When readers meet Junkyard Joe in Geiger No. Six, he’s evil and bent on the destruction of Geiger, the hero. Joe’s just re-programmed that way though. In the Giant issue, we get a preview of the upcoming saga.
In the forthcoming “Junkyard Joe” comic book, dear Joe tells his story from the moment he came online in 1972 to his battle with Geiger. Created during the Vietnam War, Joe starts out as a “loyal mechanical soldier” that, once spotted by his own allies, the US military categorically denies.
Soldier Morrie “Muddy” Davis sees Joe during a battle. Reporting his view of the robot, the military goes to great lengths to convince him he imagined it. Davis turns his “imagination” into money, becoming a comic book writer upon leaving the military.
Introduced in 1976, his Junkyard Joe comic becomes a hit in the 1980s, said to offer a biting political parody of the unrealistic expectations placed on today’s soldiers. Readers assume it parodies modern society’s desire for men and women to function as automatons for their superiors.
For decades, the comic book continues, until in 2022, Davis announces from his home in tiny Melody Hills, Indiana, that he’s ending the strip. After decades of adventures in the Sunday newspaper comics, Junkyard Joe comes to an end.
Or does he?
Only his printed and drawn story, it seems, ends since Davis comes face-to-face with Joe again in 2022. How did Joe begin? We won’t know until the comic book issues, perhaps as soon as the summer of 2022. The preview pages were drawn by artist Gary Frank, hinting at Joe’s beginning as a person.
Robot Joe never has a face. His “face” consists of a solid grey metal mask with vent holes for a mouth and what appears as integrated spectacles for the eyes. The robot’s spectacles appear to be replicas of the glasses worn by a military man in one of the Frank-drawn panes.
A bullet goes through the head and jaw of a soldier in one pane. Teeth and blood spew forth, scattering the jungle with debris.
The Geoff Johns-Gary Frank teaser pages offer no words – only the scenes as readers will view them. They don’t appear in order either, but another telling hint appears on the mock-up of the cover for the comic book. In every colorized drawing of Junkyard Joe that features a close-up, we see the human Joe looks at reflected in his spectacles.
This imagery hints at Joe’s humanity or the loss thereof. Rather than targeting the viewer, Joe views each human as a human.
Look for Junkyard Joe to hit the newsstands and comic book stores this summer. Mad Ghost hasn’t provided a firm date yet but expects to see this loyal robot on bookshelves soon.