Friday, January 15, 2010

Comic Book Robot of the Month: The Iron Brain

You've got to love Richard W. Hughes and the fine folks and American Comics Group. They know how to tell a story you've heard a thousand times and still make it entertaining. The "Iron Brain" from Forbidden Worlds #71 (October, 1958) breaks no new ground as it is another take on the Adam Link story. In true ACG fashion, the design of this particular robot is straight out of a 6 year old's sketchbook. He's bulky and boxy with goofy eyes and superfluous red light atop his head. If mankind is so concerned with its safety, why do they always build such large robots?

In this story, we have a robot who begins to think for himself and the resulting ramifications. I really like the fact that he first shows some artificial intelligence via a sense of humour. After being asked to perform a series of simple tasks, he mocks a man who asks him "What's two plus two?". This worries his creators who begs the robot to behave. Ultimately, he craves more freedom and wishes to interact with mankind on an equal footing. If you've read this type of story before, you know very well that things do not end well. It's great stuff, and a fine example of a fun 50s robot story.


Aaron Bias said...

Scott: "If mankind is so concerned with its safety, why do they always build such large robots?"- You try building a robot with vaccuum-tube technology and see how compact you can make it. As to safety, this robot DOES include the flashing red light required by the rigorous standards of the society for the prevention of automaton-related accidents.

Jamie said...

Is that Will Magnus and his pipe in the second panel?