(1) I love British comics and (2) I love robots so it’s only natural that (3) I love British robots, and British kids must certainly have loved them as well given the way they kept popping up in their comics. Funny ones, serious ones, just plain weird ones; it’s embarrassing to admit but when it comes to robots having their own comic book features the British have us beat by a mile. So in desperate hopes that there’s someone besides me who cares about this sort of thing, I present…a bunch of British robots.
First off, from The Dandy here’s another adorable, yet deeply disturbing installment of Tomtin & Buster Brass:
Now here’s a strange one. It’s starts out in Smash as Rebels On The Run, a pretty standard British boys feature about the Rebel Brothers, a trio of orphans who ran away from their orphanage because they didn’t want to be separated. Standard British boys adventures quickly ensue.
But this was the 60′s and Smash a fairly new weekly and the editor must have decided this kind of feature was more in D.C. Thompson’s wheelhouse than it was Fleetway’s and it was rebooted into The Rebel Robot. The Rebel Brothers discover their dead father had been a secret agent and had his thought processes programmed into a computer by a super scientist who then placed it into a robot.
And what a robot! Let’s take a second to fully appreciate that design. Sure, the chassis is pretty classic 60′s robot design (accept of course for the fact for some reason your Grandma’s radio has been lodged in it’s chest) but otherwise…it’s got a glass jar head, all the better to show off it’s electronic brain, with the TV antenna making it look a bit like Ro-Man from the movie Robot Monster.
Weird, but, wait, they’re not done; for some reason it’s been given a chain mail skirt and metal claws for hands. But not only does it have fairly humanoid legs it’s got toes. Toes!!!
You would think that at least one of the Rebel Brothers would have had a little trouble adjusting to the fact that their dead father’s mind had been placed inside a robot. Or the robot would be wracked with your basic man-or-machine type existential crisis. And while I have doubt somebody over at Vertigo could turn this premise into a taut little family psychodrama. But this was a 1960′s British boys adventure comic so the boys and the robot just got on with the business of having super-spy/superhero tinged adventures; see below:
Then we come to Uncle Ironsides from Buster. He’s an experimental robot who’s come to live with the Carter Family a typical British family for unspecified reasons. Among his many other super magic robot powers Uncle Ironsides can reproduce at will as he has constructed for Joey a mechanical playmate named Tinhead who is dressed like a British schoolboy for some reason.
And finally, I present Danny Drew’s Dialling Man who as transforming robots go is a tad underwhelming.
— Steve Bennett