First, we played around with a small set of Inktense colors. These come in little bricks like pastels but, when exposed to or brushed with water, turn into colorful rich inks.
Next, we use white chalk to lightly sketch the outline of GI Robot’s big areas of color. We then fill them in with pastels. We blend the first layer of pastels with our fingers, go over the area with the same color again, and blend a second time. This did a good job covering up the background, and it has a kind of ghostly cool where it still shows through.
Once the color takes hold, we outline the color areas in black pastel. Then, right over the white areas, we fill in the black shapes in and around the face. For several areas, achieving the right darkness of black requires the same process as the color areas: apply, blend, apply, blend.
We hit GI Robot with a couple coats of spray fixative. Then we went back to the black and white areas of the face and gave them another coat or two. After another layer of spray fixative, GI Robot rocks, ready to frame.
Inspiration for these pastel renderings of a robot in an army helmet comes from Weird War Tales by DC Comics. One can find the original panels drawn in 1982 by Patrick Broderick and John Beatty in Weird War Tales #108, in the Robert Kanigher story “Robots Don’t Have Hearts.”
You can buy Weird War Tales #108 for around $5 to $10 these days, depending on its condition. It remains collectible as an early appearance of the Creature Commandos, another short feature that ran in this issue.
In our gallery below, you can view the cover of this issue and the complete GI Robot story. Enjoy!
Painted in bright acrylics with a high-gloss varnish finish, it shines like a metal robot should! It measures 10×10 inches, with gold, red, black, and tan colors. Inspiration for this work of pop art comes from the Tomy toy robot in the 1970s.
You will see familiar themes like Martians, strange dimensions, conscious robots, and alien worlds. You will witness harbingers of future sciences like genetic engineering and cloning. And you will see a few ideas Kirby revisited decades later in his original stories. Behold the walking dogs and rats of “The Last Enemy” who resemble the animalistic characters of Kamandi, and a flying chair that would get an upgrade to seat Metron of the New Gods. Enjoy!
One of us is a Martian. It might be …you! Come to think of it, we’re all Martians, here! So let’s rock this Steve Ditko tale from the golden age of science-fiction comics and see what happens. We’re including an Al Williamson piece called Beware of the … Robots! Yes, the next time someone complains about machines taking their job, you can confidently say, “Let ’em! We’ve got better things to do!”
Thanks to The Warrior’s Comic Book Den for hipping us to this sci-fi classic. They’ve got some great Al Williamson pieces there and much more.
Collector’s Guide: From Tales of Suspense #4; Marvel, 1959.
Why is it that evil aliens are always trying to contact us through deranged mental patients so they can take over our world? Damn them! Why can’t they just go fly into the sun and leave us alone? Jack Kirby tackles these weighty matters in the third issue of Machine Man, which includes this impressive double-splash. We included in our gallery some of Jack’s musings on the future of robot/human interactions, too: “The Unexpected Robot!”
Collector’s Guide: From Machine Man #3.
Jack Kirby created numerous monster stories for anthology titles at Marvel Comics. Jack Kirby’s monsters raged through the pages of Amazing Adventures, Tales to Astonish, and Strange Tales in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Many of them came back to life in Marvel reprint anthologies like Where Monsters Dwell in the early 1970s. We have a few of these gems in our collection, so get ready to rock! Here come the monsters!
Collector’s Guide: From Amazing Adventures #4; Marvel, 1961.
Why do bad things happen to good robots? One has to wonder if Eastman and Laird (of Ninja Turtles fame) read this story before creating The Fugitoid!
Collector’s Guide: The End of His Service by Norman Nodel. From Strange Worlds #5. 1951, Avon Publications.
This brings to mind the old joke, “The peasants are revolting!”
“Yes, they certainly are.”
What is the diabolical secret behind the man from the future who pits robot laborers against the humans? You have to wonder if James Cameron read this story before Terminator.
Collector’s Guide: From Space Detective #3. 1952, Avon Publications.
Torchy, the Blonde Bombshell. Here’s a complete story from the very first Torchy issue, way back in 1949. Of all the Torchy stories we have, this one seemed to fit the vibe on Mars most because it has a sociopathic robot on the loose. Plus, Torchy in her undergarments. If sociopathic robots and undergarments don’t sound fun to you, you might be on the wrong web site!
Collector’s Guide: From Torchy #1. 1949, Quality. Cover by Bill Ward, art by Gill Fox.
If you can’t find original issues, some nice Torchy reprints have been produced with covers by Olivia, like this TPB from Innovation and a 1991 series from Innovation with Olivia covers that are a bit more risque than the Bill Ward drawings.
Judgment Day! Does the planet of the robots have the moral fortitude to join Earth’s Great Galactic Republic!? This is it: the famous censored sci-fi story from Weird Fantasy #18 by EC Comics.
Why was it censored? It was 1953 in the USA, and the story deals with historical racism being taught to citizens by their society. You can imagine how “The Man” had a cow over this story back then. And if you can’t, you can read all about it in the EC Comics article on Wikipedia.
The story came out uncensored in Incredible Science Fiction #33 — which is hardly ever in stock. You can find it in the Russ Cochran/Gemstone reprint series under Incredible Science Fiction and also Haunt of Fear #3. (For the sake of their profit margin, Gemstone eventually combined 1992 reprints of Haunt of Fear and Weird Fantasy into one magazine each month. That’s a lot of EC Comics inside of one cover!)