If you were young in the 1980s, when Saturday morning cartoons still meant something, you might have caught a glimpse of a sleek Anime series called ‘Robotech’.
Featuring transformable spaceships and a veritable space-opera of a plot that could stand as a serious rival to Star Wars; Robotech was the brain child of Carl Macek.
Robotech still has its fans, and perhaps it’s the rabid loyalty of this fan base that keeps not only Robotech merchandise but also a regular and constant stream of related comic books in production to this day.
First appearing in 1985, Robotech was actually created as an Anime series made especially for an American audience. This was accomplished by splicing together (some still say ‘bastardizing’) three disparate Japanese projects; the main inspiration was an animated show called ‘The Super-Dimensional Fortress Macross’ from 1982.
So what is the Robotech saga about? First, in 1999, an enormous alien spacecraft carrying the ‘Protoculture Matrix’ (the basis of Robotechnology) crash lands in the Pacific Ocean on Macross Island. This craft is the Superdimensional Battle Fortress of Zor that becomes known as the SDF-1. Upon learning of the strange technology it contains, and realizing its extra-terrestrial origins, Earth forces – led by the U.N. – organize the resources of the planet to build defenses against what are obviously very advanced alien beings. It isn’t long before those same beings come looking for their property.
We later learn that Zor, a Robotech Master, sent his ship to Earth precisely to avoid its technology being used by the other Masters in their quest to conquer the Universe. The technology developed by the humans from Protoculture is eventually exploited to defend the planet from the Zentraedi, a warrior race of giants created by the Masters sent to retrieve the ship and enforce their will.
In the midst of what become various alien invasions and many epic battles we then follow the very human story of Rick Hunter as he grows up to become a soldier aboard the SDF-1 and slowly learns about love and loss. Rick’s ‘big brother’ Roy Fokker and a series of other memorable characters (such as Captain Henry Glovel, Caludia Grant, Lisa Hayes and Lynn Menmei and her family) complete the cast making the compelling Robotech saga a memorable and exciting one.
The Robotech animated series would ultimately feature 85 chapters or episodes and three separate sagas or ‘Robotech Wars’. The inter-generational nature of the plot was introduced basically to explain the changing weapons and fashion styles of the series.
In reality Macek had spliced together two series ‘Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross’ (1984) and ‘Genesis Climber Mospeada’ (1983) onto the basic framework of the ‘SDF: Macross’ show, and needed a way to explain the discrepancies of what were essentially three different and independent programs.
This was ultimately accomplished by having the protagonist of ‘Robotech: The Masters’, Dana Sterling, be the child of two central characters (human pilot Max Sterling and Zentraedi pilot Miriya Parina) from ‘The Macross Saga’. Subsequently, Macek set the final part of the story ‘The Next Generation’ on a post-Apocalyptic wasteland version of the Earth, made that way by the Robotech Masters after they practically destroy the planet in retaliation for the Earthlings attempts to subvert Robotechnology.
There are currently 361 CGC certified copies of this first ever Robotech comic. Published by Comico to coincide with the release of the American series, this comic has been surprisingly resilient in terms of values with a currently impressive fair market value [in certified 9.8 grade] of $975.00. In fact the last eBay sale of a 9.8 (June 6, 2018) ended at a strong $1, 000.00 price. Perhaps this is due to the on again off again rumors of a live action Robotech movie with everyone from Tobey Maguire, to Andy Muschietti, to Leonardo DiCaprio’s names attached to the project. Whether the movie happens or not, the comics inspired by Robotech all go back to this book (and starting with issue #2 the title was changed to reflect the popularity of the American TV show). Returns have been strong on this comic, presently up in all higher grades with the best returns seen on 9.4 certified copies which, after 28 sales over the last four years, have a positive +52.3% return on investment.