Saturday, February 23, 2013

1979 was a good year for sci-fi toys and Marvel

I just kinda reworked some images in a panel for the first issue of that dreadful 2001 Spaceknights mini-series. So now I've got something good out of something bad. It makes me down right sentimental Marvel has made such a mess even of the Rom related stuff that they own.

This excerpt came out of this over sized anthology book called Marvel five fabulous decades of the world’s greatest comics. I knew about when Rom and The Micronauts debuted but I never thought about when Shogun Warriors did. Shogun Warriors #16 was one of the first comics ever had along with several of the toy figures at the dawn of the 80s. A few years later (mid 80s) I picked up about a dozen more issues from the 3 for $1 rack at my then favorite comic shop (Comics and Comics) in Berkeley CA. on Telegraph avenue.
This is too cool, the Hulk #256 (Sabra!) I recently blogged about here which I picked up in a regular back issue bin about a month ago had something interesting stamped on the back. Comics and Comics used to stamp it's name and address on the back of all it's 3 for $1 comics. So getting back to the titles of licensed toy properties here's a good question, were there any toy based Marvel titles prior to 1979? I can't think of one but if any of you do please share.

Bill Mantlo A Lifetime in Comics: how Rom helped bring new readers to the X-Men

This is taken from the Bill Mantlo A Life Time in Comics booklet that was sold some years ago to raise money for Mantlo's medical care. I was never able to get a hold of a copy unfortunately but thanks to Gary Martin Jr. I now have this important page from the book that covers some of Mantlo's thoughts on his work for the Rom spaceknight series during his career. May favorite part is Bill talking about letters from readers talking about how they've started picking up the X-Men title as a result of their guest appearance in issues 17 and 18.

Also from Gary Martin Jr. is this Q and A about page Rom spaceknight from Sal Buscema's biographical over sized book The Fast and Furious Artist.
Helpful viewing tip: I'm sure almost all of you know this by now but just in case after you left click on the image then right click on it and scroll select "view image". Once you get the magnifying glass with the + in it you should be able to get an even better close up of the text.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Firefall's rebooted spaceknight armor plus artist John Romita

By chance I came across some CGI art work named "The Last Spaceknight". You can see it here
I have no idea if it was intended to be a rebooted version of ROM or maybe that anime character Tekaman who also goes under the title of spaceknight. Regardless I thought with a little bit of fine tuning in photoshop whoever this is supposed to be would make a great rebooted Firefall. If you're a bit fuzzy on Firefall read on . . .

Karas was one of the Galadorian volunteers that became the First Generation of spaceknights to battle thedire wraith . He was one of Rom's best friends and once saved his life from drowning (as told in a flash back in Rom #4). He was given the Firefall armor to wield. When the invading Wraith warfleet approached Galador, Karas broke ranks and assaulted them by himself. He would soon after find himself facing one of the feared  Deathwing. In a desperate battle Karas was able to defeat the Deathwing but was so exhausted that he had neither will nor strength to resist when a Wraith Destroyer found him and captured him. The Dire Wraiths tried to take apart the armor and tortured Karas for nearly two centuries. When Karas realized that they were on the verge of breaching his armor, Karas used the Living Fire to rob them the satisfaction and phase his human Id to Limbo while his physical form was destroyed (as told in flash back in Rom #19).
Eventually the Dire Wraiths sent the armor to Earth where they duped petty criminal Archie Stryker into grafting into it and turned him on Rom (Rom #3 & 4). Stryker was ultimately defeated by Rom after which he learned the truth about the Dire Wraith threat on Earth and gave his life to help Rom defeat the immediate wraith threat they were both facing (Rom #5 & 11). Some time later Rom faced the Firefall armor a final time after it had been "animated" by dire wraith sorcery. With the help of Ben Grimm, Rom defeated the Firefall armor and the Dire Wraith witches that controlled it (see Marvel Two in One #99).

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How ironic, just after writing this posting I came across this vintage Marvel Comics photo of John Romita. As it happens on the wall there is the uncolored cover art for Rom#3 which also happens to be the first appearance of the Firefall armor.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rom vs The Thing (Ben Grimm) commission art

I just found this on Deviant Art today. Obviously this was inspired by Marvel Two In One in one part of the story had Rom throwing down with the Wraith sorcery controlled Thing. Rom's neutrilizer ended up breaking the spell and together the they took out the wraith witches. This was done by Brazilian artist Allan Goldman you can check out this work at an earlier stage here:

 Also I just wanted to saw thank you to Rick Hansen for sending me this post card. I recently picked up some back issues of the original Micronauts series for him which I found in a $1 bin at my local comic shop. Not only did Rick reimburse me promptly along with some gratuity for my trouble even though it was no trouble at all he was also thoughtful enough to send this card. In case you were wondering the front side has the cover art from the original Silver Surfer #1.

Monday, February 18, 2013

My latest $1 box score of Bill Mantlo related work

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My first $1 find was Incredible HULK #254 written by Bill Mantlo and penciled by Sal Buscema. This issue was the first appearance of the U-Foes. They were 4 power hungry individuals who attempted to repeat the same cosmic ray accident that befell the Fantastic Four in order to gain similar powers. Thinking that Bruce Banner interfered with the cosmic ray irradiation process they attacked him which in turn resulted in Banner becoming the HULK. During their battle with the HULK they soon discover their powers to be unstable and one by one the U-Foes succumb to the harmful side effects. For more clip art from the issue:

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I also picked up Official Marvel Universe Handbook #3 volume 1 because it contained the alien index entry for Dire Wraiths (male). This clip art used to be on the internet but a couple of months ago when I tried to reference it Google told me the "page could not be found". So I said fuck it I'll just grab this copy for a buck and get the clip art back on the internet again even though I know just about all of you have seen it already or have the issue.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Fan made Rom CGI video & a Rom custom figure made from Iron Man

From the video's creator, "Test ROM animation. As per the usual disclaimer, I do not own the character. If it looks somewhat amateurish, that's because I'm an amateur at it. Makes sense, eh?" Amateurish it may be but it's also ironic that I found it on the heels of the meteor impacts all over Russia the day before. Plus on general principle I still dig it after all how many Rom CGI type videos are there on Youtube?

Just making a little update today Saturday the 17th here with something I found recently on Deviant Art. The original image features this custom Rom figure with the Guardians of the Galaxy set. But it looked familiar to me and then I realized that I actually have that Iron Man figure that the Rom custom is made from. Now why didn't I ever think of that?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bill Mantlo from this past weekend

Just wanted to share with you all this nice photo of Bill from his brother's latest visit. As you can see he came bearing gifts. Regardless of most anything going on in your life if you're a fan of Bill Mantlo's work it's gotta make you feel better about things over all when you see happy moments like this for Bill.

The following clip art was published in Marvel titles (Captain Marvel #6 vol. 3 2001 & Universe X #3 2000) for issues that came out right after Marvel lost the rights to both Rom and The Micronuats. What I like about these panels is how the respective artists managed to represent both Baron Karza and Rom with out actually drawing them technically speaking. That sort of thing takes a unique skill set as an artist. So here comes my pun you might say in the case of Baron Karza you might say he's just a shadow of his former self in comparison to my last posting.

Unlike Rom spaceknight and The Micronauts The Human Fly was not inspired by a toy line but instead by real life daredevil Rick Rojatt. There's not a whole lot of fan art for The Human Fly out there on the internet but I would have to say this rendering I found on Deviant Art is the best I've come across so far.

Also, there's a number of  fan art pieces in the Cloak & Dagger fan folder on Deviant Art. be sure to scroll through all 6 pages there's some really great stuff there

Saturday, February 9, 2013

New Rom commission art & cool 70s Underoos ad

Another big thanks to Rick Hansen for sharing this newly acquired commission piece today which he is the proud owner off. The artist is Cory Hamscher, has done work for Marvel, Image and DDP. Magnify the image it looks even cooler then.

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I was browsing at a copy of Micronauts #11 recently when I came across one of those full page ads for all sorts of comic book related merchandise. This one really brings back some memories aside from a couple pairs of Underoos I also used to have that Incredible Hulk utility belt when I was a kid. Micronauts 1-12 was what I like to call that Mantlo/Golden era of the series that gave that amazing combination of great writing and bad ass art work as scene here in this panel with Baron Karza on page 2.

February 11 update: for a better look at those cool super hero utility belts check this out

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Rom related trading cards and recent Brian Bendis commentary

A big thanks to Rick Hansen who sent me this card along with this Facebook message: "I know you're familiar with this scene, but I thought I'd share. The owner of my LCS gave me an entire set of 1991 Hulk trading cards and this one is obviously notable." The panel used on this trading card is from Incredible Hulk 374 in which Rick Jones was being tortured by skrulls who among other things impersonated heroes he's been a side kick to.

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Most of you already know about these Over Power cards as described at Lee's site Rom Spaceknight Revisited:
Also, note worthy is the Rom electronic toy trading card by Plaidstalliones:

You may also be interested to know about Turbo having had her own Over Power card. And indeed Turbo is quite over powering here especially with her huge boobs but I'm not complaining. It appears as if these Over Power cards had original illustrations created for them. Beyond that I couldn't tell ya anything about these cards since RPG games have never been my thing. I also couldn't tell ya anything about this Dire Wraith trading card which seems to part of some sort of Magic The Gathering type card game. But I can tell you the clip art used for the card is from the first page of Rom# 49 that kicked off the Massacre Of Clareton which among other tragedies in the series was the death of Brock Jones (Torpedo II).

Brought to my attention recently by Gary Martin Jr. are 3 other Marvel trading cards that feature the covers of Marvel titles that have Rom and Dire Wraiths on them. I'm only making a text mention of the first two because neither card features any sort of distinctive decorative trim so there's nothing to see there that you all haven't seen before: Marvel 1st Covers series II (1991) -West Coast Avengers #1 / X-Men Cover Trading Cards series II (1990) - X Men #187.

Now this one from last year's Avengers Assemble trading cards series is kinda interesting. I say that because this is now the second time I know of that Marvel published Rom's name and likeness in the last couple of years. The first time I noticed it at a local comic shop in the Secret Wars II Omni Bus TPB late last year and as far as I can tell no one is screaming for a law suite over it.

Brian Michael Bendis: Sometimes it's the thought that counts the following is a quote from an iFanboy article from three weeks ago with Bendis on upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy projects:  "While all this info about the Guardian of the Galaxy is interesting, we did ask the question that was on everyone’s minds: what does this mean for ROM: SpaceKnight? After stopping laughing, Bendis responded, “Listen, no one would love the return of ROM: SpaceKnight more than myself. I have made it clear to anyone who will listen, the minute anything like that ever became available to us…” and then clarified that Marvel doesn’t own the rights to ROM: SpaceKnight, “I would stop the story I was in the middle of doing…and I said this about Avengers too. Right in the middle of any event or any storyline…when I was doing Moon Knight,  the minute I was able to write the words “ROM: SpaceKnight” into a script, he would literally just crash into the story. Boom! That would be it”.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What a difference some color makes and my latest back issue find

You can see the original art work here:

 A couple weeks ago I found Cloak & Dagger #11 vol. 2 (1986) in a back issue bin for a couple of bucks. I was interested in it because part of it takes place in Bethlehem and in essence was another story revolving around the Israel arab conflict written by Bill Mantlo and penciled by June Brigman. This would have been a great opportunity to have CnD team up with Sabra but I think Mantlo wanted to avoid controversy for this issue given Bethlehem's disputed status. Instead, a new character by the name of Beth Stein is used in the story and she never uses the name Israel for her country of origin even though it's obvious she's an Israeli counter terrorist agent out for revenge on islamic terrorists who are responsible for a bus bombing.

The drug and arms trail that CnD follow later takes them to South East Asia in which they are forced to take down a Vietnam war vet turned drug Warlord thanks to his latent mutant powers triggered by the opium he's forced local villagers to harvest.

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I have to say I enjoyed this issue more then the other Cloak & Dagger stories I've read in recent months from 80s back issue boxes. Taking CnD out of the New York City street level adventures to something more broader in scope that brings history and politics into the story telling.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Those last page preview headlines for Rom guest appearances

Rom made countless cameo appearances in various Marvel titles (usually as flash backs) through out the 80s and 90s but as far as I know he only made three actual appearances in other titles in which he was the central focus of that issue's story line. Those issues being Power Man & Iron Fist #73, Marvel Two in One #99 and Incredible Hulk #296. So I thought it might be cool to feature all the last page preview headlines for the proceeding issues of the before mentioned titles.

First up is Power Man & Iron Fist #72 . .

. .  and for some reason there was also a preview headline in Power Man & Iron Fist #71 as well. Don't ask me why I got all this stuff from Gary Martin Junior and I just work here.

This one's from Marvel Two In One #98 . . .

. . . and last but not least Incredible Hulk #295

In just a couple of days we'll see boisterous Bill Mantlo take on the international drug and arms trade don't miss it!