|Bozo the Iron Man|
Bozo on the cover of Smash Comics No. 5, 1940
|First appearance||Smash Comics #1|
|Full name||Hugh Hazzard|
Hugh Hazzard and his Robot, Bozo the Iron Man was a fictional character featured in issues 1-42 of the Smash Comics comic book from Quality Comics. Hugh Hazzard's adventures were written and crudely drawn by Quality Comics editor George Brenner. Bozo was featured on the cover of issue #1.
In the first installment, the origin story, Hugh Hazzard is a suit and fedora clad man with connections to a large city police department. He is involved in the investigation of crimes committed by a mysterious robot. Hugh manages to temporarily deactivate the robot, and climbs inside its hollow chest to hitch a ride to the robot's home base, which turns out to be the laboratory of an evil scientist, who dies in the ensuing battle. The robot is again deactivated, and placed on a garbage scow for disposal at sea, but Hugh Hazzard has ideas of using the robot as a crime-fighting tool. He saves the robot from its watery fate, then names the robot Bozo.
In the next installment, Hazzard is shown examining the robot's blueprints, and stating that the robot can be modified to fly. The modified robot, shown flying with a spinning propeller on its head, is again used to foil a crime. Flying would be a part of all subsequent appearances.
After the pattern of the first adventure, Hugh Hazzard tended to encounter criminals committing crimes with scientific gadgetry, and these criminals tended to become the victims of their own weapons.
In 1956, Quality Comics characters were sold to DC Comics. Quality's Blackhawk continued to be published without interruption, but most of their other characters languished. While most of the classic Quality superheroes saw print again many years later, Hugh Hazzard has not returned. A robot resembling Bozo did make a single-panel appearance in an issue of James Robinson's Starman, where the inactive robot was in a store-room with a Japanese collector's horde of Golden Age superhero artifacts.
Justin Gray has said that the character concept for the villain Gonzo the Mechanical Bastard was derived from a character proposal by Grant Morrison updating Bozo. The final Gonzo character eventually became something very different: a psychotic android that can impersonate a world leader.
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