Sunday, December 30, 2007

ROMance ART, Spaceknight Love

Boy! I’m F-ing lucky. Why? because I almost missed an exhibition dedicated to one of my all time faves, ROM the Spaceknight. If I hadn’t gone out for Japanese food, if my SO hadn’t picked up a copy of the December 18th issue of the Asian Reporter, and if I hadn’t decided to skim it, I would never have read an article about Floating World ComicsRom Exhibition in downtown Portland. Whew! My wife and I went there today… the last day of the show. Man, I have to start paying a lot more attention to what is going on around town.

A selection of ROM art (image from Floating World Comics website)

Check out the informative Asian Reporter, article by Toni Tabora-Roberts here.

The quick rundown is that Floating World Comics’ owner, Jason Leivian, decided to put on a fundraiser for Bill Mantlo, the scribe of the ROM comic series from the 80s. A car hit Mantlo in 1992 and left him severely disabled. All proceeds from this show are going towards his care. Leivian, like so many others, loves the ROM character and felt an exhibition celebrating him was great way to honor Mantlo and give back to a creator in need.

Jason Leivian in front of many of the works on Ebay

Floating World Comics is a wonderful shop with a very diverse line of comic books, from the mainstream, to Indy, to the avant-garde. So, the venue was a perfect place for a ROM exhibition made up of artists with varied styles. Leivian did two innovative things with this show. The first was allowing artists from around the world to submit digital copies their work. This allowed Leivian to print out a limited number of high quality images for the show. Toni Tabora-Roberts dubbed this "Cyber Curating" in her article. I see a future in this. The second innovation Leivian used was a sliding scale for the digital prints. See, the first copy of any image had a low price of 5 bucks but each additional copy jumps in price by 5 dollars with the 6th print at 30 bucks. That way pieces by famous artists are balanced out with the less well-known work. The final aspect of the show was on-line auctions of ROM artwork by some of the artists featured in the show. The auctions have all closed by now and Leivian was happy to tell me that the auctions generated over $9,000.

I bought a print of Shane White's version of ROM (image from his blog here)

There were still some amazing prints available but sadly a few of the items I would have liked to get were long gone, but I’m not complaining because I might have missed the show all together and besides Leivian told me he plans on printing a limited run book that will contain all the art in show! Oh Yeah! That’s on the list.

Something that was amazing about the show for me personally was how I was drawn to the non-superhero style art. I guess there is just something universal about ROM that I never realized before. Maybe it’s his simple face that allows the viewer to add his or her own emotions character or it’s possibly ROM’s pseudo-retro, sci-fi design, I don’t know, but he seems to have a certain appeal beyond the comic book page. I was so inspired in fact that I’ve decided to whip up my own ROM artwork… and I’m not an artist. But that doesn’t matter… ROM is one of those galactic everyman characters that belong to all of us. Drawing your own ROM would make a great net meme, so why don’t you join me in creating one... …or two…

I didn't catch the name on this artist but nice work. (if you know it please leave a comment)
ROM and Starshine on Tortillas! By Mike Scheer (image from Floating World Comics site)
Guy Davis' ROM it went for big bucks on Ebay (image from Floating World Comics website)
Colleen Coover (image from Floating World Comics website)

Here’s the Link for many of the creative images from the exhibition and auction.

Make your own ROM!



Arkonbey said...

Man. That is a TON of great art.
Grrr. Nothing that cool seems to happen here. Glad you could make it though.

ROM is a pretty unsung character (starting as a toy and all). I have only one issue, the Christmas issue with the metal controlling guy with giant metal-eating spiders.

Swinebread said...

It was really fun, I'm so glad I went before it was over. I got lucky...

I like ROM, many of his issues have really amazing art. I have soft spot for the issues right around 47 when he met the Soviet Super Solders.

Dr. Zaius said...

Happy New Year, Swinebread!

ladybug said...

I love serendipitous events like this!

Enjoy it while you has a way of tightening it's screws on you until your a hamster on a wheel...

Whoa! That's a bit dark! Anyhoo it's all in fun, and can't wait to see ya'll today!

Happy New Year!

Swinebread said...

Dr. Zaius - and you too!

LB - it was fun! Happy New year to you too!

Overdroid said...

Rom is cool.

Swinebread said...

he sure is