Channel Awesome
ROMTROSPECTIVE: ROM Spaceknight #1-40

At4w rom space knight 1 40 by mtc studios-d8hrjte-1024x453.png

February 16, 2015
A retrospective on the first 40 issues of the far-reaching licensed comic about a cyborg who fights evil space wizards.

(Linkara is seen pushing some buttons on a remote device. He looks up to see that he's on camera)

Linkara: Oh, hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. So, Pollo here jealous of how Jaeris' A.I., Sierra, had a more human-sounding voice–

Pollo: I am not jealous of that overgrown Speak & Spell.

Linkara: (sarcastically) Right... (normal) So, anyway, Pollo has been asking me to install a new voice module inside of him, so here we are.

Pollo: I am hoping I have some choices here.

Linkara: Of course. (pushes some buttons) I'm setting up a randomizer first so that when you find a voice that you like, you can adjust it as you see fit. (pushes one more button) And... go!

Pollo: (now sounding like ThatGuyWithTheGlasses) Ah! There we go. (beat) Hmm... It's an okay voice, but something about it sounds a little Daffy Duck-ish. Have another go.

Linkara: (shrugs) All righty. (pushes another button)

Pollo: (now speaking in a deep voice) There we are– Whoa! Damn! A bit more than I really anticipated. A little too... Barry White for my taste, but not bad. Try again?

Linkara: (resignedly) We are never gonna get to the review at this rate. Still... (pushes another button)

Pollo: (now speaking in a female voice) Okay, here we go. Hmm, a woman's voice? Could work, though I admit I don't really see myself as a woman.

Linkara: Pollo, you are whoever you want to be, so do whatever you want.

Pollo: I think we've been accused of ripping off "Shortpacked". Give it one more try.

Linkara: Okay. (pushes some more buttons) Let's do this... (pushes another button)

Pollo: (now speaking in a refined British accent) Hello? Hello? (realizes how he sounds) Hello...! Yes. Yes, I like this! British! Superior, snarky... Yes, I think this will do nicely. Very me. Let's go with it.

Linkara: Indeedy. (turns back to camera) And on that note, let's talk about... "ROM"!

(Footage of a commercial for a ROM toy)

Linkara (v/o): In 1978, Parker Brothers, hoping to capitalize on the success of Star Wars, introduced their own sci-fi toy: a single lone robot warrior, one of the first action figures to include electronic components, a toy that would revolutionize how we think of action figures, a toy unlike any other that would–

Linkara: (holding up a ROM toy of his own) Yeah, okay, the toy is not very good. It has very limited articulation, it makes some annoying sounds, and it lights up. Even at the time, it wasn't very impressive. But we're not here to evaluate the toy; we're here to talk about what the toy spawned. (plays with toy, causing it to make beeping sounds)

(Cut to a shot of the cover of an issue of "ROM: Spaceknight")

Linkara (v/o): Marvel, for one reason or another, decided to license "ROM" from Parker Brothers and make a comic book about it. But the thing about ROM is that, well, he had no backstory. Seriously, there was only a vague idea of what ROM was supposed to be doing: some explanation of his accessories; stating that he had a respirator, even though he was a robot; and there were no other toys in the line. He was it. So an original backstory for the character had to be created...

(Cut to the cover of a Rocket Raccoon comic)

Linkara (v/o): ...and the job of doing so was handed over to Bill Mantlo, whom some might know as the co-creator of Rocket Raccoon. Before this, he had been known as the fill-in king at Marvel, having written multiple fill-in stories ready for various Marvel titles, should a deadline be approaching and the intended story not be ready.

(Cut to the cover of a comic called "The Micronauts")

Linkara (v/o): He was instrumental in launching a book based on another toy line, Micronauts, which, like ROM, lasted far longer than the toys were actually on the shelves. And that brings us back to ROM.

(Cut to a shot of a cover of a ROM comic)

Linkara (v/o): Licensed stuff tends to take place in its own little world, but as I've discussed before, Marvel has had a very strange and interesting relationship with its properties, and you probably have no better example of that than with "ROM", whose impact on the Marvel Universe is still being seen today.

Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up a whole stack of "ROM" comics in his hands) "ROM: Spaceknight (flips through comics) #1-40" and behold the saga of the greatest of the Spaceknights, (holds up fist) "ROM"!

(AT4W title sequence plays, and the title card has audio from an ad for ROM playing in the background)

Commercial Announcer: ...slayer: ROM, the Spaceknight, the microelectronic creation from Parker Brothers.

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