Wednesday, December 17, 2014

QBP #040 - ROM #1

Quarter-Bin Podcast #40

ROM Spaceknight #1, Marvel Comics, cover-dated December 1979.

"Arrival!" written by Bill Mantlo, with art by Sal Buscema.

When a scary-looking alien robot appears in West Virginia, and start blowing away locals, reasonable questions come to mind. Is he bent on conquest? Or is he actually a man with a mission to destroy shape-shifting aliens? And especially, how could a toy develop such a compelling backstory?

These are questions that needed a guest to help answer, so Scott Gardner of Two True Freaks joined me to dig through this terrific (spoilers) first issue.

Thanks to Scott for producing and scoring the episode, as well as guesting on it. He is one multi-talented fella!

Click on the player below to listen to the episode:

Right-click to download episode directly 

Promo #1: Two True Freaks, Scott's home on the Internet
Promo #2: Two True Freaks: Star Trek Monthly Monday 

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Next Episode: Shado: Song of the Dragon, Book #2, cover-dated February 1992.

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  1. Holy crap! ROM #1 for 25 cents, that is the best quarter spent in the last decade!

    An already awesome show gets an awesome guest host = a super winner episode!

    I love ROM and really dug this episode, I know you are both very busy but I would totally be on board for a ROM podcast by you two cents! That would be fantastic! I do have hope that someday ROM rights will come back to Marvel, Hasbro released a vinyl ROM figure as a SDCC Exclusive, and with the already great relationship between Marvel and Hasbro, I'm hoping that they can work something out!

    ROM is pretty much my perfect wheelhouse title, a licensed property comic produced by Marvel in the late 1970s and early 1980s (I cut my teeth on Marvel's GI JOE & Transformers series) written by Bill Mantlo with art by Sal Buscema (my definitive Hulk creative team) Another title I cut my teeth on. So the few issues I had of this series as a kid just blew me away. Unlike so many of the other great Marvel licensed properties, ROM was all in and deeply immersed in the Marvel Universe with very frequent crossovers and guest appearances from Marvel mainstays. That definitely makes him very unique.

    Another great episode, I hope to see the talk of a ROM podcast come to fruition or at the very least have Scott back regularly for more ROM coverage on the Quarterbin!

    -Kyle Benning

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Kyle! Yes, having Scott on the show certainly classed up the place.The licensed comics that Mantlo wrote were so much better than they had any right to be. Really terrific stuff.

      I can guarantee that if i ever cover ROM again, it will definitely be with Scott.

  2. great podcast guys i really enjoyed that as i imagine most any ROM fan would. i like how you guys focused on the million dollar question in regards to the character rights issue. like you guys said . . "what's the hold up?". especially with hasbro having recently released that crappy ROM heromug doll. i liked The Day The Earth Stood Still reference i actually wrote a blog posting about that some years back. i'll add a link of this podcast to the current posting here

  3. That would be great -- I will certainly mention the blog when I do a feedback episode in the future. Glad that real ROM fan found our episode entertaining!

  4. Cool podcast . Enjoyed it very much .Always nice to hear some ROM love. Regarding Parker Brothers they are now a subsidiary of Hasbro.since 2013 and taken P.B.namr off all there classic games. They own the rights of his usage. Something must have transpired though between them and marvel to release that ROM mighty muggy not to long ago. Before that ROM fans (well at least me) were worried about ROM the Transformer bot shot that got canceled. Hopefully with the mighty mugg a start of bringing him back will follow with allowing him to return to the pages.

    1. my fingers are crossed for that Joseph, but I don't have my hopes up just yet.

  5. The way I remember hearing it is that it isn't so much Hasbro/Parker Bros who are withholding the rights of the ROM character from Marvel, but rather the estates of the three guys who originally created the toy independently and sold it to Parker Bros while retaining partial ownership. I should also point out that the content of the ad you played was indeed inspired by the comic, thus name dropping things like the Dire Wraiths, and all that came with the character in terms of universe and backstory was his name and the names and descriptions of his weapons. That's it. Everything else was Mantlo and Marvel. And Shooter has recently been trying to take credit for a lot of it, but he's Shooter.

    Great episode. Great issue. Love how cinematic it is. Would make a crackling first act of a film or first episode of a TV series. In fact, what I loved about how Mantlo plotted out his series is that he interwove ongoing threads and one off stories in a way very similar to many television shows today. Just a genuine talent all around. And despite the one-note grimace of a lot of Sal Buscema's faces, he's such a dynamic and powerful storyteller on the page that I always get pulled into the action and roll right past any of his shortcomings.

    1. That makes sense on the rights issue. There is obviously "something" going on, and three different estates of three different inventors seems like a "something" that makes sense. I think there also a fundamental misunderstanding of "owned" versus "licensed," and the long-term nature of those deals. And when the original deals were made, reprint rights and other ancillary rights may not have been even considered, and are therefore pretty murky.

      But yes, what an exciting action-packed (well, just PACKED) issue this one was.

  6. I realize this is a deep dive, but as promised after your Vision and Scarlet Witch episodes I'm working on playing catch-up. The fact that it was Parker Brothers that introduced the idea of the Dire Wraiths was brilliant marketing. They didn't need to create a supporting cast of villain figures because a kid could pretend that literally any other toy he owned was an evil shape changing space wizard. "That's not Mego Aquaman! That's a Dire Wraith!"

    1. Feel free to keep commenting on episodes, new & old. That is a pretty genius idea, actually. Makes you wonder if that actually had that much foresight or lucked into it.