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Thursday, July 19, 2012
Gold Key Comics...Magnus, Robot Fighter 4000 A.D.
With his first appearance in Magnus, Robot Fighter 4000 A. D., #1 in 1963,
writer and artist Russ Manning created a new "Tarzan" inspired character for the
distant future. After working on the Edgar Rice Burroughs character for Gold Key
and the newspaper syndicate, Manning got a chance to do his own series at
Western Publishing, and decided to update the Ape Man mythos .But instead of being
raised by primates this time, Magnus was reared by a benevolent robot called 1A
who foresaw a very grim future in mankind's growing dependence on robots.
Borrowing from Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics for the first issue, Magnus
is trained by 1A as a warrior to protect humans from rogue machines and the
humans who used them for their own evil purposes. Trained in an advanced martial
arts, our hero can break steel with his bare hands and equipped with a
telepathic device to "hear" all robot-to-robot communications. Magnus is the
guardian of a sprawling North Am battling space pirates, aliens, wicked robots
and other various threats. With the help of his girlfriend, the lovely Leeja
Clane, her senator father, Victor Clane, and a boy's club known as "The
Outsiders", Magnus has many exciting adventures done in in Manning's sleek
streamline style for the first twenty one issues, before Russ left the feature.
Paul Norris was chosen to take over the artwork for most of the remaining tales,
along with lots of reprints to round out the series ended with issue #46 in January of
1977. But the popularity of the original series spawned new issues from Valiant
Comics and Acclaim Comics in the nineties and currently under Dark Horse Comics
even more stories of the robot fighter are being told.