Robots and Comics. Special of Apocolytes World of Comics Blog

 


For almost as long as there have been comic books,
there have been ROBOTS appearing in their pages, teasing our imaginations.

 

Where did the first robots come from in popular culture?
By all  best research, L. Frank Baum’s 1907 children’s novel OZMA OF OZ featured the first appearance of a humanoid mechanical creature, TIK-TOK, utilizing internal clockwork movements that needed to be wound by another in order for him to keep functioning.
The actual word “Robot” first was used in a play written by Karel Capek in 1920, “R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots)”, which later came to New York (1922) and eventually was published in English in 1923. Capek actually credits his brother Josef with coining the term, derived from “robota”, which in Czech means “drudgery”, and in Slovak means “work”.
 
 
 
Robots and other science fiction themes soon appeared throughout a variety of pulp magazines and novels throughout the late 20’s and 30’s. Brothers Earl and Otto (Eando) Binder published their tale of Adam Link, titled “I, ROBOT” in the January 1939 issue of AMAZING STORIES.
Isaac Asimov, who is responsible for creating the Three Laws of Robotics
had a collection of short stories focusing on robots,
also titled (against the author’s wishes) I, ROBOT in 1950.
One of the first recurring robots stars of the comics was Hugh Hazard’s Iron Man, later named BOZO the Robot, who was featured prominently in Quality ‘s SMASH Comics. First appearing in the premiere issue in August 1939, Bozo was essentially a walking tin can.
According to Grand Comics Database, BOZO creator George Brenner
 “probably created Bozo from the golden robot Elektro, 
which was made by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation 
and presented to the 1939 New York World’s Fair. It was 7′ tall
 and performed a variety of feats, but could not house a human being.”

 

Westinghouse’  7-foot tall Robot ELEKTRO was capable of speech (via an internal 78 RPM phonograph)!
 So many robots have come and gone throughout the last 3/4 of a century.
I’m sure you have some favorites from your own memories.
Here are just a few samples of robots in media…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Over the next seven days
(or more – I’ve got waaaay too many stories to post for just one week)
I’ll be showing you a variety of comic stories and art that all share one thing in common –
First story for today comes from comics maestro Basil Wolverton.
Published originally in WEIRD MYSTERIES #2, 1952,
and lovingly digitally restored by yours truly for your enjoyment here,

ROBOT WOMAN!

 
 
– Digitally Restored Comic Art –
 
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Ah, Robot Women…just like real women.
…ya can’t live with ’em, and…
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Next, we have the original appearance of the earlier mentioned
BOZO, the IRON MAN!
From SMASH Comics #1, 1939.
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Mmmmmm, yummy motor oil!
Yeah, Robots have changed a lot since this comics was published…
Comics have changed a lot since then, too!
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For a final encore today we have a selection of Wally Wood illustrations
done for Galaxy and other sci-fi magazines in the 50’s.
 
Enjoy!
-click to enlarge-

 

 

 

 

 

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