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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Micronauts 1st Appearances & Key Comics Part 1


This was requested by Ace. I'm not specin' here. I was not a fan of these comics prior, and I think I have a few and zero of the IDW series.

Just "talking" about these comics. 2015 news has Hasbro and Paramount working on a movie-verse that contains the world of Micronauts, G.I. Joe, Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light, M.A.S.K. and Rom. Transformers and G.I. Joe cross-over film is already highly anticipated.

With that out of the way, I'm attempting a key issues list of Micronaut comics starting with the Marvel verse because it was requested. Definitely no expert at all, so I have to do quite a bit of reading to familiarize myself with this world and then the more recent stuff.

Even after "reading", I do not claim to be an authority on Micronauts. Actually, I've never claimed to be an "authority" nor wanted to be. So, just writing about comics here.

Take it however you want it. You will anyway. Buy, don't buy, purely up to you as I've said quite a few times. Let's get this on!





MICRONAUTS #1
1st appearance of Micronauts &amp Microverse
1st appearance of Baron Karza
1st appearance of Prince Shaitan & Prince Argon
1st Time Traveler


The Micronauts Marvel Comics series was obviously based off the toys. However, the actual comics is a bit different.

Bill Mantlo wrote the series and word is that he got inspiration to do it when his son received a Micronaut as a gift one Christmas. Pretty cool. Originally, this series was not supposed to be part of Marvel's mainstream universe, but as we all know now, that changed.

So the Microns? They are the main cast of the series, doing good deeds and fighting dark forces in the Microverse that's much like our universe but drastically smaller.

I will get to the Microverse in the outro of this keys series, but I'll just concentrate on the characters for now or this listing will be super long.


Space Glider
First up is Commander Arcturus Rann and the character was based off the Mego Space Glider toy. He is the son of Lord Dallan Rann and Lady Sepsis, ancient rulers of Homeworld.

He was tasked with a 1000 year mission of exploration within the Microverse. When he returns back to Homeworld in his ship the Endeaor, he quickly learns that Baron Karza and his evil forces had taken over and rule Homeworld with a tyrannical and iron fist. Thus, the story and adventure of the Micronauts begins for Marvel Comics.

Biotron is Arcturus Rann's robot who serves as his personal assistant. Faithful and loyal, this character was based on the Mego toy of the same name. Artist Michael Golden kept the design pretty faithful to the toy, and Biotron did accompany Arcturus Rann on his 1000 year exploration.


Mari is a princess of Homeworld and known as Marionette. She is the sister of Argon and the two are the only survivors of the royal family who were slaughtered by Karza.

Mari was sent to the Pleasure Pits but escaped and joined the Micronauts in their goal to defeat Karza. She, too, has a faithful robot companion named Microtron. I think Mari is an original character not based on the toy line and was created by Bill Mantlo and Michael Golden.

Megos Biotron and Microtron

Acroyear is the former king of Spartak and is the brother of Shaitan, who became a traitor and mind controlled his people to serve under Karza. Prince Shaitan is based off the Acroyear II Mego toy and even thought the name was changed, I'm not sure if Marvel own the rights to character since he kind of resembles the toy.

In the comics, he debuts along side Baron Karza as shown below. Baron Karza is based of the toy of the same name and Hasbro does own the character rights. If a movie happens, Baron Karza most definitely will be in it.




Prince Acroyear was captured by his brother and sold into slavery. He was freed by the Micronauts and is based on the Mego toy Acroyear. 

Bug is a Micronaut that was speculated on a while back but things about rights or toy rights was thrown out there. Supposedly a few speculated that Bug would join Guardians of the Galaxy since he did so in the later comics.



Well, before that, Bug was a Micronaut and based off the Galactic Warrior toy. Supposedly his name was changed to Bug in the 4th issue so they could go around ownership rights since the character in the comics looked nothing like the toy.

So Bug is an Insectivorid and from the homeworld of Kaliklak. He is good friends with Acroyear and both he and Acroyear were sent to fight in the gladiatorial games in this first issue. The Pleasure Pits is where they first meet Commander Arcturus Rann as shown in the panels above.

When it comes to the actual toys, Bill Mantlo did not follow the toy's story line for Acroyear, who is a classic enemy of the good Micronauts. Instead, Mantlo made Acroyear a good guy in the comics and gave him a deeper back ground. 


Megos Acroyear & Galactic Warrior

I guess these short character bios might be good to throw in here for further knowledge. Just in case I didn't explain them too well. More information the better, right?


Marvel/Disney's version of the Microverse is apparently called the Quantum Realm as seen in the Ant-Man flick, so they have touched upon the subject. I will touch upon the Microverse more in the outro of Part 1 of this series.

I am not all that sure about direct market editions concerning this comic. 1978/79 was when direct market was just taking off.

There are the Whitman 3 packs that contained issues #1-3 and have a completely blank UPC. They are considered direct market and some of them are starting to be verified as 1st prints.

For reference, I will include an image of the Micronauts Whitman 3 pack. Micronauts #1 to the first comic series based on the toy line has the cover date of January, 1979.







MICRONAUTS #2
2nd appearance of Micronauts
2nd appearance of Baron Karza
1st Steve Coffin & visit to Earth


If I don't put this one in I'll be slammed. If I do put this one in I'll be slammed.

Oh, well. Just how it rolls.

So, 2nd appearance of the Micronauts and 2nd appearance of the series big bad, Baron Karza, in comics. Pretty much a bunch of 2nd appearances here and one first appearance of Steve Coffin.

Well, Steve does become Captain Universe and he's the son of the original Captain Universe, Ray Coffin. Other than that, Steve doesn't have that many appearances over-all in Marvel Comics, but he is a friend to the Micronauts and from Earth.

So this issue has the first time the Microns or Micronauts leave the Microverse and visit Earth. Suppose that's important since they do end up becoming part of Marvel's mainstream continuity.

This series is shaping up to be a pretty decent read so far. February, 1979 is the cover date for Micronauts #2.





MICRONAUTS #3
3rd appearance of Micronauts
3rd appearance of Baron Karza
1st Duchess Belladonna
2nd Steve Coffinn & 1st Ray Coffin



Aside from this issue holding the 3rd appearance of the Micronauts and their big bad, Baron Karza, this issue also holds two more 1st appearances. The first is Ray Coffin, and as mentioned before, he is Steve Coffin's father.

Ray Coffin is a somewhat an important character as he does become the first Captain Universe in another issue within this very comic series. We shall get to that soon enough.

The 2nd character to debut in this comic is Duchess Belladonna. She is pretty much an aristocrat - rich and ruthless. She prolonged her life in Karza's Body Banks and helps to keep the aristocrats loyal to Barza.


The Duchess shows up from time to time in the series, but really isn't a major player. She is not based of a Micronauts toy as far as I know.

Aside from Micronauts #3 also having the 2nd appearance of Steve Coffin, this comic has the cover date of March, 1979.






MICRONAUTS #4
4th appearance of Microns & Baron Karza
1st cameos Philip Prometheus & Lady Slug
3rd Steve Coffin


Philip Prometheus is a strange character. I don't think he was based on a Micronaut toy and was created by Bill Mantlo and Michael Golden.

Prometheus is a former NASA scientist and astronaut. He was involved in an accident and rebuilt into a cyborg.

He eventfully built a gateway to the Microverse called the Prometheus Pit. Somehow he ended up in the Microverse and his mind merged with Baron Karza's mind.

Philip pretty much seeks to capture the Microns for experimental study. Yeah, he's one of those villains.

Lady Slug, as described by a Dog Soldier, "ex-Royalist these lower class trash call Slug", and she is a renegade leader on the side of the good guys. Dog Soldiers are Karza's army of evil minions who enforce and protect his tyrannical rule.


Definitely a supporting character of note, Lady Slug ended up becoming a romantic interest to Prince Argon, but also ended up dying. That to be explained in another listing obviously. 

I didn't note this but this is the first time we see Argon grafted onto his horse Oberon, punishment dealt by Baron Karza. Forget to mention this earlier, but Prince Argon is also known as Force Commander, and Force Commander is a Micronaut toy. So is Oberon his trusty steed.


Cover-dated April, 1979, Micronauts #4 is still under the radar at the time of this writing, and this is supposedly the issue where they changed the name to Bug from Galactic Warrior. I am assuming that happened with 1st prints.






MICRONAUTS #5
5th appearance of Micronauts
5th Baron Karza
1st full Philip Prometheus & Slug
4th Steve Coffin
Origin of Prometheus



Both Philip Prometheus and Slug definitely show up more. Slug shows up in 7 panels on 4 pages, but quite a few panels are of her at a distance. Even though you know she's suppose to be in the scene, one panel has her at an unrecognizable distance.

This issue does have the origin of Prometheus and his Prometheus Pit. Guess I'll show how goes down in these panels below.





Of course, this is the 5th appearance of the main Micronauts such as Arcturus Rann, Mari, Bug, and Acroyear. Blah, blah, blah. 

I suppose I should at least mention that issue #7 has Man-Thing, and that should officially bring the Micronauts into Marvel's Mainstream continuity. Just going to mention that issue though.

With May, 1979 as the cover date of Micronauts #5, this comic also has the 3rd appearance of Steve Coffin.







MICRONAUTS #8
1st appearance of Captain Universe
Origin of Homeworld

Well, when you got a Prometheus Pit that acts like a gateway between Earth and Microverse, you can assume it's only a matter of time before the bad guys find a way through it. That's exactly what happened and Baron Karza is now in our world and human-size.

Think he's gonna cause some mayhem? You bet he does.

This issue saw a little heat way back in 2014 due to a revival of the character of Captain Universe. I suppose that happened in some Avengers comics or something.

In this issue, Ray becomes the first Captain Universe or rather the Uni-Power that emanates from the Enigma Force possesses him. It does not dominate so the host still retains his or her own consciousness and will. 


Steve Coffin would become Captain Universe as well (not in the Micronauts comics) but would end up losing the Uni-Power. This entity has taken on several hosts since. Captain Universe has been a member of the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Captain Universe is not based on any Mego toy and was created by Bill Mantlo and Michael Golden. The character's creation was due to the desire of bridging the gap between Marvel's super-hero world and the Micronauts. 

Apparently, Mantlo was for it, but Golden objected and believed the character would harm the Micronaut stories more than add to them. Despite their disagreement, it ended up happening and this issue also tells the origin of Homeworld and how it came under the rule of Baron Karza.






Other than the debut of Captain Universe, this issue is important to Marvel's version of the Micronauts since it details the origin of Homeworld. Micronauts #8 has the cover date of August, 1979.






MICRONAUTS #9
1st appearance of Cilicia
1st appearance of Spartak


This issue ventures to Acroyear's homeworld of Spartak. Of course, we also see the first appearance of Acroyear's wife, Cilicia.

I am not sure if the planet of Spartak is actually taken from the toy's story line or not. I think it should be in order for IDW to use the character and planet.

So this issue might hold the first appearance of Spartak, the homeworld of the Acroyears and of Acroyear. Much like the Spartans, this race of people are a warrior dominated society and Spartak is a harsh planet fitting of such a race.

In this issue, the Micronauts help the planet of Spartak battle with Baron Karza, and they would eventually  win their freedom from him. Cilicia would join the Micronauts on quite a few adventures.

Cover date for Micronauts #9 is September, 1979.






MICRONAUTS ANNUAL #1
Prelude to issue #1
1st chronological appearance of Micronauts
1st appearance of Galactic Defender


What happened before the events of Micronauts #1? What were Bug and Acroyear doing prior to meeting Arcturus? What was their story?

The first Micronauts Annual was a prelude that contained three stories or chapters detailing the events prior to the comic series' first issue. I really enjoyed reading this issue.

Well, there is a first appearance in this issue and it's of Galactic Defender. I don't think this character shows up often in this comic series at all.

He is the defender of Paradise III as shown and told in his debut panels. Arcturus and Biotron meet him prior to ending their 1,000 year exploration and returning to Homeworld and meeting their fellow Micronauts.



Yep, Galactic Defender was based on the Mego toy of the same name. This is the character's first appearance in comics and I believe IDW uses a version of the character also.




In the 2nd story of "Coup", we see how Karza tried to bribe for the royal family's royalty in exchange for immortality. When the royal elitists refuse, Mari and Argon's parents are eventually slaughtered by Baron Karza.

The story also sees how Prince Argon and Mari escape and are hunted down prior to when we see them in Micronauts #1. Like Arcturus and Biotron, this issue also has the 1st chronological appearance of Mari and Prince Argon, but this story could be considered the first origin for both Mari and Argon.

Finally, we have the story, "Arena of Death" and this tells us how Bug and Acroyear meet. Being political prisoners, they are herded into the Yard of the Gladiators in order to practice for the gladiatorial games.

Prior to meeting Arcturus in Micronauts #1, Bug and Acroyear fight in the games. They survive and when they see Mari, she gives them a thumbs up, letting them know she is with the resistance. 

Micronauts Annual #1 was on sale around September 18th back in 1979.





A LITTLE MORE ABOUT MARVEL'S MICROVERSE

Alright, let's talk a bit about the Microverse here, and it is a universe much like ours but on a smaller scale. Done! Just kidding.

The Microverse has been associated with Sub-Atomica in the comics, and the Micronauts comics series references Sub-Atomica plenty of times. Sub-Atomica is supposedly located within the Microverse and the movie Ant-Man did say that Pym's wife went Sub-Atomic.

Could just be a coincidence. However, and I'm not sure why this is, but the Quantum Realm is said to be the cinematic version of the Microverse. Not sure why that is because I'm not sure if the "Microverse" is owned by Marvel or Hasbro or whatever.


In the comics, the Microverse can supposedly be reached from Earth by using Pym particles as first shown in the comics in Fantastic Four #16 back in the Silver Age of comics. Ant-Man lends the Fantastic Four some Pym Particles, they shrink down, and find that Doctor Doom is in this micro-world as well.

So that may be the first published appearance of Sub-Atomica in Fantastic Four #16. Some sources say they are two different Sub-Atomicas, and I have no idea about that since I have not seen any comics that link the Sub-Atomica in Micronauts to the Sub-Atomica seen earlier in Fantastic Four #16.

Ant-Man did enter Sub-Atomica in that issue of FF #16 to help rescue the Fantastic Four, and the Fantastic Four shared an adventure in the Micronauts comic series within issues #14 through #17. Marvel's 1st family made no direct mention being in Sub-Atomica prior or the same one in FF #16 in any of those issues.

They do mention facing Psycho-Man prior in the Microverse (Fantastic Four Annual #5), but no connection of the Doom adventure in Micro-World.

Once again, not hyping up. Just talking about the comics in relation or maybe in relation to the Micronauts. There is more to the Microverse, but that will be explained in later parts to this series.

We will get into that more for sure. Happy Huntin' or dumpin' and see ya at PART 2.




4 comments:

  1. Thanks Mayhem, you da man! Really don' t want to hype the book as well, but I think it has long term potential. Just think of it, this one has a long history with a Star Wars like story and an existing toy line - definitely Disney/Marvel stuff

    Ace

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    1. It's all good, Ace! Thanks for the request. Get to talk about something different. This market is getting so strange. Talk about comics and all the sudden it's "talking up" comics on spec. I agree, I am enjoying the read so far. It's a bit Star Wars-esq, but still a fun read.

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  2. While I'm not the biggest Micronauts fan, I always appreciate all the work you put into your columns. Keep it up and thanks!

    Brandon

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    1. Me, either, Brandon, but after reading the Marvel series and IDW series, I appreciate the Marvel series and am now a fan of the IDW series. Besides, ole Ace provided me an opportunity to talk about a comic I've yet to on here.

      Thanks, I appreciate the kind words!

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