'Not All Robots' Interview: Mark Russell Asks...Can Humans And Robots Co-Exist?


Interview by Troy-Jeffrey Allen 

In the year 2056, robots have replaced human beings in the workforce. Naturally, that has caused quite a bit of friction between humans and automatons. Oh, and then it gets worse... 

In the following interview, Mark Russell (Flintstones, Fantastic Four: Life Story) talks about NOT ALL ROBOTS, his new series with artist Mike Deodato (The Amazing Spider-Man, The Resistance)! Hitting comic shops today from AWA studios, the new series asks the question: can humans and robots co-exist? Or are we all destined for conflict? Answer carefully. Your smartphone is listening...  

 

PREVIEWSworld: What’s with our collective fascination with killer robots? You’re clearly not alone in your interest in them.

Mark Russell: I think it’s because this is the future we all secretly suspect is waiting for us. Artificial intelligence and the singularity seem like a fait accompli at this point and if we design it to be anything like us, it will probably behave dismissively toward any form of life it regards to be lower on the food chain. Maybe this is why we don’t put any effort into solving the actual problems the human race faces. We feel like we’re at the end so we’ve collectively decided to take a senior skip day.

PREVIEWSworld: So what is NOT ALL ROBOTS?

Mark Russell: The pat answer is that it tells the story of a future when all jobs are held by sentient robots, so the powers that be deal with the fact that no human can get a job by assigning a robot to every human household, to act as their breadwinner. Predictably, this creates a lot of resentment, both on the part of the humans who have to deal with this monster living in their house, and on the part of the robot, who has to support the humans in its care. In a more abstract sense, it’s a loose metaphor for toxic masculinity.

PREVIEWSworld: Tell us about the Walters. Why do we end up reading about their household?

Mark Russell: They are the human family this story follows. They are pretty nervous about having a robot in the house, except for the father, Donny, that is. He feels like maybe he was the house robot before they got an actual robot, so he sympathizes with Razorball, the Walters’ housebot.

PREVIEWSworld: What can you tell us about Razorball?

Mark Russell: Razorball feels like the Walters don’t really care about him and that they’re just biding their time until they can replace him, which is a real possibility because there is a new product, a more human-like line of robots called mandroids that are on the way.

PREVIEWSworld: Is your story decidedly anti-robot or pro-robot? Or somewhere in-between?

Mark Russell: It’s not really either. It’s against reducing people and robots to their economic function. It’s pro-accepting that people (and robots) have value independently of how economically useful they are.

PREVIEWSworld: Any particular reason you chose the year 2056 to kick things off?

Mark Russell: It’s a pretty arbitrary date, but I was thinking forty years after the 2016 election. Forty years after it became incredibly apparent how powerful social media algorithms were as forces shaping human destiny.

PREVIEWSworld: You’ve got Mike Deodato involved? How has the creative process been between you two?

Mark Russell: Mike and I don’t communicate a whole lot, actually. Mostly because his initial designs and his grasp of the world was so good and polished right out of the gate. He’s an incredible artist and I’m really looking forward to people seeing what he’s done with this title.

PREVIEWSworld: In terms of audience, who is NOT ALL ROBOTS for?

Mark Russell: I guess everything I write is written for people like myself. Which is, to say, people who look at the world and wonder how it all went so wrong when it could have been a party for all concerned. People who like science fiction best when it operates as a sort of social metaphor.

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Not All Robots (JUL211635) hits comic shops on August 4th from AWA Studios. Order your copy today using PREVIEWSworld Pullbox. More details below.  

FAIRSQUARE COMICS LLC
(W) David Walker, Brandon Thomas, Melody Cooper, Brandon Easton, Various (A) N. Steven Harris, MD Bright, Marcus Williams, Karen Darboe, Walt Barna, David Brame (A/CA) Various
Unhinged. Unfiltered. Unstoppable... This is Noir Is The New Black: 40 Black creators delivering 16 Noir stories in a unique way. for the first time, the most successful African American comic book creators like David F.walker, Brandon Thomas, Brandon Easton, Melody Cooper, Md Bright, N.steven Harris as well as a new generation of writers and artists of color from all around the world such as Karen S. Darboe, Walt Barna, Marcus Williams, Quinn Mcgowan, Roxxy Haze, Greg Burnham, and many more, are banding together for a unique anthology of 100% creator-owned Black Noir comic stories.
In Shops: Sep 01, 2021
SRP: $25.00
PREVIEWS Page #306

ARTISTS WRITERS & ARTISANS INC
(W) Mark Russell (A) Mike Deodato (CA) Rahzzah
In the year of 2056, robots have replaced human beings in the workforce. An uneasy co-existence develops between the newly intelligent robots and the ten billion humans living on Earth. Every human family is assigned a robot upon whom they are completely reliant. What could possibly go wrong? Meet the Walkers, a human family whose robot, Razorball, ominously spends his free time in the garage working on machines which they're pretty sure are designed to kill them.
In Shops: Sep 08, 2021
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #277

ARTISTS WRITERS & ARTISANS INC
(W) Mark Russell (A) Mike Deodato (CA) Rahzzah
In the year 2056, robots have replaced human beings in the workforce. An uneasy co-existence develops between the newly intelligent robots and the ten billion humans living on Earth. Every human family is assigned a robot upon whom they are completely reliant. What could possibly go wrong? Meet the Walters, a human family whose robot, Razorball,
ominously spends his free time in the garage working on machines which they're pretty sure are designed to kill them in this sci-fi satire from Mark Russell (The Flintstones, Second Coming) and Mike Deodato Jr. (The Amazing Spider-Man, The Resistance).
In Shops: Oct 20, 2021
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #285

ARTISTS WRITERS & ARTISANS INC
(W) Jeff McComsey, Dan Panosian (A) Javier Pulido, Shawn Crystal (CA) Andrew Robinson
Intergalactic virus liquefy one of your heads? Feeling a bit "off" ever since you drove through that black hole? Then visit the ET-ER, the galaxy's leading medical facility. This interplanetary crew of doctors, nurses, paramedics, and technicians is uniquely qualified to cure what ails you. There's no planet too far, no asteroid too small, no patient too, well alien - and they accept most forms of insurance. This super-sized debut special includes two stories of medical madness that are out of this world.
In Shops: Oct 13, 2021
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #285

ARTISTS WRITERS & ARTISANS INC
(W) Rob Williams (A) Will Conrad (CA) Tim Bradstreet
In the waning days of World War Two, with the Allies advancing, a desperate Nazi officer unearths an ancient force of evil that he hopes will turn the tide of battle: a vampire. To test the power of his secret weapon, he unleashes the monster on an unsuspecting group of Allied POWs. It's up to Nocona, a Comanche language expert, to communicate with the
vampire to find out what it really wants.
In Shops: Oct 06, 2021
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #284

ARTISTS WRITERS & ARTISANS INC
(W) J. Michael Straczynski (A/CA) Steve Epting
The brand new epic from comic book legends J. Michael Straczynksi (The Amazing Spider-Man, Thor) and Steve Epting
(Captain America: The Winter Soldier). An electromagnetic disturbance results in the sudden awakening of telepathic
powers in a tenth of the Earth's population. In the moments after the world comes to grip with this development, newlyBoston police find themselves sent against a wrongly convicted prisoner who becomes a hero and leader of
other telepaths trying to escape a world in which their powers will make them targets. Both are heroes of their own story,
and the future may depend on whether or not trust can be found between them
In Shops: Sep 01, 2021
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #276

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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 Apocalpyse '91, Fight of the Century, the Harvey Award-nominated District Comics, and the Ringo Awards-nominated Magic Bullet.

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