The 1970s Toys That Inspired Classic Marvel Comics

The 1970s Toys That Inspired Classic Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics announced that “ROM: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Volume 1” will come out on Tuesday, January 16, 2024. The omnibus will have the first 29 issues from 1979 and “Power Man and Iron Fist #73” from 1978. According to Amazon, the omnibus list price is $125 and currently discounted to $85.

The reprint of “ROM #1” will be available this September.

“ROM” was one of several comic book series that I read from the first issue as a kid. I remembered the character but I don’t remember any of the stories that I read in the early 1980s. I look forward to re-reading this series again.

A tweet from Jim Nightshade in response to the announcement caught my attention: “Now that ROM is back home with Marvel can we get Micronauts, Godzilla and Shogun Warriors?”

Those four comic book series have one thing in common. They were based on toys from the 1970s.

ROM The Space Knight

Parker Brothers released “ROM The Space Knight” in the United Kingdom in 1978 The toy had a battery pack, a short cable to plug into one of three accessories, and two buttons for light and sound. The UK edition came with comic book, but the worldwide edition didn’t.

I don’t recall ever seeing this toy on TV or in the stores. Since this toy was in response to the Star Wars toy craze, I was too busy building my galactic empire. I had the Death Star Space Station, a Tie-Fighter, and a ton of action figures

Star Wars would be my last set of toys as a kid before I got into video games in the 1980s.


I had the Micronauts toys several years before I started reading the comics. I had the “Biotron” robot, the “Hydro Copter” vehicle, and several action figures The toys had interchangeable parts to build different toys.

“Micronauts” was the other comic book series that I read from the first issue in 1979. I remembered the characters but not any of the stories I’ve read in the early 1980s.

According to Wikipedia, which cannot be wrong, Marvel Comics reacquired the licensing rights. The first “Micronauts” omnibus edition should be out in May 2024.

Godzilla/Shogun Warriors

I read neither “Godzilla” nor “Shogun Warriors” as comic books. The comic books were based on imported Japanese toys from popular movies and anime shows. The toys were put out by Mattel in the United States.

The person who negotiated the licensing deal passed on licensing a 20th Century Fox movie called “Star Wars.” Oops.

I had the 24″ tall “Mazinga” giant robot in 1976. One fist could launch spring-loaded plastic rockets that could injure kids and pets. The spring-loaded mechanism caused the giant robot toys to disappear from the market by 1980.

I was always puzzled why my parents got me certain toys throughout the 1970s. Thanks to the power of YouTube, old TV ads reminded me why I got these toys.

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