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Robocop Comic Book Back Issue - Robocop # 18

COMICS: 1-20 | 21-23
 

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Robocop # 18 Comic Book

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In May 1990, Marvel Comics released the first issue of an ongoing RoboCop comic book series based on the movie. The series ran for 23 issues, ending in January 1992. In addition, a one-shot was released in August 1990, reprinting in color the 1987 black and white magazine adaptation of the movie. That same month also saw a black and white magazine adaptation of the movie sequel RoboCop 2, as well as a three issue mini-series, printing in color the same contents as the RoboCop 2 magazine. (The "RoboCop 2" adaptation, as well as the monthly comic, are notable for depicting the same locations, set design and OCP logo as the first film and not the substitute designs/sets seen in the actual movie "RoboCop 2". This would continue in the Dark Horse comics.)

The stories told within these issues take place between the second and third RoboCop movies. Entering a Marvel Universe, though not the main superhero universe by Marvel, RoboCop’s futuristic setting is expanded with more futuristic elements like gangs riding on hover bikes, urban droids carry out public services like waste disposal, and almost anyone with the know-how or money can create a giant killer robot. About mid-way through the comics run pressure from fan letters convinced Marvel to eliminate some of the more fantastical elements, such as flying characters citing that RoboCop was set only in the near future. This let to a few conundrums and contradictions such as having biker gangs riding flying cycles in one issue and then switch to standard motorcycles by the next. The comic also had to uncomfortably deal with inconsistent characterization misconceptions in the films. For example, in the first movie, OCP's Chairman "The Old Man" is portrayed as a good natured oldster who grew OCP from a small business and has little patience for the greedy corporate types he employs. In the second film his character has changed to a corrupt villain. This proved very unpopular with fans of the first film who had liked the character. It also created a major paradox for the writers of the Marvel comic monthly series, as we see the "Old Man" as a good guy in the RoboCop film adaptation, as a villain in the RoboCop 2 adaptation, and strictly a good guy in the early monthly series of original stories. What followed was a transformation that uncomfortably teetered between strictly well intended, morally ambiguous, and corrupt, but with a good excuse. Another slight, yet noticeable, change was the character of OCP executive Donald Johnson name to Daniel Johnson. This was most likely to avoid criticism from fans of the Miami Vice TV series, though the original naming of the character was likely a Miami Vice in- joke.

The consistent theme throughout the 23 issues is RoboCop’s continuing struggle to balance his humanity with the machine made after his brutal death. In the meantime, he’s fighting street gangs, gangsters, drug pushers, addicts, politicians, terrorists, killer robots, mad scientist, cyborg animals, corrupt OCP employees, OCP’s rival companies, foreign nations, mercenaries, OCP’s attempts to mass produce RoboCops and competitive attempts to do the same, as well as criticisms from an otherwise well-meaning public.

 

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