'Magnus the Robot Fighter'
He can break steel with his bare hands.
Magnus the Robot Fighter 4000 AD was a Gold Key comic published between 1963 and 1977. It was written and drawn by Russ Manning during its first run with Gold Key comics. In later years, the series would be picked up by other publishers. In this post I plan to focus on the Gold Key years only. I am not acquainted with the other issues.
Magnus is a Robot Fighter by design. He was an orphan raised by a robot caretaker who was concerned about the relations between robots and the human race. Magnus caretaker robot is called 1A and is the first robot of its kind. 1A took Magnus to a secret underwater base in the arctic where he would be safe from others and could concentrate on his training. Once there 1A trained Magnus in the martial arts and educated him is science, technology, and philosophies of man. 1A also equipped Magnus with an electronic device implanted in his body that allows him to intercept communications between one or more robots. However, Magnus most powerful weapon is his bare hands. While being taught the martial arts, he developed the means to break steel with human flesh. He uses this ability with a great effect almost single handily defeating every robot he encounters. Magnus decides to return to the world after 1A feels that he is ready for his mission in life. Magnus believes that humans have become to depend on robots for their wellbeing, therefore, humanity has become soft. He seeks to change that by demonstrating how dangerous total dependency on robots can be.
The setting for Magnus adventures occurs in a far future in which humanity is now living a life of leisure with little or no struggle. It seems like robots do most of the work while human beings do other types of task such as science and engineering. Humans still from a government and still oversee robots. Robots tend to deal with dangerous occupations such as policing and military defense. Robots also perform menial labor and manufacturing as well. Most of Magnus stories take place in the megacity of North AM which is basically the United States, Canada, and possible Mexico combined into one all-encompassing city that spans the entire North American continent. The other continents of the planet are similar in design as well. The people of the world have access to all kinds of high-tech in 4000 AD, among things are flying cars, rocket packs, anti-gravity, space travel, and advance medicine. Robots are at the forefront of all technological advancement and are governed by the Three Laws of Robotics created by Issaic Asimov. However, some robots become free thinking and became hostile to humanity. This was the case with the H8 robot in the first Magnus story and also with other robots, he would encounter. In some instances, Magnus matches his wits with a human scientist who created hostile robots for the purpose of taking over the world.
There are both robots and humans that are central to the life of Magnus. First, there is Leeja Clane the daughter of Senator Clane. She becomes Magnus love interest and future wife. The leader of North AM is President Claiborne who will be succeeded by Victor Zeramiah Clane, Leeja's father. Defending North AM are military officers General Mimsey and Major Timbuc. They command armies of robots that will defend North AM at all cost. Some of the robots Magnus faces are H8, T-1, and Tapa, all of whom try to enslave the human race. However, there are other human scientists that create robots and pose an equal threat. They are Mekman, a human who desires to become a robot and Xyrkol, a scientist who seeks to rule North AM.
In the first issue, Magnus is dropped off by his caretaker robot 1A into the streets of the megacity of North AM. While examining the city, he notices some children reading a history book while one of the children reads out loud. The child stated how the end of World War Two concluded with the death of Adolph Hitler and how he was considered to be a tyrant. A nearby robot observes what the children are reading and seizes the book form the child and states the book is forbidden reading material. The children take the book back from the robot and then proceed to push it off a balcony whereby it gets destroyed. Upon seeing this a police robot arrest the offending juveniles. At this point, Magnus goes into action by smashing the police robots and frees the children. Magnus tells the children to go home to there parents and not to worry. Knowing that an alert has been placed for his arrest he flees the area in a hurry. He meets up with Leeja Clane, a daughter of a Senator of North AM, she helps Magnus escape in her aircar. They are later captured and taken to police HQ where H8 the head police robot integrates both of them. It is revealed that H8 despises humanity and wants robots to completely take control of the world. Magnus works on getting himself free and seeks to destroy H8.
I loved reading it when I was a kid.
This was a favorite comic of mine when I grew up during the 70s. I loved how the future looked in the comic. I thought the whole world looked absolutely great within those comic panels. I was awed by the super science that was a part of every plot in each issue as well as the look of the robots. They always looked fantastic indicative the vision of the future during the 30s and onward. Overall, I loved how heroic Magnus was in defeating his enemies. The comic itself goes back to a different time in America and the world. Magnus was always on the side of good and was always respectful toward authority.
This video is a slide show presentation of all the comic covers during the Gold Key run of the series.
Where to Find the Comic Book
I was able to download the entire Gold Key comic series for free at this site. However, if you are a print collector simply do a web search for places to buy or sell comics, or go to Amazon or to Ebay, and you should be able to find plenty of choices.
If you have enjoyed reading my article on Magnus, I have posted two other stories for Vocal. Both posts are on Gold Key comics, and please feel free to read and promote.