Friday, February 20, 2009

When Robots were as Cool as their Comics

I make a solid attempt to read, at least, one comic book every night. Due to my two older brothers, I became hooked on comics even before I could read. That was the beauty of comics. They didn't hide their secrets from a curious four year old, the art told the story while you just casually flipped through the colorful pages.

Although my brothers had a big glorious bundle of Superman and Batman comics, it was the well-worn odd-ball DC titles that attracted me most, then and today. I loved Challengers of the Unknown, Mystery in Space, Metamorpho, Tomahawk, Doom Patrol, and Metal Men.

Once I was old enough to actually read Metal Men, a comic book featuring a team of heroic shape-shifting robots, I was a comics and science fiction fan for life. The comics were a fine introduction to real science, too, making the Periodic Table much more interesting and fun than any chemistry class I ever half dozed through.

The characters themselves were fabulous, oozing with personality, which was something I never saw before in robots. DC has published two Metal Men Showcase volumes that are still available. That's almost a thousand pages of weirdo robot adventure for about the same price as eight or nine new comics.

Another thing I like about the Showcase books is that they're printed on newsprint, just like the old comics used to be. Smuggy black ink saturating a light beige page of cheap newsprint is one of my favorite smells. Maybe that's one of the reasons most of today's comic books lack personality, their slick too-expensive paper feels and stinks like plastic to me.

I love the Metal Men. Think you will too. Seek them out!


  1. I totally agree Martin. Even tho Marvels superheroes caught my eye and most of my reading - I too was drawn to the odd DC titles. Cave Carson, Tommy Tomorrow, Blackhawk, Adam Strange, the War that Time Forgot, and especially the Challengers of the Unknown.

  2. OMG- what does it say about me that I know some of these titles???

  3. What it says, my dear Nancy, is that you are every bit as cool as I thought you were!

  4. I introduced my son to the Metal Men a few months back with the same mid-seventies issues that turned me into a fan. When he responded the way I expected, I had to go out and get the Metal men Archives volume, which he finished overnight.

  5. I agree, I looked at comics before I learned to read them, and could follow the stories pretty well that way ;)

    Yes, I think comics should go back to pulp paper too. I can't believe that slick paper would cost the same as the old pulp. Now we'll have the added convenience of downloading it to our iPad. Actually that sounds like a cool idea to me--call me crazy, but it's just a newer step towards the future. I never would have thought back when I was watching Star Trek on TV during the 60's that such wild things would be possible.