Thursday, March 19, 2015


Cat asses and giant toy soldiers ... surely this is somebody's dream.
When Earth came under attack by an alien, unknowable enemy – originating from incalculable depths outside our very universe and seemingly limitless in number - it took the effort and sacrifice of brave, bonded pilots to turn the tide of devastation using amazing weapons embedded in the machinery of their titanic, humanoid battle-machines. And that, my friends, is the story of Pacific Rim.

It’s also the story, though, of Dynamo Joe! A product of FIRST Comics, Joe managed to eke out a fifteen-issue run (plus a few appearances as a back-up feature) during an abbreviated run in the mid-Eighties. While other First titles – such as American Flagg, Badger and Nexus, to name a few – were attracting most of the attention, Dynamo Joe was nonetheless somewhat unique in being an American extrapolation of Japanese anime.

Joe’s series is definitely a mishmash of assorted series then in syndication in the US – elements of Robotech, Mazinger and Star Blazers make their way into the book in different forms. It also definitely presages some of the elements of Pacific Rim, which itself drew heavily from anime and kaiju films.

Besides having two pilots per “mecha,” facing off against an unknowable alien threat, and frankly not making much sense when you take a step back from it, Dynamo Joe shares with Pacific Rim the colorful nomenclature of its war machines. Joining Dynamo Joe in his interstellar battlefield were fellow giant robots with such colorful sobriquets as Hawkeye, Red Ryder, Hopeless Romantic, Sureshot Sam and Sweetums. Not included were some of my personal Jaeger names such as Bottle Rocket, Ass Cannon, Hobbit Fucker, Hope-Jobs-&-Cash and But-Doctor-I-AM-Pagliacci…

Joe, for his part, was piloted by a tiger-like alien named Pomru and an Imperial officer named Elanian Daro, who managed the machine through the bulk of the series. When the book was cancelled after a year-and-a-half, the story basically wrapped up as neatly as something of that particular scope could, considering the contrivances necessary to make it work in the first place. In a post-Pacific Rim (or “between” Pacific Rims, I suppose) world, Dynamo Joe seems poised to make a comeback, if only anyone’s there to open the toy chest where he was last seen… 

Oh yeah, there was lots of outer space cusses, which I schnabscrabbin' hate like a motherfucker.

1 comment:

Bram said...

I have fond memories of … the ads and the the promos in First's editorial columns. They were doing some much cool stuff at the time, how could a kid keep up?

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