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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

Wiedemer, Nathan & Mangold, Steven – Same Old Story “Vintage Shorts”


Same Old Story “Vintage Shorts”

I’m always mildly baffled by the people who clearly have a history of using the same characters over a period of time but don’t seem to grasp the importance of any sort of origin story.  In this comic it’s not the end of the world, as the story seems to be about a group of friends (two boys and one girl) who hang out with each other through childhood and into their adult (?) lives.  Not like you’re missing how Spider-man got his powers or anything.  Still, after reading this I was curious what had come before, and the website offered no help (nor did it offer any comics for sale, another baffling oversight).  This might have all rolled off my back, but in the back of the comic there’s a section of older drawings and strips from the two of them, things that would have meaning to a fan of the series but that didn’t mean much to me.  Reading them talk about the development of the characters over the years was interesting, but again, I don’t know who these characters are.  OK, now that you know that I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, what I was able to tell was that this story was about two boys (Nick and Nate) and a girl (Gwen).  Nick has a crush on Gwen, but as they’re ten years old for the bulk of this comic it doesn’t go anywhere.  Gwen apparently has a crush on Nate, although I didn’t see much evidence of it in this comic, I just picked it up from the “crush chart” at their website, so it probably refers to something that happens later in the chronology.  That crush chart showed all kinds of people who aren’t listed here, which again makes me wonder what is going on in this series.  The first story here deals with a camping trip taken by the kids, with Nick and Gwen spending some time alone (and Gwen seems utterly oblivious to the crush) and Nate trying to be the perfect child because he is apparently the only reason his parents are staying together.  There are some cute bits, as it was interesting to watch them kinda sorta take steps towards becoming mature, but only half-heartedly.  Other stories include Nick’s last night before being sent off to military school (they are at least 4 years older in this story) and an neat juxtaposition between them watching The Neverending Story as kids and then revisiting it as adults.  Or at least I think they were adults; again it was hard to tell for sure.  The art looked like it could have come from a Disney studio (and I’ll leave it to your personal preference as to whether or not that’s a good thing), which made the half dozen or so spelling errors stand out even more.  Finally the comic ends with older strips which, again, didn’t do a whole lot for me, as I have no clue of the history here and seem to have no way to find that out.  So: it’s a mildly amusing coming-of-age tale which could very well make a whole lot more sense if I had seen any other issues of the series.  $4