Rom the Space Knight Action Figure

Rom the Space Knight action figure

The Rom comic book was based on the large action figure sold by Parker Brothers around 1979-1980. The concept for the figure was created by Bing McCoy. He sold it to Parker Brothers, who was looking to branch out beyond the board game business at the time.

McCoy had initially called the cyborg "Cobol", after the computer language. Parker Brothers renamed him "Rom" and redesigned his look, but the concept, as patented by McCoy (off-site link) and the fact that he was a cyborg, remained the same. Parker Brothers also came up with a brief outline of Rom's back story, which they used in a promotional video shown at the 1979 Toy Fair.

This video made Rom a member of the "Solstar Order" in "a galaxy far, far away." It also named the Solstar Orders enemies, "the evil magicians, the Dire Wraiths" who could "assume any form they wish." This video was shown to folks at Marvel Comics, who eliminated the Solstar Order name but otherwise fleshed it out.

Parker Brothers licensed Rom to Palitoy in the United Kingdom, where he became part of the Action Man line. The Palitoy box had a different graphic design and included a one-page, black and white comic.