Here at the Comics Code, we love toys. It’s a cold hard fact! Yep we’ve followed some of the greatest toy lines that have covered (and sometimes littered) the shelves of many a self respecting toy store and we’ve enjoyed fiddling with every last one of them. There are of course some that disappear almost as quickly as they arrive and one such toy that fell into this category was ROM; a robot space toy that flopped faster than an inexperienced high diver. Now before you ask ‘what in the name of all that is holy does this have to do with comics?!’, hang on just one second as we’re about to get to that. Rom was a toy designed to keep kids amused and parents’ wallets empty, but he was a poor excuse for a piece of plastic and he failed to capture the imagination of youngsters. However in an attempt to build his profile, Parker Brothers (the company behind ROM) decided to license him out to Marvel Comics in the hopes that it would make him a huge success. It did nothing for the toy, but it did work in terms of increasing his comic-book profile and eventually ROM became the star of his own run of Marvel Comics for a total of 75 issues! He was given an origin, a continuing storyline and a heck of a lot of humanity, all crammed into the pages of a comic.
Now can you see where we were going with all that toy talk?
ROM may not have been a successful plaything, but he managed to turn it all around by becoming a popular comic star! Over the course of his pretty substantial run in the pages of Marvel’s books ROM managed to fight off an evil invading alien race called Dire Wraiths; he shook hands with the Hulk and even met Beta Ray Bill! All this was damn fine stuff, but his greatest achievement was that he outlived the toy line by a number of years, which makes ROM a genuine Pulp Idol!