Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The RETURN...? (Out of Limbo)

So... could it BE?
At long last, after YEARS of wrangling legal rights out of a quagmire of inactivity and confusion...?

The RETURN of...



It seems that HASBRO, the holder of the rights to ROM, and manufacturer of Marvel Legends action figures, has recently filed new trademarks for "ROM" and "ROM the SPACEKNIGHT".
Not sure what that means at this time, but since next year is the 30th Anniversary of his appearance (toy and comic), it stands to reason SOMETHING is going on.

Beginning in 1979, ROM started life as a cult-favorite toy "action figure" from Parker Bros., and a simultaneous Marvel comics series written by Bill Mantlo and illustrated by Sal Buscema (and later Steve Ditko).

The comic series was about a man from the planet Galador who, upon seeing his peaceful world attacked by foul, evil invaders, was fused with living armor to become the first, and greatest of the "spaceknights", in order to battle the shape-shifting, evil alien menace. That menace was the DIRE WRAITHS, a race of aliens who sought to take over worlds and rule the galaxy via evil science and dark sorcery. An evolutionary offshoot of the Skrulls, the Wraiths were so reviled by all that even the Skrulls despised them. The Wraiths came to Earth many years earlier and had been infiltrating the world's populace by taking the forms of people from all levels of society; the farmers and the politicians alike. (30 years before Secret Invasion.)

ROM came to Earth to rid it of Wraith infestation. Wielding various weapons and tools, he was able to pierce the wraith's disguises and banish them to an otherworldly Limbo. This was seen, by human eyes, as his murdering innocent humans (since the wraiths human-shells would turn to dust while their spirits fell into the other dimension - unseen), and he was seen as a menacing alien robot by a frightened and confused populace. Soon, however, he earned their respect and trust and not too long thereafter gathered the aid of nearly ALL of the world's super-powered heroes to win the war on Earth.
He would then continue his fight to the stars.

An epic tale of humanity (and alien ass-kicking) and one that is just as good when read today as it was then.

While the toy quickly vanished from shelves, due to a lack of anything else in the toy-line, the series lasted over 7 years (a 75 issue run and 4 annuals, a few guest starring spots and a storyline that TOTALLY affected the landscape of the Marvel Universe). Eventually, his story reached an "end" and it remains a much beloved hallmark in the lives of comic fans to this very day.

There have been many attempts to revive ROM over the past few years, at least one by his creator; Bing McCoy. However, all attempts have ended in... well... LIMBO (except for a horrid one-off mini-series by Marvel - about the Next Generation of Spaceknights - that was received with disdain by all).

However, that is all in the past.
Perhaps now ROM will return from LIMBO!

(the fantastic cover to ROM # 19, by Michael Golden)
image from the GCD

But in what capacity? Only the Gods of Galador know for sure.

Info garnered from the ROM, Spaceknight Revisited site, who garnered info from the Allspark Forum.

Somewhere, Chris Sims is weeping tears of joy.
Me too... me too.


***UPDATE***
(03-21-09)
Check out THIS entry for MORE recent info about a possible RETURN of
ROM!
***END UPDATE***

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****2nd UPDATE***
(07-03-09)
Check out THIS entry for MORE recent info on the possible PROBLEMS with a return of
ROM!
***END 2nd UPDATE***


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****3rd UPDATE***
(07-01-06)
ROM is BACK!
But it he is being published by IDW, who managed to secure the rights (and not Marvel).
This means that ANY aspect that we loved from the Marvel run can not and will not be in this run.
So, NO Galador, No Hybrid, not much of ANY kind of history really.
It's a clean slate with a whole new take.
I'll buy it and see how it goes.
***END 3rd UPDATE***

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****4th UPDATE***
(07-06-07)
ROM is GONE - sorta!
After a little more than a year, ROM's IDW series is "cancelled" (sort of ).
He'll be folded into a new title that he'll share with the MICRONAUTS 
(also being published at IDW).
To be honest, I've bought every issue of the IDW ROM series, but the artwork seemed so... lacking on the first few issues that I never continued reading past #2.
I figured I'd catch up, but just haven't yet.
I'm up in the air if I'll buy the team-up title, as I've opted out of the other crossovers that IDW constantly published (with GI JOE and Micronauts and other properties) and sadly, none of their books LOOK appealing to me (art too amateurish for me, personally, and coloring too garish).
Sadly, if this were old-school Bill Mantlo penning a ROM / MICRONAUTS book I'd be ALL over it.
The past is done, and so, for now (sorta), is ROM
***END 4th UPDATE***

3 comments:

The Dude said...

Well i think it's safe to say that the best that we can hope for at this point is to keep ROM's legacy going on our own. One way is for artists out there to keep coming up with innovative ways to interpret the franchise. and then of course to share it with the rest of us. for example as a result of Bill Mantlo's tragic hit n run incident some really great ROM related art was produced to help finance his medical care. there was some weird stuff but also some people out there came up with some visually impressive work that really stirred the imagination of the viewer who is familiar with the ROM franchise already.

Apokoliptian said...

Well, I really liked the Space Knights mini-series written by Starlin and drawn by Chris Batista. It could be a good new series and I am almost certain that if it was re-packed for today, it would hit a new audience.

Rom rules!!!

John Loke said...

Glad to see the love for ROM is still strong. I thought I was among the few oddballs who loved him. =)

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