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Writer: Joe Friend

Illustrator: Matt Haley

Publisher: jf3co

The Sixth Gun, Vol. 1 (tpb), cover, Oni Press, Bunn/Hurtt


A 5-issue graphic novel about a robot uprising, and the group of people who fought them to save a school full of trapped kids.

It's like a more Asimovian 'X-Men: Inferno,' but with a fun, Starship Troopers tone. There's a little Shaun of the Dead in there, too, with the romance aspect and tongue-in-cheek humor.


(Minor Spoilers)

After a tumultuous past, Dale moved to California to start a new life. Things were finally looking up for him. He was hitting his stride. Found a good woman, friends, a steady job...what else could a guy need?

Well, his girlfriend does want a little more commitment out of him, but after the trauma of his previous relationship, he doesn’t know if he’s ready for that, yet.

Another thing he’s not ready for? Robots to light fires all over California, from the forests to the people. Dale’s gotta get past these murderous heaps of metal, save his girlfriend and save the world...or die trying!


  • The Robot War is so "EXTRA," it's like watching a summer blockbuster

  • Explosions, bullets flying, action sequences and an everyman as the main character settle into the genre nicely

  • Even Bill Maus's sound effect work is larger-than-life, you can imagine it in surround sound, obliterating your ear drums

  • Joe Friend writes a solid action story

  • In medias res open jumps right into the action

  • Running jokes feel rewarding each time they're encountered

  • It's cool seeing different groups of survivors join forces to fight the robots

  • The Robot War does well straddling several genres, from horror and comedy to action and adventure

  • Matt Haley's art is expressive, and does well with comedic timing and the comic's numerous action sequences

  • What I like about The Robot War is that everyone feels like they're a normal person

  • Like, people aren't these paragons of heroism. They just seem like normal people who're trying to make it out alive so they can get back to their day-to-day.

  • While it can slow down the comic, it is kind of fun watching popular science fiction favorites get skewered, like talking with friends or watching those "Everything Wrong With" YouTube videos

  • Little moments of humorous discovery elevate the comic

  • The fishing boat scene with the theme song from Deadliest Catch

  • Haikus are hidden at the end of the legal copy in each issue

  • The first issue says: “Invariably//The restless leg syndrome kid//Skitters behind me”


  • Very adult! Cursing, drugs, crude/sexual language, violence and death, it's like it's checking every single "Mature Readers Only" box

  • One-tone backgrounds are a nice way to break up the page and save some effort on the illustrator’s end, but when it’s the majority of the page (like below), it can feel like the artist didn't have enough time to make the comic

  • Colors are a little flat, but I can't really complain about getting color in an indie comic

  • The first issue can feel very heavy with set-up and dialogue

  • It spends pages making our main character the guy who has opinions about movies and TV shows, but it takes a lot of time out of propelling the story forward and can make the protagonist seem annoyingly detail-obsessed when it comes to petty things

  • All that said, it definitely plants seeds for later issues, which may explain some of its quirks

  • “Robots are always a great idea” is perfect irony

The Sixth Gun, Vol. 1 (tpb), Oni Press, Bunn/Hurtt


The Robot War is fun and comfortable, like the action movie you grew up watching over and over. It really has that "cult classic" vibe. So, if you're looking for an indie comic like that, definitely check it out!


If you like the writing:

  • The Resurrected by Christian Carnouche & Crizam Zamora

  • Hard Wyred by Erik Bitmanis & Ross Zucco

  • Starship Troopers by Bruce Jones & Mitch Byrd

If you like the art:


Joe Friend – Writer

  • Multitalented: Is also a screenwriter and a musician, and also runs a technology department for FOX

  • Enjoys camping, hiking, surfing, canyoneering, skiing, and snowboarding in his spare time

Matt Haley – Illustrator

  • Unfortunately, I don't have much info on Matt and can't confirm if he's the "American film director, art director and book illustrator artist" listed when I ask Dr. Google

Kat Maus – Colorist & Bill Maus – Letterer

  • Dream Team: Kat is letterer, Bill Maus's, daughter

Steve Stern – Editor

  • Multitalented: Steve Stern's website claims it will "Turn your screenplay into a graphic novel," which actually explains a lot about The Robot War!


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The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.

All jf3co characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright jf3co or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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