Sunday, October 11, 2015

My Spacenotes and Micromail in BACK ISSUE Magazine 82

Left click to enlarge

So yesterday I was in downtown Berkeley with some friends and I needed a mental break from all the gibberish they were talking so I slipped into a near by comic shop I like to frequent when I happen to be in the area. By chance I thumbed through a copy of BACK ISSUE Magazine #82 (Aug. issue) just for the heck of it and decided to buy it because it had some articles about the original Secret Wars I and Secret Wars II (with plenty of ROM & Micronauts references) series that looked pretty interesting. Plus I wanted something to read it didn't look like there was gonna be shit on TV last night.
Well imagine my surprise when I got to the letters page toward the end of the evening and found my letter there although I don't remember entitling it "Mantlo Booster" I think that's something they added. Plus it seems like they also may have tweaked my letter a bit to. In fact I had totally forgotten about the letter altogether seeing as I wrote and sent it back in December 2014 in response to a Micronauts article for BACK ISSUE Magazine #76 published October 2014. As far as published letters go this is the second one I've discovered this year back in May I learned about a 2012 Avengers Academy issue that printed my letter as well. Ironically I was giving them shit about some Avengers Academy issues which were written by Christos Gage who is slated to co-write the 2016 ROM series.

BACK ISSUE Magazine #82
Rather big or small BACK ISSUE Magazine once again showing they don't give a shit about copy rights issues when it comes to printing ROM. As many of you know there have been a number of reprinted material over the years in which Marvel removed ROM's likeness including in a color version of this poster art.

All the ROM and Micronauts stuff aside there were some pretty interesting topics in those articles being discussed. Apparently there was some kind of "disconnect" in the deal between Mattel's Secret Wars toy line and Marvel Comics. Ever wonder why Mattel came out with accessory toys like The Doom Roller or Captain America's Turbo Cycle which were never in the series? Or better yet why did they never make any figures of any female characters like She-Hulk or Enchantress? Or why would they make a figure for Kang who was "killed" off by issue #4 but never a HULK figure who was pivotal through out the series? Not to mention the figures that Mattel made like Daredevil, Iceman or The Constrictor who were never in the series in the first place. It's funny according to the Secret Wars article the comic book series was a huge hit which I certainly remember being the case back in the day but apparently the toys line was some what of a marketing failure much like the Parker Brothers ROM spaceknight doll. That certainly wasn't my impression at the time I had a few of the figures and they seemed to be fairly popular at the time although not quite as much as Masters of The Universe, G.I.Joe or The Transformers. However, just like the ROM doll the Secret Wars action figure line have become highly sought after collector's items especially the ones still in their original packaging.


  1. Hmm, very interesting. I don't know all the ins and outs about the Secret Wars line like I so the DC Classics or Marvel Legends lines, but you make a good point about the number of characters omitted from the line. So based off the accessories that were made and put with the figures, does that mean there was a ROM figure intended to be made? Seems like it from the looks of it with those accessories.

    Has a legit reason ever been given for this?

  2. no indication of any ROM figure having been in the works for the Secret Wars lines back in the day. basically all the weird merchandising decisions made by Mattel can be traced to cost cutting efforts in some areas and what was scene as increased profit opportunities in other areas. apparently Mattel was using a basic mold template for most of it's figures which obviously saves money but limits the degree of diversity of characters to make figures of.
    but on the other hand they created these vehicles and at least one play set (Tower of Doom) because having accessories for any action figure line was a must back in the 80s even if they never appeared in any comics, movies or TV series the figures are based on. really retarded marketing logic it seems to me those manufacturing resources would have been better utilized for new molds for other figures that were in Secret Wars and in general wildly popular characters like The Hulk or any of the members of the Fantastic Four which they also never made figures of. Mattel did make at least one good marketing move with the black costume Spiderman figure variant. they were able to capitalize on the whole black suite buzz at the time which I remember very well and they did so on the cheap by just simply using the same mold for the first Spiderman figure. even back then that one was a bitch to find and today in good condition even out of the packaging it'll cost you a pretty penny.

  3. I hear you there. Still happens erven now, and like you said its the nature of the beast because of the savings in cost. Plus those molds cost big $$$ to make, so yeah.

    Never saw the Black costume variant myself, but I believe you about the scarcity, which translates to rise in cost due to the high demand.

  4. What am I supposed to think of this? Guys, is that our man?

    1. well it certainly looks like a satirical version of him at least. not sure what to make of this other wise for the time being with out more info on this Hulk issue i'm totally out of the loop when it comes to new marvel or DC comics these days. at any rate thanks for sharing Chip it's been a while since i've had a first time commentator on this blog.

    2. Hmm, that's evocative/provocative. The comic's writer is Greg Pak, known ROM fan. I don't think we've ever seen the artist Frank Cho's take on ROM, though. My guess is that this'll be a robot sidekick-type character built by the new not-Banner "Totally Awesome" Hulk (science genius you-know-who {& if you don't I won't spoil it unless you ask}). I think it's telling that we only see the robot-like head & below that could be any manner of "body", likely nothing like our man. We can probably expect a few more swipes before next summer, as this is the only thing Marvel can do (?) since the real deal got away. Check out the reminiscent character Mantron in the recent Groot #4 & 5, and for a little more old-school approach track down 1998's Silver Surfer v3 #141-145 (Cy-Phyrr 4).

    3. i think you're onto something there Gary but either way it looks like this will turn out to be pretty lame. thanks again for nothing marvel.