Tag Archives: ROM

The Saga of Crystar and Its Weird Reintroduction to the Marvel Universe

Idle Time is celebrating fifteen years and, to honor this crystal anniversary, we’re gifting our readers with some pop culture sparkle!

Marvel's G.I. Joe #1 (1982)
Marvel’s G.I. Joe #1 (1982)

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.

The Saga of Crystar (1983)
The Saga of Crystar (1983)

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.

treating your bro like a house lizard? some might say Crystar had it coming...
treating your bro like a house lizard? some might say Crystar had it coming…

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.

Continue reading The Saga of Crystar and Its Weird Reintroduction to the Marvel Universe

New Comics: ROM

Everyone’s favorite Spaceknight (sorry, Venom) didn’t make an appearance at San Diego Comic Con’s Guardians of the Galaxy panel this past weekend, but he does make his long-awaited return to the comic book shelves this week, courtesy of Christos Gage, Chris Ryall, and David Messina. IDW adds to their stable of cult classic toy licenses with Rom #1, joining successful properties G.I. Joe and Transformers, as well as the other new 2016 arrivals, Micronauts and Action Man.

As cool as Parker Brothers’ Rom toy was, it wasn’t overly successful, especially compared to Hasbro’s 80’s goldmines, the aforementioned Transformers and G.I. Joe. What was successful, however, was Marvel’s Rom comic book series, originally created as marketing support for the toyline. Even after Parker Brothers discontinued production of the toys, the Galadorian spaceknight continued to traverse the galaxy, hunting down those insidious Dire Wraiths wherever they might be lurking.

This first issue begins with Rom’s dramatic arrival on Earth, a reprint of the eleven-page prelude that was released as part of this year’s Free Comic Book Day. The good news for readers unfamiliar with his story is that we seem to be opening with a re-telling of that original narrative. Rom, the built-for-space cyborg, hunts down and executes the black magick-wielding Dire Wraiths who hide among us, having used their shapechanging abilities to replace humans. So, when Rom neutralizes a crowd of alien beasties, it looks like he’s mowing down all of your neighbors. That’s not going to go over well on social media. And when you look like this, it’s hard to remain inconspicuous…

Continue reading New Comics: ROM

Free Comic Book Day 2016

This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of Free Comic Book Day, easily the best name for a very straightforward attempt at getting folks into comic shops and seeing what all the fuss is about. On the first Saturday of May, a variety of publishers, from big names like Marvel and DC to smaller outfits like Nobrow Press and Th3rd World Studios, partner with shops to offer a wide range of exclusive comics. Some books contain all new material, others are mixtape-style samplers of previously released work, and still others offer extended excerpts from new graphic novels. But the one thing that all these comics have in common is that they’re offered 100% free of charge.

one of the many All Ages titles, DC Super Hero Girls
one of the many All Ages titles, DC Super Hero Girls

While supplies last, obviously. And different stores have different policies limiting the number of giveaways. Check out the FCBD website for details on participating stores and, this Saturday, plan on visiting as many as you can! Most shops plan related events, contests, and other frivolity around FCBD. Drag along your uninitiated friend who loves Firefly but won’t pick up a funnybook and stick that Dark Horse freebie in her hands. Dress the kids up in their favorite superhero t-shirts and load them up with All-Ages books like Image’s Oddly Normal or DC’s Super Hero Girls. That guy in your office who won’t shut up about Enter the Dragon and wants to know if you caught this weekend’s UFC bloodfest? There’s a Bruce Lee treat for him as well.

Like music, movies, and ice cream flavors, there’s a comic book for everyone. Here are the FCBD offerings I’m most excited about, including the Previews solicitation information. Continue reading Free Comic Book Day 2016