69 years ago - Cliff Steele is born.
51 years ago - 18-year-old Cliff becomes a stunt driver.
43 years ago - 26-year-old Cliff suffers a catastrophic accident. Niles Caulder moves his living brain into a robot body.
17 years ago - 52-year-old Cliff's body is destroyed in the same explosion that "killed" the original Doom Patrol.
13 years ago - 56-year-old Cliff has his brain digitally uploaded into a new robot body by Will Magnus. He joins Arani Desai's new Doom Patrol and begins searching for Niles Caulder.
11 years ago - 58-year-old Cliff & the rest of the Doom Patrol locate Niles Caulder. Cliff's digital memories are used to jumpstart Chiefs memories.
10 years ago - 59-year-old Cliff first meets Kate Goodwin when she contacts Niles Caulder to help her control her powers, working briefly with the Doom Patrol.
1 year ago - 68-year-old Cliff Steele is damaged during the battle against Maggeddon. He goes to the island of Doc Magnus for repairs, staying on to lead the Metal Men.
Robotman is actually an incredibly enduring character in DC Comics, dating all the way back to 1942, when a version of the character named Robert Crane was one of the original All-Star Squadron. This was the character that was featured in the elseworlds Golden Age series, but soon he was replaced with the Cliff Steele Robotman, a founding member of the original Doom Patrol. While the concept of a human brain trapped in a robot body is a pretty standard one in science fiction it provides a lot of pretty heady territory for questions about the intrinsic nature of humanity and of identity, once you have a writer willing to ask them. Thankfully, Grant Morrison wrote the Doom Patrol for some time, and we got to enjoy Cliff's slow, melancholy exploration of himself and what was left of his humanity.
We deliberately extended Cliff's time as Robotman to the very early parts of Chief Niles Caulder's career, allowing him to become the Robotman even in the All-Star Squadron. Also, as Cliff has been the most prominent character in every iteration of the Doom Patrol, we made his return from the accident that killed the original members the catalyst for Arani forming the new team to search for the chief. We even made the construction of Cliff's new body the thing that really jumpstarts Will Magnus's career. The Metal Men and the Doom Patrol have always had a certain connection, and it was gratifying to write that into the story.
Lastly, we deliberately included a specific element from Morrison's run: Cliff's relationship with Kate Goodwin, one of the only transwomen ever depicted in comics. It's a fantastic moment of self actualization in Cliff's story, and something comics could definitely use more of.