We’ve known for a while that cult classic ROM: Spaceknight was being revived this year, now at IDW rather than Marvel. But now we’ve got the details on Rom’s return, straight from writers Chris Ryall and Christos Gage—as well as a gallery of awesome variant covers for the first issue, making their debut on io9!

It’s been 30 years since the Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema-created ROM: Spaceknight series came to a close—and since then, Hasbro’s classic sci-fi toy hero and comic icon has been relatively dormant (save for a potential role in the upcoming Hasbro-based shared movie universe, weirdly enough!).

Rom #1 Main cover by J.H. Williams III

That is, until out of nowhere last year IDW announced that they had the rights to the character, with a new comic book on the way from Chris Ryall and Christos Gage, with art from David Messina. Now, that comic is just a few months away, and io9 has the first solicitation information for issue one of Rom—and a tease for what’s to come from Ryall and Gage. Check it out!

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Rom #1—GEM OF THE MONTH

Christos Gage & Chris Ryall (w) • David Messina (a) • J.H. Williams III (c)

WE’VE BEEN INVADED AND ONLY A SPACE KNIGHT CAN SAVE US! First there was his epic return in this year’s FCBD #0, and now the ongoing tale of ROM begins in earnest! Christos Gage, Chris Ryall, and David Messina kick off the wildest new series of the year as Rom’s war with the DIRE WRAITHS hits close to home in “Earthfall, part 1!”

FC • 40 pages • $4.99

Rom #1—Zach Howard Variant

Christos Gage & Chris Ryall (w) • David Messina (a) • Zach Howard (c)

FC • 40 pages • $4.99

Rom #1—Tom Whalen Variant

Christos Gage & Chris Ryall (w) • David Messina (a) • Tom Whalen (c)

FC • 40 pages • $4.99

Rom #1—Classic Toy Photo Variant

Christos Gage & Chris Ryall (w) • David Messina (a) • Photo (c)

FC • 40 pages • $4.99

Rom #1—Blank Sketch Variant

Christos Gage & Chris Ryall (w) • David Messina (a) • Blank Sketch variant (c)

FC • 40 pages • $4.99

Bullet points:

  • The long-beloved and even longer absent space hero returns at long last!
  • First, we brought back MICRONAUTS! And Now… ROM!
  • As if Rom’s return wasn’t enough, wait’ll you see how this one ends!
  • 24-page kick-off story plus interviews, bonus sketch material and more!
  • Variant covers by Sal Buscema, Michael Golden, and P. Craig Russell!

io9: What is it like being at the genesis of the revival of a beloved character like Rom?

Chris Ryall: It feels really odd in a great way—the launch of the #0 issue next month is both the culmination of something I’ve been officially pursuing for just about a decade now, and yet it’s also just the beginning, story-wise. So all that past is, as they say, prelude to the fun part to come.

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Christos Gage: Amazing. I’ve been a Rom fan since his first issue. And also scary, because you don’t want to be the guy who messed it up. But Chris and I are going to do our best to give the fans the epic stories they crave and Rom deserves!

Rom #1 R1 Cover A. Art by Sal Buscema, colors by Mike Cavallaro
Rom #1 R1 Cover B, by Michael Golden

What do you think it is about Rom that made him evolve from toy tie-in to this cult hero?

Ryall: For me, it was that his backstory was always so intriguing; the stories around the character [are] so much better than the initial toy design, which, let’s face it, was pretty clunky even at the time. And I think the fact that so many people have heard Rom nerds like me rave about him for so long but they’ve not had any chance to read his adventures at length have added to the intrigue. So now it’s on us new creators to keep that enthusiasm going after they do read the new comic.

Is there anything you can tease about what’s to come in the comic’s first arc?

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Ryall: I can say that the story people see in Rom #0 starts out in a relatively straightforward manner—it brings Rom to Earth and introduces the larger story involving him and his war with the Dire Wraiths. It does what we wanted to do with an introductory 11-page issue being handed out to a hundred thousand people of all ages on Free Comic Book Day. But it’s Rom #1 in July that really brings Rom’s world into focus and lets readers know exactly what they’re in for. I’m really excited for people to see it and see where things are headed.

Gage: It’ll have the feel of movies like They Live, The Thing, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers...that scary, paranoid feeling that comes from knowing there’s an evil, alien force infiltrating our world that can look like any one of us, even those you love most. And there’ll be Neutralizing.

Rom #1 R1 Cover C. Art by P. Craig Russell, colors by Lovern Kindzierski
Rom #1 Subscriber Cover A. Art by Zach Howard, colors by Nelson Daniel

If there’s one thing that you’d say to a reader wanting to dive into this series—probably even into the world of Rom for the first time—what would it be?

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Ryall: I’d say that Rom on its surface might sound like something people have seen before—“noble hero comes to Earth to save us from evil aliens hiding among us”—but that what we have in mind should surprise, thrill, and entertain in hopefully new and definitely exciting ways. Christos Gage and I have both wanted to do this for a long time, and we’ve no interest in just delivering on peoples’ expectations but instead in pushing them and hopefully exceeding them. And I think that what we’ve got planned, especially thanks to the creativity and passion also invested in the series by artist David Messina, is going to do just that.

Gage: Welcome! You don’t need to know anything about Rom to join us. All you need to do is like awesome stuff. Who doesn’t like awesome stuff? And did I mention you can get the first chapter FREE on Free Comic Book Day?

Rom #1 Subscriber Cover b, by Tom Whalen
Rom #1 R1 Cover C, Classic Toy Variant

Rom #1 hits shelves in July, but you can read a prequel to his adventures in a Free Comic Book Day special issue on May 7th.