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Top Five Golden Age Robots!

Thanks to Jeremy A. Patterson for the idea (well, he just wanted SOME sort of Top Five involving odd Golden Age heroes, so I think this is close enough) on the Official Top Five Recommendation Thread on CBR.

This week’s topic is the Top Five Robot feature characters from the Golden Age of comics!!

Enjoy!

Thanks go, of course, to the inimitable Jess Nevins, whose profiles on Golden Age Timely characters are insanely valuable historical resources. We are lucky to have Jess in the ranks of comic historians.

HONORABLE MENTION

The Human Torch

They always made a point of not referring to the Torch as a robot, so I left him off the list, but I can see how folks would expect to see him here, and it’s a close enough call that I should at least have him here, as an Honorable Mention, to show folks that I WAS thinking about the character!

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5. Marvex the Super-Robot

marvex.jpg

A bunch of aliens intended to invade Earth, and they were going to use a robot they created to do so, by making the robot appear human. The robot, Marvex, however, rebelled and killed all the aliens, but an explosion deposited him on Earth anyways.

He then decided to use his armored skin (which afforded him invulnerability AND strength) to fight crime in the pages of Daring Mystery Comics for a few issues.

4. Flexo the Rubber Man

flexo.jpg

Mystic Comics was the home, for two issues, of this character, invented by two scientist brothers to fight crime.

His gimmick was that he could, well, bend. The only reason he beat out Marvex is because he looks so much cooler!

3. Bozo the Robot

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Unlike these other robots, Quality Comics’ Bozo the Robot actually made COVER appearances!

Besides that, Bozo is a fairly important character, if only because of how much of a (in retrospect) precursor he is to later characters.

Bozo was a giant robot who was created by an evil scientist to do bad things. Luckily for the world, Hugh Hazzard (a nice young man) overheard him, and stole the robot, using it as a force for good!

The deal was, Hugh would go INSIDE the robot and operate it from inside. Sorta like Iron Man (or any number of Diaclone-related toys).

2. Electro

elektro.jpg

How’s this for a cool concept?

This scientist is rich, but old, so he decides to use his wealth and knowledge to help the world.

So he creates a giant robot called Electro that will fight crime. He then creates a secret group of twelve operatives to go out and fight crime, equipping them each with special signaling devices that they can use to summon Electro when they need him.

Isn’t that a damned fine concept?

It was enough to last for fifteen issues as a back-up in Marvel Mystery Stories.

1. Robotman

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Robotman, clearly, has to be the cream of the Golden Age robot crop. He lasted in his own feature for quite awhile, and he was later revived by Roy Thomas as a member of the All Star Squadron!

Robert Crane and Charles Greyson were scientists who developed a way to store human organs in robots. Crooks overheard their discussions, and attacked them.

Crane was fatally wounded, so Greyson had no choice but to put Crane’s brain inside the Robot. The only problem is, when the police showed up, it looked like Greyson had murdered Crane!

So once the robot activated, Crane worked (as Robotman) to clear Greyson’s name. He did so, and the crooks stood trial for Crane’s murder. But in order for THAT to fit, he had to retire the name Robert Crane (a lot of bad luck with that name, anyways…hehe), so he became known as Paul Dennis!

Pretty cool, huh?

Well, that’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

13 Comments

Flexo sounds an awful lot like Bender from Futurama.

BizarroBeachHead

December 9, 2006 at 8:13 am

“Flexo sounds an awful lot like Bender from Futurama.”

Irony meter’s on the fritz! I’m not sure where to go with this, so I’ll just follow it up by saying:

Flexo sounds even more like FLEXO from Futurama….

What about the Original Human Torch?

I think you mistook “D’oh”s joke with ignorance BeachHead.

BizarroBeachHead

December 9, 2006 at 11:03 am

that’s what I was thinking, which is why I wasn’t sure where to go with it. So I just went with my initial reaction.

I am guessing the original Human Torch isn’t on the list because, technically, he’s an android, not a robot.

Any word if old Flexo influenced the new Flexo? The Star Trek episode had a ton of obscure SF references.

I was gonna say, does the Original Human Torch count? Android vs robot? What’s the difference?

Marvex the Super-Robot looks a lot like Conan O’Brien. Various permutations of such an amalgamation are playing out in my head, all of them awesome.

I added an honorable mention for the Human Torch. You’re right, in that I should have at least addressed WHY I didn’t include him as a robot! Thanks, folks!

Comparing Bozo the Robot to Transformers is somewhat misleading. The Diaclone line of toys in Japan were of the “man-in-robot” or mech idea that has been a staple of robot fiction in Japan to this day.

Transformers, on the other hand, while born of the Diaclone line, broke away from the mold in that they were sentient alien robots not controlled by other (organic) beings.

And I actually wish this list of Golden Age robots was longer. At least a “Top Ten” would have been nice.

Anyhoo…

I edited it to Diaclone just for you, Chris!

Cool list, Brian. It was revealed in Millenium that the Quality Comics’ Manhunter’s dog sidekick Thor was, in fact, a robot spy, but I guess retcons don’t count, do they?

I originally read this post title as “Top Five Golden Age Reboots”. Imagine my surprise to see Flexo the Rubber Man where Green Lantern shoulda been….

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