A five issue Comic Book miniseries written by Brett Lewis (co-writer of the Bulletproof Monk comic and writer of The Winter Men) and with art by Imaginary Friends Studios. The initial concept was created by Fall Out Boy bassist/lyricist/frontman Pete Wentz with illustrator Nathan Cabrera and fashion designer Darren Romanelli.
Taking place mainly in a Cyberpunk version of Los Angeles, the comic focuses on a robotic toy maker called The Toymaker who is barely keeping his company, Fall Out Toy Works, afloat. Years before, he was in the forefront of robotics technology, now he's being harassed by lawyers. In comes Baron, the man who has Los Angeles in a vice grip, controlling all forms of industry and even the local weather. He's prepared to pay the Toymaker handsomely if he manages to do the impossible: create a female robot capable of loving another being.
After a rough start, the robot Tiffany (named after an old song called "Tiffany Blews") is activated. She needs to experience life in order for her programming to function properly. Baron, being the dominating figure that he is, won't be having any of that. Tiffany is implanted with other people's memories, averaged out to maintain a balance. On top of the Toymaker dealing with a failing factory and a robot going through an existential crisis living with a man she might not even want to love comes another complication...The Toymaker has fallen in love with his creation. She might just feel the same. With Tiffany caught in the middle of the Toymaker and the Baron, who won't come out worse for wear?
With a story that explores What Measure Is a Non-Human?, the nature of love, whether or not love is any less real if it's programmed (into a human OR a robot), and a very, very, weird ending, Fall Out Toy Works manages to be nothing (yet everything) one would expect from a comic book based on Fall Out Boy. Much like My Fair Lady meets Blade Runner, but weirder.
The entire comic through Atomeka Press in webcomic format through Keenspot and in individual issue format through Graphite Comics. Issues 1-5 were compiled into a trade paperback with bonus material. Individual issues of the comic were available through Comixology (with issue one for free)note but are now mysteriously unavailable. Individual print issues and the trade paperback are no longer in print with no current plans for reprints or digital sales.
A Motion Comic adaptation is currently in Development Hell. If and when it does get released, it'll feature the voices of Patrick Stump (as the Toymaker), Pete Wentz (as Crybaby), Anna Faris (as Tiffany), and Jaime King (as Gravity Welles). Development Hell isn't new for Fall Out Toy Works as in its initial run, the releases for the last three issues took much longer than expected due to the writer being in a coma and Fall Out Boy going on break around the end of the series run. Ouch. The series was intended to expand further into a multimedia franchise with toys, fashion, and animated movies, with only the fashion component really being delivered on.
These pages contain spoilers, some of which may be unmarked. Proceed with caution.
- All There in the Manual: A good portion of background info merely glossed over in the comic (Baron's rise to power, the Toymaker's previous involvement in an anti-Baron smuggling operation/art collective, the Second Industrial Revolution, etc.) was mentioned on the comic's minisite. The section the information was included on has been broken for a matter of years, but can be read in full on this fan blog post. A portion of the info on the minisite was made available in a promotional article on Hypebeast, but it only focuses on the Second Industrial Revolution and Baron's rise to power.
- All Just a Dream: The entire premise of issue 3.
- Bilingual Bonus: Some of the various Los Angeles street signs and Gravity's dialogue can be this way for anyone fluent in Japanese. Those who are paying attention to Toymaker gambling in issue 1 will notice he's actually in a Korean bar, complete with a Jinro soju sign, a guy cursing "shibal", and the Toymaker excitedly exclaiming "assa" while playing with hwata cards. In issue 5, among the English and Japanese Christmas greetings in the city, there's also some in Indonesian and Russian.
- "Second Law" My Ass!: Mr. Moth puts calls in from other people regardless of Toymaker's say-so in issue 2 and makes some questionably legal arrangements to get Toymaker into Baron's shindig in issue three although Toymaker ended up dreaming all that up.
- Contemplate Our Navels: Infrequently throughout the miniseries and for the better part of the last issue.
- Cute Machines: The Toymaker excels at making these. See also, Crybaby.
- Deadpan Snarker: Even the robots get into it.
- Enfant Terrible: The kids whose father commissioned the Toymaker to make Crybaby for. They beat him with a baseball bat repeatedly and when the Toymaker comes in to fix him, their insistence on having their father buy Mr. Moth just so they could pit the two robots against each other was enough to make him take Crybaby back.
- Everyone Calls Him Toymaker: Hoo boy. The comic synopsis for the second issue said his actual name was Jasper and one of the data files Mr. Moth brings up in the fourth issue has his name as "Chris Toymakeras". The final page of the final issue reveals his name is actually Alistair and brings up the possibility of his last name actually being Toymaker. This page isn't available in the webcomic or trade paperback versions.
- Fake Memories: Implanted in her by the Baron and his scientists to try and avert having her experience real life and to speed up her development. This leads to her becoming rather unstable to the point where she purges herself of all of them, including some of the few actual memories she has.
- Faux Affably Evil: Baron makes himself out to be perfectly civil in his business dealings and even serves as a mall Santa for orphaned kids...but it's very much an act and only the most oblivious would be fooled.
- Gainax Ending: Issue 5. Long story short: Implanting false memories into a robot instead of allowing her to live life freely does not end well for all involved, especially when you're forced to see exactly how it affects her processing.
- He's Back!: Lampshaded by Mr. Moth and eventually carried out.
- Heroic BSoD: In issue 4 and issue 5, when Mr. Moth reveals that the real world experiences that Baron had agreed to let her pursue were actually Fake Memories taken in the same fashion as those that had been initially implanted into her. This breaks her down to the point where she chooses to hook herself into a machine that has Fake Memories mainlined into her.
- Toymaker, after the events of issue 3 when Tiffany is taken away from him (again).
- Love Imbues Life: The setup for issue 3 had the Toymaker going to Paris to meet with Toymaker's old college professor to make this happen. They manage to get it to work, but it doesn't stick considering it was All Just a Dream.
- Mars and Venus Gender Contrast: Discussed several times, though exclusively between the Toymaker and other male characters, with Tiffany's creation falling into stereotypes of women being mysterious and unpredictable. Tiffany and Gravity don't share the same attitudes towards men but have issues with getting the Toymaker and Baron to understand their perspective. Eventually Gravity gets fed up by Toymaker's obsession with Tiffany and being deceived by him. Tiffany ends up tired of both Baron and Toymaker trying to control her.
- Mecha-Mooks: Baron has several, including one he changes into a Mechanical Monster in Toymaker's dream sequence in issue 3.
- In issue 5, the Toymaker combines this trope with Cute Machines to storm Baron's compound.
- Mega-Corp: Baron's whole set up that has a production stranglehold on the city of Los Angeles.
- Neural Implanting: Of False Memories into Tiffany.
- Orwellian Retcon: The trade paperback and webcomic version take out the final page of issue 5, which changes the tone of the ending drastically.
- Plot Hole: The Stinger for Issue 1 shows a clean-cut Toymaker working on Tiffany's heart with the caption "ONE YEAR LATER." The second issue contradicts this, with a struggling Toymaker only just getting the idea of making her a heart a year later, with someone else actually doing the work on it. This stinger is cut out of the webcomic version but is still in the trade paperback.
- Ridiculously Human Robot: Shown and lampshaded in issue 4 with Tiffany having a cooldown smoke after an argument with Baron.
- Robot Buddy: Now in convenient cellular Snarky Nonhuman Sidekick flavor, as seen with Mr. Moth.
- Robot Kid: Crybaby is a boy robot in a bear suit pulled straight out of the cover art for Fall Out Boy's Folie a Deux. They also don't call him "Crybaby" for nothing.
- Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Toymaker goes into mass production of a pack of toy robots (with weapons and jetpacks), calls for help from old friends, and storms Baron's zeppelin base to get Tiffany back.
- Shout-Out: As expected with a comic based on a Fall Out Boy song, there are FOB lyric references galore (most obviously to "Tiffany Blews"). Most obscure reference would have to be to their debut EP with issue 2's title: "My Evening Out with Your Girlfriend",
- Baron's "phone with personality"◊ has the appearance of Goku with wings and brown hair.
- The toy robot attack◊ on Baron's base features a toy that looks like a mix of the Catbus and Totoro and a Kamen Rider toy!
- One of Baron's Mecha-Mooks in the beginning of issue four takes to the roof of the zeppelin to tend to his colitas. "Tiffany-twisted", indeed.
- If one looks closely at the backgrounds, a billboard for the Tanhauser Gates shows up.
- Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence: Tiffany and Mr. Moth are somewhere between grade 3 and 4, Crybaby and some of Baron's suitwearing Mecha-Mooks are grade 3, and the rest of Toymaker's creations and Barons Mecha-Mooks are grade 1.
- The Dog Bites Back: In issue 5, Tiffany's anger at both the Toymaker and the Baron continually not allowing her to define herself leads to her removing her Fake Memories, taking out Baron's airship, and escaping using Toymaker's mechanical wings.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The Rabbi who creates Tiffany's heart is confronted by one of Baron's Mecha-Mooks and is never heard from again, though you can probably assume the worst, knowing the Baron.
- What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: A common recurring theme, explored through Tiffany's relationships with Baron and the Toymaker.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Another common recurring theme, to a lesser extent than the above.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Directed by Gravity to Toymaker, accusing him of Revenge Before Reason and disapproving of him going to all that length for Tiffany for less than pure intentions.
- Zeppelins from Another World: Baron's base of operations.