Wednesday, September 5, 2007

W.T.F. Wednesday: Everything's better with robots (plus, a declaration!)

No one could be blamed for thinking that once you've got a robot fighting a dinosaur, you've pretty much reached the pinnacle for war-time wackiness.

But then your name wouldn't be Bob Kanigher, and you wouldn't be writing The War That Time Forgot. Because if you were, then you would see a story-telling challenge that could only be met by pitting Joe the G.I. Robot against a giant enemy robot on Dinosaur Island!

Click to Gigantorize

You ran out of crack? For some reason, I find that hard to believe.


While reading this latest story about Joe the G.I. Robot, I came across an interesting panel and what might be a hazy glimpse into the creative mind of Bob Kanigher. Check out this scene with Joe and his human buddy, Mac:

OK, let's try to ignore the fact Mac can't seem to remember that Joe is a robot that usually only reacts to direct orders. (Seriously, Mac has to remind himself on almost every page - if Joe could act on his own, he would've pimp-slapped him bald-headed by now.) The part that caught my eye was one word - "responsometer."

What with their re-emergence in 52 and now in their own limited series, you might recognize the responsometer as the same device that gives the Metal Men their personalities and abilities. And the Metal Men were created by Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito - the same team that brought us The War That Time Forgot!

So which came first? It's close enough to say G.I. Joe-bot and the Metal Men probably percolated out of Kanigher's melon around the same time, with the Metal Men first seeing print in Showcase #37, the March/April 1962 issue. But - surprise! - Joe beat them to it, making his first appearance in Star Spangled War Stories #101 - the February/March 1962 issue!

OK, so the "responsometer" reference didn't show up in The War That Time Forgot until two months later in Star Spangled War Stories #103 - meaning the concept first came up in Metal Men - but screw it, I'm making a declaration:


Panels from Showcase Presents: The War That Time Forgot
Originally published as "Doom at Dinosaur Island!" in Star Spangled War Stories #103
Robert Kanigher, writer; Ross Andru, penciller; Mike Esposito, inker

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, if we don't fight the dinosaurs over there, we'll have to fight them over here!