Press release

New comic adapts the century old play featuring world's first robots

Published on 4 March 2022

Professor Christopher Murray has collaborated with Comics Masters graduate and comics artist Nick Johnson in the creation of a new adaptation of Karel Čapek’s 1921 science fiction play R.U.R.: Rossum's Universal Robots

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The play, written in 1920 and first performed in January 1921, introduced the word robot to the English language. In the play Helena, a representative of the League of Humanity, a group who seek freedom for the robots, visits the factory that produces the robots and meets the managers and chief scientists. She is appalled by their attitude towards the robots. A decade passes and new experimental robots are produced, but humanity is in decline and a war with the robots leads to the extermination of the human race.

Chris, who wrote the script, told us “Karel Capek's play R.U.R., which gave us the term 'robot' and promptly envisaged a robot apocalypse mere pages later, is an oddly compelling mix of satire, science fiction, comedy, and tragedy. It's a play about being trapped by the roles that others set for us. Society is a machine that produces beings every bit as programmed and restricted as the biomechanical robots that emerge from the factories. When I read this, I was amazed that there were not more adaptations of this story, and so set about to create one in the form of a comic, collaborating with artist Nick Johnson, a graduate of the Comics Masters programme at the University of Dundee.”

This comic will be launched at DeeCon in Dundee on Saturday 9 April 2022 but you can see a taster of what’s to come here:


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Story category Student work/achievement