11-year-old child, discovering Rom: Spaceknight
was just more icing on the cake that was the world of comics.
The exciting concept of a heroic alien, stationed on our
planet to wipe out an evil alien race living right under
our noses? C’mon! You expect any red-blooded boy to
pass that up?
what then seemed so amazingly original was not; at least
not completely. And, the wonderfully dramatic and angst-ridden
dialogue of a man who had traded his (alien) humanity to
become a living weapon against evil now seems quite over
the top at times.
all of that, however, Rom, a production of Marvel
Comics, which began at the tail-end of 1979 and ran through
1986, still appeals. It’s the same appeal I have for
those habit-forming, goofy episodes of the original Star
Trek series. Or any of the grade “B” sci-fi
flicks I can’t seem to resist. (Mystery Science
Theater 3000, anyone?)
is some solid characterization there, however, thanks to
Bill Mantlo, who wrote the entire series, Annuals included.
Though a bit black and white, there is still room for heroes
that are true-blue, and villains that are..., well, truly
villainous. That was Rom and the evil “Dire Wraiths”,
every issue of Rom was an action-filled page turner,
with little time for readers to catch their breath. And,
with the premise that practically anyone could be a Wraith,
there were ample twists and turns along the way.
to Mantlo’s work that of two legendary comics artists,
Sal Buscema, whose ability to portray breakneck comics action
is surpassed by no one in the industry to this day, and
Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, who
took over with issue 59, and you have a series that begs
the question, “Why are there no Rom trade
paperbacks?” (editor's note: Because Marvel strangely
enough doesn't actually own Rom...)
Spaceknight is recommended for all ages. Find it at
comics shops and online retailers and auctions. Prices vary but should fit the personal budget of most.