Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spaceknight Saturdays: Like, 200 Annuals Ago

Rom Annual #2 takes us back a couple centuries, before Rom left for Earth, before even the Dire Wraiths left Wraithworld. The Spaceknights were at their apex, and Rom was the greatest and most famous of them all.

Still is. I'm just saying it wasn't a long, hard climb for him.

As for the Wraiths, this story proves the female Wraith Witches, with their funky hands and drill tongues, were there all along. So this was a time before sorcery was apparently gave way to more technological means of fighting the Knights, a pendulum that might just be swinging back.

Let's join the story already in progress, all those years ago, as Rom bears down on a Wraith armada.
See? Ships were co-ed in those days. After he blows up a few ships or starts sending their pilots to Limbo, the witches send those huge Deathwings to eat him up. But this is Rom in his prime, baby!
That's three in one shot! Cutting their losses the Wraiths run back to Wraithworld.
Wow, cesspool. Corrosive atmosphere, disturbingly-shaped mountains, a black sun... Rom follows the last ship to the Wraith capital and makes it crash into their fortress.
From there, it's a simple task to banish the entire civilian population to Limbo.
EVIL civilians, of course. And since it's Limbo, you can't call it genocide. Well, you can, but Rom won't let you.

He gets into something sticky however when Wraith witches confuse him with the illusion of Wraith masses (or I guess you could call them wraith Wraiths), and abandon their homeworld while he fights phantoms in perpetuity. It'll be up to the Spaceknight Squadron to rescue him.
Who are these guys? They were apparently conceived and created by artist Richard Konkle who will supply a pin-up in Rom #50. He's responsible for other minor creations Bill Mantlo used in his Marvel Comics work. The Squadron includes:

Tarm the Seeker!
He turns into a biooootiful butterfly and needs his fellow Spaceknights to regularly pull his metal bacon out of the frying pan.

Raak the Breaker!
Though he's pretty tough and serves as a mobile microwave, his main characteristic is that he thinks he's better than Rom. Like, why is this comic not called Raak Annual #2?!? Where's HIS toy? Dude, hate to tell you this, but it's your silly cat-ears.

Skera the Seeker!
Her senses are so acute, she can't STAND it! Buscema, Akin & Garvey are indeed intense.

The unfortunately named Plor the Pulsar!
The darling of the female Starknights, this golden cyborg throws these circles around. Pretty flashy.

Unam the Unseen!
He can turn himself as invisible as he feels in the eyes of...

Vola the Trapper!
There's a reason all the boys want to get with her. She takes down the two last elementals guarding the deserted Wraith fortress, giving them access to the crazed Rom who sees Dire Wraiths simply everywhere.
Obviously, Raak starts shooting at Rom like he's a popcorn bag. Maybe get his name on the cover or something. Unam grows a spine just then...
...and talks Rom down. No microwaves, no punching, no powers. Just reasoned talk between well-spoken cod Shakespearean Spaceknights.

There's a lesson in that. Next week: Punching!

And while you wait, more Bonus Rom Content!


smacky said...

For a comic character fleshed out from a toy, Rom just kicks so much butt. Bill Mantlo made so much when given so little to work with.

Have you seen MANTLO: A LIFE IN COMICS? It's a great overview of Montlo's career, and all proceeds go to his health care (he was a victim of a hit-and-run in 1992 and has been under 24-hr care ever since).

Just a fan, not involved in this in any way.

Siskoid said...

I'm aware of the tragedy and this homage is in part inspired by it.

Hebro said...

This issue which i believe feature Buscema pencils along with Akin & Garvey inks was some of the best art ever in the ROM series! i especially remember as a kid being awed by the introduction of The Spaceknight squadron. for some cool original ROM art:

Siskoid said...

Yes Hebro, I've put your link in my blog roll.

Hebro said...

Thanks for doing that. I'm still learning many of the nuance features of blogging. that ROM blog i have which is only a few months old is the only blog i've ever done. prior to it i'd heard the term blog being thrown around for quite a while with out even knowing what blogging was. it must be nice to have a long running blog with an established community. it's a real trip to be connected to ROM fans who know the character as well as i do here in 2010. most comic book fans today don't know at all or very little about ROM. in fact i'm adding a new entry to my blog later today about one of my biggest peeves about the art in the ROM series. i'd be curious to see how many ROM fans out there would agree or disagree with me.

Siskoid said...

Yes, I had a similar experience, only some 5 years ago.

A continuous blog doesn't come overnight (obviously), it's something you have to work at. In my case, I kept myself busy with both daily (the Star Trek stuff) and weekly (like Rom) articles. That built up a reader base over time of people interested in those subjects. They came for one, then frequently stayed for the others.

Posting comments on like-minded blogs, like you've done here, is a good way to attract attention to yours, as is linking blogs you like in your blog roll (bloggers will often find themselves referenced and take an interest). Though there are pure "readers" out there, bloggers I think make up the most important part of blogs' readership. We tend to stick together.

Hebro said...

interesting. what you say makes a lot of sense. so it looks like i got a lot work to do ahead of me. just for the record i was a huge DS9 fan.

hey listen Siskoid, you seem to be the only one who knows about these Gen3 spaceknights. do you actually have the titles they appear in or was that just info. you managed to find on the net? and by the way thanks for your help in trying to get my stuff circulated.

Siskoid said...

For my money, the best resource for Rom stuff in all media is

I used it a LOT to research my various articles on Rom.

Hebro said...

Cool. I'll check it out as soon as i've finished my latest blog entry on my site. which i should have finished within the next 30 minutes.

Hebro said...

Finally had a look at that site and i just wanted to let you know i've seen it before. i think because it's not very visually dynamic and just crammed with so much info. i never studied it closely. plus i came across it at a time where i discovered several other sources online. it was just a lot to take process. one of the things i kept coming across that i wanted to do different was that a lot of ROM sites hadn't been updated in anyway for years or were mostly rehashing original ROM art and not talking about anything new. i wanted to make something that featured more original art brought up some new topics.