Whassup With The Ultraverse?

Nothing, Thanks to Marvel

Photo by Pixabay

This was a case of Marvel Comics taking what they want, then slowly getting rid of the rest.

Here’s the story: early in the 1990s, comicbooks were in a creative boom. Malibu Comics got a group of writers ( Mike W. Barr, Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber, James D. Hudnall, Gerard Jones, James Robinson, Len Strazewski, and Larry Niven-yes, that one) to create a new shared superhero universe called The Ultraverse.

(Credits Due: All those links are on Wikipedia.)

They created continuity by having a story start in one title and then end in another series (making you try other books. smart). They produced some interesting titles like Prime (a unique variation of Shazam {Captain Marvel]), Mantra (immortal warrior Lukasz takes over the bodies of dead humans. (in this case, a sorceress named Eden Blake)…. many others.

They also had Night Man (jazz man Jonny Domino, who hears evil. It led to a TV show better not remembered. If you do: trust me. The comicbook is a lot better).

What happened? A boom is followed by a bust. Malibu Comics was broke. Marvel Comics bought them — more for their innovative coloring technology than for the comics.

They did try — in my opinion, poorly — to keep the line going, but it lost the feel and charm of the originals. First, they made it into a world in their multiverse (never mentioned in their “crisis” I don’t read Marvel books anymore). They had some of their characters crossover for fights (Hulk, Wolverine) then the Black Knight to lead their Ultraforce.

What happened? A boom is followed by a bust.

They launched an Ultraforce cartoon (I never saw it) and the Night Man series (1 season)… but it was now just a forgettable Marvel line.

Finally, they had an event in a one-shot book called Black September… then that was it. All editors say is that due to the terms of the contract, they couldn’t touch anything of the properties again.

Pity. It ended with a whimper, not a bang.

DC Comics is also at fault for other properties. I’ll talk about them in another post.

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Jeffrey Allan Boman

Jeffrey Allan Boman

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Hi. I’m Jeffrey A. Boman. Determined writer. NaNoWriMo Ace (4 wins in a row) 2002–06. In it until 2011. Many RPG publications too