Silver Age Tech Support: Chief Concerns



Hello, and thank you for contacting the Will Magnus Institute of Super-Science, the world’s foremost source for information on Shrink, Freeze, Death, and other assorted rays. We at the Institute are dedicated to providing you with the advice you need to deal with the problems you face in the fast-paced and exciting world of sentient computers and gurgling chemical monstrosities, and we understand that each problem is unique. Please be advised that for an additional fee, a solution can be delivered via Cosmic Treadmill before your problem arises.


PROBLEM: Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t bother to contact your organization, since Magnus is a third-rate roboticist who had one–one–good idea in his entire career, but a problem seems to have arisen with my mechano-man.

Due to an unforseen flaw in his design–which I assure you is far more durable than your silly “elementobots” or whatever it is you’re calling them these days–an old foe of mine has been able to use radio waves to override his command circuits, and now…



And to make matters worse, said foe has attached what appears to be a Colecovision controller to a small explosive charge just below my automaton’s brain, dipped him in lead to prevent me from regaining control with my own radio signal, and forced him to dig for lost Sumerian treasure.



Clearly, the situation has me vexed.



So much so, in fact, that I’m willing to consider the advice from the technological marvel who thought giving the Periodic Table breasts and a nurse’s cap was the culmination of his life’s work rather than a weekend diversion.


Dr. Niles Caulder, Midway City


SOLUTION: Always a pleasure to hear from you, Niles! Apologies for not responding sooner, but I was enjoying my afternoon walk when your letter arrived. Ah, the simple pleasure of walking. Such an incredible joy.

Regardless, the solution to your dilemma presents itself in a fairly obvious manner when one is not distracted by the maintenance of a truly ludicrous beard. How was Burning Man this year, “Chief?”

Still, one cannot fault you for missing such a straightforward solution, as it, like so many other things you have a hard time understanding, involves a woman. Simply arm that lovely actress of yours and dispatch her to the problem area to separate enemy from control switch.



Should this fail–and let’s be honest here, Niles, given your track record, it will–then it should at least distract your opponent long enough for you to ready something to intercept the detonation signal before it reaches your Robot-Man. Ideally, such an operation would be performed with a more reliable agent, like the Magnus Industries Hg-9000–the only robot that remains liquid at room temperature–but given your reliance on substandard parts that tend to tend to burn out after the first minute, I suppose your creatively named “Negative Man” would work almost as well.



Problem solved. And do give Rita my number, won’t you?


More simple solutions to complex problems can be found in The Doom Patrol Archives v.1, wherein Robotman is destroyed at a rate of once every eight or so pages.

18 thoughts on “Silver Age Tech Support: Chief Concerns

  1. I would gladly read a comic wherein the DC super scientists just act all catty towards one another as the Earth goes to hell. I would read it as a series. “Ah, the simple pleasure of walking”

  2. If the Venture Brothers has taught us anything (and it’s taught us so much, lets be honest) it’s that catty super-scientists are comedy gold. Great read Chris. Can we have more Magnus v. Caulder correspondence?

  3. “Ah, the simple pleasure of walking.”
    “…giving the Periodic Table breasts and a nurse’s cap was the culmination of his life’s work rather than a weekend diversion.”

    On delivery day.

    This blog entry may have a shot at book of the week.

  4. I’m reasonably certain that the Hg-9000 is not the only robot to remain liquid at room temperature. Ivo Inc’s Brominoid also is liquid at room temperature and has the side benefit of not inducing psychosis, hallucinations, or batvillainosis from those exposed to it.

  5. Hmmm…perhaps I should consult with the Magnus Institute for my own ray problem. While my Death, Freeze, and Shrink Rays all perform to specifications, irregularities in the performance of my Go-Go Ray have been driving me to distraction.

    The “Twist,” “Frug,” and “Mashed Potato” functionalities work ninety percent of the time, while the “Loco-Motion” functionality causes victims to instead dance the Charleston.

    Dr. Magnus, I am embarrassed by this failure as a Mad Scientist. Could you avail yourself to help a finger-tenting, fist-shaking, robot-army-building cackler such as myself?

  6. Ah, Dr. Jerkwater, it sounds like a simple question of dirty contacts.

    As you know, all rayguns have reversible settings. Thus any “evolution” ray that will cause one to become a person of the future – growing an enormous bald head (by the way, using my time platform I have already captured the future market for oversized ski caps, so really, don’t go there) will have a switch that generates a “devolution ray”. this will either bring the future man back to present day hairless ape, or take a normal person and devolve them to a primordial state.

    Your “Locomotion” setting on the Go-Go ray most likely has some dust on the potentiometer, causing the circuit to make intermittent contact – you’re lucky it was just the
    Charleston and not the Jitterbug! I suggest blowing on the raygun… to dislodge the dust, of course (such dirty thoughts! Do you think about your mother with that mind?). That should clear that up.

    By the way – we are making slow but steady progress in our anti-gravity project. However, we are continually understaffed in the “test-pilot” division. Any reader interested in advancing Science, and not particularly invested in how Secret invasion or final Crisis turns out, should contact my lab in Twin Cities, MN.

  7. Seth Says:

    I would gladly read a comic wherein the DC super scientists just act all catty towards one another as the Earth goes to hell. I would read it as a series. “Ah, the simple pleasure of walking”

    We had this book, and it was called “The mad science sub-plot of 52,” and it was great. So, yes, we *do* need more of that. ^_^

  8. Yeah, super-scientists hate the ever living shit out of each other. That is a true fact.

    And Magnus’ plug for Mercury (who, himself, would never shut up about how he’s liquid at room temperature) was, ironically, gold.

    Oh, and, yeah, Will Magnus’ life is approximately ten times better than the Chief’s. It’s not even close.

  9. Chris, this is your best post this year. And not just because it involved the Doom Patrol. Bravo, sir.

  10. If Doc Magnus and the Chief talked like that to each other in the actual comics. I wonder if Reed Richards and Dr. Pym are this bitchy to each other over in the MU?