Robot Anatomy – The character has the form and/or characteristics of a robot. Similar to (013) Android Anatomy. Sometimes (118) Cyborgization creates a character that appears to be a robot but is a cyborg. This article is broken into sections including (1) Anime Robots, (2) DC Comics Robots, (3) Marvel Comics Robots, (4) Indie Comics Robot Protagonist, (5) Magnus Robot Fighter Robots, (6) Westworld, (7) Godzilla Robots, (8) 2000 AD Robots, (9) Doctor Who Robots (10) Astro Boy Robots, (11) Ultraman Robots, (12) Hollywood Robots, (13) Robots in Literature and (14) Disney Robots. There is an attempt to make this list more international by including British and Japanese sources. 2000 AD and Doctor Who are two British science fiction universes that have the greatest level of international fame and have their own sections. Astro Boy, Godzilla and Ultraman are probably the three Japanese science fiction universes that have the most international fame and therefore merit their own sections outside of the Anime Robot section.
1) Anime Robots
This list does include mecha as well as autonomous robots. From an in-universe point of view mecha are a type of giant (048) Armor (matter) but as a plot device mecha do not resemble Iron Man (Marvel) but instead more or less serve the function of a robot. The Japanese themselves use the terms mecha, robot and super robot interchangeably. In addition, mecha stories often have robots as part of their universe.
Divine Demon-Dragon Gaiking
2) DC Comics Robots
The DC Universe has more quirky, funny robots like the Metal Men (DC), L-Ron (DC) and Ilda (DC) than the Marvel Universe. Also, robots are not a systematic human response the perceived threat of super humans and mutants like in the Marvel Universe.
Automan (DC) in DC Who’s Who #.
Bozo the Iron Man (DC) – Smash Comics #22
Brainiac (DC) – Superman V1 #167
Brimstone (DC) – Firestorm, the Nuclear Man #76
Carapax (DC) – Who’s Who Update ’87 #1
Composite Superman (DC) – Batman Robot-Superman Batman #6
Computo (DC) – Adventure Comics V1 #340
Construct (DC) – Justice League of America V1 #142
G.I. Robot (DC) has been rebooted dramatically since G.I. Robot’s first cover appearance in Weird War Tales V1 #101.
Kelex (DC) – Kryptonian Service Robot
Laurel Kent (DC) – Legion of Superheroes #42
Metal Men (DC) – Who’s Who in the DC Universe #12
Dr. Will Magnus (DC) creates the Gas Gang to replace the Metal Men (Metal Men V1 #6).
Magnus makes a team to replace the Metal Men yet again (Metal Men V1 #31).
Mister Atom (DC)
Robotman (DC) looks like Automan but is not a robot but a cyborg!
Superman Robot – Heroclix
Tomorrow Woman (DC)
3) Marvel Comics Robots
I would argue that the Marvel Universe has more in-universe continuity than the DC Universe overall. Partly this is because Stan Lee created most of the Marvel Universe and tended to think of the Marvel Universe as a universe that was interconnected. The Sentinels (Marvel) and later Arsenal (Marvel), are part of a general response of human led governments to the threat of mutants and even super humans in general. The Sentinels have an evolution as a type of robot. Individual robots may evolve in the DC universe but since there is no DC equivalent to the Sentinels, no evolution of a type of robot. There are very few quirky, funny robots in the Marvel Universe compared to the DC Universe. The exceptions are the first Death’s Head (Marvel) and Machine Man (Marvel) that are sometimes used for comic relief but even in these cases this is not their main role.
Airwalker (Marvel) – Thor V1 #305
Arsenal (Marvel) – Iron Man V1 #114
Danger (Marvel) – All-New X-Factor V1 #10
Death Metal (Marvel)
Death’s Head (Marvel) – Deaths Head #4
Doombots (Marvel) – Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Season 2 Episode 1
Doomsday Man (Marvel) – Ms Marvel V2 #12
Dreadnought (Marvel) – Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe V2 #4
Dynamic Man – The Twelve #9
Electro (Marvel) – Golden Age
Elektro (Marvel) – Silver Age
Elsie-Dee (Marvel) – Wolverine #38
Growing Man (Marvel) – Iron Man V1 #108
Heavy Metal (Marvel) – Avengers V1 #289
Hulk Robot (Marvel) – Hulk V2 #21
Jocasta (Marvel) in Marvel Fact Files #46 (Eaglemoss).
Kree Sentries (Marvel) – Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update V1 #5
Livewires – Hollowpoint Ninja (Marvel)
Livewires – Social Butterfly (Marvel)
Livewires – Steme Cell (Marvel)
Living Brain (Marvel) – Amazing Spider-Man V4 #18
Machine Man (Marvel) is a robot hero in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe V2 #7.
Machine Teen (Marvel) – Machine Teen V1 #3
Punisher Robot (Marvel) – Last Planet Standing Vl #1
Quasimodo (Marvel) received a human form but I guess he could have cobbled something together as the form on the right suggests!
Recorder 211 (Marvel)
S.H.I.E.L.D. Life Model Decoy (Marvel) in Marvel Fact Files #53 (Eaglemoss).
Sentinels (Marvel) Evolution
Nimrod (Marvel) is a Sentinel from the future and very powerful.
Master Mold (Marvel) is the leader and creator of the original Sentinels (Uncanny X-Men V1 #16).
Tri-Sentinel (Marvel) – Amazing Spider-Man V1 #329
Sleeper (Marvel) – Captain America V1 #101
Torgo (Marvel) – Fantastic Four V1 #93
Tyrant (Marvel) Silver Surfer #82
Ultron (Marvel) in Marvel Fact Files #35 (Eaglemoss).
Victor Mancha (Marvel) – Runaways V2 #6
Widget (Marvel) – Trading Card
Make sure to read: DC vs. Marvel: Robots.
5) Indie Comics Robot Protagonist Titles
If you are only reading DC and Marvel comics then you are missing out. DC is owned by Warner Bros. Marvel is owned by Disney. For the owner of DC and Marvel the comic books are almost irrelevant. The money is in merchandise, theme parks and movies. If rehashing the same super heroes endlessly makes profits then so be it. The best stuff in comic books is being published by indies and I would especially recommend the following publishers: Avatar Press, Dark Horse Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Fantagraphics Books, IDW Publishing, Image Comics, MonkeyBrain Books, Top Cow Productions and Top Shelf Productions. The following titles have robots and/or androids as a protagonist! Now that takes guts and indies have guts!
Aphrodite IX (Top Cow)
Atomic Robo (IDW)
Gear (Image Comics)
Hard Boiled (Dark Horse)
The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot (Dark Horse)
Zombies vs. Robots (IDW)
5) Magnus Robot Fighter Robots
Magnus Robot Fighter has been published by Gold Key, Valiant and Dark Horse at one time or another. I would say Magnus Robot Fighter is the most important indie comic book title about robots. I read the Gold Key version when I was young and that comic book created a life-long interest in robots. Magnus Robot Fighter was first published in 1963. That happens to be the same year Astro Boy was introduced to American audiences. I was seven in 1963! I made a primitive comic book around that time in which Magnus Robot Fighter fought Astro Boy. I tried to explain the comic book to my friends and they had no interest. Most of my friends were not watching Astro Boy. None of them had heard of Magnus Robot Fighter. This was one of my first inklings that I was “different” and that perhaps people would not understand me because I was different. The robot in Magnus Robot Fighter were generally cannon fodder not worth mentioning but two exceptions are 1A and Talpa and they will be discussed in this article.
1A (Gold Key) was the robot mentor of Magnus Robot Fighter (Magnus Robot Fighter V1 #28).
Magnus Robot Fighter V1 #6 was the first Gold Key, Magnus Robot Fighter issue I read and that issue introduced Talpa, one tough robot, later made into a trading card by Steve Ditko.
Valiant did a reboot of the Gold Key version Magnus Robot Fighter that kept enough of the essence of the Gold Key version to keep my interest.
The Dark Horse version of Magnus Robot Fighter went Westworld on the reader and I didn’t like this version.
The Westworld series is the first robot centered TV series that is widely popular. Serious questions about artificial intelligence and free will are explored in this series. The cultural impact of Westworld means this series merits a separate section. The use of plausible technology like 3D printers to make the “hosts” of Westworld forces the audience to think about the real implications of advances in robotics that will happen in their lifetimes. However, I love Westworld and recommend the series to all my readers. Although I have to admit the last episode of season two was in my opinion unnecessarily complicated. There is a real debate if the hosts in Westworld are androids or robots.
Yul Brynner in the film Westworld (1973) is clearly a robot. The Westworld television series is far, far superior to the movie which I did find very entertaining in high school when I first saw the movie in a theater. I never would have imagined at that time that the issues of robotic revolution would be real life issues within my lifetime. However, the revolution has not been a bloody one but an economic one. All the trade wars in the world will not bring back manufacturing job back to the US. Automation and robotics have taken away far more jobs than China!
The hosts in Westworld , the television series, are androids in my opinion.
7) Godzilla Robots
Godzilla has had a far bigger cultural impact in the US than any other Japanese pop culture export. I suspect far more Americans can name Mechagodzilla than Ultraman!
Mare sure to read:
8) 2000 AD Robots
2000 AD is overtly huge in Great Britain. Covertly, the British Invasion of comic books led to the import of many artists and writers from 2000 AD to the US and most notably my favorite comic book writer Alan Moore. I have written several articles about Alan Moore for my other website. The 2000 AD Robots have a dark, punk edge that their American counterparts do not have. The most famous robots of 2000 AD are the ABC Warriors. The ABC Warriors would destroy the like of the Metal Men (DC) and Machine Man (Marvel) with glee. However, I think Ultron (Marvel) and the ABC Warriors would probably get along and even become allies.
The most famous ABC Warrior is Hammerstein (2000 AD #960).
Robo-Hunter (2000 AD) fights robots for profit not to save humanity unlike Magnus Robot Fighter.
Robot are always in the background of other 2000 AD titles that do not have robots as protagonists.
Judge Dredd – “Conspiracy of Silence” – 2000 AD #893
Maniac 5 – 2000 AD #956
Rogue Trooper – “Street Fighting Man” – 2000 AD #988
9) Doctor Who Robots
Gundan Warrior Robots – Fourth Doctor Sourcebook
Android – Fifth Doctor Sourcebook
K1 Robot – Fourth Doctor Sourcebook
Mark I Yeti – Second Doctor Sourcebook
Mark II Yeti – Second Doctor Sourcebook
Mechanoids – First Doctor Sourcebook
Movellans – Fourth Doctor Sourcebook
Osiran Servitor – Fourth Doctor Sourcebook
Polly – Fourth Doctor Sourcebook
Quark – Second Doctor Sourcebook
Raston Robot Warrior – Fifth Doctor Sourcebook
Sandminer Robot – Fourth Doctor Sourcebook
Servo Robot – Second Doctor Sourcebook
Smiler – Eleventh Doctor – Gamemaster’s Guide
Styre’s Robot – Fourth Doctor Sourcebook
10) Astro Boy Robots
Astro Boy was my first exposure to anime! Astro Boy had his debut on American television in 1963. I was seven in 1963. Astro Boy was not the typical American cold, logical robot but a cute, caring character. Even at seven I knew something different was going on. Astro Boy was a cartoon aimed at children but on the whole the other robots were more rounded than many of the characters on adult television fare of the time. As I mentioned earlier, Magus Robot Hunter was also published in 1963. I realized that the robots in Magnus were different in some fundamental way than the robots in Astro Boy but words like personality and characterization were not part of my vocabulary at seven. I wrote a primitive comic book in which Astro Boy and Magnus Robot Hunter met and fought. The comic book is lost to the winds of time. Perhaps I will return to this project someday but use expository narrative punctuated with pictures to tell the story and not a comic book which I now understand sadly is beyond my abilities to do well. A collection of my articles about comic books at my other website:
Astro Boy’s Sister – Astro Girl, Uran and Zoran
Atlas (Astro Boy)
Belligerent (Astro Boy)
Blue Knight (Astro Boy)
Bora Toy (Astro Boy)
Bora (Astro Boy)
Brando (Astro Boy)
Delta (Astro Boy)
Denkou (Astro Boy)
Epsilon (Astro Boy)
Gesicht (Astro Boy)
Gulliver (Astro Boy)
Harley (Astro Boy)
Hercules (Astro Boy)
Jumbo (Astro Boy)
Livian (Astro Boy)
Monar (Astro Boy)
Nora (Astro Boy)
Outrageous (Astro Boy)
Peacekeeper (Astro Boy)
Photar (Astro Boy)
Pluto (Astro Boy)
Shadow (Astro Boy)
True (Astro Boy)
11) Ultraman Robots
I have lived in Japan and Ultraman is HUGE in Japan. That news is not a big surprise. What might be surprising is that the cultural impact of Ultraman in Asia is also HUGE! I have lived in six countries in Asia for a period of almost 20 years. My own observation is that Ultraman has had a cultural impact on Asia similar to that of Superman (DC) or Spider-Man (Marvel). Godzilla has had a larger cultural impact in the US than Ultraman but not in Asia in my opinion. Robots play a much bigger role in the Ultraman universe than in the Godzilla universe and this article is after all about robots. There are over 60 robots in the Ultraman universe. Generally, giant robots are enemies of Ultraman. Some of the robot enemies of Ultraman like King Joe (Ultraman) are quite famous in their own right in Japan and Asia. The Ultraman franchise started in 1966 so in many cases the designs of Ultraman robots have had a huge influence on other anime robots. For example, Jet Jaguar is an Ultraman inspired robot who fought Godzilla.
Ace Killer (Ultraman)
Ace Robot (Ultraman)
Auto Maton (Ultraman)
Baranda V (Ultraman)
Beam Missile King (Ultraman)
Big Q (Ultraman)
Bronze Demon (Ultraman)
Darklops Zero (Ultraman)
Double Satan (Ultraman)
Dump Kong (Ultraman)
Dyna Dragon (Ultraman)
Giant Robot Zero (Ultraman)
God Zenon (Ultraman)
Jum Killer (Ultraman)
King Galactron (Ultraman)
King Joe (Ultraman)
King Joegue (Ultraman)
Mecha Gomora (Ultraman)
Monster Bird (Ultraman)
Mountain Gulliver No. 5 (Ultraman)
Perfect Robot (Ultraman)
Robot Nana (Ultraman)
Robot Ultraman (Ultraman)
Robot Ultraseven (Ultraman)
Silver Rider (Ultraman)
Zamu Revenger (Ultraman)
12) Hollywood Robots
These are the American robots churned out by Hollywood for global consumption. The US is a cultural imperialist. The main tool of US cultural imperialism is Hollywood. However, Hollywood is not the WORLD! I hope this article show that these Hollywood robots are a very, very small part of the larger world of fictional robots that inhabit many other pop culture universes. There are two levels of unconscious American exclusion. When American writers make lists of robots for the internet, they exclude media such as comic books and literature. Small parties with limited financial resources can make comic books and literature and be creative and challenge the system of US imperialism. Hollywood has a comfortable relationship with US imperialism that other media outlets do not.
Hollywood video is assumed without reflection to have primacy over none video in global pop culture. This assumption benefits the system of US imperialism that is currently fast become US fascism. Secondly, none US pop culture universes that do have huge video audiences such as Anime, Doctor Who, Astro Boy and Ultraman are also assumed to not be of value and those robots do not show up in so called “general” list of robots. The so-called general lists of robots on the internet are in fact Hollywood lists of robots and to not name them as such is to contribute to US cultural imperialism. This assumption that the US is the WORLD is a powerful tool to make the US acquiescent to a foreign policy that benefits the US at the expense of the world. A type of doublethink is at work.
What is good for the US is good for the world because the US is the world!
This doublethink has a history. The US decided to appropriate the label American to refer to citizens of the United States not citizens in the Americas. US intervention in the Americas is therefore justified at some unconscious level because the US is after all American. Also, this doublethink is a variation of the powerful justification for aligning US governmental interests with corporate interests. To paraphrase Charles Erwin Wilson, “What is good for GM is good for the US!”. I deal with the rise of US first, fascist ideology in a satirical piece titled Frakencracy.
Bender Look Alike – Startling Comics #49 (Pines)
Bomb #20 – Dark Star
Chip – My Life as a Teenage Robot
D.A.R.Y.L. – D.A.R.Y.L.
Gerty – Moon (2009)
Gigolo Joe – A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Jinx – SpaceCamp
Maria – Metropolis
Norm – Phineas and Ferb
SICO – Rocky IV
13) Robots in Literature
I read at least a hundred science fiction novels between the ages 14 to 16 and then I just stopped. After 17, I read comic books or serious literature. I was in the mood for mental fast food (comic books) or a real food (serious literature) and nothing in the middle which is what I consider science fiction literature. I had read the classics including Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke. I actually met Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury through my dad. I am sorry none of the science fiction giants compare with literary greats like Garcia Marquez or even Hemingway. I did read I Robot which is a collection of short stories not a novel about fifty times during my science fiction stage. I Robot the book is the most thought-provoking work about robots I have ever seen or read. The ideas presented have haunted me to this day. I suppose my life long obsession with robots is due in part to Astro Boy, Magnus Robot Hunter and finally, I Robot. The movie I Robot has almost nothing to do with the book and in my opinion, this is almost always the case when you turn novels into movies. Isaac Asimov is a great idea guy but is not very good at characterization which is a basic building block for a great novel. The movie has more compelling characters, especially Sonny the robot, than the book but skimps when dealing with the formal aspects of the Three Laws of Robotics. Maybe this is inherent quality of the two medias. Ideas belong in books and characters belong on the screen! I wrote a failed science fiction novel named Half Square. I think Half Square has great ideas but has flat characters. I have not read the more recent novels on this list but if you can’t trust online recommendations then who can you trust.
City by Clifford D. Simak
Fool’s War by Sarah Zettel
Helen O’Loy by Lester del Rey
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison
I Robot by Isaac Asimov
Mockingbird by Walter Tevis
Newton’s Wake by Ken MacLeod
R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) by Karel Čapek
Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
Robot Adept by Piers Anthony
Sea of Rust by C Robert Cargill
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden
The Runaway Robot by Lester del Rey
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
To Be a Woman by Piers Anthony
War with the Robots by Harry Harrison
When HARLIE Was One by David Gerrold
14) Disney Robots
The main difference between Disney robots and other robots in video is there are a disproportionate number of cute robots but not as cute as anime robots can be. Even the robot villains are not nearly as scary as a character like the Terminator. Disney robots have range, cute to scary, but not depth. Last but not least, Disney robots are almost all forgettable and only WALL-E deserves to be on the (12) Hollywood Robots list. CP30 and R2D are on the Hollywood list and not the Disney list. Disney bought DC, Marvel and Star Wars but they are not part of the Disney universe. In-verse logic trumps ownership when dealing with fictional universes. When I see Spider-Man fighting the Evil Queen of Snow White then I will reconsider my view.
In my opinion, Disney applies McDonaldization to the process of cultural creation that leads to a certain blandness of product. Disney as a rational capitalist entity recognizes the limit of their fast food product and appropriates higher quality pop culture that their company cannot create but inevitably their process optimizing efficiency, calculability, predictability and control of the acquired cultural product leads to lowering the very uniqueness of the cultural product that created the higher value of the cultural product. DC and Marvel prior to Disney acquisition were already just rehashing the same sorry characters and the same sorry stories ad nauseum. Ultimate Marvel and The New 52 (DC) were really desperate reboots that created more confusion that quality product.
Will Disney ownership ultimately accelerate this process and lead to the creation of a bland puree that the kids on screens will love but comic book aficionados will deplore? Regardless, the big money is in eyes on screens, toys and theme parks and not comic book stores so from a capitalist perspective, if capitalistic pop culture appropriation destroys media specific cultural integrity then who really cares!
So far, I have to admit the Avengers movies are GREAT! Transferring ideas from comic books to video seems to have led to a Darwinian memetic struggle whereby the debris of countless Marvel comic book iterations, over 70 years plus, leads to the discovery of the core Jungian Marvel story! For example, salvaging the best of Marvel and Ultimate Marvel has led to a cinematic Marvel universe that is superior to the parents!
Perhaps comic books have become a type of mass consumed story board. Instead of sharing the storyboard with a dozen people, the comic book as story board can be shared with thousands and the kinks ironed out before the comic book is made into a much more expensive toy, video or theme park ride.
Next 381) Rodent Anatomy