Because of the DC Relaunch, James Robinson was forced to cut short his tenure on Justice League of America (which seems to have come to the relief of many people who were reading the title.) I can't really weigh in on the issue except to say that in his last issue of the series, he gave us a a metatexual finalie with glimpse of some of the stories he had planned, wherein this page intrigued me (click to see the full page)
A closer look at this page reveals this caption (in black)
This is not only a reference to one of my favorite Golden Age characters, Bozo the Robot, but also it references a (thankfully) aborted idea by the team behind the last incarnation of Freedom Fighters.
First some backstory for those of you unfamiliar with Bozo the Robot (and welcome to my blog because this sure ain't the first time I've talked about him.) Bozo is a character from Quality Comics SMASH COMICS who ran on the cover of the first issue and ran in the series until issue 42. He has always been a favorite of mine, and I've featured him here several times in the past.
Being named James and liking Bozo seems to be two traits I have in common with Mr. Robinson as he once included a nice cameo of Bozo in his Starman run. The reference to Gonzo here is a wink towards a character created by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti that they had a character concept for a villain called Gonzo the Mechanical Bastard that was derived from a character proposal by Grant Morrison, which was to have been an update of Bozo.
Yeah, that's what we need.
A grim and gritty version of a whimsical robot character.
Being a fan of Bozo, and hearing people talk about Robinson's run on JLA, I am sorta glad that the only glimpse of this incarnation we will ever have to endure is limited to a caption box. Still, you know someone is eventually get around to doing something with this character. And based on current trends at DC, I suspect the words BAD ASS will be in the pitch.
You know who would be good on a Bozo Revamp? Me and Pierre! I know that sounds crazy but man, I think Pierre would perfect for sort of CC Beckish take on Bozo the Robot. I would totally use the character to tell whimsical, pseudo-sci-fi stories in a sprawling metropolis much in the same way CC Beck used to do with Captain Marvel.
Here's my Bozo the Robot Pitch:
Our story begins with Bozo being awakened after untold years of hyper-electric hibernation in what seems to be the basement of an old museum. The waker is a newspaper boy whose arms are covered with strange tattoos. The boy doesn't seem to be able to talk, but points to one of the tattoos, which is a perfect likeness for Bozo. In the boys hands is a newspaper with the headline: Bozo the Robot Found!
The boy leads Bozo up the stairs of the museum where he meets a group of street ruffians who call themselves the Holiday Hooligans.
The Hooligans tell Bozo that he is in the city of Halcyon, and that they live in the museum, which has been long abandoned since before the start of the great war. The boy who awakened Bozo is named Quiet Quincy because he is mute. The leader of the boys is a troubled soul with a gimp leg nick-named Crabby Abby. They make their way in the world selling newspapers and in their off time patrol the city looking for adventure and solving any mysteries they encounter. As it turns out, Halcyon is indeed full of mysteries!
Bozo discovers that while this city resembles the era he was created in (1940's) it is not that time. Nor is it easy to determine what time it is, as NONE of the newspapers (or anything for that matter) have a date on them! Also, Halcyon appears to be a city without boundries, as the blocks go on forever. Strangest of all, the tattoos on Quincy's body seem to be images of events that will unfold in the future, and Quincy himself often disappears for a day, only to return with newspapers with tomorrows headlines. It was one of these very newspapers that led him to Bozo in the first place.
As Bozo joins the Hooligans on their adventures he meets other inhabitants of Halcyon:
There is an oriental homeless man Shang Rila who claimes to be the last of a mystic order that guarded a temple beneath Halcyon that can be only accessed by traveling through a deserted subway station.
Protecting Halcyon's lone library is the timid half-man, half-lion creature known as The Loquacious Mr. Leo, who knows more about Halcyon than anyone, but will only share his information in return for a favor. No one knows where Mr. Leo came from or why he is the only such creature of his kind.
A constant source of trouble for the Hooligans is the Dr. Savantus, a man who promotes himself as a brilliant scientist, but his inventions often seem to deviate so wildly in design that Bozo questions if he is actually the creator or simply an unwitting tester of some sort.
Above all these enigmatic characters is the merciless Cardiff Cadaver. A ghastly ghoul with moon-white skin dressed in a tattered tux who roams the nightime streets of Halcyon destroying anyone who gets in his way as he pursues some mad quest that only he is privy too. It was the Cadaver who crushed Abby's leg. Since that day, the Hooligans have been on the lookout for this white widowmaker in hopes of taking him down.
If I made this a 6 issue mini-series, I would have Bozo discover some, but not all of the mysteries above, while keeping a light-hearted tone to the series. By the by, I would be remiss if I were not to say that some of the inspiration for this idea and the format for this post comes from Trey Causey's ever creative Weird Adventures RPG Setting.
So until DC calls me up to offer me this dream job, (or Pierre gets tired dissing the DC Relaunch ;) ) check out this great issue of Smash Comics which features Bozo on the cover: [ Smash Comics 26 ]