I’m more concerned with the timing and execution of gags -- not jokes, necessarily, just bits of dialog and visuals -- so I tend to leave out the little details that make a character human.
Scott puts those in. And then those visuals force me to change the dialog a little. Like, if the dialog is some kind of pun about getting punched, but he’s drawn a kick, well duh of course that needs a change. And then that change influences where we take the character.
Two of our original Action Scientists from Volume One make great examples of this. Bao Lang and Bernard Fischer. They weren’t given names in the script. None of the Action Scientists were. They were all SCIENTIST #1, SCIENTIST #2, etc. Scott just picked the three he wanted to put into the first issue where they appear, and we rolled from there. Since these guys mostly popped up in conversations with each other, it meant that any one of them could have borrowed lines from two different sources depending on how we played with the scene. Lang kept popping up around sassy lines from SCIENTIST #2 and #3. Actually, I didn’t mention him earlier, but that’s how Vikram became who he is too because he kept popping up around lines that sounded like a Wild-Eyed Theorist’s. So, that’s what he became.
And then there’s Bernard. His sad little line in the first panel of this page sealed his fate as the guy who will always be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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?
Whatever our plans for FCBD future, it’s far too late for us to participate this year. You have to get that stuff turned in and approved, like, nine months ahead of schedule or something ridiculous.
I’ll just say that FCBD is always on the first Saturday of May and we’ve timed the release of our back catalog so that new Atomic Robo content will start to come out in mid-May. So, y’know, early May might be an interesting time around this here website.
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,
Point of order! We’ve always been creator owned. We just had a publisher before. Now we’re still creator owned and self-published through the internet.
But, yeah. Our ninth volume, The Knights of the Golden Circle, will be the last Atomic Robo material published by Red 5 Comics. We’ll handle the publishing of new material and reprints of the back catalog.
On the one hand, it was an amicable split. On the other, I don’t think either party was thrilled by it either. We stuck with them and the direct market for seven years, but there just wasn’t enough money coming in. Scott and I are well into our thirties and we’re still living like college students. And Scott’s daughter will soon be a college student. Like before Volume 14. We had to either cut out all the middlemen or stop making Atomic Robo.
I suppose we could have bargained for larger page rates, but it felt wrong to even suggest it. “Expose yourself to way more risk by giving us bigger advances or lose your best selling title,” is a lose-lose proposition. We couldn’t ask them to make that choice, because it’s an unfair proposition from the start. Red 5 Comics isn’t an abstract corporate entity that we can make heartless decisions about. It’s a couple guys. We just couldn’t bring ourselves to blackmail them.
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.