This Used to Be the Future: Robot Hater!

Welcome to the exciting world of The Future! I’m your host, Dave Lartigue, and each Wednesday I’ll be taking you on an exciting and educational journey into the time to come! Sit back, pull up a cosmo chair, pour a space drink, and enjoy!

Let’s turn back the clock ten years and look at the year 2000! Remember it? Here’s what today’s story says about this year to come (click on the image to blow it up):

“And everyone was deliriously happy, THE END!” Ha, no, of course, not, because someone isn’t happy. And who is that someone? I’m afraid, dear reader, it’s YOU.

This is one of those stories told in second-person, so our protagonist is YOU, who is a grumpy white dude named Vincent Latimer. Here you are, on the far left.

Your deal is, you hate robots. Hates them forever! Robots, unlike humans, can’t be depended on, especially in an emergency. You can’t trust a hunk of metal, but you can trust a person! And you can count on you to not shut the hell up about how much you hate robots, even to your poor cab driver.

You head into work and take your mind off hateful, job-stealing, robots with thoughts of “plastic”. Right off the bat there’s a problem. Seems that Lunar Plant #16 is running out of cellulose and can’t make as much “plastic” as it needs to. You’ll have to go there and check it out! Fortunately, this is the year 2000, so a trip to the moon is no problem! You tell your girl, Miss Hanson, that you’re headed out, and go to the space port.

But oh no! Outside of the safe confines of your white-collar job, you’re back in a world that sometimes contains people who don’t look like you!

You of course go nuts at hearing this because frankly, you’re kind of a jerk. You demand to know which space-line doesn’t use robot pilots and are informed that pretty much everyone does. So you do what any normal person would do, and demand a law to protect you from robot pilots.

Actually first, you still have to get to the moon, so you start trawling all the smaller flight companies. At Paragon Space Lines, you finally find a white male pilot!

You give the guy an extra hundred future dollars to take you to the moon, and soon:

Suddenly and QUITE UNEXPECTEDLY a surprise meteor shower appears out of nowhere! The pilot skillfully veers the rocket out of harm’s way, but since you think you know better than the stewardess, you don’t have your seat belt on. You fall out of your seat, hit your head, and black out.

When you come to:

Man, did you ever luck out! This pilot is incredible! And even better, he’s a human! A beautiful, natural, healthy, white, male, hu–

And suddenly you feel shameful. Your appalling behavior on these four pages makes you feel like even less of a man than the robot pilot you’ve just praised. How can you face yourself now? How can you face the others you’ve so embarrassingly acted out in front of?

You tell yourself that this guy is the exception that proves the rule. SOLVED!

“Robot Hater!”
Tales of Suspense #3 (Atlas (Marvel) Comics, May 1959)
Writer: Unknown (possibly Stan Lee and/or Larry Lieber)
Penciler: Paul Reinman
Inker: Paul Reinman
Editor: Stan Lee

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4 Responses to This Used to Be the Future: Robot Hater!

  1. Andrew Weiss says:

    …and now when someone calls YOU out on YOUR robophobia, YOU can now state that “Hey, I have a friend who is cybernetic…”

  2. MichaelD says:

    What a rip-off….I was sure I’d turn out to be a robot myself!

  3. Ray Cornwall says:

    Actually, the robot scooped your brain out, plugged it into a USB cable, transferred your consciousness into one of those humanoid robots, and is waiting a little longer to let you in on the joke by showing you your corpse.

  4. damanoid says:

    In the alternate history which leads to this future, the businessman advising Dustin Hoffmann’s character in [i]The Graduate[/i] also does the air-quote gestures.