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Friday, November 16, 2012 

Micronauts and ROM: Spaceknight should be reprinted in trades

This news from Toyark (via The Outhousers) tells that following a new trademark filing by Hasbro, there might come new toys or even comics based on ROM: Spaceknight.

That could certainly be a cool idea, but not only that, as somebody who maintains the strong belief that modern audiences deserve the chance to read and appreciate older stories as much as new ones, I think that even the older comics series based on both that and the Micronauts should be reprinted. Micronauts and ROM were two of the first comics based on licensed merchandise like toys when Bill Mantlo first launched them for Marvel in 1979, having been inspired by some toy products his son got (similarly, DC's Swordquest miniseries in 1982 was one of the first comics based on computer games). And a funny thing is that they lasted much longer than the toys they were based on, both running till 1986 (Mego Corp stopped selling Micronauts in 1980 and Parker Brothers, which made ROM, cancelled it about a year after they started since sales were a failure).

Unlike a lot of later efforts based on toy merchandise, Mantlo tried - at least initially - to integrate the cast of characters into the Marvel universe which explains why, after the licenses expired, they couldn't reuse the characters nor reprint their adventures in paperbacks. In fact, I believe there was one issue of Power Man & Iron Fist where ROM turned up as a guest star that's not officially reprinted in any compilations to date because of the copyright difficulties. But honestly, I do think all this could be straightened out simply by Marvel arranging a meeting with Hasbro to secure the rights to reprinting the older archives of both Micronauts and ROM, and assuring them they'll get their share of the royalties made on sales.

Maybe there will come some new comics just like toys based on ROM and Micronauts, but even so, there should also come trade collections based on the original series from the Bronze Age. I think it could make a lot of people very happy.

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The last issue of Nova is always missing because of ROM. It's really annoying, and I hope they include it in a ROM reprint so I don't have to buy it twice to read one issue.

Or rather, there's an issue of ROM that had Nova, related to the huge war at the end of Nova's series.

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