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Metal Men 36
"The Cruel Clowns"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND BRAD: Once again we open the ol' mylar and dredge up a four- color fracas. This time it's Metal Men #36, one of the Sekowsky issues. This was when they were the NEW *Hunted* Metal Men.

RAVEN: The theory being, if they were hunted, *someone* would want them.

BRAD: So join my robot buddies Raven and Waldo as we follow the Metal Men in... "The Cruel Clowns"!

TIN: I'm not b-budgin'!

IRON: Stand firm!

MERCURY: I'm not uncorking myself!

TINA: Fight!

LEAD: Never surrender!

BRAD: C'mon guys, your oil's not gonna change itself!

GOLD: Speaking for the Metal Men-- you can scramble our wires-- and tear our transistors out-- but you'll never make us perform like a bunch of crazy clowns in an empty circus! No matter who you are! Or what powers you have! Hear me! Show yourself!

RAVEN: If they tear out their transistors this will be a short circus.


NARRATOR: In awesome answer a huge hand flips the entire circus over-- as if it were a mere toy in a crystal globe!

TIN: W-w-we sure got a rise out of h-h-him, didn't we?

TINA: If we make him kick up a big enough storm-- we might be able to escape!

WALDO: Stuck in a snow globe! And they say the Metal Men were losers!

NARRATOR: The gigantic face of an infinitely cruel clown reveals itself in titanic rage...

BRAD: We can't GIVE away those Krusty Burgers!

CLOWN: On MY planet-- where *I* reign-- YOU are my playthings! And your sole job is to make me laugh! Or end up as discarded junk! Now-- make me laugh! Or die!

BRAD: Sooo-- this isn't how DC sees its audience, now is it?

WALDO: They should be called the Metaphor Men.

NARRATOR: As the whale-size eyes of the enormous clown glare at the tumbling Metal Men...

TINA: What can we do to make this callous creature laugh?

MERCURY: Tickle him with a third rail!

BRAD: See, this joke won't play in all parts of the country because it's a subway reference.

RAVEN: And you prefer Quizno's?

NARRATOR: Like mechanical flapjacks, the Metal Men are flipped through the air inside their circus prison...

LEAD: Maybe this "flying" act will please the big oaf!

MERCURY: And while he's laughing himself blind-- maybe we'll be able to break out of this pinball machine?

WALDO: If you can laugh yourself blind, this comic is Lasik surgery!

TINA: I'm tired of denting the roof with my head!

RAVEN: It's that notorious glass ceiling.

GOLD: Maybe that's the only way out of here! Butting our heads together-- and balling our way out!


RAVEN: Oh, you pottymouths!

WALDO: How many Metal Men does it take to scr--

BRAD: Watch it!

NARRATOR: Again the cruel clown thunders his sinister command...

BRAD: Bring me the head of Sideshow Bob!

CLOWN: You do not amuse me! Perform-- or perish!

GOLD: Just think... a couple of days ago we weren't being treated like mechanical mice! Remember...?

WALDO: There will come the soft rains?

NARRATOR: The Metal Men's thoughts reel back to the time they stood before the bed of their inventor, Doc Magnus, in a special chamber at Military Intelligence, together with his brother, Col. Magnus...

BRAD: Run on, you wild and crazy sentence!

COL. MAGNUS: Doc's still unconscious!

RAVEN: Why's Lead got a swelled head?

COL. MAGNUS: But I know my brother! He'll fight his way out of this coma-- that he was tumbled into by a cerebral hemorrhage! He's got to! He's the only one in the world who can adjust your responsometers! So you won't be running out of control all the time! Alarming the people! Turning them against you!

BRAD: Colonel Magnus delivers some Major Exposition.

TINA: W-we don't care what happens to us... as long as poor Doc gets well... Ohh Doc... if you would only open your eyes again--

MERCURY: Cool it, Tina!

WALDO: You're getting the glass all foggy!

NARRATOR: The Metal Men exited to the hostile stares of passerby...

RAVEN: They're hated and hunted, as soon as they step outside their front door.

PASSERBY 1: Can't trust these robots any more!

PASSERBY 2: Never know when they'll flip-- now!

GOLD: We've got to watch our step!

MERCURY: Show our good sides only-- so the people will change their minds about us!

WALDO: Of course, changing their minds means they'd start buying the book.

NARRATOR: In a nearby park...

MERCURY: Look! A kid's wrestling with the wind-- to hang onto his kite!

RAVEN: Stay away from that kite-eating tree!

GOLD: Here's our chance to perform a good deed!

IRON: Don't worry, kid! Ole IRON-HEAD'll help you! Leave the muscle work to me!


IRON: Oops-- sorry-- guess I exerted too much muscle-- I snapped your string!

NARRATOR: Tina, the platinum robot, unwinds like a glittering spool...


TINA: Ohhh-- guess I was too eager!

RAVEN: I used to dream about an eager Tina, but now--

KID: Look what you did!

TINA: I know, kid-- I know! But I'm sorry-- honest!

BRAD: They're threats to National Security! They killed a kite!

NARRATOR: As an angry crowd gathers...

KID: Ma--! Look what they did to my nice new kite! I didn't ask them to play with me! They just pushed their way in!

MOTHER: I know, honey! That's just the way robots are! Unmanageable! Can't trust them! Naturally destructive!

BRAD: Sounds right to me.


BYSTANDER 1: Beat it!

BYSTANDER 2: Don't come back!

BYSTANDER 3: You're a menace!

BYSTANDER 4: You should be destroyed!

BRAD:Is there a spin doctor in the house?

TINA: I know r-robots aren't supposed to cry...

TIN: Who's c-c-cryin'?

BRAD: And on that lachrymose note we close the first part of this adventure. What follows is an ad for Revell's Moon Walk model.

WALDO: America's space program is rapidly closing in on the big adventure:

RAVEN: Funding!

WALDO: The walk on the moon! And you can follow it, step-by-step, with Revell's new American Space Program Collector's Set.

BRAD: Just like the Space Program, it's all in pieces.

WALDO: You can build authentic models of the three big events in space... the orbit, the space walk and the moon walk.

RAVEN: Who's bad?

WALDO: The Gemini Spacecraft model includes details like a complete instrument panel. The space-walking Astronaut model is realistic down to moveable face visor. The Apollo model is almost as unbelievable as the program itself.

BRAD: These days the program isn't just unbelievable, it's mythical.

WALDO: There are five detachable, detailed sections. The Revell Space Program Collector's Set sells for under $11.00.

RAVEN: Which is still less than the Astronauts in Trouble trade.

BRAD: Back after this.


BRAD: Back with Part II of the Metal Men in, "The Cruel Clowns." Really, there's not much to recap. The Metal Men still have their klutz-o-meters turned wayyy up and their Q rating wayyy down.

NARRATOR: As the harassed Metal band wanders sadly through the city streets...

WALDO: Hot town, summer in the city.


GOLD: The police are chasing gunmen!

RAVEN: Clears THAT up...

LEAD: We've got to help them-- before the hoods hit innocent passerby!

WALDO: Did Roussos and Sekowsky even USE a model sheet?

LEAD: I'll put up a lead wall in front of the gunmen-- that'll crumple up their car like a folded piece of pizza!

BRAD: Speaking of street pizza--


LEAD: Uh-oh! I goofed! I missed the gangster car! They were too fast for me! And who dya think I rammed instead? Don't tell me! Let me guess!

BRAD: The Metal Men used to be goofy and colorful, but competent. Now they're dreary and bumbling.

RAVEN: And yet sales didn't improve.

COP 1: What do you expect? It's those blasted robots!

COP 2: They're sabotagin' the department-- that's what they're doin'!

LEAD: Y-you've got the picture wrong, officers....

COP 1: The only time we'll get the "picture" right again-- is to erase it-- with you robots in it!

COP 2: Wait'll we get that "shoot on sight" order against you in effect again!

BRAD: Yeah, everyone knows bullets can stop the Metal Men!

NARRATOR: Lonelier than ever, the Metal Men stumble dejectedly away...

IRON: Never thought we'd make the people blow their cool about us like that!

GOLD: Our luck's running out! Everything we try boomerangs against us!

LEAD: We're oddballs, all right!

WALDO: Shouldn't subtext be BELOW the surface?

TINA: That's it! That's the answer! We're oddballs-- and we're forgetting it!

BRAD: Oddballs, eh? Did you ever show up in Scott Shaw!'s column?

TINA: Don't you get the message? In a society of humans-- WE'RE freaks! But we're not putting on a show for them! Making them laugh! Forget their troubles!

WALDO: C'mon, get happy!

TINA: We're too serious! We've got to put on funny faces! Make with the yaks!

RAVEN: First they're balling in a snow globe and now they're getting romantic with Tibetan cattle. These robots have some kinks in their wiring.

IRON: Tina's right! She's struck the nerve! Her deduction sounded the right chord! What we put on to win the people over to our side again-- is a circus! With us as the clowns!

TIN: It's a n-n-natural!

NARRATOR: The next day, the town is plastered with gay signs...

BRAD: Well, no, they're not gay. In any sense.


RAVEN: And worth it!

LEAD: This way to the METAL MEN CIRCUS, folks! It's all free! Bring your friends! Bring your kids! The show's for one and all! We guarantee to make you split!

RAVEN: Like, I'm already splittin', daddy-o!

BRAD: Get back here.

LEAD: Hurry inside! Huree-- hureee-- hureee--!

RAVEN: All right, Lead's head has outgrown his neck and is now encroaching on his shoulders! He looks like the world's biggest dwarf!

NARRATOR: But, inside, though the Metal Men turn themselves inside out, and overheat their transistors with the big try, they reap a crop of catcalls!


BRAD: I'm sorry, this is the taping for "Good Morning Miami."

RAVEN: Why didn't the Metal Men get the same guy who wrote their successful shows?

BRAD: They did! This story was done by Robert Kanigher!

TIN: We've fl-fl-flopped again!

MERCURY: Looks like our first performance is also our last!

GOLD: We'll need the calvary to yank us out of THIS spot!

NARRATOR: Suddenly, a tittering torrent...

RAVEN: It's Ronald McDonald's family reunion!

NARRATOR: At the sight of the cruel antics the mysterious clowns perform upon each other, the laughter of the enthralled audience knows no bounds-- to the amusement of the baffled Metal Men...

WALDO: They look more baffled than amused.

BRAD: Those clowns are getting laughs without the big trying.


NARRATOR: At the end of the sensational show...

LEAD: You saved our skins! And our show!

MERCURY: Listen to 'em! Exiting laughing!

TIN: On behalf of the Metal M-M-M-- ohhh-- thanks!

NARRATOR: Overcome by curiosity unbecoming a robot, Tin nevertheless reaches out...

TIN: Th-th-the secret must be in those marvelous masks you have on! If we can only borrow them-- we would be able to make the people laugh, too!

RAVEN: Robots in clown face? Mommy, I'm scared!

TIN: Mind if I borrow yours--?


NARRATOR: Tin's responsometer is rattled by amazement when...

TIN: That m-m-mask isn't a mask! It-it's real! It's y-y-your real face-- not a mask at all! And that m-m-makeup isn't just makeup! It's really y-y-you! This is your real f-f-face! You're a real clown! That's how y-you were born! All of you! As clowns!

WALDO: Tin's who *I* would choose for a soliloquy, for sure!

NARRATOR: The strange clown's face becomes even crueler, as...

CLOWN: So you've uncovered my secret! But-- it won't do you any good! Not after I beam you into silence!

BRAD: I don't suppose that gun's going to shoot out a flag saying, "BANG"?

WALDO: Story continues on the third page following.

BRAD: We have an ad for Matchbox models, MSR 55 cents...

RAVEN: A full-page ad for "Leave It To Binky," with Bob Oksner art...

BRAD: And a full page of "Flash Facts," left over from Barry Allen's mag. Check out the one at the bottom. Waldo, if you please?

WALDO: Delighted. (ahem) The first FLASH BULB was developed in Germany, in 1928. Prior to that time, FLASH POWDER (powdery magnesium) was used to take photographs when lighting conditions were bad...

RAVEN: Check out the photographer! A dead ringer for a certain web slinger!

BRAD: Comics were so much more educational when they threw out these snippets without any context. Back after this.


BRAD: And now-- finally-- we're getting down to cases. The Cruel Clowns have shown up the Metal Men and are about to reveal their true colors.

RAVEN: They already are, that's the point.

BRAD: Anyhoo, part III of The Cruel Clowns.

NARRATOR: Like a miniature cloudburst, the strange ray transfixes the startled Metal Men...

CLOWN: So! You want to be clowns! To make people laugh!

WALDO: Don't you know? All the world wants to laugh.

NARRATOR: The ray wreaks its fantastic powers upon the powerless robots...

CLOWN: Ha--ha--ha--ha! I'll make your wish come true! In a way you've never dreamed!

NARRATOR: A massive hand closes upon the stunned Metal Men...

IRON: We've been turned into miniatures of ourselves!

TINA: We're no bigger than marbles!

RAVEN: Hey, Heroclix are hot!

NARRATOR: The huge sinister eyes of the cruel clown stare ruthlessly at the transformed robots as...

CLOWN: I'll give you a circus to perform in! For the rest of your lives!

TIN: For a robot-- that's f-f-forever!

WALDO: Not if you ask Mike Carlin.

IRON: This miniature circus is our prison!

NARRATOR: The horrendous hand snaps shut the lid of the crystal ball circus and drops it into a cavernous pocket...

TIN: Where is he t-taking us?

NARRATOR: Inside the pocket, black as pitch...

RAVEN: Artist's Timesaver #3.

GOLD?: We're in motion!

IRON?: Where are we heading for now?

TINA?: We've no choice but to wait-- and see!

MERCURY?: The suspense is shocking my computer!

NARRATOR: Time passes slow as a shadow... swifter than thought...

BRAD: Crippled as your syntax.

NARRATOR: And the cruel clowns emerge onto their mysterious planet...

WALDO: Planet? Hey, you mean they're aliens?

RAVEN: That makes them Killer Klowns from Outer--

BRAD: Ah, we've haven't seen them kill anybody.


CLOWN: Our raid on Earth was successful! Now-- to your abodes! And a screaming time with your prisoners!

BRAD: Prisoners? But we don't see any other prisoners besides the Metal Men.

WALDO: Just as well. I'd hate to depend on these guys for a rescue.

CLOWN: I'm laughing already! Ho--ho--ho--!

CLOWN 2: You can say that again! He-- he-- he--!

CLOWN: On our clown planet-- earthlings are comic figures! That's why you have been raided! Now-- you will perform! Make us laugh! Until our gloomy planet shakes with laughter!

WALDO: Look who brings up "shakes": the clown.

NARRATOR: The titanic clown-captor's words fall heavily upon the startled and amazed Metal Men...

CLOWN: You heard me! perform! Do Tricks!

TIN: He thinks we're r-real clowns!

RAVEN: He hasn't read your last few issues.

GOLD: We couldn't make REAL people laugh! Now we have to make this creature laugh-- our lives depend on it!

WALDO: So does he represent the audience, or just the editor?

CLOWN: Stop whispering amongst yourselves! You can't escape! You're here for all eternity! now make me laugh, clowns, laugh!

WALDO: Even though our hearts are breaking?

CLOWN: Do you want to be destroyed now? Make with the yaks! Give me a bellyful! Living ain't living without laughter!

BRAD: His anger rises and his diction lowers.

IRON: That clown means it!

TINA: It's laughter-- or our lives!

LEAD: I haven't got a laugh in me!

RAVEN: Gawd, I wish Pauly Shore and Carrot Top were in that globe!

NARRATOR: Just then, a gigantic clowness appears...

CLOWNESS: I want THAT one! For my very own!

TIN: H-H-Hey, wait!

WALDO: Some people just naturally pick the runt of the litter...

TIN: I'm j-j-just Tin... you can't m-m-mean me! I'm the l-l-least worthy of the Metal Men! Take a s-second look at me!

CLOWNESS: My second look is even better than the first! You're the only one I want! You're real cute!

WALDO: Poor little Pirouette, HERE'S your Perot!

RAVEN: Sad really.

CLOWNESS: I'm going to make you my own little puppet! You're going to make only ME laugh! At my own abode!

RAVEN: Now that's the kind of clown that keeps BIG boys from falling asleep at night!

TIN: Perform? I f-f-feel more like crying! Somebody, HELP M-M-ME!

BRAD: Bad case of performance anxiety.

NARRATOR: As the giant clowness steps away with the plaintive Tin, Lead discovers...

LEAD: Look! A "human cannon"!

TINA: It's just what we need to blast our way out of this devil circus!

IRON: C'mon gang!

NARRATOR: Lead transforms himself into a cannonball and...

LEAD: Ram me in, good and tight, Iron!

RAVEN: Huh-huh... Huh-huh... He said, "tight."

IRON: Okay, Lead! Take a deep breath!

LEAD: I'm all set! Fire away!

NARRATOR: The "human cannon" is fired with an explosive roar...


WALDO: So Thunders The Cannoneer!

NARRATOR: Upwards Lead hurtles, and with all his rugged force...

LEAD: I've got to ram out of here! Ughhhnnn---


LEAD: Lead made it on the first try!


MERCURY: He's our only chance! We've got to keep on firing-- until we break through!

WALDO: Didn't he just do that?

MERCURY: Ohh-- if only my globules were as tough as my will-- I'd smash us through!

BRAD: Instead, your globules are as slippery as the storyline.

NARRATOR: The cruel Clown snarls at the antics of the Metal Men...

CLOWN: Very funny! Keep scrambling! I feel a yak coming on!

RAVEN: Keep your personal life out of this.

IRON: That big lummox thinks we're doing this for laughs!

LEAD: Stuff me in again while he thinks this is all part of our act!

GOLD: Ready for firing, Lead?

TINA: Don't be so formal, Iron!

RAVEN: Iron? Are they blind, or did nobody edit this?

LEAD: Fire away!

NARRATOR: Again the patient lead cannonball is fired... with Titanic force Lead rockets into the unwary giant...

BRAD: You know, if John Carpenter got a royalty each time Kanigher used the word "Titanic," he'd double his personal fortune...

LEAD: This'll make you die laughing-- I hope!


RAVEN: And the lead ball is as big as the clown's head.


RAVEN: Just sayin' is all.

NARRATOR: Desperately, the Metal Men scramble out of their comic prison and...

TINA: Tow the cannon with us! It's our only chance of rescuing poor Tin!

IRON: Heave Ho, men!

MERCURY: I don't mind Heaving but let's leave out the Ho's! I don't feel like laughing!

WALDO: I hear ya.

IRON: There's that giant lady clown again! Carrying Tin around with her on the end of a string!

RAVEN: Like she's walking an ant...

LEAD: This is my cue to get inside that cannon again!

IRON: You'd better make a hit the first time, Lead-- before they gang up on us-- and smash us into metal junk!

LEAD: I'm loaded!

BRAD: (MMmmf) So was editorial...?

NARRATOR: Again the robot-armed cannon roars...


LEAD: Here I go! Watch the show!

RAVEN: When Polly's in trouble I am not slow!

NARRATOR: Like a flying sledgehammer Lead hurtles into the cruel giantess and...

RAVEN: Right between the pompons!

NARRATOR: With the titanic creature toppled...

TIN: G-G-Gosh, Tina! Thanks for f-f-freeing me!

TINA: We're not free yet-- as long as we're on this planet!

IRON: Heave the cannon back toward the spaceship! Looks like it's going to be our only chance of getting back to Earth!

BRAD: Oh, c'mon, a little bitty cannon like that can't hit Earth!

GOLD: Here come the rest of the giants!

TIN: And they're n-n-not laughing!

LEAD: Here's where I go into my act! Ready, Iron?

IRON: I'm ready, Lead! What's your gimmick, this time?

LEAD: I'm going to separate myself into a cluster of cannonballs!

WALDO: Can he DO that?

BRAD: I guess. Tina once spun herself into six go-go dancers.

RAVEN: Let's do that issue next!

LEAD: I'm off to the wild blue yonder!

IRON: Never mind the yonder! Get those giants-- before they pulverize us!

NARRATOR: Like automatic cannon fire, Lead plummets into the onrushing giants like a metal cloudburst, and...


LEAD: They're down and out! Listening to a concert of canaries!

RAVEN: Well, don't get a swelled head-- oh, too late...

IRON: C'mon, aboard the spaceship-- before they start to applaud us with those demolition ball-size fists!

NARRATOR: With a rocket-like roar the spaceship zooms away from the cruel planet...

BRAD: Only rocket-LIKE? What is it, a biplane?

NARRATOR: Inside the hurtling spaceship...

MERCURY: We sure have to stretch to reach these controls! Ha-- Ha-- Ha!

RAVEN: Like that's tough for you guys.

IRON: Something else is reaching us! And it isn't funny! Look! A meteor shower is heading our way! It can riddle us like a sponge!

BRAD: Insert Frank Gorshin reference here.

LEAD: What'll we do?

GOLD: There's no place to go!

NARRATOR: The doughty Lead hurries to an exit hatch...

LEAD: We've got to have a missile-curtain! And I'M the only metal aboard that can do it!

BRAD: Actually, isn't platinum denser than lead?

WALDO: Yeah, but she's a gurl! And dey gots cooties!

NARRATOR: Lead ventures into space, where...

LEAD: Ooops! I won't be able to provide much of a shield! I forgot how reduced in size I am! Just like all the rest of the gang!

NARRATOR: But, to Lead's amazement...

LEAD: I'm growing! I'm growing back to my normal size! And then some!

RAVEN: I thought Lead wasn't affected by radiation.

BRAD: Hey, we've only got a page and a half left -- don't make trouble.

NARRATOR: As Lead's cosmically comic face appears...

MERCURY: Look at Lead! He's not only back to normal size! But he's become a giant!

WALDO: You think the cosmic rays did it?

BRAD: I'd say there's a Red Ghost of a chance.

NARRATOR: Outside, in mysterious space, the Metal Men scramble toward the meteor shower...

IRON: C'mon, everyone! Take a bath!

TINA: Anything to get out of this mouse size!

MERCURY: M-Me, too!

RAVEN: I'm not saying anything... it's a coloring screwup, but I'm not saying anything...

LEAD: Hurry! No telling how long this will last!

WALDO: About as long as dea ex machina usually run.

MERCURY (really!): Watch yourself, Lead! Don't step on us!

LEAD: I'll be careful!

TIN: How d-d-do I look?

IRON: Like yourself! Only more so!

MERCURY: I can feel my globules expanding!

BRAD: Keep it to yourself!

TINA: Imagine being life-size again!

LEAD: You're pretty any size!

RAVEN: Lead's a little heavy-handed with the compliments...

LEAD: The cosmic shower's over!

TINA: I feel like I've been in a beauty shop!

TIN: But it d-d-did its work!

IRON: An iron foundry's more like it for me!

BRAD: Alternating responses, just like a chat room.

NARRATOR: The spaceship hurtles on under the command of Gold, until...

MERCURY: Well, there's Earth!

IRON: The planet that doesn't w-w-want us any more!

BRAD: ... Let's just assume he's making fun of Tin.

LEAD: There must be SOMETHING we can do to make the people like us the way they used to!


TINA: I wish I knew!

MERCURY: We'd better find it! You can't go on living-- without being loved!

NARRATOR: What is the answer to the Metal Men's dilemma? Will they keep their cool-- or be in hot water again? The next issue must provide the answer! Unless YOU can come up with one, readers!

RAVEN: Well, lessee, we'll make Doc a robot too, only for a nonexistent metal, and, and, we'll say the Metal Men were based on humans all this time, and we'll kill off Gold, and--

BRAD: Raven, you're babbling! Tossing stuff out without rhyme or reason!

RAVEN: No, DC actually did all the things I mentioned!

BRAD: ... I know, I'm just in denial. So that's the Hunted Metal Men. We've got ads for the Superman-Batman and Aquaman cartoon shows; a text piece on the Alan Scott Green Lantern; and the letters page, with nobody famous on it.

RAVEN: Hey Brad, reset my responsometer.

BRAD: (Runs from room screaming)

WALDO: I'll reset yours if you'll reset mine.

RAVEN: ...Okay.