Menace #11: "I, The Robot"

Menace #11
 "I, The Robot"
 May, 1954

 Story: Unknown
 Art: John Romita
 Editor: Stan Lee

 It is a new gleaming steel robot, still warm from recent soldering, its intricate wired mechanism hums faintly from within! Its creator is a man with a beard! The hum of its creator's voice makes its sensitive audiophones vibrate! No gears shift inside of it, for the robot only responds to audioimpulses addressed on a secret frequency! The professor tells the business manager the robot is not finished yet. Creating a robot which obeys orders is no simple task! The robot must be taught how to obey commands! When the business manager informs the professor they will receive five million dollars if the robot is released before the month ends! The professor is not releasing his data until his creation is completed! Now, he must conduct further testing! Now its creator is standing over it... The robot remains motionless on its slab! It is a robot, fashioned in the shape of a human being, but lacking will, unable to move independently until commanded on its secret frequency!

 The professor is about to test his creation! Now the microphone that is attuned to its frequency, rests in his hand! In a moment, the professor's voice will flow through its wires, as human blood flows through arteries! The creator's voice will endow his creation with both movement and purpose! "Robot... pick... up... the... chair!" Gears shift as massive limbs move ponderously, and the robot rises from its slab... It walks stiffly across the laboratory, its steel feet clanking dully on the concrete tile... It is a robot! Its creator has commanded and his creation has obeyed! The professor smiles in triumph... But when the robot picks up another chair, its creator frowns!

 And when the robot picks up a third chair, the professor buries his face in his hands! It is still an imperfect creation! It still does not know how to obey commands! Its electrical system requires a special regulator to make it stop once it has begun! Its creator speaks into the microphone once more... and the its...slab! Then the professor turns off the lights and walks towards the door! Its creator shakes his head and slams the door... the robot is alone, motionless on its slab! Suddenly, its audiophones pick up the sound of a window creaking upward... The business manager climbs silently into the laboratory... Now he bends over the robot, his fingers pries at the control box on its chest! The business manager has been working on this arrangement too long to let the professor foul things up for him! There isn't anything he wouldn't do for five million dollars! As he finds the frequency setting, the business manager can feel the five million dollars in his hands right now... and the professor will not be around much longer for his share!

 The business manager chuckles to himself, then closes the control box! After picking up a spare microphone, he exits through the window as silently as he had entered! The following morning finds the creator returning to the laboratory, where his creation has remained motionless upon its slab all night... Its creator is standing over it! Its audiophones vibrate as the professor addresses it fondly... and says as soon as he installs the special regulator, his creation will be perfect! Within the robot, wires are humming loudly, and a thousand springs are tensing for imminent action! The business manager's voice is booming inside its electronic brain... And this booming voice is on its frequency! The robot! It is a robot...and it must obey! Its creator cringes in horror! The professor throws up his hands in an attempt to ward off his creation! But it keeps moving towards him... It...!

 "AAARRGGH!" It stands swaying over its creator's corpse! The wires inside of it are still humming shrilly! Its steel hands are still taut and its electronic eyes continue to dart around the laboratory! The door opens and the business manage steps into the laboratory! With the professor dead... all he has to do is march the robot down to the people who want to pay five million dollars for it! But unfortunately for the business manager, this is a brand-new imperfect robot, and badly in need of a regulator!! It follows the command of the voice on its frequency... and obeys! And it will continue to follow this command from the late business manager! Its steel feet make clanking sounds in the narrow hallway! It is on its way! It will kill men in rooms wherever it finds them! It is a robot and must obey!

 This story was reprinted in Weird Wonder Tales #5 (August, 1974.)

 The Robot later appeared in "What If The Avengers Had Been Formed During the 1950s?" by Don Glut, Alan Kupperberg, Bill Black, and Tom Orzechowski.

 Marvel Boy installed a regulator in the Human Robot with spare parts from his spaceship, the Silver Bullet.

 Menace also featured the Zombie who would later become Simon Garth.

 Writer Jeff Parker featured M-11 as a member of the Agents of Atlas.

 Five million dollars would have bought a lot of Atlas Comics in 1954.

 Artist John Romita also drew Captain America for Atlas Comics and would later illustrate Daredevil and The Amazing Spider-Man for Marvel Comics.

 Steve Chung
 "I, The Review!"