This 112-page e-book collects one dozen R-man stories from the late WWII/post-war era. Thompson's elegant blend of Art Deco design tropes, poster-like splash pages, bold black spotting and stylized architectural renderings help disguise the stories' distressing tendencies towards stock plots, characters and devices.
As I wrote in the book's introduction: "The real criminals here were the script writers for ROBOTMAN. As was National Periodical's increasing bent in the post-war era, pat, safe, pre-tested scenarios trumped vitality, originality or personality.Only via Thompson's constantly inspired, sweeping cartoon art does ROBOTMAN transcend the mundane. The scripts fail both character and artist. Thompson keeps a lively front with his stylish graphics, lettering and page layouts.
But only in the scenes between R-man and R-dog does the series ever show a sign of life."
This said, with a forgiving eye, these stories do exude some charm. They're certainly a damned sight more interesting that the majority of DC's post-war fodder. Thompson's visual storytelling skills were at their peak--which makes the flaws of the stories (written by staff hacks) more painfully evident.
Bonus features: three stories from wartime HEROIC COMICS, including an existential real-life Pacific war story and two examples of Thompson's sublimely loopy run on MUSIC MASTER--itself one of the nuttiest superhero concepts extant.
We originally budgeted for four bonus stories, but that would've made the PDF too big for many people to comfortably download. Just for fun, here is the one that got away... a war-themed "Music Master" story from Heroic Comics 23. Thompson clearly had fun with this series, and his joy of drawing makes an already-zany wartime story an over-the-top blitzkrieg bop. Enjoy!