On Business: Still Digging Through Long Boxes

By | Tuesday, February 24, 2015 1 comment
I recently picked up the original Micronauts series from Marvel. It ran from 1979 until 1984 with two annuals and 59 regular issues, all but the very last issue of which were written by Bill Mantlo. I bought the entire run off ebay because the thought of hunting through long boxes and/or ordering a handful of issues at time through various retailers sounded dreadful.

There was a time, of course, when you had to do that for most any past comic you wanted to read. Not only were limited by what your local comic shop had to offer, but very little was being reprinted, so your only choice was to hunt for back issues even if you only wanted to read the story. Now, it seems, though, pretty much everything is getting reprinted, sometimes in multiple formats, and a lot is becoming available digitally.

But I still went ahead and bought Micronauts as the original floppies. Why? Because it's not likely to get reprinted any time soon.

The Micronauts name and some of the characters were licensed from Mego Corporation, who were producing toys under that name. While Mantlo and original series artist Michael Golden created several new characters, which Marvel continues to own, the names and likeness of characters that were brought over from the toys are not available without a new license agreement from Abrams/Gentile Entertainment, who owns them now. Other comic companies have gotten licenses, and Marvel did make another try for it but was unsuccessful. Which means that, for now, they can't reprint or collect their stories.

Unauthorized Tarzan
This is a potential problem with any licensed property, and is partially why we've never seen Rom collected. Or The Care Bears. Or The Get Along Gang. There are multiple companies who need to cooperate in order to get these books republished in any capacity (print or digital).

Which isn't to say it's impossible, of course. Marvel has been able to secure a deal to collect all the Star Wars stories that were originally produced by Dark Horse. And Dark Horse was able to secure the rights to reprint some Tarzan comics that weren't even legal in the first place!

But I have to figure that unless we're talking about an incredibly popular franchise like Star Wars, it's probably not worth the legal hassle to try to reprint these. As nostalgic as some folks might be for Micronauts, pretty much every attempt to revive the name both in comics and toys have failed pretty miserably. I don't see a Hugga Bunch revival happening any time soon either.

My point is that, despite living in what some have called a Golden Age of comics reprints, alongside with being an era where seemingly everything is available digitally, there's still some merit looking for old back issues. So if you really do want to read the stories from Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos or Silverhawks, you can either brush off your flipping-through-long-boxes skills or make some strategic purchases off ebay because I sincerely doubt you'll see a collected edition of those any time soon!
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demoncat_4 said...

sadly you are right for unless rom and hasbro who owns the rights to the rom toy can come to an agreement rom will never see reprinting. not to mention think companies like marvel and dc proably figure its not even worth the cost needed to try and get a deal with the rights holders. not to mention factory any royalties for the artists and writers.