Tuesday, May 26, 2009

1980 - The Greatest of the Spaceknights!

ROM #1-12
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Sal Buscema

ROM was originally introduced as an action figure in 1979 by Parker Brothers. To encourage sales of the action figure, Parker Brothers teamed up with Marvel Comics to produce a ROM comic book. Interestingly, the ROM action figure did not sell well and faded into obscurity, but the comic book survived well into the 1980s and even spawned a Spaceknights miniseries in 2000.

Two-hundred years ago, the evil Dire Wraiths threatened the peace-loving planet, Galador. In their homeworld's darkest hour, a thousand brave, young Galadorians sacrificed their humanity to become Cyborg Warriors. Though hopelessly outnumbered, these Spaceknights triumphed and pursued the remnants of the Wraith horde across the universe. Now, alone in the Enemy's mightiest stronghold, on a backward planet called Earth, one Galadorian Warrior faces his most awesome challenge.

Stan Lee Presents: The Greatest of the Spaceknights--ROM!

That intro blurb pretty much sums up the storyline. Veteran Marvel writer, Bill Mantlo, was called upon to chronicle ROM's adventures on Earth and was joined with usual partner-in-crime from the Incredible Hulk, Sal Buscema, one of Marvel’s most consistent and reliable artists.

After doing the cover for Rom #3, Michael Golden comes on aboard as regular cover artist for the rest of the first year and provides some memorable covers.

The first year of the storyline involved ROM getting acclimatized to Earth. He spends most of his time fending off the authorities as his Neutralizer weapon, which he uses to dispatch the Wraiths to Limbo, leaves them to believe that he’s killing people. Meanwhile, the Wraiths who have infiltrated humanity are more than willing to set ROM up as an alien villain and monster.

Unlike a lot of series debuts these days that rely on guest appearances of Spider-Man and Wolverine, ROM does pretty well on his own in the Marvel Universe. The first real character crossover is in issue #12, co-starring Jack of Hearts. Mantlo would actually go on to write the Jack of Hearts miniseries.

Mantlo continued to write the rest of the series until it was finally brought to an end due to an impasse between Marvel Comics and Hasbro (who acquired the rights from Parker Brothers). Buscema would pencil most of the issues until Rom #59 when he was replaced by comic book legend, Steve Ditko, who would finish the series with Rom #75.


  1. Alright Jason! nice to see ROM "representn" on Marvel 1980s :)

  2. Now here is what might be my favorite series from this decade! Sure, I loved the Byrne FF and the Wolfman/Perez Titans, but this felt so "new", like it belonged to my generation of readers at the time. It really felt unpredictable and fresh to us kids. I wasn't crazy about the Ditko art near the end, to be honest, but I still read it to the finish.



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