Iron Bots of Topeka

The Iron Bots of Topeka bring comicbook action to life with custom-made Iron Man suits. TheIBOTs will appear this weekend at TOPCON, Topeka’s firstcomic convention.

To most students, Maintenance Technician II Michael Haze is a familiar face around the Washburn campus. He is responsible for much of the University’s handy work, and is always striving to assist in keeping everything around campus running smoothly. However, though he may appear to be working a typical nine to five job, what he does once he leaves the University for the day is truly astounding.

Haze and his two brothers are the creators and founders of their very own business called the Iron Brothers of Topeka or IBOT. What started out as simply a fun Halloween costume idea in 2006 has turned into a thriving business in which Haze designs and builds life like Iron Man suits, and then travels across the country attending special events. Along the way he has won multiple awards and contests, met some very influential people in the comic book world, and brought joy to all those he’s encountered throughout his journey.

“It just snowballed,” said Haze, of IBOT’s beginnings.

In 2007, after a year of designing and perfecting his very first Iron Man costume, Haze entered the Toyfare Magazine Costume Contest and took first place honors. After the victory, the IBOT name began to spread and the family business began to boom with a schedule packed full of events, contests, and special appearances.

In 2010 the Iron Brothers of Topeka traveled to Detroit, MI for the annual F a n f a r e convention. There, Haze r e c e i v e d the once-in -a-lifetime opportunity to escort l e g e n d a r y comic book writer and creator Iron Man himself Stan Lee.

“Stan said that he really appreciated our concept for the Iron Man suit and that it was bigger than life,” said Haze.

Haze now has four or five Iron Man costumes, as well as several other suites including War Machine and Iron America, which he uses for various charity events in the local area.

“Seeing the appreciation that people have for the costumes is the most rewarding part,” said Haze.

He continued to explain that his dream as a child was to see Iron Man in real life, and being able to make that dream come true for other children is another very satisfying aspect of his job. However, part of being a part of such a successful business is time management, and the IBOTs often have to miss out or decline event requests due to their busy schedule.

No matter how busy his life may be, Haze always makes time to improve and enhance his suits.

“Ultimately, I would love to be employed building Iron Man suits for a living, but until then I’m happy working at Washburn and with the Iron Brothers of Topeka,” said Haze.

Haze is just one example of the amazing talent that can be found on the campus of Washburn University, and is a prime example of a bod with an odd job.

For more information about the Iron Brothers of Topeka visit www.ibotks.com, follow them on Facebook at Iron Brothers of Topeka, or follow them via Twitter at @IBOTKs.