Friday, June 10, 2016

ROM cover variant by Bob Layton

Although I've decided to steer the subject matter of my postings away from all things IDW I'm making an exception on this art work which I just found last night. Here we have one of the countless upcoming cover variants but this one is unique for a few reasons and hence forth worth posting. Like so many of the other cover variants the design for ROM's armor design differs considerably again showing us IDW's complete lack of interest in visual consistency. However, on it's own merits the art work in general is well done plus it offers a full view of an updated ROM design I would have found acceptable for the reboot.
So why do I like this updated look so much more then what IDW settled on as seen in the interior art? In the design on this interpretation by Layton gone is the stupidly shaped head and over sized hands. Same goes for the bell bottom pants feet. Although for those of you who remember Rakk from the spaceknight squadron he had the bell bottom pants look but with him they managed to make it look cool. But in general Layton's design is completely devoid of any anime/manga influence which is a look that does not suite ROM at all. In fact, to me here his armor looks slightly reminiscent of the original Robocop which has me wondering if that had some influence here or if it was purely coincidental? Alas, it's a just a cover when you all start wasting your money on this series it'll be the same old zero issue shit when you flip the pages. And speaking of which . . .

Gods of Galador please make this shit stop!
Well thanks to a link in Gary's comment I now have this to present to you all. I just realized when ROM isn't fighting dire wraiths he must be working at the same place I do I have those same boots he's wearing. But mine don't have flight capability. Does ROM get his thrust from his boots when he's in flight? Kinda looks like it but it's not quite clear either. Hey IDW why not just give ROM a propulsion pack fitted to his armor? Oh wait we can't have that it was something cool and that made sense with the original so we have to do something way different now just because.

June 11th Update
Unlike Ultron, I can physically throw up into my own mouth which is why I really wished I had grabbed some of the air sickness bags from my vacation flights when I found this on twitter. I guess the hasbro hero mugg as a cover variant should hardly come as a shock to me at this point. But it would make a great surprise gift for The King of Thessaly a.k.a K.o.T


  1. I think you are being a bit too hard on IDW and the relaunched ROM.

    We have not had the property for 30 years after all. You seem like a giant Marvel/ROM fan, somewhat like me. You’ve got a solid blog here with a lot of passion. So far, I get that this IDW product is not a “win win”. We all knew that sans the Marvel lore, this product was going to very likely lack a least initially. Frankly, we haven’t seen even enough to confirm that. IDW has gotten guys like Golden and Layton to work on this. Gage is a solid writer. The shared Universe is a neat wrinkle and might work out well, as long as folks are open to new stuff. Man, the Micronauts book seems decent to me.
    However, your big beef seems to just be some minor aspects of the look? I mean we haven’t even had a “real” full comic just yet and you’re already talking about essentially a boycott of IDW?

    Personally, hearing your thoughts I don't see the complaints as a reasonable excuse to outright reject this effort. With this kind of ire over basically minor aesthetics, it kind of gives diehard fans a bad name to the comic companies that, yes, we are "impossible to please" and “entitled”. We all know IDW worked hard to get these rights…over years of legal loopholes to get the old (and new) fans ROM.

    Worse of all…really man...personally, I think the look is pretty solid.

    At any rate, artists change often these days, and if you don't love the (what I would call) modest changes, it will probably change with the next few issues.
    As a Richard Rider (and ROM) fan, I’d hate to see our Rider fans bitch and not support a new Rider book just because they didn’t like how Marvel decided to do the star on his helmet. When that happens, it’s tough to blame Marvel for not thinking support of ROM fans was worth it. (Which I still do know was a mistake)

    We need to show comics there is a “payoff” to honoring us core fans….and being unreasonable and petty is not, IMO the right path.
    Trust me, I spit enough ire and venom for Marvel when it is due on the internet….but I think you’re making a mistake here.

    At any rate keep up the blog…despite my thoughts, I very much enjoy the site.

    Thanosrules/aka Bryan Dyke

    1. thank you for taking the time to leave such a thorough and articulate comment on the whole matter over IDW's ROM. and i appreciate the compliments on the blog in general. what are minor things to you about IDW's ROM and much more significant to me. i don't expect you to read through the many postings over the past several months that chronicled my feelings about it that started with cautious optimism to crash and burn disappointment. however, if nothing else at least read if you haven't done so already my zero issue review as well as the follow up posting that features my letter to IDW and their response. rather it be DC or marvel i'm just not a big fan of new comics and this new direction for ROM by IDW is just the latest example of why i don't like new comics. in the end you still may not understand where i'm coming from and that's ok because ultimately the fictional world of comic books is an art form and you like what you like and not all of us are gonna like the same thing. it's like two people who look at a same abstract painting and coming aware with a totally different impression of it. thus far i've seen enough of what IDW has in store for ROM and i hate it only a drastic sea change could get me to seriously reconsider it. personally i don't think IDW is honoring the core fans hence forth they don't deserve my business or support.

    2. We may not agree on much... but my boy's hate here: Completely validated.
      I've even listed the reasons why...

      And may the many Gods help me- but I will do the same with the first, full issue. I owe ROM that. I have a bad feeling, however- that IDW will end up owing me!!!

    3. So agree about the general shape of comics….I’m a Marvel-head myself, so usually stuff like Valiant, DC or IDW or Boom is more or less a novelty. I think IDW has a really good idea with this Hasbro shared universe.

      I totally get the notion of not buying.

      The Richard Rider Nova fans are all over this debate….yet I think Rider fans feel they have a battle that at, the least…could be won and there is a clear tangible goal by not buying.

      Of course, some disagree, and feel that by not buying it will be bad for the whole property and Marvel would just bury Nova again like they did in the 80s.

      I’ve bounced both ways…and I finally came around to the “don’t buy this crap” line of thinking with Marvel. I no longer buy most comics since circa Guardians of The Galaxy Cancerverse arc in 2014.

      My hope is the sales send a message for the company to casually reach over and hit the “reset” button as they often do. Or at least “some button” that changes things to something more in tune with what I like.

      The worst that could happen is the property slips into limbo for a few years…in various forms. (Six years for Richard Rider now)

      However…I don’t know if the parameters for any sort of victory exist for ROM in 2016.

      All these acts of protest we talk about amount to knowing what cards we have up our sleeve and what cards our “opponent” can play.

      The product has not been “fan reviewed” for so long. It took all this time for someone to think the material worth a reset button. Unfortunately, even back in the day, ROM was a comic that, though awesome to us, was more a cult hit and “got by” with adequate sales. (same as my Nova)

      With his rights at Hasbro, the investment of both IDW and Hasbro are making to a developed shared comic universe, I think the notion of simple poor sales setting ROM back in motion to be able to be at Marvel again is a very very distant prospect.

      IDW books can function on much less sales…and I don’t see ROM failing under Gage so quick. He’s a competent writer and I’d be shocked if the book was a disaster.

      For this ROM, you seem most pissed off about the aesthetics…which are literally the easiest and most common things to change ever. Not to turn it always back to Richard Rider….but when he came back in the 90s he was “Kid Nova” with some ridiculous red costume….yeah we New Warriors fans put an end to that crap quick…and sales on the book were still good. Folks didn’t have to reject the book to force some corrective action.
      But yeah…I totally get the simple notion if a reader doesn’t love something they shouldn’t buy it.

      I just think back to a lot of the times I’ve not liked something initially, stuck with it and gave it a chance…and ended up loving something. There’s a ton of examples there.

      Again with Rider, I was furious with Annihilation at first. Was not a giant fan of the sketchy art of Scott Kollins (who I now love). Never heard of DnA. If any of you read that prologue, they initially had Rich Rider act like a novice recruit in the story…which didn’t make much sense at all since Rich had already saved the Nova Corps a half dozen times over. There were some real different hurdles to get through with that story. Yet, I stuck with it and loved the results.

      I’d never tell you what to do…but I do think as a ROM fan with this situation IMO the best course , given all the parameters, is to buy the product, give it a fair shot…continue reviewing it and give your feedback (critical or positive) to the creators and fans.

      I think having ROM alive and in the mix to be out there molded creatively is better than throwing something back in the can for another 30 years.

      That method can work…at least with the right people running IDW. (which I think there are)

      Sorry for the long posts…I’m notoriously long winded.


    4. i don't mind your long posts Bryan, even if it's a point of view that largely differs from mine. running this blog wouldn't be much fun at all if i didn't get to hear from people although i have to admit i was cracking myself up quite a bit while writing this posting. and as you can see IDW keeps adding layers and layers of disappointment to me when it comes to their ROM relaunch. anyways, let's not dwell on that too much let me share with you some ROM/Nova cross over fan art of the none sam alexander and IDW variety

    5. I'll be honest I see what you mean. Was kinda juiced about IDW take on "MASK" ...till now I saw it was another PC racist bigoted color swap....not racist and would love if IDW created solid new Minority characters....but Matt Tracker was a white guy. How about instead spend the bucks to rescue something like COPS?

  2. Here's my updated checklist for IDW ROM #1 variants (four letters short of using the whole alphabet!):

    1. ROM v2 #1-A Regular Cover by J.H. Williams III
    2. ROM v2 #1-B Sub-A Variant by Zach Howard
    3. ROM v2 #1-C Sub-B Variant by Tom Whalen
    4. ROM v2 #1-D Sub-C Variant Classic Toy photo
    5. ROM v2 #1-E Sub-D Blank Sketch Variant
    6. ROM v2 #1-F RI-A Variant 1:25 by Sal Buscema
    7. ROM v2 #1-G RI-B Variant 1:50 by Michael Golden
    8. ROM v2 #1-H RI-C Variant 1:100 by P. Craig Russell
    9. ROM v2 #1-I 3D Variant of J.H. Williams III in 3D Box Set

    10. ROM v2 #1-J RE-A Convention Edition Variant by David Messina

    11. ROM v2 #1-K RE-B Rob Liefeld Creations Variant by Liefeld

    12. ROM v2 #1-L RE-C Painted Visions Variant by Lance Sawyers & John Paul Bove

    13. ROM v2 #1-M RE-D Starbase 1552: Regular Variant by Dave Dorman
    14. ROM v2 #1-N RE-E Starbase 1552: Virgin Art-Only Variant by Dave Dorman

    15. ROM v2 #1-O RE-F Ultimate Comics Variant by Tommy Lee Edwards

    16. ROM v2 #1-P RE-G Bedrock City Variant by Nick Pitarra

    17. ROM v2 #1-Q SDCCPX-A Previews: Left Variant by Nick Pitarra (Limited to 3000 copies)
    18. ROM v2 #1-R SDCCPX-B Previews: Right Variant by Nick Pitarra (3000 copies)
    19. ROM v2 #1-S SDCCPX-C Previews: RI 1:10 Wraparound B&W Variant by Nick Pitarra (600 copies)

    20. ROM v2 #1-T RE-H VA Comic Con: Red Foil Logos & Back Blank Variant by Kevin Roberts (1000 copies)
    21. ROM v2 #1-U RE-I VA Comic Con: Silver Foil Logo & ROM Variant by Kevin Roberts (500 copies)

    22. ROM v2 #1-V RE-J Bell, Book & Comic Variant by Stuart Sayger

    The sequence in which the variants are listed is taken directly from the checklist page inside ROM #1, previewed along with 5 story pages (which I think are pretty good, definite improvement from #0) at

    Noticed there's a new interior inker, and I could be wrong but seems to be more emphasis of Gage being the primary writer over Ryall (previously the cover credits read Ryall & Gage, now they read Gage & Ryall). It's almost certainly my imagination that these are changes effected by less-than-positive fan reaction to #0...?

    Me, I Learned To Stop Worrying & Love The ROM.

  3. Seen this yet? Your favorite #1 cover art got animated:

    1. Just had a look at it. It was s few seconds of coolness in s sea of IDW blight.

  4. Personally my biggest problem with this relaunch is that it isn't done by Marvel for the reason that Rom wasn't a property like
    Conan with a fully realised backstory and world who can pass from one company to the next, Rom was just a toy and nothing else, Marvel built an entire world around him with Galador the Dire Wraiths and the other Spaceknights, so this new incarnation has the handicap of not being able to use all of this rich backstory.
    So for me this is Rom in name only, not the hero of my youth ,why must I be forced to like him?The fact that everything we've seen so far is rather mediocre, makes it more difficult I'll have a change of heart.

    1. as far as the marvel handicap i knew that going into it so i think i could have still been into this had it been done right. the artist does fine when it comes to drawing people but really when it comes to the comic visually from what i've seen so far the thing just i can't get past is ROM himself. not to mention the new concept for his analyzer and the way his neutralizer looks it just doesn't feel like ROM to me.

    2. I mean Conan had the books but its not like they are really that unified.

      I mean the movie took a lot of liberties and more folks of the books at the time hate on that great , beloved movie than this IDW ROM reboot.

      Even today the die hard Howard fans loathe the Arnold movie

    3. can't say i'm a die hard Conan fan but the first Conan Arnold movie was epic. if for nothing else just these lines alone: "Conan, what is best in life?" . . . "to crush your enemies, see them run before you and to hear the lamentations of the vimen".

  5. HA! -Anyone who buys me that can die in a fire.

    1. yeah but what a great video you could make ripping on that first issue though. that alone would almost make buying that first issue worth it. in fact, why didn't you make a video in regards to the zero issue review? it was a great posting but a youtube video ripping on it would have been a refreshing change from the other crap on youtube about IDW's ROM. by the way check your email when you get a chance.

  6. I must start this by saying I was so happy Rom was "back" I forgot the depth of the original universe. I was young and now after re-reading a lot of the original I think IDW has some work to do. That being said I ordered the 3-D box set as it was advertised as having all the variant covers. It should have said all the regular variants. I am more than pissed off at IDW and I will never buy anything from them again. Don't advertise something as ALL when that is far from the truth. I will never know if the new Rom is any good because I am planning to never open the box and auction it off and every dime will go to the Mantlo fund. Fuck you IDW!!

  7. What is the difference between ROM and ROM Spaceknight. I have a #1 of ROM (Marvel) and cannot find a reference with the same cover art.

    1. there is no difference it's all the same series it's just an arbitrary cover art thing.

    2. Hey J C C, I bet this is the ROM #1 that you have:

      To search for references about it you'd need to call it ROM Annual #1. It was released long after the regular series ROM Spaceknight v1 #1; Annual #1 came out inbetween #s 35 and 36.

      By this time next year, there will be a ROM v2 Annual #1. Chris Ryall has mentioned online that future comic will contain the origin of IDW ROM.

  8. It pains me to learn that the new ROM is just as generic as an automated Iron Man armor. Now i feel like hunting back issues that i missed. Specially now that i satiated my X-men urges by getting ton of X-men back issues. :)

  9. I think the thing that peeves me the most about the new design, other than the weird tire-tread head and the crummy stuff that he comes with and my general distaste, is that in this art style, Rom looks so insubstantial.

    If you look at Sal Buscema's Rom, sure it's sort of "of its time," but there are thick, strong lines and details. That's even the case in the cover variant on this blog post. Then you look at the comic page and most of the detail is weakly colored in. Nothing about the new Rom, within the pages of the book, appears strong or imposing. I think that's a problem, and that's before you ever get to the question of whether the design is any good or not (and no, I don't think it is).

    BTW: On a totally unrelated note, one thing that all this thinking about Rom has done for me is reminded me of something I hope someone might remember. In the late-ish 80s (somewhere between '86 and '88), my family took a trip to New York, and there was some store -- men's clothing, I believe, that had a big life-size Rom statue in it. It was amazing. I was very taken by it, but of course, we weren't in New York for clothes and my family pretty quickly shooed me along. I wish I could see a picture... back in the day I was deeply impressed. (Actually, Googled it... it's probably the one referenced in this "where is it now" post:

    1. i think the adjectives you might be looking for to describe the interior art would be "flat and uninspiring" which is exactly how i described it in my zero issue review.

    2. Hey Anonymous, I hadn't been here for a while so I hope you're still "around"... I've been looking into this Huge ROM Sculpture business for a little while, and I just sent a long reply in to that blog you linked, hopefully the moderator will allow it to be posted soon & you'll find it. If it doesn't show after a few days I'll post it here.

    3. One week later, & especially considering Mr. Pablum's latest post, I guess he won't be adding my reply over there anytime soon?

      Oh well, I'm going to put an extended version on Shlomo's blog here, on the newest post,

  10. I love your blog and I have been waiting for 30 years for Rom issue #76. I'm willing to give it a chance. The art isn't great in some places but even the worst of the new issue is better than the ditko run. Lets give it about 6 issues before we bash it.