History’s Mechanical Marvel
Despite (or perhaps because of) its expressionless face, Boilerplate has charmed readers and creators all over the world. Many people respond by creating their own homages to our robot, in forms as diverse as music, prose, comic books, video games, and sculpture. Here’s a sampling of real-world appearances by Professor Campion’s Mechanical Marvel.
A magazine from Poland uses Boilerplate to front its article on steampunk.
Boilerplate makes a cameo in the TV series Portlandia. Fred Armisen sardonically compliments the decor at a housewarming while pointing over his shoulder at the robot’s portrait. From the sketch “The Knot Store,” s2 ep2, also featuring Jeff Goldblum. Boilerplate appears at around the 2:40" mark.
The Canadian band Stars used the image of Boilerplate at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair for the cover of their album Sad Robots. The image was reversed to fit the design needs of a wrap-around booklet CD slipcase.
In addition to putting Boilerplate on the cover of their Sad Robots album, the band Stars created limited runs of licensed merchandise bearing Boilerplate’s image. Shown here are the T-shirt, poster, tote bag, and necklace.
When Stars came to Portland, Paul and friends went to see them and got to party with the band! Backstage pix are on the “Boilerplate as Rock Star” page in our Time Tunnel.
The Russian magazine Paradox covers technology and culture. It did a four-page photo spread on Boilerplate, with Paul featured in period attire.
Mighty Robots, a hardbound popular history of robots both real and fictional, devotes a mighty two-page spread to Boilerplate.
British robotics magazine Real Robots makes an exception for the fictional Boilerplate, even getting into the act by spending half the article asking readers why they hadn’t heard of the ol’ ’bot!
Artist Vincent Johnson made this Boilerplate tribute bust out of cardboard(!) and kindly bestowed it on us.
Boilerplate, Paul, and Anina are all featured in the documentary Vintage Tomorrows, which examines different aspects of the steampunk subculture such as books, costuming, music, and technology.
Boilerplate appears in the documentary 24-Hour Comic, in which Paul and seven other artists sit down in a local comic book shop to produce a 24-page comic book in 24 hours. Director Milan Erceg follows them and traces the history of the now annual 24-Hour Comic Day, which originated as a challenge to a friend by Scott McCloud.
The robot maquette Paul used to produce the images seen in the Boilerplate book is front and center during a TV interview with the authors. Outlook Portland, with Rick Emerson, was a Sunday morning chat show.
The YouTube version is available for those who weren’t up early enough or who live outside the broadcast area. The program has four 6-minute segments, 24 minutes total.
Boilerplate is a minor character in the graphic novel Bucko by Jeff Parker and Erika Moen. Here are just a few of the panels that the robot appears in.
In Futurama Comics #57, writer Jesse Leon McCann transforms Bender into Benderplate when the cast gets “Steampunk’d!” The story is illustrated by John Delaney and Andrew Pepoy.
The late, great photographer Seth Kushner created this collage using photos he shot of us at a comic con in New York. The backdrop is Paul’s image of Boilerplate with Buffalo Soldiers, the robot’s brothers-in-arms.
Boilerplate is considered part of the Wold Newton Universe, which is an expansion of a concept originated by Philip José Farmer. Our robot shows up in Win Eckert’s Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World, vols. 1 and 2, and in the “Alternative Wold Newton Universe Superhero Timeline” created by Robert Dorf as RPG reference.
Boilerplate is the third lead in this spoof of Victorian murder mysteries, by the legendary comedian Chris Elliott.