Thursday, September 15, 2011

From Comics to Toons: Big Guy & Rusty the Boy Robot (1999)

Big Guy & Rusty, the Boy Robot started as a comic book miniseries created by writer Frank Miller and artist Geof Darrow in the mid-1990's. In 1999, the book's publisher, Dark Horse Comics, decided to get into the TV business, following industry giant Marvel in that direction. Dark Horse co-produced the Big Guy cartoon with Sony's animation arm, Adelaide, and the series was sold to Fox. Unfortunately, that was the year that Pokemon had strengthened its grip as the top cartoon on American daytime television, and Fox overhauled its lineup less than 2 months into the season, so Big Guy's 1st season was just six episodes. The series was brought back after more than a year away in January 2001 as a mid-season replacement.

At first glance, Rusty looks like he was created in the images of Alka-Seltzer's old mascot, Speedy, and the iconic mascot namesake of the Big Boy restaurant chain. He was designed to be Big Guy's successor, but isn't quite as experienced or can be entrusted to carry out an assignment solo, so Big Guy (actually a man in a suit, not quite unlike Iron Man) is brought out of retirement to mentor Rusty. Here's the open to the show. The theme song will recall some classic Japanese anime.

Since its cancellation, the series has not resurfaced anywhere, and that's a shame.

Rating: B-.


magicdog said...

I caught a few eps of this back in the day and it was OK.

IIRC, Rusty didn't even know that "Big Guy' was a guy in a suit, he thought he was a 100% robot like him! The Big Guy operator did everything he could to make sure Rusty didn't know! Kind of like keeping the image of Santa Claus alive!

Funny you mention Ironman in comparison to Big Guy; I thought of DC's S.T.R.I.P.E.!

hobbyfan said...

Yah, most people do think of S.T.R.I.P.E. more than they do Iron Man in comparison to Big Guy, and Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. was in publication at that time as memory serves. Rusty was kept in the dark about the truth, true, but don't you think that if the series progressed further, either in comics or on TV, he'd eventually learn? Food for thought.

magicdog said...

The way Rusty was written, he seemed the ultimate in naivete.

It's true that maybe he could have found out the truth, but I think he would have been devastated.

I'm not sure if the writers would have wanted to go in that direction since they seemed to have too much fun keeping Rusty in the dark while hero worshipping "Big Guy".

hobbyfan said...

Not entirely certain either, now that I think about it.