Micronauts (comics)

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Micronauts
Cover art of Micronauts #1. From left to right: Acroyear, Arcturus Rann, Marionette and Bug. Baron Karza in background.
Group publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
Image Comics
Devil's Due Publishing
First appearance Micronauts #1 (January 1979)
Created by Bill Mantlo
Michael Golden
In-story information
Type of organization Team
Base(s) Microverse
Micronauts
Series publication information
Schedule Monthly
Format Micronauts (vol. 1)
Ongoing series
X-Men and the Micronauts
Limited series
Micronauts: The New Voyages
Ongoing series
Micronauts (vol. 2)
Limited series
Micronauts: Karza
Limited series
Micronauts (vol. 3)
Limited series
Genre
Publication date (Micronauts (vol. 1))
January 1979 – August 1984
(X-Men and the Micronauts)
January – April 1984
(Micronauts: The New Voyages)
October 1984 – May 1986
(Micronauts (vol. 2))
January 2002 – September 2003
(Micronauts: Karza)
February – May 2003
(Micronauts (vol. 3))
January – May 2004
Number of issues Micronauts (vol. 1)
59
X-Men and the Micronauts
4
Micronauts: The New Voyages
20
Micronauts (vol. 2)
11
Micronauts: Karza
4
Micronauts (vol. 3)
3
Main character(s) Arcturus Rann
Marionette
Bug
Creative team
Writer(s) Micronauts (vol. 1)
Bill Mantlo
X-Men and the Micronauts
Chris Claremont
Bill Mantlo
Micronauts: The New Voyages
Peter Gillis
Micronauts (vol. 2)
Scott Wherle
Micronauts: Karza
Jim Krueger
Micronauts (vol. 3)
Dan Jolley
Penciller(s) Micronauts (vol. 1)
Michael Golden
X-Men and the Micronauts
Butch Guice
Micronauts: The New Voyages
Kelley Jones
Micronauts (vol. 2)
Eric Hanson
Micronauts: Karza
Steve Kurth
Micronauts (vol. 3)
Pat Broderick
Creator(s) Bill Mantlo
Michael Golden
Collected editions
Revolution ISBN 1-58240-311-2

The Micronauts comic books feature a group of characters based on the Micronauts toy line. The first title was published by Marvel Comics in 1979, with both original characters and characters based on the toys. Marvel published two Micronauts series, mostly written by Bill Mantlo, until 1986, well after the toy line was cancelled in 1980. In the 2000s, Image Comics and Devil's Due Publishing each briefly published their own Micronauts series. Byron Preiss Visual Publications also published three paperback novels based on the Micronauts.

Publication history[edit]

Marvel Comics[edit]

The Micronauts began life as comic book characters thanks to a fortuitous accident on Christmas 1977. Marvel Comics writer Bill Mantlo's son Adam opened a new present, a line of the Mego Corporation's Micronauts action figures. Seeing the toys, Mantlo was instantly struck by inspiration to write their adventures. Convincing then Editor-in-chief Jim Shooter to get the comics license for these toys, Mantlo was hired to script their series.[1]

The first series of the Micronauts ran from January 1979 to August 1984 and included 59 issues and two Annuals. The series was written by Bill Mantlo and featured art by Michael Golden, Howard Chaykin, Pat Broderick, Gil Kane, Butch Guice and others. As of #38, the series was no longer available from newsstands and was sold via direct distribution only.

In the United Kingdom, The Micronauts was first included as a supporting strip in Marvel UK's Star Wars Weekly comic in January 1979 for several months and then in the first nine issues of Star Heroes Pocketbook (alongside Battlestar Galactica) before joining new Future Tense reprint anthology.[2] Unlike the U.S. version, these strips were printed in black and white.

From 1983 to 1984, a Special Edition series was published (#1-#5) that reprinted issues #1-#12 and a back-up feature from #25.

In 1984, a four-part miniseries featuring the Micronauts and the X-Men was published, co-written by Mantlo and Chris Claremont and drawn by Butch Guice.

The second volume of Micronauts, subtitled The New Voyages, was published from October 1984 to May 1986 and was numbered from #1 - 20. The series was written by Peter Gillis and featured early-career artwork by Kelley Jones. After this series the Marvel-owned license lapsed.[3]

From the late 1990s the characters Marionette, Arcturus Rann and Bug (all Marvel properties) have appeared in various Marvel titles (without referencing the Micronauts label). Bug has appeared in a solo one-shot[4] and together with cosmic hero Star-Lord,[5] as part of a new incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy.[6]

Image Comics[edit]

In 2002, a new series by Image Comics was published that ran for eleven issues before its cancellation in 2003. The same year saw a four-issue limited series featuring Baron Karza's origin and his relationship with the Time Traveler entity.[7]

Devil's Due Publishing[edit]

In 2004, a new series was launched by Devil's Due Publishing, mixing new characters with those based on the toy line. The series ran for three issues and featured art by former Micronauts artist Pat Broderick. More issues were solicited, but never appeared on shelves despite some cover art being released.[8]

Kinetic Underground Inc[edit]

Kinetic Underground, Inc along with its affiliated company Kinetic Komicz started development on a new Micronauts comic series which was stalled by Takara Tomy Co., Ltd . The new Micronauts comic series was going to establish the new worlds, stories and characters that would eventually lead up to Emmett/Furla Films and Gale Anne Hurd’s version of the Micronauts. In 2006 Micronauts and Capcoms Killer 7 were going to be the launch titles for Kinetic Komicz digital comic platform ComicCasting.com and ComicCasts.com.

Fictional team history[edit]

The Micronauts originate in the Microverse, a microscopic series of diverse habitats that are linked together in the fashion of molecule chains. The original team comes together in response to the threat posed by former academic and now murderous dictator, Baron Karza. Commander Arcturus Rann (returning from a thousand-year deep space voyage in suspended animation) and Biotron, his robot co-pilot, return on the HMS (Homeworld Micro Ship) Endeavor, to discover Karza has slain the royal family, who are in fact Rann's parents. What follows is an epic war across the Microverse with Rann and his allies against Karza.

In addition to Biotron, Rann's team of "Micronauts" includes Princess Mari of Homeworld, who, with her brother, Prince Argon, are the only survivors of the slaughtered royal family. Known to the team as Marionette, she falls in love with Rann, and leads the team on occasion. The warriors Acroyear and Bug also join Rann's cause, and although completely different - one a noble warrior prince and the other a joking insectoid - the two become best friends and staunch allies of all Micronauts. The last member of the original team is Microtron, Mari's robot tutor. Although small, Microtron is very resourceful and very supportive of all team members.

After being trapped for a time on Earth (where they are the size of toys), the team returns to the Microverse. After a series of battles against Karza and his genetically-engineered armies (the Dog Soldiers), the Micronauts triumph and Karza is apparently killed. Rann is able to claim victory with the possession of the Enigma Force - a semi-sentient power source that bonded with him during his period of suspended animation - which enables him to perform incredible feats.[9] The team then encounters the superhero team the Fantastic Four, who have traveled to a different region of the Microverse to battle the villain Psycho-Man. Unfortunately, Bug's love, Jasmine, is killed during the climax of the battle. It is shortly after this encounter that the Micronauts again become trapped on Earth, at a greatly reduced size.[10]

After encounters with the villains Plantman and Molecule Man,[11] the team battle the Fixer and Mentallo, who have allied themselves with the organization HYDRA. Joined by one of Acroyear's people - Dagon - the team discovers that the villains and HYDRA are secretly under the control of Baron Karza, who, courtesy of Prince Argon's body, is able to resurrect himself. Although the organization S.H.I.E.L.D. and several representatives of the races of the Microverse help the Micronauts finally defeat Karza, the battle is costly. Biotron is destroyed by Dagon - an agent of Karza; Bug's Queen dies in battle; Rann is rendered comatose and Acroyear's traitorous brother Shaitan dies summoning the Worldmind - the parallel power to the Enigma Force that sustains their own homeworld. In desperation, Acroyear bonds with the Worldmind to defeat Karza but in doing so destroys his world.[12]

While trying to awaken Rann, the remnants of the team have an encounter with the villain Nightmare and accidentally discover that the Microverse is unraveling. A warning left in Rann's mind reveals that three keys will restore balance to the Microverse. The team embarks on a new quest across three new regions of the Microverse: Oceania, Polaria, and the Dead Zone. The Micronauts are eventually successful, and also acquire several teammates, including the bestial Devil and his companion Fireflyte and the robot Nanotron.[13]

A new problem arises when Prince Argon begins displaying paranoia regarding the Micronauts, and eventually sends a special Death Squad to kill them.[14] The Micronauts defeat the unit, and then encounter the mutant Nightcrawler and battle a new foe called Huntarr. Huntarr is genetically engineered by Argon to destroy the Micronauts, but Marionette makes him see that Argon is simply using him.[15] A war against Argon and his forces follows, with several beings from various locations in the Microverse - Pharoid, Slug and Margrace - joining the team in a bid to stop Argon. After several more encounters with beings such as Doctor Doom; the heroine Wasp and villain Arcade,[16] Microtron and Nanotron sacrifice themselves to reanimate Biotron's consciousness in the Micronauts' new vessel. Argon is finally revealed to be controlled by the spirit of Baron Karza, who returns once more. Karza kills Argon, and deals the Micronauts a crushing defeat by killing Devil, Pharoid, Slug and Margrave.[17] After regrouping and a series of skirmishes, the remaining Micronauts confront and defeat Karza once and for all.[18]

The New Voyages[edit]

Weary of war, the surviving Micronauts leave the known Microverse behind and embark on a journey of exploration. They eventually discover the true nature of the Microverse, and in a final act that restores their ruined world, sacrifice themselves.[19]

Team members[edit]

  • Acroyear - Former king of Spartak
  • Biotron - A robot who accompanied Arcturus Rann on his 1,000 year mission
  • Bug - A master thief from the planet of Kaliklak
  • Cilicia - Mother of Acroyear's child, as well as one of his subjects from Spartak
  • Devil - A member of a race of creatures from Tropica
  • Fireflyte - Part of a race that is the good part of the Devils on Tropica
  • Huntarr - Iann-23, mutated by Karza's Body Banks in order to attack the Micronauts. Joined the team instead to take revenge for the monstrous appearance this caused.
  • Marionette - Princess Mari, daughter of the slain rulers of Homeworld
  • Microtron - Personal robot of Marionette
  • Nanotron - A roboid (part organic, part machine) who served as Microton's personal assistant
  • Arcturus Rann - Explorer who returned from a 1,000 year mission, only to find his world taken over by Karza
  • Scion - Descendent of the Makers. Savior of the Microverse. Originally found as an egg
  • Solitaire - A Prime Being with metamorphing powers

The Microns[edit]

Years later Arcturus, Marionette and Bug (all Marvel properties) reappear as a team called the Microns. They aid the mutant Cable when the scientist Psycho-Man abducts the shape-changing Copycat.[20] They battle Microverse inhabitant Baron Zebek of Aegyptus alongside the visiting super-team Alpha Flight [21] and later assist Rick Jones and Captain Marvel during their adventures in the Microverse.[22] In another largely untold tale, they also reteam with the X-Men against Baron Karza (who had recently been reborn) and his ally Thanos who seek to merge several of the sub-atomic universes.[23] Arcturus Rann and Mari became involved in the Psyklop invasion of K'ai, Jarella's homeworld.[24]

Other versions[edit]

  • In 1997, Marvel accepted a proposed reboot of Micronauts as a new series written by Shon C. Bury, penciled by Cary Nord and inked by Dan Green, using new character designs based on the original characters. Scripts were written for five issues and three issues were penciled, though Marvel was not granted the Micronauts license by the copyright holder, Abrams/Gentile Entertainment, forcing the series to be canceled.[25][26]
  • The Micronauts play a role in Marvel's Earth X series.

Collected editions[edit]

Part of the Devil's Due series has been collected into a trade paperback:

  • Micronauts: Revolution (112 pages, Devil's Due Publishing, June 2003, ISBN 1-58240-311-2)

In other media[edit]

Action figures[edit]

From 2005, AGE gave permission for State of the Art Toys to produce redesigned Micronauts action figures as Micronauts Evolution, with concept art by Randy Queen.[27][28] SOTA president Jerry Macaluso expressed interest in a new comic based on the figures.[29]

Animated television series[edit]

In 1998, AGE, Annex Entertainment, Gribouille and Kaleidoscope Media Group planned to produce a Micronauts animated series starting with a five-part miniseries to air on the Sci Fi Channel in Fall of 1998, followed by a syndicated 26 episode Micronauts animated series for 1999, with action figures and a Marvel tie-in comic announced. The project appears to be shelved or canceled.[30][31]

Films[edit]

After Hasbro acquired the rights to the Micronauts toyline, it was announced in 2009 that J. J. Abrams was in negotiations to develop a movie version of the franchise.[32] However, the planned project has made no progress since then.

Novels[edit]

The 2002 Image Comics relaunch was followed the same year by Micronauts: The Time Traveler Trilogy, a collection of three paperback novels published by Byron Preiss Visual Publications and written by Steve Lyons.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Amazing Heroes #7". Innerspaceonline.com. 1981-12-07. Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  2. ^ From Future Tense #1 (November 5, 1980)
  3. ^ Murray, Noel (15 February 2012). "Whither Micronauts? On the long-delayed return to inner space". A.V. Club. Archived from the original on 4 July 2014. 
  4. ^ Bug #1 (Mar. 1997)
  5. ^ Annihilation Conquest #1 - 6 (2007)
  6. ^ Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, #7
  7. ^ Micronauts: Karza #1 - 4 (2003)
  8. ^ Micronauts (vol. 4) #1 - 3 (2003)
  9. ^ Micronauts (vol. 1) #1 - 14 (Jan. 1979 - Feb. 1980)
  10. ^ Micronauts (vol. 1) #15 - 17 (March - May 1980)
  11. ^ Micronauts vol. 1, #21 (Sept. 1980) and 23 (Nov. 1980)
  12. ^ Micronauts (vol. 1) #25 - 28 (Jan. - April 1981)
  13. ^ Micronauts (vol. 1) #29 - 35 (May - Nov. 1981)
  14. ^ Micronauts vol. 1, #36 (Dec. 1981)
  15. ^ Micronauts (vol. 1) #37 (Jan. 1982)
  16. ^ Micronauts (vol. 1) #41 - 42 (May - June 1982) and 45 (Sept. 1982)
  17. ^ Micronauts (vol. 1) #48 - 50 (Dec. 1982 - Feb. 1983)
  18. ^ Micronauts (vol. 1) #51 - 59 (March 1983 - Aug. 1984)
  19. ^ Micronauts (vol. 2) #1 - 20 (Oct. 1984 - May 1986)
  20. ^ Cable (vol. 1) #37 - 39 (Nov. 1996 - Jan. 1997)
  21. ^ Alpha Flight (vol. 2) #10 - 11 (May - Jun. 1998)
  22. ^ Captain Marvel #6 (vol. 4) (Jun. 2000)
  23. ^ Captain Marvel #6 (vol. 4) (Jun. 2000)
  24. ^ Realm of Kings: Son of Hulk #1 (Feb. 2010)
  25. ^ "Shon C. Bury interview pt.1". Innerspaceonline.com. Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  26. ^ "Shon C. Bury's original Micronauts proposal". Innerspaceonline.com. Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  27. ^ "San Diego Comic Con 2006". Innerspaceonline.com. Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  28. ^ http://intothemicroverse.com/news.htm[dead link]
  29. ^ "Jerry Mac interview '06 (pt.1)". Innerspaceonline.com. Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  30. ^ "age tv (upcoming)". Ageinc.com. Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  31. ^ "Comic Books, Comic Book News & Comic Book Characters - Mania.com". Comics2film.com. Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  32. ^ "Is Abrams Preparing To Invade Inner Space?". Comic Book Resources. 2009-11-06. Retrieved 2013-09-24. 

External links[edit]