Sunday, July 29, 2012

Epic battle between Doctor Strange & Dire Wraith witches. All that and more!

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I was gonna post this Aug. 1st but screw it I feel like posting this today. This is digital art composed of found images starting with this amazing rendering of Dr. Strange by Gabriele Dell'Otto. I just thought it would be cool to have him go up against some Dire Wraiths since he was one of ROM's best allies among Earth's heroes during the Rom spaceknight series. The Dire Wraith images were picked up from Annihilators #3 (Alex Garner) and Marvel Age magazine #23 (Bill Sienkiewicz).

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 Here we have ROM along with some of the most popular Marvel characters ever. Unfortunately, of those heroes featured only Wolverine had ever had an encounter with Rom. This one was done by Gary Martin "a Rom curator" who as you can see went balls out on digitally coloring it. Nice job Gary, I happen to know a little bit about digital coloring myself : )

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  And here we have yet another from Gary. No color on this one as you can see but the scene it sets up is among one of the most imaginative I've ever seen when it comes to ROM fan art.

 Last but not least we've got one from artist Jay Potts. This one was one of those random finds on the internet. As you can see Jay took some creative liberties with ROM's armor but it looks pretty cool as an alternative concept. Plus, from a figure drawing stand point this piece is solid I love the pose he is in.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Marvel 80s house ads & promos with ROM appearances part 3 of 3

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As irony would have it I scanned this out of my copy of  ROM #26 which happens to be the very cover in this bullpen bulletin page promotional. I like that it was staged in the forefront there.

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Finding this ad is how I found out about ROM's appearance in the Incredible HULK #296 back then. Needless to say I scrambled to find a copy as soon as possible. Fortunately I came across one while still on the stands at some dime store of  Seven11 I don't really remember which. I just remembered I was pretty thrilled when I did it was a great find for my collection at the time.

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If I missed any other house ads out there I should have included in this posting there I hope you'll let me know. And just so you know I purposely didn't include the classic full and half page ROM Spaceknight house ads since pretty much every body knows about those already. Same goes for the full page ad for the electronic doll which was actually a Parker Brothers advertisement. I wonder if Parker Brothers had to pay for that ad space like a regular advertiser or if they had some sort of special arrangement given the licensing agreement with Marvel at the time.

August 1st I'm going to unveil my latest piece of ROM related fan art that features an epic battle between Doctor Strange and Dire Wraith witches. Along with that I'll also be featuring some more fan art sent to me that I'm sure most if not all of you have never seen before!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Marvel 80s house ads & promos with ROM appearances part 2 of 3

Sometimes I like to think that perhaps on another Earth in a parallel universe Steve Dikto had never taken over as the pencilar on Rom.  Maybe Sal Buscema was the pencilar for the entire 75 issue run. Or perhaps another pencilar had taken over like Mike Zeck, Michael Golden or John Byrne. Oh well at least there's always photoshop to help with a pleasant fantasy even though it flys in the face of reality.

Part 3 will have some actual house ads & promos again I promise.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Marvel 80s house ads & promos with ROM appearances part 1 of 3

By legendary artist Sal Buscema 1979

Special thanks to Gary Martin "a Rom curator" for providing me with these forgotten house ads and for the great memories they evoked. If Steve Dikto's run on the series caused you as much anguish during your child hood as it did mine then you're gonna wanna see what I have coming up tomorrow. BE HERE!

Monday, July 23, 2012

More Rom appearances! More awesome fan art!

I pushed back the posting I had scheduled next in favor of the cool stuff you see before you that fell into my lap yesterday.

I just want to thank Ptor from the Sanctum Sanctorum for providing me with this clip art from Marvel Age magazine Annual #1. But that's not all . . .

This clip art from the Incredible Hulk 374 also came from Ptor. There's more then meets the eye here. Those are actually skrulls in the process of torturing Rick Jones by impersonating some of the Marvel heroes Rick has been a side kick to over the years. And  . . .

By J.K. Woodward
 on top of all that Ptor also directed me to this amazing pen n' ink illustration featuring two of some of Bill Mantlo's greatest creations. Although both Rom and The Micronauts inhabited the Marvel Universe it was impossible for them to inhabit the same comic book issue because of the respective property licensing Marvel had with both Parker Brothers and Mego. Too bad, it would have been epic but at least we have this awesome fictitious cover which is pretty epic on it's own.

Ready for another 80s time tunnel trip with ROM? Be back here in a few days for those house ads & promos I bet you forgot about.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Marvel Age #16 & #34 some insight on licenced properties and a ROM calendar appearance!

Well today this issue which I used to have a as a kid back in the day turned up at my door step from ebay. I was able to get it pretty cheap and I wanted to have a second look at the Sal Buscema article. It largely consists of his career and his work on The HULK over the years. Oddly enough it didn't even mention Bill Mantlo at any point which kinda sucks given how much they worked together. It doesn't have anything specific on ROM unfortunately except for one thing this splash page from ROM #55. Look at the copy right information down the left hand side.

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 As you can see Parker Brothers reserves the rights. After noticing this I took a look at the ROM related clip art in Marvel Age #23 as well and it's the same deal over there.
So it seems that the Parker Brothers licensing had Marvel on a really short leash when it came to the rights to Rom's name and likeness from the very beginning. Aside from articles Marvel Age magazine was also a directory to titles that had shipped and were due to be on retail shelves. Here's the Rom entry for the June shipping date and July arrival time.

"See first two comments in this blog posting"

You'll find this interesting. This issue also included an article about a toy based mini-series called The Starriors. The clip art that was a associated with the article also had the corresponding copy right disclaimer. But in this case it was Marvel that owned the rights so I was like "what the fuck!?". After doing a quick Wiki search I discovered that The Starriors comic and toy line was some sort of joint venture with Marvel and the manufacturer Tomy. So that makes some sense but it's not like it really matters now since both the comic and toy line did not prove to be a commercial success.
As I browsed through the rest of the issue I noticed there was some clip art by a couple of other titles that were also published by Marvel with the rights still belonging to other parties. They included Dreadstar which was still owned by Jim Starlin and Dr. Who which was owned by BBC.

I just wanna say thank you to Gary Martin "a ROM curator" for sending me the back cover calendar of Marvel Age 34. This is so awesome! I've been wondering for years now if there was ever a Rom appearance in a Marvel Age calendar and now I know. I'm just adding this to the end of the posting before I publish it since I wrote the posting earlier today already (as in before midnight). Notice how the Parker Brothers rights disclaimer is still there?

 Next posting is another 80s extravaganza with Marvel house ads that I bet you forgot about it.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Just like I said, Marvel still loves ROM and they know about the fans but . . .

 Apparently early this year this wasn't the only blog out there that was discussing the matter of the the ROM name and likeness licensing issue which was prompted by the return of  Hybrid in Avengers Academy back in March. The slamonstrobot blog authored by Snell posted on the topic with more feed back from Marvel. What you see here is from the Christos Gage in the Avengers Academy letter column.
For those of you who have been following this blog you pretty much know all of this. So really, here this information to the left is just more not so positive reinforcement on the ugly reality of the situation. And there's more:

It's not that I disbelieve Gage in this letter column but Marvel has found a way in the past to fudge that legality as shown in Universe X #3 (2000)

 Yeah I know that blows. So I endeavor to keep digging into the past to bring ROM fans today something to smile about. Although sometimes even the stuff from the past doesn't make me entirely happy. Here's a good example. I forgot I used to have this issue of Secret Wars II until I saw an entry for it in Lee's Rom Spaceknight Revisited data base site. I think the reason why I didn't keep the series or this issue was for two reasons. One is that the Secret Wars II was massively inferior to the original. As to this issue of course it was cool that they had a ROM cameo/reference to ROM#72 but it pissed me off that Al Milgrom who did some of the original ROM covers back in the day drew ROM in that horrible Steve Dikto style. God! I especially hated the way Dikto drew ROM's eyes.

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Look what else I found at RSR. This is something I didn't know about before. Here's a Rom head shot from Web of Spiderman #7 during a dream sequence Peter Parker is having.

You can see the full page here:
 Just found Avengers 268 in a $1 bin recently. I remember when this issue first came out I happened to see it on the shelf at some dime store in San Francisco back in the day. After I thumbed through it I kinda waffled for a bit but ended up not buying it. I guess at the time this loose ROM tie-in didn't seem like that big of a deal to me since this issue came out in June of 1986 which was just a few months after the last ROM issue (#75 Feb. 1986) It featured a few pages of all these suicidal Dire Wraiths attacking some of the Avengers who had been kidnapped and temporarily stranded in Limbo by the timelord Kang. Now of course, finding something like this now is a bigger deal then it was over 25 years ago. I'm a sentimental kinda guy and for just a half a buck it was money well spent.

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As you may have figured The Avengers didn't kill all the Limbo dwelling Dire Wraiths in this issue. Many others were still there and they would eventually find themselves in conflict and ultimately subjugated by another timelord in Limbo by the name of  Immortus as told in the pages of the Darkstar Winter Guard mini-series (2010).

Friday, July 13, 2012

ROM vs. Robocop: "I'll buy that for a dollar!"

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Well, with all this newly discovered fan art I just couldn't resist making up some of my own again. Especially with the new Robocop movie hype that's been starting to get the sci-fi nerds out there into a fan boy frenzy. Now this isn't the most polished piece of ROM related art I've ever done but it is the first to have dialogue that I wrote which I think is relevant to the concept here.
There's been some rumors floating around for years now about Robocop having been in part inspired by ROM and Judge Dredd (can't wait to see that reboot too please don't suck!). There could be some truth to that. I suspect it wasn't a coincidence that several copies of ROM Spaceknight turned up in a couple of scenes in the first Robocop film. Special thanks to Lee Sietz who I appropriated these images from. More on that ROM/Robo connection here:

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 I remember when I first saw Robocop in theaters I definitely noticed the ROM copies in the liquor store hold up scene which I thought was Hell of cool even back then since I was loving the movie and had already been a long time ROM fan. For the longest time though I had thought the robber had picked up a ROM issue and through it on the counter before he pulled out his gun. Sadly though I when I finally got a hold of a VHS tape of Robocop I realized it was an issue of  Iron Man. Which is kinda cool given that in both Robocop and in the first Iron Man film a bad guy gets pulled through a wall. The producers of the new Robocop film have a real challenge on their hands seeing as unlike the Stallone Judge Dredd the first Robocop movie was awesome. My fellow fan boys, let us pray together.

Here's a podcast from May that deals with the topic of licensed comics. These guys seem to be having more discussion that consists of them goofing on each other about their different taste in titles then then anything else. But it's kinda amusing and toward the end one of them mentions ROM a couple of times when it comes to listing their favorite licensed comic book titles.

Coming up next week, if you're feeling a little nostalgic for some ROM related 80's stuff I might have found something in yet another discount back issue bin that might make you feel a bit better.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

More colorized fan art! Plus, look what Marvel is up to in October

Left click to enlarge. DO IT NOW!
 A fellow on Deviant Art who goes by the handle of Deaddog2007 just in the last week or so took this Loston Wallace line art illustration of ROM and did some really cool stuff to it in photoshop. The first obvious thing is that he gave Wallace's rendering some color and added a back ground screen of some clip art from issue 47 (first appearance of female Dire Wraiths) along with the ROM logo. This came together really nicely there's some good design work going on here. Magnify this it will fly off your monitor no 3-D glasses required!

• The planet Galador rebuilds its elite defense force, recruiting a new generation of Spaceknights!
• Can Balin and Tristan, sons of legendary Spaceknight Starshine, live up to the legend of their family name?
• Collecting SPACEKNIGHTS (2000) #1-2.
48 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

I'd like to give a thanks to Dan from and Ptor from for bringing this to my attention. Both of these gentlemen suggested this reprinting of the 2001 Spaceknights five issue mini-series may be a prelude of more ROM related things to come from Marvel. To be honest I find it hard to have any enthusiasm for this. This mini-series was a commercial failure back then (and with good reason) and since then Marvel has pretty much erased this continuity with the Annihilators story line. And in a way when I see stuff like this it makes me feel more frustrated over this whole ongoing licensing legal red tape bullshit . . . 

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By my estimation Marvel lost the licensing rights to ROM pretty much quite literally at the turn of the century. All the ROM related continuity narratives prior to 2000 were done pretty well. Most notably I'm referring to ROM & Brandy's appearance at Rick Jone's wedding, the continued legacy of the Torpedo armor in New Warriors and the short lived return of Hybrid in X-Man. As for the Dire Wraiths Marvel has managed to make good use out of them for pretty much the last 25 years now and we've been seeing a lot of them especially in the last year or so. 
But when it comes to all the ROM related stuff outside of the Dire Wraiths since the character license was lost, Marvel has largely only sullied the legacy of the greatest of the spaceknights. The best examples is the before mentioned Starlin & Bastista mini-series and more recently The Annihilators and Hybrid's return in Avengers Academy. All of which by the way I have disregarded through the wonder known as krypto-revisionism (see 2/3/12 post). But all these failures still frustrate me because it's a constant reminder that there can be no doubt were it not for this legal issue ROM would still be a regular fixture in many of Marvel's cosmic story lines today.
Marvel's continued attempts to revive the ROM franchise with out ROM himself just goes to show how there are certainly those at Marvel right now who still think very highly of the work that Bill Mantlo & Sal Buscema did. It also goes to show that they have at least some awareness of the enduring fan base out there too.
But in spite of all this Marvel still seems to think obtaining the rights somehow is still more trouble then it's worth. Marvel is a business so that's probably more a business decision then anything else. But please Marvel, moving forward here no more Manga inspired spaceknight armor or spaceknights that are easier to knock over then shopping mall security guards who are sleeping on the job.  

Coming up next, ROM vs. ROBOCOP

Saturday, July 7, 2012

ROM Spaceknight by Marat Mychaels colorized

Ok so the Graphics Whiz guy (see comment section in previous posting) has been bugging me for a while to add some color to the art work I've been featuring on this blog for a while now. Unfortunately I don't have near enough time or patience to color all the black n' white ROM fan art work I come across as you might imagine. But once in a while I'll just start playing with something in photoshop while eating or in the middle of a boring phone call and before you know it I manage to crank out something pretty quickly that looks alright.
This one by Marat Mychaels was an especially ideal piece to color because it features very minimal shading and is mostly made up of finely defined line work. Plus the open white space in the background and on Rom's armor was also very ideal for coloring in photoshop. So Grpahics Whiz Guy, this better get you off my back for a while at least  : )

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Figure drawing at it's best with more kick ass ROM fan art

Even after having been exposed to amazing art work for any number of years most comic book fans still have no idea how much skill and ability it takes to be good at figure drawing. To actually imagine a character in your head in some kind of dynamic pose and be able to put that image in your head onto paper or canvas is nothing short of a gift.
There's so many things you have to get right such as the perspective, angle and especially the proportions. Is the head the right size for the body it's attached to? Are the legs to long or are the arms to short? To me, getting the proportions right is usually what sets apart fan art that looks like it was done by a professional and that which is more amateurish looking.

The following figure studies of  ROM are excellent examples of some artists who possess that kind of skill. Unfortunately I don't who did any of these three illustrations which is really sad cause these guys deserve to be accredited accordingly. I consider my self to be a fairly descent artist by any reasonable estimation but I'm obviously not at the level these guys are on.

Special thanks to Gary Martin Jr. "a ROM curator" for providing me with this amazing art work for me to share with you all.

July 4th Update: Some new info. was just brought to my attention the top illustration is by Marat Mychaels, bottom right Darryl Banks and the bottom left is Bob Layton.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

More newly discovered awesome ROM fan art by Shawn Van Briesen

Shawn Van Briesen 2011
 This was done as a request while Shawn was guesting at a con last year. Shawn was delighted to do this since it was the first time ever he had been asked to do a sketch Rom. Like the Sal Buscema sketch in the previous posting this is another largely undiscovered master piece so please share this posting with other Rom fans you know of out there.
Make sure to magnify this awesome rendering. Forget about what all the women you've dated have reassured you of. The truth is bigger is better! I gotta admit all these postings lately with all this newly discovered ROM related art has been a lot of work so I'm happy to say next week's posting is gonna be a "walk in the park" in comparison, see you all soon.