A Dire Wraith By Any Other Name: The Beauty And Brilliance Of POEM: Spaceknight
ROM: Spaceknight is the definition of a cult-classic series; a sci-fi gem from the era that gave us Tron, Blade Runner and The Empire Strikes Back. ROM’s popularity is also bolstered by his absence from comics pages for several decades, but one fan is paying tribute to the Galadorian Spaceknight in the most capital-R Romantic way possible.
Ahead of the upcoming IDW relaunch as ROM: The Space Knight, Australian poet Adam Ford is writing a poem for each and every issue of the classic Marvel series, including annuals, as part of a series he calls POEM: Spaceknight.
Here, for example, is "Reunciation", inspired by Rom: Spaceknight #48:
Magically melded with the golden armour
of a dead alien warrior, she has the power.
The power to fly into airless space and
look down upon the Earth as it spins.
The power to summon the light within her
and fashion a portal to anywhere she wants.
The power to melt a mugger’s gun
with beams that emerge from her eyes.
The power to blind her attackers with
the otherworldly radiance at her command.
The power to stand unconcerned amid
a hail of bullets fired in desperation.
The power to remind her companion
of the reason she stole the armour:
to join him in the fight for liberation so that
the two of them need never be apart again.
If you’re unfamiliar with ROM: Spaceknight, the character started life as a fairly uninspired and unpopular toy, but was given a new lease on life when Marvel Comics licensed the property from Parker Bros. Under Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema, ROM was given an origin, backstory, enemies, motivations and a love interest.
ROM: Spaceknight was set in the Marvel Universe, and crossed over with the likes of The X-Men, Doctor Strange, and Power Man & Iron Fist. There are characters and concepts introduced in the series still active today, such as Dire Wraiths, although due to licensing issues, ROM himself has been absent from pages of Marvel Comics for decades.
Ford’s poems are a touching tribute to a character thought lost to time, and they paint the hero as a noble adventurer capable to stand next to any "classic" literary hero. Ford often plays around with style and tone; some poems such as “The Thing From Outer Space” have a legendary, timeless air to them, while “Arrival!” is much more informal and refers to ROM: Spaceknight #1 as “They Live Meets When Harry Met Sally”
We often see works of visual fan-art dedicated to beloved series and characters, but it’s rare for that love to be expressed through the medium of poetry. Adam Ford is creating something unique and fun with POEM: Spaceknight, and hopefully it can begin a trend of new creative ways to express fandom, which always a good thing.
Now excuse me, I have to go write Micronauts! The Musical.
ROM: Spaceknight was co-created by Bill Mantlo, who also co-created Rocket Raccoon, Cloak and Dagger and many more classic Marvel Comics characters. There is an ongoing fund to raise money for his care following an accident in 1992. Donations can be made via this link.