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The Micronauts
Micronauts-1.jpg
Cover art of Micronauts #1. From left to right: Acroyear, Arcturus Rann, Marionette and Bug. Baron Karza in background.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
Image Comics
Devil's Due Publishing
First appearance Micronauts #1 (Jan. 1979)
Created by Bill Mantlo
Michael Golden
In-story information
Place of origin Microverse
Team affiliations X-Men
Abilities Advanced technology and fighting skill
Bug - superior agility
Rann - the Enigma Force

The Micronauts comic books feature a group of fictional characters based on the Micronauts toy line. The title was published by Marvel Comics, Image Comics, and Devil's Due Publishing. Their first comic appearance was in Micronauts #1 (Marvel, Jan. 1979) with characterizations created by Bill Mantlo and Michael Golden. Byron Preiss Visual Publications also published three paperback novels based on the Micronauts.

Contents

Publication history

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Marvel Comics

The Micronauts began life as comic book characters thanks to a Christmas Day 1977 fortuitous accident. 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, Bill 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 May 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. 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, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Butch Guice.

The second volume of Micronauts, subtitled The New Voyages, was published from 1984 to 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.

From the late 1990's the characters of 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[2] and together with cosmic hero Star-Lord[3], and will be part of a new incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Image Comics

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.[4]

Byron Preiss Visual Publications

This 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.

Devil's Due Publishing

In 2004, a new series was launched by Devil's Due Publishing, mixing new characters with those based on the toyline. 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. [5] (2003)</ref>

Fictional team history

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: 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 of 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. [6] 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. [7]

After encounters with the villains Plantman and Molecule Man, [8] 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. [9]

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. [10]

A new problem arises when Prince Argon begins displaying paranoia regarding the Micronauts, and eventually sends a special Death Squad to kill them. [11] 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. [12] 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, [13] 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. [14] After regrouping and a series of skirmishes, the remaining Micronauts confront and defeat Karza once and for all. [15]

The New Voyages

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. [16]

The Microns

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 abducted the shape-changing Copycat; [17] with visiting super-team Alpha Flight battle Microverse inhabitant Baron Zebek of Aegyptus [18] and later assist Rick Jones and Captain Marvel during their adventures in the Microverse. [19] In another largely untold tale, they also re-team with the X-Men against the reborn Baron Karza and his ally Thanos who seek to merge several of the sub-atomic universes. [20]. These appearances do not take into account the ending of the New Voyages. The non-returning Micronaut characters' absence is also left unexplained. Bug is currently a member of the modern day incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy.The name change is most likely because Marvel had the right certain names they come with but not the name Micronaunts or anything owned by others.

Revival and possible film version

Hasbro has recently acquired the right to the Micronauts toy line and J.J. Abrams is currently in negotiations to develop a movie version of the franchise.[21]

Alternate versions

  • 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. [22][23]
  • 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/canceled.[24][25][26]
  • 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]
  • The Micronauts play a role in Marvel's Earth X series.

Collected editions

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 1582403112)

See also

References

  1. ^ "The Micronauts: Gil Kane Thinks Small," Amazing Heroes #7 (Dec. 1981). Accessed Feb. 15, 2009.
  2. ^ Bug #1 (Mar. 1997)
  3. ^ Annihilation Conquest #1 - 6 (2007)
  4. ^ Micronauts: Karza #1 - 4 (2003)
  5. ^ Micronauts (vol. 4) #1 - 3
  6. ^ Micronauts vol. 1, #1 - 14
  7. ^ Micronauts vol. 1, #15 - 17
  8. ^ Micronauts vol. 1, #21 + 23
  9. ^ Micronauts vol. 1, #25 - 28
  10. ^ Micronauts vol. 1, #29 - 35
  11. ^ Micronauts vol. 1, #36
  12. ^ Micronauts vol. 1, #37
  13. ^ Micronauts vol. 1, #41 - 42 + 45
  14. ^ Micronauts vol. 1, #48 - 50
  15. ^ Micronauts vol. 1, #51 - 59
  16. ^ Micronauts vol. 2, #1 - 20
  17. ^ Cable #37 - 39 (Nov. 1996 - Jan. 1997)
  18. ^ Alpha Flight #10 - 11 (May - Jun. 1998)
  19. ^ Captain Marvel #6 (vol. 4. Jun. 2000)
  20. ^ Captain Marvel #6 (vol. 4. Jun. 2000)
  21. ^ [1]]
  22. ^ "The Lost Micronauts: The un-told story of the Micronauts re-launch... that never left the launching pad," Innerspace Online (Feb. 2, 2007). Accessed Sept. 20, 2008.
  23. ^ Bury, Shon C. "Shon C. Bury's Original Micronauts proposal to Marvel/unpublished plots 1997," Innerspace Online (Feb. 2007). Accessed Sept. 20, 2008.
  24. ^ Promo for upcoming programs from Abrams Gentile Entertainment. Accessed Sept. 20, 2008.
  25. ^ "Kaleidoscope Media Group Teams With Abrams/Gentile to Launch New "Micronauts" Animated Series, Business Wire (Oct. 28, 1998). Accessed Sept. 20, 2008.
  26. ^ Comics2Film.com. Accessed Sept. 20, 2008.
  27. ^ Waugh, Dave. "2006 San Diego Comic Con report (better late than never)" (Aug. 6, 2006). Accessed Sept. 20, 2008.
  28. ^ IntoTheMicroverse.com. Accessed Sept. 20, 2008.
  29. ^ "Micronauts Evolution," Innerspace Online (Sept. 1, 2006). Accessed Sept. 20, 2008.

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