Friday, June 16, 2017

Number 2063: Robotman: man-robot in the moon

Hmmm. This story is credited by the Grand Comics Database as being written by Otto Binder, who, when it was published in 1948, was one of, if not the main writer of Captain Marvel stories. So how did Binder work both sides of the street? I don’t know, but at the time Fawcett was being sued by DC for copyright infringement on Superman by Captain Marvel. It seems odd that Binder was writing for both publishers.

Robotman was created by Jerry Siegel, Superman’s co-creator, in 1942. I assume that Binder was aware that Robotman was a robot with a transplanted human brain. It made a puzzler of the panel where Robotman, marooned on the moon, thinks, “. . . there’s no sound on the moon because there’s no air to carry it! Good thing I don’t have to breathe!” But how did his human brain stay alive if he didn’t breathe, or have a blood supply to deliver oxygen to the brain? One also presumes, because of the original intention of the rocket to crash land on the moon, that no oxygen was provided during Robotman’s trip through space.

Arrrgh. My brain hurts just thinking about it.

Jimmy Thompson, an excellent but underrated Golden Age artist, did the artwork. He left comics after 1952, but was known for also working both sides of the street, having worked for Timely and DC at the same time.

From the Canadian printing of Detective Comics #141 (1948):

I have shown other Robotman stories, including this one with yet another serious error. Just click on the thumbnail.


Daniel [] said...

I'm … just going to try not to think about the comic-book science here. I already had a headache thinking about a street with Fawcett on one side, National on the other, and then Timely on yet another.

BillyWitchDoctor said...

Eh, I'm still trying to figure out how Robotman's faced worked, all these years later. Some sort of hologram?

In the original run of Doom Patrol, a baddie called the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man threatened the new version of Robotman by transforming into a swarm of gnats (ummm...) which tried to fly through the android's "ears" to attack his human brain. (Robotman actually panics at this, which was pretty wild for a superhero funny book even in the '60s.) Being an impressionable and ignorant child at the time, not only did I not realize that Robotman's hearing would be completely electronic, I became highly paranoid that my ears were an open pathway to my unprotected brain.