Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Magnus, Robot Fighter - It's Not Too Late For A Movie!!!

One of the great experiences of the Silver Age of Comics was Gold Key's MAGNUS,ROBOT
FIGHTER 4000 AD, easily my favorite sci-fi comic book from that era and arguably the greatest.

from 1963′s Magnus, Robot Fighter #1
Written by guest author, Dave Goode.
Set in the distant future of 4000 AD the Magnus feature focused on the adventures of a futuristic John Henry and his battle against mechanical oppressors.
Created by Russ Manning with a story-line based on George Pal's film adaptation of H.G. Wells' THE TIME MACHINE with "evil " robots filling in for the Morlocks.
Magnus was a Tarzan of the future raised by A-1, a benevolent robot, to overthrow the robot tyrants.
from 1963′s Magnus, Robot Fighter #1
Over the years this comic has gained a cult following and without too much examination it's easy to see why. Comic book readers love robots!!! I'm more of a gorilla guy myself but after gorillas and dinosaurs I dig robots, and I'm sure a lot of comic book readers feel the same way. Some may even prefer robots to gorillas and dinosaurs. 

from Magnus Robot Fighter v1 #7, 1965
Karate!!! Back at the beginning of the Silver Age Americans were just starting to learn about karate largely through spy films and Elvis movies. We really didn't learn too much though. We just saw guys knocking people out or breaking boards or bricks with the side of  their hands while yelling a popular American greeting. Though it was never stated that Magnus was using karate that's what it looked like he was using to turn his robot foes into scrap metal.

from Magnus Robot Fighter v1 #16, 1967

Russ Manning in his studio

Art!!! What can I say the first 22 issues of Magnus illustrated by Russ Manning were magic. Those are the ones everyone remembers most fondly though Dan Spiegle did a nice fill-in issue for issue No.23 and Paul Norris did some pretty good work while finishing the series' original 28 issue run.

from Magnus Robot Fighter v1 #18, 1967
Back when the series was first run in the 60s I would imagine a Magnus,Robot Fighter movie starring gladiator movie star Richard Harrison as the Robot Fighter
and Connie Stevens as his love interest Leeja Clane
and with Ray Harryhausen working his stop-motion magic bringing the robot tyrants of 4000 AD to life.
Now I think Ron Ely would have made a good Magnus in an adaptation of the very first comic book story.
Alas it never happened but think about it. With Hollywood adapting comic book properties to the big screen and with today's CGI effects the time has never been more right to make a Magnus movie.


  1. In 1963 I was instantly drawn to the painted cover of Magnus #1. Barely 9 years old, I had to have it, and I still have it today, (2016). Along with all the other Russ Manning Magnus masterpieces. I know a Magnus movie would work...BUT..! IMO, it would be most successful if they kept strictly to the Russ Manning vision of what the future looks like. His mile high buildings, the air cars, the clothing, the weapons with the jewel on the end, the mail system delivery tubes, but especially the robots. Keep them just as Russ Manning drew them. That's where the appeal is. That's where the magic is. The other artists of Magnus, like the ones from Valiant, simply don't make Magnus work, not like Manning did. The magic is gone. Magnus could be a blockbuster movie, if they keep it as Russ Manning saw it. His 50's way of looking at the future. I would love to see that.

  2. Yes the retro robots would be the only thing that would work. I was a big fan of this and DC's Metal Men, unfortunately Metal Men went with a human' outer look and it killed the series. Now, for me it's Mechs, cyborgs, androids, any modern day robotics as well, but Manning's work and Golden Key captivated my imagination as a kid back then. I had a few along with Metal Men in my collection until it was stolen by a UPS driver when my nephews sent my collection back to me in 1994.

  3. I remember Magnus distantly. It was serialised in The Eagle comic here in the UK. I'm glad that I have found this website as I was beginning to wonder if I had imagined him. I would have been about 7 years old at the time.


  5. Wasn't there an underground comic version of this character, but in the one I saw he had his arms and legs torn off by a robot who was making it with his girlfriend. Anyone know who produced this one?

  6. story was ultra violent parody by Rich Corben in Last Gasp Comics' Slow Death #4

  7. I have never forgotten Magnus but didn't remember Leeja (only 7 or 8 so girls were a mystery still). Alas, my Magnus Robot Fighter comics were unceremoniously discarded by a parent (shall remain anonymous) along with my Rat Patrol GI Joe jeep, action figures and kit. Not sure about a movie but...

  8. At a time when AI is getting really scary, and could well threaten the existence of humanity, a Magnus movie would definitely work. Wish I'd kept all mine, I had 'em in the 60's. A movie would need to stay true to most of that.

  9. I was thinking about the H8 robot today and googled it. I was 13 when I bought the comic and still remember it. Thanks for your great website!