Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bill Mantlo and his toy inspired Marvel titles, ROM Spaceknight & The Micronauts

I wonder why Bill Mantlo never had a cross over between these two titles. Both of which were inspired by toys that stirred Mantlo's fertile imagination. Each title has crossed over with numerous mainstream Marvel characters and teams through out the 80's. An early issue of The Micronauts even had the Man-Thing make an appearance as a nemesis. That always struck me as an odd cross over. I just think some sort of adventure that had brought ROM and The Micronauts together would have been cool at some point. Written by Bill Mantlo with art by none other then Mike Golden. What a classic that would have been! Not to take anything away from Sal Buscema cause you all know how much I love Sal's work. But having ROM featured in an issue that Mike Golden penciled would have been a nice change up. Golden was the regular cover and interior artist for Micronauts 1 - 12 and continued as the cover artist for the next dozen issues or so. He was also the cover artist for 9 of the first 19 issues of ROM. The ironic thing is that I loved The Micronauts toy line and thought the comic book wasn't bad for the most part. Where as I was/am a huge fan of ROM the comic book (obviously!) but outside of the electronics not really all that into the doll. Where as the Micronauts were shiny, articulate, detailed and even had interchangeable parts where as the ROM doll had none of these features. But I can certainly understand how in each case a guy like Mantlo would have looked at these toys and started to see personalities, a background story and adventure. I've been wanting to blog about this for a long time now but never felt like I had the ideal visuals to go with it until I came up with a sketch a few days ago which I digitally colored. Although not inspired by a toy line, Bill Mantlo was also the creator of the Marvel superhero duo Cloak & Dagger.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

ROM spotted in Portland Oregon! Auction update.

Hey check out what I just found! Somebody actually made a home made ROM costume. Even though it's not exactly a state of the art fabrication I think part of it's charm is that you can easily tell even in this photos that it's made out of card board and tin foil. As I'm sure you've all guessed by now this appearance by "ROM" at Floating World Comics is part of a promotional move on behalf of the Bill Mantlo fundraiser art auction. Speaking of which the biding results art interesting thus far to say the least. Based on comments left on my last posting and on emails I received there seems to be a general concensus that most of the art is pretty bizarre. Yet, so far it's many of these odd pieces that seem to be getting most of the bids. How refreshing to find that the art scene of an 80's comic book character from a series that has been over for more then 25 years has it's own avant-garde click. I certainly hope hope the sarcasm in that last sentence wasn't lost on all of you. I've never followed an Ebay auction before so I guess we'll see how things develop over the next couple days. Maybe there will be a surprise or two yet?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My personal favorite five illustrations from the Bill Mantlo art auction

I was just taking a look at the latest auction pieces posted to the online gallery Spacenite 2 . Seeing that I've got a blog that's titled "Blog for ROM fans who aren't dicks" it's questionable judgment on my part to have this particular posting but here goes anyways. To be honest, I'm not too crazy about most of the items in that gallery. A lot of it is weird abstract stuff that really is lost on me. Then there's others that have some good aspects to them but ultimately overall went into a direction artistically that wasn't working for me. Aside from the five that you see here which I thought were great, there are probably about 15 or so others in the gallery that I would say are fairly good. If you go to the gallery you can see who the artists are and the comments I left for them. Just a head's up there was a time where I used to go by the screen name of "The Dude" ( yes as in The Big Labowski) with a little ROM icon to go with it. I sure hope this posting doesn't make me a ROM fan who's being a dick. But either way, rather they are the illustrations I like or dislike I hope a lot of that stuff sells for lots o money and in return gives the Mantlo family some relief from those shitty medical bills.

The Spacenite 2 blog that acts as a gallery of all the auction pieces has a link under each one that will take you to the ebay page if your curious to know how the biding is going. The auction runs till December 28th.

Monday, December 20, 2010

New ROM zero issue cover concept

I'm sure most of you recognize this art work as being the sketch that ~P~ from the Sanctum Sanctorum blog did for the Bill Mantlo fund raiser auction which I took the liberty of coloring. I figured since I colored it i might as well see what it would look like as an actual cover. Unfortunately having all the elements that make up a typical retail Marvel comic book cover of the 80's does hide some of the coolness of ~P~'s sketch but I think there is still enough of it revealed to make for a pretty damn cool ROM cover. I think one of the things that make this sketch work so well as a cover concept is the balance to the drawing. Rom is clearly the center piece with all the other subjects in the picture being very nicely distributed around him. Nothing feels visually too "heavy" or lopsided anywhere, it just works.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Marvel micro heroes featuring ROM

Well I came across something else that was pretty cool today I hadn't seen before. This guy has a website that features all these Marvel & DC characters as these little bobble head doll looking caricatures. That's really nice how among all these main stream Marvel characters that he also did one of ROM. Speaking of bobble heads wouldn't that be also cool if they ever made one of ROM? Heads up to all you out there who also follow my Suicide Squad blog I'll be having a posting up in the near future on there too of this guy's work. To see more micro heroes go to: If you go to this site and happen to notice that the ROM figure on it looks a bit different from the one in my posting it's not because your eyes are playing tricks on you. As I said before I like this guy's work but I felt like a couple of things on ROM here could have used a bit of fine tuning

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bill Mantlo Auction sketch by ~P~ of the Sanctum Sanctorum now in color

So I just want to start off by saying that this is a sketch that was done by ~P~ from the Sanctum Sanctorum for this year's Bill Mantlo art auction that I just merely colored in photoshop. Why? Because like many of you I wanted to see what it would look like in color and I'm just not the most patient person in the world as many who know me will tell you. ~P~ has a very demanding job in an industry that I'm all too familiar with, he and his wife run and animal shelter, he's writing a script for Marvel Studios for a feature film starring Dr. Strange, ROM and The Man-Thing all together plus he'll be running for office in 2012. With all this I just don't think he'll get around to coloring his sketch in an acceptable amount of time for me. Of all the things going on in this sketch the hardest character to color was ROM himself. As the center piece of a fairly busy drawing you want to make sure ROM isn't overwhelmed by the other elements around him which are actually more colorful then he is. Silver is not really a color after all. We take it for granted but it's quite clever how the colorists over the years have used bold black line work and heavy shading along with some strategically place touches of blue tones to create that silver looking spaceknight armor that is ROM. So he's not really silver at all, he just appears to be. Admittedly I did take one artistic liberty aside from the color. I removed the boobs on the female Dire -Wraiths. As a big big fan of human female mammary glands the thought of the Wraith women having anything along those lines was just too disturbing for me. ~P~, I hope this doesn't piss you off that I did this and posted it you know of course your welcomed to a file of the colored sketch. And Dan, I know your looking at this I believe you owe my something along the lines of some ROM related art? To see the uncolored sketch go to