Welcome to webcomic hype! I am really excited to tell you guys about this new webcomic – Atom Bug! Not only is the concept a lot of fun, but there’s a limited edition soundtrack available for free for subscribing too!
Atom Bug is about the final stand in an apocalyptic take over on Proton Planet. If you check out the website, atombug.net, the description tells an exciting story:
“The Defendants struggle to save their homeworld from an apocalyptic shadowform.
Proton Planet lay peaceful until the arrival of the Otherworlders. Led by Asterix, self-appointed king who offers no compromise and no negotiation, the OtherWorlders begin the apocalyptic shadowform of the planet while simultaneously dealing with their last obstacle… Atom Bug and the Defendants. Remnants of the nearly extinct inhabitants of Proton Planet, the Defendants band together to thwart Asterix and his Otherworlders from total annihilation. The odds stacked against them, Atom Bug will lead the fragmented races against the clock as their world slowly falls to their demonic foes.”
Not only is the concept behind Atom Bug enough to keep me reading, I absolutely love the artwork. I got the chance to ask the creator, Michael Mauro, some questions to learn more about the talent behind this awesome project:
Comics and Cashmere (CC): What inspired you to create Atom Bug? Anything that influenced you early on?
Michael Mauro (MM): Atom Bug’s direct influences are Spider-man, Mega Man, Skylanders, Jeff Smith’s Bone, Sonic the Hedgehog and a mish-mash of comics of the late ’80’s and early ’90’s. Like many other kids growing up, I wanted to make my own comic book.
Since it always starts with what you’re reading and what stories you like to follow, I knew I wanted to make an action title with acrobatic fight scenes. The goal was to be able to pull off all the jumping, swinging, and other wild poses that make the Spider-Man comics come to life and unique. With source material from influences like Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen, and Mark Bagley the answer was to make a character that fought like Spider-man but wasn’t human at all, thus making it an original IP.
This is where the problems I have with Sonic turned into my solution: I loved the Sonic the Hedgehog video games but the cartoons and comics were just laughable, campy stories that I thought only pandered to little kids. Because of this, I felt I was going to outgrow Sonic real fast and since the material wasn’t changing (if only getting worse), that problem turned into a solution for what is now known as Atom Bug, a title mainly targeted for teens. I essentially wanted a title that a teenager could pick up without cringing at the writing or slapstick. Throw in the action of a Spider-Man book, writing geared for older fans and a colorful art style and you have something fresh!
CC: Yes! I can see that. The artwork is fantastic! What kind of process do you use for creating and designing characters?
MM: I come from a traditional art background. I was born into the age of computers, but nothing like we have today. It was a good time to grow up side-by-side with technology, I feel I was able to get in all the analog processes of my art, maturing into a digital artist but only after nailing down the solid foundations. Young artists today have to avoid the tech to really teach them the basics– I had no choice! That being said, I have my trusty Wacom tablet and Alienware workstation, but my drawing desk isn’t far away. I have sharpened pencils and rolling rulers ready to use!
CC: You can definitely tell you enjoy what you do! I also love the idea of a soundtrack. How did that come to be?
MM: The world of Webcomics is heavily saturated. Even if your title has an advantage in terms of writing and art quality, it’s irrelevant if no one can find it. I wanted to think outside the box and offer future readers a unique gift that hasn’t been done yet. I’ve been told Atom Bug would also translate really well into a video game or cartoon, so why not dream a little with an original soundtrack as if there was one?
CC: For fun, if you could be any fictional character, who would you become and why?
MM: Spidey! Everyone wants to fly, but what if you could come CLOSE to that without following the herd? Compliment the web-swinging with an early warning spider-sense and the ability to lift 10 tons?… I’m in!
CC: What do you see for the future of Atom Bug?
MM: I actually have some 3D art and animation training, so I’ve dabbled in translating Atom Bug into a game. I’ve had some success but am focusing on building an audience through the webcomic first. I wouldn’t mind assembling a team one day to tackle the project, but I’m going to make sure I have the fans who would be there to help Kickstart it. Game development is an expensive monster.
CC: Very true. I would love to see it as a game! For the readers, is there anything else you’d like to share about Atom Bug?
MM: The webcomic is absolutely free and the soundtrack is still available if you sign up for my newsletter before July 10th. I have limited rights to the soundtrack and I definitely can’t sell it so really, it’s not a tactic– I can’t offer it much after July 10th!
There are plenty of other things in the works, however, so signing up really gets you in on the ground floor for a lot of it. You can bet I’ll be running a giveaway in the near future for subscribers!
CC: It sounds like there’s a lot in store for Atom Bug! What would you say is your favorite part about the process of creating an indie comic?
MM: The entire process is self-driven! If you succeed, you don’t share or lose any of the spotlight. If you fail, you have no one else to blame. Your actions are your own which can be a good or bad thing, but it’s the chance to take your passions seriously and find out what you’re really capable of. Sure, you don’t have an unlimited budget but you don’t have a suit standing over your shoulder, either!
Hurry over before JULY 10th to get the soundtrack and webcomic! You don’t want to miss it! Follow Atom Bug and stay tuned for more updates!