Eighties and Nineties Message Board >> View Post
Post By
Iron Man Unit 007

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,929
In Reply To
Paste Pot Pete 
Wolfman Pete!

Member Since: Fri Jul 07, 2000
Posts: 11,450
Subj: ROM and the legal issues
Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 at 11:08:22 pm EDT (Viewed 146 times)
Reply Subj: Comic of the Week- ROM the Spaceknight #5...
Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 at 03:31:01 pm EDT (Viewed 209 times)

Previous Post

Last week's question was about underrated comics so I thought this week we'd feature one.

ROM the Spaceknight. He's underrated because his stuff hasn't ever been reprinted. How did he end up in a legal dispute?

Here is issue #5. Why #5? Because it came out in Jan of 1980 at the beginning of the board's coverage area.

Here is a link to the comic on Diversions of the Groovy Kind for you visual pleasure:


ROM: started as a toy that had attachable weapons that plugged into him to light up, his eyes would light up and he would be respirator breathing sounds, and I think his rocket pack lit up and made sounds.

However in terms of flexibility and the ability to pose the figure he was essentially a plastic brick much like Series 4 and above Transformers toys of the era.

Anyway, Marvel got the rights to the character and made a comic. Overall the main story was ROM vs Dire Wraiths and also being accepted by the people of Earth as a hero and not a murdering alien. This problem was compounded by the fact that ROM's energy analyzer that showed him who was a Wraith only allowed HIM to see them. When the Neutralizer sent them to limbo their body would turn to ash and their essence would go to Limbo forever, but the ashes were left behind thus for awhile people thought ROM was disintegrating people.

Eventually ROM wins the trust of the town he arrived in and cleanses it of Wraiths.

He then needs to home to his home world of Galador due to receiving a warning of trouble there. He heads to New York to ask Reed Richards if he can get ROM a space craft with hyperdrive as ROM can only reach lightspeeds. This led to a conflict with Powerman and Iron Fist who then helped ROM when they realized he was a hero. THe F.F. aid ROM and after a side trip to Xandar where he aided Nova and the Xandarians against Skrulls, he was able to go home.

Once there he was captured by his doppelganger, the spaceknight Terminator and Mentus who was the evil half of the Prime Director and had control over Terminator. Terminator had taken the half of ROM's humanity that was in cryo storage and Mentus changed Terminator into a mirror image of ROM and gave him the same weaponry.

ROM escaped, freed the Prime Director and other Spaceknights and they awoke Terminator from his control and he aided them against Wraiths on Galador and the Prime Director defeated Mentus and became a being of astral energy.

GALACTUS then arrives to feed and the Spaceknights take on Terrax the Tamer while Terminator faced Galactus and ROM went to Galactus' ship to find a way to defeat him. Galactus absorbed the life force of Terminator and ROM struck a bargain with Galactus. Terminator was entombed and it was believed that the half of ROM's humanity died with Terminator.

The bargain: ROM would lead Galactus to a star system to feast and told the other Knights it was the home system of the Dire Wraiths. However their system was pure anti life/anthema and it damaged and repulsed Galactus. ROM pointed out that the bargain was to lead Galactus there, he did NOT promise Galactus could feast. Galactus healed himself then glared at ROM and then laughed. Galactus agreed and fulfilled his part of the bargain to save Galador from being moved through the cosmos to the Dire Wraith system by relocating the planet, then teleporting ROM and the Knights to where the planet was but not telling them where he moved it. Thus they saved Galador but lost their world.

ROM returns to Earth with a fellow Knight, the town was taken over in his abscence and his fellow Knight was struck down and she died. The town was cleansed with the aid of the Mole Man. ROM's comrade is buried and he releases her living light essence from her cyborg body.

After an encounter with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and his nemesis, Hybrid, ROM left the town to travel the world and fight the Wraiths. In his travels he was told of the HULK and wondered if they would ever meet. his Earth girlfriend Brandy Clark was given the power of ROM's deceased spaceknight, Starshine, she then digs up the body and intends to become a Knight an be with ROM. A Wraith Warlock merges her with the armor but she is under his control and of course must kill ROM.

ROM had been tricked by Quasimodo and Wraiths to be cloned as a human and Quasimodo would take over the armor and become mobile. ROM the clone arose, ROM's humanity was put in stasis and Quasimodo banished the Wraiths. ROM then learns that the clone process is temporary and he begins to deteriorate rapidly. Brandy?Starshine defeats Quasimodo thinking he is ROM and drives him from ROM's body. She then wakes up from control and the ROM clone kills the Wraith Warlock. However the clone is dying until the Russian mutant the Gremlin appears and states he can restore the original ROM from stasis back into his armor. The Soviet Super Troopers arrive to attack and Starshine is dealing with them, (if memory serves the Soviet Super Soldiers Darkstar, Vanguard and Ursa Major arrived to help either that or ROM met them after this but ROM does meet them), and ROM arose as a cyborg again, NOT happy that he was tricked and definitely not happy that his clone-copy was dying. ROM shuts down the Super Troopers and has last words with his clone. The clone perishes and is buried and Brandy/Starshine comforts ROM.

ROM's adventures continue, he had by this point met the HULK after he returned from the first Secret War and was reverting to savage HULK, he had met the Master of Kung Fu also.

For issue 50 the female Wraiths came into the picture and took over from the science using male Wraiths. They then killed most of the town that ROM had befriended. ROM and Brandy arrive to visit and get trapped. Brandy is furious her family is dead and transforms her armor into a form that had to be inspired by Mohawk wearing Storm of the Xmen and they escape. At this point SKRULLS had arrived and cleansed the town of Wraiths. They speak with ROM and tell him Wraiths are deviant versions of the Skrulls and that they must leave Earth to ROM as they msut aid their people after Galactus destroyed their home.

ROM and Brandy then make the Wraith presence known to all of Earth and ROM declares that he will now fight them openly and his weapons are set to KILL not banish. SHIELD is now in on the fight and so are the Avengers. Rick Jones who is dying from cancer becomes ROM's new sidekick.

The war ends with the heroes of Earth rising up to aid ROM, ROM then heads into space to power a super neutralizer that henry gyrich thinks will be used on Earth to neutralize all super powers and banish all the Wraiths at once. the Mutant Forge built the device along the lines of the device that took Storm's powers away at the time.

However that was a cover story they gave Gyrich to keep him distracted. The Wraith home world was coming through space to merge with Earth and take over. ROM turns the super weapon on the Wraith world and first cleanses it then banishes it to LIMBO. All Wraiths in the universe lose their magic powers due to this.

ROM returns to Earth, Brandy is no longer a space knight at this point as Hybrid reversed the merge spells. ROM banishes the surviving Wraiths to Limbo, the heroes wish him well, he says good bye to Brandy and goes into space to find his home.

Brandy and Rick meet the Beyonder who cures Rick and sends Brandy to Galador.

ROM meets up with fellow Spaceknights and a Shi'ar warp gate sends them home. Once there they have to defeat renegade second generation space knights that have decimated the human population.

The cryo vault containing all the Knights humanity was destroyed, the Second Generation Knights are destroyed. Brandy found Terminator's tomb and a globe of energy arose from Terminator's body. The glob somehow contained ROM's humanity, possibly preserved by Galactus but it was never stated. ROM is restored to human form and the first generation knights go into space to guard their world while ROM and Brandy stay behind to repopulate and rebuild.

End of series.

After that, nothing was done. no reprints of TPB's were done. Marvel over time allowed the rights to lapse without knowing. If memory serves they found out the hard way after Peter David's Captain Marvel series used images of ROM in space knight form and Hasbro had words with Marvel about that.

marvel doesn't want to pay for the trademarks again (one would think that they would not be that expensive given how much time has passed but money is money).

Marvel has used ROM in human form because they created that along with the Wraiths, Galador and all other Spaceknights. But they cannot use ROM in Spaceknight form.

Hence the 5 issue miniseries SPACEKNIGHTS only showed ROM in human form for a panel or two, ROM now calls himself Artur after King ARthur, the new Third Generation of Knights are defending Galador and ROM's two sons are among them. The Neutralizer has a new look and is called Axadar (presuming named after Excalibur). Rom's first born son is anger management case and is the new Spaceknight TERMINATOR. He tries to claim the neutralizer and is rejected by it. ROM's second born son is revealed to be able to psychically detect the new Wraiths and Wraithknights. Brandy rules Galador in ROM's absence. The Wraiths unleash a new Deathwing monster and ROM's son the Spaceknight Liberator whose armor bears a slight resemblance to ROM suddenly is chosen by Axadar and it bonds with him. He wields its power and banishes the Deathwing and the Wraiths. He then makes his mother the undisputed ruler of Galador.

ROM is still missing at the end, presumed dead. Any images of ROM in flashback as a spaceknight use a generic image of him with glowing red eyes.

The second Annihilator's mini series dealt with Galador and the Wraiths again, ROM is still missing but a peace treaty between Galador and Wraiths is created as both as sick of war.

But basically it comes down to this: Marvel let the rights to ROM lapse and they do not want to fork over the money to get them. Hence no reprints of his comic can be done and ROM himself is now listed as missing, Marvel won't even show him in human form now. Not sure as to why, they DID create his human form after all. Probably decided it was best to remove him from the equation. Also given that there is minimal demand for ROM at best, they likely don't want to shell out the cash.

ROM did have a brief background cameo in an episode of the 90's Silver Surfer cartoon. He was in the background, slightly recolored and did not have his red penlight eyes but make no mistake it was ROM, Spackeknight.

Another example of how Trademarks can screw things up:

1. DC Comics has long since owned Shazam/The original Captain Marvel. However DC got sloppy after obtaining the characters from the defunct Fawcett Comics and let the trademarks to publishing a book titled Captain Marvel lapse.

2. Thus comes Marvel in the 60's who snapped up the rights as soon as they were available. Now strictly speaking when a trademark becomes available it IS fair game to anyone with the money and desire to obtain it. Some people may think it is scummy business practice to snap up a trademark from someone when they let it lapse, but again if it is available then that is that. So Marvel obtains the rights to publish a Captain Marvel series and the Kree Captain Mar-Vell is born.

Marvel for years has been determined to hold on to the Captain Marvel trademarks. As long as a reprint, a mini series or regular series is published every few years, they retain the trademarks. Use it or lose it.

As a result of his, DC comics canNOT publish any book with Captain Marvel in the title, they could call him that inside the books but since Marvel is ramming the awful Carol Danvers Captain Marvel book down our throats instead of restoring Mar-Vell, DC now just calls him SHAZAM.