Friday, November 7, 2008

Free Comic : Rom Space Knight Comics - 1

McCoy originally called the toy COBOL - after the programming language - which was later changed to "Rom" by Parker Brothers' executives. The toy set a precedent for Parker Brothers, which up until that time had only ever produced board games. Given that this was a new venture for the company and that electronic toys were still very new, a decision was made to produce the toy as cheaply as was possible. The final toy had very few points of articulation and also had the twin LED's that served as Rom's eyes changed from green to red, as the latter were much cheaper to produce. ROM appeared on the cover of Time Magazine on December 10th, 1979. The toy was to also be supported by a tie-in comic book featuring the character published by Marvel Comics. The comic expanded on the simple premise that Rom was a cyborg and gave him an origin, personality, set of supporting characters, villains and one other vital ingredient - interaction with the rest of the Marvel Universe. Unfortunately, the toy failed and only sold 200 - 300 thousand units in the US, with creator McCoy blaming the failure on poor packaging and marketing. Parker Brothers subsequently abandoned the line and returned to manufacturing board games.

Ironically, the comic outlasted the toy the title was created to support. It was written by Bill Mantlo and initially illustrated by artist Sal Buscema. The comic book series was successful enough to run for seventy-five issues over a six year period, and storylines from the Rom comic book spilled over into the rest of the Marvel Universe.


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