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Built is the story of a robot fighting his programming & his masters.
story & words - Brian John Mitchell
artwork - Joe Badon
read a PDF of Built #1 | read a CBZ of Built #1
|order individual issues of Built for $1 ($2 intn'l)|
* Built #1 *
In a test balloon first issue, we are introduced to a robot who just isn't like all the other robots. While it is obviously a tenuous position, to be unlike the others, a story of a robot that is like all the others simply wouldn't be very interesting. Our protagonist works through a series of search-for-self activities, which is something a lot of non-robots have experience in.
The premise is intriguing, and I think we can all relate to accidentally killing all the humans. I am a sucker for the self-aware robot trope; I probably read too much Asimov as a kid. Lucky me, Built #1 is all about the self-aware robot. Self-awareness is not enough, of course, to put serious meat on the story, but the story wastes no time providing serious action. It even ends with a bit of a cliff hanger, unless I have totally mis-understood, and the robot will simply stroll away nonchalantly.
Joe Badon's art is raw and a bit sketchy (not in the sense of being unsavory, but in the literal sense), but very expressive nonetheless. I know it cannot be easy being confined to such a small working area! The sketchiness of it actually gives it a feeling of urgency, and edginess. This is not a story about one of those excessively cute toy robots you see in a Pixar film, this robot is definitely not safe for toddlers!
Paired with Badon's art, Mitchell's story and words are delivered in a decisively streamlined and effective manner. It would take me at least twice as many words to tell someone what happens in this comic as are actually used in it! I'm impressed and will be interested to see where the story goes from here. If you are generally not into anthropomorphic robots, aka androids, or have truly abandoned the notion of self-aware androids, skip it. Everyone else will be digging Built #1 and waiting for the next issue to turn up.
~ Holly von Winckel, Sequential Tart
One machine a robot goes beyond it's programing. It wants to be more. It wants to live. Yes it is even willing to fight for what it wants. The art here is simple. There is not much to it. The robot still his his emotions come across nicely. This robot will elicit some feelings from you of pity and joy both as it experiences human emotions. As it fights for its rights as a being.
~ Richard Vasseur, Jazma Online
This is the first of a number of mini-mini-mini comics I’m going to be reviewing by Silber Media, each only the size of a box of matches. Not a large box for lighting barbeques, but one of the tiny complementary boxes you get in bars and hotels. Tiny. It’s an interesting approach to making comics and each comes in a tiny little poly bag too, which makes the whole thing adorably cute.
For those of you wondering how such a tiny comic works, each page is given over to a single image and a sentence or two from the narrator. In this case the main character, a robot who is always on. Yep, he can’t turn off. Whilst other robots turn off and recharge, he remains on and spends the time analysing faults and repairing his flaws. This, it appears, is his biggest problem. Rather than be perfect, he wishes to be alive. Built for fighting, the robot plans to make his escape from the arena…
As you can imagine, being of such size and with only a single image per page, Built is a quick read, perfect for journeys, toilet breaks and killing a few minutes during downtime. It’s an enjoyable read and despite being so brisk, packs a punch. Well written, it is intriguing based upon only the little bits it gives away which point at a much larger picture. The artwork is simple and sketchy which prevents it from being too busy on the page, as well as lending itself well to the pace of the story.
Overall, Built is worth checking out. At only $1 ($2) international for each comic Silber put out, or any 10 for $8/$10, it’s definitely something to try. This is definitely one of my favourites of the comics Silber have sent.
~ Chris Wigley, Hand Drawn Awesome
This was a real solid read, that I hate to think might be best as just a one shot. The idea of the machine having it’s purpose, but wanting more is very intriguing. Can you say hello Skynet? Just kidding. The pacing on this story works very well, each page moves it along so nicely. I really got a great feel for the robot and his internal struggle. The artwork played nicely with the story as well, and just lead to a great read.
~ Decapitated Dan, From the Tomb
Comic books don’t need to be complicated. They don’t need a complex story, 3D effects, well known writers…. you get my point. Comic books are fun, are meant to be fun & entertaining. There are different genres & styles for everyone.
Have you ever seen mini-comics the size of a pack of matches? I have, & let me tell you, they are pretty sweet!
Silber Media was kind enough to send us a few of their mini-comics our way.
The one I read was “Built”. This one has a little drama to it. Is not a funny story. “Is the story of a robot fighting his programming & his masters.”
Click Here for a free preview. This robot wants to be perfect, & on his quest for perfection, he realizes he is becoming, human…you gotta read it. I was able to embrace this story, I really liked it, it might sound funny but you can really feel this robot’s struggle & what he is going through. & that is what is so cool about these mini-comics!
I really recommend you check them out: http://www.silbermedia.com/comics/ support indie comics & tell us what you think.
~ Agent Burgos, Comic Book Therapy
The art of Built possesses some of the sketchy mechanical grace of someone like Matt Dye or Mike Kunkel. The sentient robot is concerned with improving itself in an aspirational story. It’s fun to see the robot attempting to fight its programming and exert some free will. The basic narrative touches on this existential dilemma that everyone, robot or human, must contend with. What is our purpose in life? My only real complaint with Built is that too many of the shots are zoomed into close-up. I’d like to see the artist pull the camera out to reveal the backgrounds and the surrounding world a bit more. There’s this repetition of figure in foreground, figure in foreground, figure in foreground, from panel to panel that eventually starts to feel a little claustrophobic. One of the other issues I’ve noticed with the library of Silber Media books I’ve encountered is that they are never hand-lettered, and always use a pretty mechanical font, which gives a cold clinical feel to the work. In my mind, the entire line of books could be improved with just this one key adjustment.
~ Justin Giampaoli, Poopsheet Foundation
* Built #2 *
This is a follow up to last year's Built #1, the story of a robot who has lost his grasp of purpose. Having left the known environment and ventured into the unknown, he discovers that the unknown kinda sucks. As is often the way, the unknown sucks less when one uses the buddy system, and our hero goes home with the first sympathetic individual he encounters.
Conceptually, Built is poised somewhere between speculating about machine intelligence and commenting directly on human folly. Perhaps this is familiar territory, at least for science fiction fans, but the good news is that there is nothing jaded or predictable here. There is a sort of naivete or just a lack of pretense about this story that makes it engaging and relevant.
Visually, this mini-comic is done in a rough, somewhat sketchy style. Each panel is divided between text and image, and some of the images are especially evocative. The story is moved by the robot's narration, but the images fill in all the nuances of emotion that are not expressed in the text.
If you are into introspective comics and not shy about looking at things from a point of view perhaps very different to your own, Built #2 might be just the comic for you.
~ Holly von Winckel, Sequential Tart
Our robot seems confused as he hides in an alley way. A woman happens along who seems really nice. She is beautiful and the robot is big.
The woman takes him home and we see a bit about how a robot might see humans.
The story and art are both simple. We could use some more information like their names. Not a lot happens. These two meet and like being with each other. The robot seems content that he has found a purpose now.
~ Richard Vasseur, Jazma Online
* Built #3 *
Is it possible for a comic to be one long “awwwww!!!” And just to clarify that, I mean that sound effect to indicate cuteness, not terror. This time around our hero the free robot has taken refuge with a lady who seemingly likes to take in strays. As such, in this issue the robot gets to know a stray cat she has taken in, and gets to observe the behavior and speech patterns of this creature. The bits about it not functioning properly (as it’s a bit panicked about being taken in initially) and it malfunctioning but being strangely endearing regardless (while purring) were hilarious. I’m generally against spoiling such moments in a review, but there are more than a few of them sprinkled in here. I have no idea of the direction of this series overall, as this entire issue was confined to the house, but I’m still intrigued to see where this is going. This issue, all by itself, is adorable, and one of those issues that you could show non-comics reading people to get them on your side.
~ Kevin Bramer, Optical Sloth