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Cover art by Geof Darrow
The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot is a comic book by Frank Miller and Geof Darrow and an eponymous animated television series.

Comic book

"Big Guy and Rusty, the Boy Robot" appeared under Dark Horse Comics' now defunct Legend imprint as a large format comic book published as a two-part mini-series in 1996, featuring story by Frank Miller and art by Geof Darrow. In the comic, the story revolves around an attack on Tokyomarker by a giant reptilian creature that is generated in an experiment gone wrong, and the failure of the newly-commissioned Rusty the Boy Robot to stop the threat. Subsequently, Japanmarker requested help from the U.S. Armed Forces, whose ultimate defense, the robot Big Guy, launches from his air carrier base and uses his awesome arsenal and good old-fashioned American know-how to save the day.

The comic book features intricate artwork by Geof Darrow, and story by Frank Miller, of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, 300 and Sin City fame. The two had previously collaborated on "Hard Boiled", another story combining Miller's short-spoken and violent storytelling with Darrow's graphomaniacally meticulous art. The Big Guy's first story appeared without Rusty in two issues of Mike Allred's "Madman" comic, after appearing in various comic book pin-up and poster pages.

Big Guy also makes an appearance in Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons' Martha Washington Stranded in Space and a cameo appearance in the last Sin City book.

Animated series

The animated series, produced by Columbia TriStar Television and Dark Horse Entertainment, aired from 1999 to 2001, and in many aspects is a more mature and established series. Whereas the comic book seems like only an introduction to the robots, the animated series is full-fledged with a strong back story which links the episodes together. The plot and setting of the series is different from the comic book as the whole story is based around New Tronic City, a fictional American city clearly modeled after New York Citymarker. The series focuses on Rusty, the most advanced robot ever built, with a human emotional grid and "nucleoprotonic" powers. The plan is that Rusty will replace the Big Guy, a massive war robot that is the Earth's last line of defence against all threats alien or domestic. However, Rusty is too inexperienced to stand on his own, so the Big Guy is re-commissioned to teach Rusty the way of trade. Rusty idolizes the Big Guy, regarding him as the best robot ever. In reality, the Big Guy is actually a mindless battle suit piloted by Lieutenant Dwayne Hunter, who poses as his chief mechanic. The Big Guy's secret is known only to a few, and many situations involve Lt. Hunter's clever and impromptu excuses to hide the fact from Rusty for two reasons: that the truth could overload Rusty's emotional grid; and Rusty has trouble keeping secrets.

Recurring characters

  • Rusty - Quark's intended replacement for the Big Guy, a robot with real artificial intelligence and powered by nucleoprotons. However, Rusty is far too inexperienced to face the threats that the Big Guy normally handles, so he is relegated to being Big Guy's sidekick and trainee. He idolizes Big Guy but is unaware that his hero is actually a human inside a metal suit. Though immature and impetuous, Rusty does at times give his hero an emotional boost in morale, and is able to do the job when the chips are down. He initially had a bit of a problem of handling the recoil of his nucleoproton blasts, and regularly got knocked down afterwards or shot the wrong target, but after some practice learned to compensate for the recoil. Voiced by Pamela Adlon.
  • Big Guy - Designated as the BGY-11, the so-called 'robot' champion of Earth was actually a heavily-armed battlesuit, piloted by Lieutenant Dwayne Hunter. When Quark Industries failed to produce an actual robot with artificial intelligence, the solution was to use a human pilot. As Hunter puts it, the Big Guy was nothing more than a fancy tank. Big Guy is able to fly, possesses great strength and is armed with a variety of integrated weaponry, including the signature fold-out guns in the elbow housings. Unlike Rusty, he is powered by a Cobalt/Thorium G Power Core. Always ready with a patriotic quip, Big Guy's personality is much different than that of his human pilot in real life.
  • Lieutenant Dwayne Hunter - the Big Guy's pilot to a few, the Big Guy's chief mechanic to the world. Has a crush on Dr. Slate.
  • Dr. Erika Slate - A scientist at Quark Industries, she developed Rusty's human emotional grid and acts like a mother to Rusty. She is one of the few who knows the Big Guy's secret, discovering so by accident when Rusty was looking for a Big Guy fansite and accidentally hacked into confidential files on Big Guy's creation. Voiced by Gabrielle Carteris. In one episode when Hunter is down, she pilots the Big Guy herself.
  • Dr. Axel Donovan - Voiced by Stephen Root. President of Quark Industries, a robotics firm. He is a caricature of capitalistic greed and moral cowardice. He often provides comic relief.
  • Jenny the Monkey - A monkey who talks and usually sits on Dr. Donovan's shoulder while making fun of Quark's scientists and employees. She has a keen sense of self-preservation.
  • Jo, Mack, and Garth - The Big Guy's pit crew. They serve on the aircraft carrier S.S. Dark Horse, which acts as Big Guy's base and stores his airship. When Rusty gained a new body and became Rus, Mack became his chief mechanic and was replaced by a by the book one. Mack and Rusty didn't get along well, but Mack rescued him after he was captured and gave him an improvised body to complete his mission. Afterwards Rusty rejoined Big Guy and Mack rejoined Big Guy's team.
  • General Thornton - A U.S. Army general who heads the government's BGY-11 Commission, that created the Big Guy. His voice actor is R Lee Ermey.
  • The Squillacci Empire - Squid-like tentacled aliens who make crop circles, attempt to experiment on cows and other stereotypical alien actions. Their attempts to conquer the Earth have been repeatedly thwarted by the Big Guy. It is later revealed that, if not for the Big Guy, the Squillacci Empire would have ruled the earth. They once tried to conquer Earth during the Revolutionary War but were thwarted by Big Guy and Rusty. The battle was responsible for the crack in the Liberty Bell.
  • Earl: The E.P 327. Early prototype of Rusty. Has an underdeveloped emotion grid and follows orders literally. Initially brought back online by Rusty for him to have a friend, but after he goes too far and blows the Big Guy's head off, Rusty fights him and manages to decapitate him and remove his powerpack. Later reactivated to download information with Rusty and ordered to follow Rusty's orders. Succeeds in his mission, but malfunctions when Rusty gives him an impossible order. This causes him to reset and go into defense mode, ignoring Rusty's commands. Once again Rusty is forced to decapitate him.
  • Legion Ex Machina - Latin for "Many from the Machine", they are an enigmatic group of six very advanced robots who aim to destroy humanity and create a robot-heaven of "Robotopia." Their whereabouts and origin are unknown, yet their robotic design and function are very similar to the Big Guy. This presents an intriguing hook that ties the episodes together, with clues to their origin and their creator being revealed one by one. Ironically, they were created by the same man who originally led Big Guy's design. The show ended on a cliffhanger, where it is discovered that there is a seventh Legion Ex Machina that Big Guy and Rusty have yet to defeat. Even though they have different outer bodies all Legion Ex Machina have the same AI and the same Exoskeleton. Gilder was the only exception as he still had his emotion grid but otherwise identical to the other members. With the exception of Gilder, all Legion Ex Machina members were voiced by Clancy Brown.

The Seven members are:
  • #1: The leader of the group. He was the first of the legion to come online and can create complex tactics very quickly. He also has no remorse about executing his own brothers should they be inefficient. He perished in the final battle at the lab, thrown against and disintegrated by a powerful force field used to contain Big Guy and Rusty after being blasted by Big Guy's gun fired by his own creator.
  • #2/3: Since they both lacked emotions they are nearly identical other than their looks. They often agree on the same things that usually contradicts #1. They are completely loyal to #1 and would respect him, although they are always seen as equals. #3 was destroyed when Big Guy pushed him and his combat armor into an acid-filled cauldron with the help of Rusty. #2 was destroyed by Rusty who dragged him into the blades of a gigantic fan which tore him to pieces.
  • #4: The only one to develop an emotion grid. #4 temporarily switched personalities and knowledge with Rusty, leading to his childish behavior in the episode. He would be captured by Rusty when their minds completely switched and later placed in a toy robot when Dr. Donovan's nephew, Pierre, stole his brain. He tried to contact the Legion only to find that he is to be executed. He would then try to fry the entire area by creating a nuclear fusion meltdown. Dr. Slate defused the reactor and Big Guy activated his defense mechanism, destroying #4's brain.
  • #5: The first Legion member to meet the Big Guy. He was very similar to #2 and #3. He took over a munitions factory and was destroyed when Big Guy threw him into liquid nitrogen, freezing him solid. Rusty then shattered him, destroying him completely and somewhat annoying Big Guy as they could have studied him.
  • #6: Also known as Dr. Gilder, #6 was the only member whose emotion grid was fully intact. However his emotions are highly exaggerated and are considered by his peers as a weakness. He was sent to Quark Industries as a spy to gather blue prints and information on various Quark staff. He was first portrayed as a shy, weak scientist but was soon revealed as a Legion Ex Machina member. His emotions also changed to a sadistic killer. His exoskeleton was destroyed when it was dropped into a grinder. His brain was destroyed when Big Guy tried to access his memory files and triggered a self defense program, detonating itself. He is the first to be destroyed and also gave the protagonists some clues on how to destroy Legion Ex Machina members (see #4's demise above).
  • #7: Still at large.

The Legions creations:
  • Argos: Two robots created by the Legion. The first was used as a weapon to attack the Legion's enemies. It was the first encounter with the Legion and it tried to turn Big Guy and Rusty over to the Legion's side but they refused. Powered by nucleoprotons and destroyed by Rusty when tricked into taking his overloading powerpack. Remains scrapped by the Legion at #6's orders. The second was a several stories tall version. This one was so powerful it could take the best Big Guy and Rusty could hit it with and come out without a scratch. Due to Big Guy and Rusty getting its left hand, it was missing a hand. Inside the hand was a 500 megawatt Vortex Cannon. Was sent out to get New Tronic City's Micro Fusion Generator to power a new assembly line for Legion robots. Was destroyed by Joe who fired the Argo's own Vortex Cannon into it once Rusty retrieved the firing mechanism in the left wrist.
  • Bad Guy: A fully robotic clone of Big Guy also known as the BGY-11X. Created to take Big Guy's place to infiltrate the military and Quark. It fights it out with Big Guy who proves to be no match for it although both robots take heavy damage in the fight. It is destroyed when it goes to use a massive cannon to destroy Big Guy and Lt. Hunter fires Big Guy's hand into the cannon, blocking the shot and causing an explosion that destroys Bad Guy.
  • Lt. Hunter Clone: A robotic clone of Lt. Hunter sent to kidnap him and wipe out his mechanics and Doctor Slate. Discovered when it starts attacking. Is destroyed by Rusty who throws it into a helicopter propeller causing it to fall off Quark and crash into Donovan's new limo.

Dr. Neugog - Voiced by Tim Curry. Dr. Neugog is a recurring villain in the series. Although he is only seen in two episodes, he plays an important role in Rusty's discovery of Big Guy's true identity. In his first episode debut, Dr. Neugog (or just simply "Neugog" as he is called later) was a scientist working at Quark Industries who studied telepathy and the inner workings of the mind. Neugog created a machine known simply as the "Dynamo", which was designed to read the mind of whoever it was homed onto. Neugog attempted to impress the board of directors by reading the mind of a board member. At first, the machine fails miserably, and leaving Neugog merely guessing at what the board member was thinking. Determined not to fail, Neugog shifts the power of the Dynamo up as high as it can go. This appears to be successful, as he is able to read the board member's mind (telling him about his thought to put lotion on a rash he has because its "itching him like crazy!"). However, during the success, a spider falls into the machinery and mutates Neugog into a huge, spider-like monster with an oversized brain that actually protrudes from the back of his head. He gains the power to devour brains from living people (by use of a long, tentacle-like proboscis that emerges from his second mouth), also gaining all the knowledge they possess. When Neugog "feeds", the victim is put into a sort of comatose state where he or she is unable to speak, move, or think, just repeatedly uttering the same sounds "Duh, Guh, Uh". Neugog also gains the ability of telepathy along with an almost infinite bank of knowledge.

The series ran for 26 episodes on Fox Kids and featured, amongst others, the voice of Pamela Adlon credited as Pamela Segall as the voice of Rusty, andcharacter actors R. Lee Ermey and M. Emmet Walsh. A line of toys based on the show was produced by Bandai, which can sometimes be found on eBay along with ephemera surrounding a brief promotional tie-in with Burger King.

Theme song

The theme song consists of a montage with a ballad of the back history of Big Guy and the creation of Rusty, sung in the style of a soldiers' chorus and band:

"Watch the skies, coming at you,

A hero of metal hue,

He locks horns with disaster,

For the red and white and blue,

Then was born a boyrobot,

Miracle of science,

Ready to battle large monsters,

Supercharged and quick on the draw,

Pretty darn good, but he needs help,

The Big Guy, he's a big deal,

Heart of gold, and fists of steel,

Clobbering evil entities, with Rusty at his heel,

Now that they're a mighty team,

The boy robot lives his dream,

To be a legend in history,

The Big Guy and Rusty!"

Episode guide

Aired from: Sep 1999 to: Mar 2001 26 eps FOX 30 min stereo closed captioned


1st Season 1999

Episode # Prod # Air Date Episode Title
1- 1 101 18 Sep 1999 Creatures, Great and Small
1- 2 102 25 Sep 1999 Out of Whack
1- 3 103 2 Oct 1999 The Inside Scoop
1- 4 104 9 Oct 1999 Birthday Bash
1- 5 105 16 Oct 1999 The Reluctant Assassin
1- 6 106 23 Oct 1999 Really Big Guy

2nd Season 2001

Episode # Prod # Air Date Episode Title
2- 1 112 30 Jan 2001 Little Boy Robot Lost
2- 2 113 2 Feb 2001 The Bicameral Mind
2- 3 108 Feb 2001 The Inside Out
2- 4 109 Feb 2001 Moon Madness
2- 5 110 Feb 2001 Wages of Fire
2- 6 111 Feb 2001 The Big Boy
2- 7 114 Feb 2001 World of Pain
2- 8 107 Feb 2001 Sibling Mine
2- 9 115 Feb 2001 Blob, Thy Name Is Envy
2-10 116 Feb 2001 Donovan's Brainiac
2-11 117 Feb 2001 Patriot Games
2-12 118 Feb 2001 Harddrive
2-13 119 Feb 2001 5000 Fingers of Rusty
2-14 120 Feb 2001 The Champ
2-15 121 Feb 2001 Sickout
2-16 122 Feb 2001 Nephew of Neugog
2-17 123 Feb 2001 The Lower Depths
2-18 125 1 Mar 2001 Double Time (1)
2-19 126 2 Mar 2001 Double Time (2)
2-20 124 5 Mar 2001 Rumble in the Jungle

External links

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