Monday, January 5, 2015

The Assassin That Never Was

I must be a nerd if a fox like Nightshade doesn't draw my attention to this cover of Captain America so much as the chugga-chugga-chugga robot threatening our heroes:

And we're not just talking any robot--this bruiser just happens to be "the Deadliest Robot Assassin of All Time"! That's quite a reputation for a robot that's seen maybe a minute and a half of action before the plug was pulled on it. (More on that in a sec.) So what makes this robot (code-named "Wild Bill") so deadly? Well, Bill is definitely packing some heat:

But it's not what you would really call an assassin, seeing that it never made it out of the testing stage. And it's not likely to, with Cap on the job:

Scratch one deadly assassin-in-training. Still, we have the good memory of either writer Tony Isabella or artist Frank Robbins to thank for bringing "Wild Bill" out of mothballs, since it was first seen in the pages of Strange Tales over nine years before its second appearance in Cap. In its debut, it showed great promise, if you go by Nick Fury's first impression. Unfortunately, it was also out of control at the time he was singing its praises:

Yee-haw, pardners--"Wild Bill" has got you in its sights. But it has yet to run up against its deadliest enemy:

A control panel.

Well, no wonder the thing went haywire--Tony Stark hadn't yet checked it out before it was activated by some hapless S.H.I.E.L.D. tech, whose time clock is about to be punched hard by Fury before he's escorted off the premises.


david_b said...

Wow and WOW.. Thanks for showing us Wild Bill's initial appearance. Very cool.

Thanks to the Robbins art, this ultimately was a wholly and sadly forgettable issue..,

that SHOULDN'T have been.

Awesome cover, Wild Bill AND Nightshade..? Under Sal's pencils it would have been a CA&F classic.

Still, we have this awesome (if a trifle busy) cover. One of my favs.

Unknown said...

This cover was also used (albeit altered- recolored & more "Kirby-crackle" added) for 7-11 glasses in the 70's. They are pretty darn cool indeed!

dbutler16 said...

Ah, 7-11 glasses from the 70's. I'd love to get my hands on some of those!
Also, I really need to pick up more of the Captain America and Falcon era comics.

Comicsfan said...

Robt, thanks, good to know about those glasses! And those of you who are curious can check them out in a fairly recent post from the Big Glee blog.

The Prowler said...

CF, I know that I could never tell you how much I love your blog and how much I wish I had never found it! Secure in my own little world, I had no intention of ever buying another comic or comic related item. Yet, here I am, perusing Amazon for Tomb of Dracula, Captain America, Thor, and so on and such as.... Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in!!!

(Nerds! Nerds!!!).

Comicsfan said...

Prowler, thanks! Now fork over that finder's fee, man! (jk!)