Idle Time is celebrating fifteen years and, to honor this crystal anniversary, we’re gifting our readers with some pop culture sparkle!
Years before Chris Claremont and Jim Lee set sales records with the X-Men franchise, and decades before Marvel Studios turned The Avengers into a household name, Marvel Comics was filling the 7-11 spinracks with four-color fun based on licensed action figure properties. The two most famous of those toy lines, G.I. Joe and Transformers, have continued to enjoy multimedia success, including comic book adventures with their new publisher IDW. Three other cult classic toy lines, Rom and The Micronauts, each with its own popular Marvel series tie-ins during the 80’s, as well as MASK, which had a short-lived life as a DC comic, have also recently joined IDW’s comicverse.
Some comic series, like Rom, ended up being more popular than the toy line they were designed to support. Other series, like Sectaurs and Shogun Warriors, died off quickly, right along with their die-cast and resin-molded counterparts. And then there was The Saga of Crystar: Crystal Warrior.
Instead of being produced to help market an existing property, Marvel’s creative council of Jim Shooter, Ralph Macchio, and Mark Gruenwald developed Crystar with the intention of then licensing the character and concept to a toy company. In Shooter’s own words, from the book’s introduction: “the friendly people at Azrak-Hamway, a.k.a. Remco Toys, might be interested in producing a toy line based upon our fantasy creation…” And the friendly people did just that. Before the first issue of Mary Jo Duffy and Bret Blevins’s series even hit newsstands, Remco was rolling out production on a slate of wizards, warriors, and snazzy prismatic dragons.
That oversized first issue – a “Feature Length Fantasy in the Marvel Manner” – introduces us to the the world of Crystallium, and the sibling princes Moltar and Crystar, preparing to jointly rule the realm in the wake of their father’s recent death. But when Moltar quickly makes with back-to-back blunders, first killing their dwarfish uncle Feldspar, and then doing the same to his brother, all hell breaks loose.