Saturday, May 21, 2016

ROM spaceknight 27 tribute fan art

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I just got this fan art by Brian Douglas Ahern from Gary this morning. I'm sure he'll be leaving a comment any time now with all the details as to how he acquired it because there's some history with this art work. I actually discovered it back in March of 2013 when I saw it in an online photo up on the wall at the old Floating World Comics shop in Portland. Although never featured in any of the forums for the Bill Mantlo benefit auction it was apparently part it but don't quote me on that. The only version of it I had was this grainy blown up thumbnail I posted March 2013 . . .

Having recognized this as being one of the better art pieces from that auction I contacted the owner of Floating World Comics to see about getting a copy but it seemed my request fell on deaf ears. Remember my posting just over a month ago from my last Portland trip? Why couldn't they have made a nice large format reprint of this art from the benefit auction instead of the garbage they had available!? If I had seen this as a nice 11 X 17 print on some good paper stock for only $5 I would have been like score!
It sure feels good to be getting back to postings with some old school ROM stuff again. However I anticipate this being my last one for the month although I may have an update coming later today or tomorrow. Next posting should be right after I come back from my trip to Greece and Israel which should be June 4th or 5th. I sure picked a swell time to do some international flying between that terrorist shit in Belgium recently and this current mystery of the downed EgyptAir 804 flight.

May 22nd Update:
Yesterday I swung by my LCS and had a look at Micronauts #2. From a story stand point it looked like a marginal improvement from the first issue. But I'll say this about it the art work is way better then what we saw in the ROM zero issue. You can preview the first six pages here and see what I mean . . .

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

ROM and Dr Doom face off in Strange magazine

Ok enough of all this IDW shit for a while it's time to get back to some old school stuff again. This comes to us from Gary Martin Jr. proving once again he is a ROM curator through and through. I'm actually a bit sketchy on the details here but I believe this comes from the activity section or page of the Marvel mostly reprint French magazine STRANGE issue 166. Interestingly enough notice how the rendering of ROM here has him with fingers instead of mittens? This will most likely be my last posting of the month but as I've mentioned to some of you I have another posting idea for early next month that involves some exotic locations on the other side of the world I'll at starting late next week.

One other thing. I wanted to thank EVERYONE who's come to visit this blog recently especially if you left a comment. It's been a LOT of fun for the past couple weeks with all the back and forth here with those who share the same opinions or have a different point of view rather it be about the zero issue or Civil War and whatever. I know some folks over the years have had issues with everything from my sarcasm, cynicism and even the very blog title it's self. But if nothing else I keep it pretty interesting here much of what I post you won't find on other blogs, twitter or farcebook with ROM fan boys. That was my primary mission when I started this blog actually. But even more importantly you will not be ignored here or have your comments go unanswered. I've just always thought that's a dick move.

Monday, May 9, 2016

IDW digging in their heels on their version of ROM

Two things I want to get to but first up here's a sketch I did earlier today as a way to further illustrate something closer to what I would have preferred as an updated ROM design. This is actually more what I thought a full view of ROM would look like based on the cover art for the zero issue when it was released on the internet late last year. As you can see this look has some obvious updates from the 80s version but at the same time doesn't deviate as far from the original as IDW's design. And best of all it's devoid of any Japanese anime influence and in general is less clunky looking. Basically, this is an updated design concept for 2016 that feels more like "ROM" to me.

The following is a copy and paste of the letter I fired off to IDW early this morning and their reply which came only a few hours later. I'm kinda thinking they're not gonna print my letter : )

I'm an old school ROM fan who had given up long ago on any hope of Marvel bringing back our favorite spaceknight by the time IDW Publishing had made it's ROM come back announcement last year. At the time I certainly thought a ROM revival by some fellow old school fans at IDW would be the next best thing, now I'm not so sure. I'll get straight to the point about what has disappointed me specifically with IDW's new direction. But first, in general the art work in the 13 page zero issue story was very flat, uninspiring and in some panels looked almost down right amateurish. 
I also think you guys went over board with ROM's armor redesign for 2016. The cover art of the zero issue suggested something that was less drastic and done in better taste then what appears to be the finalized version as seen in the interior art in which he looks too "clunky". There's even a ROM#1 cover variant that features him stepping from a fiery crater which like the zero issue cover art also reflects a redesign that looks closer to the original but with updates done in good taste. I also don't like the new design of the neutralizer it looks like some kind of bizarre kitchen appliance or a high tech back massager from an infomercial. The new concept for ROM's energy analyzer as being these HAL from 2001 A Space Odyssey looking electronic red eyes on his wrists also doesn't work for me. I understand that the success of the new series won't depend alone on the fans who grew up with the original series but was it really necessary to so drastically change the character from a visual stand point in order for this new series to have broad readership appeal!?

 See, the changes to us don’t seem that drastic at all. Some changes were necessary or required but we tried to keep the spirit of the character as much as possible.
And if you miss the old Neutralizer, well… hope you stay tuned, at least til issue 2...

IDW Letters

May 15th Update
Why couldn't those assholes from IDW make ROM's armor design look like this when it came to the interior art!? Instead this is just for a full page promo ad for the series coming in July and for those of you who have seen Chris Ryall's twitter feed lately you'll see ROM #1 has more of the same shit from the crappy zero issue. And speaking of which for a more insightful review of the zero issue allow me direct you all to . . .

Saturday, May 7, 2016

ROM zero issue FCBD and Avengers Civil War

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What a thoroughly underwhelming introduction this zero issue was for this supposed revival of the greatest of the spaceknights. All those months of hype, controversy and even anticipation and this is the result. There's really not much point in summarizing the 13 page story it's pretty much what you'd expect. ROM makes planet fall, encounters some local cops and the military . . turns out the military are dire wraiths . . .fight ensues . . human cops get a reality check. Not much more to it then that and the couple little nuanced stuff in it is really not worth talking about.
Well, like Micronauts #1 the ROM zero issue is DOA. I still hate the way his armor looks they should have left the design concept alone after releasing the zero issue cover art. Hate this neutralizer it looks like something you'd see in an infomercial. But not the good kind like slapchop more like a shakeweighty kind. The new analyzer concept consists of these ruby red eye looking things on his wrist, that's also stupid the people at IDW are trying waaaaay too hard to make this new ROM concept uniquely IDW. The art work isn't ditko bad but it's pretty unimpressive as well it feels very flat and in some panels really looks much like some of the mediocre fan art we've seen over the years.

Now for those of you who are about to reply with a "well it's just the zero issue give it a chance you can't judge it yet oh and somebody come change my diaper . . " and so on. I challenge you all to grab your copy of ROM #1 (Sal and Bill ofcourse) and give it another look. That was done in 1979 and it kicked ass in every way from ROM making planet fall to when he blasts for the first time a pair of dire wraiths. And this is what IDW came up with after all these years here in 2016. It's hard to believe this is what some old school ROM fans came up with given all the resources at their disposal as a major comic book publisher.

There's a full page add in the back of the issue for ROM#1. It has the the following tag line in it "The beloved galactic warrior is reborn for a new generation!". They're very much right about that, because from what I've seen so far this stuff IDW has come up with is not for my generation and further more Micronauts#1 and ROM zero has served to remind me why new comics are just not for me any more. I'm not gonna twist any body's arm here but I'll be writing a short and not so sweet letter to IDW and if you feel the same I would recommend you take a few minutes to do so as well. Because if you find yourself around 6 months from now seriously missing having a good ROM series to read you only have yourself to blame

Moving on to the better half of my day, Avengers Civil War. I liked the first Avengers film and Age of Ultron seemed to get better and better the more times I watched it. But I gotta say, it was a nice change of pace to not see The Avengers fighting another CG army of aliens or robots. This was a really well done film especially the way it handled all the character development. At no point in the movie do you ever question the motivations behind everybody's actions. This was not just due to good screen writing but also due to the exceptional effort by all the actors involved. There's a lot going on in the movie just by virtue of the massive cast ensemble but it's all handled in a cohesive story line that flows well.
They also did a good job with just the right amount of screen time for the new characters into the Avengers cinematic universe such as Spiderman and Black Panther. Again, we understand why they are on Iron Man's side and we see and understand it in a way that doesn't feel rushed or added into the script at the last minute. Ofcourse we're treated to a lot of great action, drama and shocking revelations that further fray some of the relationships. It also appears that Avengers Civil War is in part a set up for the future Black Panther movie which I'm more excited about now thanks to the Black Panther character having been handled so well in this movie. An all around good film off hand I have nothing to nit pick at I'm looking forward to seeing it again.

Avengers Civil War fan art by Nikoskap

So a big thanks to the Marvel cinematic universe for giving us yet another epic film to enjoy for years to come. However when it comes to the more mainstream Marvel print universe I say yet again fuck you marvel. I present to you this lame ass response from Marvel to a fan of the original ROM spaceknight series. We know all about those "all new all different spaceknights in the pages of guardians of the galaxy" by now don't we? This comes to us from the letter column of Venom spacewhatever 006. So thanks Gary yet again for taking another one ($) for the team.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A reason to feel a bit more optimistic about IDWs ROM reboot

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From the pages of Comic Heroes Magazine issue 27. Allow me to bring your attention to the paragraph inside the red square. Perhaps there's some hope in regards to the questionable ROM redesign as seen in the Previews clip art that had everybody (myself included up in arms) up in arms. But again there's no way to know for sure until the series comes out so ultimately the jury's still out on this but in about two weeks from now (FCBD) we should be able to get into more serious deliberations.

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On the flip side the IDW Micronauts series has generated next to no controversy and as far as I know will be turning up on comic book shelves on new comic book day this upcoming Wednesday. I have every intention of making it to the store that day to get a copy of issue 1. For which I will most certainly update this blog posting with after I get done reading it so be on the look out for that. Years ago I came across a letter to the editor in an old issue of Marvel's Micronauts with a good question a reader had that Marvel had no answer for but gave a "no prize" recognition for. If a person traveled to a planet much larger then Earth they would be subject to some serious gravitational pull they wouldn't be used to. So how come visitors from The Microverse to Earth don't seem to be impacted by what most certainly would be for them the higher gravity? I think I'll throw that physics question at IDW in a letter and see if and how they respond to it since eventually even the rebooted Micronauts will find themselves on Earth.

My impersonation of Gary Martin Jr. A ROM curator
If there's any confusion about this photo spoof please refer to the comments section. I remember back in the 80s how they used to rope us into buying more new comics with countless references being made by characters with all those asterisks * referring to the footnote boxes with the see this issue or see that issue and as told in the blah blah and so on. Today's comics seem to do the same thing with all these goddamn cover variants and with these cover prices! Although to be honest I don't mind these cover prices as long as the product is what I'm looking for. I mean really what's $4 or even $5 a month for a new ROM series that turns out to be a pleasant surprise? Same goes for The Micronauts. But ofcourse I'm just speaking as someone who's interested in just following the main story for which I don't need to buy multiple covers or any publication that even makes a ROM reference. That can really add up as we can see. It kinda reminds me of popular cities with notorious tourist trap area and attractions.

The following April 28th update will just consist of a copy and paste of my latest letter to WTF Publishing.

When IDW released online all The Micronauts cover variants earlier this year I have to say I was very pleased with what I saw when it came to Acroyear and Baron Karza. For Acroyear, there had just been some minor design updates that I felt were done in good taste just like with ROM on the cover of his zero issue. And as for Baron Karza it pretty much looked like you guys just went with his classic look which I was cool with because like Darth Vader that look works just as well in 2016 as it did in the 80s. But it all became a different story once I read Micronauts #1.
With Acroyear you guys stayed consistent as far as character design goes with the interior art but what is up with Baron Karza!? Why did you guys find it necessary to change his head/helmet design like that? I also don't like the new look for Space Glider, as you did with Acroyear I would have much preferred a design that looks something closer to the original Mego figure. And especially that "tail" on this new Space Glider suite that has got to go! I know part of my negativity here has to do with my weariness from all the controversy earlier this year surrounding the first clear look at ROM spaceknight as seen on page 3 of the zero issue preview but all that aside I'm sorry guys this new series is not off to a great start in the opinion of this old school Micronauts fan

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Transformers ROM team up and G.I.Joe ROM team up variant covers

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Well I would certainly like to hear from you all about this. Even I can't help but be at least a little bit excited about these even though we're not going to see any of it beyond the covers for at least another 3 to 4 months. ROM looks a lot more like he does on the cover art of the zero issue then he does in the interior art of that issue which as you all know I really hate so it makes me wonder what is ROM actually supposed to look like? Notice how on the fist bump Transformer 55 cover how ROM's armor design is more like the interior art of the FCBD day zero issue? Well at least he looks pretty cool on these other covers. By the way Micronauts 1 should be coming out next week but IDW hasn't had much in the way of any sort of sneak peaks beyond the endless cover variants ofcourse so who knows how that's gonna turn out. Looks like there's gonna be a lot to talk about on the weekend of FCBD not only will the ROM zero issue be released but that's also the weekend of Avengers Civil War which I plan to see. And by that time Micronauts 1 will have been out so there's that to. So what do you think folks are we going to be in for massive amounts of disappointment? A lot of great shit to look forward to or will it be a mixed bag on the first weekend of May? It seems IDW Publishing has become the contemporary Marvel 80s when it comes to toy based licensed properties.

April 20 Update:
Oh and just when you think you've seen it all with all these ROM cover variants I posted here it gets even more ridiculous . . .

Except for this one. This is pretty cool . . .

Hey Gary, I feel sorry for you bro. As a ROM curator you're obliged to buy all these cover variants for your collection. And don't forget, the Comic Book Fever book from Tomorrows Publishing is coming out around the same time with it's section on ROM so that's gonna be almost $40 bucks out of your pocket in addition to all this IDW shit. I guess there goes your kid's college tuition, or maybe a second mortgage on the home is an option?

Zack Howard
April 22nd Update: So I'm sure by now most of you all have figured out that all these ROM themed cover variants for other IDW titles aren't actual ROM guest appearances. The cover variants are strictly for promotional purpose only for now. The actual first issue of ROM ofcourse will have it's own series of cover variants which will result in Gary probably having to give up a kidney or lung in order to raise even more money. I think all the #1 cover variants suck including the one by Michael Golden and the one by Sal Buscema isn't all that impressive to me, but there is one exception. The one you see above you is pretty cool not just because it's drawn well but also because ROM looks most like what I expected him to based on the zero issue cover art. If this is what he would have looked like on the inside art I could be way more into this ROM reboot.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Bill Mantlo benefit art auction left overs in Portland

Shitty art work from past benefit auctions
Just got back from a weekend get away in Portland and paid a brief visit to Floating World Comics while I was there. They had some of these 11 X 17 glossy prints on a pretty thick paper stock of some of the art work from the past benefit auctions. Sadly none of them was of any of the good art that came out of those auctions. Most of the art work that came from those auctions were really amateurish and down right bizarre much of the time. Too bad, a high quality print of some of the better art work would have been a nice thing to take home with me. Those prints were only going for around $5 and there's no sales tax in Oregon.

So moving on to more satisfying matters. Just before I left for Portland I got a copy of Excalibur 121 in the mail which I bought on ebay. I think you can all guess why I wanted that issue and it came just in time to give me something to read on the plane even though Oakland to Portland is a fairly short flight. Some of the highlights is the opening sequence with the debriefing of Sabra by her superiors over a mission she under took with Excalibur.

When the story back tracks to the before mentioned mission we find out that Sabra doesn't play well with others here. Even when it came to fellow mutants she has a common heritage with (Kitty Pride ofcourse) things got of to a rough start. But toward the end of the mission Sabra gets a lesson in the value of team work which in turn may help explain her having been more of a team player (especially with Storm) in what would be the pages of future X-Men issues back then.

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