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.

Left click to enlarge
 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.


  1. At your service.

    The #59 solicitation is interesting because it has Sal Buscema as penciler. The next issue of Marvel Age would have a solicit for #60 that read: "We're under strict orders not to say a thing about this issue -- except that it's likely to be drawn by an artist whose contributions to Marvel are paralleled by practically none. Let's just say this: if you don't buy extra copies of this issue, you'll never forgive youself(sp)! 60cents."

    Then Marvel Age #18 resolicited #59 & #60 with Ditko revealed as the mystery artist.

    Sometimes ROM got serious props back in the day!

    Or, Marvel just hypes everything. Hmm.

    1. good catch! i didn't even notice that about the #59 solicitation. issue 58 was the last one to be done by Sal Buscema after Dikto took over the art started going down hill and it got even worse just as the Wraith War was coming to a head. painful childhood memories!

  2. David,

    As you now know, creator and property rights can be a confusing muddle - sometimes with added twists tossed in.

    Here's one you don't mention in today's article, but fits:

    CRYSTAR was an action figure line that also had a Marvel comic series.
    But the weird thing is, unlike many at the time, Crystar was a MARVEL property.

    The toy was released FIRST, and then the comic (which caused people to think that Marvel licensed it) but it was really a Marvel creation intentionally made with the thought of licensing it out to a toy company (in this came Remco)

    Sadly, I took my Crystar figure out of the package so I don't know if the card had a Marvel copyright on it. I would have to assume it did.
    (One day, I'll get a figure on card, but until then my loose figure is cool enough).

    There have been other similar instances over the years.

    Dreadstar and the like were comics that Marvel published uner their EPIC line, which is similar to MArvel's current ICON line. EPIC licensed the properties FROM the creators, who, unlike their work-for-hire creations, remained their own.

    This is why Jim Starlin was able to publish Dreadstar at many different publishers over the years.

    One BIG mess deals with the MALIBU characters. When Marvel bought the Malibu studios (pretty much just because Malibu was at the forefront to digital coloring methods at the time and Marvel needed that edge) they found that the creator's retained SOME of the rights to their characters and to publish ANY of them would be a morass of legal red tape. So Marvel owns PARTIAL rights but will never publish them. The creators would like to get their works returned to them, but are unable to get that to happen.
    Thus, an entire "Universe" of characters is (the ULTRAVERSE) now lost to us all.

    The fact that Marvel even MENTIONS the events that occurred during the ROM years is a miracle.


    Oh, I happen to have EVERY issue of MARVEL AGE and have been wanting to go thru them to find cool bits of ROM goodness for you. That may be my next rainy-day project (unless my WIFE has other jobs planned for me).

    1. actually i did a little research on that in regards to Crystar a while back and found out already what you're talking about but thanks any ways. i used to have the Crystar and Moltar figures. the Crystar figure in particular was always one of my favorite figures back in the day. check your email.

    2. Ah... I should have known you would have delved deep into those waters.
      I seem to remember you expressing an interest in Crystar.


      Anyway, those scans you asked for are on their way.
      Check YOUR email.


  3. Dav... er, Shlomo gave me a head's up about his Marvel Age post. I told him, much like ~P~ above, I've got the first 128 issues of Marvel Age, but haven't ever gone back through them to look for Rom tidbits. Thankfully, Rom fans have let me know about them over the years, so I've just had to confirm them and add them to the Checklist on RSR.

    1. well then wait until tomorrow cause i'll be posting some more stuff you probably already have but forgot about. and then there's gonna be something i'm pretty sure you don't have or haven't seen yet.

    2. OK, so I went thru the first 35 issues of MARVEL AGE looking for ROM goodies,(what David calls "clip") art and articles.
      (ROM was canceled as of Marvel Age 34's solicitations, so not much reason to go further, right?)

      HERE is the list:

      MARVEL AGE issues with ROM content*

      * BTW, I mean significant content and NOT just the issue solicitations - which would have been in every issue until # 34

      #1 - b/w cover art to ROM # 44

      #4 - new Wraith witches design sketches by Walt Simonson

      #7 - New Starshine armor design sketches, ROM annual 2 cover art, ROM in Marvel Bullpen map diagram

      #9 - infamous "ROM, not RON!" pin up

      #16- a panel from an issue

      #19 - a panel from issue # 60

      #23 - BIG ROM ISSUE! WRAITH WITCH painted cover, ROM in corner box, ROM live appearance costume full page inside-cover photo, ROM article, ROM in HEMBECK comic.

      #25 - a panel from issue #68

      #27 - ROM on cover in big group image.

      #30 - ROM Annual 4 listed in "report card" poll on inside front cover. Just a list of the summer annuals with grading choices for fans to check off and send in.

      # 34 - ROM on calendar date on back cover.

      ROM ANNUAL # 1 - ROM's head in big grouping of heroes hovering around BEYONDER (preview for Secret Wars II)

      Aaaaannnd that's it.

      I doubt he's in anything past issue 36 (giving the three month window from solicitation to drop date), so I'll check past there leisurely in a day or so.

      I hope this helps.

  4. I still think Ditko should be banished to Limbo for his of Rom.

  5. I loved the Starriors. There was a cool electronic T-Rex robot who had a remote control for shooting discs out of his mouth. I had to have it, of course. The comic wasn't bad, either.