Shmobots is a delightful little graphic novel that looks at the “inevitable” assimilation of robotic individuals into human society. This is no post-apocalyptic treatise, laden with doom and gloom, but rather an examination of the political struggle they’d face if they existed in the 80s-90s in America. So what the hell is a shmobot anyway? The book answers us:
“Fucking shmobots. City’s crawling with them.”
“What the hell are they? Where did they come from??!”
“Call it an experiment gone real bad. The city was gonna develop these cool robots to do all of the menial labor. You know, drive the cabs, clean the streets, do all the construction. But thanks to classic, big-city, bean-counting bureaucracy, they gave the contract to the lowest bidder, who totally cut corners in their design. The whole thing backfired. All the robots turned out lazy and stupid, but with an attitude. Now we have a city full of slacker robots. Shmos, ya know…shmobots.”
The artwork is juicy, something you can really sink your teeth into. Shmobots face all the challenges any different group faces when assimilating into society. Jobs are denied to them and then they do get hired, it’s for the most menial jobs, which are often taken away at a moment’s notice. Women want nothing to do with the shmobots, not even the hookers in the red-light district. And of course, there is a Jack-The-Crimper out to kill all shmobots, considering them inferior and fit for extermination. The police naturally yawn and look the other way as the robots are targeted by this shmobotic slayer. Luckily, not all humans are as petty and many of them are friends with the shmobots, forming bands with them and having extramarital affairs with them as well.
Funny and riveting to the last page, definitely a great read.