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Webcomic / The Last Mechanical Monster

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A webcomic created by professional comics artist Brian Fies, creator of "Mom's Cancer" and "Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?", TLMM is based on the premise that the anonymous, tuxedo clad villain from the classic Fleischer Studiios Superman cartoon The Mechanical Monsters (now out of copyright) gets out from prison in 2005, after finishing a sixty-four year sentence for his crimes. Despite being 99 years old, and all of his robots remaining trashed in his old lair, "Sparky" is determined to recreate one last robot to carry out his revenge on society.

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But first he has to convince the owner of the local electronics store to let him buy antique vacuum tubes on store credit.

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Tropes:

  • Bad Present: The world of 2005 from Sparky (and to some extent Lillian's) point of view. The local neighborhood is poor and run down, and there's no magic or incredible inventions anymore.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: As a villain, ninety-nine year old Sparky is pretty laughable. But his rage is real, and he did restore a flying, flame throwing robot to working order.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the end Sparky dies of his injuries but he does so knowing that his mind is still as sharp as ever, and Lillian uses his patents to make a fortune and bring her neighborhood out of poverty.
  • Comically Small Bribe: Sparky tries to bribe a bus driver to drop him off in the middle of an uninhabited area near his lair with a $5.00 bill.
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  • Cool Old Lady: Lillian. In her early seventies, still running her own electronics store, and a trained electrical engineer from an era when that career wasn't exactly encouraged for girls.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: As Lillian ultimately takes advantage of any of Sparky's inventions, from an AI that runs on vacuum tubes to flying robots, could have earned him millions in 1941. Instead he used them to rob jewelry stores...
  • The Determinator: Sparky in a nutshell. He's stayed alive this long with the help of, as he puts it, "Rage, and an unquenchable thirst for vengeance."
  • Distant Finale: After Sparky's funeral the story jumps ahead from 2005 to present day 2015.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Most of the premise of story revolves around this. Being ninety-nine years old, Sparky isn't up to much physical labor, and he's dependent on Lillian for help.
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  • It's All About Me: Why didn't Sparky become famous for inventing his robots? Because two weeks after he was arrested the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. He regards this as a personal insult. Fortunately he gets a bit better about it
  • MacGyvering: Sparky restores power to his lair with the help of a pair of garden rakes, a set of jumper cables, and some nearby power lines.
  • No Name Given: Our villain protagonist's given name is never revealed, but Lillian nicknames him "Sparky".
  • Reality Ensues: During a failed test run, Sparky's robot hilariously tosses him over the side of a crevice. Which results in several broken ribs and a fractured skull that ultimately he never recovers from.
  • Redemption Equals Death
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: His hands might not be able to tie his bowtie anymore, but Sparky wouldn't be caught dead in anything except his tuxedo.
  • Villain Protagonist: Sparky, obviously.
  • Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: The fate of Superman. Though Fies uses images from the original cartoon directly in the comic, as they fall under Fair Use, for copyright reasons he couldn't create original drawings of the Man of Steel. He explains in his blog notes that since everyone in the world knows what happened to him, they don't feel any need to discuss it in the story.
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