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 . . .
http://littlethingsincomics.blogspot.com/2016/05/iexpectedasmuch.html


43 comments:

  1. Strange reply.

    ROM is so drasticly changed as to become near unrecognizable. To me he looked like an anime version of a storm trooper with the hard white parts with the black underjoints. I can tell they were looking at modern car and other tech design styles when they designed ROM.

    I don't hold out much hope for them making him less clunky.

    I think I dislike the neutralizer the most, second his embedded analizer arms, yuk.

    Like I said, strange reply.

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    1. i'd say the reply was more predictable then odd.

      Delete
  2. Uh oh, brace yourself. I don't hate ROM #0! There, dramatic entrance outta the way.

    My big takeaway from this first story reveal is that IDW ROM is not, as I also had held out a little hope, a REVIVAL of our old friend. It's a REBOOT through and through. My initial flip through the book I kept saying "it's so different, it's so different...". Accepting this has brought me to a slight realignment of expectations for the ongoing series, for which I'm still excited.

    I can totally understand a devotee of Original ROM dismissing this REBOOT out of hand. And I am still of a mind that a Revival of ROM in the Marvel Universe, or even the same look & traits in a new environment, would have been preferable. But for myself, I see no reason not to be on board for whatever comes while still finding prime enjoyment in researching the past.

    To focus on Zero issue specifics, from my best to worst:

    My son & daughter and I enjoyed reading the book together. They know little about ROM beyond their dad's obsession with it, so that helped. After the day of me carrying my Parker Brothers ROM toy through 2 different comic stores (we ended up with a big stack of Grumpy Cat etc. & multiple ROM #0s...thanks Robin!), plopping down on the floor at home & reading it out loud with kids' reactions was nice.

    I REALLY like the new weapons! The Neutralizer is intriguingly cool...it doesn't remind me of anything else but has just enough derivation from the old one. The crossed-arms move forming 2 giant red eyes to Analyze the enemy? Awesome. I see a lot of potential in these redesigns & look forward to them being explored fully.

    There are certain things that this old fan had wished would happen in a new ROM story, and certain other things I hoped wouldn't happen. The events in #0 struck a pretty good balance on those counts. I won't go into too much detail since it was a short intro and I don't want to jinx the upcoming ongoing series. I'll probably write a private message to the comic's writers about it, though.

    {continued...}

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  3. {...continued}

    When it comes to the whole armor, the changes are more extensive to my eye than IDW'S insistence otherwise. So far, though, the many times I've been pleasantly impressed with the new armor outnumber the times it's been jarring. This is not our Original ROM. I'm not privy to any inside knowledge but judging from hints, such as the absence of the subtitle Space Knight from indicia/covers/solicitations, it sure seems like there are still extensive legal machinations in force. It could be that IDW is trying to clue us into this when they say that "changes" were "REQUIRED". I get the impression they can't be totally honest with us about this so when the text on the schematics pages (after the story in #0) says "minor updates were needed...but the iconic toaster head remains intact" but both of those statements are proven false by the art right next to them...that's just ODD.

    The design of this Dire Wraith does nothing for me whatsoever. The Hawk seems too overt an attempt at a viable action figure (intentional?) rather than a fearsomely formidable foe. Thank goodness the shape-changing concept allows infinite possibilities to improve, right?

    Mainly, my overall problem with the story's artwork is the multiple unfortunate instances of unclear storytelling. I found it hard to tell what was going on in: page 1 panel 4, page 4/5 top center panels, page 8 top half...okay, there's more, but I'll stop there. The kids & I were able to figure it out with some imagination, and I've seen a review or two online where other readers were able to as well...but I'd ask for some improvement on this aspect going forward, and eventually I'm sure we'll get some other artists in on the fun (INSIDE the comics please, not just static covers), so, hope springs eternal for A ROM Curator.

    {continued...}

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    1. quite astonishing how two ROM fans can look at that zero issue and get something totally different out of it. well let me share with you what i just wrote to IDW . . .

      Thanks for the prompt response, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to pass on this new ROM series of yours. Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema started something extraordinary back in 1979 from a visual and story telling stand point and it ended up being part of what made the 80s such an amazing decade. I had hoped at least a little bit of that magic would be infused in IDW's vision for ROM but unfortunately I'm just not feeling it. But it's not just you guys it's every comic book publisher these days rather it be marvel with it's poorly handled ROM related continuity in the past 15 years or DC's reboot which ruined my favorite title over there which was The Suicide Squad. When it comes to comic book related entertainment I guess I'll keep being a strictly back issue box and movie kinda fan (Avengers Civil War was awesome). But good luck to you guys anyways.

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    2. I find myself in agreement with Gary and what Dale said in the last post. Mostly. We do need a another artist on the inside and or colorist through.

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    3. this whole ROM 2016 project is like the phantom menace if it was up to me i'd have them literally go back to the drawing board. i just can't except the greatest of the spaceknights as this mechanical lurching hulk. even though robotic in appearance that's one of the things i loved about how Sal drew ROM it had a certain elegant and organic quality to it. i tried to get something close to that in my sketch but in IDW's final version it's completely devoid. just like with the Never Trump Movement if there was something similar for IDW's ROM i'd be a card carrying member. it's all just R.I.N.O (ROM in Name only) to me. i know i know i leave people with such a warm and fuzzy feeling when i talk about all this.

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    4. Today my son (age 12 now) goes "dad you know the issue 0?"grabs it from his room opens it up to the bonus art. He goes I love this. and reads to me about the fingers that had to change (he didnt care for that he says) but he says he loved the the iconic toaster head intact line and also the black parts being the most flexible. He said the analyzer was also pretty cool. Unique prospective from a person this new ROM is geared towards. The Attack on Titan style and manga fan. He may write a letter he says after issue 1 that I MUST buy for him. He also hopes that girl who didnt die isn't ROMS new Brandy he said. I was quite susprised.

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    5. tell your son to stay golden. Don't become all jaded and cynical like me even though it can be quite fun sometimes. Not at as fun as having a Rom or Micronauts series that was worth reading (for me anyways) however.
      My honeymoon couldn't have come at a better time I want to clear my head of all this IDW rubbish. I'm going to use some of the exotic locations we're gonna be at for some fun back drops perfect for a Mantlo / Buscema fan of the 80s. But you folks are gonna have to wait till early June to see what I'm talking about.

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    6. Enjoy your honeymoon!your artwork is nice as well . Have fun

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    7. Shlomo! Congratulations, man! How you have/had an awesome time! -Let the troubles of ROM wash away...

      Joseph- you kid gave a wonderful review! Hahaha- and you're right. THAT'S who this ReROM is geared for... it's just not for me.
      I even feel that way about a majority of the Marvel movies. I was positively bored by 4/5ths of Civil War. About halfway through I realized- and seriously thought to myself: These movies just aren't FOR me anymore... a thirty year comic veteran, I should just stick to the books. I can't say it's a bad movie. So many people love the fuck out of it! It's just not geared towards me.

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    8. *HOPE you have/had a good time...

      * YOUR kid gave a wonderful review...


      Don't judge me! -I'm drunk.

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    9. Thanks . Loved your review and I also wasn't that thirlled with civil war.

      Delete
  4. {...continued}

    Here's my updated checklist for July's ROM #1:

    1. ROM v2 #1-A REGULAR EDITION (J.H. Williams III)
    2. ROM v2 #1-B SUBSCRIBER VARIANT (Zach Howard)
    3. ROM v2 #1-C SUBSCRIBER VARIANT (Tom Whalen)
    4. ROM v2 #1-D CLASSIC TOY VARIANT (photo)
    5. ROM v2 #1-E BLANK SKETCH VARIANT (logo only on white cover)
    6. ROM v2 #1-F RETAILER INCENTIVE VARIANT 1:25 (Sal Buscema)
    7. ROM v2 #1-G RETAILER INCENTIVE VARIANT 1:50 (Michael Golden)
    8. ROM v2 #1-H RETAILER INCENTIVE VARIANT 1:100 (P. Craig Russell)
    9. ROM v2 #1-I 3-D VARIANT (J.H. Williams III only in COMPLETE 3-D BOX SET)
    10. ROM v2 #1-J RETAILER EXCLUSIVE VARIANT at Bell, Book & Comic (Stuart Sayger) *
    11. ROM v2 #1-K RETAILER EXCLUSIVE VARIANT at Rob Liefeld Creations (Rob Liefeld) **
    XX. possibly more RETAILER EXCLUSIVE VARIANTs yet to be revealed?

    * no art preview yet but announced here cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=331842156620

    ** can be viewed & preordered at https://robliefeldcreations.com/shop/comic-books/rom-1-exclusive-variant/

    I learned about the new REs (Retailer Exclusives) by watching the release of Micronauts #1; WOW, all those variants can be bought so much cheaper right now than a few weeks ago...!

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    1. San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) happens the same week as ROM #1, and Diamond Previews just announced there will be 3 more exclusive covers released there. If I understand it correctly, retailers with booths at the Con will be able to order the exclusive ROM covers from Diamond then sell them to attendees, and the 3rd cover is one that the retailers will get 1 for every 10 they buy of the other two:

      12. ROM v2 #1-L SDCC-A EXCLUSIVE limited to 3000 copies (Nick Pitarra, 1st part of a 2 part connecting picture)

      13. ROM v2 #1-M SDCC-B EXLUSIVE limited to 3000 copies (Nick Pitarra, 2nd part of the connecting picture)

      14. ROM v2 #1-N SDCC-C EXLUSIVE limited to 600 copies (Nick Pitarra, wraparound version)

      http://www.diamondcomics.com/Home/1/1/3/597?articleID=179241

      I had to do some detective work to find the name of the artist, who seems to have been under the impression that the Analyzer beams tear through a creature's flesh, and ROM has Iron Man-like palm repulsors...

      Delete
  5. Dude- they don't give a fuck about fans, or letters, or complaints... all they care about is sales. That should be obvious by the insane amount of variant covers.
    If ROM #1 under-preforms in sales THEN they'll go into panic mode and try to make changes. But if people vote with their wallets- and pay out? -They'll keep on doing what sells.
    I, for one, was not pleased with the FCBD offering. (Went into greater detail on my own blog- cheap plug) So I will not give them any of my money for an unsatisfactory product. I've said since the first interiors were posted- the design is not awful- just the artist. How he looks on the variant covers proves that. So, maybe one day the book gets a new creative team (I hated the writing a bit too) and all will be well.
    Their first attempt at this reboot so far though? Woof. -I'd give it a D+ It's about as generic as I thought it would be. It's not bad enough to be mad at though... I'm just disappointed.

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    1. You sir are making a lot of sense to me. My ROM OCD (ROCD?*twitch*) requires me to pre-order 1 of everything in July regardless. But at one time I was considering trying for a second set; decided against that after #0.

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    2. Hahaha, you poor, poor, soon to be literally poor, man...

      And I guess that speaks to how bad #0 really was- even you halved your order! ...I guess that's still speaking with your wallet, right? -They COULD have banked DOUBLE off you!

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    3. ...especially since a set of IDW Micronauts #1 variants can be bought now for like $60 less than the week they came out. If ROM #1 gets the same kind of critical reception, they could end up cheaper soon after, too.

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  6. Are there any "professional" reviews for #0 out anywhere that you know of? So far I've only read older fans reactions and they range from 'pretty alright', to 'meh', to 'disappointed'. I haven't seen anything I'd call a "glowing review" yet, though...

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    1. I'm in the middle of writing a reply on your blog about this. Distracted by SNL, might take a little while. ;-)

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    2. No worries! Thanks for even checking it out! I am also distracted, except by liquor.
      You can see I totally agree with you about the weapons being awesome, the Wraiths being... not. And the art being unclear as to what was happening sometimes. So there's that!

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    3. yeah me to K.o.T i read all your comments here now i'm heading over to your blog as of this moment which is 9 PM West Coast time. . . .

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    4. Hey buddy! How ya been!?

      You know, I don't envy you- because you kind of HAVE to keep reading and reviewing the NuROM, right? It's like your job.
      You can't NOT do it.
      This is THE ROM blog!
      You poor bastard...

      Delete
    5. ROM blog or not you think i'm gonna spend my money on any of this shit from IDW!? i leave that unenviable task to Gary.

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    6. Yeah...I paid $4.23 on FCBD for G.I.Joe #228 because I found it has a ROM ad page in the back. I am that guy. My wife was like "it's the same picture as the free comic cover." I'm like "yup, with different text." The only thing I can say in my defense is that ROM is the one thing that I spend money on outside of necessities. *twitch*

      Delete
  7. A ROM #0 Review Roundup By A ROM Curator

    https://littlethingsincomics.blogspot.com/2016/05/iexpectedasmuch.html

    http://www.sidekickcast.com/fcbd-rom-0-idw-review/

    http://www.firebreathingonion.com/home/fcbd-rom-0-review

    http://dangermart.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/fcbd-rom-0-review.html

    http://www.weirdsciencedccomics.com/2016/05/rom-0-free-comic-book-day-review.html

    http://www.floridageekscene.com/review/rom-0-fcbd-edition/

    http://blog.tfaw.com/2016/05/02/new-comic-book-day-review-of-rom-0/

    http://www.examiner.com/review/separate-the-wheat-from-the-chaff-for-free-comic-book-day-2016

    http://www.forcesofgeek.com/2016/05/triple-shot-free-comic-book-day-2016.html

    https://comicspectrum.wordpress.com/2016/05/06/fcbd-2016-gold-books/

    http://section244.blogspot.com/2016/05/free-comic-book-day-2016-roundup.html

    FRENCH - http://www.comicbox.com/index.php/news/avant-premiere-vo-review-rom-0/

    TRANSLATED (as good as google translate can do anyway) - https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.comicbox.com%2Findex.php%2Fnews%2Favant-premiere-vo-review-rom-0%2F&edit-text=&act=url

    FRENCH - http://fun-en-bulle-castbd.blogspot.com/2016/05/evenement-free-comic-book-day-2016.html

    TRANSLATED - https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Ffun-en-bulle-castbd.blogspot.com%2F2016%2F05%2Fevenement-free-comic-book-day-2016.html&edit-text=&act=url

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  8. Y'know. The fact that they clearly gave him eyelids is now annoying me. This is just whiny at this juncture, but... He's doing the one eye open more than the other when he is yielding his HAL translator analyzer Thymscarian wrist LEDs. What, is Deadpool going to pop out?

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    1. HA! I noticed that too... That made me further think the lines on his head were battle-damage dents- because it looked like he was making an "ouch" face to me.

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    2. Hey K.o.t go check up on your own blog looks like you're not alone in the universe anymore when it comes to Civil War nay sayers.

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    3. Yay! I get so lonely here in this darkened corner with my musty comics and old VHS tapes of Captain America, Punisher, Hulk, and Doctor Strange films... Wait, why do I own these movies? They're fucking TERRIBLE! Damn it, I've wasted my life!!!

      Delete
  9. I found this blog through a link the owner posted on a positive review of the first issue of Micronauts, complaining about how it sucks. That, combined with looking around here... why is this called the "Blog for ROM Fans Who Aren't Dicks"? That's hilariously inaccurate.

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    1. well my anonymous friend it started many many years ago when the Earth was still cooling and the internet was still kind of a new thing i had discovered how much fandom there was still out there for ROM. having been previously unaware of this fandom i was quite excited and eager to connect to other fans out there. that didn't work out so well it seemed like other people who had blogs and what not featuring the big silver guy weren't to inclined to reply to comments or emails i would send. after a while it got rather frustrating so eventually i decided to do my own thing. you may not always like what i have to say or other wise agree with me but . . you will never be ignored here as long as you're being civil and aren't a complete idiot. a difference of opinion doesn't make someone a dick but a complete lack of courtesy which i think it is to ignore someone does make you a dick.

      Delete
    2. If making remarks like "those assholes from IDW" isn't being a dick, then it sure as hell isn't showing the kind of courtesy (or any vestige of professionalism) that you think you received little of, either.

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    3. running a blog doesn't make me a "professional" in any sense of the word i'm just a random dude who has a blog just like someone running a farcebook page. i call IDW assholes because that's how i feel about them right now due to the massive disappointment they've been to me and many other ROM and Micronauts fans who grew up in the 80s. i'm also not a politician, diplomat or very PC so i'm free to be candid with my feelings about things i feel passionate about. but if you find me vulgar or otherwise inappropriate well then it just is what it is my style obviously doesn't suite you. fortunately for me, as you can see by all the traffic i get here i have a lot of alike minded folks who find my point of view and how i express it refreshing. and most importantly we're all having a lot of fun.

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    4. All I'm saying is that the title of this blog gives a very false impression when its owner decides to call people assholes for not doing what he wants them to do. That's being a dick. You can be as candid as you want, just don't be a liar, alright?

      Delete
    5. Well that's certainly your perception so let's just agree to disagree and I'll leave you to roam where ever you want to on the Internet that makes you happy and I'll keep running my blog as I see fit,

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    6. If you read his comments you know as much as I do, I'm just glad he's gone.

      Delete
  10. I was just making a joke. -Because he said you're a dick if you call someone an asshole. And I could not help myself.

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    1. Oh, and thanks for the link, dude! -Some of these chuckleheads came and checked it out. That's cool.

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