Saturday, August 16, 2008

ROM, SpaceKnight...He lives! He walks! He conquers!

Yep, it finally happened! I got my hands on a ROM action figure today!!



Alas....it was only for a short while......

My friend Michael Aushenker, (cartoonist, writer, bon vivant) has a major article on the 1970s Marvel Comic ROM, Spaceknight coming up in the January issue of BACK ISSUE. He was looking for a good photo to accompany his article and I informed him that our mutual friend Steve Ross had an actual ROM toy in his collection. ROM, the toy, apparently bombed when it came out, but the Marvel Comic book based on the property continued on for over 5 years!! The series was written by Bill Mantlo with art by Marvel Bronze Age mainstay, Sal Buscema, then later by Silver Age legend Steve Ditko.
The book was definitely a favorite of mine when I was in my formative comic collecting days. The character design was unique in it's day, and the story of a man becoming a cyborg and sacrificing himself to save his planet, and traveling to Earth to eradicate the evil Dire Wraiths was for me more exciting than any sci-fi movie could be at the time (sorry STAR WARS!!).

But I digress....

So Mike contacted Steve Ross and asked if we could shoot his Rom figure. Steve said yes and so me and Mike traveled to Pasadena to meet Steve at the bookstore he works at and began to photograph Rom right there at the desk where the store does there presentations and signings!



As a kid I never saw a Rom in any store. Only the ad in the comic would taunt me and torture me for decades....



One of the really cool things about the Rom comic was whenever Rom exposed one of the Dire Wraiths hiding amongst the human race he would vaporize them with his Neutralizer! HE EXTERMINATED AN EVIL ALIEN RACE...in a kids comic!! (Okay, so he was really just vanquishing the Wraiths to Limbo, never to return again. But the way the Wraiths would fear the Neutralizer and the screams of horror they would utter when 'neutralized' was spectacular!!). The original Terminator folks: half-man/half-machine and 100% exterminator!!



It's nice to grow up and be able to give something back to the great times one had growing up as a fan. I was able to give my own homage to Rom when I contributed a pin-up to a Rom gallery show in Portland last December.



And I was fortunate enough to interview writer Bill Mantlo's brother Mike on my radio show in January. So, to all the Rom fans out there (and I know they are out there, like so many Dire Wraiths, waiting, waiting....), enjoy this little tribute to Rom, the greatest of the SpaceKnights!




YouTube ROM toy trailer!


And here's a brief clip of a song 'ROM, Spaceknight" by HB3! Go to iTunes and buy the song!!


Me, my friend Michael and our ol' buddy, Rom! (I'll remind you folks when Mike's Rom article comes out!)

Thanks to Steve Ross for sharing his cool toy with us! And great lunch, eh?

5 comments:

Jason Martin said...

Ah, Romeries...

Star Wars was my first comic encounter, but Rom was the first passionate "comic collector" book for me... as I discovered it on 7-11 racks around issue 3 or 4, I forget (I'd need to dig out the books/covers to recall)... so it was my ever lovin task to seek out the back issues amongst the smaller local convenience store chains... I recall even recruiting my parents to help out, and scoring one for me! Huzzah!
(they were kind enough to indulge many of my youthfull comic/toy passions)

But yeah, I had (still have somewhere) the toy too... I seem to recall having it before the comic maybe... and always liking it a lot, accept it was of a scale larger than any other toy, and had no others in the series to play with... and I was always loathe to play with toys of different scales together.

I think mine is missing an arm, or is broken though...

But man, yeah, that comic was cool!

Javier Hernandez said...

Wow! Next time I'm visiting Casa de Martin, I'm gonna make you dig up the Rom!!

I like what you said about your parents indulging many of your early passions. Certainly my older brother and sister had a lot to do with directing mom and dad to buy me so many of the great toys of my childhood: Mego superheroes and Planet of the Apes figures.... Ah....

Note so self: Commission Jason to draw me a Rom pin-up!!!

Jason Martin said...

Planet of the Apes...
Loved those movies, and remember seeing all the toys, the oversized (by later standards) figures, the playsets, in the Sears catalog and wishing I had those...

Ah the Christmas Sears catalog, the toy holy grail...
An annual trip through every toy you'd ever want, or find, in one place... (especially for Star Wars ;)

Anonymous said...

So much for this budding ROM-ance, Javy! Oh, well.......

Thanks for the kind words, let's definitely get the word out when BACK ISSUE # 32 comes out and lays down the lowdown on ROM: SPACEKNIGHT. A large part of the article will do with the Bill Mantlo ROM efforts, as well as a hefty sidebar chock full of new insights into the Avenging World of the Amazing Steve Ditko, who lent some of his brilliance to the ROM strip. Should be a doozy!

ROMsfriendwith2greenthumbs said...

I found a box of ROM comics when I was about 12 I guess. First one I saw was ROM#2 Lethal Laserium! And I was Hooked. My dad liked that kind of stuff too. 5 bucks for the whole box! BANG my dad jumped on it. I wish I had the toy. Enjoy that ROM and most of all Respect the cyborg. :)