A few years back, I colored a black and white image of ROM shooting a Dire Wraith. And for some reason, had ROM on my mind. I’d enjoyed the run in MARVEL Comics – it started strong (when it got near the end of the series, it got a little weird). But ROM was never a toy I owned back in the day (it’d been released in 1979).
Now, Marvel let the rights lapse on ROM and eventually IDW Publishing picked it up, and released a ROM #0 on Free Comic Book Day – which as a fan of the original series, I picked up. Then proceeded to pick up ROM from IDW, when it was released as a regular series. I didn’t make it all the way through (not sure if it’s still running?) – I think I collected the first five issues.
Now what was interesting is that IDW was using Dire Wraiths which was something created at Marvel, specifically for the ROM comic. But, as ROM was integrated into the Marvel Universe, so too were the Dire Wraith (seen in Uncanny X-Men, Avengers, New Warriors just to name a few). Now Marvel, when they do reprints of comics, tend to skip it if ROM appears in it; but have had no issue publishing it if Dire Wraiths were in it.
Apparently Marvel let it slide, and Parker Brothers – now Hasbro – grabbed the rights to Dire Wraiths. Marvel filed an injunction; but withdrew as apparently some kind of agreement was settled between the two (the Dire Wraiths from IDW look different than the Dire Wraiths in Marvel; which may be the agreement to keep them visually different but continue to allow both companies to use the alien species). ROM however, can not appear in new books of Marvel – in his armored form – so Marvel has made references to ROM in his flesh form.
What’s interesting is Marvel has made a female Space Knight named IKON that bares a close resemblance to ROM, but female –
I also, while going down the rabbit hole, discovered that IDW released a comic (maybe series?) called ROM: Dire Wraiths which saw Sal Buscema return to the pages of a ROM book.