THE MICRONAUTS #2-6 (1979)

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After #1, the book really took off into an epic battle to save their universe from Baron Karza.

Bill Mantlo proved with Rom that he could make a good “toy comic,” and with The Micronauts he took it to the next level.  In this series, which won the Eagle Award for best new series when it came out, the characters would sometimes go to Earth where they really are small–like toys.   It was almost like he was challenging us to accept the licensing premise.

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Moreover, although several of them, like Biotron, Acroyear, and many of the team’s crafts and weapons, look like the toys they are based on, other characters, like Bug, Commander Arcturus, and Marionette, aren’t based on toys.  And in fact, no toys would ever be made of them.  And these were arguably the most interesting characters in the book.

What the hell kind of way is this to sell toys?

The art was by Michael Golden–also in stark contrast to previous toy tie-in books, which had been traditionally illustrated by guys like Sal Buscema who created the standard for the “look” of 1970s and ’80s Marvel comics.  Golden was  an artist with a more updated vision, who preferred rougher lines and shadows to the clear work of his predecessors.  It wasn’t the kind of art you’d associate with a toy comic.

And truly, it wasn’t a toy comic for long.  It started in 1979, four years after the toys had been introduced, and by 1980 Mego stopped producing the line.  But the series lived on for many years.  And (also like Rom) after the series found its footing, Bill Mantlo started introducing Marvel characters in the series.  That starts with #6, which we’ll look at next.

Creators: Bill Mantlo and Michael Golden

Grade: C+

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