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.


  1. Nice Photoshop job. And interesting that the graphic design on the box was one of the things Bing McCoy complained about in my interview with him (

  2. oh man Lee that was a great heads up because i had never read that RSR (Rom Spaceknight Revisited) interview before. for all who may be concerned here's the money shot (as it pertains to this posting)from that interview with the creator of the ROM doll:

    RSR: What do you feel could have been done to make the Rom action figure more successful?

    McCoy: Better marketing. And the box was a terrible graphic design. It just didn't look very sexy.

  3. That was a very informative interview on Rom's creation as an action figure thank you Lee wow! It's such a shame that, other that what I found by Google as pictures or that sculptured David posted by Helder M. Have ever seen any other action figures.
    I Loved the comic and probably would have killed to get a McFarland like style action figure with the big time true detail showing Rom as he should look!

  4. glad you read that i hope others take the time to check it out. personally i wish Ken Kelly had done a rendering of ROM some where along his career i'd probably give one of my kidneys for that.

  5. You know why it sells it? Because it looks like those pulp sci fi comics that's why. The kid wants the toy, the parent looks at the picture and gets nostalgic. Bam. Instant sale.

    1. You know Dave, I think I just nailed why I like your artwork. It kind of reminds me of those old sci fi pulp magazines. Not in the coloring, but in the way you position your figures.

    2. thanks, i'd like to take credit for that but it was purely unconscious . .i mean subconscious on my part.

    3. Heehee, does that mean you sleep draw?

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