Marvel's spaceways are poised to become a bit more crowded with galactic heroes that aren't guardians, Kree or Shi'ar, but SpaceKnights, the kind that Rom used to be in.
ComicBook.com has learned that the publisher is apparently set to return to the world of the small, yet powerful, corps of elite warriors and defenders from Galador, but whether that includes Rom, remains to be seen.
The original space knight, Rom was created by Parker Bros. in 1979. The company kept ownership of the character, rights and likenesses. Even though as a toy, Rom tanked, writer Bill Mantlo (he who created Rocket Raccoon, among others) and artist Sal Buscema took Rom and and devised an origin, a plot and a host of supporting characters and more.
In their story, Rom was the first volunteer on Galador to become a cyborg warrior to defend against the invading Dire Wraiths. His willingness prompted others to do the same and the 1,000-strong Space Knights were born, including Terminato and Starshine.
That series ran 75 issues, starting in 1979, and included four annuals before its 1986 cancellation. During its run, Rom came to Earth and based himself in West Virginia, fell in love with a human woman -- Brandy Clark -- who was transformed into a Space Knight and then back into human.
Ultimately, they returned to Galador to repopulate the planet. Since then, Rom has been as ghostly as the Dire Wraiths he used to fight, though two of their children, Balin an GTristan, joined a next-generation band of Space Knights in the 2000 "Spaceknights" series. Later, in the six-issue "Annihilation" mini-series, some of those Space Knights were led by Blastaar and seen in issue five. In 2013, Galador is attacked by the Builders in the "Infinity" epic and may have perished when their planet was destroyed.
Manto and Buscema also came up with the SpaceKnights, characters the publisher owns even now. So, given what we know of the book's existence, Marvel is likely to announce a SpaceKnights-focused title, possibly as soon as Wednesday, when it releases its preview magazine of new titles to comics shop retailers.
General Mills melded Parker Bros. with Kenner, the maker of all those classic Star Wars action figures, in 1985. In 1987, Tonka acquired the combined Kenner Parker Toys Inc. only to sell it to Hasbro in 1991, who still has those rights.
Yet given the popularity of Marvel's space-faring titles along with a small, vocal and fervent Rom fanbase, that the character would see a return, in any capacity, is likely a sound business move.
Whether Marvel can hash out a deal with Hasbro to license Rom for use in its various media -- think contracts for film, TV, animation and, of course comics -- remains to be seen. Still, it'd be no surprise to see Rom not just in the pages of the Guardians of the Galaxy's comic stories, but a mention or even appearance the next James Gunn-directed sequel, too.
Marvel had no comment when reached for further clarification.
What do you think ComicBook.com readers? Are you excited to see more SpaceKnights in your Marvel comics? Let us know in the comments below!