Well folks, even though 2012 didn't hail the return of Rom to the Marvel Universe it's still been a pretty fun year for this blog. There's certainly been no shortage of cool stuff to post about thanks to the continued Rom spaceknight fandom still alive and screaming for more then 25 years after the 75 issue ( plus 4 annuals) series ended. A big thanks to all the contributors (especially Gary Martin Jr. & Lee Seitz) out there who helped me keep things going here with new and hard to find material. What you're looking at here is just some quick digital art I whipped up with some pre-existing art work that fit pretty nicely together in order to honor the original series along with Bill Mantlo & Sal Buscema. Hopefully I'll see you all in 2013.
Well I gotta hand it to Gary Martin Jr. who once again has lived up to his official title as a Rom curator cause this one's a beauty! This one comes from Incredible HULK#344 (1988) written by Peter David. There's been stuff for years on the internet drawing analogies between ROM and Robocop I just never knew that comparison was also in an issue of the HULK too.
Left click to enlarge
As to the question of ROM liking Robocop had he seen it I think the story of what's left of a man's humanity trapped in a technological prison might have hit a bit too close to home while he was still a spaceknight. Just like with Murphy during those flash back scenes Rom's dilemma as a cyborg who yearned to be human was a reoccurring theme in his comic book series. But it's all good now of course so we'll send him and Brandy on Galador a Robocop (the 1st one!) DVD.
A big thanks to Lee and Zhanmann for bringing this to my attention. I don't think we're any closer to seeing a ROM come back today anymore then we were 6 months or a year ago. But I gotta tell ya all this ROM return hype has certainly not been with out it's benefits. That being of course some really nice new kick ass fan art and you all know how much I love to post that stuff here. Thank the Gods of Galador no legalities can keep us from doing that at least. This latest piece comes from J.K. Woodward check out the step by step process of how he put this together: http://jkwoodwardart.blogspot.com/
Speaking of Rom and Star Trek this sequence from ROM #43 always reminded me of of Star Trek 4 when Spock mind melded with the whales up in Sausalito which happens to be less then an hour from where I live. After having helped the Submariner defeat a Dire Wraith plot against Atlantis Rom comes across a pod of whales en route to the surface and decides to use his universal translator to interpret their songs.
Left click to enlarge
As Rom flies off he laments the shitty situation whales are in on Earth with all the hunting. Back in the early and mid 80s the whole whales as an endangered species issue was much more in the public conscience. This is why I often draw analogies between ROM and Optimus Prime. Aside from being great warriors they both possessed this legendary respect for all living things. But Rom came first. He is the first and greatest of the spaceknights.
So last night after I got off work I decided to hit a comic shop in Berkeley I haven't been to in a while. While foraging through the $1 bins I came across a copy of Contest of Champions #2http://marvel.wikia.com/Contest_of_Champions_Vol_1_2
As I often do with 80s Marvel comics that I find in those bins I decided to thumb through it and woe and behold look what I found in the back under some manner of index pages of Marvel super heroes which runs on the last 2 pages of all three issues in this mini-series. Aside from having him listed I think it was pretty cool that ROM is among the relatively few characters that also got a head shot in addition to a listing.
What was also pretty cool is that this issue was co-writen and scripted by none other then, yep you guessed it Bill Mantlo. Also note worthy is that Space Glider (Arcturus Rann of the Micronauts) and The Torpedo also had a listings although unlike Rom who at least had a cameo in this mini-series they never appeared in it as far as I know. Although it certainly wasn't Mantlo who wrote Rom's listing he's described as "carrying a ray gun". . . huh? WTF?
Left click to enlarge
As a whole I liked the issue as well. Of course it had plenty of action in it but in a way the antagonistic banter between the different nationalities was pretty amusing. Despite the arabian knight's misogynistic and anti-Semitic attitudes he and Sabra have to compete on the same team and by the end of the issue it sorta turns into this "Can't we all just get along" kinda theme.
I though this house ad might make for a nice follow up posting considering my discovery in the Secret Wars II Omnibus as described in the previous posting. So just as a quick reminder The Beyonder in Secret Wars II #4 became aware of the situation Brandy Clark, Rick Jones and Cindy Adams were in and made an appearance in Rom #72 accordingly which forever changed the lives of those 3 characters. I had actually forgotten about this house ad until Gary Martin Jr. "A Rom curator" sent it to me a couple of weeks ago.
So recently I was back in San Francisco at this one particular comic shop i like to visit when I'm in "The City". I made a couple interesting discoveries. First off, did you know that the Secret Wars II Omnibus (published last year) actually contains the ROM flash back cameo panel from Secret Wars II #4. As you can see not only does the panel contain his likeness (but not a good version of it though) but it also has his name. I'm guessing this one slipped by the editors who worked on compiling the Omnibus cause as you all know there's no way Marvel can even reprint Rom's likeness legally at the moment. That would be fun to call Marvel posing as an attorney for Hasbro who wants to talk to them about that Omnibus : )
Case and point on a nearby shelf I also came across a TPB for a collection of early 80s HULK issues written by Bill Mantlo and penciled by Sal Buscema. The TBP was titled "Regression" (published this year) and Incredible HULK#296 (guest starring Rom) was among the reprinted issues in it. However, unlike the other reprinted issues 296 had been cannibalized of all the panels that had Rom in them. Needless to say knowing how the story actually reads it was quite weird to see it that way it looked rather . . incomplete.
Left click to enlarge
I also went through the 3 for $1 boxes. I found a copy of Sectaurs #5 (1985) and I figured for the cost of some pocket change what the Hell why not. This short lived series (cancelled after only 8 issues) was based on an 80s toy line and was written by Bill Mantlo. I couldn't help but notice the issue had 24 pages of reading with a cover price of only 75 cents. Today, new comics go for $3 to $4 dollars and they usually have only 22 pages. And some times those new comics have one of those forward/introduction pages that's pretty much the same in every issue which means you're actually getting even less pages of actual reading. What a crock of shit and yet another compelling reason why I don't buy new comics anymore.
The Sectaurs title was not the crowning achievement of Mantlo's career. But then again he didn't exactly have much to work with considering the source material. After all it's not like we're talking about The Micronauts or theoriginal Transformers mini-series. Now those were two great toy lines that brought out the some of the best in Mantlo.
Just got a message on Facebook about an hour ago from Michael Mantlo who visited Bill yesterday and delivered some fan art to him I had sent.
Well this certainly turned out to be a bit of a long winded posting as you know I usually keep them somewhat brief. But as you can see a lot of things of interest this week have turned up. I hope posting this stuff from Bill Mantlo's hospital room will encourage others to do the same as I did.
Hat tip to Lee for bringing this to my attention. Crap, I turn 40 in a couple of hours anybody wanna buy this for me to make me feel better?. The current bid in only $20 bucks but as of tonight (10:00 P.M. Pacific Time) there's only about 18 hours left on this auction. This is some really nice work it's reminiscent of Pat Broderick's pencils in Rom annual #1. But if you're going to make a play for this piece (prismacolor marker on bristol 11 X 14) don't wait too long. http://www.ebay.com/itm/271115082968
Kicking off Decemebr I'm featuring another Deviant Art find from some art that was just uploaded to DA a few days ago. The following is an excerpt from the artist's introduction info:
"The last of my sketch cards for Rittenhouse Archive's Marvel Bronze Age set. If you know me at all, then you probably know that Bill Mantlo's Rom: Spaceknight
is one of my all-time favorite series. Now the lead is out of the
question due to legal issues, but I was able to work in two of his
classic villains in this set."
It really amazes me all the Rom related fan art that still keeps turning up. And bare in mind I just feature the stuff here that I find which I like the most. To see more sketch card art work from his gallery go here:http://seanrm.deviantart.com/gallery/