Robot Archie

Real Name: Archie

Identity/Class: Robot

Occupation: Crime fighter and adventurer

Affiliations: Ted Ritchie; Ken Dale; Professor C.R. Ritchie; Junior;
in his Zenith incarnation he was a member of Black Flag and ally of Zenith and Mandala

Enemies: Sludge, X-Man robot;
in his Zenith Phase he was a foe of the Lloigor; Lux; Voltage; Spook

Known Relatives: Junior

Aliases: The Jungle Robot

Base of Operations: Active worldwide

First Appearance: Lion #1 (I.P.C., 23 February 1952-74); Vulcan (1975-76); Kobra (Germany); 2000 A.D. (Zenith Phase Three and Four), Action

Powers/Abilities: Super strength. He's bulletproof and able to extend his limbs telescopically.

History: The world's most powerful mechanical man was designed and built by Professor C.R.Ritchie. Robot Archie was always aided by Prof's nephew Ted Ritchie and his best friend Ken Dale. Originally known as the Jungle Robot, Archie adventured around the world and later through time with his friends. At first Archie could not speak, but when he was finally fitted with a voice, he proved to be extremely boastful about his abilities.

(The Vanishing Planes, text story, Lion Annual 1969.) Archie, Ken and Ted investigate the mysterious disappearances of a number of transport planes. They discover that saboteurs who have taken over a local mine as a base to launch attacks on military installations have been shooting down the planes to prevent anyone spotting their movements from the air.

(Volcano Island, Lion Annual 1969.) While sailing their yacht in the South Pacific, the three pals come across a new island that has surfaced from beneath the ocean during a storm. The discover a variety of strange creatures on the island before managing to return to the ocean.

Ted and Ken remained friends and allies of Archie throughout most of his adventures. They travelled to Africa with him, they accompanied him on his time travelling antics, and they built the Junior Robot (right) as well. Archie, Ted and Ken continued to adventure around the world, seeking out treasures and fighting increasingly outrageous opponents, including alien invaders.

The Junior Archie robot in action

Comments: Ted Kearnon (who also illustrated Morgyn the Mighty for a time) was the main artist for Archie in his Lion days. Thanks to Jim Croasdale for this additional information.

Archie debuted in issue 1 of Lion, in a strip entitled The Jungle Robot, which ran for the first 25 weeks of the comic. At that point Archie had no voice and no mouth, though in time he gained both, as well as having the strip named after him from the second story, which began after a long break, in issue 257 (19 January 1957). Also he was originally remote controlled, and incapable of action without direction, something that also swiftly changed.

In his 34th story, which started on 20th April 1968, Archie laid his hands on a time machine (which resembled a giant chess piece), and the trio's adventures through time began. During this time he had a recurring villain, a monster known as the Sludge. His last strip in Lion concluded on 18 May 1974, although he continued to appear in Annuals and specials, as well as turning up in Valiant (mostly in reprints) over the next couple of years.

Theodoor Westerhof informs me that in the Netherlands, he was published as "Archie, de Man van Staal " (Archie, the Man of Steel). After the U.K. strips ran out, his stories were continued by Bert Bus. The tenth "Bus"-Archie appeared in 2004 AD, showing Archie visiting the Ice Age. There is a Dutch site devoted to him here.

An analogue of Archie made a brief appearance (as Android Andy - left) among the victims of the Fury in the Captain Britain strip.

Meanwhile Robot Archie returned as an acid freak version, working with Black Flag, in Phase Three of Grant Morrison's Zenith. Archie had appeared in cameo in 2000 A.D. prior to Zenith, when he was seen to be one of the robots working at Tharg's headquarters in an early issue of the comic.

Interestingly, both Android Andy and Robot Archie turned up in Albion, plotted by Alan Moore, scripted by his daughter Leah Moore and her husband John Reppion, and drawn by Shane Oakley. Both resided in Penny Dolmann's workshop in disassembled form; Archie was reconstructed by Penny, and was later destroyed (ready to be rebuilt again) in an attack on Cursitor Doom's castle, which the government had turned into a secret prison for superhumans.

In Germany in the seventies the magazine Vulcan was published  under the title "Kobra" showcasing Mytek The Mighty, Tim Kelly, Steel Claw, The Spider and Robot Archie. Unfortunately, the stories which were published in Kobra were partially incomplete, apparently switching stories unpredictably. Finally, the magazine was discontinued, leaving German fans hanging as to the fate of their favourite characters. Thanks to Sven Feyerabend for this information.

CLARIFICATIONS: None

Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

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