This is NEUTRO, a “superhero” from a one-shot comic published by Dell Comics in 1967.

I love Dell Comics and Public Domain characters (like Frankenstein!) but I had never heard of Neutro until I joined the great Facebook group
Public Domain Heroes.

His origin story is nuts! Aliens buried his parts in boxes in the desert. A couple of anthropologists, researching Native American legends of alien visitations, discover the boxes and easily piece Neutro together- but Neutro has no brain! He’ll do whatever he’s ordered, but he doesn’t know right from wrong.

He could easily be used by an evil party- like the worldwide gang of renegade scientists, “Group 777″, to conquer the Earth! This was actually why the aliens left it here- they leave similar robots on populated worlds, assuming one evil individual will dominated each planet, then the aliens would return and pull that poor dope’s strings.

All this sounds kind of cool, but apparently it’s mostly laid out in dialogue- you don’t really get to see any of it! As written by Don Markstein on his excellent site Toonopedia:

“…A lengthy caption outlined what Neutro could do — outrace leopards, incinerate dinosaurs, rip tanks in two, stuff like that … and if anybody were to shoot at it, it could swallow the bullets like a baby swallows candy. But readers never got to see it doing any of that….”

It might have been a crappy comic book, but I’d like to read it, and maybe bring Neutro back someday. For now, I drew Neutro fighting a random alien brain-bug monster, which I’m going to put on a t-shirt for Franky’s Threadless Artist’s Shop.
Which colorway do you prefer? The DARK was how Neutro was colored on the cover of Dell’s comic, and the LIGHT was how they colored him on the inside pages. Which looks better, DARK or LIGHT?

UPDATE: THE DARK SIDE WINS!

Actually, lots of folks (on FB, IG, Twitter) liked the light, but more liked the dark. I compromised a little, lightening up the dark a bit, and adding rim lighting. And now it’s on tees, hoodies, household items, etc. in Franky’s Threadless Artist’s Shop!

Drawing a public domain hero was fun- who should I do next?