June is here and that can only mean one thing here at the Buffet – it’s Forgotten Heroes month!
For those of you new to this blog, this annual event is now in its third year, after I came up with this crazy idea back in 2016. Full details of what it is and what the rules/guidelines are for this celebration of the overlooked and unloved can be found in this post, so I won’t go into too much detail here.
Now, last year I created a whole team of superheroes, namely Image Comics’ Mystery Incorporated from the 1963 mini-series, who were a pastiche of Marvel’s Fantastic Four. If you’re interested in this “Quantum Quartet”, they can be seen in their finished forms in this post.
This year, as my time seems to be a little less available than previous years, I’ve decided to just produce one figure. And the character I’ve chosen this year is Rom: Spaceknight!
Rom has an interesting history, as the character was originally created by Scott Dankman, Richard C. Levy and Bryan L. McCoy for Parker Brothers in 1979. This was the first ‘action figure’ that the company had ever produced, as they were primarily a publisher of board games.
As action figures go, Rom was a bit rubbish, as it only had limited articulation at the ankles and shoulders, but what it did have was electronic lights and sounds! Woo-hoo! However, it was essentially just a large hunk of silver-grey plastic, with different ‘tools’ that Rom could hold, which made different noises when they were plugged in to him. Yes, it was a ‘space’ toy, but you could have far more fun with an Action Man, the acceptable face of dolls for boys.
(And before anyone gets a bit miffed with me referring to Action Man (or G.I.Joe) as a doll, if you owned one, just how many different outfits did you have for him? And how often did he get changed? He was a doll – just a manly, rugged doll with a scar on his face.)
To drum up sales for the toy, the character was licensed to Marvel Comics in 1979 and in December of that year, the first issue of Rom: Spaceknight was published, written by Bill Mantlo and illustrated by Sal Buscema.
The comic book ran for 75 issues up until February 1986 and the character of Rom was fully integrated into the Marvel Universe. The comic actually lasted longer than the toy it was originally created to support.
Now, as the character was only licensed to Marvel, the rights to the character were retained by Parker Brothers, who subsequently became a subsidiary of Hasbro. So, whilst the comic book established him as a character within the Marvel Universe, created a supporting cast and back story for him and introduced the alien race known as Dire Wraiths, whilst all of the Marvel created characters CAN be used by Marvel, Rom can’t. So, you won’t see an official Heroclix miniature of him any time soon. He truly is a Forgotten Hero.
However, a massive cyborg warrior in gleaming silver armour, armed with a Neutraliser to banish those Dire Wraiths masquerading as humans to Limbo, is just too cool to remain forgotten, and whilst the toy was a little underwhelming, the iconic image from the cover of his first issue just begs to be replicated in miniature, so that’s what I’m going to attempt.
My base figure for this conversion is the Marvel Heroclix Aleph, from the Avengers Assemble subset:
As you can see, picking a base figure that is as close to the original as possible always makes your life a bit easier. My intention is to re-position the legs to get that iconic wide-legged stance, remove and re-position both the head and the left arm and add a scratch-built Neutraliser to his left hand. The various illustrations show him using it in both his left and right hands, but I want to mimic the image from the cover of his first issue as much as possible, so he will be left-handed.
I saved the axe-head from the Drax Heroclix figure I converted into Trapjaw, as this is made from transparent red plastic, specifically with this conversion in mind, as I will be using it to create Rom’s visor and the end of his Neutraliser. Well, that’s the plan anyway…
Until next time…