The Atomic Robo team have done a number of interviews lately. You can check them out at the links below, but here are some highlights:
The Trades interviews Scott Wegener:
As for Robo, the second mini-series will hit stores in August 2008. Then we will take a few months off, and start the third series. Currently we have plans for at least another 5 mini-series. Brian and I could do another 500, but for right now our contract is for another 20+ issues.
I shouldn’t say we take time off between series either. What happens is we wait until I have at least 2 issues inked and then we solicit. This gives me enough of a buffer so that we don’t have to worry about shipping the book late. There’s almost nothing worse than that.
Comics Bulletin interviews Brian Clevenger and Scott Wegener:
BC: Scott is completely responsible for Robo’s look and final functionality. All I did was offer that Robo’s only facial features should be big goggle-y eyes, that he should be “retro”, and wear clothes. Everything about how that came together is Scott’s doing and it’s terrific.
SW: Pretty much the only thing that was set in stone when Brian pitched the idea to me was that he must have “big goggle-y eyes”. I really resisted that until I integrated the big cut-outs into his shoulders and elbows.
Before Robo, I’d found robots of any sort to be incredibly intimidating to draw. That intimidation factor seemed to be multiplied by a factor of ten after a few days of trying to design a “stocky robot, which wears clothes, and has big goggle-y eyes”. Especially since it was several days into the job before Brian said “Oh yeah, he’s kind of short and should wear clothes.” So the 20’ tall, six armed death machine was not going to work out after all it seemed.
It was when I started thinking of Robo as a person, and some ridiculous robot I had to figure out, that things began to click. At the time, I was working on an idea for a pulp adventurer who worked for FDR during WWII and on a whim I put Robo into this guy’s army belt, fatigues, and combat boots and that was when things started moving. That was also when the initial concept of who Atomic Robo was started changing – not his core personality, because Brian had that worked out years ago. But, somehow, putting this stumpy robot into a pair of muddy combat boots and giving him an old Webly revolver did something to both of us. Robo was kind of stripped down to his essentials, some excess baggage was dropped, and the running dialog with Brian about it really helped solidify his design. It was really energizing to see the visuals transformed by the narrative and the narrative affected by the altered designs. It was probably one of the coolest collaborative things I’ve done.
Visually, most of what you see on Robo is inspired by the art deco work of the ‘20s and ‘30s. I got the idea for the little fins on his head and arms from some buildings I was studying, and the power core adaptor thing in his stomach is inspired by a Studebaker. His head was a nightmare because while it was just like the Rocketeer and the Iron Giant insofar as it was mostly a blank shell, I somehow had to make Robo’s blank face clearly different. I’m not sure how successful I was, but to me it looks like a big steel marshmallow with some eye holes cut into it.
New Seed Comics interviews Clevenger and Wegener:
Looking at Robo more specifically, as the title transitions into a future of self-contained minis, how much do you find your thought process to be changing in regards to the project? Are your motives, goals, visions, and work processes much different than they were a few months ago?
SCOTT: No not really. We decided within the first week that mini-series were the way to go. With a monthly book you inevitably get stuck in a grind at some point or another. You have to get a book out, but you’ve really got no story to tell, or its just filler to get from one big “event” to the next. Because we are only four people, (because this books would not be what it is without Jeff Powell doing lettering and design and Ronda Pattison on colors), it’s a lot of work just to get the stories done that we feel are worth sharing. I won’t waste my time on a bogus issue. I don’t have time for that.
Another point to consider is how the mini-series format compliments Robo’s overall story. Each future series will focus on a particular time in Robo’s life, so we can visit different decades (in no particular order) and then move on to another time period without confusion. It also helps structure the larger story for us I think. It’s easy for me at any rate to know that Vol.2 is the World War II series, that Vol.4 is the Jet Age and rocket-pack wearing air pirates series, etc.
BRIAN: And future volumes won’t necessarily be self-contained in the traditional sense. The second volume focuses on World War 2, but it’s not one continuous story. Instead, we’ll see a series of “smaller” adventures that are linked to one another but are also kind of independent to one another. The idea is that any individual issue will be the perfect jumping on point for new readers while simultaneously adding to the mythos for regular readers.