Licensed by Marvel from Hasbro for a giant electronic figure that the toy company wished to mass market, ROM : SPACEKNIGHT became one of the best-ever licensed properties - especially for that of a toy.
(For the full information on the toy - including a video showing how it worked - check out this old post [HERE] and its follow-up post [HERE]).
A series, written by Bill Mantlo and drawn by Sal Buscema (and later, Steve Ditko) the title has garnered fans the world over, and to this day is beloved part of my youth, memories and collection.
So, when it was shown - on the blog of Marvel Comics' former Editor-In-Chief; Jim Shooter [HERE] - the previously UNPUBLISHED FIRST DRAFT of the COVER to Issue # 1... well... I just HAD to showcase it here as well!
UNUSED, UNPUBLISHED COVER to ROM # 1
by Michael Netzer.
The artwork shown here is torn into pieces by the artist.
This is due to, having his cover being rejected (due to its being totally misrepresentative of the story within), Netzer tore the artwork and stormed out of the Marvel offices, vowing to never work there again.
As the artist noted, his interpretation of the cover had the townsfolk "...admiring the magnificent robot..." which is the direct opposite of the "Day The Earth Stood Still" type of vibe that the creative team were looking to achieve.
To make matters worse, Netzer also drew several Marvel staffers as beatific apostles, with himself as some Christlike figure in the bottom-center of the image.
As the story goes, after being told to re-draw the image more to the editorial direction, Netzer instead tore up his artwork (as shown above), vowed to never work for Marvel again, and then proceeded to venture on a deranged mission to hijack a plane!
Needless to say, this presented a HUGE problem, because the cover was already late and there simply wasn't time for another to be commissioned.
Enter new star artist Frank Miller, and overnight he whipped up the illustration that would be used to grace the cover of ROM ; SPACEKNIGHT # 1!
Here, we present that FINAL, PUBLISHED image!
Klaatu, Ba-ROM-da, Nikto
While the story's mood is captured better here than in the unused piece, many similarities of ROM's pose can be seen between the two covers. Obviously, Netzer's cover was drawn using the actual TOY as reference, while Miller's seems to have used Netzer's as reference.
The entire story of the bizarre debacle can be found on a previous entry of Jim Shooter's blog [HERE].
(Michael Netzer's response to that blog post can also be found [HERE] - with Jim Shooter's further reply [HERE].)
And, once again (because it IS a really good blog post) I'll drop the linkee to where you can read about how ROM is one of the three founders (with Man-Thing and Doctor Strange) of my love of comics.
That post can be found [HERE].
(And, again... For the full information on the toy - including a video showing how it worked - check out this old post [HERE] and its follow-up post [HERE]).