Friday, December 12, 2008

Famous First Fridays: ROM, Spaceknight

It's time, Groove-ophiles, for one of the most-requested Famous First Fridays in the history of Diversions! If you've been paying attention, you knew it had to be coming. Comics based on toys? C'mon, you can't be surprised that today's focus is on none other than the Guardian from Galador, ROM, Spaceknight!

The bad news is, Ol' Groove is short on time, so I won't have a chance to ramble on about ROM's origins as I'd like (for some of you, that may be the good news...). I really don't have time to tell ya that Bill Mantlo wrote all 75 issues of ROM. Or that Sal Buscema drew the first 58 issues. Or that Steve Ditko drew issues 58-75. I don't have time for any of that stuff. Sorry. The good news is that there is an exceptional website devoted to all things ROM called ROM, Spaceknight Revisited. Go there to learn about how the toy ROM was developed by a fella by the name of Bing McCoy (ain't that a great name?) for Parker Brothers. Go there to read about how Jim Shooter saw the promotional video for ROM, nabbed writer Bill Mantlo and told him he just had to develop a comicbook around it (After all, he'd done so well with the Micronauts!). Go there to see lots of far-out pics of the toys. Go there after you've read the fabulous first issue (September, 1979), written by Mantlo with outta site art by Sal Buscema (and dig that crazy Frank Miller/Joe Rubenstein cover)!

A final note: Ol' Groove had done a bit more digging and found an address where you can send donations to help Bill Mantlo with his health care funding: Mike Mantlo, 425 Riverside Drive, Apt. 12-E, New York, N.Y. 10025. That's Bill's brother, Mike who's handling the donations, as well as overseeing Bill's care. It's the holidays, so give a little, okay? Ol' Groove thanks ya!


  1. I never had a Rom action figure (although I liked the comic) but my little brother received one under the tree one Christmas. I’m convinced I was supposed to get the toy, but there was a mix-up on Santa’s part. After all, I was the older brother. Surely I should have been the one entrusted with such a high-tech piece of equipment.

    Rom had a flashing chest plate and eyes, and he made different noises for each of his weapons. He also made cool breathing and jet propulsion sounds. But most amazingly, Rom could answer simple yes or no questions! One bong means no, two means yes!

    “Rom, should I have a peanut butter sandwich for lunch?”

    Bong! Bong!

    “Hot diggity! Thanks for helping me choose a delicious meal, my armor-plated buddy.”

    “Rom, should I swipe my little brother’s allowance money so I can buy a Slurpee?”


    “That was a close one, Rom! Thanks for being my moral compass!”

  2. awesome!!! Rom was the ooolest! I was a really big fan of Sal Buscema back in the day. Not to everyone's taste, sure, but his stuff on Marvel Team-Up and The Defenders ( Klaus Janson! ) is some of my most fondly remembered comics.

  3. by the way, fella. did you get the emails I sent you? I'm not sure if I sent them to the right address, or not?

  4. I agree on Sal B. Mighty Joe! He was Li'l Groove's first fave artist. And yeah, he rarely looked better than when inked by Janson--especially on those teen-numbered Defenders issues! Wow!!

    Didn't get any e-mails from ya, though. Send 'em to the Groov-e-Mail addy/link and I'll get 'em for sure!

  5. My love for ROM goes beyond words.

    As such, he's is one of the corner-stones for my blog.

    Dr. Strange / Man-Thing / ROM : Spaceknight

    That reminds me... I need to post something ROM-centric again soon.

    Sanctum Sanctorum Comix

  6. Now instead of doing Battleship! Why didn't someone like Disney/Marvel get the rights from Parker Brothers again. Then do both a Rom: Specknight movie & the Micronauts! Rom is a physically rip off of Gort from the Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). The Dire Wraiths sort of really ugly versions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers premise. Cut down the gore fact a bit & they'd have two new classic movie franchises! I swear if I ever won hundreds of millions in the lottery. I'd do my best to get Rom made!

  7. Thank you very much, Groovy Agent! I'm the proud owner of an almost-complete coleccion of ROM comics by Mantlo, Buscema and Ditko. Old mags, old paper, and I found them all by sheer luck.
    Greetings from Chile!!



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

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