Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #129


The journey of Robotman was a strange one.

Created not by a cartoonist, Robotman was, instead, the brainstorm of corporate synergy. Some corporate folks saw the money that characters like Peanuts and Garfield were making, so they came up with a character, then tried to market him for toys, etc.

Part of the big push was to have a comic strip. The strip was offered to any number of young and upcoming cartoonists (including a young Bill Watterson), until ultimately, Jim Meddick took the gig.

It was an interesting gig, in the sense that there was no real guidelines for the character except to draw him like the licensed character was meant to look like, so Meddick figured he could just use the chance to get some exposure before the whole thing fell apart.

Surprisingly, though (especially to Meddick), the strip caught on. The marketing sure didn't, but the strip did, and over a decade later, Meddick was still doing the daily Robotman strip, even though he had jettisoned most of the cast and introduced a new character who Robotman would hang out with, named Monty.

Ultimately, though, in a bizarre move, at the turn of the century, during contract negotiations, Meddick's syndicate asked him to DROP Robotman from the comic strip!!

You see, they felt the name Robotman was too childish, and made it sound like strip was a young-readers strip, when the humor actually skewed a bit older, so in 2001 - Robotman was written out of his own strip. Such events are not all too uncommon in comic strip history, but usually it is a matter of the cartoonist finding that certain characters are more popular - something a little more natural, not being told by the company itself that they no longer want to use the title character!!

Instead, Robotman's friend, Monty (who, over the years, had been retconned into being Robotman's creator) took over the strip, where he still exists today.

Pretty strange way to go, huh?

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