Monday, October 3, 2016

The ROM legacy Heroclix collection

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I've loved dioramas ever since I was a kid, and this one comes to us by Gary Martin Jr.who did a fine job on it. The top left silver figurine is Ikon with some gold color variants that are supposed to be some kind of standard spaceknight soldiers in the Heroclix universe. Along the bottom to the left we have Forge from The X-Men which I'm sure most of you ROM fans remember as having had a pivotal role as an ally to ROM in the final days of the Wraith War both in the pages of The X-Men as well as in ROM spaceknight. Moving to the right we've also got Turbo from The New Warriors although for nostalgia's sake I wish they had made that figure outfitted with the original Torpedo costume as opposed to the updated version as seen in the 2nd New Warriors series.
Moving on to the right we've got the bad guys starting with a standard female dire wraith along with the dire wraith queen Volx. Notice how Volx is made of the exact same mold but done in green. Last up in the top right corner we've got the worst of the worst when it comes to ROM's enemies. Arguably the best sculpt of the bunch that there is Hybrid. Spawned of a dire wraith father and human mother Hybrid was a mutant of sorts possessed of vast powers both mental and physical.

It also so happens that this past weekend I was at the latest San Jose Super Toy comic and collectibles show. I really like this con I've been to it a few times now over the past couple of years it's not as big as most other cons but it's not bad at all and for a measly $10 admission fee (plenty of free parking nearby to) you get quite a lot of bang for your buck as the saying goes. It was kinda cool to see a dealer decorate one of his comic boxes with ROM 18. Also, Sam Jones from the awesomely cheesy 1980 Flash Gordon movie and more recently from the Ted movies was there.

1989 Oakland CA Wonder Con convention program

October 7 Update: First off I wanted to say I'm disappointed to not see some words of appreciation for that ROM legacy Heroclix diorama which no doubt was a real labor of love for Gary. Ok moving on, here's a little retrospective when it comes to the local convention scene. I just found this in an old 1989 Oakland Wonder Con convention program I still had. Ofcourse I've sung the praises of Akin & Garvey's work on ROM numerous times here over the years but I hadn't realized until today that they had also done inks on the Micronauts (Vol. 2) as well. I don't know about the first ever Wonder Con in 87 but I know they were also guests at the one in 88. Looking back I wish I had made a point to see them while I was there but unfortunately back in the late 80s I was in a different head space. The names behind the comics I loved to read and collect were not that big of a deal to me as hard as that me be to believe in the here and now.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

One more card up my sleeve

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I totally wasn't expecting to do another sketch card any time soon but I saw something recently that gave me almost instant inspiration. But first things first. The closest thing we ever got to see in terms of some kind of ROM and Spider Man cross over was a cameo in ROM spaceknight 23. No doubt some kind of team up story between the greatest of the spaceknights and arguably Marvel's most popular character would have been nothing short of epic for ROM fans. So getting back to my inspiration it came when I saw this black suite Spider Man fan art by my good friend from Greece. It was one of the coolest and most creative web swinging poses I've ever seen and I knew almost right away I wanted to use it some how with ROM. I hammered this sketch card out it just one evening. Don't forget to check out part of the source material from Nikoskap ...

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And speaking of all things cool and Spider Man have a look at what I passed by just last week. This can be found in the city of Hayward at a custom plastics fabrication business called Bell Plastics (2020 National Ave.). But I'm also happy to say that Hayward has been home before to other public art of our friendly neighborhood Spider this can be found on Tennyson Road  Man

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Spaceknight in Seattle

Bigger is better left click to enlarge

Been meaning to add another sketch card to my collection for a while now but just hadn't been feeling very artistically inspired lately. But with my most recent trip to Seattle I got an idea based on all the souvenir and gift shops with all the Seattle this and Seattle that merchandise but keep in mind I say that with Seattle still being my all time favorite U.S. city. Too bad it's almost as expensive to live there these days as it is in San Francisco. Anyways, that's nothing that ROM would have to worry about so here you have it a silver spaceknight in The Emerald City. Unfortunately, ROM never made it up to Seattle or to The Pacific Northwest in general during his original series but it sure would have been cool. That would have been so awesome seeing ROM use his neutralizer to banish a dire wraith posing as a Starbucks coffee employee. Not too far from reality actually when you think about it given Starbuck's already fairly successful plan for world domination.

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Classic Marvel 80s ROM sketch cards collect em all!

Friday, August 26, 2016

ROM spaceknight 65 tribute sketch card and Sal Buscema in Comic Book Fever

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After nearly a year delay the over sized hard cover COMIC BOOK FEVER from Twomorrows Publishing (Back Issue Magazine) finally came out. And thanks to Gary again who's already got his copy we now know about the ROM related stuff in it. It has me feeling kinda sentimental which in turn is bringing out my creative side after it's been on a bit reclusive in recent weeks. Aside from that doing something with ROM and Iron Man has been on the back burner for quite a while.

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Getting back to Comic Book Fever, it's compilation of the comic book industry from the mid 70s to the mid 80s and it includes a 3 page chapter devoted to ROM. One page is just a splash page with the doll with star field background but the other two pages are editorial and include some clip art from the original series. The information for the most part is redundant although it also has some new commentary from editor Joe Duffy about her experience with working on the original ROM spaceknight series.
Now ROM does turn up in other sections of the book and it was a chapter on Sal Buscema where I found the most interesting ROM related information. When it comes to the behind the scenes talk in regards to the original series the most interesting thing to me has always been what effected me the most as a fan and reader back in the day. And that is, Sal's departure from the series which gave way to a very low point in the art work on the in the series. The quote seen above seems to suggest that Bill Mantlo and Sal may have had some creative differences very early on in the series which ultimately came to a head a few years later. Just imagine if Sal had penciled ROM spaceknight 65 it would have made the wraith war conclusion so much more epic. You can preview some of what's inside of Comic Book Fever here . . .

August 28 update: I noticed a copy of the 2nd issue for the IDW ROM in name only series and while I was browsing through it a certain familiar name got my attention. By April of this year my enthusiasm for this new series was buried under 50 feet of shit in a casket made out of utter dismay and disappointment. But I'm still going to post Gary's letter because it's his birthday today and he's also such an all around stand up guy. Happy Birthday Gary and welcome to the published letters club.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Well isn't that cool BACK ISSUE Magazine printed one of my letters again

BACK ISSUE Magazine 88 letter column
Big thanks to ROM curator Gary Martin Jr. for finding this in the letter column of BACK ISSUE Magazine 88 (May 2016). I had actually forgotten about having written this letter which as you can see was in response to BACK ISSUE Magazine 82 which had a long article about the Secret Wars series both I and II (see blog link below). Ironically I had picked up issue 82 because that issue had a letter of mine in it as well which was feed back from yet an earlier issue featuring The Micronauts. Unfortunately all print copies of issue 88 are sold out so for now I won't be able to get a copy to add to my growing collection of comics and magazines that have my letters published in them. I didn't have any luck on ebay either that blows.

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August 20th Update: Just found this Spanish language cover art for ROM 72. Aside from the obvious (spanish and not english), notice some other differences from the original? The left hand corner art has the Beyonder instead of ROM and instead of the little Secret Wars logo dog eared in the opposite corner they have a tag line running along the bottom. For those of you who don't have a copy of the original here's a link for a quick reference to compare...

Saturday, August 6, 2016

How they could have made ROM great again

Loston Wallace
This morning I came across this cover art for one of the myriads of cover variants. This particular one is one of the few examples of the endless interpretations of ROM that IDW likes to keeping putting out there. Apparently some sense of consistency with ROM's design when it comes to these cover variants is not much of a priority. However, it so happens that this particular interpretation represents what I think would have been a good or at least acceptable updated look for a 2016 ROM spaceknight series. We'll assume he doesn't have the over sized anime feet bell bottom look going on in here but that aside what you see here is a look I could have gotten into. I'm at such a loss to understand why this kind of look couldn't have been just as marketable for a new ROM series here in 2016 same as what IDW ultimately came up with not to mention it would have gone a long way to not alienating so many of the faithful such as myself. Especially if they had stuck with the original concepts for ROM's neutralizer, analyzer and translator barring some minor design updates. And to think IDW actually had something like this at first (zero issue cover) but continued to make more design changes until they ended up with what you now see when you actually open up the zero issue and ROM #1. It just blows me away that these concepts and final decisions for this new series were made by old school ROM fans. And now, some of my favorite moments in terms of art and writing from the one and only Greatest of the spaceknights.

Damn straight!

August 11 update
Custom dire wraith figure by Chris Motito
Here's a little something from the good ol days that turned up on deviant art if you want to see more with different angles go here I'm sure Chris will be happy to tell us more photos about his latest custom including what he used as the base figure and so on. Also, be on the look out for a recent Rainbow spaceknight custom figure when you're in Chris's art gallery.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

RINO the spaceknight issue 1 has arrived

Authentic, accept no substitute!
It's so disheartening to see what has ultimately become of the legacy today of the original ROM spaceknight series. Take the term spaceknight for example. It seems like any cosmic crusader can claim that title these days from Venom to some no names in the Guardians of the Galaxy series or even by some "disavowed of Galadoria" chumps getting their asses kicked by the fake Nova Sam Alexander. As far as I'm concerned this ROM in name only "the" spaceknight is just the latest illegitimate incarnation the only difference is it comes from IDW publishing instead of Marvel.
But all that being said this posting is for the purpose of soliciting feed back from those of you who decided to buy the first issue and have read it. Did it suck? Was it surprisingly good (highly doubtful)? Not great but better then you expected? And of course I want to know the why behind your opinion. Personally I've seen enough between the zero issue and the previews pages from issue #1 not to mention my correspondences with whoever handles the letters at IDW to know this supposed ROM reboot is not for me but I still want to hear from you.

Ya know I really gotta wonder when a review of #1 is done by someone who claims that ROM has nostalgic value from his child hood but writes stuff like this "His design is a bit updated, leaving the beloved mitten hands behind but ROM’s Analyzer and Neutralizer weapons make a triumphant return". A "triumphant" return, really? It gets even better as he goes on to say "Well, this version from IDW is definitely pulling all the right nostalgia strings for me". This guy might remember seeing some ROM comics on the shelf back in his child hood and maybe he browsed through some but anything more then that I just find hard to believe