Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Stan's Soapbox as seen in ROM spaceknight 3 February 1980

I'm temporarily pulling this blog out of retirement for this very sad occasion and you all know what I'm talking about. For my own tribute to Stan Lee I wanted to post something unique and I think I just found the perfect thing. This little excerpt from a Stan's Soapbox column is unlike any of the other ones I've seen thus far on the internet. Those are some wise words from this man going back nearly 4 decades ago that America should really take to heart now during these very troubled times.
Beyond the mourning process let's also rejoice in a few things here. Unlike Prince, David Bowie and George Michael, Stan Lee did not die young. He had a wildly successful career and he lived long enough to eventually even see his some what more obscure characters like Black Panther become cinematic sensations and house hold names. And what a legacy he left behind I mean really that in and of it's self practically gives him a sense of immortality. Simply put, the man has already become a legend.

ROM spaceknight 27  (1982)
One last thing I wanted to add here speaking of Stan Lee's legacy. Here's a gorgeous bonus pin-up page of The Silver Surfer (created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) by Akin & Garvey from Marvel Fanfare 33 (1987). As far as I can tell it's the only bonus pin-up page from that issue that seems to be absent on the internet so here it is along with some cool corresponding clip art.

November 17th Update: Here's some other cool ROM related stuff that have recently turned up worth having a look at. That mural behind me is located in Hayward California. It's been there for years I can't believe it's only today that I came up with the idea to get a selfie in front of it with my ROM t-shirt. Even when it comes to characters like ROM and Wolverine that Stan didn't have a direct hand in creating none of it would have existed if not for Marvel Comics. Thank you Stan for all of this.

Check out what this mural used to look like many years ago...

Saturday, September 15, 2018

We Wish You Well

Having some fun here bringing back that 80s feelin just one last time here. As a parting gift I just wanted to share a few cool items with you all that some of you may or may not have seen yet and some that all of you definitely have not.
This fictitious cover art is gorgeous but at the same time it kinda makes me sad. To think about what could have been as opposed to what was. Ofcourse I'm talking about all the half baked continuity that ended up from Marvel after they lost the character rights and on top of that many years later the travesty that is IDW's reboot after they gained the rights. I'm still not sure to this day which of the two publishers has done a bigger disservice to the character.

And how about one last sketch card? This one as you can see having to do with an 80s property cross over I've had on my mind in recent weeks. Although I have to say after having seen IDW's idea of the Hasbroverse in the past couple years I must say some cross overs might be better left in the imaginations of the fan base with some occasional fan art popping up here and there.

October 10 Update: Even though I've decided to bring this blog to and end there's still plenty of cool ROM related stuff out there that turns up nearly every month. You just have to set a side a little bit of time and make an effort to look for it but here are just some examples of stuff posted this month so far...
And here's something I recently found that was posted earlier this year that had real potential but it just falls a bit short of being an all around great piece of fan art. It seems like the artist kinda struggled with ROM from a figure composition stand point...

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Bill Mantlo was trying to warn us

Rom spaceknight 58

It's so interesting how sometimes a movie or comic book issue can take on a whole new meaning to you when you re-visit it as an adult as opposed to to when you first read or watched it some where in your teens. I just figured out now that the story line in ROM 58 which revolved around a mutagenic dire wraith taint introduced to the Earth's ecosystem was basically just an allegory for the harmful short term and long term impact of pollution from human activity. This is made even more obvious by the fact that actual man made pollution in the form of run off from a coal mine played a direct part in the previous two issues that took place in Beaver Falls Canada with guest appearances by Alpha Flight.

Soylent Green
Kinda makes you wonder if Bill Mantlo was a fan of dystopian sci-fi movies especially with issues like environmental collapse usually being such a central theme? I know I am. I love em in spite of being terrified by them at the same time. Now if you're tired of my politics becoming part of yet another blog posting you know I don't give a shit right?

Children of Men
I mean if you're one of these evangelicals that are still devoted to trump ask yourself if Jesus would be a trump supporter? Or for those of you who are Bill Mantlo fans ask yourself if he was still healthy today and in complete control of his mental faculties would he have voted for trump? And how do you think he would feel about his presidency thus far? And if that answer isn't as immediately obvious to you as it is to me then congratulations you win the biggest dumb ass in the universe award.

The typical aspects of a dystopian future as told in most science fiction are environmental collapse, dwindling natural resources, out of control corporate corruption, massive class and gender inequality, over population, scarce natural resources, authoritarian governments and urban decay. Are we moving in that direction or just going through a really really rough patch on the road to an eventual brighter future?

I can't say for sure but if today we're seeing the early signs of a dystopian future right out of the movies all I ask is that I'm not around to see that shit go down. I'd rather check out while the world is still in half way decent shape.

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September 5th Update: Look what I found today, on farcebook no less. This is some damn good professional quality fan art (artist unknown) of Nova and ROM along with the spackenights of Galador taking on two villains who have proving to be almost as dangerous to planet Earth as donald trump and scott pruitt.

September 7th Update: Damn, just heard the sad news about Bert Reynolds passing away. I don't like this growing list of dead celebrities that I grew up with especially with 2018 still having almost a few more months to go. Boogie Nights, hands down one of the best movies ever made.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

A salute to John McCain spaceknight

   Like so many other people all over America yesterday I was shocked when I heard the news about McCain's passing yesterday I just didn't see it coming this soon after his decision to stop his cancer treatment. John McCain was on my short list of republican politicians I actually respected although it's not like my list of dems that I respect is all that long either. And when I woke up this morning it occurred to me that John McCain and the ROM spaceknight character actually had a lot in common. Just look at the obvious similarities.
   Both were soldiers who understood the meaning of sacrifice and lived by a code based on honor. They were very empathetic toward others and felt conflicted at times when they did not feel like they were living up to the ideals they espoused to. And they both fought for something bigger then themselves and almost always put what they fought for first before anything else including self interests. In short, they both embodied everything that donald trump is lacking as a human being and as a president. Case and point, here's a typical trump supporter from the white nationalist rally in DC a couple weeks ago. So fucken stupid!
   McCain's death is made even more tragic seeing as it happened on the heels of another larger then life iconic American taken from us, Aretha Franklin. Other notable deaths this year so far I think are worth mentioning here would be Barbara Bush, Anthony Bourdain, Margot Kidder and Harlan Ellison. All these people have either done some work that I liked and or were just celebrities I remember growing up with. If you're a life long science fiction fan as I am then I bet at one time or another you've either watched something or read something that Harlan Ellison had some part in writing or producing. Issue 286 of The Incredible Hulk written by Bill Mantlo and penciled by Sal Buscema was loosely based on a time travel episode written by Ellison (Soldier) for the classic Outer Limits TV series. It turned into a bit of a copy right infringement matter but was quickly and easily settled out of court between Marvel and Ellison. I talked about this before on this blog actually back in 2013. Where does all the time go? Pun intended.

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Aug. 29 Update: As something of a follow up to the previous posting about racial matters that Marvel Comics has tackled over the years I decided to show case this panel from Secret Wars 8 (1984) from the classic original series. Interesting how it juxtaposed Reed Richard's color blindness with Victor Von Doom's racist attitudes as seen in the previous posting. Even as a kid back in the day not even quite into my teens I recognized what a cool and thoughtful moment this was. Kinda thinking Reed Richards would not have likely been a trump supporter : )

Monday, August 20, 2018

The greatest of the spaceknights vs nobody's favorite superhero and how comics tackle racism

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This guy I used to know on social media who was both a ROM and Captain Atom fan used to call Captain Atom "Nobody's favorite superhero". Can't seem to recall what exactly he meant by that but unfortunately he's disappeared off the grid and now hasn't been seen for years now so I guess I won't ever get a chance to ask him again. Those of you who saw my last posting will no doubt recognize the source material for this art. I had some down time recently so for the Hell of it I decided to print out the sketch and try out adding some color to it. Can't imagine what kind of scenario would have these two heroes unleashing holly Hell on each other like this but it's not like we've never seen this sort of thing before right? But it's never the less interesting and creative and it's just the sort of fan art I like to post here.

Allow me to pivot here. I saw Blackkkklansman on it's opening weekend and I loved it and I hope some of you will see it while it's still in theaters. I thought the movie did a great job of telling a fascinating story based on a real life situation back in the 70s while drawing a straight line to today's troubles in race relations and political partisanship. There was also a lot of great humor but aside from all that I thought it was very interesting and unexpected with how it dealt with Adam Driver's character. For some people (some "very fine" people I'm sure) this Spike Lee joint might have been a bit too heavy handed or even over the top. A minor issue at best, this was never the less a great film on many levels with much contemporary relevance.

Fantastic Four 278 (1985)
Black Panther Civil War TPB 2007
Speaking of the history of taking on racism in artistic forums I had some thoughts about the world of comics. It's interesting when I look at comics of the 80s and how the writers seemed to take on racism in it's more blatant forms. But clearly in more recent years writers have become much more sophisticated with putting a spot light on the more subtle forms of racism. I think that's very commendable, especially during times like this with all the dog whistles, assault on the truth and pretenses to national security to what are largely policies and statements motivated by this culture war of race politics.

Monday, August 6, 2018


I saw this commission fan art of ROM and Bug from The Micronauts by artist Steven Butler this past weekend. But whoever posted it had this really faded and washed out looking version of it which I thought was a damn shame because this art work is supremely professional quality and deserved better representation. So I copied it and brought it into photoshop where I was able to darken the line work and even give the image a little bit of contrast so it visually pops.

It so happens the last few days of last month and the first few days of this month came and went with me coming across some really cool Star Wars Rogue 1 related stuff in my particular little area of the East Bay. My apologies for the glare and reflection on these first two photos but I had to take the pictures through display windows. The Rogue 1 Painting is from a frame and art shop in Castro Valley.

Over at a comic shop in Union City I saw these absolutely amazing statues. The one of Grand Moff Tarkin is especially impressive the likeness to late actor Peter Cushing is nothing less then uncanny. Next to him you've got the Star Wars Christmas animation special version of Boba Fett and Jyn Ursa just behind him. To the left there was some Star Wars cosplay that showed up at Relay for Life event in Hayward. That's the imperial shore trooper armor from the Battle of Scariff in Rogue 1 which I still affirm is the only all around good Star Wars movie to have come out since the original trilogy.

August 10th Update: Once in a great while I like to post some newly discovered public art that I think is really cool and unique. In this case we have this particular image of Bruce Lee from a large mural in downtown Oakland which chronicles the city's history and culture. That's the thing about The San Francisco Bay Area even if you've lived here all your life you'll still discover something new and amazing from time to time. Lee was born in San Francisco but lived in Oakland for a while and had set up one of his martial arts schools there.

August 17th Update: As many of you know I'm a big fan of ROM related fan art that is not only conceptually creative but also of a more professional caliber in terms of drawing skills. This ROM vs Captain Atom sketch certainly fits that bill. I can only hope that the artist who goes by Breez Evahflowin on farcebook sees fit some day to finish it up so that it can be happily displayed here.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A Spaceknight and an Avenger walk into a bar...

Fan art by unknown artist, caption by yours truly

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  Don't you just hate it when you find an image during a Google search and want to know more about it but clicking on that image just directs you to an error page of some kind? That's what happened here, so I don't know who did this cartoon or what the premise is because it certainly looks like the sort of art work with a story behind it. So, I decided to come up with a caption that for me at least fit the scene.
  Also, here's some 80s nostalgia I bet most of you haven't seen before. I actually stumbled upon this years ago during a random Google search but lost the image when I accidentally closed the search window and was not able to find it again to save my life. I believe this is some sort of poster insert or possible splash page from Strange Magazine. Although the Strange art work here is original I'm pretty sure I know which classic ROM spaceknight issue was probably the direct inspiration for it...


I just wanted to open up the second half of this posting by saying that I'm not into Young Blood or anything else from Image Comics for that matter. But I do have an interest in Jewish super heroes in comics so I think this back story from Young Blood Strike Files #6 featuring Massada (code name taken from the biblical desert mountain fortress in Israel) is worth taking a closer look at. In this story a friend of Masada's goes awol (away with out leave) from the Israeli Intelligence in order to go on a personal crusade and take out an anti-Semitic hate preacher (Hashim) who is obviously based on the real life anti-Semitic hate preaching piece of pig shit louise farrakhan.

Concerned that her friend (Sibbechai) is going to get himself into some serious trouble while making a martyr out of the hate preacher she tries to track him down before he makes his move. Needless to say she has some mixed feelings about going after her fellow Jew especially if it results in saving the life of a filthy Jew hater like farrakhan . . . er I mean Hashim. Think of it in terms of Luke Cage being in a similar situation over david duke or a Mexican superhero with trump.

After a failed attempt to apprehend Sibbechai, Masada attempts to warn Hashim but he dismisses her warnings as part of some grand "Jewish conspiracy" to silence him.Ultimately she's forced to use her powers that enable her to enlarge her size (like you saw with Ant-Man in Avengers Civil War and more recently in Ant-Man & The Wasp) she manages to thwart the assassination attempt leaving the hate preacher only lightly wounded unfortunately. But as they say, haters gonna hate so ofcourse Masada having saved his miserable life does nothing to change Hashim's paranoid Jew conspiracy delusions. A bit of a predictable ending but pretty accurate none the less I'd say.

Monday, July 23, 2018

San Diego Comic-Con photos

I know some people who managed to make it this year to the convention and were nice enough to send these photos to me. I went to the San Diego Comic-Con back in 1998 and as awesome as it was back then it's bigger, more grandiose and way more difficult to get in these days. To the left you can see I still have the 1998 convention guide with that beautiful Alex Ross Superman cover art.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Absolutely bad ass fan art! Ant-Man and The Wasp and what I think of Steve Ditko's passing also the future of toy scalping

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Just by chance I came across what seems to be a largely undiscovered piece of fantastic ROM fan art by artist John McCrea. Damn this is bad ass and I found it on some twitter page that's full of a bunch of worthless crap consisting of lousy fan art, ROM fans trying to be cute to the point of ad nauseum and the usual uninteresting IDW ROM in name only crap. I really like this it's a bit reminiscent of Bill Sienkiewicz's style

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In other recent goings on today I saw Ant-Man and The Wasp which I thought was pretty good. Aside from the usual cinematic elements that make the MCU turn out hit after hit I just really dug how the movie took place in San Francisco as well as over in Berkeley which is right across The Bay. That was also part of Black Panther's charm for me with it starting and ending in Oakland which is right next to Berkeley.

Now I also did just hear about the news of Steve Ditko's passing. Knowing how much I've gone off on him over the years you might be wondering about my reaction to this news. To be honest with you I really just don't feel anything about it. And I say this being fully aware that I probably should try to look at Steve Ditko's work more in it's entirety then just simply through the narrow lens of his work on the original ROM spaceknight series. But ya know what? When you're 12 or 13 you're not really especially mindful of the names or reputations behind the comic books you like. You just know what you like or don't like when you open up an issue and flip through the pages it's that simple. And back in the mid 80s when Ditko's retro style art started to replace the more "Marvel way" dynamic art style of Sal Buscema that I had loved for years and was part of what hooked me on the original ROM series in the first place I'm afraid it just left such a bad impression on me I've never been able to really get over. Maybe that makes me a dick? I dunno but it's just how I honestly feel in the here and now.

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Going totally off topic here with this last thing I wanted to cover. I just recently broke down and bought this 1981 Datsun 280 Z Turbo by toy car manufacturer Johnny Lightening on ebay from this toy scalper. I called the seller a toy scalper because the car came in this Johnny Lightening packaging with a "Toys R Us exclusive" label on it. I contacted the seller through ebay and asked him how he had gotten a hold of it given that I'd never seen it in stores and he just straight up told me he used to wait on truck days and go right after the doors open. Man I hate that shit, and I wonder now that Toys R Us is gone how that will impact the toy collectibles market when it comes to new stuff.

Anyways, I've always liked this car especially in the blue and grey color scheme. It's so classic 80s, it even makes me sentimental about one of the earliest Transformers toys (Autobot Bluestreak) I got back in the day as a kid. The photo in the parking lot is a little over 3 years old and it's the only time I ever saw a 280 Z in person in a blue and grey color scheme paint job. It was parked at a Burger King only a couple blocks from where I live. I regret not having tried to find out who the owner was at the time I could have at least just asked em a few questions about it.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Meeting Yoda and Indiana Jones at Imagination Park in San Anselmo California

Despite having been a life long Star Wars and Indiana Jones fan I only by chance learned about this place a week ago despite it being less then an hour from me. I mean for crying out loud I'm old enough to have seen the original trilogy in theaters as well as the first 3 Indiana Jones films (didn't catch Kingdom of The Crystal Skull in theaters).

Some of the things I don't like about The San Francisco Bay Area is the cost of living and the oh so hip and cool progressive scene and I say that as someone who is not a trump supporter.

But I gotta tell ya, no matter how long you've lived around here there is always something new to discover. Especially if you're a local who thinks they've seen it all already.

Now if you didn't know about San Anselmo's Imagination Park before seeing this posting you might have some questions about it's history and I'm pretty sure most of the answers are here...

Speaking of public art 80s action adventure and sci-fi properties I also happen to be a huge Robocop fan. Some of you may or may not be aware of the statue project in Detroit that's been going on for years now due to some set backs. Well it's finally completed and a spot for it has already been picked out at the Michigan Science Center in Detroit but the date to actually have the statue moved from the studio seems to still be up in the air. Now as it turns out I'm flying to Detroit in mid October for an unrelated matter. I would love to see it and do the whole photo selfie thing so I'm praying to the sci-fi fanboy gods that it will finally be in it's new home for all the fans to see and enjoy.

Robocop vs ROM now in color. Here it is from before...

Friday, June 15, 2018

Funny ass Hostess Pies Marvel 80s house ad spoof with ROM and Starshine

See link below to view the rest of the full page ad
I've seen this sort of thing before and it's never been very funny. However, this one had me cracking up quite a bit it's not just funny but it's a real labor of love in both terms of photoshop work and creative concept. Well done to who ever did this. I'm only posting part of the spoof house ad you can see the rest of it (it's a full page) over at where I found it in the first place. . .

In honor of Father's Day this weekend I wanted to share this awesome card which features some really bad ass classic Marvel 80s (late 70s also I think) Spider-Man art work. This is actually a birthday which I got for my father earlier this week but I imagine it could double as a Father's Day card as well.

Speaking of all things ROM, Spider-Man and Marvel 80s. If you're reading this posting Preston Asceveda I'd be curious to know if you're ever planning on finishing this piece I liked where you were going with this concept.

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Once in a while I hope onto farcebook using my wife's account. And on rare occasion I even actually find something of interest. This is a portion of another work in progress fan art piece that features ROM and Spider-Man with a whole lot of other Marvel superheroes. Can't say for sure who did it but if the artist or someone who knows who it is wants to make them selves known here by all means be my guest.

Looks like that sketch also includes Luke Cage. And speaking of which, season 2 will be here in exactly 1 week and I am so stoked for it especially when it comes to seeing Misty Knight in action with her bionic arm.