10 November 2011

A quintet of naughts video game finds

I finally posted the last of the the old video game posts I promised over a year ago.
This is the last of my old "video game find" posts that I have for now, so I don't know if there will be more "pre-blog" posts in the future or not.

08 November 2011

Boxed Intellivision find

I was perhaps a latecomer to Craigslist, but today my CraigsNotification app for my phone finally paid off! Now, I've seen some items come and go before, but typically they were priced beyond what I was willing to pay. This purchase, however, has made up for a lot of those.

It was a very brief listing about a working Intellivision and "a bunch of games" for $25 featuring a photo of the Master Component sitting on its box! Although I responded within an hour saying I was interested and asking if the games were also boxed, apparently I was the second to respond. He said yes, the games were boxed, but he might already have a buyer and would get back to me.

Three days later, he sent me an e-mail saying he'd given up on the other person. He said he had about 12-15 games, all in the boxes with overlays. We made arrangements and met this morning. What he had far exceeded my expectations! Here's the list, which has 24 games. Nothing overly rare, but almost everything seems to be boxed and complete!

  • Intellivision (I) Master Component with packing materials (styrofoam & bags) & docs
  • Intellivoice in bubble wrap with docs
  • Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Cartridge
  • Armor Battle
  • Astrosmash
  • B-17 Bomber
  • Blockade Runner (the only one I didn't already have)
  • Bomb Squad
  • BurgerTime
  • Donkey Kong
  • Football (INTV)
  • Frogger
  • Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack (of course)
  • Major League Baseball
  • Night Stalker
  • PBA Bowling
  • PGA Golf
  • Sea Battle
  • Snafu (Sears)
  • Space Armada
  • Space Battle
  • Tennis
  • U.S. Ski Team Skiing
  • Tron Maze-A-Tron
  • World Challenge Baseball (the only one not boxed; also missing instructions)
In addition to the hardware and games, there were also catalogs and a newsletter, none of which I already had:
  • Intellivision Game Club News #2
  • Triton catalog, Fall 1985
  • Triton catalog, Spring 1986
  • Triton catalog, Fall 1986 (x2)

There's also the original receipt, showing his (or probably his dad's) purchase of the console ($257.87) and Space Battle ($27.87) from Service Merchandise on August 24, 1981. With tax, the grand total was $305.74. I even found the original price tag inside the console's box.

The serial number on the box is handwritten (316663). Anyone know if that was common? And it doesn't match the typed serial number on the console (722341). However, the console also has a "TRW Rescue" sticker on the bottom dated 12-02-82 and another bright orange stickers saying "For service call TRW" with a phone number, so I'm wondering if the console had to be repaired and was swapped with another.

The price tags on the IntelliVoice box (serial no. 256826) are also interesting. They're all from Kmart. The oldest one visible is marked 5-84 and is for $19.97. There's then a series of labels ending in one from 6-86 for $4.00. He expressed dissatisfaction with the IntelliVoice when I was looking through everything and from the contacts, it appears to have been used very little.

One oddity I noticed as I went through is that most of the boxes were missing a long flap across the top or bottom. I thought maybe they were sent in for some sort of rebate and asked the seller about it via e-mail. Unfortunately, he could not recall why they were removed and, in fact, the games hadn't even been pulled out for who knows how long until I looked at them when we met.

He's apparently a well organized person who doesn't throw things away. I asked if it'd been sitting in his attic all this time and he said no, it'd been sitting on a shelf in his house. All in all, the condition of this stuff is amazing. I'm happy to have it. Now, how to let my wife know?

A pair of Rom mentions in blog posts

Today I came across two mentions of Rom on the blogosphere. First, Jim Shooter spoke of Steve Ditko, noting "Giving Steve work is easier said than done. He’s very particular about what he will and won’t do. [. . . ] He refused to work on any books with 'flawed' heroes. [. . .] Fortunately, we had ROM, Spaceknight. ROM fit Steve’s criteria well enough."

Next, Marvel Comics of the 1980s today features some of Bill Sienkiewicz's original art from Rom. Enjoy!

21 July 2011

JLA/Avengers dueling editorials

On his blog, former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter is currently writing about the DC/Marvel crossover specials from his tenure and why the original JLA/Avengers crossover never happened. In Part 4 of "The Secret Origin and Gooey Death of the Marvel/DC Crossovers", he mentioned the editorial he wrote in Marvel Age#19 and the rebuttal written by his DC counterpart, Dick Giordano, but said he couldn't find them quickly on the Internet. So I figured I'd help out.

This took place somewhat early in my comic book collecting days, when I was just beginning to branch out to publishers other than Marvel. But I remembered reading Giordano's editorial, so figured I could probably help out if I scoured my collection. Little did I know!

Marvel Age#19 was easy. It was right in the box where I left it. (Click images to view larger versions.)

The first part of Giordano's response is available at the Last of the Famous International Fanboys blog, but he was unable to find the second part. Even though I wasn't buying a lot of DC comics at the time, I figured I must have it somewhere. I checked a couple of DC comics cover dated January 1985, but it wasn't in them. I went to the Grand Comic Book Database and did an advanced search to find all the January 1985 DC comics. It turns out I have very few. Finally, as I'm almost out of options, I find it. It's in a comic in my "to sell" box that has yet to find a new home: Robotech Defenders #1.

Now to post comments on those blogs to direct people here. I highly recommend you check them both out.

19 June 2011

What if it's an elaborate joke?

Perhaps you've heard that J.K. Rowling, creator of Harry Potter, has a mysterious new web site called pottermore.com? It would seem to offer more Harry Potter, but so far the only official word is, "it's not another book". What if it's all a big, elaborate hoax?

I don't just mean PotterMore. Or rather not just that. What if there is no J.K. Rowling? Today, J.K. is an abbreviation for "just kidding", giving a hint of her non-existence. The person you know is just an actress fronting for the group behind the prank. Yes, prank.

Have you wondered why "Rowling" is pronounced like "rolling"? Perhaps it's the clue to what it's all about. Imagine there's a group that studied worldwide trends and determined a young wizard in a magical setting would be the next big thing. They went on to write seven books that only increased in popularity with each one, leading to a movie deal that only grew the Potter auidence more.

Now, as the audience reaches it's peak with the final movie about to be released, we get to pottermore.com and it's attention-getting "coming soon". Well, what if millions go to pottermore.com at the appointed time and find out why it's pronounced "rolling" as they get rickrolled, the largest rickroll in history!

Or maybe not.

17 June 2011

Shooter on Rom

If you're a Rom fan, you'll want to read Jim Shooter telling the tale of how he made the jump from toy to comics. And that's all I have to say on it right now.

05 May 2011

Spaceknight art by Jeff Slemons

I hadn't heard of Jeff Slemons before, but he's apparently the one responsible for the Spaceknights piece you're seeing to the right. This piece of art, an ink illustration on 15" x 20" Strathmore 4-ply Plate Bristol, is currently up for auction on eBay. Don't consider this an endorsement of the seller, as I don't even know them, but it's at least worth looking at while the image is available.

UPDATE, 4:00 PM: I stand corrected. I have heard about Mr. Slemons before at David H.'s blog, but had forgotten. Still generally unfamiliar with him, though.

30 April 2011


I live in north Alabama, which if you haven't heard, has been hit by a major series of tornadoes. My family are okay, but we will be without power for who knows how much longer. Internet service has sporadically returned to my phone, but is very unreliable, so you won't be seeing me online much for a while.

We were invited to a nearby friends' house, with power, to get a hot shower and wash some laundry. Ah, luxury! And Internet, so I'm able to post to various accounts. Hope whoever might be reading this is safe.

26 April 2011

Build Your Own (Cubeecraft) Rom

StormofDragons posted a link to his Cubeecraft Spaceknights (and Hellhound) to the Galador mailing list. Cubeecraft is essentially cube-like figures that you can make yourself by printing and cutting out the template. They're held together by tabs and slots, so no adhesive is needed, but I'd advise using card stock paper and a X-Acto knife. I just learned about these and therefore have no photos of the finished products, but here's what SoD said:
I have a number of papercraft models I've designed and built, and my youngest son wanted to participate in the hobby, so I found some that were up to his skill level. Cubeecraft are pretty basic, box shapes that require no glue or tape to assemble. Just print, cut, and assemble. My son and I have made dozens of these things related to anime, video games, and comic book characters.

That was when I realized there was a distinct lack of all things "Spaceknight."

To remedy this, I have designed a number of these Cubeecraft models over the last couple months, with the last 4 being Rom, Terminator, Javelin, and a Dire Wraith Hellhound.

I'm working on a male and female Dire Wraith, a Watchwraith, a Firefall, a Hammerhand, and a Starshine I. Eventually, I'll also do the Spaceknight Squadron, and a Gloriole. I want to have all the original Gen 1 Spaceknights represented.
So what are you waiting for? Get cutting!

06 April 2011

Review of Annihilators #2 from the long-time Rom fan POV

Annihilators #2
"Dark Sun Rise"
Writers: Dan Abbnett and Andy Lanning
Penciler: Tan Eng Huat
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colorist: June Chung
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Editor: Bill Rosemann

Annihilators #2 came out today. What I said in the first paragraph of my review of #1 still applies, but I'm going to be briefer this time than last. Unfortunately, I found much more to be annoyed by than liked. Many, many spoilers follow.

First, on the very first page, in the recap, it says the team "was alerted to unusual signals from the vicinity of the Dark Nebula, location of Ikon's birth planet Galador". If they meant Galador is in the Dark Nebula, that's just wrong! If they meant Galador is near the Dark Nebula, I guess that depends on your definition of "near" since we're dealing with a galactic scale, but I'd still say it's phrased poorly.

The art is generally good, but there are some oddities, like Doctor Dredd's head sticking out of Quasar's quantum cage. And why on Galador does the Silver Surfer have ears? Did he have ears in #1? I'll have to go back and check.

Deathwings are not physical, but rather energy beings. Here, however, they look simply like black pterodactyls. Dire Wraiths have been known to transform into something like these, which are similar to (and called) Deathwings, but they lacked the soul-numbing abilities of the real thing. I was hoping that maybe what we saw on the last page of #1 was a bunch of Wraiths transformed thus, and while that could still wind up to be the case, that doesn't seem to be where the story is going.

Also, we're told Hellhounds are attacking as well, but I don't see a single one in the art. Speaking of which, once again it appears, except for Brandy, Galador is inhabited by nothing but Spaceknights. Where are the humans? Where are the Angel Elite? Couldn't they have sent some references to Huat???

Another question arises not from Huat's art, but Chung's colors. Why has Brandy Clark's hair changed to black? It should be brown. If they want, they can change the color once she breaks the Wraiths' hold on her and blame it on that. (Told you there'd be spoilers.)

And now her title is Matriarch? What happened to "Lady Prime"?

Fetch Brandy the Starshine armor? First of all, if we're still talking about the original armor, that's not something one can put on and take off. Typical Spaceknights of that generation were cybernetically grafted into it during what appeared to be a long and complicated process. Brandy, however, was mystically bound to it by Wraith magic. I doubt that's something the Galadorians would try to recreate. Second, there was a new Starshine. What happened to her? For that matter, what's happened to Brandy's sons? Were they indeed killed during Annihilation? They don't even rate a mention?

Beta Ray Bill explicitly mentions fighting in the last Wraithwar! Yes, continuity! Now if we can just get Gladiator to mention that he met Rom as well and it's all good.

I really didn't like where they were going with Brandy giving Doctor Dredd information, but I'll accept it as Dire Wraith manipulation. However, where the heck did Volx ("the Wraith Queen") come from? She just appeared out of nowhere! I thought maybe they meant she'd taken on the identity of one of Brandy's advisors, but there was no one there at all the page before!

Also, the same question applies to her as to Doctor Dredd: how is she back from the dead? She wasn't merely banished, Night Thrasher killed her! I'm really hoping we readers get a better explanation than Dredd's bizarre little rant in #1 by the time this series is through.

Finally, I'm simply finding no redeeming qualities to Ikon. Yes, she's a badass, but she lacks pretty much all the qualities that made Rom a great character. She has none of his nobility. I'm hoping, maybe, we'll see some character growth from her by the end of the series, but given that's it's already half over, I'm not hopeful.

Okay, so this was less of a review and more of a kvetching session. I apologize. I think it's great that they're trying to do something with the Wraiths and Spaceknights, but for all it's faults, I'm finding the Spaceknights approach far better than what's being done here so far.

02 March 2011

Review of Annihilators #1 from the long-time Rom fan POV

Annihilators #1
"Blame It on the Black Star"
Writers: Dan Abbnett and Andy Lanning
Penciler: Tan Eng Huat
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colorist: June Chung
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Editor: Bill Rosemann

Annihilators #1 came out today, so I proceeded to my local comic shop at lunch time and made sure I left with a copy in my little, sweaty hand. (Metaphorically, of course.) Cutting to the chase, the story is riveting and the art is serviceable. Certainly worth it for the Rom fans. The high ($4.99!) cover price is due to the issue being double-sized, featuring a second, full-sized story featuring Rocket Racoon (another Bill Mantlo creation) and Groot from the former Guardians of the Galaxy, which I won't be covering.

I'm unfamiliar with artists Huat and Olazaba. They're art isn't bad, but to me it feels like it was rushed. Perhaps it's just their style. The Silver Surfer, in particular, looks off to me, but that may be because colorist Chung seems to have made him more gray than sleek silver, which admittedly is a hard effect to master in comics. The art certainly isn't bad, but in my opinion, it's not excellent either.

On to the story. (CAUTION: Major spoilers ahead!) First, we establish the villain. Somehow, Dire Wraith sorcerer Doctor Dredd appears to have returned from the dead. (Doctor Dredd is the Wraith warlock who bonded Brandy Clark to the Starshine armor, for those who'd forgotten.) Mind you, he's ditched the cape and extra-wide belt (sorry, the latter's not shown in my scan) and added some stripes and shoulder spikes to his outfit.

This brings up all sorts of questions. First, why is he bothering with his human disguise? Second, how is he alive? We saw a clone of Rom kill Dredd with his bare hands in ROM #43. There was little doubt to his death, as his body was clearly shown turning to ash as Wraiths do when killed. Dredd himself later answers this with vague comment, "nothing stays dead forever. Especially when you can take the galaxy and cut and re-edit it." Of course, since Wraiths are shape-shifters, perhaps this isn't the original, but another Wraith who's taken the same form?

Next we cut back to where we left the Annihilators and female Spaceknight Ikon at the end of The Thanos Imperative: Devastation. She seems to have a serious lack of manners, but it's for a reason. She mops the floor with the them, mainly to show that perhaps they're too powerful to make an effective group.

We then get a brief origin for her. Star-Lord invited Galador to provide a Spaceknight to the Annihilators team. After their embarrassing part as pawns of the Phalanx during Annihilation: Conquest, they sought to redeem themselves. Ikon — we are given no other name for her — was ultimately selected. She immodestly maintains that she is "the greatest living Spaceknight". This brings to mind one question. Did Rom ever describe himself as the greatest of the Spaceknights? I don't think he did, but would love an example if someone can provide it.

As she's trying to talk them out of forming their team, the Annihilators detect unusual readings coming from the Dark Nebula, so of course they go to check it out. It seems that Galador has a space station just outside it called the Keep. It's function is to keep the light of the black sun contained so that the remaining Dire Wraiths across the cosmos can't regain their magic.

This is all new information. The last we readers saw, the Wraiths were powerless after Rom destroyed Wraithworld. Although the fate of the Dark Nebula's black sun wasn't stated at the time, there was certainly no Galadorian outpost in place at the time to keep its light contained. I'm certainly willing to accept the sun, rather than Wraithworld itself, as the source of the Wraiths' power. (Galactus said as much himself in Rom #27.) But there's still a piece missing. Because the black sun was central to the Wraith's worldmerge spell at the end of the Wraith War on Earth, perhaps dispelling it temporarily disrupted the sun's energy patterns, leaving the Wraiths powerless only for a time. Perhaps the Galadorians realized this in time and setup up safeguards to prevent the Wraiths from regaining their magic. Perhaps I should ask Marvel for a No-Prize for my theory.

Anyway, inside the Keep, we find slaughtered Spaceknights. We get our first exclamation from Ikon: "great suns!" Then Dredd appears, who Ikon instantly recognizes. This seems odd. After all this time, why would Spaceknights be briefed on a Wraith known to be dead? And aside from transforming Brandy into Starshine, he never really did anything of enough consequence to be worth mentioning. Heck, Rom didn't even need his Neutralizer to take care of him, just his bare, human hands! At least we now know why he's in human guise, though. So Ikon can recognize him. (Because, frankly, all Wraiths pretty much look alike.) Then we discover the Dark Nebula's black sun is missing, causing Ikon to exclaim, "Oh, my god". What a curiously Earth phrase for her to utter. I'd think she should have said "gods of Galador" instead.

Back on Galador, we discover where the black sun went, and it's not good. Oh, and it's also accompanied by a few thousand Deathwings. Certainly quite the cliffhanger to leave off with!

A few quibbles here, though. The way they show it, you'd think everyone on Galador is a Spaceknight. That's certainly not the case. Also, all the Spaceknights in this issue are silver. Spaceknights have always come in a variety of colors.

So, in the end, the story's shaping up nicely. I just hope they're not planning on destroying Galador before they're through. I also wouldn't mind seeing some familiar Spaceknight faces, but that's not looking likely. Either way, I look forward to Annihilators #2.

16 February 2011

More About Annihilators

Alex Garner has posted his painted cover for Annihilators #3, and what a doozy it is! I hope the Silver Surfer's galactic glaze is Dire Wraith tongue-proof.

I mentioned last time that Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (a.k.a. DnA) were approached about a Spaceknights sequel ten years ago and wondered if any ideas from back then might have carried over to this series. Well, I sent an e-mail to Mr. Abnett asking him just that. Here's his response:

The Annihilators is NOT the story we would have done on Spaceknights ten years ago with Chris [Batista], because things have moved on. BUT...the tone is similar, and it similarly explores our interest in and fondness for the Spaceknight characters and concept. Hope you enjoy the result.

Well, I can't speak for the story yet, but I'm certainly enjoying the covers.

07 January 2011

The Dire Wraiths Return!

First, a brief apology. I've somehow let three months slip by without posting to my blog. I had some ideas for posts, but not the time to do them. I'd love to say it won't happen again, but we have a family event coming in July that will probably derail the blog some more.

Moving on, it's time to eat my own words. The Dire Wraiths are, in fact, returning. Their return, however, has nothing to do with the Avengers, as one might have guessed from entries appearing in the Secret Invasion-related Marvel Handbooks. It's Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (a.k.a. DnA) who are bringing them back in Annihilators, a four-issue limited series coming in March. And where there's Dire Wraiths, the Spaceknights are not far behind.

DnA spoke with Comic Book Resources about the series and the Dire Wraiths, in particular. Of the Wraiths, Abnett said, "they're immensely cool." I suggest you check the interview out. The artist on the series is Tan Eng Huat. I'm not familiar with his work, but he did a nice illustration of Rom for the Spacenight 2 auctions, which I also recommend you check out.

The most interesting thing about this to me is something Chris Batista told me back in 2000 when the Spaceknights limited series was coming out. DnA were apparently asked if they'd like to write a Spaceknights sequel (assuming, at the time, that sales would be good enough to warrant such). Batista told me, "they were very ecstatic about the possibility." So I'm most curious if DnA are working from any of Batista's notes from 10 years ago, but haven't been able to get an answer.

As you can guess from the name, Annihilators continues the cosmic saga that began with Annihilation and most recently wrapped up The Thanos Imperative . However, if you're out of touch with Marvel's cosmic heroes, you don't need to know a lot. First, the Inhumans and Ronan are now in charge of the Kree Empire. Gladiator, of the Imperial Guard, is now head of the Shi'Ar empire. And the Silver Surfer is once again the herald of Galactus.

If you're a fan of Rom and want to get caught up, I highly recommend you pick up, The Thanos Imperative: Devastation, a one-shot that just came out this week. And not just so you can read about the aftermath of that event.

(I wish Blogger had the ability to hide text for spoilers, but it doesn't. Therefore, if you don't want anything spoiled, you can stop here. If you need a really good reason for spending your four bucks on this, read on.)

The final page of the issue features a previously unseen Spaceknight named Ikon. She carries some kind of cosmic polearm. The Dire Wraiths are talked about, but do not yet appear.