Friday, September 10, 2010

Number 805

Bozo the 'bot

It's hard to take a robot named Bozo serious, but readers of Smash Comics did that from the first issue to #41, when he clanked off for the last time.

Bozo probably got his name from the West African Bozo tribe of Mali. The robot preceded Bozo the Clown. George Brenner, one of the first comic book men, created Bozo and his owner, Hugh Hazzard, using the pseudonym Wayne Reid. Brenner created the first masked comic book hero, the Clock, in 1936.

This is the origin story of Bozo, such as it is. It has stock elements like a mad scientist (driven mad by his "need for funds" as the newspaper headline says), Dr. Von Thorp, creator of Bozo. The hero who gets Bozo after the mad doctor is taken down is rich guy Hugh Hazzard, who fights crime on the side. I guess the idea of rich people in the 1930s--at least in comics and pulps--was that they were idle playboys who needed secret identities to be able to work.

Bozo is believed to be the first robot to be featured on the cover of a comic book, and who am I to argue? It also preceded the 1941 Fleischer Superman cartoon, "The Mechanical Monsters," flying robots, manipulated by remote control and used to steal jewels. Bozo was preceded by Adam Link, the artificial intelligence robot from the series by Eando Binder. Adam Link first appeared in Amazing Stories, dated January 1939.

From Smash Comics #1, 1939:

1 comment:


The cover of that comic book reminded me of a movie called THE MONSTER AND THE APE- It's an movie serial that featured a killer gorilla and a robot- The poster to the serial shows them fighting with each other.