The Book: Young ‘orphan’ Joe is stunned when he is woken by a huge killer robot sitting on the end of his dormitory bed, but when the fearsome automaton declares that he is in fact Joe’s ‘deceased’ father, things really get crazy!
There’s no time for a reunion before the duo must bust out of ‘War School’ and go on the run. Pursued by a fanatical human colonel on one side and a dogmatic robot commander on the other…
Review by Luke Williams
British creatives Steve Green, Sam Read, Steve Sterlacchini recently launched a fantastic new comics project, Joe & His Killer Robot Dad, published in both in US comic sized format, and a larger UK newsstand comic – with badges. They’ve enlisted legendary artist Mike McMahon to the cause, a project downthetubes first covered the project back in in 2020.
Trailed and heralded for the last two years, a physical copy of Issue One is finally here, after a launch at Thought Bubble last November.
You may already know Green and Sterlacchini for their work with Daniel Carey-George of Planet Replicas fame, on the amazing Judge Minty and Strontium Dog fan films. (Dan now works with Zavvi on their Dust! Collectibles range).
Aimed at pre-teen and up audiences, and planned to be supported by YouTube video clips, online stories, animations and collectible merchandise, it’s the story of the titular Joe, who lives in a world where robots have rebelled in an attempt to overthrow their fleshy human masters, leading to all out war between man and machine.
Joe finds himself an orphaned and in a boarding school, deeply unhappy, constantly in trouble, a square peg in a round hole. Everything changes one day, when he awakes to find a gigantic robot sitting on the end of his bed, claiming to be his father and soon they are on the run together chased by the relentless Vespa Troopers.
As you would expect from the creators involved, the designs and concepts are well conceived and imaginative. Plot and scripting don’t break new ground, but it’s well executed and it’s easy to see this appealing to its intended audience; and older readers. All ages comics occasionally come across as being anaemic or asinine, or both. This doesn’t. This is a little edgy, smart, funny and looks wonderful.
“Art & Stuff” is credited to McMahon, but it doesn’t look like his usual style. More likely, Steven Sterlacchini, credited with “renders”, has finished McMahon’s layouts for the bulk of the book, although McMahon’s bold figure work come through clearly. The exceptions are the flashback sequences which are one hundred per cent Mick (or at least appear to be).
There’s no information on when the next episodes are coming out, but it will be worth following if this introductory episode is anything to go by. The review copy was purchased from OK Comics in Leeds, with a reasonable cover price of £2.50. That’s got to be worth a punt hasn’t it?
This item was updated on Friday 13th January 2023 to clarify the work of the creative team and their involvement with Planet Replicas – thanks to Steve Sterlacchini (it’s OK, he isn’t sending a killer robot after us)