Real Name: None

Identity/Class: Robot (pre-modern era)

Occupation: None

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Tommy Briggs, George B. Hopkins (creators)

Enemies: Police, unidentified extraterrestrial invaders

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "The Most Fantastic Menace the World Has Ever Known" (in story title), "my masterwork" (as called by Mr. Hopkins)

Base of Operations: Mobile, briefly rampaged in an unidentified American city

First Appearance: Strange Tales I#86/1 (July, 1961)

Powers/Abilities: A giant robot constructed from scrap parts, Mechano had super-strength and could smash through anything in its path. Originally built to be operated by a remote-control unit, Mechano became self-directed and went on a rampage after it was accidentally hit by the energy beam of an atomic transmitter.

Supposedly, Mechano could be immobilized by jamming the "pinion gear" located on its back, but this action was never actually taken.

Mechano's rampage was temporarily halted by an electromagnetic device, which was used to draw the robot's attention and divert it from its path of destruction.

Although made of durable metals, a sustained barrage of conventional gunfire was enough to eventually destroy Mechano -- this could have been due to the robot's structure already being weakened following its battle with alien invaders.

Height: 27'
Weight: 20 tons
Eyes: White optical receptors
Hair: None

(Strange Tales I#86/1) - When young Tommy Briggs learned that an industrial fair was coming to town at the end of the year, he encouraged the elderly Mr. Hopkins to build an impressive machine to exhibit there. The boy and the old man spent weeks salvaging countless parts from junkyards, then months hammering and welding together the parts into an enormous structure. Finally, after almost a year of after-hours toil, the two had completed their construction of a gigantic robot. Using a remote-control device, Hopkins activated it, and successfully made the robot move and walk about; Tommy suggested calling it "Mechano".

   The following afternoon, Tommy and Hopkins led Mechano to the industrial fair -- as they proudly walked it through the city streets, bystanders gaped in amazement. At the fair, the judges were equally impressed, until another exhibit -- an atomic transmitter -- was accidentally dropped and activated, and it bombarded Mechano with radiation. Mechano's internal mechanisms were fused, and the towering robot became a self-regulating instrument that could move by itself, no longer guided by the remote-control unit!

   Mechano ran amok, destroying the exhibition building and a local bridge, so the police mobilized to hunt and destroy the runaway robot.

   Trying to stop Mechano before the police got to it, Tommy and Hopkins used a large electromagnet device to lure the robot to a wooded area outside the city limits.

   But just as the boy and the old man led Mechano into the forest, they came across an alien invasion force that had come to conquer Earth. Tommy and Hopkins took shelter behind a rock, but before the invaders could deploy their nuclear cannon, Mechano shattered the weapon to bits. One of the aliens fired his electron ray-gun at the giant robot, but since Mechano had no nervous system, the weapon was ineffective against it. Overwhelmed by the giant robot's assault, the aliens fled back to space, and Tommy and Hopkins saw that their machine had just saved the world from an extraterrestrial invasion.

   But moments later, the police caught up to Mechano -- unaware of the robot's battle with the aliens, they fired at Mechano and blasted it to bits.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby.

This basic plot -- a supposedly hostile robot actually saving Earth from invaders -- was reused several times, such as in the stories of Monstollo, Mister Morgan's Monster, and Robot X

Mechano has an entry in Marvel Legacy: The 1960s Handbook, from which some of this information was taken.

Thanks to Brandon Nash for pointing out that Hopkins' full name was revealed in Mechano's handbook profile in OHOTMU HC#8.

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

Mechano has no known connections to:

Tommy Briggs has no known connections to:

Mr. Hopkins has no known connections to:

The unidentified extraterrestrial invaders have no known connections to:

Tommy Briggs

A preteen boy, Tommy liked to visit the elderly Mr. Hopkins, a tinkerer whose hobby was building gadgets; although Tommy's mother objected to his spending so much time around the eccentric old man (she thought he should associate with more "cultured" people), his father saw no harm in it ("At least it keeps him away from that blamed TV set of his!").

One day, Tommy read in a newspaper that an industrial fair -- featuring all kinds of mechanical and electrical machines -- would be held in town at the end of the year. Thinking that the fair would be the perfect opportunity for Hopkins to show people how talented he was, Tommy encouraged his elderly friend to construct a big and impressive machine to exhibit.

Tommy assisted the old man in salvaging parts from junkyards and building a giant remote-controlled robot, which Tommy dubbed "Mechano". But when they took the robot to the fair to display it, a one-in-a-million-chance atomic accident turned Mechano into a self-regulating machine, and it no longer responded to the remote-control unit. As the giant robot went on a rampage of destruction, the police mobilized to destroy it, so Hopkins sent Tommy back to his workshop to retrieve a large electromagnet.

Tommy and Hopkins used the electromagnet to lead the berserk robot into a wooded area on the outskirts of the city; but coincidentally, they happened across an extraterrestrial invasion force that had just landed. As Tommy and Hopkins took shelter behind a rock, Mechano turned its attention on the invaders, who were overwhelmed by the robot's assault and forced off the planet.

But moments later, the police arrived and destroyed Mechano with their gunfire. Afterwards, Tommy asked Mr. Hopkins if they should tell the police about the alien invaders, and how Mechano had saved the whole world; but Hopkins responded that no one would ever believe them.

--Strange Tales I#86/1

George B. Hopkins

A reclusive tinkerer, the elderly Hopkins (first name unrevealed) lived in a shack on the outskirts of town; he earned a living by doing odd jobs around the neighborhood.

Hopkins was often visited by young Tommy Briggs, and he impressed the boy with the gadgets that he built. One day, Tommy encouraged Hopkins to build something to display at an upcoming industrial fair, so Hopkins constructed a giant remote-controlled robot, which Tommy dubbed "Mechano".

When they took Mechano to the fair, a one-in-a-million-chance atomic accident endowed the robot with a will of its own, and it would no longer respond to the remote-control unit; subsequently, Mechano ran amok.

After Mechano demolished the exhibition building, Hopkins heroically jumped upon the robot's back and tried to halt Mechano by jamming a crowbar into its "pinion gear," but his foot slipped and he fell off. Hopkins was uninjured, and the giant robot continued its rampage. The police mobilized to hunt down and destroy the runaway robot; but Hopkins was determined to save his masterwork, so he sent Tommy to retrieve an electromagnetic device from his workshop, which he used to lure Mechano to a wooded area on the outskirts of the city.

But when an alien invasion force just happened to land in the forest at the same time, Hopkins and Tommy took shelter behind a rock and watched as Mechano fought the invaders and forced them away.

Moments later, the police arrived and destroyed Mechano with their gunfire.

As the police began to leave, Tommy asked Hopkins if they should tell them about how Mechano had driven off the alien invaders and saved the world; but Hopkins replied: "No, Tommy! People would just think we had imagined it -- because you are too young, and I -- I am too old!".

Then Hopkins philosophically proposed that in its own way, perhaps Mechano had repaid destiny for the accidental gift it had been given -- the gift of life.

--Strange Tales I#86/1

atomic transmitter

An exhibit at an industrial fair, it was accidentally activated when two workers dropped it while setting it up for display.

It subsequently fired a beam of pure energy, which hit the remote-controlled robot Mechano and caused it to run amok.

--Strange Tales I#86/1

unidentified extraterrestrial invaders

The invasion force of an unidentified race of hostile humanoid beings, they numbered at least six; they were armed with a nuclear cannon and electron ray-guns.

Believing that Earthlings were small and weak, they landed their spaceship with the intention of conquering the planet.

But they just happened to land in a wooded area, where Tommy Briggs and Mr. Hopkins were leading the rampaging robot Mechano with an electromagnet.

Mechano smashed the invaders' nuclear cannon, and their electron rays proved to be ineffective against the giant robot, for Mechano had no nervous system.

Realizing that they were overpowered by the metallic giant, the aliens abandoned their plan of conquest, climbed back aboard their spaceship, and presumably returned to their homeworld.

(Comments: These aliens were never depicted without their helmets, so we don't know what their real faces looked like (Of course, that's assuming that those were helmets, and not their actual heads!). And considering the shape of the their word-balloons, maybe they "spoke" to each other telepathically.)

--Strange Tales I#86/1

images: (without ads)
Strange Tales I#86/1, p1, pan1 (Main Image - Mechano on a rampage)
Strange Tales I#86/1, p11, pan7 (Headshot - Mechano)
Strange Tales I#86/1, p5, pan3 (Mr. Hopkins uses remote-control to direct Mechano (rear view))
Strange Tales I#86/1, p7, pan1 (Mechano (right profile) demolishes exhibition building)
Strange Tales I#86/1, p13, pan4-5 (Mechano (rear view) collapses after being hit by police gunfire; Mechano's remains)
Strange Tales I#86/1, p3, pan2 (Tommy Briggs)
Strange Tales I#86/1, p10, pan6 (Tommy Briggs, holding electromagnet)
Strange Tales I#86/1, p2, pan3 (Mr. Hopkins)
Strange Tales I#86/1, p6, pan4 (Mr. Hopkins discovers Mechano's remote-control no longer works; unidentified fair judge (background))
Strange Tales I#86/1, p5, pan4 (workers drop atomic transmitter)
Strange Tales I#86/1, p5, pan5 (activated atomic transmitter fires energy beam at Mechano)
Strange Tales I#86/1, p11, pan6 (unidentified extraterrestrial invaders' spaceship lands by Mr. Hopkins and Tommy Briggs)
Strange Tales I#86/1, p12, pan1 (unidentified extraterrestrial invaders with nuclear cannon)
Strange Tales I#86/1, p12, pan4 (unidentified extraterrestrial invader fires electron ray-gun at Mechano)

Strange Tales I#86/1 (July, 1961) - Stan Lee (plot/editor), Larry Lieber (script), Jack Kirby (pencils), Dick Ayers (inks), Stan Goldberg (colors), Artie Simek (letters)

First Posted: 02/04/2022
Last updated: 02/08/2022

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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