For kids in the ’70s, ROM was a pretty cool toy. Even though he had barely any articulation and he looked like he could have been carved out of soap, his “electronic” lights and sounds were groundbreaking for the time, and his aesthetic represented what we had thus far been conditioned to believe robots would look like.
Then Marvel did a tie-in comic, and they went all-out with backstory, origins, and having him interact with major characters like X-Men and SHIELD. And then they lost the rights in 1986 – but only to the specific name and likeness of the toy. The character could resurface as long as he looked totally different and didn’t use the ROM name, while allies the Spaceknights and foes the Dire Wraiths were still allowable.
So how did this new Comic-Con exclusive figure happen? Parker Bros., who created ROM, is now owned by Hasbro. Hasbro makes the toys for Marvel. And I’d venture a guess that they’re testing the waters to see what kind of life is left in the ROM character, in our hearts.
All I know is, that original commercial ought to air every Valentine’s Day…
…because it’s full of ROM antics.