In 1979, Parker-Brothers
created a new action figure
, Rom the Spaceknight
Standing about 13 inches tall, Rom was silver with glowing red eyes
by the 9-volt battery in his back. He also had the Darth Vader
and a rocket pack that made blast off noises. He also possessed three attachments:
, the Analyser
, and the Neutralizer
. All of them could be held
by our hero and made the requisite toy noise
when the button on his back was
Rom would have possibly passed into toy oblivion along with My Buddy,
Big Jim, and Digger the Dog if not for some savvy cross-merchandising
with Marvel Comics. Marvel came out with a comic book featuring
Rom the Spaceknight, which lasted much longer than the toy was popular.
Beginning in 1979, Rom the Spaceknight comics ran until 1986.
In the comic book, Rom was a citizen of the world Galador. Galador was a
technologically advanced race with interstellar capabilities and an idyllic planet.
It was like so many other alien planets that populate the world of comic books,
where advanced technology and science have created a world of peace, prosperity,
and leisure, not one of cell phone towers, bad microwave pizza, and www.hamsterdance.com.
Galadorians sent out their space fleet to other worlds on a kind of extended
AmeriCorps project, helping others and giving them technological advancement.
As is the way of the interstellar realm, no good deed goes unpunished so the
Galadorian fleet ran into trouble when they entered the Dark Nebula. They
were ambushed by the forces of the Dire Wraiths, a group of evil Pillsbury
Doughboys with attitude and a giant bird creature called a Dreadwing that
could eat starships. The fleet was destroyed by the Dire Wraiths, causing
Galador to instigate a new program to remove the threat of the Dire Wraiths
from the universe.
The leader of Galador, the Prime Director (very Star Trek), asked for
volunteers to have their brains put into cybernetic bodies called Spaceknights
who would have the power to combat the threat of the Dire Wraiths. The first
to step forward was Rom and he and his fellow Spaceknights underwent the
process. Their bodies were stored for the day when they would be able to
return to them after the Wraiths were destroyed.
The Spaceknights smashed the Dire Wraith forces, sending them scattering. They
employed advanced technology, with each Spaceknight specially equipped
for his own strengths. The Spaceknights did not kill the Dire Wraiths, instead
sending them to Limbo (sort of a Dire Wraith Phantom Zone) where they would suffer for all eternity.
The Spaceknights pursued the Wraiths, vowing to eradicate them. A large
concentration of the Wraiths was found on Earth, so Rom came to rid the
planet of the threat.
Rom worked for years to destroy the forces of the Dire Wraiths on Earth. He often came into conflict with Earth's heroes and the human authorities as he was targeting Wraiths who had the ability to look human. These misunderstandings put him outside of the "law" often times, but eventually he
became friends with many of the heroes of Earth and battled along side them
to destroy this insideous menace. Eventually, the male science-based
Dire Wraiths were replaced by their female magic-based counterparts, who
would suck the brains out of their victims with their tongues and take their
Finally, Rom was able to destroy the Wraith menace on Earth, when in a bold
move, the Dire Wraiths sought to replace the Earth with their world. Using his
Neutralizer and a machine that augmented its ability built by the mutant Forge,
Rom was able to destroy not only the Wraith homeworld, but also cleanse the
Earth of the Dire Wraiths living there.
Rom has since returned to his homeworld, where he battled a later generation of
Spaceknights for control of the planet. The entire Galadorian population was
killed by these new Spaceknights, who eventually were destroyed by their
own schemes. Rom was able to return to his original body and with his
wife, the human woman Brandy Clark, has begun the task of rebuilding Galador.
Thanks to lawnjart
for the clarification of Rom's experiences on Earth.