After 40 years, Marvel is finally reprinting Rom: Space Knight

40 years after its cancellation, Marvel Comics has just announced that it has regained the rights to Rom: Space Knight, and will reprint the 75-issue series in its entirety for the first time ever. Starting in September, the company will reprint a facsimile edition of the first issue of the series from 1979, with the first volume of the omnibus collection to follow in January, titled Rom: The Original Years Omnibus Vol. 1.

Rom was the first action figure released by Parkers Brothers, which before that only produced board games. The chunky robotic "space knight" had light-up LED eyes. In order to help promote the new toy, Parker Brothers licensed the property out to Marvel Comics, which took the general of this cyborg space warrior and absolutely ran with it. In the comics, Rom was a humanoid alien from the planet Galador who volunteered to give up his mortal body and inhabit a cyborg "Space Knight" body in order to battle the evil alien Dire Wraiths. Rom was not the only Space Knight of Galador, but he was the first and greatest. Eventually, he and some of his fellow Space Knights followed the Dire Wraiths to Earth, where Rom got into all kinds of wild adventures with the X-Men, Luke Cage, Fantastic Four, the Hulk, and more Marvel heroes.

That last part is sort of the crux of the excitement around these long-awaited comic book reprints: there are in-continuity crossovers with other Marvel characters that no one's been able to read for years. I was recently making my way through some 80s Claremont X-Men comics, and there's a whole plot with the Dire Wraiths that leads to Storm being disempowered for years—but there a's chunk of the story that's still missing. Even without the direct story crossovers, it's been a weird black hole in Marvel continuity. Other Space Knights, including Rom's lover Brandy and their son, Balin, are still roaming around the Marvel Universe. But their connections to the greatest of their fraternity have to be obscured because of IP reasons outside of the story.

IDW published a separate Rom comic book series in 2015. But the return of the original books to print is pretty exciting stuff.