As of this week, Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener’s long-running series Atomic Robo will be switching from print issues to a webcomic model, the pair have announced. As part of this, each week they’ll be uploading whole issues of the comics released so far onto their new site, until they catch up to where they are now. Once the whole archive is online, the next instalment of the series – volume 10 – will then go onto the website.
Atomic Robo is Hellboy filtered through a scientific interest rather than a mythological one, to generalise it. The concept is that Tesla built a robot decades ago which became sentient and now works with a team of action scientists to fight monsters and keep the world safe from various threats. The comics span decades at a time, alternately switching to Robo’s early days or the present day as is the wont of the creative team.
The series has also been quite fiercely independent for some time. Published through Red 5 comics, which’ll note the loss of their biggest book, the team put out nine volumes of material over the last decade. That’s a pretty incredibly achievement, and the book has been a cult favourite – and award-winner for years.
The move to webcomics is a surprise, although perhaps not too big a surprise.The team have established Atomic Robo as a brand, and the success of their recent Kickstarter helped solidify their fanbase nicely. Print has, obviously, a lot of costs which webcomics don’t have to deal with, and presumably they believe that getting the boost in attention offered by making all their past comics free will help increase sales of their old trade paperbacks, and subsequently, new issues once they start coming out.
I’m assuming. Asked about the model by Chris Sims over at Comics Alliance, Clevinger said:
New material will be free online first and collected into issues/trades through ComiXology for folks who wants ‘em like that. We’ll also print the new stuff as trades as, y’know, they get finished.