Posted February 5, 2015 at 12:00 pm
Time for another installment of the Weekly Mailbag where we take questions from our Patrons every week, or whatever, and answer them! 
On to the questions! And, I guess, the answers!
Dear Tesladyne,

I just realized that in the Atomic Robo timeline, Nikola Tesla dies the same year that Marconi loses some of his patents based on Tesla's work. How does their dispute play out in a world with lightning guns and war zeppelins? What nastiness is Marconi up to before he turns his focus to Science City?

-Tom D.
This is one of those answers that's gonna need a quickie history lesson in front of it. Surprise, that happens fairly often with Atomic Robo.
Okay. Marconi is mostly known for “inventing” the radio. He did this by taking something like seventeen devices patented by Tesla and assembling them in ways previously and publically described by Tesla himself. This is like putting together bookshelves from IKEA and then claiming to have invented the bookshelf. Marconi lost the radio patent eventually, but the damage had been done and today everyone thinks of him as the father of radio.
What most people don’t know about Marconi is that he was into fascism. Like “pals with Mussolini” into fascism. Member of The Grand Fascist Council into it. So, yeah, just a super guy all around. Our version of Marconi plays this up by claiming that his death was faked in 1937 to allow him to direct the efforts of the Axis Space Program secreted away in the remote mountains of Venezuela.
If this sounds completely insane that’s because it’s one of the more obscure, but I assure you absolutely real -- UFO conspiracy theories I’ve come across. It was so absurd I knew we had to incorporate it into the history of Atomic Robo.
And while doing this with Marconi gives us fun stuff to play with like the secret Nazi space station and the hidden ruins of Science City, it doesn’t do much to affect the Marconi vs. Tesla shakeout because everything Marconi is getting up to post-”death” is totally secret and evil. I think canonically it's not even discovered until the 1960s.
He does manage to launch a secret Nazi orbital weapon in the final days of the war, so that's kind of cool. We get a hint of how that worked out in Vol 8 and we’ll get some more details on it soon.
By now, any alt history nerd worth a damn should be asking, “Hold up, why make Marconi the head of your space program when you’ve already got Von Braun?”
Because Von Braun’s experimental chemical rocket designs had already proven themselves essentially sound by 1934, and that made his work too valuable to the fatherland's build up for war. As per the completely insane UFO theory above, Marconi started working on anti-gravity, obviously a lateral move from radio. So, when Italy joins the Axis Powers in 1937, part of the deal is to give Marconi the freedom and funding to perfect this technology and launch the ultimate space weapon. Hence: faked death + secret South American space port.

If there was to be an Atomic Robo anime series, which studio would make it and who would direct?
Jon S.
HAHAHAHA you’re stupid for asking this stupid question because all of anime is stupid!
Except for the ones I like. Obviously.
But it’s Evangelion era Gainax for maximum “?!?!?!” Because why entertain an audience when you can baffle them into rage?

Question about Atomic Robo history.

My first exposure to the tales of Nicola Tesla came in 1984, when OMD released their wonderful song, Tesla Girls:

Now I'm wondering if Atomic Robo was involved in that song in any way. Did he write it? Was he aware of it? How does he feel about it? And just what WAS Robo up to in the 80s?

Thanks for the great comics, guys!

Rick N.
I figure Robo is barely familiar with most media of the last fifty or sixty years. So, uh, nope! Sorry.
As for what he was up to in the ‘80s, you’ll see! Uh, eventually. Volumes 10, 11, and 12 are already accounted for, but at some point after those we’ll get into the ‘80s with Atomic Robo and the Soldiers of Fortune. The idea for that one: write a love letter to all the action / super vehicle shows of the 1980s.

Hi guys,

One of my favorite things about Robo has been the use of real historical figures and events to add verisimilitude to the world you've created. Have you had a particular favorite person or event you've researched for a volume?


The cop out answer is all of them. You can’t help but become fascinated by the likes ofBass Reeves, or Edison, or Tesla, or Houdini, etc. Atomic Robo comics are a way to get paid to read up on the historical people and events I want to learn about anyway. I mean, really, that’s the whole point of being a writer.
Robo’s a great excuse to learn about Western history.
Infernal Affairs is a great excuse to learn about Chinese history.
We’ve got a couple Big Crazy Space sci-fi projects on the far horizon, probably nothing you’ll see until 2016 at the earliest, but those have been great excuses to learn more about the extremely strange and exciting frontiers of astrophysics and cosmology.
If I had to pick a favorite, and for this question it seems I must, it’s probably Annie Oakley. She was a real firecracker.

That's it for the mailbag this week! If you're reading this right now, and it looks like you are, then we're already taking questions for the next installment. We can't do this without you, so hey, get on it.


Posted February 3, 2015 at 02:00 pm

There's one part of the new experience we haven't talked about yet and that's The Tesladyne Online Store.

Whaaaaaat? Yes. Look, there's a big graphic and everything:

We've got a few items for sale that ought to be seem particularly desireable if you missed out on a certain Kickstarter campaign. We'll be adding new stuff all the time. ALL THE TIME.

Well, not now. But soon!

Posted February 1, 2015 at 11:00 am
Well, you only went and done it.

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!
Posted January 27, 2015 at 03:45 pm

Welcome to our first ever Weekly Mailbag! Where Patrons submit questions and then we pick some of them and publish the answers for all to see. And we’ll do this every week. Or every other week? It kind of depends on your participation. So, y’know, get on that. We're now taking questions for the next installment.
Enough! Let’s get to the questions...
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?

Kyle M.
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?

Carl H.
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.
It works a little differently with historical figures since we have facts to fall back on. Obviously, those facts are up for interpretation, but they give us some common ground to work from.
Hi Brian and Scott,

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.
So, here we are!


Posted January 25, 2015 at 12:00 pm


The newest addition to the archives is the first issue of Volume 2 and it starts right here.

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.


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