Monday, April 23, 2012

The Day the Earth Stood Still (Rom in the pages of ToyFare magazine)

More cool stuff from Frank this time from some back issues of  ToyFare magazine issue 15 which came out in November 1998. Now as far as the whole The Day the Earth Stood Still reference goes it should be fairly self evident when looking at the cover of ROM#1 and this iconic movie still. But if you read the portion of the article below you'll also understand. It seems that the ROM comic book drew inspiration from a fair amount of 50s sci-fi classics such as this and as mentioned in a previous posting Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Aside from that there's some interesting tid bits in the portion of the article about the origins of the comic book that not all fans may know as of yet.

Now before you start to freak out about where the beginning of the article is trust me that portion of it had nothing you don't know already. Ya know the usual rhetorical information about the doll and how it didn't do that well and that the comic was so much more popular and  . . tongue spike me in the head already please. And speaking of which that brings me to this . . .

 I'll also have you all know that ToyFare #15 wasn't the only issue to ever have featured an article about ROM. Issue #142 back in June of 2009 also had an article. Unfortunately that one really didn't have anything new in terms of art or information to us but I'll still post a preview version of it on May 1st so you can get an idea of what it entailed, see you all soon. 

April 26 update: Some new ROM fan art has just turned up in the last 24 hours hours and I'd advise you all to go check it out because I'm sure you've never seen this one before.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The packaging art that the ROM electronic toy should have had

Recently I was directed to Lee Seitz's blog where he had recently posted some ROM fan art he dug up recently:
Now as a stand alone piece there were some things about it I liked and a few things about it I wasn't too crazy about. However, it never the less would have made for the perfect packaging art for the electronic doll. Aside from the neutralizer with a power cord accessory don't ask me why I feel like this illustration works well as packaging art for the Parker Brothers ROM doll because I really can't put my finger on it but it just looks right to me. I think it helps to give the toy a bit of epic grandeur I think that Parker Brothers was going for based on their commercials. Which in effect could have made at least some impact on it's popularity (for the better) at the time.

Let me tell ya folks cool packaging art can make a huge difference in a toys marketability. The Antron figure from the Micronauts toy line is a great example of that. The Ken Kelly illustration on the packaging totally sells this somewhat silly looking figure don't you agree? It certainly did for me when I was a kid but that's not to say that I didn't love the Micronauts on their own merit as a toys. You just couldn't beat that Mego articulation and all those shiny interchangeable parts! But I tell ya as a kid that Ken Kelly fantasy art really sent my imagination into over drive.

Left click to enlarge
A few years later or so during the early 80's we would see Kelly's brilliant fantasy illustrations as the packaging art for what would become one of the iconic toy lines of that decade which still endures till this day. Considering how the Micronauts toy line and ROM doll inspired Bill Mantlo's imagination one can not help but wonder if he had taken on a Masters of the Universe writing project what that could have blossomed into. Oh the possibilities.

Friday, April 13, 2012

ROM and his international appeal

Well folks, Frank from West Virginia does it again! He recently sent me a treasure trove of ROM clip art from foreign sources. As you all know ROM was republished in various formats in several other countries like The U.K., France, Brazil, Spain and even Turkey. In The U.K., ROM appeared in a Marvel compilation magazine that featured a hand full of characters/titles known as Forces in Combat. The covers usually were a collage of Marvel characters but the example here I'm featuring happens to be an exception. That's cool how this Michael Golden cover art seems to pop up all the time isn't it? But to my surprise ROM did have his own book in the U.K. at least as a one shot. A summer special to be more precise, which is kinda funny since the U.K. only sorta gets a summer every year. But I digress, let's move on here . . .

From looking at the table of contents page (magnify) and at the clip art below it's pretty obvious what's on page 4 and 24. But as for page 30 that happens to be the back story from ROM #25 in which ROM encounters a Dire Wraith commander who genuinely embraces humanity and is subsequently spared a one way ticket to Limbo. Again ROM demonstrates how despite being a bad ass interstellar warrior for over 200 years his moral compass is still intact as he exercises judgement and wisdom the likes we wouldn't see until Optimus Prime hit the comic book scene. Of course the only other Wraith we've known to ever become "human" was Jacob Marks, who was Hybrid's father. Unfortunately that story however did not have a happy ending.

In France, Strange magazine did something similar with ROM issues. As you can see the covers varied from layouts that were meant to mimic the originals to ones that had some minor changes and those that were based on the interior art. These covers kinda remind me of the Spanish ROM reprints Lopes Espi covers but I think I liked the Espi versions better.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Comics Feature #17 Bill Mantlo interview continued from March 18 posting

It turns out the portion of a Bill Mantlo interview I found last month on the net was just a small part of an article from Comics Feature #17. The whole article spans what seems to be countless pages based on the files that were sent to me by a mutual ROM fan who had bought the issue through ebay right after I bought issue #9 (Rom, a Year in Review March 24 posting) on ebay as well. So I went ahead and isolated the pages from issue 17 that specifically dealt with ROM in order to post them here in segments. It's a pretty interesting read how everything from old sci-fi movies to the politics at the time influenced the writing during the titles more formative years. You should be able to magnify all the clip art in this posting (including the cover) to make it easier to read.

Reading all this makes me relive those early days when I was reading ROM every month and roaming the earth for missing back issues. I think ROM fans all over the world should exactly at the same time do what William Shatner is doing here. I hope Marvel feels the wrath of ROM fans some day.

On a little side note here both Comics Feature #17 and Star Trek 2 The Wrath of Kahn came out in 1982.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Finally, ROM spaceknight & The Avengers join forces on more then just cover art from the 80s

Thanks to a tip left in the comment section of the prior posting to this one I found this cool fan art by a professional animator. If this were only true huh? Especially since Marvel had ROM on a couple of Avengers covers with out having had him in the stories back in the day. That was really annoying not to at least give ROM a cameo in those issues. I never picked up West Coast Avengers #1 (1984) when I realized he wasn't inside it since that issue was on the stands after I was an established collector of all things ROM. But I had no way of knowing when I found Avengers #221 in a back issue bin I just wish I had had the balls at the time to just take it out of the plastic it was in and flip through it real quick. Notice how Hawkeye is a reoccurring character?

Thomas Perkins has a number of other fictitious animation cell looking art w that features more some what obscure Marvel characters such as Omega and 3-D Man from the 1980s along side more contemporary mainstream characters of today:

Speaking of the Avengers these days check out this customized Amazing Spiderman van I came across in Oakland CA a couple of days ago. I shot a quick video of it up close. Check it out this photo only shows you a small portion of what this thing has going on:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

New Warriors #60 offering a moment in cool nostalgia for ROM fans

When I learned last year about the Dire Wraith and Torpedo armor story line in the first New Warriors series I went on the hunt for several back issues. I had found all but one that I just couldn't get my hands on no matter how many back issue bins I went through at the various comic shops in the San Francisco Bay Area. So finally I had to break down and have my local comic shop special order #60 (1995 Vol.1) for me.
I'm sure most of you remember how ROM's energy analyzer was used to activate The Torpedo's visor optics which in turn had already been modified to detect dire wraiths at the lab where Brandy Clark worked at.
So I think it was really cool how they carried that little detail into this New Warriors issue. Ya know it was just one of those little things that makes a ROM fan like me take a little trip down memory lane which means a lot these days.

And the ROM nostalgia in this issue just keeps on coming!

Ofcourse this would be the prologue to the hunt for the Torpedo armor by the dire wraith queen Volx. All of which would be part of the conclusion of the New Warriors series (#73,74,75). Volx would eventually obtain the armor for which we would learn about the full range of it's powers it possessed that both Brock Jones and Mickey were never aware of. I hope you all enjoyed this clip art I don't believe you'll find it anywhere else on the internet. A full synopsis of the issue can be read here:
Also, check out this awesome Turbo splash page from this issue featured on It's a Dan's World:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

ROM Spaceknight & The Suicide Squad common cover art and more

Some recent blog postings from the Sanctum Sanctorum and the I Love Comic Book Covers blog inspired me to see if I could find common cover art concepts between my collections of my favorite titles ever from both Marvel and DC. And I do believe I've found a few winners here.

And I thought while I was at it I'd add this set to this posting too. Nova was only in one issue of ROM but it became a classic collector's item and of course I need not explain the significance of The Torpedo in the ROM mythology.

I thought this would be a good time to post some fan art I put together in December last year for the Bill Mantlo tribute video.