A panel from a Gold Key comic based on the TV series 'Battle Of The Planets'. Keyops, a visor and cool-cloak'd hero is asking to a robot on a screen saying "I've seen enough robots for a while". The robot responds with an 'ahem'

Harsh? Perhaps! After all, 7 Zark 7 is supposed to be one of the good ‘guys’, sitting underwater at Centre Neptune, monitoring a multitude of threats to the Earth (which all happen to be from the same space dude every single time so there has to be a more efficient way).

My theory is that 7 Zark 7 is a glorified Ring doorbell or something. Probably stuffed full of pictures of passing cats and postmen, the whole “looking out for space crimes” being more of a sideline compared to the massively more profitable work it does identifying people by cross referencing 16 different data sets with its own enormous water cooled data store so as to sell them a Henry The Hoover and a pack of 16 party hats of varying colours and quality.

Underwater because people just find it easier to believe that it’s for the good of mankind if it’s got an underwater base because underwater bases are cool. But! You know who else has an underwater base? Dr Eggman from Sonic The Hedgehog, that’s who (and also a whole bunch of jellyfish that can kill a man stone dead but that’s another story. Also I don’t actually know if jellyfish have secret underwater bases but you’ve got to admit, it’s a terrifying thought that they might).

Even on the off chance that 7 Zark 7 was built with the best of intentions, we all know how capitalism works by now. At some point the company that created it is going to go for an IPO or get bought out by Amazon then all bets are off.

Best to punch it just in case. We can’t go taking the chance.

It's the robot from the original Lost In Space conversing with a kid whilst on an alien planet.

As cunning designs go, this is definitely one of them. They’re not punch proof but I reckon getting a smack in isn’t going to be easy.

The head is hard to reach, I’d have to get past those wobbly arms as well. Awkward stuff. Plus, I just know the robot is going to be yelling “DANGER DANGER” if they spot me.

So, okay – two ideas. Try and sneak up on them and give them a swift slap from the rear or wait until the spaceship they’re on wobbles a bit and the robot starts skating across the floor, meaning their attention is elsewhere. Perfect time to get a punch in!

Either way, I’d have to be quick but the challenge is all part of the fun.

art by Joe Maneely, from Strange Tales #18.

Strange how I don’t even blink at the thought of a scientist building a robot but “an exact copy of a human brain” and I’m immediately thrown into disbelief. Absolutely unpossible! That would literally never happen.

The imaginatively named John Doe is a good guy robot, sacrificing their existence to save their creator’s daughter from a troublesome boyfriend.

Probably doesn’t need punching but, you know, you can never be too careful. He does look a bit stern.

Two panels drawn by Gerry Embleton from the eighties reboot of The Eagle comic. Both panels involve a humanoid figure "peeling" their face off to reveal a robot underneath.
Art by Gerry Embleton

Along with Bolland’s “gaze into the fist of Dredd“, this is one of my all time fave comic panels. The reveal is great but it’s the “Grief! A Robot!” that edges it into the sublime. Nobody suspects a robot! Especially one sent by The Mekon to ensure no peace can be brokered.

And that, really, is why you need somebody on hand who is willing to punch robots. The alternative is the dastardly Mekon and that’s not going to lead anywhere good.

Gerry Embleton’s work is always good value but this is some of the best mask peeling since Roger Delgado’s Master graced Who in the seventies. That Embleton makes Wagner and Mills vision of Dan Dare fit so seamlessly with Frank Hampson’s is the icing on a really very delicious cake for me. Incredible work.

Art by Ron Turner

Look at the way that noggin opens up at the top! Fantastic.

2K was sent to sort out a bunch of Daleks and Mechanoids in Impasse. Obviously he gets into a right old pickle, what with a planet on a collision course and all that, but I wouldn’t feel too bad about adding to his problems with a swift jab to the arm.

Presuming that doesn’t pop open with spikey bits as well. I’d need a sticky plaster then. Messy.

A panel from Magnus, Robot Fighter. It's Magnus smacking the head off a police robot which was, frankly, asking for a slap.

Given this site is named in honour of Magnus, Robot Fighter, it’d be fairly rude not to include Polrobs (Police Robots).

Pretty much every single original, proper, Magnus story has not only some fantastic robot designs but also some fantastic robot slapping going on. It’s just the best.

What I adore most about Polrobs in Magnus comics is how it’s almost impossible to imagine them actually moving, to imagine them being the overpowering presence that they are – to be so troublesome as to need a good kicking at every opportunity. Absolutely nothing about them suggests they can move with any sort of elegance or grace, or indeed move at all.

It adds to the joy of them because the implication here is that humanity has grown so lax and uninterested in any sort of politics that they are underneath the boot of a bunch of awkward, useless, bendy robots.

Which also leads to the question “Is Magnus *that* good at punching robots or are the robots really that easy to take down?”, but let’s not think about that. I’m sure he’s the best robot puncher ever.

From Dan Dare: Reign Of The Robots. Art by Frank Hampson, I assume.

Some yellow/gold robots. They are tall but simple as though easily rendered in tin like you robots. They're bipedal but have 4 arms, 2 of which are grabbing claws.

There’s a few different types of robots in this particular story but I just love these. They could very easily be rendered in tin as toys and, bonus, wouldn’t be too much of a nightmare to get a bloke in a cardboard costume of them.

Which is pretty much perfect, really.