That time he fought an Aztec Sun God, Marvel Comics Robocop series, 1992
Marvel’s short-lived Robocop comic book series is a mixed bag, with some issues dealing with OCP’s various machinations and others getting into territory that is weird even by ’90s comic book standards. (Surprisingly, Robocop never met Wolverine.) By the end of the series, Transformers scribe Simon Furman was writing stories that had very little to do with Robocop. The final story arc involves Murphy running afoul of an Aztec sun god worshiper and a cyborg who goes by the admittedly awesome name of Colonel Flak. A stark reminder of the days when Marvel would basically publish anything.
That time he appeared in a music video with Joe Walsh and Lita Ford, Robocop: The Series, 1994
The live-action Robocop TV series was a pretty dreadful affair, featuring miniscule production values and plotlines that pitted Detroit’s robotic protector against lame villains like Boppo the Clown and the Dick Tracy-ish mook “Pudface.” Dating the show even further is its end credits theme, a bombastic ballad — performed by former Eagle Joe Walsh and Lita “Kiss Me Deadly” Ford — called “A Future to This Life.” A music video featuring Walsh and Ford wailing at Robocop on a generic futuristic set played over the show’s first few episodes. Sadly, it never made it to MTV. We can only imagine what Beavis and Butt-head would’ve had to say about this debacle.
That time he showed up in a British kid’s toy collection, The Indian in the Cupboard, 1995
The mid-’90s were a grim time for Robocop fans, with the dreadful third movie and the cheesy 1994 live-action TV series all but destroying the franchise. But Robocop briefly returned to the big screen in what is easily the best scene in Frank Oz’s somewhat forgotten adaptation of the classic children’s book The Indian in the Cupboard. In an effort to test his magical cupboard, young Omri puts a Robocop toy and several other action figures inside of it. When he opens it up, Darth Vader is battling a Jurassic Park T-Rex while Robocop is engaged in a shootout with a couple of Star Trek characters and a G.I. Joe figure. (Sadly Ram-Man from He-Man doesn’t get in on the action.) Robocop even gets a line of dialogue, pointing his tiny gun at Omri and exclaiming “Halt!” like he’s a violent perp and not a scared kid whose toys just came to life. Even plastic Robocop is a tool for OmniCorp.
That other time he was a cartoon and also rollerbladed, Robocop: Alpha Commando, 1998
A cheap franchise extension during a time when nobody was interested in making a Robocop movie, the 1998 cartoon Robocop: Alpha Commando was even more dumbed-down and kid-friendly than the 1980s animated series. This time out, Robocop leads a team of high-tech agents in their battle against the forces of DARC (Directorate of Anarchy, Revenge, and Chaos), a terrorist organization that isn’t at all like G.I. Joe’s nemesis COBRA. Because it was the ’90s, Robocop got all Poochie-fied with some “extreme” gadgets like a jetpack and retractable rollerblades.
That time he rode proudly on a unicorn, 2008
Had memes been around back in 1987, you can bet that Robocop, with his general stiffness and tendency towards ultra-violence, would’ve been placed in all sorts of incongruous scenarios. Fast forward to 2008, when artist Olav Rokne’s image of the late Alex Murphy astride a mystical creature took the Web by storm. Many images of Robocop atop flying steeds ensued, offering Hollywood an instant movie premise. If you’re going to tone down Robocop for the PG-13 crowd, might as well go all the way and give him a trusty unicorn pal.
That time he inspired a musical and a hip hop song, ’00s
Besides being a catchy song, hip hop duo The Anomalies’ “Robocop Rap” doubles as a tight recap of the film. Meanwhile, Jon and Al, the showtune maestros behind the Conan the Barbarian and Predator musicals, offer up the moving ballad “Murphy, It’s You.” It’s that rare bit of Robocop media told from Lewis’ point-of-view.