Obscure Comics: Hydrobot & The Transformers #1

There are comic book series almost every comic fan knows, there are comic book characters that most everyone knows, there are specific comic books most every comic reader knows, and then there are the more obscure issues that slip through the cracks.  What makes obscure comics so interesting and vital is discovering those books that most don't know were ever printed, or that top tier creators worked on "that book" or on "that character." Obscure Comics are fun to find, interesting to know about, but that border between being great reads and terrible comics.

Mascots & Promotional Comics

As comic book readers, genre fans generally accept a certain level and maintain a certain level of suspension of disbelief. The idea that a radioactive spider bit a teenage boy didn't die, wasn't taken apart by the government for research, isn't using his powers just to make money, and is not known worldwide for having powers; these are standard things fans just accept in order to enjoy the premise and thereby enjoy the character.  Transformers requires many of these suspensions when people enjoy it.  The idea there are just two factions (in most Transformers fiction), that they all speak English instantly, that giant transforming robots can hide from the government; a fan accepts these ideas and moves on.  However, in the name of promotion and movie tie-ins, Transformers took this suspension of disbelief in Schick Hydrobot & The Transformers: A New Friend #1 to a whole new level.

Introduced in a Super Bowl advertisement in 2016, Hydrobot was accidentally created by Doctor Hiroshi Benson when an advanced prototype Schick Hydro Razor was merged with the mysterious substance H-Boostium.  This lead Hydrobot to become a crusader, though a tiny one, for justice and a clean shave. There is even a Hydro Silkbot, a female companion to help Hydrobot in his fight against evil and stubble. A year after his Super Bowl ad, and with the last Michael Bay, Transformers movie, Transformers The Last Knight soon in theaters, Schick, Hasbro, and IDW created a promotional comic to promote the movie and razors.

Schick Hydrobot & The Transformers: A New Friend #1

Released online on May 30th, 2017, this Transformers comic is loosely set in the Michael Bay Movieverse and was released a few weeks before Transformers The Last Knight.  It was mainly intended to be just an online release. It is still available on the IDW website; physical copies were printed and sent to most Diamond accounts in June 2017 to be given out at Local Comic Book Shops.  Even so, the comic is not well known and is one of the few obscure Transformers comics that exist.

Beginning at night, Hydrobot awakens as his owner sleeps, leaving to go combat crime and three human-sized Decepticon combat drones, and then inadvertently the Autobots, including Hound, Optimus Prime, and Bumblebee. Worried Megatron will use human technology, the Autobots try and track the mysterious substance H-Boostium, that Hydrobot left behind.  This leads them to Doctor Hiroshi Benson, who made the substance in hopes of creating a perfect razor!

However, the Decepticons arrive tracking the substance, too, and kidnap Dr. Benson.  Hydrobot, though arrives to help the Autobots rescue the Doctor and defeat the Decepticons. (And no, not an element recounted so far is not in the comic.)

In addition to 20 pages of comic story, another 5 pages of additional supplementary material is included, with an interview and process pages.  John Barber, Transformers writer, and current IDW Editor-In-Chief, wrote, Steve Kurth drew it, and Sara Pitre-Durocher provided the cover for this odd story.  Not a comic that will break the bank to own, physical copies can be found for a $1 to $2 and online for free. It is not the best example of a Transformers story or Transformers tie-in comic, but it is just so odd it is well worth reading as an obscure and free read.  The Transformers would go on into the final Michael Bay Transformers The Last Knight after this, and Hydrobot would go on to star in an NYCC 2017 video game. (Can't make this stuff up.)

This post is part of a multi-part series: Obscure Comics.

About Ian Melton

Japanese Teacher, Comic Book, Manga, & Anime collector, LCBS worker, father of 2, fan of far too many things for far too long...