2000 AD Prog Slog

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Prog 112

Anyway, as I was saying before I got distracted by Wulf Sternhammer's cucumber; that Ian Gibson's a good artist, isn't he?

This prog sees the conclusion to Sam Slade's (that's S L A Y E D to you) first adventure as Robo-Hunter. It finishes with the robo-planet Verdus burning after he lets off some sort of electro-magnetic pulse that destroys all the robots living there. Someone should say something to Ro-Jaws and Hammer-stein because over in Ro-Busters, currently running in 2000 AD, all the droids there are trying to reach a utopian world for robots that some bloke told them about in a pub.

Under the surface, these two strips portray robots quite differently to each other. In Ro-Busters, they are analogous to the working class. The reader is supposed to empathise with the characters and want them to succeed (succeed meaning survive). In Robo-Hunter, they might be fun caricatures but, at the end of the day, they are seen as machines programmed to replicate human behavior and not as living beings. Either this or I am so appalled at thought of Sam Slade wiping out a planetful of them that I've superimposed this interpretation onto the strip as part of my coping mechanism. It’s not the notion that the strip's star Slade has committed robo-genocide that appalls me but with the implication that writer John Wagner has painted himself into a corner with the plot and this is all he can think to do to wrap the story up.

In any other industry, the artist would have to go through an approval process when designing new characters but this couldn't have been the case with Gibson. He must have designed hundreds of characters drawing this strip. Unlike Ro-Busters, which is split between a number of slower artists, Gibson pretty much drew Robo-Hunter himself. Apart from being amazing to look at, it's this which makes it all the more awe-inspiring to me.

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  • Yes, it was a slightly morally dubious conclusion, but I guess it's a testament to the quality of what was (at this time) a kid's comic that we can discuss it's moral qualities without smirking. Without re reading the story the relationship of robots to humans in the story was that of slaves to masters and the parallel was drawn fairly clearly in a couple of sequences which had Sam being looked after by Steppin Fetchit-style bots. Again, somewhat dubious, although there was some ambiguity introduced in Sam's relationship to Boots, SJ1's "uncle Tom" figure notwithstanding. Or am I overthinking this?

    By Blogger mat_tait, at 1:11 am  

  • Mat, I don't think so - - - well, not compared to me. You have made me think that I ought to re-read the strip again. But not just yet, though.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 11:36 am  

  • Watch Sam Slade metamorphise into Ted Danson in the next stories.

    By Blogger Stavros, at 5:41 pm  

  • Ian Gibson - whatta guy! Course his moment in the sun (Halo Jones) was still years off at this point.

    By Blogger dmstarz, at 1:25 pm  

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