Cover art for Atomic Robo Volume One.
Art by Scott Wegener
|First appearance||Atomic Robo #1 (October 2007)|
|Created by||Brian Clevinger
|Abilities||Super strength, super eyesight, genius level intellect, immortal (as long as atomic heart functions)|
|Schedule||Yearly limited series, collected into single and multiple TPB collections.|
|Formats||Original material for the series has been published as a set of limited series, graphic novels, and one-shot comics.|
|Publication date||October 2007 - Ongoing|
|Number of issues||4 to 6 issues per volume, on average 5.|
|Main character(s)||Atomic Robo|
Atomic Robo is an American comic book series depicting the adventures of the eponymous character, a self-aware robot built by a fictional version of Nikola Tesla, created by 8-Bit Theater writer Brian Clevinger and artist Scott Wegener. The series is split into several mini-series, each depicting a different era and adventure in Atomic Robo's long life-span.
A companion series called Real Science Adventures has published two volumes. Both feature stories by Clevinger with rotating artists in place of Wegener, who provides covers for the series.
The series began as a six-issue limited series published by Red 5 Comics starting in October 2007. It was nominated in the "Best Limited Series" category of the 2008 Eisner Awards, won by The Umbrella Academy. Colorist Ronda Pattison was also nominated in the "Best Coloring" category subsequently won by Dave Stewart. The first six issues of the series have been collected as Atomic Robo Volume 1: Atomic Robo and the Fightin' Scientists of Tesladyne. Atomic Robo Volume 2: Atomic Robo and the Dogs of War was released as a trade paperback on February 18, 2009. The third series, Atomic Robo Volume 3: Atomic Robo and the Shadow From Beyond Time, was released in trade on December 23, 2009, and a fourth, Atomic Robo Volume 4: Atomic Robo and Other Strangeness, has been released in issue format and will be published in trade in the summer of 2010.[needs update] A fifth volume, Atomic Robo and the Deadly Art of Science, was released in November 2010 and came to its conclusion in May 2011. In April 2012 Atomic Robo Volume 6: The Ghost of Station X became the second Atomic Robo miniseries to be nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Limited Series. With the release of Volume 10, Clevinger announced that the collected volumes will no longer be numbered. Given the non-linear nature of the volumes there was no necessary reading order, thus it was no longer necessary to number volumes as each volume is designed to be a jumping on point for new readers.
Starting in March 2012, an additional title was published, Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventures, in which all writing was done by Brian Clevinger, but there were five different stories or chapters of stories, continued each issue, each drawn by a different artist. A second volume was published in 2014 with a single story focusing on Tesla and his team trying to stop the "Billion Dollar Scheme". This story predates Robo's creation.
On January 16, 2015, Clevinger and Wegener announced on atomic-robo.com blog and on YouTube that, after allowing the expiration of their publishing contract with Red 5, all existing and upcoming issues of Atomic Robo will be published online as free webcomics. Clevinger reiterated this on his website on January 21, 2015.
On June 19, 2015, Clevinger and Wegener announced on atomic-robo.com that IDW Publishing will handle the physical printing of all Atomic Robo comics. The comics are still available free on the website with half a page being uploaded daily before IDW's physical release. IDW will also release multi-volume softcover collections, the first of which is called "Everything Explodes Collection". This consists of the first three volumes of the comic.   Comixology will also continue providing digital copies of the series through their Comixology Submit program.
Atomic Robo is notable due to the promise made by Clevinger and Wegener.
Loading characters up with angst was a revolutionary move on the part of Marvel Comics back in the '60s. I haven't looked at a calendar today, but that was four decades ago. There are other emotions and motivations available to characters. ATOMIC ROBO is not a comic that will be 100% sunshine and jokes, but we aren't going to delve into melodrama either. You are not going to see Robo mope about his lack of emotions, or pine to be human, or throw a tantrum over daddy issues.
This is nothing more than Scott and I having the audacity to treat women like human beings. I mean, come on, 99 times out of a 100, there is no reason at all to frame a panel from the perspective of a girl's ass. Grow up already.
They're frustrating, unnecessary, and a jarring reminder that all fiction is a thinly veiled series of lies. The major events of Robo's lifetime were plotted years before we worked on the first page of the first issue. Anything Scott and I add to that has to fit organically into the existing framework. If it doesn't fit as naturally as if it'd been there all along, then we skip it and move to the next idea. Everything that happens will fit into the larger mythos; everything that happens will happen for a reason; and nothing that happens can be "undone."
This one's pretty simple. Why should we devote a month of our short lives to creating an issue if it isn't worth reading? And then why should we try to sell you an issue that isn't worth buying? The main source of filler issues seems to be due to moving set pieces from the aftermath of one event to set up the next one. Since we have no reason to follow Robo's life as a linear chain of events, we're free to jump straight from one adventure to the next. Maybe Robo fights a sea monster. Maybe we follow the lives of Action Scientists when off duty. But it ain't filler.
THE MAIN ROBOT PUNCHES ANOTHER ROBOT (OR MAYBE A MONSTER):
So let's cut out all the dumb stuff that could get in the way of letting you enjoy that.
Atomic Robo and the Fightin' Scientists of Tesladyne shows some of Robo's adventures in the 20th century, featuring giant ants, a trip to Mars, a walking pyramid, and two showdowns with his nemesis, Helsingard. Volume 1 is currently being released on the iTunes Store for the iPhone/iPod Touch, one issue per month.
Free Comic Book Day '08: The Tsar Bomb Atomic Robo must stop a rogue Russian scientist from destroying the atmosphere.
Atomic Robo and the Dogs of War deals with Atomic Robo's missions during World War II, fighting Nazi "weird war" projects. Robo must destroy walking tanks known as the Laufpanzers before they end the Invasion of Sicily. He must team up with British spy, the Sparrow, and must work with soldier James Milligan to end the Weird War once and for all.
Free Comic Book Day '09: Why Atomic Robo Hates Dr. Dinosaur - Atomic Robo fights Dr. Dinosaur in 1999, refuting his idiotic claims of creating a time machine out of sticks and rocks. Dr. Dinosaur then offers Robo what he claims to be the secret of time travel, which turns out to be a box of active hand grenades.
Atomic Robo and the Shadow From Beyond Time deals with Atomic Robo fighting against a creature based on Lovecraftian horror. The five-issue story details four battles with the creature, each at a different point in Robo's life.
Free Comic Book Day '10: Flight of the Terror Birds - Atomic Robo, Benjamin and Lang go hunting for a prehistoric bird.
Atomic Robo and Other Strangeness  (titled Atomic Robo and the Revenge of the Vampire Dimension in its release as individual issues)  is a four-issue series of one-shot stories taking place in the space of one week, including a sequel to Why Atomic Robo Hates Dr. Dinosaur, entitled Why Dr. Dinosaur Hates Atomic Robo.
Free Comic Book Day '11: National Science Fair Robo is the celebrity judge at a science fair when Dr. Dinosaur interrupts the proceedings.
Atomic Robo and the Deadly Art of Science' the fifth series that ran for 5 issues from November 2010 to May 2011. Featuring Robo, Tesla, and Jack Tarot, the man whose picture is on Robo's desk in Volume 4.
Free Comic Book Day '12: Team Up To stop the Large Hadron Collider from destroying the universe, Atomic Robo must join forces with his most hated foe - Dr. Dinosaur.
Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X is the sixth series that ran for 5 issues from August 2011 to February 2012. Robo must contend with repeated assassination attempts orchestrated by an unknown enemy with seemingly limitless influence and resources, with the fate of all life on Earth hanging in the balance.
Free Comic Book Day '13: Project Saint - Robo fights a robot.
Atomic Robo and the Flying She-Devils of the Pacific is the seventh series, which ran for 5 issues. In the aftermath of WWII, Robo joins forces with a mercenary band of rocket-pack flying women to stop a rogue Japanese super-science counter-attack on America.
Free Comic Book Day '14: The Cetralia Job Atomic Robo's day of Action Archaeology is complicated by an encounter with the Yonkers Devil.
Atomic Robo and the Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur is the eighth series, which ran for 5 issues. While the top-secret government agency Majestic 12 assaults Tesladyne Island, Robo and his team of Action Scientists become trapped in Hollow Earth, whose inhabitants have fallen under the control of Dr. Dinosaur.
Free Comic Book Day '15: The Trial of Atomic Robo Dr. Dinosaur takes Robo to court.
Atomic Robo and the Knights of the Golden Circle is the ninth series, which ran for 5 issues. Transported back in time to 1884, Atomic Robo must save the wild west from Baron Helsingard's cyborg cowboys before his atomic fuel runs out.
Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire Atomic Robo disappeared two years ago when Tesladyne was invaded by Majestic 12 and transformed into ULTRA, a task force leveraging the U.S. surveillance and military industries against scientific pursuits deemed to be hazardous. Now, the few remaining Action Scientists finally have a plan to find Robo, but they've got to dive deep into ULTRA territory to do it! (And meanwhile, giant monsters from the sea might destroy all of civilization.) A Web exclusive prologue fills in the time gap.
Atomic Robo is a robot possessing "automatic intelligence", created by Nikola Tesla in 1923. He is a core member of Tesladyne Industries, "a thinktank dedicated to exploring the fringes of scientific inquiry", whose Action Scientists often respond to paranormal and supernatural emergencies. Robo has a developed sense of humor, and makes numerous wise cracks at his foes' expense. In the past, he has secretly worked with the United States government as well as NASA. Robo's personality is based on Clevinger's grandfather.
Jenkins is a member of the Action Scientists, who first met Robo when the latter rescued him from the vampire dimension. His almost super-human combat competence represents a running gag for the series, and Robo has been jokingly referred to as his sidekick. Jenkins was formerly part of Majestic 12, a government paramilitary organization dedicated to the collection and use of advance technologies which opposes Tesladyne.
The Sparrow is a covert British spy with whom Robo teams up to take down Skorzeny during World War II. It is implied that "The Sparrow" is a title passed down an English family of wealthy aristocratic spies as Vanadis implies killing the brother of the WWII Sparrow, and Robo works with the Grandson (also named Sparrow) in volume six, The Ghost of Station X.
James "Scottie" Milligan is a soldier who rescues Robo from the clutches of Skorzeny during World War II. James Milligan is loosely based on Wegener's grandfather, who shares the same name and nickname and also fought in World War II.
Jack Tarot is a vigilante gunman appearing in the fifth volume who acts as Robo's reluctant mentor. He is the son of an industrialist who survived a plane wreck in the far east, where he was rescued by monk's and adapted their zen archery to guns, after which he returned to civilization to inherit the family fortune and become a business man by day and crime-fighter by night.
Carl Sagan, an astrophysicist who helps Robo conduct experiments to observe a theoretical intersection of exoversal material in the Urubama Valley of Peru in 1971.
Dr. Dinosaur is an intelligent, talking dinosaur who resembles a Deinonychus or Utahraptor. He claims to be "a time-travelling genius" who travelled forward to 1999 using "crystalline technology" tapping into energies created by the Large Hadron Collider, which he says caused his own genius and the extinction of the dinosaurs. Atomic Robo thinks it more likely he is some kind of genetic experiment. Dr Dinosaur returns several times attempting to erase "mammalian" history and seek revenge on Robo, and is responsible for a massive explosion in the Hollow Earth which causes Atomic Robo's disappearance in volume eight, The Savage Sword of Dr Dinosaur.
Majestic 12, a top secret government agency tasked with weaponizing so-called "Tesla-tech" uncovered by the FBI in the wake of Nikola Tesla's mysterious death. Founded by President Truman, under the advice of Secretary of Defense Forrestal in 1947, Majestic 12 becomes Task Force ULTRA after the events of Atomic Robo and the Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur.
Baron Heinrich Von Helsingard, one of Robo's major enemies, is a Nazi scientist who has attempted to gain immortality, along with godlike power and world domination. His experiments have reduced him to a series of cloned brains preserved in jars and implanted into various robotic exoskeletons, with a new brain becoming 'activated' whenever its predecessor is destroyed. He has been described by Robo as someone who "attacks Tesladyne regularly."
Otto Skorzeny is the main antagonist of the second volume. He leads the Laufpanzers, walking German tanks, into battle.
Vanadis Valkyrie is a German scientist whom the Sparrow is sent to assassinate. She is working on her Wehrwolf Formula, to be used in creating Nazi super-soldiers.
Thomas Edison, the famous American inventor and rival of Nikola Tesla, appears in the fourth volume. Following an experiment from 1931 seeking to harness the Odic medium into an immortality drug, he has been transformed into a ghost-like entity that materialized in 1999 in Robo's office complex. In the fifth volume, the details of this experiment - and his defeat at the hands of Robo and Nikola Tesla - are revealed.
The CHOKAITEN, a rogue group of elite Japanese soldiers who seek to destroy North America with an "earthquake bomb" in 1951. They are the antagonist of The Flying She-Devils of the Pacific.
The series are being collected into trade paperbacks:
- Volume 1: Atomic Robo and the Fightin' Scientists of Tesladyne (180 pages, June 2008, ISBN 0-9809302-0-0)
- Volume 2: Atomic Robo and the Dogs of War (160 pages, March 2009, ISBN 0-9809302-2-7)
- Volume 3: Atomic Robo and the Shadow from Beyond Time (152 pages, January 2010, ISBN 0-9809302-5-1)
- Volume 4: Atomic Robo and Other Strangeness (140 pages, September 2010, ISBN 0-9809302-8-6)
- Volume 5: Atomic Robo and the Deadly Art of Science (152 pages, July 2011, ISBN 0-9809302-4-3)
- Volume 6: Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X (152 pages, June 2012, ISBN 0-9868985-0-3)
- Volume 7: Atomic Robo and the Flying She-Devils of the Pacific (152 Pages, February 2013, ISBN 0-9868985-2-X)
- Volume 8: Atomic Robo and the Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur (152 Pages, June 2014, ISBN 0-9868985-6-2)
- Volume 9: Atomic Robo and the Knights of the Golden Circle (152 Pages, January 2015)
IDW Publishing is now collecting three volumes into trade paperbacks:
- Atomic Robo: The Everything Explodes Collection [Volumes 1-3] (354 pages, September 2015)
In July 2014, Evil Hat Productions published a roleplaying game based on Atomic Robo with input from both Clevinger and Wegener. The game uses a variant of Evil Hat's own FATE core system, but is published as a standalone game.
The game was nominated for the 2015 Origins Award for Best Role Playing Game.
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- 2008 Eisner Award Nominees Named (press release), Newsarama, April 14, 2008
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- Brian! (2009-07-24). "Robo Vol 4 TPB is out now aaaaaaah!". Atomic-Robo.com. Archived from the original on 5 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
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- Atomic Robo (character) at the Comic Book DB
- 'Atomic Robo' at the Grand Comics Database
- Atomic Robo at the Comic Book DB
- 'Atomic Robo and the Dogs of War' at the Grand Comics Database
- Atomic Robo and the Dogs of War at the Comic Book DB
- 'Atomic Robo and the Shadow from Beyond Time' at the Grand Comics Database
- Atomic Robo and the Shadow from Beyond Time at the Comic Book DB