- "Look, guys? Just put the guns down. I'm built like a tank."
- —Robo, at the guards, Vol. 1, Issue 1
Dr. Atomic Robo Tesla (better known as Robo) is the title character of the pulp action comic, Atomic Robo. He was created by Nikola Tesla and activated in Sept. 3, 1923. He is the first robot granted with automatic intelligence, humor, and a quirky personality. Since his creator's death in 1943, he aspired to spread his ideals of modern scientific innovations and progress through the exploration of fringe science, but ends up leading an agency sanctioned by the United Nations to fight against all manner of scientific oddities.
Appearance and Personality
Robo appears as a somewhat bulky metallic android, standing at about 5'5" and weighing about a quarter of a ton, built in such a way that he is impervious to gunfire or explosives. Though he may look invincible this way, repeated exposure to explosives seem to knock him out or make him dizzy nonetheless. Alternative weapons such as energy or electromagnetic fields tend to deal the most damage to his system, but as Robo goes through repeated upgrades through the years, he develops some amount of immunity to them. His most prominent feature is his face, which are only two glowing, light-blue eyes, with a line going down on a symmetrical pattern from his forehead to his chin. Though a robot, Robo is often seen wearing clothes, usually in a shirt and military cargo pants as well as combat boots. It is often a running gag for his shirt to get torn off whenever he's in the middle of a fight, unless he's wearing kevlar armor.
Because of the "automatic intelligence" built into him, Robo is able to move freely, act, learn, and speak like a human, as if he isn't a robot, but a human with metal for skin. According to Brian Clevinger, his brain functions much like an average intelligent human: he is able to learn at a slow, consistent rate, and can recollect and forget things. He can speak various languages, but to varying degrees of fluency. His main perk is that his mindset is permanently stuck in a state of scientific inspiration and open-mindedness (usually peaking at around the age of 20 to 25 in humans), which is the reason why Robo continues to lead his company with much devotion and energy for more than 60 years, but as a result, gets bored constantly. He is an avid fan of science fiction and aviation, and most of this personality was based off of Brian's grandfather, Michael J. Novosel Sr. Robo is very strictly and logically scientific-minded, and because of that he has a difficult time believing in certain unproven theories such as magic or time travel, and therefore has a thorough hatred for wizards and genius-level talking dinosaurs. He also sometimes comes off as incompetent, most often underestimating the situation at hand or falling into a trap set by a villain. He also has an irrational fear of bugs, and often brings a large weapon with him in situations that involve insects in some way or other.
Robo is seen as a mix of multiple 80's pop culture media characters such as Indiana Jones, Buckaroo Banzai, Iron Man and many others. Many classify Robo as akin to Hellboy, though this peeves Clevinger as he had never read it.
Contrary to being a scientist, Robo converted to Judaism, but is by no means a frequent observer of the religion.
Robo is capable of superhuman strength, and is known to use variations of jumping, throwing, and punching given the situation. Besides his fists however, he is known to keep a Webley Mk VI revolver pistol and a few grenades or throwable explosives on his belt. Based on his experience in warfare, he is able to use many types of guns, rifles, and launchers, usually salvaged or pried off of his enemies' hands. His trademark weapon is the Lightning Gun, an energy projectile weapon created by Tesla, which launches bolts or beams of lightning at his targets.
Robo was activated and revealed to the public in September 3, 1923. Upon his appearance and demonstration to the public, it shocked and awed many. Critics and scientists alike were outraged by this, spouting rumours that Tesla was playing God or that an abused child was crammed into the robotic suit. Nevertheless, Tesla defended his actions and condemned the fallacies and rumors as false. The atomic robot's creation was revolutionary as he and Tesla became a common subject of newspaper articles and scientific news for the next decade or so. From those headlines did he adopt the full name of "Atomic Robo" Tesla.
He immediately studied in Columbia University, much to his dislike of studying, graduating and earning a PhD in Physics in 1928. It was during those years that he had encountered The Shadow From Beyond Time and found out about Tesla and his supposed cohorts from the late 19th Century.
On October 28, 1938, the US Army pleaded to a reluctant Robo to be their independent agent in arresting the diabolical Baron Heinrich von Helsingard as they tracked down his hidden base in the Himalayas. He caused quite a ruckus as he found the mad scientist and defeated him, beginning the series of events that would change his life...
World War II
After his mission in the Himalayas, Robo was officially granted full legal status as a human being and recognized as an American citizen by the United States Supreme Court in May 7, 1940. The year after that, he joined the Flying Tigers, patrolling the skies over China for Japanese invaders. Tesla at first disagreed with Robo's decision, because of his pacifism, but he also didn't want to restrict the robot's free will. In turn, his creator reluctantly accepted.
While serving in the war, his creator died from an explosion in his laboratory/home in January 7, 1943. The reason for the cause of his death is unknown, causing Robo to deeply regret his decision altogether in joining the war, having been unable to protect his creator and father figure. At the end of that month, Robo founds Tesladyne as a corporate entity to safeguard Tesla's remaining patents and assets while he continues to fight.
In the months following that event, Robo was sent to Sicily to destroy Laufpanzers, specialized bipedal tanks which could wipe out the US invasion and liberation of Italy. Consecutively, this was his first of many encounters of Otto Skorzeny, Hitler's personal commando. Months after, he accidentally encounters The Sparrow while carrying out a mission in a Nazi train in Croatia. Falling into a trap, he and the agent go after Skorzeny and a scientist, Dr. Vanadis Valkyrie. Grudgingly working together, they come across Vanadis' secret fortress in the woods, where the Wehrwolf Formula is being carried out, creating Hulk-like supersoldiers known as Brutes. They escape once more, and running away in the nick of time, the fortress was destroyed, eliminating any evidence of the project and its remnants.
Nearing the end of the war, Robo and a team of British Commandos attempt to infiltrate the Nazi-occupied island of Guernsey to destroy the V-5 Electric Cannon. Unsuccessful, Robo was caught by Skorzeny and used as a power supply for what turned out to be a "weather" cannon, which was to be used on all of Britain. Rescued by a commando by the name of James Milligan, they destroy the cannon and barely escape, destroying what seemed to be the last of Nazi Germany's trump cards.
The 50's and Beyond
After the Allies had won the war, Robo returned to the US to grow Tesladyne from the ground up, starting as a rather small company with few people. Tesladyne was his plan to keep his creator's idea of scientific innovations alive. It was also during this decade that Robo attempted to sever his ties with the US Army, but instead had to carry out multiple tasks for them, most of them concerning the Cold War, before he was let off the hook...for now.
In 1974, Robo meets Skorzeny for the last time in a cafe in Madrid, Spain. A dying old man with cancer, he lies to Robo that he stole Tesla's patents and caused the explosion which killed him, stating that because Robo "had to run off and play soldier", Tesla became a prime target for spies to pinpoint the robot's weaknesses. Unable to take it, Robo saw through the lie and leaves Skorzeny to die a miserable old man.
In August 10, 1975, Robo was employed by NASA to be their top secret envoy for the Viking I mission to Mars. Though it was a success, certain documents and photos had to be held back due to Robo's "interfererence" of the Martian surface.
Since the birth of Tesladyne, the company has developed and grown dramatically, attracting many scientists who wish to work with Tesla's technology, while at the same time, go out on expeditions to investigate weirdness. It may continue to grow in the future.
Somewhere in the 90's, Robo encounters Jenkins on his return to the "Vampire Dimension" to rescue him. He and Tesla had discovered the dimension back the mid 20's and 30's and has since tried to prevent other people from discovering it. In the end, various people, including the US Army had attempted to explore the dimension since the past decades, with disastrous results.
The idea for Atomic Robo came up when Brian Clevinger finished writing Nuklear Age. He wrote a themed LiveJournal and blog called I, Robo somewhere in the late 2005/early 2006 year. The blog documented the life and opinions of a character named Robo, who, according to Clevinger, lived in the same universe in which the events in which the novel took place. Images posted in the blog of this Robo was actually Clevinger's player character model from the game City of Heroes. Somewhere in between, Clevinger would do crossovers with Ben Stone, a another LiveJournalist, and his character, Sir Reginald, a wizard, which spawned many bizarre yet interesting exploits.
According to descriptions and magazine scans created by Clevinger, the early Robo was much bulkier and possibly unusually muscular than the Robo known today, partly due to limitations of design in the game. He was fitted with bulky gauntlets to serve as his weapons mechanism, rocket-propelled boots, and a differently-designed head, with "fins" protruding from where his ears are, and much smaller, red-tinted eyes. It was in January 2007 when Robo "met up" with Scott Wegener and Brian Clevinger to propose a print comic chronicling his adventures. During the early stages of the print comic, Robo's design was heavily revamped to look much less bulkier and more human-like, removing features the early Robo had and replacing it with new ones. The head was also redesigned to look less like a Rocketeer helmet. Some foreshadowing was included until the first issue was released in October 2007. After that, the blog was dismantled and posts earlier than October 2007 were deleted.
Robo • Jenkins • Jack Tarot • The Sparrow • James Milligan • Lt. Everett • Carl Sagan • Dr. Yumeno • Science Team Super Five • Baron Heinrich von Helsingard • Otto Skorzeny • Dr. Vanadis Valkyrie • The Shadow From Beyond Time • Dr. Shinka • Thomas Edison • Ivan Koshchey • Dr. Dinosaur • Minor characters
|Terms and Technology|
Automatic Intelligence • Tesladyne • Big Science Incorporated • Lightning Gun • Action Scientists League • Gladys • Jeb • Laufpanzers • Brutes • Zorth • Vampire Dimension • Biomega • Weather Cannon • Quantum Decomputer • Dirk Daring, the Daring Dirk of Derring-Do • Operation Paperclip • Operation Majestic Twelve
|Personnel (aka Team Robo)|