Rom Spaceknight was a 1980s comic starring a giant silver alien cyborg who came to Earth to save it from the hidden menace of the Dire Wraiths, shapeshifting aliens who had infiltrated every level of human society.
It was glorious B-Movie fun, classic Marvel Comics misunderstood hero stuff, with Rom fighting both the Dire Wraiths and the humans he was trying to save while soliloquising about everything from the loneliness of space, man’s inhumanity to man, the environment and the fact that being a cyborg prevented him from ever knowing true love.
The comic was based on a crappy electronic-noise robot toy, but Bill Mantlo, the guy they got to write it, was so good at making beautiful, insane, soap-operatic superhero drama out of the lamest premises that the comic lasted seven years while the toy tanked in its first year of release.
Mantlo was seriously injured in a roller-blading accident a few years back, and since then there have been various fundraisers to help pay Bill’s medical costs. Back in 2007 Floating World Comics in Portland, OR hosted Spacenite, a fundraising exhibition of portraits of ROM by various artists, comic-based and otherwise. Seized by a combination of compassion, nostalgia and hubris, I submitted a pic to the exhibition.
Anyway, Spacenite 2.0 is up and running now, with another show planned for December 3rd, as well as a book featuring the artwork from both shows. The show’s curator, Jason Leivian, has put up a nifty blog featuring some of the gorgeous interpretations of Mr. Spaceknight, some of which are rather lovely indeed (and which, needless to say, put my own modest effort in its proper place).
Jason’s also looking for new contributors, both for the book and the show. So if you’re a longtime Rom fan, or if you’re merely an intrigued Rom newbie, check out the Spacenite blog and contact Jason at jason [SCHNELL] floatingworldcomics [LIEBCHEN] com (where SCHNELL = @ and LIEBCHEN = . ). Submissions for the book are open until September 7, and submissions for the exhibition are open until November 9, although Jason has said that he’s prepared to be a little flexible with those dates if necessary.
And if you need to fuel those Rom Spaceknight fan-fires any futher, I heartily recommend Scott Tipton’s excellent recap of the entire 75-issue run over at Comics 101, as well as this complete gallery of Rom Spaceknight covers.