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Vondruska, Greg (editor) – Robots Are People, Too #2


Robots Are People, Too #2

When an anthology is done really well, you often wish that the stories had gone on longer, that you had more time to get into the characters and individual pieces. This issue fits that description perfectly. Damned near every story seemed like it could have gone in a few different directions or even been buffed up into a full length piece. Or maybe I just really like robots, who knows? Breakfast at Hal’s by Dan Boyd deals with a few robots having a nice, um, meal (?) at a diner, talking about robot gossip and how there’s no work for aging robot models with so little work around as it is (the Iron Giant is stuck working as a chrome buffer due to his lack of a sequel, for example). Rodney for President by Jason Franks continues his string of comics that’s exactly what the title suggests, and in this issue it’s Rodney with a media interview. Hardwired by Jason Franks & Greg is a twist on the old “secret boyfriend murders the husband with the complicity of the wife and tries to get away with it” story. Recycled Dreams by Greg and Fran Matera (if that name sounds familiar, it’s because Fran has been around since the Golden Age of comics) deals with a long term revenge plot. Space Patrol of the Space Force by Lou Copeland wins the best title of the comic and has some nice robot trickery. Eyeball Roboto by Jason Franks and Greg is all about blurring the bounds of perception and an immaculate turd that can bring people back to life. Spare Parts, Spare Time by Greg and Mace Markham is damned near a touching love story between a robot stewardess and a human. Finally there’s A Tin Heart by Gary Culler and Jason Maranto, as a robot tries to figure out how to cope with emotions when it’s not programmed to have them. OK, that last one might seem a little cliche, but it was handled extremely well. All told it’s another solid entry in the series, although in my biased opinion Greg could do worse than picking a few of these stories for continuing titles and getting something going. Sure, it’s probably not practical with the economy the way it is, but very few small press comics could be considered practical. $4

Vondruska, Greg – Robots Are People, Too #3


Robots Are People, Too #3

Here’s a useless fun fact to start off my ramble:  I’ve been going through my old comics recently, trying to see what I can sell or otherwise get rid of, when I came across my sole copy of Heavy Metal.  Oddly, the cover did not have giant robotic breasts on it, which I thought was a requirement for that magazine.  This comic has one giant cyborg breast, so I guess it’s not the same thing, but it’s the thought that counts, right?  Greg Vondruska is all over the place in this one, to the point where it will be easier for me to point out the stories that Greg doesn’t take part in more than anything else.  Stories in here include Flesh Or Me (Greg, Steven Mangold & Jim Fern’s tale of a robot trying to become human after humans have given up on themselves), Phobo Agogo (Frank DiBari’s piece on the universe expanding too much to keep up with), Face The World (Greg’s simple silent story of a robot trying to keep a brave face), The Whole World (Frank and Greg’s… I can’t say anything without giving away that great punch line), Facebots (Fran Matera and Greg with a silent series of robot faces), and The Helpers (Penny Clark and Greg’s piece explaining that cover image).  There are also three Rodney strips (by Jason Franks, Greg and J. Marc Schmidt), , as Rodney joins a cult, goes on a date and gets a makeover.  These pieces are quickly becoming a favorite of mine, as what’s not to love about a sentient computer trying to explain the flimsy differences between religion and cults, his trying to use logic to convince a woman that dating a computer would be a good thing, and his trying not to be vain for a makeover.  Another solid issue, and I see no reason why there can’t be a million of these robot comics out there in the world.  Greg might need to get the word out to more comics creators, assuming he hasn’t given up on this, so if you have a robot story up your sleeve, why not contact the man?  $4

Vondruskra, Greg (editor) – Robots Are People, Too! #1


Robots Are People, Too! #1

I figured it would be a difficult thing for this comic to live up to that cover, and it managed to pull it off rather easily.  Note: I’m just guessing on the number, as Greg sent along other issues of this series as well, but it makes sense to me.  So what, this comic is all about robots?  Well yeah, what else would you expect from that title?  The themes here stay fairly similar, but there’s more than enough variety to satisfy the cynics.  Unless you hate robots altogether, or think it’s only a matter of time before they rule us all.  Silly people!  What makes you think the human race is going to survive long enough to be taken over by robots?  Stories in this book of wonders include Let Me Tell You About My Mother by Victor Claudio (a surreal tale with the dialogue being taken entirely from Blade Runner), Great Americans by Lou Copeland (in which the true history of Davy Crockett is revealed), People Are Robots, Too by Steven Mangold (a fascinating text piece about the point at which a machine might reach independent consciousness and what happens next), Android Institute by Jerry Stanford (a parody of the old comic book ads), Rodney vs. Jer. Mac by Jason Franks (in which the horrible sin of clip art is saved by a great punchline), Lonely Robot by Daniel Boyd (a silent piece about, um, a lonely robot), Dick Danger by Fran Matera (a noir thriller about mistaking a femmebot for a woman), Handybot by LaMontagne, Mangold & Wiedemer (possibly the highlight of the book, a fake legal disclaimer detailing all the potential troubles of owning the HandyBot (formerly Destructomat)), some sketchbook pages by a variety of folks (this killed the momentum of the book a bit but they were still interesting sketches), and …Only Flesh and Blood by Greg Vondruskra (in which a robot sort of falls for a human, but does realize that this one will never live to see Halley’s Comet again).  I don’t know if this series is still going (this issue came out in 2007), but if it’s not it should be.  I would think this would be the sort of thing all sorts of small press folk could get behind if given the chance.  Greg’s site leaves that a bit of a mystery, along with whether or not you can get copies from him.  Oh well, if you can find it and if you’re a fan of robots, it’s more than worth the effort.  $5