Dynamo Joe #1 (First Comics)

"Dynamo Joe" was a comic book character/series published by First Comics (U.S.) during the 1980s. Originally a back-up story within "Mars" #10-12, First authorized the continuation of the story by writer John Ostrander and creator/artist Doug Rice within "First Adventures" #1-5, then the four-part "Dynamo Joe" mini-series which was extended into a 15-issue run before cancellation.

The series was given a conclusion to the current storyline at issue #15, although Doug Rice (who had assumed writing chores along with his art duties) left the door open to a possible sequel/continuation. The status of the property is unknown.

Overview Edit

Over a thousand years from now, humanity has spread to the rest of the spiral arm of The Milky Way Galaxy. Two other advanced spacefaring civilizations have been discovered: the peaceful and cat-like Tavitans and the Imperium.

The Tavitan are a feline race governed by a female ruler. The Imperium are a humanoid race who are said to be the offspring of their sole ruler, the Magna Khan. The Magna Khan is rumored to be an immortal from Earth.

Nearly a decade earlier, a monstrous alien species (the Mellanares) entered the galaxy. Charting a straight line charge through the spiral arm, these megalithic, seemingly mindless, green-hued organisms destroy everything in their path; their course threatens each race directly. All attempts to communicate are ignored; all attempts to intercept are met with lethal consequences. Worse yet, the enemy shows signs of adapting to whatever battle tactics and forces which are employed against it.

Faced with this unstoppable force, an "Alliance" is formed. The combined economic and military might of each civilization are directed to stop this invading threat. As entire planets fall to this apocalyptic nightmare, the combined military might of the Alliance launches a new counter-offensive. Among the latest technology innovation is the 70 foot tall robotic suit (“battle suits”) called “Dynamo Class Robosoldiers”--each crewed by living individuals.

Dynamo Joe focuses on the crew of one such suit: Imperium soldier Elanian Daro and Tavitan (humanoid feline) mechanic/navigator Pomru Purrwakkawakka. From the early chronicles of their near-fatal campaign against the Mellanares to the climatic finale which reveals the purpose behind the destructive lifeforms, Dynamo Joe is an adventure unlike most, with strong robot anime/manga influences blended with humor, drama, and dire situations.

Mars #10-12 (First appearance) Edit

The story opens on the eighth moon of the gas giant Fergusson. The Alliance has held the enemy here for most of the war, but now must retreat after a series of crippling battles. It's decided by the Commender-in-Chief, Akira Shimamuira, to use General Sergei Ippolitov's super weapon, the Starbuster. With this device, the gas giant will be turned into a new star and wipe out as much of the enemy as possible. During the retreat from the planetoid, the crew of the Dynamo Joe, is left behind, trapped by the enemy on the battlefield.

The heroes use a bait strategy to bring in an enemy unit for close fire. Sgt. Elanian Daro, the pilot/gunner Imperium of Dynamo Joe uses himself as bait to bring in the enemy, a monstrous spider like thing. Hidden under the sands is Pvt. Pomru Purrrwakawaka, the navigator/technician Tavitan of Joe, in Joe waiting for the advance to killing range. They succeed and quickly prepare to met up at their rally point, but see their transport take off in the distance. The two choose to look for another transport, but instead find Anda Warren a reporter for Omni Galactic Broadcasting, a survivor of a crashed transport. She's there to try to see the enemy, something the military has kept a blackout on for the duration of the war, and report back, despite her beliefs to that point, that they're nothing more then boogiemen. She's quickly educated as the enemy use, as noted by Joe's crew, the same tactic used on them just shortly before by Dynamo Joe.

At the price of using the left hand in battle, the Joe quickly scoops up Anda for protection and engages the enemy with the best weapon they've got, a thermo-nuclear cannon. They quickly take out the first enemy, but a second attacks from behind and takes out the cannon. As they grapple to free themselves, an alliance aero-space fighter, a Hellion, takes out the enemy with a well placed shot while crashing to ground. The Joe crew and Anda go to see if the pilot has survived, although Anda at first asks if that's the enemy. She had been tightly clamped in Joe's hand for protection.

The surviving pilot is Lt. Alexander Patton Price of the Earth Elite Air Command. He explains that he was shot down while escorting the Starbuster. With this knowledge, the Lt. with Anda join in the cramped confines of the Dynamo Joe and precede to build a makeshift lift platform to get them off planet (well moon for accuracy) and into space where Joe can still operate, being an all environment robosoldier, and be used as a life raft of sorts until a pickup can happen.

As they launch, they're attacked by several flying enemy, but Elanian has a plan. Let them close to the early launching Joe and use the after burner to destroy them, as Joe's remaining weapons are locked and unusable without damaging the escape platform. They succeed and quickly move to the opposite side of the moon, away from the gas giant as it's turned into a new star. The final panel shows the Dynamo Joe standing on a newly formed asteroid, calling out "This is the crew of the battlesuit Dynamo Joe calling central fleet, come in central fleet. Come in central fleet. Come in central fleet. Come in..."

First Adventures #1-5 Edit

Information forthcoming

The Dynamo Joe encounters an adrift freighter with a mutinous crew that may prove the salvation for the battle suit crew... if the Mellenares don't destroy them first.


Dynamo Joe #3 (First Comics)

Dynamo Joe #1-15 Edit

Information forthcoming

With the return of Dynamo Joe to Central Fleet, the battle suit continues to be crewed by Daro and Pomru, although the suit itself undergoes dramatic upgrades, including the removal of the face section, giving the suit an all-new look. The series (intended as a four-part mini-series, then continued for a total of fifteen issues) covers the adventures of the Joe against the Mellenares, including an appearance on Cynosure ("Grimjack" #30) and the inclusion of a new ally, WOLF-1.

The series also featured a special issue by cartoon artist Phil Foglio, pitting Pomru against a Mellenares invader in a Looney Tunes-style battle aboard the Joe.

GrimJack #30 Edit

Information forthcoming

Dynamo Joe Special #1 Edit

This issue reprinted the Mars #10-12 issues, plus new art and a cutaway schmatic of the Dynamo Joe battle suit interior by Doug Rice.

Creator/Artist/Writer Doug Rice Edit

Doug Rice (born November 26, 1950) is a comic-book artist, writer and television animator living in the Chicago, Illinois area. Working on-staff with First Comics in 1982, Doug was given the opportunity to create an 8-page back-up series for the monthly title, Mars. With the guidance of John Ostrander, Rice created the first original giant-robot series in America back in 1984, Dynamo Joe. The back-up series continued in First Adventures, then under it's own banner, Dynamo Joe, lasting 15 issues (with a cross-over/one-shot in GrimJack). John Ostrander adapted the material to scripts for the first-run, with Phil Foglio picking up the scripting chores for the bulk of the series thereafter.

Rice would go on to draw and co-write (w/ Phil Foglio) the initial Starblazers mini-series for Comico, then move on to DC Comics to contribute layouts and gags to the Foglio/Barta Plastic-Man mini-series, then doing art for the John Ostrander/Kim Yale version of Manhunter in 1988. Rice followed up by teaming with Hilary Barta on several short humor-based super- hero parodies for Marvel's WHAT THE--?! (as co-writer and one-time artist) and Toxic Avenger (as co-writer). His next significant work was for Disney Comics, doing monthly 8-page Roger Rabbit/Mickey Mouse fillers until all new material on the old characters was cancelled.

In 1994, Doug moved into the field of TV-animation, working for a small Chicago-area animation studio, Startoons, doing work for Warner Brothers.

According to his website (2008), Doug Rice's der Schtudio[1], he is involved in freelance Photoshop/art creation work.

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