Robot Archie in the 1968 story "Robot Archie and the Shark Monster of Aronda Bay"
|First appearance||Lion #1, 23rd February, 1952|
|Created by||E. George Cowan
Ernest also known as Jim Kearon
|Team affiliations||Black Flag|
|Notable aliases||The Jungle Robot, Archie The Robot, Archie de Man van Staal (Dutch), Archie Le Merveilleux Robot (French), Archie l'homme d'acier (French)|
|Abilities||Super strength, bulletproof, telescopic limbs.|
Robot Archie first appeared in the first issue of Lion, a weekly British boys adventure title published by IPC Magazines, who were at the time, the biggest publisher of weekly adventure titles in the UK along with DC Thomson. Lion was a science fiction action-adventure comic in the mold of Eagle and was a direct competitor to that comic.
Robot Archie appeared in the first issue but was known as The Jungle Robot in this first issue. The character was created by writer E. George Cowan and artist Ted Kearon. The strip lasted 25 weeks before it took a five-year gap and returned in 1957. This time the strip was called Archie The Robot Explorer but eventually the strip became better known as Robot Archie.
The strip was one of the most popular in Lion during the 1960s but the character's adventures ended when Lion was finally cancelled in May 1974. However Robot Archie strips did appear in colour (with redrawn art from the Dutch series) in Vulcan, a short lived weekly title which was cancelled in 1976. The series was published and popular in France and the Netherlands too. In the Netherlands the series was published in the comics magazine Sjors (for which Bert Bus made new Archie material - which was translated into French too - from 1971) and two or three series of albums which - like the Archie publication in France - stopped in the early 80's.
After this the character entered publishing limbo but remained well loved by fans. The character made a brief cameo appearance under the name Android Andy in Alan Moore and Alan Davis's run on Captain Britain for Marvel UK. The next appearance after this was in the pages of Grant Morrison's Zenith strip in 2000 AD. This portrayed Archie as a burned out acid casualty and part of a team of heroes called Black Flag.
In 2004 a new "Classic Archie" adventure by Bert Bus was published in Dutch.
In 2005 it was announced that Robot Archie, as well as all of IPC's adventure heroes, would feature in a new six issue mini-series to be published by the Wildstorm imprint of DC Comics. Called Albion, the series is plotted by Alan Moore, and written by Leah Moore and John Reppion, with art by Shane Oakley and George Freeman. Robot Archie features on the cover of the first issue which was drawn by Dave Gibbons.
Robot Archie was built by Professor C.R. Ritchie to be the world's most powerful mechanical man. Originally he was called The Jungle Robot (due to his early adventures taking place in the jungles of Africa and South America) and was remote controlled by Professor Ritchie and his nephew Ted Ritchie and his best friend Ken Dale.
Robot Archie's adventures started as conventional action thrillers with Archie and his friends battling criminals and jungle creatures, but eventually he began to fight more fantastic and dangerous villains and aliens, including The Sludge, a monster who had previously had its own strip in Lion.
Initially Archie could not speak, but around 1966 a voice box was added, which gave the robot a boastful, but charming, personality.
When Robot Archie reappeared in the pages of Grant Morrison's Zenith, he was a burned out 1960's acid casualty (renaming himself Acid Archie) who helped Zenith fight the Lloigor. Archie is apparently killed by Ruby Fox in Phase IV when she short circuits him whilst he is trying to rip off her head. But this later revealed as the copy of Archie within the Chimera pocket universe, as he is seen partying with Zenith and Peter St. John during the Epilogue. Archie also appears in zzzenith.com in the special Prog 2001 edition of 2000AD. Zenith explains that rust in the brain-pan has caused Archie's personality to change from anarchist Acid-House aficionado into a vigilante, hunting down sex offenders with a lethal vigour. He is last seen in the story escaping on a bus in a false beard after sexually assaulting popstar Britney Spears.
In Albion, the character was found in the basement of a Manchester pub by Penny Dolmann, who repaired and modified him to rescue her father. Archie was destroyed acting as a decoy for Penny.
- Robot Archie at International Superhero
- History of Lion at comicsuk
- The Definitive Robot Archie Fan Site (not avaiulable 29-04-2013)