For a brief period in the ’80s, comics based on toy lines were all the rage — Micronauts, Crystar, Transformers, and of course GI Joe — and top-notch artists often worked on them, making them much better than you would expect. Again, GI Joe. Michael Golden first become known for his far-better-than-it-had-to-be run on MICRONAUTS, but he also provided covers for a less-well remembered series called CRYSTAR that was about some kind of crystal brothers who had to fight over a crystal world, and…you get the idea. Anyway, while poking around we found this painted cover by Golden of Crystar.

They just don’t make em like they used to.

UPDATE: Ben Towle reminded us on Twitter that rocker Glen Danzig is also obsessed with Crystar.


  1. One of the first comics I every bought! Don’t remember much about the story but man, that’s a beautiful cover.

  2. The series was pretty forgetable, a Dungeons & Dragons type book, but the Michael Golden covers were EASILY the best part of that series. I was always disappointed that the interior artwork never came close to it in quality…

  3. Crystar wasn’t based on a toy line, it was created by Marvel to launch as a joint toy/comic line. The comics, (I actually have some of them) were all copyrighted by Marvel, unlike the others you mention which were stated to be owned by their respective toy companies, (not Marvel). Unlike the fondly remembered Rom, Micronauts or GI Joe comics Marvel could probably revive Crystar, in fact I’m kinda surprised they haven’t. There were characters just as unsuccessful that they brought back.

  4. I think the main reason Crystar’s never come back is that once you put enough work in it to make it interesting, you might as well come up with new names and be the creator of it, instead of the reviver of it.

    It wouldn’t be that hard to tweak and massage and develop it into something — Marvel’s “Gemworld”? — but by the time you were done you’d have made so many little changes that it’d be half a step away from a whole new series. And it’s not like the names are so compelling that they’d be worth saving.

    Someone might still do it, but only if they really loved the original series. And is there anyone working in comics today who grew up reading CRYSTAR and remembers it fondly?

    It wasn’t bad comics — Jo Duffy wrote it well — but I don’t think it hooked anyone the way AMETHYST did, and it doesn’t even have the comedy value of U.S.1.


  5. I was a wee lad then, and I fondly recall having the action figure of the green guy with the eyepatch and the crossbow. My brother bought the entire series in a not-at-all-expensive package from a back-issue bin simply for the jaw-dropping Golden covers.

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