Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What were those jerk-circuits?

If you're like me, there was a certain line of toy robots from the '80's that captured your heart with their cold robo-claws and sliced it open with their LASERs, and let the one with the flame-thrower arms roast it. These robots weren't like Transformers, with their whiff of humanity. From what I could remember, they were more like slightly less murderous Daleks.

I believe I had the Wrecker toy (which sort of parallels the fact that I only had B.A. from the A-Team, not because they're both black, jerk-circuits, but because they're both the construction and demolition leaders of their teams). What I remember most was the comic book that came with the toy. First, the LASER blasts were the bigger and more numerous than average, with well determined color schemes and really cool muzzle flashes. Second, the comic that came with mine had a weird mad scientist theme of one of the bad robots trying to hack into the genius good robot (S.O.T.A., the aforementioned jerk-circuits). Little four-year-old me had a strange time staring at that comic and trying to get my head around the really weird, sterile, sadistic, and futuristic universe these characters inhabited. In contrast, the only thing I found strange about Autobots was that you could get inside of them.

I'm pretty sure that the picture above comes out of a choose-your own adventure book. I can't find anything on the Robo Force comics other than that you can buy them included with the robots on e-bay. I wonder whether they're really as demented as I remember them, or more childish, like the panel above? One thing is for sure: good guys being turned bad or at least brainwashed was definitely a theme of '80s toys and cartoons.

Here's a short list...

GI Joe episodes (there are quite a few, but here's a couple): Operation Mind Menace, The Synthoid Conspiracy, and the one that messed up my dreams for a long time, There's No Place like Springfield pts. 1 and 2. That's just season one.

He-Man: I recall a cauldron filled with goo that could turn good guys bad.

Thundercats: Dream Master, The Doom-Gaze, Dimension Doom, Mumm-Rana, Fond Memories, and in the movie Lion-O gets mummified, which makes another character think he's evil.

And umm... Captain Planet?? I wonder if today's cartoons like Avatar: The Last Airbender, or Bionicle have as much good vs. evil content. Anyway I think I still like Robo Force because whether they were "good" or "evil", they were all metal all the time. Except for the jerk-circuit boards of course.

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