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'Astrobots' Interview: Simon Furman Plays With Some New Toys

Interview by Troy-Jeffrey Allen

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From Simon Furman (Transformers, Marvel's Deaths Head) and Heavy Metal artist Hector Trunnec comes Astrobots. A mecha masterwork where The clock is ticking for planet Earth and humanity's only saviors are sentient robots! Or are they...? 

PREVIEWSworld talked with writer Simon Furman to find out more.

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PREVIEWSworld: Let’s get into ASTROBOTS  first. Catch us up to speed. What is the story about?

Simon Furman: Planet Earth is heading inexorably towards the stage it can no longer adequately support human life and a new breed of 'evolving AI' robots - Astrobots - are sent on missions to the stars to scout potential colony worlds and build biomes and cities for colonists to inhabit. But when the AI evolves a little faster and further than was anticipated, the Astrobots begin to question their prime directives, and agendas, ambitions, and egos start to muddy the water. By the time the first shipload of human colonists is on final approach to Colony World-1 a LOT has changed, and the self-appointed patriarch of mankind - Atlas - has his own warped vision of what's best for humanity. 

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PREVIEWSworld: What can you tell us about Atlas? What is his beef with humanity?

Simon Furman: Atlas is a dichotomy - on the one hand his core programming is to serve humanity, but his evolved AI tells him that humans cannot be trusted to not simply repeat the mistakes of the past on this brave new world. His solution to this is as appalling as it is coldly logical. A lot's happened to Atlas since he first set foot on Colony World-1, and he now genuinely believes he is the saviour of both Astrobots and humankind. But as so often, pursuing his vision of a new Eden comes at a price - as he will brook no opposing viewpoint or agenda. So, Atlas City has become a very oppressive place, and there are huge rumblings of dissent, insurgencies, and conspiracies... and a very dogged and intransigent Astrobot named Apollo - who is very soon at odds with Atlas.

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PREVIEWSworld: This is a toyline, correct? How did you get involved with Astrobots as a property?  

Simon Furman: I was approached by the people behind the Astrobot toys, Aaron Thomas and Esmond Zhou, and asked to world-build and craft a storyline to support the toyline. Both had ideas about that already but needed me to refine that into a compelling narrative. It was just putting the meat on the bones of what they already had and then executing it in as exciting a way as possible. The massive conspiracy at the heart of the first Astrobots arc was something I added to the mix, to support the interactions between Atlas, Apollo, and Athenia (and then broaden the cast, and scope and implement a time-twisty element to the story).

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PREVIEWSworld: What made you want to set this story away from Earth?

Simon Furman: It was important to jump into the story at a point where a lot has already happened. With Colony World-1 and Atlas City (and a whole Astrobot society) already up and running and functional - with a fair bit of water under the bridge (and secrets to discover and unravel). It would have been too slow to begin at the very start, but we will keep looping back to interim events that have contributed to the current state of play. 

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PREVIEWSworld: Is this more of a Saturday morning romp or something much darker?

Simon Furman: Oh, much darker and very layered. There's a lot going on. In among the action, there are political machinations, agendas, secrets, and a real stunner of a mystery with utterly drastic consequences for those involved. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem, and the lurking in the wilderness is a place called The Dead Zone, that Apollo and Atlas both sprang from. What happened there is... well, pretty nasty. And it's going to come back and bite everyone!

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PREVIEWSworld: Tell us about your collaborators on the book. Who is the team on the series?

Simon Furman: Of course, there's Aaron and Esmond - they're such a big and integral part of Astrobots. And our artist, Hector Trunnec - has just taken Aaron's designs and my vision for Atlas City and run with them. He's such a great storyteller and really manages to inject personality into the Astrobots themselves. After just one issue I knew we were in safe hands.

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PREVIEWSworld: What separates Astrobots from some of the other properties you’ve worked on in the past? Say, for instance, Transformers…?

Simon Furman: Transformers is nearly 40 years old now, with a lot of lore and history and the input of a whole host of writers and artists, but Astrobots is entry-level, a proper starting-from-scratch epic in the making. There's so much more already in the pipeline I can't talk about yet, but trust me - it's got all the breadth and potential to be a proper rival to the robots in disguise in the fullness of time. It's very liberating to be the primary architect of this exciting and different saga.

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Astrobots is available to preorder now with PREVIEWSworld Pullbox or at your local comic shop! It hits comic shops on May 3, 2023 from WhaTNot Publishing Cave

Keep an eye on PREVIEWSworld.com's TwitterFacebookYouTube, or Instagram for more artist spotlights!

MASSIVE - WHATNOT
ASTROBOTS #1 (OF 5) CVR A KNOTT
(W) Simon Furman (A) Hector Trunnec (CA) Phillip Knott
Cover by Philip Knott, known for his work on IDW's Transformers: Last Bot Standing.
Simon Furman, writer of the original Transformers comic series and creator of Marvel's Death's Head,
has teamed up with Heavy Metal artist Hector Trunnec to create an all-new Mecha-Masterwork based
on the toyline designed by Aaron Thomas.
Pathfinders, Pioneers...breaking new ground in the furthest reaches of the galaxy...they are -
ASTROBOTS.
The clock is ticking for planet Earth and the race is on to find a new world capable of sustaining human
life. New, sophisticated machine lifeforms called Astrobots are dispatched to scout far-flung worlds in
the hope of crafting a new home. With food and raw materials running out and climate disasters
escalating, the evacuation of the entire human population is the only slender hope remaining.
On Colony World 1, a catastrophic power struggle forges a new - all-Astrobot - society, and presiding
over this nascent civilization is Atlas, an evolved mech with a futureproof plan. A plan that does not
include humankind.
In Shops: May 03, 2023
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #432

MASSIVE - WHATNOT
ASTROBOTS #1 (OF 5) CVR B TRUNNEC
(W) Simon Furman (A/CA) Hector Trunnec
ASTROBOTS series artist, Hector Trunnec (Heavy Metal), debuts his first cover with Whatnot Publishing.

Simon Furman, writer of the original Transformers comic series and creator of Marvel's Death's Head, has teamed up with Heavy Metal artist Hector Trunnec to create an all-new Mecha-Masterwork based on the toyline designed by Aaron Thomas.
  
Pathfinders, Pioneers...breaking new ground in the furthest reaches of the galaxy...they are - ASTROBOTS.
  
The clock is ticking for planet Earth and the race is on to find a new world capable of sustaining human life. New, sophisticated machine lifeforms called Astrobots are dispatched to scout far-flung worlds in the hope of crafting a new home. With food and raw materials running out and climate disasters escalating, the evacuation of the entire human population is the only slender hope remaining.
  
On Colony World 1, a catastrophic power struggle forges a new - all-Astrobot - society, and presiding over this nascent civilization is Atlas, an evolved mech with a futureproof plan. A plan that does not include humankind.
In Shops: May 03, 2023
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #433

MASSIVE - WHATNOT
ASTROBOTS #1 (OF 5) CVR C BURCHAM
(W) Simon Furman (A) Hector Trunnec (CA) Josh Burcham
Series artist on the ongoing series Transformers: Beast Wars, and the cover artist on many other Transformers series, Josh Burcham, brings his experience to the next epic mechanical adventure.

Simon Furman, writer of the original Transformers comic series and creator of Marvel's Death's Head, has teamed up with Heavy Metal artist Hector Trunnec to create an all-new Mecha-Masterwork based on the toyline designed by Aaron Thomas.
  
Pathfinders, Pioneers...breaking new ground in the furthest reaches of the galaxy...they are - ASTROBOTS.
  
The clock is ticking for planet Earth and the race is on to find a new world capable of sustaining human life. New, sophisticated machine lifeforms called Astrobots are dispatched to scout far-flung worlds in the hope of crafting a new home. With food and raw materials running out and climate disasters escalating, the evacuation of the entire human population is the only slender hope remaining.
  
On Colony World 1, a catastrophic power struggle forges a new - all-Astrobot - society, and presiding over this nascent civilization is Atlas, an evolved mech with a futureproof plan. A plan that does not include humankind.
In Shops: May 03, 2023
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #433

MASSIVE - WHATNOT
ASTROBOTS #1 (OF 5) CVR D PEREZ
(W) Simon Furman (A) Hector Trunnec (CA) Josh Perez
Josh Perez, cover artist on Transformers, IDW's Godzilla, Megaman: Master Mix, UDON's Street Fighter, and
more, brings his experience with giant robots and anime to the world of Astrobots.
Simon Furman, writer of the original Transformers comic series and creator of Marvel's Death's Head, has teamed
up with Heavy Metal artist Hector Trunnec to create an all-new Mecha-Masterwork based on the toyline designed
by Aaron Thomas.
Pathfinders, Pioneers...breaking new ground in the furthest reaches of the galaxy...they are - ASTROBOTS.
The clock is ticking for planet Earth and the race is on to find a new world capable of sustaining human life. New,
sophisticated machine lifeforms called Astrobots are dispatched to scout far-flung worlds in the hope of crafting a
new home. With food and raw materials running out and climate disasters escalating, the evacuation of the entire
human population is the only slender hope remaining.
On Colony World 1, a catastrophic power struggle forges a new - all-Astrobot - society, and presiding over this
nascent civilization is Atlas, an evolved mech with a futureproof plan. A plan that does not include
humankind.
In Shops: May 03, 2023
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #433

MASSIVE - WHATNOT
ASTROBOTS #1 (OF 5) CVR E KRAFT
(W) Simon Furman (A) Hector Trunnec (CA) Devin Kraft
Art by Devin Kraft, Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) cover artist and the creator of Neverender (Sumerian Comics).
Simon Furman, writer of the original Transformers comic series and creator of Marvel's Death's Head, has teamed
up with Heavy Metal artist Hector Trunnec to create an all-new Mecha-Masterwork based on the toyline designed
by Aaron Thomas.
Pathfinders, Pioneers...breaking new ground in the furthest reaches of the galaxy...they are - ASTROBOTS.
The clock is ticking for planet Earth and the race is on to find a new world capable of sustaining human life. New,
sophisticated machine lifeforms called Astrobots are dispatched to scout far-flung worlds in the hope of crafting a
new home. With food and raw materials running out and climate disasters escalating, the evacuation of the entire
human population is the only slender hope remaining.
On Colony World 1, a catastrophic power struggle forges a new - all-Astrobot - society, and presiding over this
nascent civilization is Atlas, an evolved mech with a futureproof plan. A plan that does not include humankind.
In Shops: May 03, 2023
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #433

 

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 Troy-Jeffrey Allen is the producer and co-host of PREVIEWSworld Weekly. His comics work includes MF DOOM: All Caps, Public Enemy's Apocalypse '91, Fight of the Century, the Harvey Award-nominated District Comics, and the Ringo Awards-nominated Magic Bullet.

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