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Let's Get Small, Part 2

The men behind the G.I. JOE comic book relaunch resurrect another '80s toy icon - the MICRONAUTS!

By Arnold T. Blumberg     June 05, 2002


Setting the stage for a Fantastic Four anniversary story to come, the Micronauts threw down with Doc Doom in MICRONAUTS #41.
© Marvel Characters Inc.
Last time, Josh Blaylock outlined the birth of the new MICRONAUTS comic book series from Devil's Due Publishing. Now he tells us what we will and won't see in this title...

While the Micronauts license holder, Global Icons, gave Devil's Due a lot of freedom with the property, one thing Blaylock and company could not do was reuse any material from the old Marvel comic that was not actually a Micronauts toy. If those clever folks at the House of Ideas had generated it during the run of the original MICRONAUTS comic, then out it went.

"It has to be a complete revamp from the old series, because the way the old deal worked is that anything that was not a toy was owned by Marvel," explains Blaylock. "But if it was a toy, we're cool to use it, so Biotron, Acroyear, Baron Karza, Microtron - all of those are ours to use."

The '80s icons return in a spectacular new TRANSFORMERS comic book series.

While not all of the elements from the Marvel series will return out of legal necessity, Blaylock assures fans that the spirit of the original comic book series that fans so fondly remember will still be present in the new incarnation.

"We're trying to keep the same feel of it, but we're making an effort to incorporate elements of the toys more than the old series did," says Blaylock. "There will be no Marionette or Bug, but there will be a space glider. Most of the fans are really excited about that."

Blaylock also reveals that the comic will make a concerted effort to appeal to a new generation of potential MICRONAUTS fans. Similar to the strategy behind the new G.I. JOE, Blaylock and company want to strike a balance between renovating the series but keeping important elements in place so as not to alienate the old guard.

Small? Yes. But the return of MICRONAUTS is a big deal.

"We're keeping all the old stuff in mind," says Blaylock. "We're making sure it appeals to the old fans and trying to incorporate elements of the toys and the comic, but MICRONAUTS is not G.I. JOE and it's not TRANSFORMERS. It was not a huge cartoon phenomenon that had millions of kids just going nuts over this stuff. We have to make sure that we make this modern enough so that the average younger comic collector who is under 30-35 who didn't play with Micronauts might still want to pick it up, something that makes them want to check it out too. Hopefully we pull it off."

Blaylock suggests that a lot of his hopes for the relaunch rest on the quality of the artwork, which he thinks will impress fans and casual readers alike. While Golden is there to provide some quality eye-catching covers - as well as ramping up the nostalgia quotient for the original MICRONAUTS fans - the new team will be making this series their own with a slick style that captures the publisher's 21st century approach to the property.

"I'm really excited about the look of the book," says Blaylock. "If we pull it off, it's going to look like a very high-end American animated movie."

Devil's Due has made quite a name for itself in the last year with revamps of '80s properties like MICRONAUTS and G.I. JOE. For Blaylock, it's a case of "right place, right time."

"What's funny is that it's been the right time for a few years now, but nobody realized it," says Blaylock. "Nobody stepped up to bat. I think somebody could've walked in a couple years before we did, and if they handled the property right, they could've had a completely successful G.I. JOE relaunch or what have you. '80s retro is a new kind of retro craze that hasn't happened before, and it caught everyone off guard."

Image's MICRONAUTS revival

Not Devil's Due, however, and not Dreamwave Productions, who have resurrected another '80s property, the aforementioned Transformers. While this is one retro icon that Devil's Due is not handling, Blaylock is complimentary of Dreamwave's efforts.

"I loved it. They're doing a great job. I enjoyed it."

Fair enough, but for Blaylock and Devil's Due, there are a few more retro projects they plan to tackle (still shrouded in mystery, but one could make some educated guesses). After that, it's time to go it alone and focus on the future.

"As far as the retro pop culture [craze], there's only a couple more things that I think are worth doing," says Blaylock. "After that, there are also a lot of second tier properties that, while they'd be cool to see, in the end no one's really going to care about a long ongoing series of these concepts. There are a lot of things that would be fun to do, but you'd have to go through so much hassle and pay so much for the licensing fees that it's going to be a waste of time for you to put out a one-shot or a miniseries."

"If we did one or two of these other things that I think are cool maybe, other than that we're looking to the future and moving on. It'll be time soon to step up and show people what we can do on our own with original material."

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