So finally I got a hold of the entire Annihilation Wave series thanks to a friend I was hanging out with today. For over a year now, I've had nothing but what the redundant crap that the internet has had to offer of the Spaceknight's role in the story line which as we all know was quite scant. But now that I've had a chance to review it not only was it scant, but it was fucken lame too. So get ready boys n girls cause I'm about to go off! So what you see here above is pretty much all that consists of the Spaceknight's role in the conflict. Their being lead by Blastarr for unknown reasons is really lame not too mention they get one whole whopping line as you can see here. And if you look closely you can see indeed these are the anime "Spaceknights" from that horrible mini-series that everybody hates. That's it, nothing else is said or explained and in the next panel which I didn't bother to scan Blastarr and the "Spaceknights" are beamed away. And in the last issue of the series we get this one panel as far as any further spaceknight references that does nothing more then serve up another shit sandwich to ROM fans who already had to take a bite out of one already.
In some sort of post war epilogue spin off story we are treated to even more retardation in the form of what's called the Spaceknight Restitution Initiative in which these "spaceknights" come to the Kree home world in order to download some software into a defense net to get it up and running again at full capacity. Of course shit goes wrong as the "spaceknights" are infected with some sort of techno virus that also starts getting into everything. These "spaceknights" were pretty lame too because they really look more like actual medieval knights then they do like the Galadorian Spaceknight cyborgs of the Sal Buscema days of ROM. The scanned clip art here is all the explanation that is offered as to how the "spaceknights" came to make this offer to the Kree aside from a later panel where Daystarr (the lead "spaceknight") says some shit about how they all learned a lesson about working together during the Annihilation wave and so on. Man, all I can say is that Marvel has a lot to make up for when March comes around. If they don't deliver I may do some fucken annihilating of my own! You should be able to enlarge the clip are and read it easier.
This is one of those rare times where I've come across some goofy art that I think is actually kinda cool. I mean here we have ROM rendering in 3-D as a Lego figure. It's clever and it's nicely done and quite original. That's the thing about Lego figures, they're not meant to be some sort of well sculptured figurine or anything. The whole Lego look is pretty much iconic these days so if they make a figure out of a favorite character of yours it's more of a novelty then anything else, much like a bobble head doll. The only reason why I didn't name the artist is because I forgot to get it after I copy and pasted the art. You know how it is when you try to back track your steps to find something you found originally by accident on the web. Really pisses me off sometimes. But then again what doesn't? And that brings me to my next issue. As I was looking at this Lego ROM it reminded me a lot of the way Steve Dikto used to draw ROM's eyes and head. You all out there know of my disdain for the art in ROM during that dark time. I used to practically cringe when turning from one page to another as a kid while reading those issues. I really wanted to know how the story was coming along but I had to deal with panel after panel of ROM looking like . . . well, like a fucken Lego figure as it turns out! Here's a sample of a blog site I found with an entire page devoted to ROM characters both friend and foe as minis. I'm telling ya, the things we would have no idea of ever existing if it wasn't for the internet huh? Of all the characters I saw on the page I think Gloriole looks the best. Talk about a character that was so under used in the series, what a waste! Much like Darth Maul in that steaming pile of shit called The Phantom Menace. Just a heads up this blog is in Portuguese and as far as I could there was no translation software on it. But you don't need to know Portuguese to look at the art work of course. Although I can think of at least one follower of this blog who will feel right at home at the blog this link will take you to: http://micro-heroescompendium.blogspot.com/2010/10/rom-spaceknight.html
Ok, so by now you all know I've been finding ROM related art on the web that I think is done well. Here are two more examples. On the left we have a pencil sketch done by Scott Chantler. Normally I'm a hard case for wanting to see proper proportions in figure drawing but sometimes exceptions can be made. In the case of this one their are slight exaggerations in the anatomy for dramatic visual effect. It also appears to be a defining aspect of this artist's drawing style. Aside from all that this is cool pose and makes for an all around excellent drawing. The other piece is by a guy who goes by the name of Supajoe. This piece has a very clean line art style. It's very straight forward and observes pretty much all the principles in what makes a good drawing of ROM. There's just not much of anything to really criticize about it. And i also really like the back ground. It's just a simple scenic askew rectangle. But it really adds something to the over all picture. The first thing that comes to mind is that it adds depth but there's more to it then that. Just try to visualize how it would look if that piece didn't have the background and you'll see what I mean. And on a minor point I also happen to like how each artist signs their work.
Your not seeing things on the left side there, this guy actually ended up making a kick ass rendering of ROM below his chemistry class notes. In fact you can see a whole series of note book drawings of various comic book characters at Greg's Gallery: http://www.math.hmc.edu/~levin/Personal/Gallery/E/East.html After one good look at this one it should be obvious that I can't say enough good things about this drawing. The first thing that jumps out at you is ROM's neutralizer but indeed every aspect of this drawing is so cool especially the action pose and the details in the armor. Greg's style reminds me a lot of the Pat Broderick & Mike Gustovich art team from ROM annual #1. On the right, Francesco Francavilla has an interesting piece with some very unique qualities. Although visually not as dynamic as other works I have feature on this blog this one has the unique quality of perhaps capturing the personality of ROM better then anything else I have featured so far. You can feel the compassion and concern of the character as he approaches the dead astronaut. It was a good piece to be done in black n white and the tilt in the perspective of the scene adds an element of drama. Here we again see a good example of foreshortening. Interestingly enough I picked up this image on a website that mentioned the Francavilla piece being the favorite in the 2007 Floating World Comics Bill Mantlo Auction. He summarized the rest of the work in the auction as the following: "I spent about half an hour just looking through all of them – some awesome, some goofy, some just plain weird, some inexplicable." Well let me tell ya bro the the over all body of work from the 2010 auction wasn't any better.
If there has ever been a work of art featuring ROM I would describe as beautiful this one by Hyeondo Park would be it. I'm sure most of you have seen it already and although I usually feature art on this blog that is not as easy to find I made an exception for this one. To me this piece is just perfect in every way and I'm going to explain why. ROM's armor looks great. The shading, the details and the color are superb. Also what is good here is the anatomy from a figure drawing stand point. But in many ways what really makes this painting so good is the setting. The colors are somewhat soft, yet bold and give it depth. The scenery reminds me of those astrological photos of some sort of newly formed nebula NASA publishes sometimes. I love the way ROM is slowly rising up through that cosmic dust. The artist really put some serious thought and time into the setting for this painting. If you just sit back and relax your eyes while looking at this for a few seconds it almost seems to move as if your watching a beautifully drawn animation clip. Some information I was able to find on this explained that blue pen was also used in this water color painting and it had some photoshop work done on it.
I found these on Deviant Art and Comic Art Fans. When it comes to drawing comic book/sci-fi characters I'm just a big stickler for figure drawing done well in terms of perspective, proportions and anatomy accuracy. Aesthetic qualities that were sorely lacking in much of the work for the auction. We were reminded that in the world of art what makes something popular is often about who is the "artist" and not the quality of their work. Part of my motivation for starting this blog in the first place had much to do with my love of art and the realization one day of how much ROM related fan art (both good and bad) was out there so long after the original series ended. Please take a closer look by left clicking on any of the images to magnify them. The Ratkins drawing has a couple of things about it I really like. It's almost got a Sal Buscema penciling kinda drawing style to it. This is also excellent example of foreshortening done well. Foreshortening is the effect of making an elongated object on a 2D horizontal surface look convincingly as one end being closer to the viewer then the opposite end. In Lamen's terms this guy did a good job of drawing ROM with him looking like he's flying right at you. The Gamill sketch is more of a static drawing but it's still pretty awesome. This is done by somebody who clearly understands the importance of anatomical proportions in figure drawing. As a result you really have a virtually flawless illustration of ROM looking at his best and capturing the majestic nature of the character. This one really looks like something that you'd find on the cover of a Marvel comic magazine like Conan The Barbarian. I can just hear it now when ROM is asked what is best in life . . . To crush the Dire Wraiths, see them banished to Limbo and to hear the lamentation of the women!". The Ahern drawing gives us a rare detailed look at the Wraith war ships the Spaceknights fought during the attempted invasion of The Golden Galaxy. Because this one gives us a setting it really stirs the imagination plus like the other two it's just done well artistically. All three of these really capture that 80's Marvel comic book art feel which we all love! The artist that goes by the name of Zimkitty has come up with something pretty good too. This sketch of ROM and Shadowhawk facing off is great for two primary reasons. One is that the anatomy is well done and proportional along with the dramatic perspective of the two figures. Even as just a pencil sketch it has a boldness to it and clean line work. Imagine what it would look like inked and colored! I don't know these guys, so my positive critique isn't based on being part of some groupe fan club they might have. I think these 4 artists have work that really captures the basic makings of good comic book character art for which I really feel has little room for abstract interpretation with out coming off as being bizarre or just plain stupid looking.