Robot 13 #1
Written by Thomas Hall; Illustrated by Daniel Bradford
Sometimes a fun comic goes under the radar. Take Robot 13 as an example. This comic came out in 2010ish and had a TPB published back in 2013. I likely would have never discovered this comic without my iPhone. Before I get to the comic itself, I have to give kudos to whomever designed the interface for Robot 13 on the iPhone. It’s a rich reading experience that makes each page feel like a story teller is unfolding it for you. I’ve read a lot of comics on my iPhone but this interface was one of the best. Surprisingly better than many of the efforts by the major publishers.
As for the comic itself, it’s hard not to notice the obvious Mike Mignola homage. Daniel Bradford’s art is very much influenced by Mignola and maybe even a touch of Jack Kirby in there as well. That’s one of the nice parts about the art is that there is a bit of a reminder that this is a new world and a fun one, if not also a dark grim one. Comparisons could be made to Eastman and Laird’s early work on the TMNT comics. All things that draw me in immediately.
There’s obviously not a ton to go off of in the first issue but the genesis seems to be there for something very entertaining. Robot 13 is a robot plucked from the ocean floor. He doesn’t know his past, nor does the crew that find him. He looks like a classic old school robot or a spaceman that died in his suit. Perhaps he’s a bit of both? There doesn’t appear to be a lot of information on just where the title robot gets his power but the skeleton head inside seems to indicate he’s a haunting of some sort.
The story unfolds with great precise panel narrative and again, this really pops on the iPhone. The story gives us just a hint of mystery but doesn’t hit us over the head with it to hammer home the point that this is mysterious. I was reminded a bit of Savage Dragon in that sense. We also get a fight with a giant creature that would make Ray Harryhausen happy. It’s a fun romp and this is exactly the kind of small comic you should be seeking out to read.
I’m very interested in reading more and if you’re into robots, Hellboy or comics that are a little off the beaten path, this is one worth checking out. The actual comics are just $3.99 and the digital copies are a super value at $0.99! Blacklist Studios is currently working on issue #3 with the first two issues still available. Check out Blacklist Studios for more on Robot 13.